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Diana's RS Props Build- ANH Stunt


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Thanks Diana for the link to the helmet liner!  I am looking for padding to go in my ATA helmet, and these look like they'll do the trick!  I ordered the medium one and should get it by the end of the week.

Ah, glad I could help.  As I mentioned in my earlier post, I cut the webbing in one or two places to get it to fit the shape of the stormtrooper helmet better.  It allowed me to position the pads to any angle. I always put my pads in with velcro, so I can move them around later.  I've fussed with my audio a lot and being able to move the padding around helps with different audio set-ups, (mic on the left, mic on the right.)

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Hello All!     I've been wanting to provide an update for a while, but admittedly it was a busy year.  My TK ended up seeing a great deal of action in 2015, but held up beautifully.  Not a single cr

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It has been a year since I started my build.  So, in honor of the big day the brown boxes arrived on my doorstep, I'm doing an update.    Events since my Centurion in late August:   I opted not to

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Wow!, just spent a few hours reading through your build, I am stunned by how great your armour came out, all of the work in reducing the size from out of the box was well worth it.

 

Now i just need to get myself sorted and order myself a set of armour, I was initially going to go with RS armour, as there in the same country as me, but after doing research and reading and research, I think I will be opting for the RT Mod armour as it's more accommodating for the well upholstered person :)

 

Your build has definitely inspired me, Thank you.

 

Art

Well upholstered.  I love that term.  I'm very glad you found armor that fit you well.  You are going to look awesome in your armor.  You went about the process perfectly by doing research, research and more research.  Well done!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Two more weeks of working on the armor.  I've been going through the list of everything I need to do to complete the requirements I will need for Centurion.   

 

It's been a pleasure to continue to make improvements and I had a chance to go out trooping in my improved armor.  I could feel the difference.

 

I had thought my armor was good when I first finished it.  No, it was OK before.  And, then, I thought I had done a good job when I finished it for EIB.  Now, I realized the job was only half-done.  By tearing certain parts of my armor apart and rebuilding it again even better, it made a huge difference last time I suited up.  I could feel it with every click of the armor.  

 

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  Shins are re-done and re-shaped.  Cod is now tucked in, re-snapped and tightened up.  I'm going to miss the cod jokes, though.

 

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There were several items we decided to fix while we were making the Centurion improvements.  One area was improving the strapping.  I set about re-doing my shoulder straps for the third time.  Yes, third time is the charm.  My first set had snaps that kept failing.  Set # 2 ripped during the May the 4th troop from overhappy people. So, I replaced the straps with a set from TrooperBay that didn't end up fitting my shoulders, (too wide.)  I'd been using the too wide straps for a while now, but kept wanting to replace them.  So, finally, I have my new set.  And, they're beautiful.  Time to add the snaps on!

 

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The little tasks that seemed so hard at first now seem so simple, like figuring out how to do snaps.  Got them in one try and they work perfectly.  Love them.  

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Another area that was worked on that was purely "interior" had to do with "armor bite."  I would get welts on my back and hip after every troop which we figured came from the extra shims we added in.  So, we Dremeled all of these back and rounded off all of the edges.  Nothing worse than a couple of hours of cumulative armor bite poking right into your hip bone.  Gah.

 

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Also on my "wish list" was getting rid of an extra snap on the interior of the chest armor.  (The lesson here once again is that Zap-A-Gap is very unforgiving stuff.)  So, the Dremel took care of this and made it go away.  Thank you nice Dremel.

 

So, I had a chance to try out my new and improved armor at the Marin County Fair.  Best part of it was how quickly I was able to suit up.  I timed it at home before I left and I could get into the armor (fully unassisted now) in less than five minutes and out of it in less than two minutes.  This is much faster than before and I could reach every button, snap and piece myself with ease.  My armor felt great.  In the picture above, I'm the TK on the right.  And, in the picture below, I'm the TK on the left.  OK, so I didn't get my belt on perfectly straight, but hey, these people (below)  were still delighted to see us.  Making people smile like that is what makes trooping fun.   And, you should have seen how quickly I was dressed.  I was like lightning trooper.  

 

Ah, so, but enough fun with trooping, back to building.  Another project I wanted to finish for Centurion was my RS bucket.  

 

I had a perfectly good bucket, (my Scootch), but I always promised myself I would finish the RS bucket.  One major difference between the two projects is that while I had painted the entire Scootch bucket (many folks use Krylon paint or something similar), I left the RS bucket in its raw, beautiful state.

 

Alright, this is mainly because Kyle started calling me "Q-Tip Head."  He felt my Scootch Bucket was too white. He's not wrong, though.  You can see the difference in color between the two in this picture, (below).  This comes from the white plastic paint I used on my Scootch.  So, beware the different shades of white.  Doesn't matter that much, anyway, since the plan was always to retire that helmet and make it a display helmet.  But, an off-white next to a white can look a bit shocking.  

 

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First brush strokes on the new helmet.  Could anything be more exciting?  No. I think not.  My son said I was "seriously nerding out."  I think that's a good thing?

 

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Lenses going in.

 

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Mesh.

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Takes multiple coats to get the color right, and I usually let it dry a day between each coat.  On hot days, it might dry a bit faster.  Painting is not something you want to do in a hurry.

 

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Tube stripes are on.  Those tiny little dots of extra paint can be cleaned up with a toothpick.

 

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But, ack, we have a bleeder on the other side. A toothpick won't help here.

 

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This is when I like to use my good friend, the white eraser.  Works well on fingerprints, smudges, paint smears, etc.  Love the white eraser. I keep one in my trooping bin.  I also use a bit of paint thinner for clean up jobs like this one.  Paint thinner acts like a reverse paint brush and I actually "paint it on" with a paint brush in tiny little careful strokes, cleaning the paint brush on a paper towel between every stroke.  (Sorry, do not have a picture of this.)

 

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After fretting and sweating over outlines on my last bucket, I realized I was going about it all wrong.  You don't draw the outlines.  You simply trace them on the bucket.  Do you see how there is that natural indentation on the bucket anyway where the paint brush fits in?  Look how my paint brush is sitting in that indentation.  By placing my paint brush there, I am simply tracing into that groove.  You follow that and you have your outline!  It's almost like Paint-By-Number.  Actually, it is exactly like that.  Ack.  Why didn't I figure this out sooner?

 

Needed templates for the back, so made our own using painter's tape on the back of a kitchen plate.

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Decided to wait until morning to actually do the painting, though, so we'd have natural light for painting.  Once these lines are on, the painting will be done and the bucket will essentially be finished.  Simply need to add the trim.

Edited by AsBlondeAsLuke
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Looking GREAT, Diana!

I have to laugh at your comment about your armor being "OK" when you finished it. 

 

I'm just about ready to take (and submit!!) my approval photos within the next 36 hours or so, and I've already got myself a pretty decent list of "necessary" improvements - many of which I believe will be centered on strapping/fit as opposed to "construction."  That's pretty impressive that you can just reach everything.  I'll admit that.  I feel like I need to take on a bit of yoga in order to more efficiently get into my armor as it exists currently.  :D

 

Great stuff.  Thanks for sharing, as always!  :D

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Once I saw the masking material for the tube stripes I winced...then I saw the peel back pic...ouch. Don't worry about it. That material is just tough to get a good seal on the double curved surface of the cheek tube. I gave up trying to use it as a template long ago and just use it as a guide. I place them and trace each one with a pencil then paint it.

I am still blushing from all your cod talk........*shivers*

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Once I saw the masking material for the tube stripes I winced...then I saw the peel back pic...ouch. Don't worry about it. That material is just tough to get a good seal on the double curved surface of the cheek tube. I gave up trying to use it as a template long ago and just use it as a guide. I place them and trace each one with a pencil then paint it.

I am still blushing from all your cod talk........*shivers*

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Hi Steve-  How funny you mention using the templates as a tracing guide with a pencil.  That is the way I originally had it!  And, then my engineer said: "You are doing it the hard way."  He had a vision for his masking templates.  So, I think more like you do. :)  I am quite comfortable with the hand painting of the lines over the pencil since the lines are meant to look hand painted anyway.  

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Looking GREAT, Diana!

 

I have to laugh at your comment about your armor being "OK" when you finished it. 

 

I'm just about ready to take (and submit!!) my approval photos within the next 36 hours or so, and I've already got myself a pretty decent list of "necessary" improvements - many of which I believe will be centered on strapping/fit as opposed to "construction."  That's pretty impressive that you can just reach everything.  I'll admit that.  I feel like I need to take on a bit of yoga in order to more efficiently get into my armor as it exists currently.  :D

 

Great stuff.  Thanks for sharing, as always!  :D

Tim, woo hoo!  What exciting news about your approval photos.  You have been such an ardent supporter of everyone here on the FISD.  Yes, it is hard to believe that there can still be so much left to do after you first get approved.  But, Kyle did tell me that the armor is never actually "done."  It is this aspect of working on the armor that I enjoy the most since there is always something you can do to make it better.

 

With regards to getting into the armor, it is the tiny little adjustments that made my armor fit so much better and eliminated the need for the yoga moves.  I used to almost pop a rib everytime I tried to snap my cod.  (Sorry, Steve.  That was not an intentional cod mention, I swear.)  But, just the minor adjustments made in the strapping now allow everything to go on with ease.  It truly is a pleasure to be able to suit on and off without help.  I can even finally reach that elusive thermal detonator. When do we get to throw those things at people anyway?  The stormies carry them around in the movies.  You think they'd use them more often.  They're walking around with bombs on their belts.

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Tim, woo hoo!  What exciting news about your approval photos.  

 

Thank you.  I think so, too!  ;)

 

Yes, it is hard to believe that there can still be so much left to do after you first get approved.  But, Kyle did tell me that the armor is never actually "done."  It is this aspect of working on the armor that I enjoy the most since there is always something you can do to make it better.

 

It seems insane, on some levels to look at the armor as it nears completion, and look at my test fit pictures.  I look at them and the first thought is "YES!  Look at that armor, I'm going to be a TK!!"  Followed immediately by "Okay... Once I AM one, I've got to do....."  The list seems huge.  LoL

 

With regards to getting into the armor, it is the tiny little adjustments that made my armor fit so much better and eliminated the need for the yoga moves.  I used to almost pop a rib everytime I tried to snap my cod.  (Sorry, Steve.  That was not an intentional cod mention, I swear.)  But, just the minor adjustments made in the strapping now allow everything to go on with ease.  It truly is a pleasure to be able to suit on and off without help.  I can even finally reach that elusive thermal detonator. When do we get to throw those things at people anyway?  The stormies carry them around in the movies.  You think they'd use them more often.  They're walking around with bombs on their belts.

 

I think I have the answer to your final question here.  We've had a "long time" to perfect the fit of the armor - you, in particular have clearly perfected it - so you can reach it.  I'm just thinking that even though they had their armor engineered to Imperial Standards, maybe their engineers never solved the problem that you did.  Perhaps that engineer was working on the reactor in the detention area at the same time he was supposed to improve the TK armor so they could reach their TDs, but that "dangerous leak" led to him having a brief "chat" with Lord Vader and he was... no longer employed by the Empire.

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I think I have the answer to your final question here.  We've had a "long time" to perfect the fit of the armor - you, in particular have clearly perfected it - so you can reach it.  I'm just thinking that even though they had their armor engineered to Imperial Standards, maybe their engineers never solved the problem that you did.  Perhaps that engineer was working on the reactor in the detention area at the same time he was supposed to improve the TK armor so they could reach their TDs, but that "dangerous leak" led to him having a brief "chat" with Lord Vader and he was... no longer employed by the Empire.

 

A brilliant theory.  It explains why it is so hard to reach the TDs.  Well, that is the standard we all strive for in armor fit.  To reach the elusive det before something blows up.  Preferably not us.

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I cheated on my RS helmet. I used a sharpie fine point, when doing the stripes you go over the line enough to make it as thick as you want and the results are great.

Do you have a picture?  I was considering using a sharpie, but wasn't sure how it would look.  At this point, I'm almost done painting, but it might be a nice option for touch-ups so small it is difficult to reach precisely with the brush.  Plus, I already know this isn't going to be my last helmet.  Already thinking toward my next project. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I made it my goal to finish my Centurion pictures by the end of the summer.  There were only small little jobs to do on the armor itself, but finishing the new helmet took most of the summer.  Our summer was filled with visitors and travel and we only just returned from dragging the boy to faraway places so he could brush up on his foreign language skills.  School is starting up again, so we've returned home and life is returning to normal.  

 

I have a backlog of pictures from work completed over the lazy days of summer.

 

On my EIB submission, there were two areas on my Scootch bucket that needed correcting to make it Centurion worthy.  Heck, even if it is just going to be sitting around my living room, I still wanted it to be right.

 

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So, I corrected the areas between the teeth where it was painted grey and should have been white instead.  Took less than two minutes with a bit of white paint.

 

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And then I added in the wee little section of the frown section I'd somehow missed before.  Whew.  That does look a lot better.

 

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I threw this picture in simply because when I had the two helmets side-by-side I noticed how different they look from the back.  See how they have a completely different curve on the bottom?  The RS on the right has more of a bell shape.

 

Moving onwards, more photos... I was reading the August FISD newsletter and noticed a change in the EIB CRL for TKs:

 

CRL Change Announcement 
A small change has been made to most of the Expert Infantry sections of our Costume Reference Library. For the kidney plate the following wording has been added: 

  • Squared cut-out sections at the lower left and right corners of the Kidney Armor.
    • The cut out is roughly 15 mm tall from the bottom and 10 mm in from the side.

This was a change I had been wanting to make to my armor since it was mentioned as a recommended, but not required, change on my EIB application.   My engineer was not thrilled about the idea because we had to move hardware to make it happen.  Since the area is mostly covered up by the belt, he just didn't see the sense of it.  Of course, it is those little details that eat away at me so I was positively thrilled when it became a requirement.  "Honey, now we have to change it!"  

 

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It took about two hours since we had to move shims to cut these these pieces and the remnants of that can be seen below the rough cut for the notch. A lot of work to add in wee little notches, but I'm thrilled to have this detail now in place.

 

Yesterday, I installed the padding and configured the fans into the RS bucket.

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I started pulling pads out of the old bucket to test the fit in the RS, but then I felt bad scavenging parts like a Jawa.  Part of me said I should leave the second helmet fully functional in case I need it in an emergency like an exploding Death Star or something.

 

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I started installing the new motorcycle padding into the RS.  The medium pads fit my head tightly enough but still allows extra room for air circulation and audio gear.  See that gap in front?  That represents how much too big this thing is on my head.  It doesn't look so bad when I am fully suited up because the armor makes me look bigger all around.  But, take a look at this old fitting picture...

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Gah.  This was taken in early February 2014.  Notice how oversized the bucket looks when I'm not wearing the shoulder pieces.  It emphasizes the need for a smaller helmet designed for a woman's head like the one Kevin is making for the Jes Gistang armor.  At first, I was not in favor of the idea of having to buy yet another helmet to go with the Jes Gistang armor.  But, now I totally get it.  A regular helmet would look disproportionate with form fitting armor.

 

 

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Since a regular TK calls for a full-sized helmet, I put some extra foam from Michael's in front to "mind the gap" and used the extra trim to cushion the nose. The trim piece on the nose helps hold the helmet up on my head.  

 

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All the padding is in there with velcro so I might still move pads around.  I did have some difficulties getting the Echo fan system to sit properly so I'll need to noodle around with things some more.

 

I also ordered a new Aker sound system.  With every troop, I've had audio headaches, or more specifically, the audio gives me headaches.  Screech!  Feedback!  Ugggh.  It's awful.  As Kyle said: "A bad audio day can ruin a troop." No kidding.  Starting to feel like my Aker system is possessed by Sith demons.

 

I am a glutton for punishment, so I did decide to go with Aker again.  (Not sure why, but I did.  I rather despise the thing.)  I noticed it came in white and thought stormtrooper white would be cool, however didn't notice it was a different model number.  My bad.  (1508 vs. 1506.)  When it arrived yesterday, I was eager to try it out and see if I ended up with any feedback issues.  However, I noticed something different right out of the box other than the color.  Hmmm... size does matter.  (The different microphones are my failed attempts at resolving my audio issues.)

 

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The Amazon page said it was 10 watts, but whoa, this thing is... ahem... a bit large?  My husband said it sounded louder.  But, the wattage is the same.  So, I'm not sure if it possible?  Maybe it has a bigger speaker? Loud would be good because too soft audio was one of the many issues I had with the old Aker.

 

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I always feel like this guy.  Yep.  I've got some bad stuff going on the old bucket.

 

Another interesting purchase I made over the summer are these stackable Lego looking things for my boots...

 

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Way back before I started building my armor and I was still just lurking on the boards, I remembered reading about the concept of making yourself taller with shoe lifts.  At the time, I dismissed the idea.  And, then I read about "shoe lifts" again in this article in Esquire for Men, (a decent read for when you are in the throne room.) I found an online version of the article: "We Tried It: Shoe Lifts for Men."  In the article, the 5'7" author gives his impression of shoe lifts and talks about celebrities like Tom Cruise who use them.  OK, I'll admit I was intrigued by the article.

 

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I had been at this picture from my last troop and realized I'm not that much shorter than Kyle.  Yet, nobody ever seems to make comments to him about "being a little short for a stormtrooper" or calls him "puny."  So, what if I added just two inches to my height?  It would make me 5'10" in armor instead of 5'8."  It's all in the details, right?

 

I did more research online before I bought them. You actually need bigger boots if you are going to wear these things.  http://www.amazon.com/Undercover-Fox-Height-Lifting-Inserts/product-reviews/B003N2SJFK  For most folks, this would more than than an investment of $11.95 for the lifts.  You'd have to buy a new pair of boots.  Ouch.

 

Fortunately for me, I have an extra pair of boots.  The boots that RS sent with my armor were huge.  I gave up on getting them to send the correct size, and purchased boots that fit from TK Boots.  Other than being too big, though, they were nice boots.  And, with impressively large feet, I would look taller.  (I almost made a cod joke there, but resisted the temptation.)  These are my TK boots sitting next to my RS boots.  (Yes, my TK boots got a bit stretched out since I was storing my T-det in there.  Note to self: don't do that.)   

 

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The inserts just barely fit in there and you can see how much larger these RS boots are than my current TK boots.  So, if you are going to consider these shoe lifts, you definitely have to go at least one size up, maybe more.

 

Hmmm... now how do they look?  Obviously I can't wear these things if they look ridiculous.

 

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The boot on the right has the inserts in and the boot on the left has no inserts.  They are invisible.

 

Now... can I walk in them?  I started walking around the house and it felt different, but not bad.  It was like wearing a solid pair of cowboy boots with a sturdy heel.  I have joint issues so I can't wear silly girlie heels for any length of time, but I can do a sensible heel on a boot.  This felt like a boot heel.  I walked around the house in them for a while to make sure I liked them and then headed upstairs to see if my husband could notice a difference.

 

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He noticed a difference right away.  "Wow!  Your legs seem to go on forever when you wear those things!"  Huh.  Maybe Tom Cruise is onto something.  Since it seems unlikely I will go through another growth spurt at age 45, maybe these shoe lifts are the next best thing.  Looking forward to trying them out on a troop sometime and seeing if I get anymore "too short for a stormtrooper" cracks.  Although knowing human nature folks simply say that because it is the only line from the movie they can remember.

 

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Did a bit of paint touch-up to the buttons on the side.  The paint seems to keep coming off of these things.  Anybody else have this problem?

 

Couldn't think of anything else to possibly fix.  Changes are now complete.  

 

So, today we took my Centurion pictures.  

 

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We set up the living room for the pictures and created background with a beige sheet hung up with armor clamps.   My son is reading over the list of shots we need to do.  He volunteered to help since he does photography for the yearbook, and also because he got in trouble earlier in the day and was trying to suck up to get back on my good side.  He's a teenager now so he always has that: "Oh yeah, I'm excited" look all the time.

 

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Getting suited up for the Centurion pictures.

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Dog plunks down in the middle of the photo shoot area and starts rolling around.  "Mom, the dog is being too cute," my son complains.  Uh, really, that's an issue now?  But, promptly runs around away when I turn on the Aker system.  She hates that thing.  (Well, that makes two of us.)  Watching me get suited up is much too boring for my son.  He falls asleep.  Sigh.  Thanks for the help, son.  It's OK.  I'll scare the heck out of him once I'm fully suited up and startle him awake.  Too much fun.

 

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Stormtrooper selfie.   Time to put on the bucket and wake up the boy.

 

So, pictures came out nice and clear and I'll upload them tomorrow.  The boy tells me I am "not funny."

 

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The engineer comes down and acts like J.J. Abrams for the entire photo shoot.

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 We took a new action shot just for fun.  Here it is.

 

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I'll post one more note after this since I created a list entitled: "Top Ten Things I Learned During My Build."

 

But, the circle is now complete.  The journey that began last December finished today.  Although someone very wise once told me the greatest part about building armor is you are never truly done.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

- TK- 95020

Edited by AsBlondeAsLuke
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Hey Diana, what an awesome build. It'll be an honor to be in the ranks of centurion with you! Best of luck but it looks like you won't need it :)

Thanks, Steve!  The whole process has been so much easier and more fun than I thought it would be when I was first faced with that terribly intimidating box of parts six months ago.

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Knowledge is power. You, Diana, actually have more knowledge now than the average trooper having to custom fit the armor to YOUR frame is something that just isn;t done too often.

Thank goodness you have gone a few pages without mentioning your.......cr......never mind. I will go blush in private now.

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Knowledge is power. You, Diana, actually have more knowledge now than the average trooper having to custom fit the armor to YOUR frame is something that just isn;t done too often.

Thank goodness you have gone a few pages without mentioning your.......cr......never mind. I will go blush in private now.

 

Cod!

Thank you, Derrek.  

 

Steve, I'll have you know I had this little tidbit written out in my update about how I was thinking about all the places I could try to hide the new Aker system on my person and one of the places I considered was my big roomy cod.  However, I took it out just because of you.  See?  I have been such a model citizen of the Empire lately.

 

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The wire is long enough and it seems to help having a greater distance from the microphone to the Aker unit itself. It could magically solve all my audio problems! Just wondering if the speaker source emanations might throw people off. Steve, thoughts?

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