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ATA ANH Stunt Build - Thorough Walkthrough from a Beginner

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Hi all, 


Welcome to my first official build. I was lucky to get a friend's spot on ATA's waitlist, so my kit arrived much sooner than I expected! Everyone is so correct: it is very daunting on where to start. 


So.... I decided to start by spending money! Off to Home Depot, Michael's, and Joann's! Here's a list of what I bought:

  1. 8 Metal Steel Clamps
  2. A Utility Knife and Blade Set
  3. Hobby Knife with various blades
  4. 4 three-packs of neodymium p52 magnets
  5. 150 grit sandpaper with a block to attach it to
  6. Black Industrial Velcro: 15 ft at 1 inch. 
  7. Blue Painters Tape
  8. Straight edge Ruler
  9. 3 sets of Heavy Duty Snaps 5/8 inches. (and all three stores I went to were sold out of the tool!!)
  10. Black Elastic: 2 inch
  11. Black Elastic: 1 inch
  12. White Elastic: 1 inch. 
  13. Dremel-3000 ( I have ALWAYS wanted one of these, so great excuse to get one).

So I realized that Home Depot was expensive, but nice to see everything in person. However, they were missing a few things I needed. In the future I would just order from Amazon. So... what do I do next: SPEND MORE MONEY! So I went to Amazon this time.


  1. White Velcro 10' x 1" Industrial Strength
  2. Dritz Heavy Duty Snap Fastener Plier Kit (for 5/8")
  3. Lexan Body Scissors (two pack with curved and straight).. I hear these are very helpful. 
  4. 2 sets of 10 neodymium magnets 1/2" N48 (I realized I need WAY more of these to speed up the build). 
  5. G&F CutSheild "Butcher's Glove" (Safety First).
  6. 3 more sets of snaps (I wanted leftovers for my next build!)

So let's see.. should I start building... or should I shop more? I voted shop more! So onto TrooperBay.com:

  1. Humbrol Admiral Gray Paint
  2. Humbrol French Blue Paint
  3. Humbrol Gloss Black (I didn't see the Satin Black.. do you think this will be a problem?)
  4. Humbrol White (i hear a coat of this over the painting templates help a lot)
  5. Paint Thinner Clear (for those mess ups on the templates)
  6. Trooper Helmet Masking Templates for ATA, Standard
  7. Accurate Nickle Split Rivets and Washers (I saw someone on here offer them too)
  8. Trooper Frown Screen
  9. White Flexible hand guards!!
  10. Accurate Gloves!

So with that... I think I have just about everything I need. So should I start building yet? 




Haha, well it was late last night so I decided to make a few more fun purchases first. 


On the forums, I have found some very helpful sale threads (like this one: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/20869-combined-on-going-accessories-listing/).Also in the general classified I saw some cool things. So I picked up the following:

  1. Evil Boy fans for my bucket
  2. Evil Boy Thermal Detonator Clips
  3. 2 Sets of RedForce's Webbing Snap Plates (30 in each set; http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/26931-webbing-snap-plates-30-piece-set/);also with 4 shoulder double snap pieces. 
  4. TKittell's canvas belt. White color. 
  5. E-11 Grade A with accurate D-ring and power cylinders from Hyperfirm (classifieds)
  6. DLT-19 Grade B from Hyperfirm (classifieds)

After blowing about two paychecks, I think I'm good to go! The only remaining items I can think of are:

  1. Nice holster (I love Gazmosis's but he's not doing a run currently so I may wait).
  2. A good neckseal (I have an old one but may want to upgrade). 
  3. Boots (I emailed TK boots but he doesn't have any in stock currently). 

So let me know if I'm missing anything, so I can pick it up. 


While I was doing my buying, I was researching the hell out of this build. I think I read about 30 build threads. It was most helpful to see where people had problems and how the community came to their aid offering advice and suggestions. I started a nice word document of helpful tips I've been reading. I have pandatrooper's and gazmosis's build threads bookmarked, along TrooperBay's youtube series open, and a few others like MechaPumpkin and Russellr2d2 who have some nice detail in their posts. 


So I guess all that's left is to start building. I would like to wait until my amazon order gets here as the Lexan scissors would be helpful and the butcher's glove would be safe, but I doubt I can wait that long. So I'll start on the forearms first and post some pictures soon. Thanks everyone and follow along if you'd like!




Tip so far: Research!! Learn from people's mistakes on what worked and what didn't before you buy anything. This will help in making decisions on how you strap things and how you are building. Also utilize the on-going runs. I originally had webbing in my Amazon cart for 15 bucks. Yeah it was 10 feet or so, but purchasing from RedForce saved me a little money and a lot of work, while still helping out the community. So utilize the community as much as you can. 







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You are prepared just perfectly. Wow. I was not nearly as prepared as you are. Not at all...!


You will run into some issues for sure but you already minimized that possibility to The lösest.


One tip i can give you: Get a iron. Sealing iron or whatever you guys in the us call that. If you wanna go super accurate you need to modify your thigh and the belly with the iron.

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Thanks for the tip on the sealing iron, ex507! That's probably a smart move. 


I started cutting the shims out for the forearm first. From other tutorials I marked off a 5/8" shim and scored it with my razor. It took about 5-6 scores before I was able to bend it, and when I was finished, I realized it wasn't perfectly straight. Trusty, sandpaper came to rescue, and I used it to sand down the uneven section. I'm happy with how it looks now. I don't quite trust myself making a straight cut with scissors, so I tried using the ruler as a template, securing it with magnets, but as I cut, the blade attracted the magnets, causing it to shift a bit--and thus, my non-perfect cut. I've seen tutorials using the painters tape as an edge to follow, so maybe I'll try that next time. I've also seen people do the ruler method with clamps, but I saw on some tutorials that they recommend not clamping without something like a popsicle stick in between. Is that true?


Oh and also, is there any difference between the sides of the ABS plastic? ATA labels them with a side B, but my side A is scratched to hell and back (arrived that way). So am I cool having side B facing front?

Edited by TaySavesTheDay
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Thats true, there is a a and b side. I remember now but i didn't really care. I decided having the more scratched side as the side i put the glue on. I sanded it a bit to give it a better texture for the glue to stick but i doubt that this is necessary.


I would suggest to cut freehand. Just don't try to be over-clean in terms of cutting. I mean... You can do that but this is not the way they did it in the movie. If you check some screen shots you will see how rough the armors are assembled. I am almost done with my ata and start roughing it up a little bit to make it look like a Trooper from the movie and not a idealized armor. But that depends on yourself...


Long story short: just cut. Measure twice, cut once. True to that. But don't worry about 100% straight lines.


But as always: my opinion!

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I really appreciate that. It's reassuring to hear someone say that it doesn't have to be perfect. I guess my worst fear is that that I cut everything, glue it together, and then people start saying "oh man, that doesn't look straight". But if people aren't going to say that, then cool, I'll try and stop being so picky. I'm working on the forearms right now, cutting little by little. I'll post again when I have some more progress (and pictures!)!

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I started my build and worked on it over the course of the this week. Here's some pictures and descriptions!



So here's a picture of my Home Depot Order. The Dremel was easily my favorite purchase so far. 


11233170_10103206477175864_9070192304419So first I painted the inside of the helmet black as so many members before me have done. I used krylon paint with primer built in. However, I was noticing a few areas had paint that was coming off easily, so I added a glossy clear coat over to seal in the color and make it really black. Now the paint wasn't going anywhere. 



10682224_10103206477305604_3881511918288So next, I lmarked off the area of the eyes on the inside that I wanted to cut. The ATA armor has really nice reference lines, so I followed those pretty closely. 



Using my handy-dandy dremel, and this awesome plastic cutting attachment, I started cutting the eyes a bit away from the lines I drew. I've learned to always remove less than you think, check, and then remove more little by little. This way I don't mess anything up. 


11216596_10103206477395424_5322124192654So here's my first cut. As you can see it's further from my line, but I'll get closer to the line with a different attachment later. The cutter is only to remove large amounts of material.




Now the eyes are cut out, but again, notice there's a gap between my pencil lines and where I used the saw. The blade also didn't cut too smoothly, so now I'll go in and clean up. 




Using my sanding attachment, I can go in and get the eyes to match my lines by taking off small bits at a time. 



Now I've matched my lines. At this point I'm happy with it, but the edges are still a little jagged. Also at this point, I used the sander to slightly remove some of the plastic on the backside of the teeth. 



So I use some 150 grit sandpaper to smooth out the eye holes. 



Now, I'm happy with the eyes. Smooth and perfect amount taken off!



And an image of the front (I also took a little more off of the teeth with the sander). 


11061322_10103206477679854_4191210571292Now here was the hard part for me. Cutting the teeth with the exacto-knife was tough, so I ended up using a "scooping" method. I stuck the knife into the hole and used it to scoop plastic off the edge. It worked great, but it left the area with some little jagged edges (see the bottom of the teeth). So at this point I had to go out and get a emery board/nail file small enough to fit in that area. 



I found this at my local Beauty Supply and it was 40 cents. It was perfect for the job!




At this point I'm happy with the teeth. I may do a little cleanup more cleanup, but let me know if there's any changes I need to make. 



So the eyes and teeth are done, onto the next steps of the helmet!!


Tip so far: The dremel has been a lifesaver in terms of cutting and slowly removing mass from areas. I don't foresee it being this useful on the rest of the build, but for the helmet (and ears I hear), it's a necessity. 

Edited by TaySavesTheDay
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IMO dremels are great for certain cuts, but sometimes a hobby knife or scissors is easier (won't run away on you!). Good job on the eyes n teeth. You could probably get away with opening the teeth more but it's up to you. Leave way more room on the ears than you think you'll need! lol

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Thanks Eric and Scott! 


I'll agree on the dremel. I enjoyed it for cutting areas that I wouldn't quite reach with the hobby knife. I ordered the Lexan scissors from Amazon but haven't received them yet, but I foresee those being a major help in the future too.


I've seen Gazmosis's build and he recommends leaving more room on the ears too. So I think I'll trim very little from there to start with. I'll work on it for a little today and see how far I can get.  

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Okay, worked on it a little more over the weekend and here's where I'm at:



I made my line across the forehead. Using Pandatrooper's build thread (among others) as a guide. I made this line 1.25" above the eyes. 



Then I cut it! 



At this point, I marked off the lines on the right (looking at it) side, and placed a hole punch right at the corner of my cut line and the trapezoid. This helps distribute stresses and prevents any cracking occurring at this point of high stress. I wanted to make it deep enough that my brow trim can reach the end of the trap as well. 



Then I did the same for the other side. I marked off the areas to cut, but due to Gazmosis's thread, I DID NOT trim the sides (or under the neck) yet. I want to check the fit before I trim anything on the sides. 



Going back outside, i trimmed with scissors and dremeled to get it perfect. 


10284993_10103221260220524_7999446366308Again for the other side.



Now, I have a flat, level brow, with no curve like the "Move Along" Trooper. 



Next I trimmed the brow trim to the right length, trimming very slowly to make sure i have no wrinkles. I also like to have the ends follow the line of the trap. 



And same for the other side. 

Edited by TaySavesTheDay
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Now this is supposedly where things get serious. I trimmed the right side according to my cut lines in my last post. But the left side (looking at it) is where you need to trim less. So I only trimmed according to what Gazmosis recommended (again see the cut lines in the previous post)



As you can see, I left a lot that wasn't trimmed (lots of bumpy parts). 



Now here's where I'm at, with some gaps between the helmet and the face plate. Now to research how to close those! haha. 

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So I took out all the screws, nuts, and washers from the ATA kit:


  1. 6 golden screws countersunk, washers, and nuts
  2. 2 larger shorter screws with washer and nuts
  3. 2 mic tips with large washers and nuts


So I used the ATA screw marks and drilled my first two holes.



I repeated this on the other side. I didn't take too many pictures of the aligning stage because other tutorials did it so well and I'm doing this while watching a movie with the gf. But I aligned the inner angle of the trapezoid with the outer edge of the eyes. Once both sides were aligned, I made three marks on the face plate, and three corresponding marks on the back piece. At this time, I made a mark through the hole in the back piece onto the face plate. I didn't clamp it as I trusted my hands. Then I did the same on the other side. I drilled these out and adjoined the two using a screw and washer and nut. AND I'M SO GLAD I DID because guess what? I forgot a very important thing. When I attached them, I had a gap between the forehead and the top of the back piece (brow was not tight). So crap.


I went back and held the brow as tight as I could and remarked the face plate, redrilled it, and then remounted it. Now everything looks SO MUCH BETTER.


It's now tight!!!



My redrilling. It's about the same on both sides. 



Right side



Left side. 


The tough part now is the overlap. I'm VERY glad I didn't trim much on either side. The right side came first, and I was able to attach the bottom screw, but it had very little area to attach to. Do you think this will be a problem in the future?




As for the left side (looking at it), they aren't quite aligned. 


The picture is a little deceiving, but the back piece (left) is sitting higher then the right, so it appears to be further off than it is. Some tutorials have used a searing iron to move it into the correct place. I've never used one, so does anyone else have any other recommendations or tips on using one? I'll leave it at this point for tonight. I still need a rivet gun to attach them permanently, and I'd like to work on the inside a bit before I marry the two pieces together officially. Any feedback would be most appreciated. Thanks!

Edited by TaySavesTheDay
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What movie? lol

Personally, I'd open some of the teeth holes just a tiny bit more until they all come riiight to the edge of the lip but without going into them. Hard to explain! "no gums" I read somewhere. Just a tiny bit more, if you ask me, but I like rectangle holes vs oval holes (look up pandatrooper's ATA lid howto, he likes ovals)

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So from the last post, we can see the left side (looking at it) had a problem with overlap:






So today I went out to Home Depot and picked up a cheap 20 buck heat gun (and a rivet gun too!). 



I put it on the low setting.. heated up very slowly from a good distance for about 10 seconds while lightly pressing on the other side while holding an oven mitt. This helped raise the bumpy part to the same plane as the rest of the helmet. Now that this was raised, it was very easy to connect the two sides with enough overlap.






Now onto the ears!!

Edited by TaySavesTheDay
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Looking good. I think you'll find when you start to get the ears fitted the cheeks move a bit more.


One trick I found helpful when fitting my ears was to fit the top bolt so that the thread is pointing outwards. That way you can easily put the ears on and off easily for test fits instead of pulling the whole helmet apart every time.


And of course you've marked the left and right ears ready for fitting. Because it would be embarrassing if you started trimming and sanding the left ear and realised it was the right ear. Not that I did that *cough* ;)

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Thanks Andrew. I am definitely following your build thread during my work. I was a little hesitant to heat the left side, but I'm glad I did; it fits so much better now. 


I'll try and follow your tip. That makes a lot of sense. I also have Gazmosis's ear tutorial open as well. 


And I'll for sure keep track of which ear is which--its important! I am trying to label everything I can, but it's very easy to get mixed up with everything going on.

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So had a little more time to work on the helmet. I feel like I've been putting in hours every night and there's still so much to do. But it's truly rewarding everytime I add something new because it looks that much more like the final product. 


So first, I decided to cut the neck trim to try it on


I drew my trim lines:


By not trimming the neck prior to assembling the two sides, I was able to get a much better match, especially on the left side. I highly recommend waiting on trimming until now. So here's the final trim:



Now, I wanted to work on the eyes before I do the ears. In hindsight, I probably should have done the eyes before I mated the two sides. But it isn't a problem doing it now, just a bit more awkward. I researched many different ways to attach the eyes, and wanted to do something a bit more cool than just screwing them into the ear screws, and I wanted to give myself the option to change them out later if needed, so I didn't want to just glue them in. 


I decided to follow gazmosis's tutorial and make little abs stands for the lenses. So first I cut about 3 square sections from the excess of the ears and glue them together:



I didn't worry too much about them all being the same size because I would trim them afterwards. 


Then I took the stack of three (glued) and drilled through the center of them. I don't have a vice (I'm doing this in my apartment) so I held them with my clamp while drilling and it worked great.



Now I made the tops to them by drilling another hole in a fourth square section and adding a screw. Then I put some glue on the bottom of the abs section, and screwed a nut onto the screw so that the glue glued the nut to the bottom of the ABS section. I used the screw so the glue wouldn't get inside of the nut ruining it, and so that my alignment would be perfect. I set these to dry.



Then I removed the screw, checked that no glue ruined it. At this point I had four tops and four three stack bottoms:



Now, I rescrewed in the screw and put the screw through the hole in the three stack I made. Then I glued the nut to the three stack.



They look kinda ugly at this point, so I took them into the backyard and dremeled them to a more uniform look with the sanding attachment:



Since the inside of my helmet is black, I painted them black (screw too):



Finally, I glued them into the inside of the helmet to hold the lenses:




When I get off work, I'll cut the lenses, heat them up to match the contour of the eyes (not bubble though) and drill at the correct attachment points. Then I'll install! 

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