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tkrestonva's AM armor build[*AM]


tkrestonva
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It's been over 2 years as TK2918 in the 501st Legion, and I figure I'm due for an armor upgrade. I plan on using my new kit to (1) requalify for ANH EIB, (2) qualify for ESB EIB, and (3) qualify for HWT EIB. As for my current kit, eventually that will become a TK Commander. My goal is to be completed and triple-EIB rated by Celebration 5.

 

As far as my selection of armor kit, after a lot of thought I decided to go with AM. Here's why:

 

1. Very reasonably priced kit

2. Quick delivery

3. Relatively easy to assemble

4. The kit is made of 0.090 glossy ABS - nice, sturdy stuff

 

And most important in my case:

 

5. The kit is designed to fit larger troopers (I'm 6'1, 215lbs) without requiring a lot of shimming. :D

 

While I acknowledge that this kit won't come anywhere close to the jaw-dropping accuracy of a TE2 or TM, for me it's a good compromise between form and functionality. :)

 

- Oh, and it helps that TupperwareTK just happens to be a member of my garrison. B)

 

I received the kit last Tuesday and was finally able to open the box and take inventory a couple of days ago:

 

Big brown box, courtesy UPS and TupperwareTK :D

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Very well packed, the U.S. Post Office could learn a thing or two :P

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Taking inventory:

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The final photo is of parts I don't see myself using, either because I have better or they're for sandtroopers. Look for a parts sale in the near future. :P

 

More to follow ... :salute:

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Thanks for taking care of that, Terry. :)

 

I did some test-fitting today, in terms of length everything fit near-perfect. My FX was/is too short especially in the legs, AM looks like it solved that problem. B)

 

One thing I immediately noticed is that although the suit is designed to be symmetrical, there are definitely differences in the way the clamshelled parts (biceps, forearms, thighs, calves) line up, something I attribute to manufacturing variances. As such, I had to do some experimenting to determine which parts matched up best, and labeled them accordingly for greatest ease of assembly.

 

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Rule of thumb is to start with the easiest parts first, and move on to the most complex parts after gaining some confidence. Conventional wisdom says that would be the biceps and forearms, right? Not in this case. Getting the biceps and forearms to line up properly was giving me absolute fits. :wacko:

 

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I'm going to have to do some creative trimming to get the parts to fit together properly. For the forearms, I'm thinking I'll line up the wrist end flush and trim the elbow end accordingly. Same for the biceps - align the bottom flush and trim the top accordingly. I plan to do so in a way that minimizes the loss of the return edge. Looking at my screen caps I realize return edges on the biceps and forearms aren't ANH/ESB accurate, but I really like the illusion of thickness the return edges lend to the armor. I've also been reviewing some of the more exemplary builds, especially Stukatrooper's TM builds, and they show a return edge.

 

The openings of the biceps and forearms are also a bit too narrow with the return edge (I have 17.5" biceps and 14.5" forearms), so it looks like I'm going to have to use a heat gun to open them up a bit so that they're comfortable, fit properly, and allow me a full range of motion.

 

More later. :)

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That's the same kit I just got. I've been working all day yesterday and today, but it doesn't look like I got much done. I started with the biceps. I figured I could line the bottoms up, and wouldn't worry about the top not lining up as it's under the shoulder bell.

The forearms I lined up at the wrist, but it's way off at the top.

For the front/back seam at the shoulder, I cut my old Army BDU belt and riveted it in so it's strong. I'll cover the rivets with the plastic piece and leave it floating in the back.

I like how all the strapping was pre-cut and velcro sewn on already. I got an SC Biker Scout kit almost done, and sewing all the straps wasn't my favorite part of the build. I don't like that the straps are sewn with the fuzzy side of the velcro, though. All the armor inside will have the rough stuff facing in, not the ideal way to do it, IMHO (with all my weeks of armor building experience. ;) ). All the cool kids are using snaps, I'll probably do that later, for now I just want to get er done.

In other news, can someone point me to any FX helmet building threads? I've searched but haven't found anything yet. My full kit came with it, and I'm having issues with the front/back fitting. The ear pieces have huge gaps I'm hoping I can fix with ABS cement at the bottom, but getting the front/back pieces trimmed to line up smooth is proving to be a challenge.

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Its a fantastic kit with very fine detail and easy to build. I have not long finished my AM build.

 

 

 

The biceps need a bit of trimming and sanding to get that exact fit. I heated the biceps then bent them into shape and trimmed the excess off then sanded the areas to blend it in.

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  • 2 weeks later...

That's the same kit I just got. I've been working all day yesterday and today, but it doesn't look like I got much done. I started with the biceps. I figured I could line the bottoms up, and wouldn't worry about the top not lining up as it's under the shoulder bell.

The forearms I lined up at the wrist, but it's way off at the top.

For the front/back seam at the shoulder, I cut my old Army BDU belt and riveted it in so it's strong. I'll cover the rivets with the plastic piece and leave it floating in the back.

I like how all the strapping was pre-cut and velcro sewn on already. I got an SC Biker Scout kit almost done, and sewing all the straps wasn't my favorite part of the build. I don't like that the straps are sewn with the fuzzy side of the velcro, though. All the armor inside will have the rough stuff facing in, not the ideal way to do it, IMHO (with all my weeks of armor building experience. wink.gif ). All the cool kids are using snaps, I'll probably do that later, for now I just want to get er done.

In other news, can someone point me to any FX helmet building threads? I've searched but haven't found anything yet. My full kit came with it, and I'm having issues with the front/back fitting. The ear pieces have huge gaps I'm hoping I can fix with ABS cement at the bottom, but getting the front/back pieces trimmed to line up smooth is proving to be a challenge.

 

 

i havent seen a build thread but i am building one for a friend. Unfortunetly i have put mine together without taking photos but i had a nightmare lining things up too. drop me a line if i can help i will.

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For ANH, I'll be recycling my current RT Mod helmet (v4, I think) but I plan on making the following mods: (1) remove the vocoder sticker and hand paint, (2) remove the stickers on the raised portion of the ears and hand paint, and (3) add ear bumps to the raised portion, probably by gently heating that portion and using a popsicle stick to create depressions.

 

For ESB, I plan on using a TM helmet that Paul himself finished - it was up for sale here in February and I was lucky enough to be on the board at the right time. B)

 

I was able to make some progress this weekend on the biceps and forearms - due to my schedule, armor building has been generally limited to Saturday & Sunday evenings. Pics coming soon. :)

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For ESB, I plan on using a TM helmet that Paul himself finished - it was up for sale here in February and I was lucky enough to be on the board at the right time. B)

 

 

I remember the one. Very nice!

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I'm overdue for an update ...

 

I've pretty much finished the arms and legs. Instead of using the overlapping seam assembly method that is standard for the AM kit, I went with the butt-join / cover strip method. It took some time to work up the nerve, but seeing Pandatrooper's outstanding example gave me the inspiration I needed to take the plunge. :D

 

I used 20mm and 30mm cover strips for the exterior, cut from the extra plastic strips that come with the kit. I realize that 15mm and 20mm are more accurate - and I tried it that way at first - but the wider strips seemed more proportional to the kit's dimensions as it will be fitted to my measurements. For the interior strips, I used the scrap plastic resulting from trimming off the overlap strips - waste not, want not. ^_^

 

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Forearms & biceps - I used the same methods for assembling both the forearms & biceps, with clamps, painter's tape, and rare earth magnets holding everything together while the E6000 cures.

 

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For the calves and thighs, I took off enough of the overlapping edges on each side of each part so that it would leave 15mm on each side, the idea being when the edges were butt-joined, it would result in a 30mm wide area that would be covered with a 30mm finishing strip.

 

Unmodified calves:

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Trimmed & joined:

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The thighs were assembled the same way as the calves:

 

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I also got the thermal detonator and ab buttons finished.

 

For the thermal detonator, instead of using the FX-style TD that comes with the kit, I went with a 7.5" section of PVC pipe I bought from TK4702, along with a matching set of TD belt clips and end caps. The paint is Testors 1138. I also primed and painted the end caps a gloss white - not a perfect color match, but better than powder-white color that they were unpainted. The only part of the kit TD I used for this was the control plate.

 

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Ab buttons, painted with Testors 1138 gray and Testors ???? french blue (forgot the color # and I don't have the spray can in front of me):

 

4720935409_2c82d2c1e6.jpg

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Thanks Rick, I appreciate the kudos. :)

 

So as of about a week ago, here's everything I've done to date:

 

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Hopefully I can resume the build later this week. No build progress this past week - been out of town on business. :(

 

Next up:

- final fitting of the thighs and gluing the backs shut

- attach the sniper plate & thigh ammo belt

- belt assembly (two belts, one ANH & one ESB)

- attaching the ESB handplates to the gloves

- build & attach the snap plates, figure about 2 dozen

- install the ab buttons

- adding the small details (6 white rivets on the left side, "Han Solo snap" on the right, etc.)

 

Stay tuned, more to follow. :salute:

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