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ATA ANH Stunt Build - Thorough Walkthrough from a Beginner

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Thanks for sharing your experience. I have an ATA bucket as well I've just started and I was hesitant to go the heat gun route, but you made seem easy enough I'm going to give it a try.



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Thanks for sharing your experience. I have an ATA bucket as well I've just started and I was hesitant to go the heat gun route, but you made seem easy enough I'm going to give it a try.



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Hey George,


Yeah, I was a little hesitant for a heat gun too as this is my first project using one. Most people used a heat gun or a searing iron in the tutorials I read, and with heat guns they recommended underheating compared to overheating. I kept it on low heat the entire time and tried to evenly heat it with an oven mitt on the other side. I didn't push at all so I didn't leave a thumb print, and just applied a small bit of pressure while and after heating it. I kept the pressure up until it cooled and didn't have any problems. I just heated a heat gun on the lenses, which was a little more difficult. I'll post my experiences with that now. 

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I got home from work and went straight to work on the lenses. These proved to be a little more difficult than I expected, so I can see why people don't go for this route, but rather go for a full installation of a large green sheet (or just glue it in). But hey, I think this way looks nicer, and was a little more challenging, and I'm up for a challenge. 


So onto the lenses:


First I tried the boiling water technique. I read that you should boil the lenses for approximately 30 seconds until they are "soft", don't use tongs as they will leave a mark, and don't apply too many pressure. 



However, I boiled it for 4 minutes and when I pulled it out, the spoon was hot as well, but the lens was never soft enough to shape. Well, at that point, I decided to go with the handy heat gun instead. I used low heat again, heated it for approximately 2-3 minutes, and then just placed it onto the eye slot and gently pushed down on the edges. My first one I tried, I pushed on the entire lens and got more of the hero "bubble" look, which stunt's don't want. So the next two I did, I only pushed on the edges and it worked perfectly. Once shaped, I placed it on the eye, used my phone's flashlight function to see through the lens, and marked with a sharpie where the lens was over the hole. Then I drilled through the lens, which wasn't very difficult either. 




Now with both done, I installed them into the eyes, and left a small gap as I heard this helps with airflow and prevents fog ups. 



One thing to note, if you look at the right eye, near the nose, as I was screwing in the other one, the pressure popped the tower off. This is because i painted it first. In hindsight, I should have sanded off the paint before I glued, but I didn't. The others seem to hold, so when I removed the lens for safe keeping, I sanded and glued it back down. Easy fix, but just a little annoying.


Now here's final pictures of the eyes, and the whole face. 





I tried it on, and it's perfect to see through with no distortion. The lenses are extremely easy to add and remove with the screw system. And I also don't get any fogging for the 5 minutes I wore it around the house.


At this point, I've put off the ears as long as I can, but I think all that's left is the ears before painting! So next post will be ears, but for that.... I'll need a full day probably. Talk to you all soon!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay! Don't you love how busy life gets and then you don't have time to build. Well, I'm on the ears, and seems like every time I find myself with a decent chunk of time, something comes up. So I've started the ears maybe 4 different times this week, but this is really a one sitting kinda job. 


So let's see, where to start: 


First I trimmed the excess material from the ears, and then drilled a 7/64 hole in two locations to match the size of the screws that came with the ATA kit. The hole locations are very easy to find on the ATA. 



Then I begin to countersink the holes. As so many have warned in the past, please DO THIS BY HAND. Do not use a drill, it will grab the hole and you will have a gigantic hole after that. 



In the above picture, you can see the different in the top hole from the bottom hole. I went about 3/4th of the way in to make sure the screw is somewhat flush. It will stick out a little but when you tighten it down, you won't even see it. Just don't go all the way through.


Using other build threads and the ATA lines as guidance, I went ahead and trimmed a lot off. You'll need to adjust it A LOT, but this will save me time with the dremel. 



After smoothing it out with the dremel, I tested it's fit and guess what? It doesn't fit at all. That was fully expected. So from here, I will direct you to Gazmosis's ear tutorial, which is fantastic. 


I followed it exactly, so no point in me reiterating exactly what he has written. But the short version is that you place the ear onto the helmet and trim so very lightly where the ear touches the helmet to get the gaps to become closer to the helmet. Once all the touching areas are trimmed, the gaps will be closed. Also, it is important to note, that work a little on the left side of one ear, then switch to the right side (or front and back of the ear, depending on what you're calling it). Anything you alter on one side will affect the other side. Often, I had a gap on the front that wasn't closing, and then I trimmed the other side and it closed.


For this, I mainly used the dremel and removed material very slowly. It's easy to get impatient, but the slowness is definitely rewarded. Only use the dremel for a few seconds, trim one area at a time, and check the fit after every dremeling. 


I'm happy to answer anyone's questions on this part too.


I started the dremeling of the ears at 6pm today and finished around 8. So it's not a quick process. Here's my floor to show you how much I had to trim from one ear:



And of course, always wear eye protection:



So my ear ending up looking like this: 





This was after sanding it to a nice finish too. Also, don't forget to add a notch to the top as there are two different layers on the helmet:



So using the pencil markings of the shape of the ears on the helmet. I lined up the ear on the helmet and used a mechanical pencil pushed all the way out to mark the drill holes:



So now I drill those holes. I do not drill the bottom hole yet.



Once I get the top two secured, I pull down and push with my thumb on the lower part to get the fit perfect, then I drill through all three layers at once. Then I counter sink that one while attached:




I'd say I'm pretty happy with this fit. It's not perfect, but it's pretty darn close.





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I had some extra time this morning, so I started on the left ear. With the left ear comes some good news and some bad news. The good is that I've already done the right ear, so I can leverage that experience and cut a little more confidently. However, the bad news is that the left side was the one I had to heat up to get it to match. So.. that being said, it isn't as easy to fit the curve as the right side and since it's a little more wonky. 


I won't bore you guys with the pictures of each step as they are the exact same as the previous ear, so here's the final ear (before sanding)





And the notch is a little larger on this because of how my helmet sits (again, wonky left side). 



Then I sanded, drilled the holes (mechanical pencil method), assembled, and drilled and countersunk the bottom screw. Here's what I got:



Not sure why I didn't take a picture of the gap, but it's better than the right side. Here's the final helmet:





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