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Armor Master (AM) Lite Kit Armor Highlight and Review

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Greetings troopers! Going forward, (the staff with assistance from FISD members) will be conducting detailed reviews of the various armor makes, to give troopers a better idea of what the specific features and qualities of each kit are. This month, we have chosen to highlight the AM "Armor Master" Lite kit.

 

Armor Master (AM) Lite Kit Armor Highlight and Review

by Terry / Pandatrooper

FISD Intelligence Officer

 

Armor Master - or AM armor for short - is widely known as a major update to the FX armor commonly used throughout the 501st Legion. The makers have created new molds for practically every piece of armor, culminating in a very complete and fairly easy to build TK, TD, or TX costume. The armor is “fan sculpted†and thus has no screen lineage to any of the movie suits. While some may view this as a negative, the AM kit is very sturdy and recognizable as a “Stormtrooperâ€, making it a great choice for trooping.

 

Completed AM kit ANH style (Tkittell)

P1030681-1.jpg

P1030687-1.jpg

 

Completed AM kit ANH style (Pandatrooper. This build features modified size of parts to fit slim build)

4686105042_dede397e79_b.jpg

4686105324_d53d431198_b.jpg

 

The armor is made from a slightly off white ABS plastic that is fairly thick, has a very glossy finish and is durable. The kit itself comes in a Full version (with an updated FX helmet that comes with with a new dome and assembly materials like adhesive and velcro, strapping, etc.) or the Lite kit which comes with no helmet or assembly materials, though some elastic and strapping are included.

 

AM armor is one of the two common armor kits that come “pre trimmedâ€, the other being RT-mod. The armor is sculpted to a larger scale than screen lineage armor to accommodate different sized users. RT-mod is slightly larger in scale than AM, making RT-mod the largest sized armor readily available.

One of the big advantages of the AM kit is that almost every part is sized to be trimmed down, with longer “wings†or extensions on various sides. This allows the builder to trim off as much material as they need to suit their body type. The kit also comes with printed assembly instructions.

 

Components

 

Abs / Kidney: The Ab and Kidney sections come with extra-long side extensions, so that the user can cut and size each piece to create a torso with no visible gap between the two parts. If your torso is bigger than the parts, you will still need shims.

 

Ab buttons / button plate: the AM kit comes with a separate “button and ridges†plate that can be glued on or held on with custom made aluminum buttons that have bolt threads integrated. Simply drill the appropriate holes and paint the buttons and install them with nylock nuts inside the armor. The 4 button section on the left side is not separate, and is molded in. For sandtroopers, simply leave the ab plate button off and the under detail is correct for a TD costume.

 

Belt armor / rivet covers: the belt armor has square indentations where the rivets or snaps can be installed (to attach the armor to a canvas belt). The rivet covers are somewhat large / deep compared to screen lineage armor.

 

Butt: Unlike the FX armor, the butt is separate from the back plate, which is correct for ANH and ESB suits. The butt and the end of the cod piece have large extended plastic tabs integrated. While some may use this to join the butt and cod, it looks better if these are cut off and an elastic strap with snaps is used in its place.

 

Back: The back is quite large, and incorporates a bigger “box†section and inner detail. It’s not as organic shaped as the screen lineage armor.

 

Chest: The chest is much bigger in size, and has longer shoulder “tabs†extending over the shoulders. The chest is flatter in shape than the curvy screen lineage chest armor. While the “pectoral†areas are sharply defined, this creates less room under the chest plate (compared to screen lineage armor) should the user want to install a chest mounted voice amp.

 

Shoulder straps: These are made a bit longer to accommodate larger sizes

 

Shoulder bells: the shoulder bells are quite long and wide, and have a straighter shape than screen lineage armor. These could be trimmed and modified if necessary.

 

Biceps: the biceps have a more “square†profile than screen lineage armor. Some users have given feedback that the “thumb print†on the inner bicep is too defined.

 

Forearms: these are created extra deep to accommodate different arm sizes. It too is slightly square in profile compared to screen lineage suits.

 

Hand plates: the AM kit comes with several sets of hand plates, enabling you to build an ANH style TK or TD, ESB style TK, or “Cheesegrater†style TD. The ESB plates are formed larger than needed, and can be trimmed to size. The ANH style hand plates are rather large, and may need to be resized.

 

Thighs: The thighs are longer than the previous FX thighs, and have extra material molded in to create a larger overlap or butt seam. These can be trimmed to size.

 

Knee plate / sniper plate: both a TK knee plate and TD sniper plate are included with the kit.

 

Shins: the shins also are created with extra material to be sized for the end user. One error made on the shin design is that the inner shin has a vertical ridge molded into the armor. This would have looked better on the outer shin.

 

Elastic strapping: the included elastic strapping has velcro sewn on the ends. It's advisable to use heavy duty velcro if possible.

 

Drop boxes: they are included in the kit

 

Thermal detonator: the thermal detonator assembles from several parts and doesn’t require a section of PVC pipe to build up as is normal on screen lineage suits. There are also a few sections of chrome vinyl included which some builders do not use. Some prefer to not use the AM base TD parts and use PVC pipe instead for more authenticity. The TD is designed to be riveted to the belt.

 

Conclusion

 

The kit is a great kit, with cost, durability and “idealized†look being major factors. While some may balk at the fact that it doesn’t have any screen lineage to film or tour suit armor this is an aesthetic choice and it is highly suitable for trooping.

 

In terms of accuracy, the kit resembles more of an idealized trooper and is instantly recognizable to the public. The chest, back and shoulder bell pieces stand out as the least accurate compared to what was seen on screen. They still resemble the pieces from the original FX kit in terms of size and shape. These can be modified with trimming and tools such as a heat gun and heat sealing iron.

 

The armor itself can be assembled per the included instructions for a “quick buildâ€. If you were to use ABS adhesive, Velcro strapping and overlap construction, you could easily assemble the Lite armor in a weekend. If you want to build the suit using snap plates, butt seams with cover strips (it can be done) to create a look closer to the films, this could take several days or weeks. Several troopers have built high quality modified versions of the AM kit with great results.

 

Overall, the AM kit is very fun to build. While it’s not as accurate as other kits it’s one of the easiest to build which requires no painting and stands up to trooping very well.

 

Some links to AM kit builds

 

Pandatrooper's AM build

 

Tkrestonva's AM build

 

Tkittell's AM build

 

Wildabeast's AM build

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Another outstanding review by Terry! Guys - let us know if you feel these should be on the Academy as well.

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Thanks guys! Hope you find this helpful. Building the AM kit was a lot of fun!

 

I think it would be great to feature these armor reviews on the Academy, that way the FISD has a central hub / starting point for everyone new getting into the hobby.

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This is fantastic! B) This is the kit I have been planning on purchasing, and this overview was really helpful in confirming that I'm on the right track.

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Great review Terry! But you forgot a very important detail ... This kit is also available in Black!

 

Sorry Couldn't resist wink.gif

 

 

Here's me in the new AM black kit (with an eFX Lid): AM In Black

 

 

Sorry I don't mean to de-rail the thread ...

 

EDIT: Got rid of the pic and put in a link instead.

 

EDIT #2: Sorry Terry - I re-read your review and saw you did mention the TX ... Thanks!

Edited by ELP

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Great review but lets not forget even more important details!

 

To give credit were it's due, the original sculptor for the complete FX armor was Canadian maker Gerardo Follano back in 1997 which FX recasted, massproduced and and sold without authorisation, all facts were proven, the tell, a Canadian coin imprinted in belt which FX had no idea when they recasted it, basically AM is following FX steps and selling GF recasts. If only GF got 10% of FX/AM sales he would be a rich man! People should know the real backround of this famous armor which started a chain reaction in armor making we have today.

 

Mark

Edited by ABS80

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Correct. And since GF can't make or sell armor, in a way FX is considered a bit of 'public domain', no? At least so far as the community seems to be concerned. In that vein, we take care to ensure that Deckard on this board is specified as not the only vendor of FX armor, but we allow him to sell here because to date he has proven to be the best FX vendor in terms of quality, price, and service.

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It just so happens that I'm on my lunch break about to purchase the "lite" version of the AM armor! Seems like its destiny with the timing of this review, haha.

 

I'm going to have some guys from the local garrison help me out with assembling the kit. Is it possible to build it per the instructions and add the snap on setup at a later date or should I just jump straight in with snaps?

 

With No'l's bucket and a set of AM armor I should be ready in no time!

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It just so happens that I'm on my lunch break about to purchase the "lite" version of the AM armor! Seems like its destiny with the timing of this review, haha.

 

I'm going to have some guys from the local garrison help me out with assembling the kit. Is it possible to build it per the instructions and add the snap on setup at a later date or should I just jump straight in with snaps?

 

With No'l's bucket and a set of AM armor I should be ready in no time!

 

With all the build threads here you don't really need the directions. I would use snaps and straps on the first go around. There are plenty of reference pictures to help you get everything set up and you'll save yourself from having to go back later. The snaps really come after the pieces have all been put together so you can figure out how to strap the armor to fit your body.

 

 

*And excellent job, Terry B)

Edited by NoVATie

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Like i see the chest plate is too large ....

and before I get beaten :P ... that's the new "FX"?!

Otherwise...great job on the assembling

EDIT: I should read more closely :rolleyes:

"...is widely known as a major update to the FX armor..."

Edited by DarthChridan

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Some things I would also highly encourage new purchasers of the AM kit to do...

 

1) Follow the instructions/advice about drilling stress reliefs in the top of the shins. I have the AM kit and incorporated the stress reliefs and have had absolutely no problems with my shins. The troopers I know that did not incorporate this feature have complained that their shins have cracked in the angled area on the top of the shins when they are pulled open to suit up.

 

2) Pre-bend the ammo belt into a curve to eliminate stress failure from constant bending. (There is a tutorial here somewhere for that using paint stir sticks.) I did this on mine and again have had no problems with my ammo belt. Mine snaps to a canvas belt but of the troopers I know that built the belt using the ABS panels and use the ammo pouch section as part of the belt, have had issues with the ammo section of the belt cracking.

 

3) I have large biceps and the "squareness" of the bicep armor was a major issue for me. I had to heat and reshape the biceps to a more rounded shape and also trim more from the area where the armor contacts the front of my delts (shoulders). This was also an area where trimming the return edges helped to ease the reshaping and eliminate the area where they had begun to crack (due to me having to squeeze/flex them open to put them on).

 

4) Use snaps where possible. I used snaps on my kidney-to-butt-plate connections and also doubled up by adding elastic with velco as secondary straps because sometimes my snaps would pop if I moved a lot.

 

I love the gloss ABS and every time I return from a troop, I whip out the Novus and polish it right back up. (The Novus polish was included in my kit but might not come with all kits - probably depends on the seller.) I can't imagine having to sand and re-paint after trooping.

 

That's all I can think of right now. I love my AM kit and have been very pleased with it. I do run the Radio Shack voice amplifier inside my chest plate and there is enough room to fit it in there.

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Just received my "Full" AM armour today 13/sept/10

 

 

 

Exciting but "daunting" at the same time. :blink:

 

 

 

 

Just a quick question:

 

I am going to build a ANH TK. However, which bucket is the easiest to replicate Stunt or Hero?

 

 

Cheers everyone.

 

Ged.

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Does anyone ever use the "Cheese-grater' hand plates? My husband just got his kit in and I haven't been able to find any reference pictures for what it would look like.

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Only sandtroopers, and even then it's a bit of a mis-nomer. Someone found a screen grab with what looked to me like gaffer's tape on the back of their hand and some seem to emulate that look, even though it's really a costume flub as the other sandtroopers have normal hand plates.

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I cut down the chest, back, ab (cut the cod and reduced length), kidney, butt, thighs, shoulder bells. The rest was "trim to size" like you normally would. Check my AM build thread for details.

 

http://forum.whitearmor.net/index.php?showtopic=10434&st=0

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On 9/8/2010 at 8:13 AM, pandatrooper said:

Greetings troopers! Going forward, (the staff with assistance from FISD members) will be conducting detailed reviews of the various armor makes, to give troopers a better idea of what the specific features and qualities of each kit are. This month, we have chosen to highlight the AM "Armor Master" Lite kit.

 

Armor Master (AM) Lite Kit Armor Highlight and Review

by Terry / Pandatrooper

FISD Intelligence Officer

 

Armor Master - or AM armor for short - is widely known as a major update to the FX armor commonly used throughout the 501st Legion. The makers have created new molds for practically every piece of armor, culminating in a very complete and fairly easy to build TK, TD, or TX costume. The armor is “fan sculpted†and thus has no screen lineage to any of the movie suits. While some may view this as a negative, the AM kit is very sturdy and recognizable as a “Stormtrooperâ€, making it a great choice for trooping.

 

Completed AM kit ANH style (Tkittell)

P1030681-1.jpg

P1030687-1.jpg

 

Completed AM kit ANH style (Pandatrooper. This build features modified size of parts to fit slim build)

4686105042_dede397e79_b.jpg

4686105324_d53d431198_b.jpg

 

The armor is made from a slightly off white ABS plastic that is fairly thick, has a very glossy finish and is durable. The kit itself comes in a Full version (with an updated FX helmet that comes with with a new dome and assembly materials like adhesive and velcro, strapping, etc.) or the Lite kit which comes with no helmet or assembly materials, though some elastic and strapping are included.

 

AM armor is one of the two common armor kits that come “pre trimmedâ€, the other being RT-mod. The armor is sculpted to a larger scale than screen lineage armor to accommodate different sized users. RT-mod is slightly larger in scale than AM, making RT-mod the largest sized armor readily available.

One of the big advantages of the AM kit is that almost every part is sized to be trimmed down, with longer “wings†or extensions on various sides. This allows the builder to trim off as much material as they need to suit their body type. The kit also comes with printed assembly instructions.

 

Components

 

Abs / Kidney: The Ab and Kidney sections come with extra-long side extensions, so that the user can cut and size each piece to create a torso with no visible gap between the two parts. If your torso is bigger than the parts, you will still need shims.

 

Ab buttons / button plate: the AM kit comes with a separate “button and ridges†plate that can be glued on or held on with custom made aluminum buttons that have bolt threads integrated. Simply drill the appropriate holes and paint the buttons and install them with nylock nuts inside the armor. The 4 button section on the left side is not separate, and is molded in. For sandtroopers, simply leave the ab plate button off and the under detail is correct for a TD costume.

 

Belt armor / rivet covers: the belt armor has square indentations where the rivets or snaps can be installed (to attach the armor to a canvas belt). The rivet covers are somewhat large / deep compared to screen lineage armor.

 

Butt: Unlike the FX armor, the butt is separate from the back plate, which is correct for ANH and ESB suits. The butt and the end of the cod piece have large extended plastic tabs integrated. While some may use this to join the butt and cod, it looks better if these are cut off and an elastic strap with snaps is used in its place.

 

Back: The back is quite large, and incorporates a bigger “box†section and inner detail. It’s not as organic shaped as the screen lineage armor.

 

Chest: The chest is much bigger in size, and has longer shoulder “tabs†extending over the shoulders. The chest is flatter in shape than the curvy screen lineage chest armor. While the “pectoral†areas are sharply defined, this creates less room under the chest plate (compared to screen lineage armor) should the user want to install a chest mounted voice amp.

 

Shoulder straps: These are made a bit longer to accommodate larger sizes

 

Shoulder bells: the shoulder bells are quite long and wide, and have a straighter shape than screen lineage armor. These could be trimmed and modified if necessary.

 

Biceps: the biceps have a more “square†profile than screen lineage armor. Some users have given feedback that the “thumb print†on the inner bicep is too defined.

 

Forearms: these are created extra deep to accommodate different arm sizes. It too is slightly square in profile compared to screen lineage suits.

 

Hand plates: the AM kit comes with several sets of hand plates, enabling you to build an ANH style TK or TD, ESB style TK, or “Cheesegrater†style TD. The ESB plates are formed larger than needed, and can be trimmed to size. The ANH style hand plates are rather large, and may need to be resized.

 

Thighs: The thighs are longer than the previous FX thighs, and have extra material molded in to create a larger overlap or butt seam. These can be trimmed to size.

 

Knee plate / sniper plate: both a TK knee plate and TD sniper plate are included with the kit.

 

Shins: the shins also are created with extra material to be sized for the end user. One error made on the shin design is that the inner shin has a vertical ridge molded into the armor. This would have looked better on the outer shin.

 

Elastic strapping: the included elastic strapping has velcro sewn on the ends. It's advisable to use heavy duty velcro if possible.

 

Drop boxes: they are included in the kit

 

Thermal detonator: the thermal detonator assembles from several parts and doesn’t require a section of PVC pipe to build up as is normal on screen lineage suits. There are also a few sections of chrome vinyl included which some builders do not use. Some prefer to not use the AM base TD parts and use PVC pipe instead for more authenticity. The TD is designed to be riveted to the belt.

 

Conclusion

 

The kit is a great kit, with cost, durability and “idealized†look being major factors. While some may balk at the fact that it doesn’t have any screen lineage to film or tour suit armor this is an aesthetic choice and it is highly suitable for trooping.

 

In terms of accuracy, the kit resembles more of an idealized trooper and is instantly recognizable to the public. The chest, back and shoulder bell pieces stand out as the least accurate compared to what was seen on screen. They still resemble the pieces from the original FX kit in terms of size and shape. These can be modified with trimming and tools such as a heat gun and heat sealing iron.

 

The armor itself can be assembled per the included instructions for a “quick buildâ€. If you were to use ABS adhesive, Velcro strapping and overlap construction, you could easily assemble the Lite armor in a weekend. If you want to build the suit using snap plates, butt seams with cover strips (it can be done) to create a look closer to the films, this could take several days or weeks. Several troopers have built high quality modified versions of the AM kit with great results.

 

Overall, the AM kit is very fun to build. While it’s not as accurate as other kits it’s one of the easiest to build which requires no painting and stands up to trooping very well.

 

Some links to AM kit builds

 

Pandatrooper's AM build

 

Tkrestonva's AM build

 

Tkittell's AM build

 

Wildabeast's AM build

How much is the kit,? I am interested in purchasing the item.  Thanks,  Joey 

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Hello. I am building my Sandy with the help from Gary Howe. My upper back plate is a bit too small for me. Gary told me to reach out to AM to see if i can buy a back plate from him. Gary stated that he makes armor for us bigger guys. Pictured is what I need.

I do believe i live super close to AM. I am in northern OC.
txarmor014.jpg

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