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Father/Son 1st Armor Build (NE & MTK) in CA


N8dog
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Hello FISD,

A little background before I begin: It was just after my son turned 17 and I realized, “OMG, he will be 18 next year!† I don’t have any regrets, we’ve done plenty together.  But I started wondering, “Is this it?  Is there something else that we can do together?  One more thing before he becomes an adult and moves out for good?† I thought about building a car, or at least a go-cart.  But my son didn’t have much interest in that (and neither did I).

Then, about this time, my brother (TD 20290 - GA Garrison) (http://td20290.com/) comes along and says he is going to build a Sandtrooper costume.  I was certainly intrigued but wasn’t ready to make the time commitment that would be required, so I thought I would sit back and watch.  As I watched, I showed my son photos of his progress who lit up with each new photo/video (You see, we both have always been huge Star Wars fans!)  That’s where the time commitment began to make more sense if this was something my son and I could do together. 

We went to see TK 5906 and SL 4902 at a comic con on March 7, 2014 here in CA.  They looked amazing!  After seeing them in action is when my son and I decided to take on this new hobby!

We made a goal to complete our costumes by Halloween.  Now that it is October, we are 99.9% complete.  I want to especially thank my brother (TD 20290) and SL 4902 for their countless hours of support and guidance. 

Why post to FISD now?  I realized that I used FISD many times to find answers to questions about my build.  This is my way of giving back and saying thank you to the many troopers who came before me.  I’ve never done anything like this before (build a costume), so this is my son’s and my story.

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Edited by N8dog
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Ok, so I had intended to share more pics and share my build journey, but I can't seem to figure out how to add more photos?  It looks to me like the FISD website is limiting my file upload to ~500kb?  Since I've already posted 2 photos, the website is saying I only have ~50kb left.  Can someone tell me what I am doing wrong?  After I figure this out, I'll continue my story with lost more photos.  Thx!

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Awesome!!!! I hipe to share the same with my boy one day!

 

As for sharing pics, its best to use photobucket or flickr, or any other photo hosting site to share here.

 

 

Congrats to both of you! I certainly hope I have started this new trend in my family as well

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Thank you fuumantroop! :-)

 

Awesome!!!! I hipe to share the same with my boy one day!

As for sharing pics, its best to use photobucket or flickr, or any other photo hosting site to share here.


Congrats to both of you! I certainly hope I have started this new trend in my family as well

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Which costume to build?! My brother (mentioned above) went the TD route. My son really wanted to do Commander Cody and I thought it would be cool to do the 501st Clone Trooper.  However, as this was our first build, we quickly learned that we may be getting in over our heads starting with a clone.  Next best option for us was the original Stormtroopers.  (who can go wrong with a classic?!) I was planning to be a TK and my son a TD. (We’ll do clone troopers for our next costumes!)

 

It was suggested that we build our buckets first – good suggestion.  My son is building a MTK bucket while I built a ATA (however, my armor is NE – more about that later)

 

The plastic comes pretty "raw", meaning it requires a lot of cutting and trimming.  Here are some photos.  Tool preference for the buckets were exacto and utility knife (be careful! very sharp! I had a nasty accident and needed 5 stitches!)

 

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Of course the whole family was interested in what my son and I were up to. Here's one of my daughter getting excited about our buckets :-)

 

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I learned that it was critically important to look at the 501st Costume Reference Library (CRL) as well as Star Wars – A New Hope (ANH) movie screen shots OFTEN for guidance on how things should look.  As you do so, you’ll notice that just like each armor maker (MTK vs. NE, etc.) there are variations on each costume and you learn to appreciate more how your armor is built.

(I used a set of very small files for the teeth)

 

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Obviously, rare earth magnets are a costume builder's friend (unless they bite you because they are impossible to separate! Ouch!)

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Ah, the dreaded ears, a Stormtrooper’s nightmare.  If you are at all worried, go TD like my son and the “dirty†will cover up any gaps or mistakes. :-)  I don’t remember now if it was MTK or ATA (I think ATA) that came with 2 sets of ears because so many get screwed up. Bottom line, go slow, take your time, and trim in SMALL amounts.  Small trim, fit it up to your bucket, use a pencil to indicate where to trim a little more, trim carefully, fit it up to your bucket again, repeat. I found the Dremel with cutting tool works best for cutting excess plastic and then the sanding bands worked best for trimming those small amounts until it fits.

 

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You’ll notice that the screws from the ear to the bucket are not “sunk†in this photo. I don’t have an “after†photo, but ultimately I drilled out a little plastic on the ear so that the screw head would be flush with the outside of the plastic.You’ll notice that the screws from the ear to the bucket are not “sunk†in this photo. I don’t have an “after†photo, but ultimately I drilled out a little plastic on the ear so that the screw head would be flush with the outside of the plastic.  Notice though that I was pretty happy with how tight I was able to get the ear to fit around my bucket.  I will say that it took patience, but also luck. :-)  Good luck with yours!  And if you do screw up and cut too much, you can always purchase more ears. 

 

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Visor and hard hat liner: So there are many ways to skin this cat – this is just the way I did it and I found it worked pretty well, especially for my first build.

Visor: it is connected on 2 sides only using the extension from the screws that attach the ears to the bucket.

Hard hat: This helps to keep the bucket still so that you don’t look like a bobble head.  I bought a cheap hard hat ($8?) and used my Dremel again to cut out only the portions of the hardhat that contained the inserts that received the clips from the liner.  I then used E6000 glue to hold those 4 small portions of the hardhat to the inside of my bucket. 

I’ve seen much more professional buckets that look like the inside of a motorcycle helmet that are fully padded and covered, but again, this worked for our first build.

 

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The "coins" on the bottom two hardhat inserts are rare earth magnets, not permanent and are removed once the E6000 is cured.

 

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Edited by N8dog
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Paint: Testors Paint you will need is:

1138 gloss gray for teeth and ears

1147 gloss black for ears and chin (vocoder)

1149 flat black for the mic tips

Gloss white for screws

2715 French blue for ab buttons (this is later, when you are building your TK armor)

Again, just follow movie screen images for extent of paint at ears, teeth, etc.

 

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*** NOTE: I went back and looked at movie images and was not happy with my teeth, so I used some paint thinner to remove some of the excess and cleaned it up a bit. See following post for final bucket.

 

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No, I haven't painted any stripes on the ear of my bucket (yet). My son doesn't need any as he is TD.

Edited by N8dog
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After starting our journey in March, my son and I are finally done with our buckets by July (Ya, it shouldn’t take 4 months! but work and family and life just get in the way sometimes.  I know, where are my priorities?!)

There are many tutorials out there on how to effectively apply decals and the finishing touches to make a good bucket, so I won’t repeat those here.

 

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You can see one of the differences between TK and TD here in this last photo.  The tears below the eyes on the TK have "vents" while the TD does not.

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I will share that my son and I wore our buckets around the house for hours after completing them.  We have pictures of us sitting on the couch watching TV with our buckets on. :-) With all of the hard work, it is very important not to lose sight of having fun, and to do it with those that you love!  These next couple of photos demonstrate that point.

 

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My bestest friend - the Dremel

 

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My brother (TD 20290 - http://td20290.com/visiting from GA helping us "move along" :-)

 

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My daughters being silly.

 

I’ll post more about our armor build later!

Edited by N8dog
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Armor Build:

I mentioned in a previous post, but as a reminder: Because of the height of my son (5’-10â€) we went with MTK for his armor and because I am 6’-4â€, I used NE (I would not fit in MTK, and vice versa).  The two types of plastic are very different and come from two different molds, each having different amounts of plastic to trim (due to excess and/or size).  I noticed that MTK is a thinner plastic (and potentially easier to cut) while NE is much thicker/stiff plastic and therefore harder to manipulate.  The plastics, although both white, are also slightly different hues of white. 

See below for a photo of my NE armor laid out, which is approximately 50 different pieces of plastic, but I only used about 40. (This is because MTK and NE give you plastic for either TK or TD, so you don’t end up using some of the pieces since there are slight differences between TK and TD)

 

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NE armor

Edited by N8dog
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Tools and supplies:

I’m not going to list what I used, as this information is readily available from others.  I will say that I sat and watched all of the videos by TK4510 (http://trooperbay.com/videos/) not only for needed parts and tools, but also for tutorials.  IMPORTANT NOTE: Everyone builds their costumes differently and there is more than one way to skin a cat.  TK4510 has some great tutorials.  We did not build our costumes the same way as he did.  You need to do your research and see what makes sense for you and your costume.  But doing the research and learning the different methods gives you more options to choose from.

For me, some of the MUST HAVE tools: Dremel, drill, utility knife, rare earth magnets, E6000 glue (and later CA glue), spring clamps, painter’s tape, cutters, pencil, ruler.

OH, and I almost forgot - notice the small boombox. Gotta have music while you build! For me, it was typically an 80's mix on Pandora. :-)

 

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Edited by N8dog
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Note the differences in just my son’s MTK forearm piece vs. my NE forearm.  NE on the left, MTK on the right.  Both are untrimmed at this point.  Both contain 11 “ribsâ€.  However, see the next photo below and note that for NE, the left forearm as 11 “ribs†while the right has 12 “ribsâ€.  For MTK, both forearms have 11.

 

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I struggled at first knowing which piece was which?!  Photo below is for my NE (I don’t have a similar photo for my son’s MTK).  As they are laid out, you are looking at:

1. Left inner bicep

2. Left outer bicep

3. Right outer bicep

4. Right inner bicep

5. Left outer forearm (11 “ribsâ€)

6. Left inner forearm

7. Right inner forearm

8. Right outer forearm (12 “ribsâ€)

Again, note that the different pieces are NOT symmetrical.  I’ve learned to call this, the fact that nothing lines up or is symmetrical when building armor, “Wonkyâ€. :-)

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Here are some pictures of a forearm build.  I found it easiest to use a sharp utility knife to trim plastic off longitudinally.  Sit the plastic forearm on the table so that the inside of the plastic wraps around the end of the table so that when you cut, you are pressing down on the plastic that is supported and resisted directly by the tabletop.

For the ends, I would use a combo of utility knife and Dremel with sanding band.

 

IMPORTANT: For cutting/trimming plastic with a utility knife: First make your mark where you want to cut with a pencil and straight edge.  Then, follow the pencil line and just score the plastic lightly with the first pass, ensuring that your hand is steady and follows the line.  Don’t stop midway.  Start at one end and continue along the length of the mark until you come to the end.  Make one continuous score in the plastic.  After you have lightly scored the surface of the plastic, then repeat, go back to the beginning, but press a little harder this time.  Depending upon the thickness of the plastic (MTK less, NE more) you may do 3 passes before being able to bend and snap the plastic at the cut mark.

 

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*Note: At first I attempted to trim the returns with a knife as shown above. However, this was ultimately much more difficult to do than to use a Dremel. I recommend the use of a Dremel to trim returns and a utility knife for longitudinal cuts.

 

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Photo below is showing the gluing of a plastic strip on the inside:

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Photo below is showing the gluing of a plastic strip on the outside:

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Photo below is the forearm nearly finished, minus some final trimming on the ends:

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There is still some E6000 glue residue that needs to be pulled off.  Once dry, the E6000 is rubbery and can be pulled off pretty easily.

Edited by N8dog
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