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HOWTO: Modifying Armor for Women


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There's been an influx of ladies wishing to join the ranks of the white armored. Seeing this and offering help a few people suggested I post a bit about how I modified Olga's (TK-9061) armor to her small frame to get her to Centurion status. I don't have very many pics of the during phase of construction as I was keeping it a secret from my squad mates, but I do have some.

 

I will also be posting side by side comparison shots of my armor and hers (I'm 6'0 and she's 5'4). Both sets of armor are ATA. I'll also leave this thread open to any questions that anyone may have.

 

I would like to recommend when doing extensive modifications like this that you take your time and measure, measure, measure! Last thing you want to do is ruin a piece and have to order new armor. The following is a list of what was modified and what was left alone, to give you an idea of what WE did. It might be different for your build.

 

1. Helmet - Unmodified

2. Biceps - Made a bit smaller by a bit more trimming. Not extensive mods.

3. Shoulders - Unmodified

4. Chest - Unmodified (mounted lower than usual)

5. Kidney - Sides were trimmed to fit smaller waist line then heated to retain curve.

6. Back Plate - Unmodified (this is the one piece I wish I could have fixed. It looks quite large on women)

7. Butt plate - Trimmed size

8. Ab plate - Cut and trimmed then remounted

9. Forearms - Return edge completely taken off and recreated

10. Hand plates - Unmodified

11. Thighs - Slightly smaller but otherwise no mods.

12. Shins - Unmodified

13. Shoulder straps - Unmodified

14. Belt armor - Unmodified

 

Torso Comparison

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Here you can see just how much smaller the torso is for her.

 

Sides Comparison

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Here you can see just how much was trimmed off of her sides to get it to fit around her.

 

Ab Plate/Cod Comparison

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Unfortunately I had to glue my belt snaps since they were off by a hair and kept popping off, but you can still see where I modified this section to make the torso shorter.

 

Forearm Front Comparsion

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Here you can see how I shortened the forearms for her. They were much too long for her small arms.

 

Forearm Rear Comparison

IMG_1265.JPG

 

Forearm Top Comparsion

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Here you can see that Olga's forearms are smaller. I'll try and get another shot of them, but they are MUCH smaller. I cant even get my hands in hers.

 

Forearm Front Comparison

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Here you can get a better idea of just how much smaller her forearms were. These were probably the hardest things to modify in the entire suit. I'll get to that later.

Edited by bobojuice
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First part that needed to be modified was the Ab and Kidney and Butt plates. We went through some trial and error on this part, as we really had to trim a lot of material off both sides. Note that just trimming the armor was not enough.
With trimming so much the parts become almost flat. This had to be remedied by carefully heating each piece and bending it. This took a LONG time to get it right. I will say that you need to be EXTREMELY careful using heat to bend these parts. If you're impatient you will ruin them and need to order new ones. Take your time and ALWAYS wear safety equipment.

For some smaller ladies there may be a need to cut the kidney plate down. Originally we cut the kidney plate but found that as long as we lined everything up it adjusted itself to her size.

 

 

Note the cut I did to the kidney plate. I did this after seeing some of TM's armors. ATA's kidney plate does not come with this feature.

IMG_1270.JPG

IMG_1271.JPG

Edited by bobojuice
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We went through 2 sets of Kidney and Butt plates before we got this right. Originally I had figured we would need to cut the kidney down to fit her small frame. This gave us two problems. The first is that the kidney now did not have two return edges which helped line up the but and back plates without overlapping. The second was that in actuality Olga's shape pushed out the butt plate so much that we needed the extra material to fit right. You can see on the pics above at how the armor looks misaligned. Once we put it on, it lines up perfectly. Note that these parts will also probably need to be heated and bent into shape.

 

The butt plate was also trial and error. We found that cutting the but plate to the exact measurements of the kidney plate actually made the butt plate too small and it didn't line up in the end. I would suggest marking and cutting these as you go that way you can avoid having to order more armor pieces like I did. To cut the shape we simply measured out the amount of material we had to trim and I drew a new shape freehand to line up with the original shape. Note that both sides of the butt plate are not the same.

 

IMG_1274.JPG

 

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Here you got some comparison shots of how much material was taken off.

 

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IMG_1279.JPG

Edited by bobojuice
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Moving my later post up here for better visibility.

 

I haven't been around these parts in a while, but I have noticed that people are still using this reference for their builds, and I have been getting some PMs.

 

I got busy and never got around to finishing what I was going to on the Ab Plate and Forearm modifications. I don't have any pictures but hopefully a small explanation will suffice.

 

From what I remember, I measured the forearms on her arms and figured out the right place to cut and actually shortened them first. After that I removed quite a bit of material from the inside pieces where the butt joint is formed. I recommend doing this little by little so you dont cutt off too much. Also, I left a bit extra to recreate the return edge. The return edge was the hardest part and necessary to create a flat spot for where the outside strips would adhere the two. I actually really screwed up most of the return, but as it is being hidden by the strip, it doesnt really matter too much. I used a metal ruler and a heat gun to get the bend. Once that was done, I glued everything into place and it was ready to go.

 

For the ab plate, I basically measured the max amount that I'd be able to cut from the plate without causing any issues or making it look stupid. This turned out to be about 1.5 inches IIRC. Once measured I used a blade to cut the cod plate from the ab plate. I made my measurement along the line where I had cut on the cod and cut the 1.5 inch strip of excess off. Once this was done, I had to reattach the plates. I used a but joint and joined them in the back using plenty of extra plastic and tons of crazy glue. I also used canvas tape and crazy glue to form a sort of ghetto fiberglass. The plastic really does most of the supporting of both pieces.

 

That's pretty much it. I know this is very late, but I'm not really around here anymore and I've gotten into other hobbies besides costuming. Good luck on all your builds if you are reading this as a resource.

 

Edited by bobojuice
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and not just girls. I know a few guys who are vertically challenged that would have loved to see something like this. I had a guy in NYC who is easily 5'4" and knowing what you did would have helped a handful.

 

Thanks for sharing the process.

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Thanks for the positive feedback. If you guys want any more tips or if you feel like I'm missing anything please let me know. I'll also say that if anyone has tips or pictures or anything they want to add, I'll put them in as well.

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Thanks for putting these pictures up for this topic, Luis. I'm surprised that the shins didn't require modding, though! I had to trim down mine, and it's an AP kit.

 

One important thing to take into account is how difficult it is to reduce the size of the forearms. Cutting the length is easy, but making them narrower... that's a whole other problem. Mine were so large, I had to cut the edges, couldn't overlap because the curving and shaping weren't regular/constant. So I had to use thinner cover strips, and gluing those guys was hell. I used ABS paste to consolidate everything.

 

Pics!

 

r8R5tNF.jpgGhJwRHF.jpgeeaoxQk.jpg

 

Doesn't look good at all, luckily that part is the back of the forearm so it's practically invisible :P

 

But this is the result of all this trouble:

 

2Tsrz60.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...
Here you can get a better idea of just how much smaller her forearms were. These were probably the hardest things to modify in the entire suit. I'll get to that later.

 

Would love to hear more about how you managed to get the forearms smaller... Like Diana said, shortening them seems pretty simple, but getting them narrower looks way more tricky.

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Would love to hear more about how you managed to get the forearms smaller... Like Diana said, shortening them seems pretty simple, but getting them narrower looks way more tricky.

 

Sorry I haven't been able to finish up the remainder of what I had planned for this thread. I'll try and get to it soon. I've been pretty busy lately, and SW:TOR is not helping. :P

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  • 3 weeks later...

FABULOUS! Where were you in October!!! :) Seeing the side-by-side is especially great and goes to show you build to fit the wearer, one size does not fit all.

 

If I consolidate only the ladies' tips from my build ramble and post them here, the "women's build" instructions will be complete.

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Just wanted to link my build thread at MEPD for future reference. My forearms turned out just fine, barely, after I trimmed off all the formed ridges, since I used a heat gun to bend it inwards more. Can't wait to see how you managed it.

 

That's basically exactly what I did. If you have any pictures of the process it would be great to share them so I can cross post here. I don't have access to MEPD at work, though.

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That's basically exactly what I did. If you have any pictures of the process it would be great to share them so I can cross post here. I don't have access to MEPD at work, though.

 

I didn't think to take pictures as I went along, but I can get some photos up soon of how the finished forearms look...

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  • 1 month later...
On 1/12/2012 at 12:41 AM, bobojuice said:

There's been an influx of ladies wishing to join the ranks of the white armored. Seeing this and offering help a few people suggested I post a bit about how I modified Olga's (TK-9061) armor to her small frame to get her to Centurion status. I don't have very many pics of the during phase of construction as I was keeping it a secret from my squad mates, but I do have some.

 

 

 

this is exactly the help i need!!! please please tell me, how did you trim that??? this is what scaring me the most... to cut the sides.... on the length it seems fairly easy... as long as i can make the return edges back where they belong! lol

but on the sides...... i have no idea how to do it!

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