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Jen’s R1TK Build - 850 AW?

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My TK adventure started out with with an RS kit on Craigslist (build thread Here) last fall, but it had no helmet. I was totally enamored with the Black Series’ clean lines, and let’s face it - the price. The helmet arrived before the armor, and I got started right away. Many thanks to Parquett and his thread. I have an armor kit on order (pre-order?) from 850 Armorworks. The helmet is more or less finished (is any project ever really finished?).


 I have wanted to build a *fully* functional bucket for *years*, maybe decades. So I decided to go all out, and arguably ended up with more of a piece of art (albeit functional) than something troopable. I’m not prone to claustrophobia, so who knows, maybe it’ll be just fine.


Some things I learned and would do differently next time (why not a next time?):

1. Trim ALL the plastic from the inside. I tried to preserve much of perimeter where the snap connectors attach, but once assembled, the helmet didn’t really fit *perfectly*, and to get perfect results it would have been better to just glue it. Starting with an empty shell would have given quite a bit more room (but my head is small so didn’t matter much).

2. As this was my very beginning, I didn’t have a reserve of scraps to make ABS paste. So I hoarded every little bit, and my batch got contaminated by a tiny speck of black rubber from the vocoder. It turned a lovely shade of primer grey, and then made a lot more work for me filling in the rear speaker hole. (Insert something something power of the Dark Side...)

3. Do the speaker hole first, when everything is disassembled, especially the face. If you need to paint it, you can paint the whole bucket if your paint doesn’t match. I ended up mixing my own acrylic to match the shade, then coating the rear piece with Krylon clear-coat gloss. That added just a *touch* of yellow to the result, but it still matches more or less. I was too stubborn to take the face apart and paint the whole thing.

4. If you want to keep the hideous lenses, remove them while working on your bucket. They scratch super easily. And no, they cannot be heat polished. Or polished at all, as far as I can tell. A headlight restoration kit had no effect. Plexus had no effect. Filling in with wax had no effect. Swearing at it didn’t even make me feel better. And Hasbro, for some reason, does not have replacement lenses. And if you’re going to replace them with different material (recommend), it’s easier to make a template before the last-ditch attempt and heat polishing.

5. I wanted to give the tears/traps a more 3D look by running a groove around the perimeter and filling in with black paint. I think it might be best to leave them as is. I abandoned the attempt on the traps.


Here are some pics of the end result (build to follow):






Tube stripe and tear detail (and couldn’t find much visual reference for the snout/faceplate gap, so I winged it).



Trap detail. Be careful with your Dremel! I also left one vent hole because the back side was a boss for a screw. If you follow advice #1, you should be able to trim all of them:



Eye detail, with replacement lens I made. *I have 3 available to anyone BTW!* The first one I cut out was the worst, but looks fine from the outside. I used a bandsaw at work to cut them out on a 12x12” piece of standard TAP Plastics transparent green. After the disaster with the original lens, I wanted to hedge my bets. Turns out the new acrylic is made of normal matter that plays nice. It requires a higher temp to bend, though, and I used two radii to bend - one large (like cookie  jar) and one smaller (a jar of jam or something) for the center piece.





Vocoder / Hovi tips:





The specs are -

Two 12V fans on the rear traps, two 5v fans on the tears and two buried as a sealed outlet to the exhaust stripes (blue tubes) from the respirator. Respirator?

Yeah, I kinda geeked out there. But hey, in theory it will protect from a lot of environmental hasards! The filters are easily removable and the default setting will probably be no filters. It should avoid fogging up the lenses too.

Mic installed in the respirator, connected to an aviation style portable intercom, which is then connected to the original speaker. The speaker was relocated behind the vocoder (and the rear was filled in with a Tyvek-type material). My roommate says it’s “not unloud”. No special effects at this point. The speaker is only 1/4 watt near as I can tell, and I don’t know if a more powerful speaker would help. The intercom is only supposed to drive headset speakers (though aviation specs are a bit different, at 300/600ohm).

Hearing augmentation - two mics installed in each ear bar (if you look closely, the black is drilled out and covered in cloth), going to a mixer, which goes to a cheap pair of noise reduction headphones (with phone mic). If you unplug them from the mixer and plug into your phone (Android anyway), you can have a nice conversation while being acoustically isolated from the outside world. My roommate said he could understand me just fine with the dangling headphone mic.

The next thing I want to try, but am limited by funds, would be a visual augmentation system. The Vufine display is the only one I could find that acts as a straight display, is small and affordable. AR would be nice, but I think a workable system would start at $2k. Hook that up to a Raspberry Pi, with a camera designed for the Pi. They make IR passive cameras too. I figure since you can’t really see out of the bucket anyway, covering up one eye wouldn’t matter *too* much, especially if it has a much better wide-field view of the world.

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Since the vocoder was the most perplexing for me, I’ll start with that.


The stock vocoder is rubberized, but lacks the 3D gap on screen. Recreating that pretty much requires annihilation and rebuilding. First task: Remove the rubber coating. Turns out you don’t have to perfectly preserve the white plastic underneath. Then I cut away the outer ribs.





I’m not sure if I could’ve left the rubber coating on the inner three ribs. I made replacement ribs out of windshield wiper fluid hose from the auto parts store. For the inner ribs I cut the hose in half and glued it on. The rubber neck seal is integral to the helmet so I left it on the front. I left part that connects to the three center ribs and did my best to line up the hose halves with it. I just threaded the remaining tubes and glued them in place, working from the center outward. I only used CA (superglue).


 Since I was mounting the speaker behind the vocoder, I didn’t want to fill the gaps with ABS. I improvised and used the outer layer of a dust mask. It’s rather like Tyvex, but obviously breathable. It was a pain to glue it in there and make it flat. I’m sure there’s a clever way to do this but it escaped me.






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  • 1 month later...

Great job on the black series helmet. I have one waiting on my second set of RO TK armor to build and sandy but I am skeptical about 850 AW ever getting the armor done. 

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They have been posting a lot of pictures to Facebook the last few weeks, at any rate. As close as they appear to be, I’d say expect delivery in the cliché 4-6 weeks.


My ANH armor is my practice build. The plan is to make the R1 the “best” one, and if I succeed then I’ll just have to get *another* R1 helmet, because what I have now is the “beta” version. It’s kind of a mess inside, which I’d like to make more professional looking. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tsongololo, I just messaged with Kevin Merritt from 850 AW. I have a set on standby, i need to pay the ballance and i plan on doing that after DragonCon this year. I would recommend you message him on FB. He seems quite responsive and they are now forming in white ABS which is awesome news. The pulls he posted on the Star Wars Rogue One TK Stormtrooper Page on FB look great.

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Hi Jeff - I have been following them on Facebook and it’s definitely down to the wire. I did message Kevin a few weeks ago. I forgot if I paid in full or not, but I did tell him how much I paid. He didn’t say I owe more so I’m hoping it’s good! I have a warm and fuzzy feeling BBB day is two weeks or less! I’m almost done with my ANH assembly, but screwed up the shin/kneeplate, and might need to reorder. Bummer because I don’t like to have multiple projects going at once.

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:smiley-sw013: Been watching the build on FB, looking forward to the first review

Edited by LTM
text was dropped
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Filling in the battery compartment:


This was my first ever attempt to do anything, including making ABS paste. It’s been a while, but I’m not sure the Hasbro bucket is ABS. A tiny speck of rubber got into the paste and I didn’t have a lot of material to start over, so I went with it. This necessitated painting it.





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Brow Trim:


The brow trim looked a little high. Here is a pic taken about two minutes after opening the box, so original configuration.



This was further along, still original:




I ended up replacing the rear neck trim with square U-channel. Not wanting to waste it, I cut it in half, leaving a lip to go on the bottom, and covered it extra wide vinyl tape.




Finished result:




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Here’s a few pictures of what the kit entails. I’m stilling finishing up my RS armor & the helmet arrived a few days ago, so I likely won’t get started on the R1 for a few weeks.


3D printed parts:




Some parts are familiar, others not so much. The squares aren’t obvious to me. The arms and legs for the most part look like mirror images and are symmetrical.





Thickness difference in the shin halves.



Biceps in the foreground, shins and one set of thighs in the back, some hand guards, and 1 of 2 I don’t knows.










And some boots I got from Groupon for $15. Obviously they need to be dyed, and a zipper added for Centurion, but for the price failure is an option. :)


Edited by tsongololo
Forgot a pic
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