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tkrestonva's AM armor build[*AM]


tkrestonva
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Update - going down my punchlist, I got the following done:

 

Fitted the thighs and glued the backs shut - I decided to stick with the standard overlapping seam here and glue a finishing strip on top, instead of the butt joining I did in the front:

 

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Snap plates - made about 30 total in 2 different sizes. Smaller for the arms, larger for the body.

 

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Installing the snaps - after figuring out how & where each shap within the armor part, I placed them with the clamps and used ABS cement to glue them in. Why ABS cement instead of the E6000 I used in the joints? Because I wanted the strongest hold possible, and I don't need (or want) the flex properties of E6000 with the snap plates. ABS cement will only be used on the inside parts. As noted in another thread, ABS cement works by melting the two pieces of plastic together, and it does so quickly. If you end up with any overspill, you WILL damage the finish. But since it's all internal, I don't really mind. After the glue dries I'll seal the edges with plastic weld.

 

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Letting the glue cure overnight, more work tomorrow.

 

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Using rare-earth magnets as tools for helping keep the joints together for E6000 drying is such a good idea. I realize this build isn't the first to utilize the method, but seeing you use them reminds me that I wish I had thought of it when I was putting together any of my TK armor.

 

2 years without an upgrade? Yep, I'd say it's past time. ;) The AM kit looks nice, and yours is well on its way of looking great! Oh, for your triple EIB, what kind of helmet are you picking up for ESB, or do you already have one?

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My current FX kit arrived at my doorstep on December 29th, 2007, and officially entered service on February 28, 2008. I'm building this one to be ready for it's debut at C5 in mid-August. So yes, I'm past due. Once I'm done here, my FX will be converted to a TK Commander - EIB-qualified, of course. B)

 

For ESB, I'll be using a TM helmet I picked up here in February, along with a set of his handplates. B)

 

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Overall, I'm very pleased with this kit. However, if there was one thing (two, actually) I would change it would be the chest and back pieces. Since there really is no way I can mod them to get the look I want, I decided to replace them with RT Mod parts. While I was at it, I decided to get a set of RT Mod shoulder straps, and a utility belt which will serve as my ANH belt.

 

Comparison photos - RT Mod is on the top, AM is on the bottom:

 

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RT Mod stacked inside AM:

 

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The RT Mod chest plate mated with the AM ab plate, compared with all AM:

 

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If you're wondering, the bluish tinge is strictly a result of the outdoor lighting. Regardless, the photos clearly show - in addition to the marked size difference - that the RT Mod parts are not as sharp and are nowhere near as glossy as AM. Still, IMO the more accurate sizes & shapes outweighs those disadvantges. Once everything is done and fitted, I'm going to try some Novus on the RT Mod parts to get them a bit closer to AM.

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One more photo before I turn in - and a convenient stopping point for the night. Most of the snap plates are now in place, over 40 total snap plates for the entire suit.

 

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Still to do is (1) add snaps to the crotch area, (2) add the snap plates to the sides of the kidney and ab plates - which will be done once I determine how much from the sides I need to trim, and (3) install the snap plates inside the thighs - those will be attached when the belt & garter I'm having made arrives. :)

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It's hard to see the color difference, although the AM seems to have a very slight gray tinge to it - an FX legacy, as it had the same gray tinge. As pointed out in the AP vs TM thread, the type of lighting involved makes a trememdous difference in color perception.

 

Regardless, any color difference is overwhelmed by the difference in reflectivity. Once I get a chance to polish up the RT parts, I may be able to see more clearly any color differences. Assuming RT uses the same plastic he always had, and AM is using the same plastic as for FX, the difference will be extremely difficult to spot, based on my current FX armor / RT helmet trooping kit.

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More done today, it's actually starting to look like a stormtrooper suit. :P

 

Details - they make all the difference.

 

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I took about 3 inches off each side of the kidney plate. Given I have a 34" waist, it looks like the AM kit will accept up to a 40" waist without requiring shims to close the side gaps. The ab plate fit me perfectly - the left and right edges ended almost exactly on my centerline. ^_^

 

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Final photo of the night - letting the glue dry overnight.

 

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Next up:

 

1) sew the ESB handplates on to the gloves

2) build both ANH & ESB belts

3) start producing the straps

 

:)

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Very nice progress, this is coming along nicely. I also agree about the chest and back, they're the only pieces I'm not 100% happy with in terms of shape and proportions.

 

Not sure about you, but I find the AM belt armor rather big too (obviously to accommodate bigger troopers). The drop boxes end up on my sides almost!

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Coming along nicely Brian. I really like the RT Mod pieces you added, looks a lot better.

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Ab armor is now fully assembled:

 

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I only got the ESB belt done - building the belt turned out to be a lot more challenging than I expected. :blink: I think I'll save the ANH belt for a later time, once I finish the ESB features and get EIB-certified. Besides, I'll need a couple of smaller projects for the winter. :P

 

Inner drop boxes by kwdesigns, canvas belt by firebladejedi:

 

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I assembled the belt so that the drop boxes would be easily removable for HWT purposes. Also, I initially tried to put the inner drop boxes in place without permanently gluing them, but they wouldn't stay put. I'll have to come up with an alternate means to store hotel keys and other credit card sized items.

 

Last step before building the straps and doing the final fitting - attaching the TM handplates to my gloves. More later. :)

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Would some velcro on the inner edges of the outer drop box and outer edges of the inner be secure enough? Might be hard to open it though to access what you put inside unless you make a pull tab or something.

Edited by NoVATie
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Getting the inner drop boxes in place was a very tight squeeze, so given the extra bulk Velcro adds I don't see how it would have been possible.

 

What I'll probably end up doing is storing bulkier items like car keys inside my thermal detonator, and for something like credit cards and hotel keys I'll just tape it to the back of the drop box so that it's not visible from the front.

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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):

 

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Hi TKRestonva

Why use a separate PVC pipe?Just want to ask, as i need to build mine.

Can we just use the one that came with the armour?

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You certainly could use the thermal detonator kit that comes with it, but the pipe is sturdier and more accurate.

 

In addition, the thermal detonator that comes with the AM kit can be a real pain to assemble - the two halves may not line up correctly, you'll have a gap/seam between the halves you'll have to find a way to hide, etc. Buying the PVC pipe section, metal clips, and end caps all from TK4702 made it quick work. :)

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You certainly could use the thermal detonator kit that comes with it, but the pipe is sturdier and more accurate.

 

In addition, the thermal detonator that comes with the AM kit can be a real pain to assemble - the two halves may not line up correctly, you'll have a gap/seam between the halves you'll have to find a way to hide, etc. Buying the PVC pipe section, metal clips, and end caps all from TK4702 made it quick work. :)

 

This kit being my first and was excellent kit and a joy to assemble for the very small exception of the TD. It was somewhat of a slight pain to assemble the halves but easily doable with decent results. PandaTrooper shows an excellent pictorial on assembling the TD, "TD ASSEMBLY" .

 

However, knowing me I can foresee this thermal detonator being trashed its just a matter of time. I agree, assembling a PVC backup is an excellent idea with this particular kit as one mentioned due mainly to the solidness and accuracy of using PVC.

Edited by TK-6162
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I assembled the belt so that the drop boxes would be easily removable for HWT purposes. Also, I initially tried to put the inner drop boxes in place without permanently gluing them, but they wouldn't stay put. I'll have to come up with an alternate means to store hotel keys and other credit card sized items.

 

 

What about gluing in two magnets on the opposite side of the inner wall? With the appropriate strength it should be no trouble keeping the halves together and also taking them apart when needed. Haven't tried it myself, but that's what I would try.

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Quick update - got the handplates (provided by TM) attached last night:

 

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Over the next few days I'll build the internal strapping system. Hopefully by this weekend everything will be ready for a trial fit with the complete kit, including the blaster and all the soft parts (boots, undersuit, etc.). :D

 

Moving along. ;)

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