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Lard Assvader

First Order Stormtrooper EVA Foam Build...on a teeny budget

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So my son says he wants to join the local Starwars club (Norwich Starwars club). He wanted to troop as a first order storm trooper...No problem I thought. Then i started researching it and the £s piled up and up and up. My hat goes off to the people on here that have ploughed so much lolly into their builds but unfortunately this was not an option I could afford. So my research led me to the EVA foam builds, It looked good and there are plenty of tutorials...if you want to build an Ironman costume...I asked him...he didn't. And so this build is gonna be flying blind, good old fashioned trial and error. What doesn't kill you makes you angry and throw it across the room etc etc. 

I also live in the UK where the majority of the supplies suggested in these forums and builds are not available...or they cost a fortune. 

 

The budget is teeny as the title implies...Im aiming for under £100. But in order to do that I have to state right now that this will be a build of compromise. It will be using my creative mind and skills to bend the rules and apply artistic licence. But at the same time I don't want my son standing at an event with a suit that looks like its made from drainpipes and cereal boxes. It is gonna be a blend of spending here and there and bending here and there.

 

Here we go then. Step one...big bucks. £30 on a Rubies Stormtrooper Helmet. Its ok, I've seen bad reviews but i think its pretty good. Later i will stick the halves together, throw some filler at it and give it a shiny coat. Next spend was £15 for 12sq meters of EVA foam floor tiles. Well i expected things to go wrong but not quite this soon. The tiles are SOOOOOOO thick, about 12-15mm and the pattern on the back is some huge, non slip diamond design...big mistake. Oh well, I press on...how hard can it be to sand this s@$t down...

 

Hmm...lets start easy. Starting off with the shoulder bell. Im using the 501st picture guide for my armour pieces. Started by making a paper version which kinda looked ok then transferred to the GIANT SUPER FAT foam. The little indents are to help line up the two halves when gluing...saw it on youtube...also saw a cat playing the piano but thats not important right now.

 

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Who knew that foam could be so hard to cut? Not only is my knife now blunt but the bits i have cut out are as bumpy as Keith Richards face. The next process was to heat the little buggers and form them to the correct shape. I used a bowl to do this but other types of crockery are available. Then using some EVOSTICK Impact cement (£3.50) stuck them together and then reshaped. I also cut the over lap detail as shown below. Yes there a massive seam down the middle i hear you cry...Well its trial and error...its really hard to stick two bits of foam together! I will deal with that when it comes to painting and finishing.

 

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It may not be much of a start but its a start. You can't make a cake without breaking the law or something like that.

Edited by Lard Assvader
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Impressive! Before I joined the 501st I also made a foam trooper costume, luckily you won't have to build the helmet like I did. 

 

Foam is certainly hard to get used to, I recommend getting some of these..

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ULSHD8S/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=sl1&tag=thevtech-20&linkId=2f0155095ec3ec1f77b33e02534c3631

 

and a sharpener to make sure you always get a clean cut..

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000WALUV6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=sl1&tag=thevtech-20&linkId=b249fcaf184cc52044473f7dbefda0fd

 

While this certainly isn't the cheapest route you can go, it will save you A LOT of time cleaning up edges afterward.

 

Cheers and good luck! 

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Well Day 2...Armour piece no.2...just had a number 2...Time for The Chest plate. By now you will probably have guessed that i made two shoulders...it was fairly obvious I needed two. As mentioned earlier I am flying blind on this one. I have lots of pics from various angles and of course this site is a pretty good place to get decent images. You may say why am I not going down the Pepakura route...because I a. Don't have a printer b. Don't have any paper and c. I may have mentioned this but the foam i bought is as thick as a house brick.

 

The problem is I kinda want to wear this suit too. My son is a 14 year old chap who is quite slim...very slim. Im a little older and look like I'm the first man to get pregnant. I may have to make two...one with elastication...and breastfeeding flaps.

 

So using the same method of making a paper template we ploughed on. Here is a pic my son want to show to prove he helped.

 

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What resulted from a 3 hour session was...well...AWFUL. It was rough, badly spaced out and just generally AWFUL. It looked like stormtrooper training bra. We quickly agreed that this should be a practice one and chucked it over the neighbours fence.

 

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Back to the drawing board. It was then a case of adjusting the template and taking a bit more care. You can see that we have also started work on the shoulder yoke, didn't take a pic though.

 

image_zpscylr1zqo.jpeg

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Moving on...the back and the shoulder Yoke. MY GOD. How the chuff am i gonna recreate this out of foam? The pics show how the back plate and yoke join but this is just impossible to do in GIANT FAT SUPER CHUNKY foam so here comes the compromise. I got the basic shape right for both and the glued the yoke slightly below the top of the back plate...yes it looks like pretty darn awful right now but bear with me...it may look worse later. Added a bit of detail to the back with a hole saw and recessed the 11 design and stuck it in place. the yoke straps tuck nicely under the chest plate. Further adjustments were made to the back as in this pic it comes down to far.

 

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The chest plate lines up nicely with the back plate and I will velcro them together down the road.

 

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So far I've used 4 mats, 8 to go. By my calculations i should have enough but I am not allowing for the 400 mistakes i will make by the end.

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Ok so I looked at the belly plate and cried. Actual Man tears. In fact they were probably baby tears. Not only are there recessed arches but there are three raised vertical ridges at strategic points. Oh and there are boxes stuck to it too. Well once the tears had dried I started by measuring it out and then forming the vertical ridges by cutting a strip the width of a ruler then on the reverse side cutting grooves which were then stuck together to form the arching shape. Sounds hard? It was. Three of these little monkeys. I then stuck these inline with the rest of the bely plate, putting a lot of trust in the glue. The recessed arches were achieved by cutting them out, recessing them back slightly and then sticking in place...whilst leaving the areas where the boxes were to go, unrecessed. I then had a mental breakdown. 

 

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Edited by Lard Assvader
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Day 4 in the Big Brother House and Richard has made a fort out of the foam...When i close my eyes I see foam.

 

Im working pretty methodically, working down the body. So next in line is the biceps. This is where it went from being a suit we could both wear to a suit for my son. BOOOOO. My physique is exactly like Arnold Shwarzeneger...but without the muscles. But my sons bicep area is smaller than mine...What fit onto his arm, got stuck at my elbow. Below you can see the process of building the bicep. its like a maths problem for each piece, my brain aches. And you can see how i made my next big mistake. The paper version was just the right size so i drew round it and cut it out. The foam being SUPER MASSIVE BRICK sized foam was OBVIOUSLY going to make to interior diameter much smaller...i didn't think of that though. These could be a remake if i have enough foam at the end. 

 

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But they look pretty good in place with the rest of the armour. Its a maybe.

 

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That Chest plate needs a bit of work, curving over a little...HEAT GUN!

 

image_zpszdgkrsau.jpeg

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This is an amazing looking build mate. To think you are tackling this as a first build is very impressive. I am full of admiration for you. I once made Morph out of plasticine and was pretty pleased with myself. This is a whole other level. I cannot wait to see this finished. DO NOT GIVE UP!

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If you leave it black, paint the helm, and add the red chest bits he could be an elite.

And make sure he joins the galactic academy as well.

Edited by sylverbard
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Moving on down the arms to the dreaded forearms. This is another piece full of detail, angles, flaps and whistles. Tackled this fairly methodically, recessing parts, using the heat gun to create grooved details and just a smudge of compromise...ok a spade full. I built my own twist on the greeblies which once painted and softened should look good. Hardest part was getting the square shape of the arm whilst maintaining a curve whilst using thick foam. Im pretty happy with the result, they do look a little chunky but thats the darn compromise. 

 

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The worst bit about the forearms is that there are two of them...

 

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Still had some detail to add to the arms which isn't shown in these pics. This is before adding the contours, squaring it off and sanding the edges to ATTEMPT to hide the thickness of the foam. In this pic you can see I have now added the boxes to the belly plate too.

 

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Let the records show that today was a DISASTER...DIS...a@se...TER.

 

Thought i wold tackle the lower back and thermal detonator. So began by using a piece of plumbing pipe and forming a tube which made the detonator, then forming my interpretation of the back plate to hold it. Its my interpretation because once again it is an incredibly difficult if not impossible design to create from these dreadful foam floor tiles. This is rapidly becoming a hate thread for my foam floor tiles. Well it took me ages. It was a combination of tricky cuts, clever gluing, mind numbing sanding, bits thrown across the room, therapy sessions and tea. The result was a passable thermal detonator piece...passable if you like stuff that is MASSIVE. I don't...apart from cakes.

 

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I was happy enough with the shape but the size was ridiculous. That detonator could've taken out the Forest moon of Endor...They could've saved money on the Death Star and used my Thermal Detonator. Needless to say I filed this one in the bin.

 

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I then had a day off. Partly to let my rage subside but mostly cos i had hurt my back lifting the massive thermal detonator. With fresh eyes and clear head i decided to use the plumbing pipe as the core of thermal detonator, yes its a little small in diameter but it worked out well. using the same techniques as yesterday I was able to knock it together pretty quickly and am much happier with the result.

 

image_zpsokesvll9.jpeg

Edited by Lard Assvader

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And so on to the CROTCH. The Cod piece. This was particularly awkward drawing a paper template in close proximity to my sons crotch. Perhaps I should have waited until he was awake but it's easy to say that once the deed is done. 

 

This was pretty easily formed, got the basic shape, heated it then used the inside of a bowl to form the curved section. As parts go this is probably the best one!

 

image_zpsocquzsgz.jpeg

Edited by Lard Assvader

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Sanding foam is a nightmare. It goes all bobbly and rough. Believe me I tried, hand sanding, power sanding, wet and dry. So i decided to try coating the foam first then sanding the coats. Gave the shoulder bell two coats of PVA (£3.99) which really seemed to smooth it out. Gave it a light sand with wet and dry and was pretty happy with it. The seam is less of a seam but unfortunately is still there. I may return to it.

 

So on to Paint. Now all the EVA foam tutorials say to use Plasticoat spray. "Just give it 3 coats of Plasticoat and then one clear coat" is the usual advice. Well as mentioned I live in the UK and whilst I can get my hands on Plasticoat, it costs a fortune. Each piece needing 3 coats is gonna add up so very quickly. So here comes the next budget move, and bearing in mind my running total is £52.49 i still need to be a bit tight with the dough. So in my garage i found a tin of quick dry gloss white. Worth a shot. Gave it two coats and am pretty pleased with how it turned out. Will need another coat but I now intend to paint the rest of the bits i have made to give me an idea of how it is looking. 

 

image_zps5dyyzsmu.jpeg

Edited by Lard Assvader

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At this point the under suit arrived. Yes i forgot to mention that i had ordered one. Ebay Mens thermal underwear £3.50!!! Bargain. My head is trying to work out how to do the elbow, knee, shoulder and neck GASKETS on a budget...would appreciate any ideas on this one?

 

But with the suit on the pieces i have painted are really starting to POP. This gives me a bit of heart that this won't go straight in s skip when its done.

 

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The keen eyed amongst you will see that i have bought my own helmet for later!

Edited by Lard Assvader

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I buy my Plastikote spray from B&M... £4.99 a can.

Edited by humperdingle

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SAY WHAT!?...bit late now but i will check it out. I think it will still amount to a lot of cans... is it good stuff? 

Yep, I used it for the shock trooper. Might be even cheaper in Screwfix!

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Bought some velcro today and went velcro crazy. Chest plate now velcros at the top to the yoke and to the back plate under the arms. The belly plate was next which included mounting for the thermal detonator,

 

image_zps2evqfoxk.jpeg

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On to the thighs. This is quite possibly the hardest piece of all, The contours, size and general design just don't seem to want to be made from foam. I found this really hard, The template below shows how many time i adjusted, added bits and used trial and error to the max. 

 

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In the end I had to go down the route of doing my best. They look ok...but to be honest they have been added to my list of bits to do again if i have enough foam at the end...its getting to be a long list!

 

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Edited by Lard Assvader
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Time to tackle those arms. Gave them the old 2 coats of PVA and 2 coats of Gloss. Today was a chuffing hot day which resulted in lots of runs, today was a 4 on the happiness scale.

 

You can kind of see the homemade Greeblies and the squaring off of the fore arms.

 

image_zpsoqpmptuu.jpeg

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And i thought the Thighs were difficult. The calves posed a new problem of how to get them over his foot. The only solution was to leave it open on the inside leg and use white velcro straps to do it up. The calves are another piece that has flowing curves which is extremely difficult to do. I once again gave it my best shot. I moved on to the ankles and decided after much deliberation to have them as part of the calf, As you can see in the pic they look ok, although once again I am fighting against the thickness of the foam.

 

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Edited by Lard Assvader

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Knocked out a couple of hand plates and then laid it all out to see how it was going so far. The armour looks like its desperate for the toilet but apart form that I'm reasonably happy.

 

In shot you can see the Nerf Blaster that my son ordered. It was £39.99...technically he bought it with his money so not entirely sure whether it belongs on the grand total!

 

I shall be Modifying the blaster very soon!

 

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Moved on to the belt next. To begin with I had an old belt so money saved straight away! Then found an old digital camera case with a belt loop! the gods were smiling today. Made the boxes pretty simply and made the decision to stick the crotch and Butt plate to the inside of the belt. The crotch works well although will probably need velcro at the bottom to prevent raising up! But the Butt plate doesn't look right..will probably need to trim this or go back to the drawing board.

 

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I then spent one of the hottest days of the year doing the rest of the painting, at least to second coat stage. Then it was time for a try on. Im pretty happy with it to be honest, still got issues with the Buttplate and the back needs a bit of heating a reshaping but generally happy with it. Fast approaching having to deal with the GASKETS at the elbows etc which i still haven't really got any ideas for.

 

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I suppose the most important thing has to be is my son happy with it...He is. In fact the next day he went and stood at the end of the driveway and waved to cars telling them to 'Move along."

 

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Edited by Lard Assvader
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