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Clint's Build Thread (TK-61281)


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I'll start with finished pics so that you don't lose hope part way through when you realize what a pile of work this project is. ;)


Thanks again to my build crew of Chris Henning, Trent Ainsworth, Jeff Breckon, Matthew Shaw, Paul Greene and Christopher Glib! We logged about 120 hours combined on this - maybe partially due to the unknown nature of it - but it really was a ton of work. Totally fun though!


Feel free to ask any questions as this build thread was done in haste during the project. I went from shipment arrival to completed suit in about 16 or 17 days so this is more of a "Hey, we should kinda document this!" than a formal build thread.





















Edited by camprandall
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3/25/2015 8:31 am


Man, can I just harp a little on the awesomeness of my DSG build team? Got a box yesterday afternoon and then 10 hours later we had 54 out of 68 armor pieces cut and sanded! I'm very grateful to finally be able to feel some sense of excitement again that I might actually finish this thing! ;)






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3/26/2015 9:53 AM


So I'll be the first guy to post a misstep. You can now all feel good about yourselves. I don't know if it was my bad pencil line or a build crew cut mistake, but I noticed I was completely missing my glue tab on one of the calf pieces! Fortunately, I told everyone not to throw a single scrap away in case we messed up, and sure enough I found the part! Repair commenced and now I'm back in business.


This piece should have had a glue tab along the edge.



I fortunately saved all my ABS scraps so I recovered it.



Gluing it back on with backing ABS strip.



And done!


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3/26/2015 11:26 PM


And back to the back piece... I got the bondo done on the back, and I have to say I'm very happy with it! (or as happy as you can be without knowing 100% what you're doing).


Also assembled and laid the bondo on the biceps. Too little time and too much to do to hope for a walkthrough of this stuff! I say build blind and have a beer later. And a beer now. But especially a beer later.


Sanded bondo.





Glued biceps.




Bondo'd biceps. I should have used a bit less for easier sanding, but this is one of the first time's I've used bondo. ;)



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3/28/2015 2:10 AM


Made more progress today. Got the bondo work done on the forearms and biceps, with some minor tweaks left to make.


It's best to cut very straight lines and level with a belt sander to make the seam hiding much easier. These will be bondo'd.



Forearm boxes. There is a small box that sits inside the outer box for reinforcement, but it doesn't really show.








For inside cover strips, I started with just vertical strips but then modded it after trooping and realizing it's not enough resistance to keep the bondo from cracking.


ORIGINALLY. (3/28/2015)





NOW. (4/26/2015)


Edited by camprandall
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I am extremely eager for your build thread. (As I am sure others are as well!) It will be an invaluable resource/reference for the many TFA builds to come.

So excited to start mine! :)


Thanks! I'm happy to have something to offer since I depended so much on others' threads and assistance for my first couple builds.

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3/28/2015 2:27 PM


Ok, here's some more stuff. I've got the ab boxes glued to the torso. I tried to get the edges to match as much as possible and then I used a thin line of zap-a-gap, wiping it with a cloth before the accelerant, to fill some gaps. I think it will work good.


I also got the thermal detonator assembled, glued and bondo'd. My assembly was probably the hardest part of this whole thing and I wasn't thrilled with it, but the bondo will cure all ailments!

Oh, and my buddy reminded me that since I'm taking the pictures, I'm not in any of the build photos, so we fixed that problem too. ;)



For the assembly, I had a large gap in the back because I took too much off. I decided to use a backing strip to make it strong and allow for more bondo there.



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3/28/2015 2:27 PM

For the angled insides, I held it together gently and rolled a drip of zap a gap and immediately sprayed it with accelerant to give it some strength. I did this about three times to create a nice strong bond since you can't really put a backing strip there.

Once I got the bondo on there, I felt better because all the mistakes are hidden and it can be sanded smooth. One technique I just thought of that I used for the end caps and wish I had done everywhere on this was to use my finger to apply the bondo so I could fill the cracks without all the extra mess. Oh well!

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3/29/2015 12:04 AM


Ok, so I've finish the detonator (with the exception of fixing a few tiny pock marks) and I have to say I'm RELIEVED! It feels like a weight off my shoulders because I spent 4 hours today and 2 yesterday just on that part. I also decided to primer it to see just how good the bondo work was because I don't want to find out during painting that it's not as good as I thought. Sweet!


Before the photos, here are a couple things I learned along the way that made this go better (and I wish I had thought of before I did most of it).

1) Don't apply bondo in the angular or curved spots with an applicator - use your finger. You can get just enough in the crack with very little overage and have way less sanding to do. It works great for just filling little cracks.

2) Wet sand bondo to take it down faster. This helped sand quicker and more evenly.


And another big shout out to my Dune Sea Garrison crew - now 50 hours into the project with 25 coming from them, 18 on the first day. ;)


Now, on to the pictures...


My feelings about the detonator as I was trying to build it.


My tribute to JJ Abrams.


Sanded bondo work.








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3/29/2015 5:05 PM


Ok, this morning I finished the forearms and biceps. I went ahead and primered those too so I could see how the bondo came out. Similar to the TD, I might fix a couple minor pock marks, but otherwise it came out pretty good.



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3/30/2015 11:17 AM


Ok, before I work this morning I bent my leg greeblies and attached them. My heat gun died, so I just turned a stove top burner on high and set them on their side around it about 2 inches away for a few minutes. They were pretty easy to flex after that. I then roughed up the attachment points, glued and clamped!



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3/31/2015 2:12 AM


So, this is getting really exciting! After box 2 showed up today with the gaskets, neck seal and gloves, me and some of my crew banged out some more work. We've got a table full of scuffed and primered armor components, which is amazing since this plastic just arrived 6 days ago. So great to feel like we're heading downhill.
















Edited by camprandall
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4/1/2015 2:12 AM


Another awesome night of progress, although I'm getting pretty worn out after 36 hours of personal build time in the last week. Tonight we figured out our strapping for the torso and shoulder bells. We went with an elastic strap across the front of the wings with two snaps to attach to the chest. We also lined the sides of the chest and back with velcro (where the vertical indentations are) to attach to the back. We then got the spats done, got the gaskets cut out and a little over half of the velcro tabs sewn on the gaskets. For the spats, I added a little bent backing strip in the front and then the bit of velcro so it should be nice and strong.

I can see the end in sight!


It was really friggin cool to put some armor on for the first time. ;)










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4/1/2015 8:45 AM


Oops, forgot the drop boxes!


Also, I just did a dry fit and was able to get everything into my relatively small tote that's the same size I use for my classic TK. Boots and gaskets will have to go in another bag most likely, but I'm just glad all the armor fit. Much smaller than those goliath Stanley totes.






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4/2/2015 12:11 PM


Ok, another grueling night and a bunch more progress. We got the following done yesterday.



  • Tore apart and rebuilt the shins to be accurate. I had gotten the shins backwards and glued the velcro opening, which should be on the inside and facing backwards.
  • Glued the knee and elbow gaskets and finished sewing on the velcro tabs
  • Did all the gloss painting (some will need to be wet-sanded and recoated due to dust or mishaps)




Getting close! Now need to figure out the belt and the rest of the strapping.











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4/3/2015 3:55 PM


Ok, I think my arms are done. I'm hoping to get some feedback from our builder experts to see if this looks right. They were pretty funky to feel out since it's a very different sensation than the traditional TK. I think the biceps are likely going to end up higher when it all connects so I'm assuming I'll put the whole arms up an inch or two and maybe have to adjust it a bit.


One thing I noticed is that the rubber sticks to my undersuit enough to make it kinda difficult to pull them up high enough.







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4/4/2015 8:27 PM


Whew! Another 8 hour day and another great pile of progress. We'll be done Monday night, and thank God for that! I've now logged 50 hours in the past 11 days and the team in total has logged 110. Phew!


Today we came up with the belt, the strapping for the gaskets, the corsett, the cod piece, the butt place and the thermal det.  Here are some pics! Most of them are without the shoulders because the glue was still drying.











NOTE: Originally, I glued the shoulder armpits with the supplied Weir glue as shown below, but after testing fitting, it started to pull apart. This was likely due to not washing it well before gluing. Regardless, after wearing this a bit I realized I wanted as much room as possible so I took out the Chicago screws, tore off the glue strap, and sewed the two halves together. That worked much better!





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4/5/2015 2:01 AM


Quick note on the thighs. What I used is essentially the garter system used by tradtional TKs. I whipped up a 1" canvas belt w/ buckle and then sewed two three inch strips of elastic around it that glue to the inside of the front of the thigh. I'm going to see exactly where I want it and then pin it there so they don't rotate.

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4/5/2015 3:37 PM


Someone was asking about instructions for the rubber glue since theirs apparently didn't come with instructions. I've taken a picture of mine. One thing to note is that I'm not finding this glue to hold up well at all in the armpits so I've recoated it with E-6000 and will be trying that.


UPDATE: E-6000 doesn't work at all on the rubber. Once that rubber glue comes disconnected, you end up with a silicone like substance on everything and you really can't reglue it.  :| Again, washing the rubber parts thoroughly first is key, but I still think sewing the gaskets together is better because it leaves more room inside.




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