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ANH Stunt ATA re-Build part 1


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This build post (or should I say re-build) is about solutions to problems if junk happens during your build and you’re unsure what to do. It’s also a testament to how being impatient in purchasing or building armor may come with a cost. Though this particular build has been a bit painful, it’s also given me hope. Through perseverance, patience and understanding, anything is possible. 


Part 2 http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/29684-anh-stunt-ata-re-build-part-2/


The Story


Like most new troopers here, after a couple weeks of reading through armor threads I’d settled on ATA and put myself on the wait list. Echoing the thoughts of many who will read this this, the wait can be excruciating, especially when there’s other armor more readily available, but I wanted ATA and that’s what my budget allowed. After a month or so the anticipation turned into impatience and soon began looking at the “for sale†posts for new, already assembled, and used kits. I searched high and low for a couple weeks until I found a seller with the armor I wanted and it was already assembled. We had the same body type, it had low usage and looked immaculate. After many PM’s questioning the quality and whether it was EIB or Centurion approveable, I pulled the trigger. Though the price was a bit steep (compared to a new kit), I figured someone’s labor of love went into it and I don’t mind paying for that. I was willing to pay a little extra for a ready to wear gorgeous piece of armor, not to mention it came with a nicely modified E-11. 


When the box finally arrived this ole man’s face lit up like of a child on Christmas morning. As I began the unboxing, to my delight everything was neatly packed in bubble wrap however, this is where the delight stopped. Upon removing the bubble wrap my heart went from that of joy to despair. You could hear a pin drop, crickets, etc. You could have heard tears hit the floor (ok the last part was a bit much but you get my point). Then anger set in. I remember asking myself “How could this have happened, I asked all the right questions? This wasn't the scenario I was looking forâ€. My problem is I want to believe everyone is being honest especially if you’re 501st anyways, back to the unraveling. To my dismay what I had was a nightmare. Well worn, helmet as with the rest of the armor, was assembled incorrectly. The most shocking was the main torso section. The back, kidney, ab and cod plates were all super glued together with scrap plastic, I almost couldn't get into it, not to mention there was a sheet metal screw running from inside and through the kidney plate, through one section of the canvas ammo belt into the thermal detonator, REALLY!?  To give some credit to the builder, you can tell there was an attempt to build it correctly however, at some point that rule sadly went out the window, BUMMER!


So there I sat on the floor with my pile of unwearable plastic I obviously paid way too much for. Utterly discourage I had two choices, contact the seller and go through the painful process of attempting to get my money back or the other, as my wife loves to quote at every life’s low moment, “It’s time to pull up the big boy pants and get in the ball gameâ€. Knowing FISD had plenty of build and some what to do posts, I dove into my quest. I figured with a mountain of knowledge at my finger tips, and sheer determination I was going to rebuild this pile of plastic to EIB, and maybe even Centurion approval.


I also figured most troopers here at some point may, or did, make a mistake during assembly. Maybe I can be of help. In this re-build I’m pretty certain I've come across and overcome every obstacle there is to building or repairing armor. To be clear, I don’t claim to have all the answers or solutions to every problem you may encounter, only my experiences.  If you have a better solution to a problem, by all means PM me and/or post it. Troopers helping troopers is what the FISD is all about, right?


Finally in this thread I’ll post pre & post armor build pics and will attempt to address every obstacle I came across and the solution. Again, if all goes well this pile of plastic will become EIB, and maybe Centurion level approvable, giving proof that anything is possible.


I want to give many thanks to those who've documented and paved the armor building trail before me. Through your trial and error what I thought was impossible has become possible.


NOTE: I would like everyone to understand I’m not here to bash anybody’s building skills, styles or etc, especially the prior owner/builder of this armor. I’m merely pointing out flaws or imperfections I found and my attempt, or success to repair them. Please forgive me in advance if my comments come across otherwise.


With that, let’s get the re-building or should I say dismantling started.  


1. The first set of pics is the armor before dismantling (with the exception of the kidney and posterior section I separated). My first obstacle was to identify which sections may or may not need complete rebuilding. Though not all the sections needed repair all needed cosmetic corrections. Finally, determine how the sections attached to one another were connected (super glue, E6000), and how to safely separate them.







2. Starting with the bucket. At first glance it looked lopsided and off center. As I disassembled it I found the front and rear sections about ½†off of center. Given the ATA face/frown section is already a bit off, the ½†made it look worse. I also notice the ears were a bit on the thin side but there’s nothing I could do but install them as is or replace. The eye sockets were unfinished and the “S†seal was cut too short (not a huge problem). Upon reassembly I ran into a bigger concern, no matter how accurate I was with my measurements the helmet appeared warped. Maybe it was overheated or something happened during the manufacturing process, I don’t know, it just seemed off. It may not be very noticeable in the pics but there's definitely something wrong.




Being I've never built an ATA bucket, I made the decision to purchase a one new from Terrell and have a reputable builder put it together so I could compare the two, and boy were they different. Ultimately I decided to use my newly acquired bucket from ATA for my EIB approval and use this bucket for my TD seen here on M.E.P.D. http://forum.mepd.net/index.php?showtopic=13197.


3. Onto the (most difficult) back, kidney, ab and butt (posterior) assembly. Whatever was held together with E6000 I gently softened (on the scrap plastic side) with a heat gun. (http://www.amazon.com/1500-Watt-Temperature-572%C2%B0F-1112%C2%B0F/dp/B0053U2B8G). I then cautiously separated with a butter or large sharp hunting knife. NOTE: I highly suggest buying a pair of cut resistant gloves (level 5, (http://www.amazon.com/Kaffyad-Resistant-Protection-Mandolines-Lightweight/dp/B00KXFCJJW) or something similar). ALWAYS remember to cut, slice, pry, etc, AWAY from your body NOT towards it. As for the superglued sections I purchased a Black and Decker Mouse Detail Sander (http://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-MS800B-Detail-Collection/dp/B001H0GC04). Starting with 80 grit pads I began the rigorous process of sanding away the scrap plastic until I reached the original. Once I reached the original plastic I finished the surface off with 200 then 800 grit. My biggest disappointment came when I realized a majority of the 90 degree edges were damaged and unusable due to how they were trimmed or how connecting scrap plastic was installed. Using a Dremel (http://www.amazon.com/Dremel-100-N-Single-Speed-Rotary/dp/B002BAHF64 , http://www.amazon.com/Dremel-430-drum-sanding-mandrel/dp/B00004UDHD) trimmed the remaining edges off. Then using the B&D Mouse I finished the edges giving a mated/uniformed look as they were intended.


Kidney after sanding




Inside posterior section after sanding




Posterior exterior after sanding




Time to assemble. NOTE: 95% of the armor was assembled using E6000 (strong yet very forgiving).I fabricated and glued cover strips at the inner left & right side kidney/ab plate joints for the side split and snap rivets. Measured and drilled the left 6 split rivets holes, ab ammo belt snap and right upper ab snap holes.




Cut the required 22mm notch on the left & right side kidney plate as required for Centurion.




Unfortunately the ab buttons looked like they had paint thinner damage. No matter how much I polished I couldn't clean them up, and so were also replaced.




Here's a small demonstration of how I painted the new ab buttons.




Once I trimmed them out they were ready to install.


Improper rivet placement, snap and screws left several holes in all the sections. My best option was to fill the holes using boat gel filler by TAP Plastics. It provided a pliable and strong surface that could be sanded and painted. The areas where you can see lighter white spots are holes that were filled in.





Once the major problems were addressed I measured and drilled holes for all the rivets and snaps needed. Left side split rivets, snap on right, and front belt snaps.





Chest plate - Excessive trim and damage from super glued strap cover removal




Chest after sanding





Once finished I prepped the armor for paint. Prior to painting I assembled and installed the strapping mounts used to secure the sections together.





Installed rubber bolt covers over the snaps to protect them from the primer and paint. Primed then painted the interior side of all the torso armor sections.







After painting the exterior was polished. As for polishing scratches out of the ABS, Novus polishes are the norm however, given the amount of polishing I’ll be doing I elected use a headlight restoration kit from 3M as well. Not only will it take out very deep scratches and polish the plastic to its original luster it’s connected to a power drill which greatly reduces the effort you have to exert. To this day I used the 3M polishing pad and Novus 1&2 for all my needs. (Novus Polish - http://www.amazon.com/Novus-Plastic-Scratch-Remover-bottles/dp/B000J41VDM. 3M Kit - http://www.amazon.com/3M-39008-Headlight-Restoration-System/dp/B001AIZ5HY).





Install new Ab plate.




Ab section after assembly and polishing.




4. Shoulders – Upon inspection the shoulder straps were found to be shaped and glued incorrectly. Wrong connecting fabric color (black) and incorrect bell support snaps were installed. Removed super glued shoulder straps and black nylon shoulder fabric and reshape cover straps.





Assemble white elastic connecting fabric x2 and rivets (right side shown), left side similar but with out rivets. Assemble and install bell support snaps on both sections.




Assemble and install Cover retainers




Superglue or fabric glue knot









Attach left shoulder connecting strap




Attach strap covers





After polishing and assembly




Stay tuned, Part 2 http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/29684-anh-stunt-ata-re-build-part-2/


EIB request - http://www.whitearmo...eib-status-ata/

Centurion request - http://www.whitearmo...-status-ata144/

Edited by ukswrath
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Thanks Adam



You have really gone above and beyond on this kit. At first glance it was a disaster! The kit after all your hard work looks like it just came off the former. Your build is very clean and the suit you're working on now bears 0 resemblance to the suit you got... well done.


When someone asks you "did you build it yourself" you can without a doubt say "yes!"

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 months later...

Tony you are an insperation!


I was nervous about my NE build when 90% of the armor was already trimmed for me.....


but the fact that you stuck w/ it and put the time and effort to save the armor......pure awesomeness!!


It definatley makes me feel better about my skills and willingness to complete the project, no matter what happens.


Can't wait to see the finished product! :th_AnimatedBravoSmiley:


Also I vote to have this pinned! Especially when it's done! This will be a great source for all future TKs!!!

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Tony you are an insperation!


I was nervous about my NE build when 90% of the armor was already trimmed for me.....


but the fact that you stuck w/ it and put the time and effort to save the armor......pure awesomeness!!


It definatley makes me feel better about my skills and willingness to complete the project, no matter what happens.


Can't wait to see the finished product! :th_AnimatedBravoSmiley:


Also I vote to have this pinned! Especially when it's done! This will be a great source for all future TKs!!!


Wow! Andrew thank you very much. I'm delighted to hear this helped you. May your TK building journey be less eventful as mine lol




Good luck sir.

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lol, i didn't see that you already had Centurion status! :P


The armor turned out really nice!!


Congrats! I was searching for something else to be honest but found your thread, just wanted to give props were props are due! :salute:


Props appreciated.  :jc_doublethumbup:


Hopefully I'll be able to assist you with yours. 

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I accept and appreciate all comments, concerns and "HEY YOU DID THAT WRONG!" lol


you can find my thread in my signature!




Yep already been there, so far so good. Following...

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Wow, you truly turned a nightmare into a dream. You must be really proud. Great work, and I'll probably use some of your techniques and learn from the mistakes that the other guy made! Thanks for sharing. 


Hey Taylor thank you sir. Proud I was able to pull it off, not so that I was impatient and bought a overpriced hoopty :laugh1:


Thanks again.

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  • 7 months later...

This was a really inspiring thread. You've turned someone's failure into a success and that is really inspiring to me. I'm still in early research stages and haven't even decided what armor to get.

You've deconstructed a suit and built it back up and I think that I would appreciate the armor more if I had to do that because the extra care that you've put into it. Thanks man and good job!



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  • 3 weeks later...

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