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TK-JR: Astyanax's Foamtrooper Kids Armor Project

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I just came across this. Simply Awesome.  Will be watching. :popcorn:

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This is looking great. I've been starting to gather up supplies and clearing a workspace to get started. This not only gave me the idea on how to get my little one suited up but also is going to help me every step of the way. Thank you.

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Thanks guys for the kind words. This has been a really fun project so far. Hopefully you won't have to go through as much foam as I have trying to get the finishing right! :)



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Awesome Build. Respect. Looking forward to see the finished trooper jr.

I guess I try this for my sons.

Edited by Jek-14

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Working on the torso now. I had to drop my first attempt, because curving the foam after coating with glue caused cracks! Guess I'll have to bend it using heat and get it to stay that way before finishing.

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(these are model's left-right)




Hey all, sorry it took me awhile to get here. I went through a few versions trying to get it right. Let's dive in:


As you can see from the patterns, the chest plate is broken into four pieces. I did this so that you can print them all out, tape them together, and use that as the template for cutting out the foam. It won't quite fit perfectly on a piece of 12" x 18" foam, so I just made sure I got the bottom portion on there. If the straps come up a little short, it's no big deal, because this chest armor is two layers.


ONE SPECIAL NOTE: I have added extra material to the shoulder strap length and to the side attachment points. I also added an inch more of height than I thought I would. This can all be trimmed back at any point. Every kid is different, so it's better to have more material that can be cut off during fitting. I am sure I will be trimming! I will point it out when the time comes. Some of the pics below show versions before I added extra material. :)




After I traced and cut out the entire pattern, I repeated the process for the TOP HALF ONLY onto the thicker (6mm) foam. This is to give the "pecs" a little depth. This is where I was able to give the shoulder straps a little more length as needed.




After cutting this out, I glued the pecs layer on top of the main layer using just a thin layer of white glue. I waited overnight before moving on.




I realized this armor should be shaped just a little, prior to finishing. It's not a flat plate, but rounded to fit the contours of the body. The shoulder straps are also bent to go over the shoulder. I found that when I covered the whole thing in glue, trying to bend the foam caused cracks, which were impossible to cover. Nope, the plate had to be shaped, hold that shape, and be finished completely after it held it shape.


This is where I had to accept the fact that I needed the heat gun. Trust me, you need this. You can get the cheap $22 one at Home Depot, because I had the heat cranked up to its highest setting. A hair dryer just does not get hot enough, but you're welcome to try before committing to the heat gun. You might want to practice on scrap foam first.


I held the chest plate around a 5-gallon bucket and then went over the whole thing with the heat gun, taking care to keep moving, to not getting too close (4"-6"), and making sure it got soft enough. It gets very hot, so be careful. I made sure the foam developed a bit of a "sheen", which told me the foam was hot enough. Each time I heated an area, I laid it around the bucket, moving on to the next quadrant. I had to do this 3-4 times before it would stay down around the curve when cooled. If you get too close and it starts to turn brown and bubble, back off quickly and wait for it to cool. You can sand the bubbly surface that developes with fine grit sandpaper. Because the upper part of the plate was very thick, it did seem to help heating from underneath, helping to get that thicker layer soft enough to relax around the bucket.




I also needed to curve the shoulder straps. So again with the heat gun, I got it nice and soft, and then held it with my hand in the right shape for a few seconds while it cooled. Again, I needed to do this 3-4 times, and it took a lot of heat because of the extra thickness.


(Don't worry, this is not as hard as it sounds. This is my first try using a heat gun! The trick is to go slowly and take your time. It's easier to reheat something that didn't quite work than to repair foam that was overheated!)


After I had the full curve in place, I secured the chest plate to the bucket using four pieces of double-sided tape. This helped it maintain its shape while I applied the finishes.




Once I had curves that I liked, I began finishing the chest plate while still stuck to the bucket. Not only does the bucket give you something to stand up the piece vertically, but it also helps it keep its shape while I applied the hard shells. Three coats of white glue, 2 hours between, followed by three coats of gloss enamel, about 10 minutes between. Once again, the enamel stayed sticky, so 10 minutes later I finished with three coats of glaze, 10 minutes apart.




This last step is quite optional, but I decided to caulk the point where the "pecs" plate joins the main plate, just to ease that transition just a bit. I think it looks better.



We're done!


I have updated my "tools & materials" post to include the bucket, heat gun, and sandpaper.


I will not deal with any kind of strapping just yet. Need to get the back plate done first!



Edited by Astyanax
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This is nothing short of amazing (pun intended) You sir, win parenting  :salute:


How in the WORLD are you going to do the bucket?!

Edited by Starrfox1

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Thanks for the kind words. :)


For the bucket, I'm going to use TK-409's example of the Rubies mask with an astronaut helmet, and rounding out the base with a styrofoam wreath ring. Total cost: $23.


Back plate coming in the next day or so!



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Hey guys:


I'm struggling a little with the back plate, but I think I've solved it, and it looks good!. Need 1-2 more days to paint and post. In the meantime, here's this tidbit:





Cost is a huge factor here, but I didn't want to go with plain white tennis shoes either. Shoes for kids are expensive! And plain white seems to be a bit out of style. So I settled on these white dress slip-on shoes (not boots) from Payless:




Here's the link: http://www.payless.com/boys-dress-slip-on/67491.html?dwvar_67491_color=white#q=boys+white+dress+shoes&start=1


They do look quite nice. The soles are white, not black, but I'm cool with that. I know, they're not boots, but again, this is about cost. Add some white socks and we're good. :) Online cost is $20, but I had them shipped to the store, which saved me the shipping cost. Also, there are MANY Payless coupons out there if you look around. I got them brand new out the door for $18, including tax. The material is faux leather, which will be easier to clean.


Hope that helps!



Edited by Astyanax

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(these are model's left-right)




EDIT: After some test fitting, I made an alteration to these patterns, raising the neckline in the back another inch. This should hopefully show less black in back. I also raised the "OII" plate to compensate. I'm not changing my built version, but this should help significantly. All pictures below reflect the old pattern, but all the principles are the same. :)


This one was a lot trickier than I expected. I wanted the back plate to have a nice looking "OII" plate on it, and I went through a few versions trying to get it just right. But I'm very happy with the result!


The back plate is too large for a printed piece of paper, so I made it in two sections. I cut them out and taped them together. The third pattern is for the OII plate. As usual, I laid the main plate pattern onto the thin craft foam, traced it in pencil and cut it out. I don't have any pictures of the piece at that step, but it's very straightforward.


Next, I cut the OII plate pieces using the pattern. It goes as follows:


2 - flat rectangles cut out of thick (6mm) foam

1 - flat rectangle with the inner rectangle cut out of thick foam, making a frame


I white glued those three layers together in this order:




After that, I worked on the inner design:


1 - "gear" pattern CAREFULLY cut out of thick foam, using a VERY sharp x-acto knife

1 - square pattern that surrounds the two "I" shapes, cut out of thin foam

2 - rectangle "I" shapes cut out of thick foam




I then layered them and white glued them into the center "framed" area.




So far, so good. I then came to realize that the edges of those three layers of thick foam are going to show in the finished costume. You can see the layering problem here:




There's no way I was able to cut out all three perfectly even with each other on all sides. I tried several times...even cutting through all three layers at once doesn't work out, because it's impossible to hold your blade pointing straight down perfectly the whole time. Even trying to sand them evenly didn't seem to help. After some trial and error, I broke out a piece of white card stock and some white electrical tape.


I cut two pieces of card stock at 6" x 5/8", and two pieces at 4-1/2" x 5/8", like so:




I then white glued them to the sides and let it all dry. This covered up the uneven seams between layers.




Next, I took the white electrical tape (which happened to be the perfect width) and carefully taped over the sides, working around the whole OII plate in one continuous piece. I went around the whole thing 2-3 times, trying not to let the tape creep up the sides. If you must, let it creep downward to the base of the OII plate. I was able to keep it pretty even.




By pulling the tape tightly as I went around the the OII plate, I also found that it was giving me an unexpected bonus: rounded corners!




I terminated the tape at a bottom corner so it wouldn't be noticed, and then white glued the whole thing onto the back plate.




This part is very important: The OII plate must be weighted down with a heavy book while the glue dries overnight! The reason for this is that any electrical tape that creeped downward off the edge will prevent the glue from making a tight seal. The book kept it flat.


Now, I suppose you could use black electrical tape instead of white and cereal box cardboard instead of card stock, but you'll need to be sure it's really covered by your painting later. I didn't want to deal with that.


After this, it was time to break out the heat gun and bend the strapping points. This was very easy and went quickly. Just take it slow, don't use too much heat at a time. I was able to apply the heat, set the gun down, bend it and hold it with my hand, and then blow on it a few times to help it cool quickly. This is what it looked like afterward:




I then finished this piece with 3 coats of white glue (avoiding the electrical tape for the most part), waiting 2 hours between coats. Then, 3 light coats of Plastidip, 3 light coats of gloss white, and 3 light coats of clear glaze. I waited only 10 minutes between all coats of spray, not giving the piece time to dry fully between any them, even when switching to a different coating. It came out great! But it needed one finishing touch.


As you can see from this picture below, there is a very noticeable seam on the top of the OII plate, between the electrical tape and the sides. This is unavoidable, because I didn't want the tape to creep up the top as I was taping. So I brought out the white silicone caulk to clean it up.




I used my finger to smear a little caulk into the seams, and then wiped it off, again using my finger. I also laid a nice thick bead of caulk around the base of the OII plate, smoothing that transition a bit. It came out looking just like I'd hoped.


REMINDER: If you're using the Dynaflex 230 caulk, do this step BEFORE finishing and painting!




Done with the back plate!


Next post, I will be going over the strapping of the two plates together. I decided on velcro for the whole thing, but of course I have to add detailed foam straps for the shoulders! That one should be fun.


(By the way, I have been working on the bucket concurrently, as it has been a bigger project than I anticipated. I hope to post it in a week or so.)



Edited by Astyanax
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For the shoulder straps pattern, I have laid out the first two rows to act as a guideline for cutting the whole strap, and then the second two rows are for making it much easier to cut out the "bumps".


So first, I cut out the full length rectangles out of thin foam. I then cut the bumps out of thick foam. I think it looks better this way in the finished product by going with the thicker foam for the bumps.




Next, I white glued the bumps onto the straps. Notice in the picture below that I have sliced my paper printout and laid it up to the strap to help act as a guideline for placing the bumps.




This is what they now look like after gluing.




For heat forming, I took a small one-quart paint can and used that with the heat gun to help the straps get that curve shape. I felt this was necessary in order to prevent cracking once I've covered them with white glue. Then, to get them ready for glue and painting, I taped a layer of parchment paper around the can so the straps wouldn't stick.




Finishing was the same as usual. Three coats of white glue 2-3 hours apart, followed by 3 coats each of Plastidip, white gloss, and glaze, each 10 minutes apart. Once dry, it was time to break out the velcro!


I have decided to do 100% of my strapping with velcro. This will not only make assembly easier, but it will allow me to make adjustments as my son grows. So from Michaels I picked up one package each of black sticky-back, white sticky-back, black sew-on (non-sticky), and white sew-on. These are 3/4" width, which I think is absolutely perfect for this project. I didn't know how much I will need for this project, so I picked up one package (18" long sticky, 30" long sew-on) of each. I will edit this post when the project is finished if I need more. It also turned out to be important whether I went with hook-side or loop-side in my application here, so I'll try to remember to refer to those below.




I prepped my foam shoulder straps by covering the backs for their full length (6") with white sticky-back loop velcro. Then, I took a 2" piece of black sew-on hook velcro and laid it perpendicular to the strap like a "T".




This is what they look like from the top (see how they stand up nicely? Heat forming is worth it!). The black hook material is now facing upward.




Next, I applied velcro to my chest plate and back plate. First the insides: For the chest plate, it's a 1" piece of black sticky-back hook velcro on the upper waist corners of each side. For the back plate, it's the same thing, but on the lower-most corners. Also, it's hard to see in the picture, but there's a 1" piece of white sticky-back hook velcro on the ends of the strap points at the very top of both pieces.




For the outsides of the two plates, it is a 1" piece of white sticky-back hook velcro on the ends of the strap points at about a half-inch or so down from the very tops of both pieces. I've Photoshopped the pictures slightly so you can see the white velcro on these parts.




To attach the plates, I used two 6" pieces of white sew-on loop velcro, and two 6" pieces of black sew-on loop velcro. In assembling the plates, I leave a 1" gap of loop velcro between the plates on all sides. Everyone's kids are sized differently, so you may need to make adjustments here; that's why I went with 6" pieces of velcro to attach them. They can always be trimmed later!




After fitting the plates to my son, I simply laid the foam shoulder straps down on the plate attachment points, with the black "T" part sticking straight out and the hook velcro facing upward.




Then, I took the shoulder bells and applied a 2" piece of black sticky-back loop velcro (you can use white as well) at the tops of the bells, like so:




All I had to do after that was have him put his hand through the bell and lay it down on top of the black "T" strap.




As you can see from the photos below, the straps all blend in very nicely. Vincent is starting to look like a real stormtrooper now!






NOTE: After plate fittings, I noticed that my pattern design for the back plate comes down too far behind the neck. It's just too deep of a scoop. I have modified my templates in the back plate post above to raise the back (and also the OII plate) up an inch or so.


Also, as a side note, I think I will need to add a balaclava to the undersuit, because the initial helmet test fittings are showing too much hair in back! :)


Next post will be the ab plate!



Edited by Astyanax

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(these are model's left-right)




This one was a lot of fun!


As usual, I printed and cut out the left and right ab plate patterns, taped them together, traced them onto the thin foam, and cut the shape out. Then, I cut out the rest of the parts from the ab plate, and traced and cut them out of foam as well. After that, I printed, traced and cut out all of the control panel pieces likewise. There is no thick foam being used in this step; everything was cut out of thin foam. The ab buttons required some very slow cutting to get them to look halfway decent. These are all the pieces I had (minus the ab plate itself):




(Yes, I know my ab plate design doesn't go down far enough, but kids have short torsos! The belt will cover it anyway.) :)


For gluing, the trick here is to do a little at a time. I used a fresh printout of the ab plate patterns to help me align the left and right strips and the center strips as well. Then, I glued on the control panel outer rectangle, then the control panel inner rectangle, then the control panel narrow right rectangle.


Then I waited about half an hour for the white glue to get a grip. A couple books stacked on top helped a lot. Next, it was time to glue down the control panel details.


The trick I used was to paint white glue on the entire top surface of the control panel rectangles, then lay down the buttons and plate details. That way, I had a nice even coating of glue on which to lay them down, and I was able to slide the pieces around until they looked just right. You can see from the picture below the layer of glue on the panel rectangles after it dried:




I did let the whole thing dry overnight.


For finishing, I did here the exact same thing as I did for the chest plate: I heat formed it around a 5 gallon blucket and then used a couple pieces of double sided tape to hold it there. 




Then, it was the usual finishing technique: 3 layers of white glue with 2-3 hours wait time between, followed by 3 coats of Plastidip, 3 coats of gloss white, and 3 coats of clear glaze, with a 10 minute wait between coats of all sprays.


For painting the ab buttons, I went with simple Testors model paints, plain blue and plain gray. They're a little dark, but I liked the more muted colors for the ab buttons.




The trick to painting these carefully is to start at the middle of a button, and slowly push paint out to the edges until it looks right.


After 3-4 hours of letting the paint dry, I recoated this area only with 2 coats of clear glaze.




As you can see, the painting of the ab buttons isn't perfect, but it looks perfect from a few feet away.


For strapping points, I cut three 2" pieces of sticky-back black hook velcro down the middle, so they were extra narrow. I placed them at the tops of the three strips on the ab plate. This is to ensure adjustability and grip when mating the ab plate to the chest plate.




On the inside, it's a one inch piece of sticky-back black hook velcro at each of the four corners:




Next, I took three 2" pieces of black sticky-back loop velcro, left the backing on, and laid them down on the hook pieces. It looked like this:




After this, I DID A TEST FITTING ON MY SON to see how high the chest plate would need to sit on the ab plate. This step was absolutely crucial. After noting that the bottom of the chest plate comes to about an inch from the top of the control panel, I felt comfortable taking it off him, and then removing the sticky backing off the ab plate and carefully laying the chest plate down on top of it on a flat surface.




After another test fitting, it turned out I was wrong! The torso was a bit too tall, so I simply separated the two pieces and repositioned them a half inch closer together. The adjustability factor here is great!


All in all, a very successful piece for me, so I was ready to move on to kidney plate and fitting it all together!


By the way, it's time for me to come to terms with the fact that my kid will not be sitting in this costume! :( He understands, knows it's for looking cool, not playing in, just like any other trooper.


I'll post the kidney plate tomorrow.



Edited by Astyanax
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PLEASE NOTE: After taking all my pictures and making a couple more test fittings for this piece, I came to the conclusion that my kidney plate was more than an inch too tall. I made a couple adjustments to what I think now is a good pattern. I also cut down my built kidney plate by that much, so future photos should look more proportional. The pattern attached to this post, I feel, is the good one. But every kid is different! :)


When printing out this particular pattern, the ends will be cut off. That's no problem, this pattern is exactly 11" wide, so if you're following my build, just continue your cuts right off the edges of the page.


And yes, I notched. ;)


The main plate is cut from thin (2mm) foam, and the rectangle in the middle is cut from thick (6mm) foam. I used the edge of the printout to help me align my center piece during white-gluing.




After this, I heat formed the sides just a little  to give them a curve. Please don't be intimidated by this step; it's quite easy. I just heated the end without getting too close by running the gun up and down the end, then sat the gun down, and held it curved while I blew on it. Took 30 seconds. :) There's no inner curvature, I just rolled the ends a little. Again, this helps prevent the white glue coating from cracking when you bend the piece after finishing.


Next, I did the standard finish of 3 coats glue, Plastidip, gloss white, and clear glaze.




The rest of this post is about strapping it all together!


First, I took four 3/4" pieces of black sticky-back hook velcro and stuck them at the upper four corners.




Next, six pieces of the same velcro along the top and bottom of the plate.




After that, three 2" pieces of sew-on (non-sticky-back) black loop velcro were attached to the top of the plate, facing outward.




Then, I attached the back plate using three more 3/4" pieces of the sticky-back hook velcro stuck to the back plate.




I then attached the front pieces to the back pieces using 2"-3" sew-on loop velcro. I leave NO gap between the ab plate and kidney, but I leave a 1" gap between the chest and back. Your kid may be different. Notice the angled straps. This went away when I cut my kidney plate shorter and lined things up more correctly. But you have that flexibility if you need it!




The next three photos are how it looks on Vincent. Sporting the balaclava today!








As you can see from the back view, the kidney plate was more than an inch too tall. Again, I cut it for future posts and altered the pattern accordingly. Enjoy!


After finishing the kidney plate, I worked on the bucket a little more, deciding to break out some 1-part Bondo for the first time! I've never used the stuff, but it's pretty easy to get used to. I'll keep on it.


Also, to break things up a little, I have just finished the thermal detonator, made out of a toilet paper roll and some foam. I'll be posting that tomorrow.



Edited by Astyanax
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I needed a change of pace from armor, so I turned my attention to the thermal detonator. After looking at different plastic containers, I decided that most of them were too big, so I settled on...a toilet paper roll!


So the first thing I did here was cut the two long strips on the left of the pattern. These wrap around the ends of the toilet paper roll and can be glued with white glue. I used large popsicle sticks and spring clips to help them hold their shape while the glue dried, similar to what was done with the forearms and biceps.




Next, the two circles form the ends of the caps. They can be white glued on with a healthy portion of glue. They'll become more secure when I cover the whole thing with white glue.




I then cut the rectangle to form the base for the "control pad". The "top" note in the pattern indicates the top of the thermal detonator, so it is positioned properly. I did try to heat form the rectangle around a spare toilet paper roll to help it hold its shape while the glue dried, but caused the foam strips to expand; it's not worth it. Just hold it for a few moments. As you can see, I also used hair bands to hold the rectangle in place. Don't leave the hair bands on there fore more than 10-20 minutes, because they do leave imprints in the foam!




Then, it was time to glue on the control pad buttons and circle. In my pattern, I did not draw the interior circle of the ring, because it can be punched out with a hole punch, if you have a sharp one. Mine wasn't so sharp, and the hole came out a little deformed, but it really didn't matter. This next photo shows how I positioned everything relative to the seams on the back, because we want those hidden. I consulted pictures of thermal detonators to try and locate the rectangle just right, but I don't think it has to be perfect.




Time for finishing!. This got the usual: 3 coats of white glue 2-3 hours apart, followed by 3 coats each of Plastidip, gloss white, and clear glaze, each 10 minutes apart.




To do each coat in one go, I punched two small holes in the back of the thermal detonator, and used two wooden chopsticks stuck in a styrofoam base to hold it up for painting. I wish I had thought of this before I did the white glue! It got a little messy before I figured this out.




For the gray coloring, there was lots of Testor's gray modeling paint left over from the ab buttons, so I very carefully brush painted a single coat on the whole thing. It did not take much paint at all, and I didn't really need to mask off the white parts. The trick is to leave a dab of paint on the cardboard roll near an edge, and then use the paintbrush to "push" the paint right up to the edge. The three-dimensionality of the foam is very forgiving if the lines aren't perfect. After 5-6 hours of dry time, I sprayed on 2 more coats of clear glaze, and this was the result:




For clipping to the belt, I picked up a thin metal roasting pan. These are available at the local dollar store, as well as pretty much every grocery store anywhere. They're usually $1-$2 each. I picked up two just in case, and because I wanted to use only the smooth metal surface in the middle of my pans. It can probably be flattened, but at a buck apiece, why bother?




Using the pattern, I cut out the two clips, and folded them down the middle to give them extra strength. Be careful, the metal is sharp!

A pencil really works well to score the metal for folding, Use a pencil!




After this, I carefully cut some rounded corners with scissors, for safety reasons. This metal is sharp!




I scored the metal again (using a sharp pencil) for folding the middle, and rounded one side for sticking to the cardboard roll. It doesn't have to be perfect here.




And for gluing, I used HOT glue this time. I tried E6000 and a couple other things, but they all failed because of the thick paint layer. Hot glue is your friend here. All done!




Notice the positioning of the clips relative to the foam seams on the back. The edges of the metal are not so sharp, thanks to the double layering.


Wow, that was a lot of pictures and descriptions! I expected this piece to be more simple than it turned out to be, but talk about your low, low budget! :)


Yes, the finished product is just a bit small, even for a child, but I really like it. If you are concerned about length, you can always go with a longer paper towel roll cut to size, and add a longer control pad with more bumps. Yes, this does also make for a fairly fragile thermal detonator, but we'll see how it goes.


I am now moving on to the cod plate and posterior plate.



Edited by Astyanax
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Keep it up Bill, this is a very cool build thread.



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Wow, this not only looks incredible, but the tutorial info is fantastic. Gonna have to convince my friend that he needs me to build one of these for his son. Keep up the great work, can't wait to see the rest.

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(these are model's left/right)




For these two parts, there's really nothing new going on, so I will blow through this pretty fast. One item of note is that these pieces do not connect to anything on the sides; they are anchored solely to their upper plates (the ab plate and kidney) and optionally attached to each other at the crotch. One other thing to remind you is that it is very likely you will need to adjust the height of these (probably the posterior plate for sure) to match your child. 


For the cod plate, I taped the two patterns together, traced and cut like normal. The center strip and cod cover piece are done with the thinner foam.




For the posterior plate, once again I traced and cut like normal. The overlay plate is done with the thicker (6mm) foam, so as to match the center piece on the kidney plate.




Next, I did a little heat forming, just to get some curvature around the sides and center. I just ran the heat over the side, set the gun down, and held it in a curved position while blowing on it to cool it quickly. Again, this helps keep the glue finish from cracking, and really makes a difference when putting it on.






After this, it was the usual finish: 3 coats of white glue 2-3 hours apart, followed by 3 coats each of Plastidip, gloss white, and clear glaze, each 10 minutes apart.






For attaching to the upper plates, I used 1" pieces of black stick on hook velcro attached to three points at the top of each piece and at their corresponding points on the upper plates, and a half-inch piece of the same stuff at the bottom attachment points.


To connect it all, I used 1"-2" pieces of black sew-on (non-sticky) loop velcro. Notice that the plate edges butt up against each other all the way; there is no gap. For the crotch, I used a 4" piece of the sew-on loop velcro, leaving about a 3" gap there.




Done with the body armor! Next post will be thighs.





Edited by Astyanax
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(these are model's left/right)


thigh0a.jpgthigh0b.jpg   thigh0c.jpgthigh0d.jpg   thigh0e.jpg


Making the thighs was very similar to making the bicep and forearms, so for the most part, I will let the pictures do the talking. The biggest difference here is that each thigh is different from the other, and the "cover strips" need to be considered accordingly. This is why I made sure there are cover strips available on their own pattern page for laying out properly. Also, I decided not to worry about leg contours (calf shape, etc.), as it will be barely noticeable and not worth the extra effort. If you're mean with a heat gun, good luck! I'm not.


So, to make a thigh, I printed, cut out, and taped together the "inner" and "outer" parts of each thigh, and then traced them onto the foam for layout. Here's an example:




As you can see above, I also show how the cover strip for the bottom of the thigh lays on the main pattern (the longest cover strip is for the right thigh). You don't want the bottom cover strip getting in the way of the dotted line area, because that's where the overlap happens when the thigh is closed. Also, there is no closure mechanism necessary here, because the thighs slide up my son's leg no problem. Completely sealed is fine.


This picture shows the vertical cover strips added on the left thigh only. Again, notice how the bottom cover strip does not go all the way to the left side. This is for the overlap.




Then, similar to biceps and forearms, I used white glue, with large popsicle sticks and spring clamps to hold it in place while it dried.




For the right thigh, I glued on all the cover strips BEFORE working on the strap with ammo boxes. I kept it flat while I glued on the strap. As shown before, cutting the paper version of the pattern to help align the ammo boxes makes a huge difference while positioning. The ammo boxes themselves were cut out of the thick foam. This is the only use of thick foam on these parts.




Once the ammo box strap had dried, I glued it to the bottom of the right thigh, attaching directly to the already-completed bottom cover strip.




And, after using the same clamp and popsicle stick technique, I had two thighs ready for finishing. These were finished using the same technique as for all parts, so I won't go into detail here.




After the thighs are dry and the clamps removed, a quick pass with the heat gun doesn't hurt at all, but is not necessary.


For strapping, I used the very same technique as the rest of the parts: one inch pieces of black stick-on hook velcro, positioned at the same points as the vertical cover strips (front only), with 3"-4" pieces of black sew-on loop velcro to serve as the actual straps. 


EDIT: DO NOT USE STRAPS FOR THE BACKS OF THE THIGHS! Disregard that part of my pictures. The leg stretches too much and there is a ripping sound with every step. Front straps were quite sufficient.






Before using a one-inch piece of black stick-on hook velcro to attach to the cod plate and posterior plates, I test fit everything on my son and only removed the sticky backing of those past pieces as I was ready to attach them to the cod plate and posterior plate. It helped to make sure that the front vertical cover strips were not directly to the front, but that the thighs were rotated a little so that the front cover strips were pointed outward a little. Even then, there is a little overlap with the cod plate, but perfectly acceptable.






(I still think I maybe should have taken another inch off the kidney plate, but I think I'll let it slide for growing into. :) )


EDIT: After watching Vincent try to walk around in this, I decided to extend the rear thigh straps to about 6"-7" remove the rear thigh straps completely. It works perfectly well only attached in front to the cod plate. I might even remove them entirely, as they restrict movement a bit.


Hope that all made sense! Lower legs next!




Edited by Astyanax
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