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

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I did some batch ABS shaping today since I had a huge pot of boiling water out. 

 

First thing I started with is the shoulder straps.  I was spoiled with the RS straps because they arrived already in a nice curvy shape.  Not the WTF straps.  They're flat as flat can be, and the plastic is super thick.  Ah well, no worries!  I think I can make this work.

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I dunked them individually into the boiling water long enough to soften them up, and then used a 3 quart pan as my jig to shape them.

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Once I was done with them, they had a nice enough curve that I will be able to work with later on.  I attach a metal strip inside of them for strength (the metal strip also helps the strip hold a different shape if I need more or less of a curve at the shoulders later).

 

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So after these, I shaped the forearms and biceps.  Gonna need to cut quite a bit of plastic off these.  I'm shaping these before trimming in order to make the fit process easier.  I probably won't need these forearms so narrow, but it'll be easy to modify this as I go.

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 As I was shaping the plastic on the biceps, I realized something: the biceps are the only armor part that needs some of the front and back removed in equal amounts when shrinking to size.  This keeps the halves relatively even (this is necessary).  I had already glued my inner cover strips to the biceps, but it was very easy to remove them once dunked in the boiling water.

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Those ridges.  Ugh.  A challenge.  My RS biceps don't have ridges at all.   I needed to trim very close to those ridge lines in order for the biceps to fit (my biceps are a puny 10").  The cover strips will look crappy if those ridges stay put.  My first thought was to flatten out the ridges entirely.  Nah.  Too much work.  Then I thought, "Let's cut 'em off."  They will still fit nicely without any ridge.  And since my RS biceps don't have ridge detail, then my WTF won't either.  So there.

35783729545_cde46a3bff.jpg   

 

I cut as close as I could along the ridge, and this is what it turned out like:

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There's still a little bendy lip in the photo on the right, but that's okay.  I sanded down some of it, and have clamped it into submission with a new inner cover strip.  Once both inner cover strips have cured, I'll get the biceps back into the spa to reshape (because they still need a little help).  

Taking the day off from building tomorrow because I'm gonna be out trooping in the evening, and I've got some TK maintenance to do to my RS kit during the day (charging batteries, buffing out scuffs, making sure I don't forget my socks, glove liners, e-11, etc.).  Have a great weekend, troopers!

 

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20 hours ago, Cricket said:

 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.

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Lol, you look so tiny!! :)

Anyway, with your shortened kidney plate too, I reckon that preserving the area of the abdominal plate I was talking about isn't that much important.

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The bicep and forearm ridges gave me hell, too, but I did like you did and just cut them off. I believe ATA armor also has those ridges but I couldn't find any ATA builds by smaller people to see how they handled it. I particularly had some struggles with the forearms because taking off so much material meant that the swoop on the inner forearms would have gotten really uneven. Are you planning on recutting it? Or perhaps you don't have the same issue.

 

In general, so far I feel that WTF armor is friendly for smaller people in length, but not as much in width. 

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Alas, nothing lately.  I was a passenger in a 3 car accident recently (hit by some idiot driving while on their phone!) and ended up with a nasty concussion on my forehead. I had planned on getting work done last week, but I couldn't focus very well on anything requiring concentration on details.  It'll be at least a few more weeks while my brain recovers. 

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7 hours ago, Cricket said:

Alas, nothing lately.  I was a passenger in a 3 car accident recently (hit by some idiot driving while on their phone!) and ended up with a nasty concussion on my forehead. I had planned on getting work done last week, but I couldn't focus very well on anything requiring concentration on details.  It'll be at least a few more weeks while my brain recovers. 

I'm so sorry to hear that. Glad you're okay, hope everyone else was too. I understand concussions can be really nasty so don't stress your brain at all. Just relax and think of happy things like rainbows and unicorns and stormtroopers blasting away at those unicorns but missing terribly.

 

Seriously, get some rest. The armor can wait.

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I'm sure this build will look amazing when finished as your Stunt kit was. Curious, from an approval point of view: You mentioned going Centurion, so you are going for base approval first? Technically when you make the 'Luke' modifications will the armour become not approved anymore, as it won't fit the CRL? I guess up to your CO and GML whether they let you troop if that was the case and your ultimate plan.

 

Keep up the super work.

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2 hours ago, Sith Lord said:

 You mentioned going Centurion, so you are going for base approval first? Technically when you make the 'Luke' modifications will the armour become not approved anymore, as it won't fit the CRL?

There's nothing in Luke's armor that doesn't fit the CRL. Doubled up parts are fine, otherwise all us guys with AP armor wouldn't be approved either. And shortened armor parts are fine too. People shortening their thighs to better fit their height is common, and it goes the same for the chest and back plates. For instance, she shortened her chest and kidney plates on her RS build and she got approved. Having a return edge or not where you shortened the parts doesn't matter.

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16 hours ago, Cricket said:

Alas, nothing lately.  I was a passenger in a 3 car accident recently (hit by some idiot driving while on their phone!) and ended up with a nasty concussion on my forehead. I had planned on getting work done last week, but I couldn't focus very well on anything requiring concentration on details.  It'll be at least a few more weeks while my brain recovers. 

Oh! That's terrible! As fragarock said, get plenty of rest! We'll be here waiting for you...Hope you get well soon ☺

Edited by jedha-trooper

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Hope all is well and you are able to return to everything else first. Then restart this great build thread.

 

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58 minutes ago, LTM said:

Hope all is well and you are able to return to everything else first. Then restart this great build thread.

 

 

Hey Lou, 

 

Thanks!  Just noticed that we're practially neighbors!  :)    Are you a GA Garrison member?  

 

It's been a slow start to the new year with a flu bug, but I'm managing.  My white plastic is staring at me, begging me to get back to assembling it.  Once I kick this bug, I'll be full steam ahead on the Hero build.  Woo!

Here's a taste of the other build that I finished late in 2017.  Can you find me? (answer below)
39174986542_d83d14430d_b.jpg

 

Hee hee... I'm the jawa on the left.  :jawa2:Being a jawa is fun and very comfy.  But it's nothing like being a TK!!!

And this is for my own reference, but other Short Builders might find it helpful, too (I refer back to my own threads, is that so wrong?).   This is my trim guide for sizing down a TK. 

36662710333_00a81aefae_c.jpg

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I am in the GA garrison. Went to my first armor party a month ago, just didn't have the time to return yet with the holidays and work. Trying to get some done so I can have a more meaningful build session instead of "trim this and come back" for the next party. 

My wife and daughter are signed up in the great jawa build so we can troop together, so later this year you will see us out representing the empire. 

Was searching the WTF FB group on the shins, I see the jury is still out on the correct pairing. 

Anyways, glad you are doing better despite the flu bug, will keep my eye on this build :salute:

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3 minutes ago, LTM said:

Was searching the WTF FB group on the shins, I see the jury is still out on the correct pairing. 

 

 

About those shins, I'm following what Paul (Troopermaster) has shown over in the great WTF shin thread (here in the FISD).  He knows his stuff.  I'll see if I can find the link because there's a good photo showing what goes with what.  

The Great Jawa Build is going to be epic!  You know that the goal is to Jawa-fy the St. Patrick's Day parade, right?  ;) 

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34 minutes ago, Cricket said:

(I refer back to my own threads, is that so wrong?).

I refer others to check your thread all the time so I would say  - go for it :smiley-sw013:

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Here is the thread about the WTF shin pairing: 

I also did what Paul suggested and paired them up long/long short/short but it probably doesn't matter in the end, as people have been approved with both combinations. Walt actually said he'd redo the shins after a big thread about it on his Facebook page but I imagine he forgot with everything else going on.

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Thanks for finding that link, Sha Sha!  Much appreciated.

 

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Hallu TK Frenz!  :tkreal:I've finally rebooted my Hero build and am currently waiting for e6000 to cure on my assembled pieces.  No more clamps available to put other parts together now, so I figured it would be a good time to share some thoughts I had regarding sizing down a TK.

 

First let me mention that I forgot how scary it can be to cut-cut-cut away at plastic armor.  I tackled my forearms yesterday, and I was surprised about how nervous I was to do it all again.  For me, fear and doubt always leads to inertia.  Doubt kept creeping back into my head, and it took a lot to shut it up so I could get to work!  After all, it's just plastic.  If I screw it up, then I'll just fix it.  Or buy another part.  No biggie.  So, let's get this done!

 

The WTF armor is smaller overall than my RS armor, so I'm not trimming any of the lengths yet, just sizing things to fit around my arms for now.  When making everything smaller, the word to remember is symmetry.  The armor isn't perfectly symmetrical, but there are large details that need to be recognized when cutting things down.  For example, you don't want to just shrink down the forearm without consideration to how things look on both sides.  Below is the mistake I made on my RS build.  Don't make this mistake!

 

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I wasn't paying attention to cutting the front and back pieces in a relatively symmetrical way.  I ultimately had to replace the front half of this forearm entirely.  Gah!  I won't be making that mistake again.  Here is one of the forearms before I sized it down yesterday:

 

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I need to keep that front swoop intact.  And I need to keep the back ridge with the dimples straight once the arm is assembled.  And it's all gotta fit nicely.  The outside halves (where the front cover strips are located) have already been glued together because those front cover strips and ridges are a consistent size among TKs (somewhere around 15mm on the arms give or take).  You make all of your sizing of the limb armor pieces in the back.  Here you can see my forearms before I sized them down.  The ridges are ready for the 15mm cover strips in the front.  

 

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In the next photo, you can see how I've tucked in the 'swoop' piece and am calculating where that 'swoop' ends relative to the 'ridge' (outer) piece.  Where I've made my mark is almost directly across from the opposite seam on the forearm.  And this measured cut leaves each half roughly the same size.

 

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And here is the wrist end of the same forearm.  It's hard to see in this photo, but the cut line is almost directly across from the opposite seam.  Once trimmed, the forearm will have two halves that are fairly symmetrical.  Not mirror images of each other for certain, just balanced! 

 

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After trimming and inserting internal cover strips, here is the result:

 

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I still have fine-tuning to do to the inside forearm trims, but I'm happy with it.  While I would prefer that the 'swoops' be more centered, this is the best I can do with both fitting these properly and maintaining as much of the 'swoop' as possible.  I may remove more of that return at the top of the forearm for comfort, so I might be able to get things more centered as I progress with this build.

 

Another thing I had to consider when constructing the forearms was that not only do the forearms have to fit, but they need to look proportional to the biceps.  I could have sized the forearms larger, but my biceps would have looked ridiculously skinny above them.  By the way, my biceps were the first things assembled, and they're on the smaller side because of the fact that I removed the ridges for the cover strips.  

 

This got me thinking about how things should line up.  Ridges and seams should line up relative to one another from one limb armor piece to another.  For example, front forearm seams should be in line with front bicep seams.  In addition to this, the outside ridges should line up between the forearm and bicep and the back seams of the forearm and bicep should line up.  It would look odd if the front seam and outside ridges lined up, but the back seams were off significantly.  I know it's impossible to get everything absolutely perfectly aligned with these parts, but you do your best, right?  So here is what I did to make sure biceps and forearms are sized down so that they look correct proportionally to other pieces and that things line up:

 

I took my assembled bicep (which is on the top in the photo below, please ignore the blue tape!), and placed it on top of the still-untrimmed forearm.  I lined up the front seams and made sure that the outer ridges were also fairly in-line with one another.  

 

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From there, I marked on the forearm the location where the back seam of the bicep was located.  I then made some eyeballed adjustments on where the cut line should go (based on how that mark would affect the relative symmetry of the forearm pieces).  Having the bicep to use as a guide was extremely helpful for me not only getting the forearm sized, but also making sure the seams and ridges line up properly.  In the photo below you can see how everything pretty much lines up between the bicep and the forearm.  It's difficult to get a good shot of this while still unassembled!  

 

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As a small TK, I have enough challenges to deal with for the build.   By making sure things line up at this stage, I'm saving myself the hassle of having to make serious adjustments later on when all the pieces come together.  :)

 

 

 

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Let's keep this build movin'!

 

Trimming down the chest begins today.  The chest plate is huge on me, so it needs a lot of trimming to fit proportionally to the rest of the armor (or at least where my armor will be eventually).  I don't want to trim any of the top of the ab plate because I will be cutting down my chest quite a bit in order to try to emulate the Luke suit.  If I cut the top of the ab, I'll run the risk of creating an unpleasant gap between the chest and ab.  So if you're trimming things down like me, focus on the chest for now.

 

I know that the neck sits too high on my frame, so that goes first.  I cut very conservatively on this area because I can always go back later and take more off if needed.  I use a compass tool to maintain the original curve lines and to help keep the trim lines uniform. 

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Around the sides of the neck, I don't use the tool, but rather try to merge the shoulder areas with the neck curve.  I don't want to make the shoulder areas more narrow, and that's what would happen if I simply use the compass all the way along the edges.  Here you can see what the trace line looks like.

 

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And once it's been cut.

 

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Next I tackled the bottom of the chest plate.  I used a screen shot of Luke from ANH as my guide.  Here you can see my chest plate before cutting next to the reference image.  You can tell that my chest plate is significantly larger than the one Luke's wearing.

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Using the same method to trace my cut lines as before, I took out my compass tool and made a conservative cut line.

 

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After cutting, I realized that I still needed to remove more.  So I made another conservative cut line and cut there.

 

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Here's a side-by-side so you can see the before and after of the chest.  I ended up removing about an inch of plastic from the bottom.  My gut is telling me that I should remove a little more off the bottom of the chest because it still looks too long compared to the screen shot.  However, I'll hold off trimming any more until I get further along in fitting everything together.

 

24909664207_15bf9c8c79.jpg28001104449_4b48791a73.jpg

 

 

Edited by Cricket

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I like that tip to report lines! I never thought of using a compass as a protractor. I'll try to remember that from now on.

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3 hours ago, The5thHorseman said:

I like that tip to report lines! I never thought of using a compass as a protractor. I'll try to remember that from now on.

 

Thanks!  I can't take credit for the idea.  I saw this pic somewhere when I was researching my first TK build and immediately bought a compass.  It was an idea for making accurate curves on the ears. 

 

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Such a great solution for following all types of curves accurately, though!

 

Edited by Cricket

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The WTF kit is a little bit of a challenge if you want to install brackets, especially for where the butt plate and lower kidney meet.  There is no return on the butt plate, and no return on the kidney to attach the brackets to.  In this update, I'll show you how I created a return on the butt plate using a heat gun.  It's easier than you think!

 

In case you're just joining my build here, here's a recap.  Those parts arrive in a solid piece.  See?  :(

 

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I ended up cutting them apart, leaving as much of the lip of the seam as possible intact.  

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If you aren't shrinking down your WTF TK, this is what you want to do.  It ended up looking like this:

 

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Since I'll be cutting down the kidney, I could have cut even higher on the seam to leave me more material to create a return at this edge.  I didn't (because that idea hadn't occurred to me at the time!), but it all still worked out.  Keep reading.

 

First you'll want to have all your items to rebuild returns.  I made the wood jig by using the super scientific Eyeballing Method.  I cut a gentle curve at the top of the jig and left some flat-ish sides because that worked best for me on my last build.  Having something like this helps to maintain the curve of the plastic and also provides a 90 degree surface on which you can flatten and smooth your new return edges.  

 

Another tool that I can't make returns without is a wooden paint stir stick.  I like to have a longer piece to shield the area of the armor I don't want heated.  Once the plastic is heated up and ready to shape, I then gently rub the smaller piece of wood on it to flatten and cool it.  I always think of this process as like when you iron a wrinkled shirt.  You'll need to go through a process of "heat-buff cool-heat-buff cool-heat-buff cool" a few times to get all the ABS wrinkles out and flattened as you want.  

 

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This is what the butt plate looked like when I began.  My goal is to flatten out that lip to make a new return.  I place the butt plate on the jig and use a small pile of books behind it to help add stability, keeping it relatively level as I work.  With one hand, I put the long wood stick over the large part of the butt plate to shield where I didn't want the heat to be directed.  This is necessary to help maintain a clean corner on the return.  With my other hand, I used my heat gun with a flat nozzle attachment on LOW, and heated the edge of the plastic. 

 

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When working with heating up ABS returns, I've been asked, "How do you know when it's hot enough to shape?"  I keep an eye on the edge of the plastic.  When I see the plastic beginning to move very slightly on its own, I know it's ready.  You don't want the plastic to get too hot, or else you run the risk of losing shape/detail in other areas of the plastic (or worse, it'll scorch!).  You'll want just the area of the plastic you heated up just soft enough to work with, but not super melty.  When in doubt, stop before you think you need to and press on the area gently with the flat part of the small wood stick.  If it doesn't budge, then keep heating.  If it begins to move, then buff it cool, and check your work.  If you need to make it flatter/better shape, just reheat again.  Once you do this a few times (try working on a spare piece of ABS if you're new to this!), you'll get a good feel of how the ABS and your heat gun get along.

 

Always begin this kind of modification in the middle of the plate.  This will help avoid any scary creasing as you go.  Here you can see where I had started in the middle, and worked toward the left side of the butt plate.

 

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The return edge itself isn't perfect, and it doesn't need to be at this point.  You can go back and make it pretty if you want to flatten things out more.  Remember, the goal at this stage is to create a return that has a nice 90 degree angle for the brackets.  

 

Here you can see how the new return looks on the left side of the butt plate.  You can also see the lip of the plastic sticking up that still needs to be shaped on the right of the butt plate.

 

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After some more patient shaping, here's the result: a brand new return!

 

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I'm quite happy with how this turned out.  The outside visible corner of the return edge on the butt plate is clean and shows no signs of warping or loss of detail.  Once it's assembled with the brackets, I doubt that you will even be able to tell that this butt plate never even had a return edge in the first place!

 

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The inside lip will be cleaned up and reinforced before brackets are installed.  Something I learned from my RS build is that reinforcement is quite necessary on this area if you're using brackets to attach the armor together.  I've had cracks show up in my butt plate on my RS kit where things weren't reinforced at the holes.  I'll be gluing ABS strips underneath the new return in order to strengthen the areas for the brackets.   Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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already dialed in :popcorn:

 

Ps: did you see I finished of my Hero?^_^

Edited by TheSwede
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19 hours ago, TheSwede said:

Ps: did you see I finished of my Hero?^_^

 

Yes I did!  And I checked out your Stunt build, too.  Both look amazing!  You did an awesome job on both kits.  The TM armor looks like a dream to work with!  You should have your Centurion award on the Stunt kit in no time at all.  

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Now that the butt plate has a spiffy new return, the next big part of sizing down my TK armor is tackling the kidney.  I'm only focusing on reducing the height of the kidney at this stage, not the width.

 

I had some time to think about how I had sized my previous TK, and I really did not enjoy trying to get the kidney to fit properly.  It was a whole lot of trial and error to get to a wearable stage.  I always felt like I was winging it blindly, and it took loads of time to do.  Looking at my WTF kit, I thought that there might be a better way to alter the kidney.

 

First, I looked at the shortened cod/ab plate and the kidney.  (Remember that I did not remove anything off the top of the ab plate, but rather removed extra material only at the cod.)  Before alterations, the cod/ab plate top meets up nicely with top and the bottom of the kidney.  That's how I figured it should line up after alteration as well.  So my goal is to reduce size of kidney so that it meets both top and bottom of ab as it did before size alteration.  Something I learned from my first build is that the front halves and back halves of the TK clamshell should be fairly lined up when closing.  So when reducing armor in the front, you've got to reduce armor in the back in approximately the same amounts to help keep things lined up as you shrink the armor down.

 

I misplaced the original measurements for the kidney (sorry!), so I don't have that to share.  My ab plate edge measurement from top of the plate to the hip (after cod reduction) is 6.5”.  In order for the ab and kidney to line up at the tops and bottoms, I need to remove plastic from the bottom of the kidney, making the overall height at the edges approximately 6.5".  I also need to keep enough plastic on the bottom to provide material to create a new return.   The kidney notch will be removed, but a new one will be recreated.  In theory, this method should allow for a good smaller-sized fit and still maintain the original proportions of the kit.

 

Here you can see the kidney before cutting the bottom off.  Using my compass tool, I made a line across the bottom that matched the original lines of the bottom of the kidney.  I'm giving myself a 1/2" allowance at the bottom for rebuilding a new return.  I know that the bottoms of the kidney do not have to line up with the ab, but since I'm trying to keep things in proportion to what I removed in the front, this is my path.  :)  I begin by cutting about 1/2" of plastic off.


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After careful cutting, here's what I have to work with.

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Next, using my compass tool to follow the new cut line, I made a mark about 1/2" in from the edge.  This will be my guide as I make my new return.

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Using my heat gun on LOW, I heat up the plastic, beginning at the middle of the kidney.  I use a long piece of wood to shield the main part of the kidney just above the pencil line to help prevent any unwanted softening of surrounding areas.  I hold the wood at an angle just above the plastic (not flat on the plastic!), but I couldn't get a good shot of it!

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The plastic on this piece seemed to take forever to soften up with the heat gun.  I really had to be patient with it.  Using a smaller piece of wood, I gently pushed the softened plastic to meet the jig behind it.   This is what it looks like when starting out after a few passes.

 

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My first 'crimp' in the kidney was just a little short of my guide line.  I had to reheat it and push inwards to get it exactly where I wanted it to be.  Again, patience is critical for this kind of work!  I kept working the heat gun to the right on the kidney, overlapping the previously heated and crimped areas to ensure that the entire return ended up uniform and smooth.

 

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Some wavy action on the inside of the return is to be expected.  No need to panic about this.  It can easily be flattened out after you're happy with your new return.

 

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Continuing to the right...

 

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And after about an 45 minutes of careful heating and shaping, the right side was done.

 

39832343692_14b4025d85.jpg39832340472_f81699f230.jpg

 

You can see how smooth the return is after making sure the plastic was flattened out on the jig.  I will be removing some of this return for comfort after installing my brackets.

 

39832343252_dcc6471d9d.jpg

 

Another 30 minutes or so, and the rest was done.

 

39864747341_19f2d0743e.jpg 28084868019_c5fb6a1990.jpg

 

Behold, a kidney with a new bottom return!

 

28084880349_bd9cab8bdd.jpg

 

Here you can see the before and after.  I wish I had the butt plate attached in the 'before' pic for a better comparison shot.  Ah well.  You can still get a good idea of how the cod and butt plate are more aligned with each other after the kidney trim.

 

39154475164_236e17fef2.jpg39864752231_58476ab5a5.jpg

 

Remember, I am adjusting for my height right now, not my girth.  Once I'm happy with how the torso armor hangs on my frame, I'll begin work on trimming at the sides.

 

 

 

 

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