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Cricket's RS Props Hero Build (more Vertically Challenged assembly!)- FINISHED

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Hey There!  A BBB is enroute to me today from across the pond, arriving tomorrow!!!   I'm so excited that I want to share.

Ahhhhhh, so flippin' excited.  

I'm currently working on finishing up my WTF Hero build for a garrison friend, and that build will continue (documented on that thread) until she's got full approval.  She's aiming for Centurion, so fingers crossed that I can get her there!  In the meantime, I get to do my third TK build.  The RS Hero TK!  Yay!  (This build wouldn't be happening at all without @TheSwede and his input, so... Thank you, Daniel!)

In the meantime, since I don't have any BBB pics yet, I will share a few choice pics from last weekend's troop.  Wearing my RS Stunt TK, of course.  

 

First, the ANH scene we recreated...
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Next, an official BadA$$ pic...
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Then when Vader left, we goofed off...
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See y'all soon!  :D  

Edited by Cricket
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Wohoo!! That`s awesome news and the pics are great too:dancing-trooper:We are in for a treat with this build and I´m glad to hear I played a part in it happening:salute:

 

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Okay, now with another DragonCon in my rear view mirror, it's time to get to work on this kit!  I can't help but sharing one of my favorite pics from the con...  When the worlds of Star Wars and Pokemon Go collide, you know you're at DragonCon!  :D  

 

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And now, the BBB day box pics, because that's kind of a thing, isn't it?  Awww, aren't they cuuuute?
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I love how well-wrapped each piece is.
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And this was something I didn't receive in my last RS kit...  pre cut and drilled aluminum to make my own thermal detonator clips.  Nice!

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Took everything out and inventoried...
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And the helmet bits and pieces are all there, too.

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Old TK, meet new TK!

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So today I spent about 90 minutes doing all of the rough trimming of the kit.   I used my compass tool to draw consistent cut lines to the returns.  It all went faster- and smoother- than I expected.  Not very much plastic left over at this point. 
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I know there will be more extra scrap once I begin the front side assembly phase of this kit.  At any rate, I honestly don't think I could possibly use all that extra plastic for ABS paste anyhow!  

My biggest challenge for this kit will be to not build it for my husband!  I had him try on some pieces, and it all fits him very well.  He is super excited to become a TK, and I will be building an RS Props kit for him once I'm done with this one.  Hoping to have this kit finished by early December.  Must stay on target!!!

 

Tomorrow will be focused on trimming the front seams and gluing inner cover strips to forearms, biceps, thighs, and shins.

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Inner cover strips have been glued in the thighs, forearms, and shins. The biceps need to be fitted to my size before trimming- those seem to be the only pieces that require some care in trimming before front-side gluing.   If you're smaller like me, you want to keep the inner 'dips' of the biceps centered.   If you trim too much on one side or the other on the bicep, it throws off the center alignment of the 'dip'.  So it needs to be sized first.  I'll get to that later.

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I decided to tackle shaping the kidney and ab with each other today.  Befores and afters.

 

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The lovely wonkiness really stands out on this suit when it's shaped, doesn't it?  ;)    In case you're wondering, the blue tape was just a visual guide to help me see how far to dip the pieces into the boiling water.  I used a 16 quart pot, and it worked out great.  Oh, and I haven't trimmed anything for width yet!   My focus is just getting the torso shaped properly so all stress is minimal on the plastic when it's strapped together.  I think I'll pad things with foam instead of trying to trim it down.  If further down the line I decide that a slimmer torso would look better, I can always tackle that later.  

I forgot to take pics, but after this, I heat-gunned the crimps in the returns on top and bottom of the kidney.  This happens when you shape your kidney in hot water.  It's unavoidable, but easily remedied.

 

Next I decided to get reinforcing the returns out of the way.  I don't like this part.  It's boring, but so necessary if you want to prevent future cracks in your armor (if you're using brackets, like me).   I just traced my return edges on some thin sheets of ABS, cut, and glued them in with CA glue.  I purposely keep these pieces wide.  I will trim everything down with a Dremel once my brackets have been installed.
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I quickly taped the kidney, ab, and chest together to see how everything fits at full-size.  This kind of reminded me of the "Kilroy Was Here" doodle...

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So, my plan to size this kit down is as follows:  Keep the ab and kidney at full size- no trimming for length, not even the cod!!   I will trim the back piece at the bottom for length, effectively removing the return off of it and making it shorter.  I will also be removing a good amount from the bottom of the chest (no need to rebuild the bottom chest return for a Luke-style Hero TK, yay!) and trimming the neckline to create a deeper swoop in order to move the chest plate up.  Wish me luck!  :)

 

 

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After some very non-scientific measurements of the full-sized torso on my frame, I figured out that I needed to remove 2 inches from the chest and back.  I split this amount as 1.5" from the bottom of the chest, and .5" from the neck scoop.  The same figures were applied to the back piece: 1.5" from the bottom of the back, and .5" from the neck scoop.

This part is always terrifying to me.  I heard in a creepy straight-outta-Disneyland voice, "There's no turning back now..."
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Okay, so the cuts have been made, and interior has been temporarily strapped with gaffer's tape.    Remember, the only cuts for my height have been to the chest and back plates (the ab/cod/kidney/butt are full size in the pics!). 

 

I have to say, I'm kind of pleased with how the front is coming along!  I still may do a little more trimming at the neck and move the chest plate up a little.  But on the right track, methinks!

 

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And the back view...
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Hm.  I'm trying to get that back plate to sit more square on the kidney.  Looking closely, I can see it's not the back plate that is the issue.  It's the kidney.  Now, I have done nothing to the kidney aside from heat shaping the curves on the sides.  That kidney is taller on the left side than on the right, which causes the back plate to shift up a little bit.  I've sanded the back plate down a bit on the left side, and that seems to have helped square up the OII box.

In that pic, I still hadn't trimmed down the top of the back plate at the neck yet (this also causes the back plate to look a little 'off').  I ended up trimming the back plate at the shoulder straps to shorten things there, too.  The whole back plate in general needs some heat adjusting for sure.

And I'll be doing some more shaping to that kidney.  Even though the torso as a whole fits me, the kidney is still too wide for my liking.  I know I can get it tapered in a bit.  Time for another pot o' Trooper Stew!

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Aaaand just like that, my growing TK just kicked my cooktop's a$$...

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"Boiling water?  To change me?", my armor asked.  "Ha!  I think not!"  With that, my armor flicked a corner of its ABS, tossing some boiling water out of the pot. 

 

Alas, my glass cooktop was no match and exploded across my kitchen into a gazillion pieces.  Thanks for the memories, cooktop.   I never liked you anyways.  :crushcomputer:

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Thanks, troopers.  :)  Yeah, aside from a few cuts sustained from picking up glass, I'll live.  

The good news is that the following armor parts have been assembled completely and waiting for sizing for length:  thighs, biceps, forearms.  The torso is fully trimmed to my satisfaction and I just need to get permanent strapping installed.  Shoulder bell trimming will happen once permanent strapping is installed.  I can't believe I started work on this kit twelve days ago.  Just twelve days, I say!  

 

The bad news is that although my shins are assembled on the fronts, I can't proceed any further on them at this point.  I have to wait until we receive our new cooktop so I can boil them into shape for magnet closure installation.  Gah!!!  

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I am super impatient when it comes to this build.  When I get impatient, I get... er...crazy... no.... reckless... no.... I think I mean... brave.  I had intended on using boiling water to further shape my kidney before installing permanent strapping.  The top left corner of the kidney does this really odd flare outwards, and it was hitting my left arm in an awkward manner.  So instead of waiting for the whole boiling water bit, I decided to take a heat gun (GASP!) to my kidney.   Heat guns terrify me, but I wanted to move this build along!

 

My biggest challenge in dealing with the heat gun is the lack of control I seem to have on it.  I feel like I always need an extra pair of hands.  I suddenly realized that I own a vice, and figured I could use that to hold my heat gun while I shaped the part of the kidney that needed shaping.  Here's what my super fancy setup looked like:

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And it worked quite well!  I took the advice of many troopers before me and kept the heat on low and kept the plastic moving.  I just applied gentle pressure to curve the kidney the whole time, and before I knew it, my kidney was shaped how I wanted it.  Whew.  I was so encouraged that I shaped the lower left corner of the back plate, too (because it needed shaping to match the kidney now).  That turned out just as well.  Now, would I do this same thing to my shins to shape them to close perfectly?  No way.  I am not that impatient!  But for the small things I needed, it certainly did the trick!

I trimmed more of the width off of the chest plate (because I couldn't move my arms across my chest), and some extra off the straps at the top of the chest and straps at the top of the back.  And now I've got everything assembled on my duct tape dummy... which looks super crazy with those untrimmed shoulder bells.  Linebacker trooper for sure!

 

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Next up: Get the permanent torso strapping installed (kidney/butt brackets are already installed) so I can size the arms and legs.

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Plugging along here, and close to finished!  Everything is in a state of final e6000 curing, so it's just a matter of hurry up and wait at this point. 

 

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I've managed to size the arms to fit the torso, but didn't bother taking pics as I went.  Sorry!  It was all quite tedious, really.  Sizing the biceps and forearms was not all that difficult.  I removed one divot off the end of each forearm, and didn't even bother removing any length from the biceps at all.  The shoulder bells were the biggest challenge because they needed to be trimmed along the chest and back plates.  Tracing approximate cuts was easy to do with a pencil in the front, but everything had to be guessed when it came to the back.  My arms just don't contort like they need to in order to make a trace line along the back of the bells!  As a result, it was a lot of try-on-take-off of each arm, with millimeters of trimming happening in between.  I'm happy with the result, though.  

 

I'm left with just sizing the legs for length now.  I think I still need to remove a little bit from the bottoms of the shins to bring them down.  And I haven't even begun to trim the thighs for length yet.  That's because I just finished getting the torso fully adjusted and finalized yesterday.  If any of you have followed my other Vertically Challenged builds, you'll know that having the torso correctly fitted is necessary before trimming down the thighs!  I plan on spending tomorrow morning getting the thighs and shins properly trimmed down to fit.

 

And aside from the helmet, this build will be pretty much wrapped up.  My goal has been to complete the entire build in less than a month, and it looks like I'm on track.  :)  

Edited by Cricket
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Great work, only one thing worse than waiting for glue to dry, it's waiting for BBB's to arrive

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I worked on the helmet for about 2 hours yesterday and have almost finished shaping the right ear to fit.  Left ear will be worked on today.  Teeth are still fully intact, but those will be easy to remove.  I still need to fill in the extra teeth with ABS paste and sand smooth in order to properly convert this Stunt helmet to Hero.   I haven't begun the painting process yet, but that's the easiest part of the build for me.  

 

And now... feels like I'm hitting burnout today.  :( 

 

It took me about three hours of trying the torso on with one leg at a time in order to trim the thighs down to fit me.  It's lots of try-on-take-off, trim, repeat, repeat, repeat....  The thighs are finally at a point where I can permanently glue the 3" elastics to them and have them ready for the garter belt.  There are still some minor trims to do, but they're mostly in the back and inner areas of the thighs.  My hubby was up in the kitchen for a quick snack, so I had him take a few pics of me before he went back to work.  Which is why I only have photos while wearing one leg.

 

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I'm happy with the front.  The right thigh looks like the top part is cut off, but it's just some black gaffer's tape that was keeping it stuck to the garter while fitting. 

I don't really ever see the back, so I was disappointed when I saw the back view pic.  It's not entirely awful (the butt plate was shifting because I'm standing on my tiptoes with my left leg), but I immediately saw that I need to make some adjustments back there.  It's not all that visible in the photo, but I needed to shorten the elastic connection between the right side back plate and kidney.  So off it went and is currently being reglued.  

The other thing I noticed is that my cover strip on my shins was not lining up with the thigh.  I asked my husband to adjust it, and he said, "I can't.  That's just how it is."  I took it off and gave it a closer look.  Turns out that it had shifted when I glued it on.  I never noticed it before gluing the magnets in there.  GAH!!!  Sensing my frustration, my husband was nice enough and said, "Well, it's not all that apparent, really."  To which I exclaimed, "But it's not straight!!!"  Next thing I know, I'm ripping the cover strip off the shin.  I know it can be easily fixed, but I thought I was almost done.  Grrrr... I will need to do some reattachment of the magnets inside of that shin now as well.  :6: So annoying.  At least the left shin's cover strip is straight, so I don't have to worry about that one.

 

Time to get back to work.  

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Wow can't believe how fast you're blowing through this build! And glad you found the heat gun useful and not that scary - it's my #1 indispensable tool for armor building. I'm just way too impatient to use a hot water bath.

 

From the back, the kidney looks just a tad bit big. I wonder if a touch of reshaping to get it to match the width of the back better would make it look more proportional?

 

 

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Thanks for pointing that out,  Sha Sha! :duim:

 

The entire kit is larger on me than my previous kit, and my plan is to add padding in strategic places to build it out rather than shrink it in. The kidney, ab, butt, and cod plates are all still full-sized (can you believe it?!).  I had a piece of foam in the back plate, but I took it out for the pics.  It isn't the right size (yet), and was causing the back plate to shift around in a very odd manner. Anyhow, the foam assists in popping the back plate out to meet the shape of the kidney in a more elegant way.   

 

I have a small wedge of foam in the back plate of my current kit.  I also added some foam to the back plate of my friend's smaller build, and it made a huge difference.  When the foam is the right size and in the right place, it really makes things look so much better.  I'm not there yet, though.  Soon! ;)

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This is coming along so well!! keep up the great work Christine :jc_doublethumbup:

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That moment when you have one cover strip left to apply to the front of one thigh in order to totally finish the suit, and you run out of glue.  :angry::angry::angry::angry::angry:

 

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So I decided to get some attention over to the lid instead.  Hero ears have been applied, and teeth have been filled (still need to finish sanding/polishing).  Paint progress was made today, and I'm pretty happy with things so far.  On the tears and traps, I've done some initial outlining, so it's still quite a mess.  I'm going to allow a day or so to let the paint dry so I can safely apply the stripe templates later.  The tube stripes were quickly (and neatly!) done with Trooperbay tube stripe templates and my favorite sponge paint technique.

 

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Thankfully, I have 4 tubes of e6000 arriving today (Amazon Prime all the things!), so I will be able to get that last cover strip stuck on before the end of the day.   I can safely say that I've finished this kit (I'm not including the helmet) within my goal time of less than 4 weeks.  Whew!   I plan to get pics done for 501st submission next week, then it's off to apply for EIB.   

 

The reason why I had this (insane) goal in mind is because I needed to wrap things up well before Halloween.   If I didn't get to finishing things right away, I would not have had any time to finish it until January... and I didn't want to wait!  Those of you who've followed my other builds know that I am Master Builder of All Things Halloween in my home, and we do BIG HALLOWEEN here.  (Shameless sharing of prior year's Halloween videos here and here...) I've got new lifesized props to build and refurbish!  And a huge yard to decorate that takes all month to set up.   After that, we have my son's birthday, followed by in-laws coming to visit for Thanksgiving, then decorating for Christmas, celebrating New Years, and then I'll be starting my next build sometime in January.  That one will be a RS TK for my hubby.  :)    After that, I'll be finally converting my RS Stunt TK to a Sandy.

I'll most likely do a few more updates when I get my pics done so you can see how my Hero finally turned out, as well as sharing my EIB and Centurion progress.  Thanks for following the build!


 

Edited by Cricket
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On ‎10‎/‎4‎/‎2018 at 11:47 AM, Cricket said:

The kidney, ab, butt, and cod plates are all still full-sized (can you believe it?!).

Yes:D

 

1 hour ago, Cricket said:

The reason why I had this (insane) goal in mind is because I needed to wrap things up well before Halloween.   If I didn't get to finishing things right away, I would not have had any time to finish it until January... and I didn't want to wait!  Those of you who've followed my other builds know that I am Master Builder of All Things Halloween in my home, and we do BIG HALLOWEEN here.  (Shameless sharing of prior year's Halloween videos here and here...) I've got new lifesized props to build and refurbish!  And a huge yard to decorate that takes all month to set up.   After that, we have my son's birthday, followed by in-laws coming to visit for Thanksgiving, then decorating for Christmas, celebrating New Years, and then I'll be starting my next build sometime in January.  That one will be a RS TK for my hubby.  :)    After that, I'll be finally converting my RS Stunt TK to a Sandy.

Almost having a minor heart-attack just by reading about all you got going onB) And not liking how quickly you are doing this build - I´m having a very hard time keeping up on your progress:smiley-sw013: But great work:duim:

 

That Halloween stuff is mad:th_AnimatedBravoSmiley:

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Now that all my adulting stuff has finally been taken care of, I can resume working on my TK Hero.  Back in October, I thought I was pretty much done.  But believe it or not, based on ShaSha's feedback (as well as scrutinizing over the pics of the back of my kit), I ended up tearing the entire kit apart so I could get some better shaping done on the kidney and butt plates.  This TK has been in pieces on my floor since October.  Gah!  

Thankfully, I still have my stunt TK in good working order for trooping in the meantime.  At Christmas I trooped in the Atlanta Christmas Parade, and I was so proud to represent the Empire in my shiny white (and very wet, extremely cold) armor.  And I wasn't the shortest TK in the squad, either!  :) 


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This is the first time our garrison has marched in formation in years.  Years I tell you!  So excited to have been a part of this.
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And with that weather, I couldn't resist recreating a scene from one of my favorite movies!
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Okay, so back to continuing this build...

Since I'm simultaneously working on this along with my husband's RS TK, I thought now might be a good place to show some comparisons of sizing/shaping of certain pieces.  Here, I'm comparing butts.  Butt plates, that is.  The only trimming alteration I have made to my butt plate is near the snaps at the crotch.  I had to make it more narrow for my size.  The rest of the butt plates are identical.  Any difference in sizing is due to hot water bath and curving the butt plate to better match the lower curve of the bottom of my kidney.

 

Here, you can see my butt plate inside of my husband's out-of-the-box butt plate.  The curve of the kidney on the left side is much more significant on my kit, thus you can see more curve on the left side of the butt plate at the return.  And you can see how I curved the area near the snaps inwards to reduce strain on the strapping.
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From the sides:
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So even though my butt plate looks smaller, it's not.  It's just got more curves to it.  On the left is my properly fitted (curved) kidney with the unaltered butt plate.  The right photo shows my curved butt plate with the same kidney. 

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My suggestion to other vertically challenged individuals is to refrain from cutting the sides of butt plate at all until you've properly curved and shaped it.  Trimming may not be necessary at all, but instead, just some gentle hot water sculpting.  :)   

 

After reshaping the butt plate, I noticed that I needed to move a bracket on the right butt plate return.  Grrr.  So now I wait for ABS paste to cook so I can patch up the screw holes and drill some new ones.  So another tip to those who are sizing down their kits:  wait to drill your bracket holes until everything is shaped correctly!  Once I patch things back up, I'll reassemble the back half of the armor, then reinstall the split rivets on the ab/kidney.  From there, it's just fine-tuning the armor for length.  I'm still shooting on earning EIB/Centurion on this kit.  More progress pics to come!

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