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Diana's RS Props Build- ANH Stunt

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I'm Diana. I've never wanted to be Princess Leia.  I always wanted to be the stormtrooper that shot Princess Leia.


The two big brown boxes arrive at the beginning of November.  



I gazed adoringly at my new armor, but couldn't start building.   I had shoulder surgery at the beginning of November, so in the beginning, I simply peek at the armor and spend a great deal of time on FISD reading.  




Well, there it is.  All nicely packed.  It sits in a box for weeks.  Husband is away traveling in Europe, Europe and a few more places in Europe.  He promises to help with the build when he gets home.  Husband finally arrives home. And, brings chocolate.  It's very sweet.  He always is.  But, I don't want chocolate.  I want to build armor.  My son happily takes all of his chocolate and mine, too.  


We finally unpack the boxes. 


There is no packing list.  Sigh.  

We stare at everything in confusion trying to figure out all these mysterious pieces.  Did we get everything we ordered?  Well, there is no way of knowing.  We ordered... armor.  We got... a whole bunch of... pieces.  


RS emails to say my neckseal and bodysuit are on backorder.  They later email to say the ears are missing.  (And, by later, I mean, much later.  Beginning of January.)  Again, packing list.  Is there a paper shortage?  I'll send them some.  We might lack water in California, but we do have paper.


From the time I placed the order to the time it arrived on my doorstep in Gilroy, it took four weeks.  Not bad at all.  


Oddly enough, they accidentally included the molds for the hand guards with the gloves. (You can see the in the picture.)  Eh, OK.  Thanks?


Of all of the pieces, the holster is my favorite.  It has this amazing leather smell.  


The gloves are... a cross between something you would wash dishes in and use to clean up a disaster at Chernobyl.  They are sized for Chewbacca, and flop around on my hands like a useless extra appendage.  And, despite how huge they are, somehow, they immediately began to make my hands sweat.  Ghastly awful things.  Screen-accurate, though.


The boots look nice.  IMG_2632_zps2658885b.jpg  But, they are also much too big on me.  Wish they did fit.  They're beautiful boots.


I bought the "strapping kit." It seems crazy expensive at the time, but so was the kit.  It made sense to not have to spend time running around having to find these pieces and focus on building.  As it is, there are a ton of little pieces.  I double-bag everything so nothing gets lost.  The kit comes with "plastic adhesive.", I read hear on the boards the stuff is useless.  I toss it out.


Oddly enough, the ab buttons come pre-painted.  



I open up the next box....


Ugggh.  The helmet.  I was expecting something different.




Not liking the helmet.  It feels like it can snap in my hands.  I expected the material to be heavier and more substantial.  I put it back in the box.  I'll deal with it later.  


I feel... overwhelmed.


We have no basement, (it is California, after all.)  Our garage is husband's manly man gym, so most building will be done in the kitchen and family room (center of activity in the house.)  In between work sessions, the armor needs a safe home.  After reading the threads on storage, I decide upon the 55-gallon Stanley chest.  It's huge.  You can't fault the storage capacity.





Despite how big the box is, I'm not sure how to get all of the armor pieces to fit in there.  It all seems like a huge jigsaw puzzle and I don't know how they go together.  I'm so afraid the armor is going to break if I handle it the wrong way.  However, after more research, I decide to put the smaller arm pieces inside the bigger arm pieces, and then the same with the legs, etc.    Everything fits easily.




Day One of Building.






First step was figuring out right and left forearm pieces.  

It helped to know the right outer forearm has 12 dimples and the left forearm has 11 dimples.  

Although, I don't get why they can't actually just label these pieces.  Me and my crazy ideas.  


That is my husband, in the photo.  The buff, swarthy one.


Using the Exacto-blade was frustrating, so we switch over to the curved Lexan scissors.  By "we" I mean that I make helpful suggestions and my husband is doing all the work.  I'm right-handed and my right arm is still out-of-commission since the surgery.  However, I'm full of it.  Er, full of helpful suggestions.  So, I do all the research and he does the heavy lifting.  Cut faster, honey.  You're doing a great job.  (Actually, it's frustrating not being able to do any of this yet, but I'm grateful my husband is willing to step in and get the armor started.  Without him, the pieces would still simply be sitting there.)




We finish quickly and moved on to trimming the biceps.







Why is the bottom piece on the right forearm so excessively long?


Also, what is a "return edge?"

Edited by AsBlondeAsLuke
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The return edge is any change in direction (usually 90 degrees) from the surface of the armor piece. Return edges were given to the armor to give the appearance of thickness without adding weight or bulk to the armor. On your pic, make sure you line up the elbow portion and trim the wrist portion. Why this is so much longer is a mystery. You will have NO return edge on your wrist. Trim out even in the ridge made by the dent detail on top.

There are many fantastic RS builds on here......never stop looking at these builds and doing your research!!! All your questions will be answered there. But ask away with lots of pics. Helping family is what the FISD does best

Edited by gazmosis
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It looks like you guys are having fun!  The arrival of those brown boxes is an exciting, memorable experience.


You mentioned being overwhelmed. Just take it one step at a time, and the assembled pieces will add up quicker than you know it.


Best of luck on your build.

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Steve- Thanks for explaining about the return edge.  Good advice about reading up on RS builds.  I just used the search engine so I could scope out just the recent RS ANH builds and spent the evening reading them.  I found yours and it was incredibly detailed and helpful.  I see I'm not the only one perplexed by the mystery of the randomly long right forearm. Good to read about all the strengths and weaknesses of this particular armor.


Keith- Thanks for the encouragement.  


We're headed to the Tech tomorrow (Star Wars exhibit) because I believe they have a stormtrooper suit as part of the exhibit.  Husband wants to study how the pieces fit together.  Considering he is not a Star Wars guy, (he lasted three hours at Celebration VI), I give him credit for the interest he's shown in the project.

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Hi Diana! Wishing you all the best for your build. I had no tool shed or garage or basement and built mine on a dining table too!

It definitely is overwhelming when you get all the pieces. We were all there! But we're here to help :)

Keep looking at the build threads. I found myself looking at the threads and researching far more than actually building it.


And what a great way to spend the Christmas! :) once again all the best. Looking forward to your build

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Congrats on the RS!


I agonised over which armour to go with, I very quickly narrowed it down to between RS and TM and after looking through all the Centurion applications, TM won out for my tastes but I eventually want to do a sandy too, so whether I go with TM again or the RS for the sandy I dunno, I'll agonise all over again when the time comes..


I just heard that my TM should be arriving next week :dancing-trooper: and I'll be building mine between the kitchen and living room too, I'm scared  :lol:


Dunno why but I love reading about girls becoming troopers, we need more, I tried to persuade Mrs Kain but she's not having any of it  :laugh1:


Good luck with your build and hopefully the shoulder will heal soon..

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Great start Diana :jc_doublethumbup:

Study the RS builds like I did. keep in mind that the RS kits are slightly different (your buttons are painted mine are not).


don't worry about the rubber gloves, no one troops in these because of excessive sweating. you can but nomex gloves for regular trooping (rubber is for centurion approval).


there are several pieces that don't seem to match up, this is well documented on other RS build threads. if it doesn't make sense then check other builds. Except the sniper plate that doesn't seem to fit on any builds ;)

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Hello everyone- Thanks for all the advice.  It is all very helpful.


Maz, Mrs. Kain may come over to the Empire yet one of these days.  Never thought I could get my surfer dude husband so interested in a Star Wars project.  He keeps insisting it is only because "he likes putting things together" and this is "an engineering challenge."  Yet, all he has been talking about lately is putting this armor together and how we're going to get it down right.  And, now he says we have to invest in the right set of tools in case we want to build a second set of armor once we're done with the first.  Seriously?  I just want to get one set done.


Steve, Good to know about those gloves.  They look pretty horrid.  I was thinking of cutting off the squishy handguard piece that is glued to them and putting them on something better fitting.  I will look up the Nomex gloves you mentioned.


Alright, so today was a research day.  We went to the Star Wars exhibit at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.  Amazingly, the husband last two hours there.  That's almost more than the sum total of time he spent at Celebration in Orlando. (I left him home when I went to Celebration Europe.)  So, yes, two hours.  There is hope yet for those of us married to folks who just don't seem to love a GFFA as much as we do.


I was amused by the "mini me" clone trooper next to the stormtrooper.  But, seriously, they couldn't put a full-sized clone trooper?


And, the caption read: "Stormtrooper.  Episodes IV-VI."  Huh?  Which is it?  Episode IV.  Episode V. or Episode VI?  If they were going to show movie props, then it would have been much cooler to show the transitions the iconic armor went through over the course of trilogy.  It is the most recognizable symbol of the movies next to Darth Vader himself.  Who doesn't love a stormtrooper?


It was very helpful to see the assembled armor up close because now this whole "return edge" business made perfect sense.  We could see all of the places where there are return edges and how it adds strength to key areas of the suit.  



So, this was interesting.   Look at the seams on the forearms.  No cover strip.  Are those required, or do they just make building easier (more forgiving with regards to cuts not being perfectly straight?)  The gloves were some kind of canvas material, and definitely not rubber.


On the way out, I drooled over this original movie prop Stormtrooper blaster.  I don't own a blaster yet, but a girl can dream.

Edited by AsBlondeAsLuke
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The TK they have displayed at the Tech Museum is an ROTJ, since you have an RS and the only way to go is ANH or ESB, very different methods to build an ROTJ. But even the TK at the Tech Museum isnt all screen used, only the plastic parts are. But im happy to have more TK's in the GGG. Let us know if you need any help..


Cheers.... :salute:

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Ah, that explains a lot.  Thank you.  I think I should start referring to you guys as the "fountain of collective wisdom."  So, forgive me if this is a stupid question, but why did they bother changing the suits at all from movie to movie?  I mean, why move the holster from the left to the right and other such changes?

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Ah, that explains a lot.  Thank you.  I think I should start referring to you guys as the "fountain of collective wisdom."  So, forgive me if this is a stupid question, but why did they bother changing the suits at all from movie to movie?  I mean, why move the holster from the left to the right and other such changes?

Some suits broke at least partially during shooting, other suits got "lost" to private hands, and for ROTJ they just didn't have enough suits left. That's why they made new suits. Same thing applies for the later tour and special edition armours. But why the holster moved? Who knows? Maybe the actors just didn't like the left hand holsters.

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Mathias, ah, I thought it might be something like that.  More accidental changes than intentional.


Walter, awesome.  Would love to get the help on the build.  Could use all the help we can get.   :)



So, I had good news from RS Props.  I'll admit that I whined back to them about my oversized Wookie gloves.  They responded back immediately and said while the gloves are supposed to fit loosely, they are definitely not supposed to be THAT big.  They offered to send out a new pair in the smallest size they had so I could get a better fit.  Nice of them to be responsive.  I'll probably just set them aside in case I decide to go Centurion or something, since everyone says the rubber gloves burn like the sands of Tatooine during a troop.  But, it is good to have them, nonetheless.



Realized after this weekend's build that we didn't have quite the right tools to get the job done.  So we headed out to our local massive hardware store to get even more stuff for building armor.  More cutting tools.



The ABS plastic is proving tougher to cut through than we anticipated.  We decided upon this knife set because it has many different blades, including some curved ones.



300 and 600 grip sandpaper for all those rough edges.



And, my undersuit still hasn't arrived. (sigh)  But, Champion makes something similar to UnderArmor and they have it a whole array of sizes.  I found this at Target, and like everything else right now, it was discounted for the holidays.  Should work nicely for the fittings until my undersuit finally shows up.



So, apparently a butcher glove is useful for not cutting through your hand.  I want to start doing my own building soon and I know my coordination is a bit off due to my shoulder surgery.  I figured this item would be a "must have" for me.  (I came very close to cutting off the tip of one of my fingers while chopping onions on Thanksgiving.  Husband suggested I stay away from knives until my dexterity improves.)  When I asked about a "butcher glove" at the hardware store, they gave me blank stares.  But, Amazon.com offered a whole variety of them.  I guess I'll know soon if the thing actually works or not. :)

Edited by dianat
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Hey, I have the same blue Kobolt box cutter 3-in-1 knife! :P It's my favorite cutting tool. The tips break off a lot though.


Looking good so far! 


You're probably past it at this point, but on that forearm piece, connect the top of the ridged side to the top points of the U-shaped opening. The extra length at the BOTTOM (hand-end) of the forearm will be cut off.


You'll be cutting and reshaping a lot off the top of your thighs, too, and bottom of your shins, so be sure to ask the guys here lots of questions about that if you find yourself in fearful mode (I would be!).

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Hey, I have the same blue Kobolt box cutter 3-in-1 knife! :P It's my favorite cutting tool. The tips break off a lot though.


Looking good so far! 


You're probably past it at this point, but on that forearm piece, connect the top of the ridged side to the top points of the U-shaped opening. The extra length at the BOTTOM (hand-end) of the forearm will be cut off.


You'll be cutting and reshaping a lot off the top of your thighs, too, and bottom of your shins, so be sure to ask the guys here lots of questions about that if you find yourself in fearful mode (I would be!).

Fearful? (knees knocking in terror)  Uh... just a bit.  Oh, there will be plenty of questions.

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Hey, I have the same blue Kobolt box cutter 3-in-1 knife! :P It's my favorite cutting tool. The tips break off a lot though.


So that knife kit is a chick kit??? lolllll



Sent from my iPhone 5 using Tapatalk

Edited by Tolo
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  • 3 weeks later...

Been busy over the past couple of weeks.  Before we left for the holidays, we finished up the arms.  On the original sizing, they were too big.  So, we sized them down again.  Been doing that with everything.  Trimming everything just a little at a time, and sizing the pieces down a little at a time.  Will probably still end up padding some of the pieces out with foam or something to make me look bigger than I actually am, but for now I'm just trying to get the armor small enough to fit.




We headed off to New York for the holidays, so no building got done.  But, woo hoo, snow!  A big treat for us surf bums.  Back home again and back to building.  Decided to tackle the thighs next.  Gah. So huge.  Could fit and a girlfriend inside these things.



And, husband runs off to go surfing.  But, it's cool.  My shoulder has healed enough that I can finally CUT stuff.  I attack the shins.




The next day, cousin Walter comes over, husband agrees to stay home from surfing, and we actually end up building for almost nine hours.  It is the greatest day ever.



Walter's much further along than me.  Gah.  I'm impressed.  He sets to work helping me get caught up.  Makes him the best cousin ever.



Walter trimming down the shoulder bells.  We tried to figure out the RS strapping system.  We decided to put it aside until later and went with Velcro for now.  Walter said the strapping system would probably be better in some places, but since I'm not that big and won't put a huge amount of strain on the pieces, I'm not going to bust the armor open.  I showed a picture of a friend running in their armor and told my end goal was so I could run in my armor. Everything had to fit perfect AND not fall off.



Working on the backplate.  Walter came up with this ingenious system based upon watching his friends do detailing on their cars and motorcycles.  Rather than tracing everything out by pencil, he uses the purple tape instead to mark where the work needs to be done.  It is much easier to move things around than erasing pencil marks.



Trimming down the shoulder straps.  We had purchased 300 and 600 grit sandpaper, but Walter brought over even better stuff that he uses as work.  (I think he called it plumber's sandpaper.)  It was far superior.



Time to take a break.  The fun part about having a cousin who appreciates Star Wars is that I finally have someone who can appreciate my colllection of vintage movie cards.  Granted, I'm showing my age here, but I've had some of these since 1977.  Probably should get a better shoebox.  I think that box goes back to the 70s, too.




Back to work, checking the fit of the shins.


Attaching the pieces together.  Adding in velcro.IMG_0670_zpsb91d4adc.jpg



Test-fitting some of the pieces for the first time.  Husband said I had the biggest smile on my face.  Hey, it's a happy moment.



A lot of work to be done, though.  Everything still needs to be sized down.  We have ordered a heat gun online.  Need to figure out the melting point of the RS armor.



Double and triple-checking things against the costume requirements on the 501st website.  Have to admit it feels like a big puzzle trying to figure all of this out and find all the pieces you need.





Comparing my RS helmet against Walter's Scootch helmet.  The RS helmet seems so THIN.  I still don't want to touch it.  Put it aside for later.


IMG_0670_zpsb91d4adc.jpgBy the end of the day, we had what looks like a dead stormtrooper on the kitchen floor. (That's Walter's helmet.)


Still a long way to go, but made some good progress.

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