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Cricket's WTF Hero Build (even more TK for the Vertically Challenged)


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Oh, hi there, me again.  I began my white armor journey intending on building a Hero TK- namely a Luke suit.  Along the way, things happened, things didn't happen, and over one year later, I ended up building a Stunt TK.  Still, I never gave up on my dream to build a proper Hero Luke suit.  Below are shortcuts to my build, and if you want to see the unboxing, just keep scrolling down.  Thanks for stopping by!


Thread Shortcuts for The Chronically Impatient or Short of Time
Trim Guide for Short TKs

Making Initial Cuts

Cover Strippin'



Shin Assembly

Magnetic Shins Part 1: Building Buttons

Magnetic Shins Part 2: Shaping the Shins (with Bonus Small Person Thigh Sizing!)

Magnetic Shins Part 3: Making ABS Hole Strips and Installation

Magnetic Shins Part 4: Making Holes in the Shins, Prepping Magnet Buttons, and Cover Strip Installation

Magnetic Shins Part 5: Gluing Magnets on the Inside of the Cover Strip

Magnetic Shins Part 6: Attaching the Magnet Buttons

DIY Shin Stirrups (such easy, much awesome, wow)


Torso Bits and Pieces
Trimming Ammo Pack, Ab Buttons, and Drop Boxes

Further Mods to the Ab Button Plates

Slice the Cod!

Shaping Shoulder Straps and Biceps

Resizing the Chest Like TK Luke

Making a Return for the WTF Butt Plate

Cutting Down the Kidney and Rebuilding the Return

First Torso Fitting: Back Plate Sizing, Kidney and Ab Shaping in Hot Water Bath

Flattening and Reinforcing Returns on the Kidney and Butt Plate

Trimming and Hot Water Bath for the Butt Plate

Butt Plate and Kidney Bracket Installation

Ab/Kidney Split Rivet Connections and Ab/Kidney Tab
Hot Water Bath and Heat Sealing Iron to Improve Kidney Return
Reducing Kidney Width, New Kidney Notch
Curving the Belt and Ammo Pack

Ab and Kidney 2.0- Hot Water to Shape Things Up (let's do this again, shall we?)


Sizing the Kit Down for an Even Smaller TK
Smaller TK Initial Fitting (Look at that Back Plate!)
*NEW!* Second Fitting for Smaller TK (Fine Tuning Limbs to Torso)



Forearm Sizing for Smaller TKs

Shaping Shoulder Straps and Biceps
Increasing the Size of the Biceps

Making Reinforced Shoulder Straps

How To Make ABS Reinforced Snaps for Elastic Strapping


Display Your TK!

DIY PVC Mannequin Frame (Parts List Included!)



Well, today my dream becomes a reality!  After almost 12 weeks of waiting, my WTF Hero TK kit arrived in the mail today.  Horray!  BBB #2!



The opening...




Checking that everything is in there...



I have to say, I'm a big fan of the S trim included with this kit.

And the Hero face.  Yay, I don't have to modify the teeth!!!



Included with the kit were an extra pair of shoulder straps, two extra sets of Hero ears, and lots of extra ABS for outer cover strips.  Sweet!

A Hero build is a little different than a Stunt build, with the differences mostly with the helmet (three-bar ears, six teeth), and with the number of rivets on the holster (4 instead of 2).

I'm planning on taking this kit to Centurion, then modifying it after to a proper Luke suit. The difference between a Hero and a Luke Hero is in little things that most people won't notice or care about, but can't be cleared for Centurion.  So what does a Luke suit have that a Hero doesn't? (Upper level guidelines don't recognize individual characters here, or so I've been told!)

A Luke suit has: 

  • two left forearms
  • two left shoulder bells
  • grappling hook and comlink
  • shortened back
  • no return on bottom of the back
  • no return at the bottom of the chest
  • some inner bracket strapping, some glued elastic strapping

I'm sure I'm forgetting some additional things (it's been a while since I started doing research on this, and I can't remember every detail at the moment), but that's the gist of it.  The only things that won't take the Luke to Centurion are the two left forearms, I think.  I made sure that a right forearm was included with my kit, though.


My biggest challenge that I can see so far with this kit is with the kidney/butt plate.  I wasn't expecting it to be all in one piece, and I'll have to cut them apart.  Cutting them isn't the problem.  It's that I'm going to have to rebuild the return at the top of the butt plate in order to accommodate the wire bracket strapping.  There will be almost no return on those areas once they've been separated.  *sigh*  I'm going to have to cut a few inches from the bottom of the kidney and rebuild that return anyhow, so I expected that.  Just not the butt plate return.  Oh well, what's one more return when I have to make so many new ones anyways?  haha...

I promise that I won't post nearly as much as I did with my RS build, because lots of it will be redundant.  I will be sure to include lots of the Hero-applicable stuff, though.  

So... are you still with me?

On to the build!!!


Edited by Cricket
new bookmark link topic added
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Hi Christine, I'm really looking forward to this, it was your stunt thread that got me into thinking yeah I can do this .<br><br>

I know this is going to be a fantastic topic :)

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Luke's armor also had the notch at the top of the left thigh trimmed. But if I recall correctly the WTF armor doesn't have that notch anyway, so I guess that's that.

Oh!  Yes, the famous ANH left thigh notch.  Although it's not there with the WTF armor as it is now, it will be after my build is complete.  


Oh, it will be.   ;)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Trimming begins today.



Ugh.  I forgot how much trimming needs to be done.  That kind of thing is easy to forget about once you finish your first kit.  Seems like a really long time ago that I was doing this.  So, let's get to it.



Yep.  Untrimmed chest.  I'll be removing the bottom return entirely (yay- one less return to rebuild!) for this build since I'm going for a Luke look.  




And this is my challenge piece.  The kidney/butt all-in-one.  I want to keep a return on the top of the butt plate.  I'm not concerned about the bottom of the kidney because I'll be trimming about an inch or so off of that to shorten it for my size.  So I really had to think about how to dissect these.  


My solution was to cut a bit above the ridge between the two parts.  This would leave some extra ABS on the butt plate where I can create a new return using my handy-dandy heat gun, wood jiggy-ma-jig, and wood stir-stick-flattening-thingy.  It's all very scientific, you know.



Which leaves my butt plate edge looking like this:


Once I heat that edge, I'll simply fold it over, flatten it out, and voila... new return.  Shouldn't be too bad.


And since I haven't trimmed this kit to my size yet, I thought a comparison should be in order.  The untrimmed WTF is on the left in the first photo, and on the right in the second photo.  My RS Props kit is next to it so you can see how much I had to modify things.
33876061974_d0bd5affbd.jpg  33908924933_1920b21853.jpg


And I'm stopping there for today because my hand hurts from all the trimming.  



And I've only just started.   :blink:

Edited by Cricket
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  • 1 month later...

Just finished my MSE-6 Droid build, and I don't feel like sewing on my Jawa today, so I'm hopping back over to getting more plastic sliced and diced.  I took all of the pieces out of the box and gave the box to my kids to play in.  


This kind of clutter pile makes me crazy, so this is my way to get working on this TK regularly now.   When it's in a box, I just forget about it.  In the middle of the floor, I'll feel compelled to work on it a little every day.

Then I remembered that I need cover strips.  Ah, thoooose...  I remember cutting lots and lots of them from what seems like a very long time ago (just a few months, really).  Not a fan of that part of the build.  I like to add inner cover strips long before the outside cover strips.  It allows for easier sizing (at least it does for me) while shaping the pieces to my small 5'4" frame.   I add my outside cover strips once I'm finished with sizing everything down.

I had to reference my previous build for cover strip sizes.  Nice thing about having a prior build log is that it's easy to refer to things when you need them!

Cover Strip Sizes

  • Thighs (front and back)- 20mm
  • Shins- 20mm
  • Calves- 25mm
  • Arms- 15mm


I realized that I would need 16 strips total for the outer strips (so double that amount if you're cutting strips for the insides of the armor).  The complete amount of ABS I need is 290mm wide, and 15 inches long.  This would allow me the exact width of the pieces I need, plus some extra length to adjust for each piece.  Walt included a lot of extra cover strip material for this.  Here you can see the sheet included was well more than 290mm.


And the length is well over 18 inches (the length of the ruler in the pic).


I trimmed the length of the piece to 18 inches so I could make easy cuts.  After about an hour of measure, mark, clamp, score, snap, repeat (16 times!), I ended up with this.


That big piece on the right is the extra from this sheet.  Oh, and did I mention this part...?


Yeah, that is ALL the extra ABS Walt included with my kit!  There's more than enough for my inner cover strips.  Which is great, because I had to purchase extra ABS sheets on Amazon for the inner cover strips on my last build.  Thank you, WTF!

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Germain, yep, that's exactly what my son did with the box! :D


Taking a break from making cover strips, I decided that the next easiest thing for this short TK to build would be some shins.  Actually, any arm or leg part will do at this point.  I don't intend on fitting them to me right now, just assembling them.  Make sense?


I grabbed all four shin pieces and gave them a good once-over.  The WTF shins are different from the RS Props shins, so I had to figure out what part went with what part.  In the pic below, you can see how the left half is longer than the right half.




In the next pic, you can see how the halves are roughly the same length.  They fit together end-to-end nicely, and the other halves do the same.



Now that the correct halves have been identified, let's cut!  The fronts of all limb pieces should be assembled first because their size is constant no matter what size you are.  For the shins, I'll be using a 20mm cover strip to cover the butt joint.  I don't want the cover strip to completely cover the side ridges, though.  I decided to measure 12mm from the narrowest part of the raised center ridge of the shin.  This should leave 2mm on each side of the cover strip at the narrowest part of the front ridge of the shin.  Then I clamped a ruler to the shin and made sure that the ruler was straight.



I scored a bunch of times along the ruler with an exacto knife to make my straight cut.  Then snap!



I did this with both halves.  Here you can see how straight my cuts turned out.  Much better than my very first pair of shins!



Since I like to add my inner cover strips first, I taped the butt joint together from the outside.  This not only keeps the seam straight and tight together, but it also keeps the e6000 from making a mess on the outside.


You can see how well it all fits together in there.




Liberal application of e6000 to the inner cover strip (made from scrap ABS) and let it sit out for a few minutes before application.  It makes the glue a little more tacky and less prone to oozing around in there.



Add lots of magnets to both sides and let it cure.  




With my last build, I fit each part to my body as I assembled each piece.   Not this time.  This round, I'll be assembling inner cover strips on the fixed front seams on all the limb parts before diving into the fitting part of the build.  The WTF armor is smaller than my RS armor, so it'll be interesting to see how much (or how little!) needs to be removed and reshaped.  

Oh, and I've already decided that I will be installing magnets on these shins as closures as well.  The magnet method I used in my other TK works perfectly, and I've not had any issues whatsoever while trooping with them coming apart or anything.  They're more work to install, but, man... totally worth it.

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Glad to see you updating this thread! I'm interested to see what you do with the forearms, because they were just MASSIVE on me, especially the right. WTF forearms seem very similar to ATA from what I can tell from ATA build threads, and they have an interesting flare out shape that made it really hard for me to size down. I actually ended up cutting off the ridges on the front *and *back and doing a ton of hot water reshaping. I don't know if I just had too high expectations of how small the forearms pieces should be compared to my own forearms, but I couldn't think of another way to make them fit. If I had to do it again I don't think I'd remove the front ridges (like you said, they should be fixed) and just deal with the forearms being large. I think it'll look OK once I install the cover strips, but I realize now that what I did is highly unusual. 

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On 7/1/2017 at 9:57 PM, shashachu said:

I'm interested to see what you do with the forearms, because they were just MASSIVE on me, especially the right.... I actually ended up cutting off the ridges on the front *and *back and doing a ton of hot water reshaping. 


I'll be getting to those forearms soon.  Best course of action on the forearms is to keep the top ridge butt joint total a little over 15mm so you'll have a uniformity for the 15mm cover strips.  All the modifications to size down the forearms width-wise should happen on the other (back) side at the butt joint.  



There is debate about how the sides of the WTF shins go together.  It seems like the long pieces and the short pieces actually are supposed to be paired together, not long/short, long/short.  


Edited by Cricket
accuracy update
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Chugging right along now...

Decided to trim the ammo pack for the thigh.  Not totally difficult.  Just line up the ruler, clamp it down, then score lightly several times with the exacto knife along the ruler.  I cut off just enough to get rid of those bumpy areas on either side of the boxes.



Then snap.  I like using my clamp to snap off ABS because it's easy to use, and it doesn't leave a mark.



One side done.



And both sides complete.



My ab accessory parts all arrived on one big piece of thick ABS.  I used my exacto knife to freehand score around them, and snapped them off.  I'll sand down the edges later.



Before trimming the drop boxes, this is what they look like.  More freehand scoring and snapping, and they were free.



Fair enough to say that I have a lot of extra ABS scraps now.  I haven't even begun the fitting part of this build yet, but I have plenty to make ABS paste if/when I need it.


This is a forearm.  Just wanted to remind y'all that the tops of the forearms should match.  



There is detail at the top that you don't want to cut away when sizing.  So when sizing the length of the forearms, match at the tops, cut at the wrists.


I'll wait a few days for the e6000 to fully cure on my assembled pieces before getting to the hard work of sizing it all down and rebuilding the returns on the butt plate and bottom of the kidney.  But here's the kit as it stands now.  




For those of you who are eagle-eyed, you may have noticed that I have three forearms in there.  That's no mistake.  I have an extra left forearm (and extra left shoulder bell) for the Luke version of this kit.  I'll wear the right forearm until I earn Centurion on this, but then after, both forearms will be left forearms.


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This looks eerily familiar. How does the WTF kit compare to the RS? Just curious if you've noticed any differences...good or bad.

I'm sure it will turn out great!

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On 7/4/2017 at 11:21 PM, fragarock said:

This looks eerily familiar.


Hey Frank, so are you ready to build another one?  haha....


On 7/4/2017 at 11:21 PM, fragarock said:

How does the WTF kit compare to the RS? Just curious if you've noticed any differences...good or bad.


The WTF kit is definitely smaller than the RS.  I don't think I'll be doing as much bending, shaping, and trimming as I did with my RS kit.  The shoulder bells on the WTF kit are much smaller than the RS ones- I'm thrilled about that!  And the helmet is smaller too.  I prefer a smaller lid just because I'm smaller.


The WTF plastic is a brighter white than the RS.  I actually prefer the off-white color now.  Still, the bright white is easier to match with other armor makers for replacement parts than the off-white, so that's nice.  


Walt has been fantastic with his customer service.  He and Rocky are very quick to respond to questions and resolve issues.  The fact that WTF is based here in the US gives me peace of mind that if I need a replacement part, I'll easily be able to get it.  

Now, not to knock the WTF armor, but comparing it to the RS armor, my RS plastic definitely has better quality to it.  As I am putting pieces together with the WTF, I'm seeing a lot of "orange peel" pores on the outside of the armor (namely the forearms, biceps, and shins) that I'm not very happy with, but it's not a deal-breaker.  You usually see that on the inside of the plastic instead.  RS pieces were all consistently smooth on the outside (organic lumps and bumps from the original kit notwithstanding).  


At the end of the day, if RS had made a Hero kit, I would have picked up the RS kit first.  The WTF Hero is a very good kit, though.  I can't wait to get more of it assembled!

Edited by Cricket
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Okay, time to slice up some cod, shall we?  If you're short like me, you will most likely need to do this to your armor if you want it to be comfortable (and look good, too!).  It's not as scary as it looks. 


It helps to:

1. bring the cod closer in to your respective bits and pieces

2. reduce the height of the ab


Do not, I repeat do NOT cut your ab before cutting your cod!  You may end up cutting off too much of the top of the ab, which will result in your ab constantly popping out from beneath your chest (not a good look at all).  Cut your cod first, then check how your ab and chest are doing.  You may not even need to remove anything from the top of the ab once your cod has been cut down.  


First, line up your ruler to the width you want and clamp it.  For me, the width of the ruler is perfect.



Next, trace your line.



Line traced should look something like this.



Using your cutting implement of choice, slice that cod!



I then cover the inside lower part of the ab and top part of the cod with ABS paste, and stick them back together.  I made sure to cover the seam with extra ABS paste for strength.



It all gets taped up, clamped, and given some quiet recovery time while it heals from surgery.



So you can see how much of a difference the cod cut can make, here's a set of before and after shots.  



I still may end up taking a little off the top of my ab, but it won't be much.  The center box on the ab was too high before, and it's now in the correct position relative to my frame.  I still have some cutting to do along the hip area, but that'll happen later on while fitting.

As you can see, a quick and easy cut can really make a big difference in how the armor will fit you.  So to all of you vertically challenged wannabe troopers out there, don't fear the cod cut!

Edited by Cricket
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Enjoying this build Christine, I'm still trying to work up the confidence to cut my cod, the thing it I know I will have to do it and trim the butt too but it's like the elephant in the room, I'm trying my best to ignore it lol. 


One question if I may, you said fitting the internal cover strips helped you to size the armour, I never thought of doing that, mine is just duct taped together, I guess if you need to shorten the greave you just cut through the internal cover strip too? 


I think i might might try that approach... thanks :)

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3 hours ago, Gwithian said:

Enjoying this build Christine, I'm still trying to work up the confidence to cut my cod, the thing it I know I will have to do it and trim the butt too but it's like the elephant in the room, I'm trying my best to ignore it lol. 


Cutting the cod seems really scary, but it's not!  You'll wonder why you feared doing it once it's done.  :)  The most difficult part is trying to figure out how much to bring the cod up.  Reading other threads, I learned that the cod should be fairly close in to your nether region.  I measured the gap between the cod and my bits, and used that measurement as the amount that I needed to move the cod up.  Once it's been moved up, you'll find that it's much easier to walk around without all that extra junk out there.  At least it was for me.  haha...


3 hours ago, Gwithian said:

One question if I may, you said fitting the internal cover strips helped you to size the armour, I never thought of doing that, mine is just duct taped together, I guess if you need to shorten the greave you just cut through the internal cover strip too? 


Yep, inner cover strips on everything for me first.  It adds strength and is less prone to shifting on the parts while sizing.  (Especially when shaping things in hot water baths!)  So for the greaves, I cut them all down when fitting, including the inner cover strips.  Here's what one of my shins looked like during fitting of my RS kit with just the inner cover strips installed. (Apologies for the lousy vertical cut on this.  Ugh!)



Then once the whole kit is sized to fit, I add the outer cover strips as a final step.  This way, I can ensure that the cover strips I install are the correct size.  I wouldn't want to install the outer cover strips first because I like to include the little corner details to the cover strips.  Installing the outer cover strips first would mean that those details would get removed if/when I needed to shorten things during final adjustments.  

If you're a screen-accurate purist, you could always install inner cover strips first, then once you're done with the build, they could all be removed.


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I'm disappointed Christine... You forgot the cod slicing .gif! 



About that cod slicing thing, one thing I was a little bummed during your RS build was the way you trimmed the lower section of the abdominal plate to meet with the new lines of the cod. You removed the whole lower section when I think it could have been preserved. Here's a picture from your RS build to show you what I mean: 



I know you don't get a perfectly continuous curve as with the trim line you used, but I think leaving this area makes the abdominal plate look more accurate than if you trim it.

Edited by The5thHorseman
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Hey Germain, 

Thanks for noting that (and I'm very glad to see you're checking in on me to keep me as accurate as possible! ).  While I would have loved to keep the ab plate more accurate (as indicated in your pic), my body just wouldn't allow it.  That area, if left untrimmed, would have subjected my hips to some serious armor bites.  It was digging into my hips as it was, and moving the entire torso around in an odd way when I walked.  I ended up trimming much more than in the photo you used in order to accommodate my hips.  Hips are where the red line is.  The blue line is approximately where the armor was.



As it is now, I don't suffer any armor biting, and my armor stays put when I walk.  Yeah, overtrimming the hips isn't entirely accurate, I know.  :(  But you can't see any of it when I'm in full kit because the belt hides it all.  (spoiler alert: I'm the short one)



And thanks for reminding me about the cod slicing gif!  I thought people might be a little sick of it, but maybe no?  ;)

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