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Cookie Monster's Jimmiroquai FOTK

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Hello all!  I'm embarking on my first ever Stormtrooper costume.  I'm a newbie to the entire thing, but have spent the last 4-5 months reading this forum and interacting on Facebook with the Jimmiroquai build group (which has been phenomenal btw).  My intention is to complete an FOTK before Rogue One comes out, then apply for and be officially approved to join the Ohio Garrison.  


Like others before me, I elected to go with the Jimmiroquai armor since I'm not in the 501st.  At the time I became interested, no other kits were available for sale, so I got on the waiting list over at TheRPF.  


My kit was cast at the end of May, and shipped around June 1st.  I received it around June 7th - an incredibly quick turnaround considering others have waited up to three weeks after shipping.  




My boxes arrived in great condition.  


Others have had issues with boxes arriving smashed up.  I won't post pictures of the armor laid out as others have done - nothing new to see here.  My kit is the "version 3" - and I missed the v4 kits by one month.  From what I've been able to tell, the v4 kits are lighter and have some accuracy upgrades, such as pillholes in the biceps, distinct left and right arm pieces, thinner abs, and others.  My kit did have one issue - the abs had a top-to-bottom split at the fiberglass join.  The issue was experienced by several others in the June run, and Jim immediately ordered new casts from his fiberglass shop, then shipped a new set free of charge to my doorstep - now that's customer service!



Picture of original abs, with split.  This was possibly fixable, but such a large defect was worth a replacement, and Jim didn't disappoint!


This kit does not require the same kind of prep that the original ANOVOS kits seem to have required, however there is still plenty to be done.  It's been said before, but I must reiterate that its incredibly important to wear a good quality respirator while working on this kit.  I was doing some sanding outside, and I could see the glass particles sparkling in the air via the afternoon sun as I worked.  Keep others away while doing sanding, unless they too are wearing PPE.  I also wore other PPE like goggles and a paint suit while doing some initial sanding on the interior.  As I've progressed along, I've gone with only a respirator and glasses, depending on what I'm doing.  



PPE very important when sanding and cutting this kit.  Fiberglass won't ever come out of your lungs!


Many individuals have purchased the ANOVOS FOTK helmet, however I elected to go with the mitcheg1 helmet.  I also received a jimmiroquai helmet with my kit, and I'll finish that helmet later after I get my armor done and approved.  The mitcheg1 helmet is extremely well done.  It is made of ABS, and I can't wait to finish working on it.  I started with the helmet first, cutting out the bottom and the eye areas.  



The mitcheg1 helmet with bottom cut out and eyes opened up.  Prior to any finishing



Comparison between Jimmi helmet (left) and mitcheg1 helmet (right).  The Jimmi helmet is fiberglass, while the mitcheg1 is plastic.  mitcheg also has the beak separated from the main helmet, unlike Jims.  


I think my version of the mitcheg1 helmet is at least v2, perhaps even v3.  There appears to be minimal filling/sanding that will need to be done, though I have not yet applied primer, which will be coming very soon.  I filled a few pinholes on the back, but that's about it.  


More pictures and information to follow!

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Prior to doing any filling or sanding, I used a dremel and needle files to cut out the kill stripes on the helmet.  Here's an image of the vents cut out.  Note that newer versions of the mitcheg1 helmet have the correct angle on the vents (v1 had straight-cut vents that were not exactly like the screen-used versions...see his thread for more details).


Vents cut out/open


Following this, I filled a few pinholes in the back, and areas underneath the helmet and below the brow that were caused by me when cutting out those areas. 


I'm using apoxie sculpt to fill in areas and make corrections as I move along.  



The dremel caused marks underneath the brow.  Had to fill them in and sand.



You can see the "circle" around the helmet caused by part of the dremel.  Rookie mistake easily fixed!  Parts of the helmet were thicker than others, which caused this mistake



Couple small pill holes that have been filled in (in grey).  There are so few, it shows you how clean this helmet is

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Now on to some parts of the armor.  The first step was to sand the insides of the armor to remove shards if fiberglass that, in many cases, cannot be easily seen with the naked eye.  So as others have said, don't try the armor on until you have sanded the interior and washed it off.  I highly recommend using 120 grit (or even 100 grit) sandpaper to do this job.  Anything lighter than 150 will be tear up your sponge, as I found.  Again, make sure to wear a ventilator, and do this work outside.  I also gave the exterior of all pieces a light sand as well.  



Sand the interior pieces thoroughly before putting trying them on, or you'll have fiberglass itch


As I mentioned above, give the armor a thorough rinse after sanding, even rubbing it down while its submerged to dislodge loose particles.  Wear gloves - I'm using 7mm nitrile gloves for nearly all my work.  



The armor after an initial sand and rinse


After that, I turned my focus to some cutting and filling of the main body pieces.  This work is still ongoing, so I'll update with more pictures to the thread as I make progress.  I began first with the chestplate, by using a dremel to cut out the pill holes,  I continued on and used a diamond wheel bit to help cut out the vent area.  I might do some additional work here.  I also leveraged needle files to get the lines straight.  I took my time and went very slowly to ensure I didn't chop up the chest vent.  Some people have destroyed their chest vent and had to rebuild it entirely with apoxy sculpt.  



In this picture, I had just finished the pill holes, and was just starting on the chest vent.  




Chest vent nearly completed


In general, I took my time on this area because it is perhaps one of the most visible areas on the armor, and I imagine it will be visible in many pictures one day.

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One thing I put focus on early was the gaskets.  I ordered cloth gaskets from Jimmi as part of this kit.  They aren't as screen accurate as the imperial gaskets, however they will be cooler.  This outfit is reported to be extremely hot while wearing, so I don't intend to use the rubber gaskets anytime soon.  With that said, I found that Jimmis gaskets required modification.  


Here are a couple pictures through the lifecycle of trying them on, and having my visiting-from-out-of-town sister do some sewing work for me:



Shoulders only - as you can see, they need to be brought in so they aren't loose around my biceps.  Maybe I should start lifting weights!


Jims gaskets are separated, as you can see.  The elbows connect with one velcro strap, and other purchasers of the armor have had issues with gasket falling away and exposing part of their undersuit (from a behind-view of the trooper).  I'm demonstrating how that could happen here (see the split, revealing my arm - this was a problem for some troopers).  



Demonstrating the gap that can be unintentionally exposed, depending on how they fit


So I decided that I would sew my elbows and shoulders together, since my arms aren't particularly long.  Additionally, I would bring in both the biceps and elbows so they were a little tighter to my arm.  Additionally, the knee gaskets needed to be brought in as well.  



Pinning the gaskets in place prior to sewing



She came to visit and ended up working instead!



A side shot of the completed product



Front shot of completed gaskets


As I mentioned, the knee gaskets also needed to be slightly brought in (particularly at the bottom under the knee).  The pin row in this image below marks the area that was being brought in (I didn't have a fabric pencil at the time, so that's why pins were used to show the "line")



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One more shot of me holding some of the armor up with the gaskets on.




Now, I moved back to filling and sanding exterior armor components.  The running joke on the Facebook group is that this kit is 75% filling and sanding - you get sick to death of it.  I've been working on biceps and forearms.  Other parts are filled and partially sanding, but I think there will be alot more once primer is laid down.  


First thing you have to do on the v3 kit with the biceps is trim the insides.  The bicep is a mold that fits both arms, so trimming is required.  Aviation snips are the best for the job.  Here is an image of a bicep after trimming (you can see my trim line at the top).  As you can see, pill holes will need to be drilled, and part of the diamond filled in.  



The bottom trim line is a potential cut later on when I get to the strapping, because it was relatively close to my elbow joint and it was annoying the piss out of me.  


First I filled in the diamonds on each bicep with apoxie sculpt (as well as other imperfections), and sanded.  Then I measured out where I wanted my pill holes and marked them with pencil.  I matched the sizes to the chest pill holes.  




Pill holes drilled out and dremeled.  Again, a drill, dremel, and needle files are king here.  



I've been filling in other areas of the armor that require it, and filling holes.  It seems there alot of minor imperfections around the fiberglass joins, which I guess is to be expected.  On this v3 armor, you have to fill in the bottoms of each arm, as they are casted ambidextrous.  They thus have spots for greeblies on both sides.  




More updates to follow, this brings you up to speed on my progress over the last few weeks!  

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Continued progress today on the build.  Started off with some continued sanding (it never ends).  The forearms are now ready for strapping and then primer.  You can see the filling I had to do on the bottom of the forearms.  Additionally, I did some work on the leg pieces.  The inside of the legs still need to be trimmed, but I'll be focusing on the upper half of the build before I move on to that step.  


By the way...if you don't own a detail sander, go buy one right now.  In the US, you can get a cheap one for 17 bucks at Harbor Freight, or $30 at a home improvement store.



Bottoms of forearms filled and sanded



Calfs being sanded


Now on to some slightly more fun stuff - helmet work.  The helmet has been filled and sanded, so it was time to lay down the first coat of primer on the helmet.  I used an umbrella base with a PVC pipe to balance my helmet and spray.  I'm using Rustoleum Filler Primer.  I oversprayed in one small spot (I lingered in place for about 1.5 seconds and boom....overspray), so I'll sand it and do some detail work on the helmet, as the primer shows a few lingering defects that were hard to see with the naked eye.  Before and after pictures below.





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Continued work on the build today.  Suited up the uppers for the first time today for fitting and feel.  Had my wife help tape the armor on and make some pencil marks on the armor to help me re-create how it sits when I begin the rigging process.  Here are two pictures (front and back) of how I had it setup.  I think the abs were sitting a little too low, so I'll raise them up from that position using my harness (obviously, they were not being held up by anything in this picture).






I also started the very beginnings of rigging today.  First I banged out a couple snap plates, then I used a sewing machine for the first time ever.  Let me say that manuals are a great thing!  I created a couple adjustable straps which will be used to hold up the abs.  A picture below of the completed straps, but the abs rigging system is not yet complete.  I plan to add snaps to each end of those straps, and additionally sew a connecting strap that will connect the two main straps together to keep them from sliding off my shoulders under the armor.  Additionally, I'm still planning to drop extensions down to hold up my belt...though I haven't figured that out yet.  



Using a sewing machine wasn't that bad after all!



These straps will go over my shoulders and connect on the front and back inside of the abs.  I plan to do additional work here.  

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Some additional work.  Unfortunately, with kids and other priorities, I move slowly on the build here.  I finished up the shoulder strapping system as it relates to the abs.  I have additional work to do here, as I plan to drop down 4 additional straps to act as belt loops for my leg armor belt.  Those will be sewn on at a later point (once I begin working on the lowers).  For now, here is what the strapping system looks like.  Very simple, but effective and adjustable.  










As you can see, I have not yet finished up anything else inside of the abs, including planned elastic to tighten the back of the abs.  That will be coming, I'm running out of snaps to do it right now.  Here are some pictures of how the snaps are attached inside the abs.





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How many snaps have you gone through so far Vince?


Funny you ask.  I started with 20.  I just ordered 20 more (Tandy Line 24).  I've made about 20 snap plates, but have not yet used all the original 20.  One I ruined while hammering it, and I've wasted four more in a position inside the yoke where the shoulder bells will connect.  I put them too closely together and its allowing the shoulder bells to move too much despite two strips of elastic.  I'll post a picture shortly on that.  I expect I'll need a few more, but its nice to have them on hand, because you can use them for so much.  

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Looking good! I had my suspenders like yours at first, but if you flip them around, you may find the ab piece much easier to slip into.


Agreed - I considered that idea as well, and may still do that.  I noticed the problem you describe, and was sort of playing around to see the easiest way to get in and out of them.  Also, at the moment, the tri-glides may not be in the place I want them...I want to make final adjustments when I try the armor on again.  


Honestly, my intention is to flex the abs as little as possible when putting them on, but thats kinda hard.  I'm thinking about paint issues that others have had.  One other thing I might do is just keep the front snaps disconnected until I pull the abs on, then its easy to snap them into place.  

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Earlier this week, I had what I consider the first minor "mishap" worth mentioning.  I discovered that my shoulder-bell attachment points - the snap placement inside the yoke - is not in the optimal location.  I attempted to try a different location than others have done, because I plan to use elastic straps for the shoulder bells for better range of movement.  Most others have used nylon strapping.  The poor snap location allowed too much movement in the shoulder bells when attached.  I don't want to say they were swinging around, but it was just too much for my liking.  Observe the placement in the picture below.  



The horizontal placement between the shoulder bells and the yoke allowed too much movement for my liking.


It should be mentioned that I'm using E6000 for placement of snap-plates, followed by CA Glue around the edges.  I discovered today that I could effectively use accelerator to help keep the edges down quickly.  If you live in the US, go to a Harbor Freight and buy a bunch of the little plastic clamps - they're less than $1/ea.  


I decided to rectify the issue described above by adding more snap attachment locations inside the yoke to give myself some additional options for shoulder strapping.  Today I braved the heat to do additional snap point placement throughout the rest of the upper, including the aforementioned yoke/bell issue.  Here is a picture of the placement I did today.  





Another angle, showing placement across upper-body pieces.  


The right shoulder bell above has some of my elastic straps still attached to it, in case you were wondering.  There is additional work to be done on the main chest plate, which is not pictured.  I haven't done anything there yet.  I won't place the single snap I have planned until the rest of the yoke and arms are to my liking.   


I also did some work inside the abs today so I could close the rear gap and place the cod plate.  However, I did not attempt to place the butt-plate because I didn't have help to align the snap locations.  The reason I wanted help is the opening in the back of the abs is not centered, so if you place your butt-plate based on that gap, you'll be showing off some under-armor-a very impolite person-cheeks!  



Cod attachment points show at the bottom of the abs.  Top attachment points are for the harness shared earlier in the thread


Shown below is the gap and how I plan to close it with snaps.  Some people are using magnets, but I'm going to go with snaps first and see how I like it.  I might put on the abs by slipping it over my head, arms up and into the harness.  We'll see...otherwise I'll need help putting this on, or I'll have to rotate it around my body.  




Since E6000 takes 24-72 hours to cure and it was about 95 degrees outside, I decided to switch gears to the helmet, which has been sitting for awhile.  My previous step with the helmet was priming, so now it was time for a light wet-sand with a light-grit sponge to knock off the roughness.  I used my slop sink with a small amount of water coming out of the faucet constantly on the helmet as I worked.  I worked primarily by feel, and tried to get the helmet so that it had a glass-like feel after sanding.  



Here is the helmet, still wet from the wet-sanding process


I'm not sure if I will apply another light coat of primer or not...I don't know what the best practice is here so I'll have to do some research.  There are a few more areas that need detail-filling work, so I might lay down a super-light coat one more time with an additional wet-sand.  



Helmet with beak drying outside in the 95 degree heat.  Didn't take long to dry!

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Yesterday, I checked in with progress on setting of abs and upper snap plates.  Today I focused on connecting everything together so that it fit.  I used 1" elastic strapping to connect the shoulder bells to yoke, and to connect bicep to shoulder bells.  I picked this material because it stretches and flexes.  We'll see how long it lasts and how well it does.  


Here is a picture of the things connected inside the yoke and arm pieces.  Note that the strap that runs across my chest is nylon, and NOT elastic.  I didn't want that stretching.  More pictures of that to follow.  


Yoke strapping-setup with 1" nylon straps and snaps


And here is how that strapping setup looks on me (without abs or chest plate.


Fit & feel test


At this point, I installed the aforementioned chest strap, which will connect to the chest-plate and keep it centered.  Here is what that piece looks like - again, it's nylon and not elastic.  Notice my pencil marks all over this thing so I know where everything sits when I'm not wearing it.  


Demonstrating the chest-plate centering snap/strap


With the yoke effectively finished, I switched gears to working on the abs.  My first objective was to close up the gap in the rear of the abs.  For this job, I utilized 2" elastic.  I used my sewing machine to make sure the edges were hemmed so as to prevent shredding and so forth.  I switched my needle on the sewing machine to a light needle since the fabric is thin and its a super tight stitch.  Here are the elastic pieces after sewing, but before hole punch and female snap.  The pins in the first strap represent where I planned to put my holes, based on meticulous measurements I had done prior to that.  I knew how much gap I wanted in the rear of abs, and measured center of each snap to come up with length requirements.  



2" elastic strapping to close the abs in the back


And here is the finished product.  Note that I have not yet placed the butt-armor snap-plates.  That was actually the very last thing I did this evening because I needed help to get it centered.  More on that later.  



2" elastic mounted.  It's not doing much right now, but when I put it on, it helps significantly.


The next step was to focus on the cod piece.  All the male snap plates were in-place, just needed to create two straps (again using 1" elastic w/female snap receptacle).  Here are a few pictures of that.  



Inside view of cod piece mounted to abs


Gratuitous cod-shot:


Friendly fire!  Get down!


Now it was time to suit-up and see how everything looked!  I'm going to share two pictures - one showing the chest-strap, and one with me holding the chest-plate up.  At this point, I had not yet glued the centering snap-plate to the chest itself, which is why I'm holding up the chest in the second pic.



Suiting up with what had been done today (minus chest plate)


Now showing chest-plate:


Holding up chest plate for look & feel


Finally, when my wife got home, I was able to get some help with the butt-armor placement, and laying down some glue on snap plates was the last thing I did this evening.  I'll create butt-straps tomorrow, and a third strap that connects the cod to the butt-plate.  



Gluing and holding in place the butt-armor snap-plates.  I also glued the chest-plate center snap at this point, but no pic to share.

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I was able to get some additional work done on the upper tonight.  Two objectives - continue strapping, particularly connecting the chest plate to the rest of the body / armor, and then attaching butt-plate to abs and cod pieces.  I started first on the chest plate.


The first step was to apply the soft part of the velcro to the insides of the chest plate and the yoke.  



Female-half velcro added (dabs of CA glue on the sticky side and along edges).  This was also done on the yoke side


Next step was to create elastic velcro pieces.  I used 2" white elastic which could potentially be visible from the outside of the armor as I move inside of it.  But I used black velcro to match up.  I again utilized the sewing machine to do this work.


First, I hemmed the ends, as they'll be exposed to rubbing and possible fraying.


Elastic hemmed


Then, I cut sewable (non-sticky-back) male-side velcro pieces, and sewed them onto each side of the elastic.  All the rough edges face towards the armor wall and not the body, including the raised side of the hem.  



Completed elastic velcro strap, which will bring together the chest plate and abs underneath my arms.  


I created two of these straps, and that occupied a great bit of the evening.  Here are a few pictures of how it looks completed.



Completed strap hanging out on the yoke side of the armor



Here the armor plate isn't perfectly lined up, but you get the idea.  I wasn't being a perfectionist here for the shot - it will line up correctly if the helper connects the velcro properly.  


And finally - here is a picture of me with the armor on after the velcro work done tonight.  I still need to do additional strapping work...I'm planning to install magnets as the final step to connect the chest plate to the yoke, then I'll be completed with upper armor strapping.  I still have to extend straps on my harness to the thigh belt, but I haven't started that part of the armor yet.  




There was about 25 minutes left in my night after this, so I moved on to creating some elastic snap straps to connect my butt-plate armor to the abs, and then connect the cod to butt-plate underneath legs.  Mission is a success - here is how the strapping setup currently looks in my abs:




Signing off for the night!

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Unfortunately, very little could be accomplished this weekend due to some other priorities.  However, I did some work on the mitcheg1 helmet.  


I noticed that the beak was not sitting very well on the helmet.  Upon close inspection, several areas required sanding to improve the lay of the beak on the helmet.  In particular, the left side (when facing the helmet) of the beak needed 1-3mm taken off.  Additionally, the angle on that side of the beak did not match the right side very closely.  This was easily rectified by some sanding with heavy grit sandpaper, followed by gradually lighter grits to smooth things out.  


In the picture below, I've circled the areas where I had the most trouble with fit, and this picture was taken after sanding and rinse.  




After rinse and dry, I mounted helmet for final coat of primer.  



Prior to final coat of primer



After final coat of primer, still drying


You can see in the picture above, I also applied a light coat of primer to the thermal detonator.  Interesting note - many people have reported that their thermal detonators will require significant refinishing (filling, sanding, etc.).  However, my thermal det appears to be in very good condition, with almost no filling required.  I'll wait overnight for it to dry for a closer inspection, but I don't have the kind of air bubbles on the thermal detonator seen in other parts of the armor.  



Beak drying in the sun


I'l wet sand tomorrow with 300-500 grit paper, and then this helmet will be ready to paint!

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Continued work on the mitcheg1 helmet this evening.  Wet sand, followed by air dry.  Then, preparation for painting. which consisted of taping off all areas of the black.  


My plan for painting will be as follows:

  1. Paint inside of helmet black (probably only one coat)
  2. Paint outside of helmet white (areas that are black are covered with tape).  Multiple coats will be laid down on the exterior
  3. Hand-paint black areas of exterior  
  4. Gloss-coat (potentially multiple coats)
  5. Clear-coat (multiple coats)

I expect there to be some wet sanding in between coats with super-fine grit sandpaper (600-1000 grit).  I'm not sure that I plan to put this level of effort into other parts of the armor, but we'll see.  I do want it to look nice.  


I found out this evening that it's all about preparation.  Painting is the 'easy' part.  It took me about 90 minutes to get this taping job done.  I used a combination of painters tape (blue), and automotive refinishing masking tape (yellow).  The automotive tape evidently sticks better and prevents leakage past the tape line - or so I've read.  I used it primarily for the edges.  The blue tape was used to fill large space where risk of leakage was limited.  I put tape on the outside and inside of the helmet.  I plan to paint the inside black, as I mentioned above, so I covered some areas in the helmet to allow for gluing of helmet pads later, plus covering the vents which should be all white from the outside.  









Rear of helmet



Covering eyes and vents to prevent black from escaping out to the front of the helmet



The painters tape around the bottom exterior of the helmet is to prevent black paint from touching areas that will be white.  I plan to spray the inside black first, then I'll remove this tape to paint the exterior white.  The tape at the top of the helmet is for easier gluing of helmet pads


Depending on humidity and weather, I'll spray the interior of the bucket tomorrow evening.  

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