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My 1st Build. Ever. [*AM]


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So some have suggested I start a thread chronicling my progress on my first build ever. Not to mention I know I'm going to need help, so please share any helpful input as I go along. And since everyone seems to like pictures, and I like to take them, here's one for starters. How's this for a kickoff?



AM Build unfinished helmet by nolawill, on Flickr

And forgive me, I'm a designer by trade, so some of my shots may get a little artsy.



So far, I've got my AM kit from troopergear. Everyone says to toss the instructions it came with. Been trying to read through a lot of threads on here, and have found a lot of useful resources. I'm so glad I didn't jump on the first thing I saw (*cough* rubies) and waited to find something a little better. Also went to a sporting goods store and got my two piece under armor suit. Fits perfect and I think it look awesome under my armor. Working on a shopping list so I can get everything I need for the build. You guys have thoughts on type of adhesive to get? The standard seems to be E6000, but I've also seen some stuff along the lines of a plastic welder? Is there a major difference? Is either better?

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Just from what I've read i thought plastic weld melts the armor together so you have to be careful I could be wrong. I personally went with E6000 as my kit is also my first and I wanted to be able to redo a piece or two in case I screwed up. Everyone says E6000 is forgiving so that's where I went.


On a side note I almost pulled the trigger on a set or armor from Jedirobe. Thankfully soon after I found the FISD.


Good Luck on your build!

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Good luck on your build! I put together the AM kit and was quite intimidated when I first opened the box. I did get the job done and chronicled some of my work at http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=13541&hl=&fromsearch=1. I need to get back to work on finishing my post.


Definitely go with the E6000. That is all you need for the suit. I used the ABS cement in a couple places, but it's not necessary.


You should be able to find all the help you need on this forum. Most of the difficulties you encounter will already have much information about the topic. Feel free to PM me as well if you need some specific help. I completed my suit less than a year ago and am still learning some tricks and am happy to help you if I can.

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if this is your first....E6000...you can glue and take apart many times.. i just finished my AM kit and it went smothly..a nice easy kit to build,,,,,,i assume yours came with the FX lid... your going to want to upgrade soon...i like the fx but it is huge...the 501st is fading away from this lid... vecro lots of vecro...do you know ir you are going stunt or hero?...i dont know how people go hero with the buble lenzs...it hurt my eyes...i did see a good build thread for an AM kix..i think there is only one out there...any questions ask away as it is still fresh in my head...good luck and welcome

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First times are always the most fun to watch!! :) GOOD LUCK, Will!


Go with the e6000 for sure. I hated that it cured slowly and is messy but I am ever grateful for the ability to adjust during curing and take things apart (carefully) later. OMG you have no idea how many times I've done this to my clone armor now!!!


Measure 50 times, cut once, trim 50 times... ah, you'll figure it out no problem :)

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Yeah the instructions with the AM kit are pretty useless. Pandatroopers build thread was my bible when I was building my AM




Good luck with the build, take your time and enjoy yourself and don't be afraid to ask questions here or at your local garrison.

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You guys are awesome. E6000 it is. Plan on shopping for stuff after work today and starting on the build this weekend. So where's the best place on the suit to start? I figure I should start on an easy part as a confidence booster for the rest of the suit. Any suggestions?

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Most start with the smaller pieces - biceps and forearms. Note that the biceps, while small, are not so easy to assemble depending on your arm size/shape and your chosen assembly method (butt-join vs overlap). The same can be said for the forearms.


So before you start, be sure to review the many AM build threads with an eye toward how these two parts were assembled. And expect to spend a fair bit of time on these two parts.

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So finally got the tools and supplies I thought I needed to start out Friday night. (I now realize I'm missing somethings.) Spent some time yesterday reading through a few build threads trying to get a solid idea of how to best approach this. And finally spent most of the afternoon/evening today getting started and trying to make some head way. I was hopeful and enthuzed. Everything started out great. But... then things started going bad when I got to the glue. I'm feeling pretty defeated right now. You'll see in a sec. Here's the my progress so far in photos...


Unpacked all the pieces, got all my tools and supplies ready.



ANH Stormtrooper Kit by nolawill, on Flickr



I couldn't help but get excited as I was eyeballing all these pieces.



ANH Stormtrooper Kit by nolawill, on Flickr




I decided to start with the forearms, and thats what was suggested, and it seems that others have started there as well. First thing I noticed was that a lot of folks remove the return edge on the forearms. Made a lot of sense too, since it would make it easier for my hands to slip through went putting them on.



Cut-off return edge by nolawill, on Flickr



Below is after sanding the edge some to get nice and smooth.



Smoothed Forearm Edge by nolawill, on Flickr



Here's both forearm pieces with their return edges cut off and the cut edge sanded some.




Return on both forearms by nolawill, on Flickr



Ready to size it up to my arm. I'm pretty slim dude, so I can already see that I'm going to be trimming a ton off of these. This is probably going to be a recurring trend on this build considering my size.




Sizing a forearm by nolawill, on Flickr



Got it sized up, feels comfortable, I move around in this pretty good, and got my lines marked and ready for cutting.




Cutting Lines on a Forearm by nolawill, on Flickr



First of the long cuts. Seeing that pandatrooper used scissors on this part, and also since these cuts will be concealed by the cover strips I figured I'd be good cutting these this way.




Cutting a forearm piece by nolawill, on Flickr



So everything up to this point had been going great. I had no trouble sizing the forearms and trimming them down. I even heated the forearms some to try and bend them a little more to fit my arm. Now, the keep in mind the time between when I started cutting to the time that this next photo was taken was probably a couple hours or so. This is where things started going sour for me.




Attempted forearms by nolawill, on Flickr


As you can see here, I clearly need some magnets or bigger clamps or something. The cover strips are not sticking. Maybe I tried gluing to much at once or something. I don't know.




Not sticking by nolawill, on Flickr


As if that wasn't enough, the glue was getting pretty messy in the process as well. I got that stuff all over the forearm pieces. I'm really hoping I haven't screwed these up permanently. I kind of gave up on them and they're drying now. I guess I'll see what they look like in the morning. Is there something out there that's useful for cleaning off excess glue? I tried wiping it with some paper towels while I was gluing them, but that just seemed to smear it around more. Like I said, I was not doing well.




Messy Glue by nolawill, on Flickr


Not feeling super confident about the next pieces - or even having to try these pieces again. But I've committed myself to this, and come what may, I'm going to see this through. I'd really hate to waste my money by giving up, or irreparably ruining my kit. Got another busy work week this week, so I may not get back to this until next weekend. We'll see. Maybe I'll have built up more confidence to give it another go by then. I don't know. I need to go watch a star wars episode or something. That'll make me feel better....

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And this is why we do so love that miracle of adhesive engineering that is E6000. No matter how many times you think you've screwed up, there is always the option of a redo. Not so with Plastic Weld, two-part epoxy, ABS cement, or CA glue. With those, mistake or not once it's done - so are you.


No worries here. Carefully peel off the cover strip by getting something thin under it (for example, a flathead screwdriver) and slowly prying it up. Next, remove the E6000 residue. I personally recommend GooGone followed by hot soapy water. Dry the pieces with a towel, and you're back to the starting line with no damage done.


Before you make a second attempt, pick up a set of rare earth magnets. You can find them at general online retailers like Amazon, at online specialty stores like Applied Magnetics and K&J Magnetics, and I'm even told that Ace Hardware sells them in-store. I'd say get four dozen (48), but the more you buy the faster you can work. For example, you'll need a minimum of 12 on each forearm (3 pairs on each side equally spaced between the clamps on either end) to keep the cover strips in place while the E6000 cures. More will give you more holddown points and/or a more secure hold (if you stack them the overall pull force increases). They are worth their weight in gold in holding the long seams closed on the forearms, biceps, thighs, and shins. They will also be useful in holding your snap plates in place while the glue on those dries, since there may be places on your kit that your clamps simply cannot reach.


It's also a good idea to score the gluing surfaces before you apply the E6000, that way it has something to bite into. For example, I crisscrossed my gluing surfaces with a razor by making little X's down the length of the forearm and cover strip where the E6000 was to be applied. If you do this, be sure to remove any dust/debris created before applying the E6000. Any spillover can be removed after it's cured simply by rubbing it off with your thumb.


Another tip is to use some of the scrap plastic you trimmed off to get the forearms to fit to make inside cover strips. It's not screen-accurate, but it will increase the strength of your joins, and once in place they will make applying the external cover strips much easier to do. Do this for the forearms, biceps, thighs, and the fronts of the shins.

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Brian is definitely right. It might look bad now, but be thankful you used E6000. You can get that back to square one in no time. If you used ABS cement, you'd be scouring the forum to find somebody selling forearm pieces. I agree that GooGone works wonders. I used that many times on my suit and it removed all E6000 residue. Rare earth magnets are also good for setting the glue. I picked some up at Ace Hardware and used them in addition to standard plastic clamps from Home Depot. You can see images of them in my build thread.


I got to the point you are at with my forearms as well and it all turned out fine. Just keep moving forward slowly and methodically and you'll get there. As far as trimming the return, I would suggest doing that after you glue and try on the pieces. It will make it a little harder to trim it off when the pieces are together, but you may not want to take off the return. I had to do it on my bicep pieces, but I left the return on my forearm pieces. I then added some weather stripping on the inside to keep them from sliding around on my arm.


Another great source of help is Dave's Garage. You can just search for it on YouTube. This video series chronicles an AM build. It's nice to see someone actually performing the tasks that you are reading about in the forums. One piece of advice though - Some of the techniques that Dave has implemented are not the ones that are most recommended. While they may work, others have found better ways to buid the kit since the videos were made. Use the video as a guide coupled with build threads. As others have mentioned, Panda's thread is an excellent source and I read it many times during my build.

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Man, you're suggestions are spot on. Just what i needed. I'm definitely going to grab some magnets from somewhere. There's space in between the outside cover strips and the arm pieces, so getting underneath them and gently prying them off should be easy. And what a relief that I can clean this glue off. I'll plan on taking them apart, cleaning up and getting ready for whenever I get the magnets I need tonight. I'm going to check the local Ace and if they don't have em, I'm going to order them online.


Thanks for the tip on scoring it to. I sanded the glue surface slightly to try and roughen it up, but that cross-scoring idea sounds brilliant. I'll try that.


And funny that you mention using the excess plastic from the forearms for the inside strips. That's actually what I did. It just seemed to make sense that since that was cut off the forearm piece it was already the right length I needed for the inside. It's a little thinner than the scrap plastic in the kit, but I figured it was enough to add a little extra strength on the inside. Glad I was thinking smart on that one.


Now that I've got a good handle on what I need to do, I think I'm ready to attack it again. Thanks a ton Brian.

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I meant eraser, right :D did my english teacher misinform me, when he said that both words could be used synonymously?

Edited by Minuteman
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