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MV's ANH TK Stunt [ATA] 1st Build Thread for Centurion


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OP (MV) Post #34: Kittell Belt & Supplies Not Previously Documented

 

Not any actual progress here, but I just wanted to further document several build supplies which I had not previously photographed and posted in the past several months. I've probably said this a million times, but my hope is that this thread can be a resource to future builders. Thus I've tried to thoroughly document every aspect of the build, whether it be images of raw armor, visuals of every cut into the shiny plastic, or purchase links to the tools I use. In that vein, here are some additional acquisition notes:

  • TK canvas belt from Rob Kittell (Imperial Issue). This appears to be of excellent quality, and came highly recommended by many troopers of FISD. As stated on the Imperial Issue webpage, when sizing always take your waist measurement with your ab and kidney armor on, and do not add in any breathing room to your number. Rob already takes that into account. I generally wear a US size 34 pants, and my armor-on measurement was just shy of 41 inches (104cm). Also, Rob's logo and slogan are awesome!
  • Humbrol French Blue #14 enamel paint. As discussed in a previous post, I initially had a hard time sourcing the French Blue enamel, and couldn't even decide if I wanted to use that or the Mediterranean Blue, but I finally broke down and got the FB from Trooperbay on eBay.
  • Testors Semi-Gloss Black enamel paint (Hobby Lobby). For the longest time I was unable to find this in-stock at my local Hobby Lobby or Michael's stores, especially since all the bottles were always mixed up and never in their correct bays, but I eventually got lucky. I had initially planned on painting my vocoder and mix tips with a matte black, to add contrast to all the other shininess, but it turns out that's really actually an ROTJ style.
  •  Superfine White Milliput (Hobby Lobby). This may not seem like a standard ABS TK build item, but my plan has been to use it on the inside of the helmet to reinforce the mix tip wells. The ABS is super thin there, due to the extreme stretching in that area during the pulling process, and I didn't want to rely solely on a larger washer. I've also considered using it on the interior of the ears (either that or a piece of ABS) to reinforce where the countersunk screws will be drilled. Purchase tip: Never shop at Hobby Lobby without a minimum 40% off coupon.
  • White adhesive velcro (Walmart). I found this in my office supplies/mounting box and figured I would use the soft (loop) half on the back of the thermal detonator clips to keep them from scuffing up the torso armor behind the belt. Industrial strength is unnecessary; the cheapest option with an adequate adhesive will do.
  • Rust-Oleum Black Truck Bed Coating Spray (Amazon). Chalk this one up to @TheRascalKing, who swears by it. This is intended for the interior of the helmet, and unlike plasti-dip, apparently it can accommodate adhesives for velco padding, fans, etc. It will be a nice way to black-out the interior and avoid the peeling that plasti-dip is also susceptible to. Plus the texture looks awesome (on the builds I've seen).

 

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And that's all for now. If any builders want a complete index of my tools, supplies, and parts, I have documented them on my Table of Contents on Page 1 of this thread, and they are even better-presented, with purchase links, at the beginning of my PDF compilation of this thread.

 

MV

 

Printable/downloadable PDF of my entire build thread to this point contained in [THIS SHARED FOLDER]. The PDF will be updated within a few hours of my own new posts and will note sequential version numbers and revision dates.

Edited by MaskedVengeance
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OP (MV) Post #22   It's been almost two weeks since I posted an actual build update due to my efforts being temporarily redirected at compiling the resource list from my previous post. Which

July 10, 2020 Part 3 of 3   I dreamed a dream.   It is with great sadness that I must announce an indefinite hold on my dream to become a Stormtrooper. For financial reasons relate

OP (MV) Post #38: Rough Helmet Trimming & One Year Anniversary on FISD   This is a relatively (by my standards) short update to show the very basic rough trimming I started on my helmet

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OP (MV) Post #35: Helmet Work Begins

 

While I continue to work through my thermal detonator dilemma (paint color and clip shape) I thought I would provide an update on the basic helmet preparations I've slowly been working on. First, below are the primary resources I've been following for all work bucket-related, copied and pasted from my All-In-One Reference Thread, followed by the ANH-Stunt CRL as of October 29, 2020.

 

Helmet Assembly

ATA ABS Helmet Assembly by pandatrooper (Print PDF)

ATA Stunt Helmet Assembly by Ales (Print PDF)

ATA Helmet Build by maxsteele

ANH TE2 Helmet Build by TK-4510

Helmet Ear Tutorial by gazmosis (Print PDF)

Draw No Gap Ear Line by bpoodoo (Print PDF)

Choose Your Brow Height by CableGuy (Print PDF)

Helmet Alignment by CableGuy (Print PDF)

Template Painting 101 by justjoseph63 (Print PDF)

Tube Stripes by CableGuy (Print PDF)

Vocoder Paint Examples by CableGuy (Print PDF)

Helmet Painting Tips by CableGuy

Replicate the Screen-Used Look by CableGuy

 

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| For those of you viewing on Tapatalk, I will add the text of the CRL in type format on the PDF of this thread, since the image will be too small to read |

 

In this previous post I documented (lots of photos) what the raw uncut parts of the helmet looked like upon unboxing, and this update marks my first actual work on the helmet pieces. Based on guidance from pandatrooper's ATA helmet build, I began by using a flexible plastic strip (cut from the bottom structural support piece of an eco-fabric grocery bag) to mark off the initial trim line at the top of the faceplate. It was a little tricky getting a level line with the plastic guide because the faceplate is angled, but this wasn't really important since the edge will be inside the cap brow and trim. I did leave myself a little more material than Terry did, just to be safe. Note that some of the photos below do not have optimal lighting since my wife has been using my "studio" lights for for online English teaching desk setup.

 

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I also marked the following initial cut lines for the cap sides and neck opening. I'd much rather under-trim rather than over-trim, so these guides are pretty conservative. Thoughts on them, shown below? My mantra for cutting plastic on this first build is as follows:

  1. Post cut-line photos seeking feedback prior to cutting.
  2. Measure twice (or thrice), cut once, then repeat as necessary (see #3).
  3. Always under-trim, and retrim, rather than trim too much.

 

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While this would seem obvious, I never want to make any assumptions when cutting expensive plastic, so I marked the eye cutouts following ATA's molded guides. Is there any reason to believe I should start further towards the middle of the eye and eventually work my way to those lines based on what it looks like from the outside front? I plan to use a cutting wheel on my dremel and will, of course, cut inside the lines and then sand/file to the lines, but I'm wondering if those lines are an appropriate end-target.

 

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And finally, in terms of actual progress, I freehanded what I thought might be an appropriate outline for the vocoder. I know that the 2nd and 6th ridges are supposed to be pretty close in height to the center one on Stunt helmets, and much shorter on Hero helmets, so I'm guessing they are too short for my stunt, correct? I figure I would intentionally draw them on the shorter end and then increase their height as deemed necessary. As mentioned in my previous post, I will be painting this using Testors semi-gloss black, and will simply paint over the pencil markings.

 

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Additionally, touching on in my previous post, I observed that the hovi mix tips "wells" (I'm blanking, if there's a proper name) have extremely thin ABS plastic due to the forming process, so I want to reinforce them. In one of the builds I've seen that area was backed with some sort of glue or resin-soaked canvas, and I also considered melting an ABS strip and drooping one onto each of the backs, but ultimately I've decided to try Ales' strategy of using milliput. Do any of you have any thoughts on that, or other recommendations? My plan is to also a rubber and then metal washer before threading on the screw nut. The photo below shows the thinness of the plastic with a light shining on the other side.

 

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Finally, in my last post I included photos of the Rust-Oleum Black Truck Bed Coating spray that I intend to use on the inside of my helmet. However, upon closer inspection (see photo below), I see that it contains acetone. Should I be concerned about this, and the potential reaction to the ABS? Do all spray paints have some amount of this in them? Thoughts, @TheRascalKing?

 

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Review of my Questions:

  • Do my cap side cutout lines (which will be hidden beneath the ears) appear ok?
  • Are the guidelines for rough trimming the neck opening too narrow? I would prefer to under-trim and have to do more later rather than over-trim.
  • Am I on track with my eye hole initial trim lines, which follow ATA's molded guides?
  • Does my vocoder outline appear ok? I know that Stunt helmets generally had taller (2nd and 6th) bars than Hero ones, and I've drawn mine short to serve as a starting point to build upwards from.
  • Will milliput be a good material to reinforce the hovi mix tips attachment points? In addition to washers, what other solutions are recommended?
  • The black tuck bed coating spray I have contains acetone―is this normal of sprays, and should I be concerned?

Thanks in advance for your helpful insight and continued support! You all are the best! p.s. the photo below shows masks made by a coworker's wife and gifted to me, since we're wearing them full-time at work.

 

MV

 

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Printable/downloadable PDF of my entire build thread to this point contained in [THIS SHARED FOLDER]. The PDF will be updated within a few hours of my own new posts and will note sequential version numbers and revision dates.

Edited by MaskedVengeance
Rephrased vocoder question; typo correction; PDF link update
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1 hour ago, MaskedVengeance said:

 

  • Do my cap side cutout lines (which will be hidden beneath the ears) appear ok? I've found that cutting a little forward leaning 45° at the bottom of the back cap where it'll be under the ears helps the alignment work easier with many Maker's helmets, otherwise yea.
  • Are the guidelines for rough trimming the neck opening too narrow? I would prefer to under-trim and have to do more later rather than over-trim. Looks good.
  • Am I on track with my eye hole initial trim lines, which follow ATA's molded guides? Yes. I believe the DOs like to see the middle, near the bridge of the nose cut to more of a point.
  • Does my vocoder outline appear ok? Particularly, how is the height on the two bars immediately flanking the center one? I know that Stunt helmets generally had taller bars (those two particular ones) than Hero ones. Looks good.
  • Will milliput be a good material to reinforce the hovi mix tips attachment points? In addition to washers, what other solutions are recommended? Definitely a big washer, and yea either milliput or I've used a ball of bondo, then let it set up a bit so it's just barely tacky before tightening it down. Just don't use too much and have it squirt out the sides, it's a pain to remove. Just helping create a more level surface. Not all helmets need this either.
  • The black tuck bed coating spray I have contains acetone―is this normal of sprays, and should I be concerned? I've never noticed that! But I've sprayed probably 8 or 10 ABS helmets with it, including a Scout just this last week with no issues. Just mask really really well because the overspray is a pain to polish off. And shake as you spray lightish coats to get the texture, but try not to get runs - can't really sand this stuff back down.

 

Edited by TheRascalKing
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I'll add my 2 cents, from a fellow newbie perspective who's also currently working on an ATA helmet.  For pretty much all my initial guidelines, I sketched them following the mold lines and as you're planning to do, my initial cuts were 2-3mm short of the lines and then trimmed little by little towards the lines until it was to my liking.

 

As far as the cap sides, I believe what Justin mentions above is what I did (visual below).  I did this because since I had no idea where my screw/rivet would go, I wanted more surface available.  I ended up trimming these corners down a bit later, but it helped with initial mock up of face to cap/back.

G5DNRPm.jpg

 

I trimmed all the way to the mold lines on my neck from the get go, but it couldn't hurt to follow your line and then trim back as needed.  I personally cut to the mold lines due to having a fairly thick neck, and even now, without the s-trim the neck sits on my Adam's apple and is a bit uncomfortable.  Perhaps when I get padding inside, it'll correct that issue for me.

 

As for eyes, I did what you did and traced the mold lines.  And I also used a Dremel cut off wheel for the initial cuts (again 3 or so mm short of the lines, and then little by little sanded toward the lines with the barrel sanders.  This worked well for me, just took my time.  My final eyes are again, pretty darn in line with the mold lines.  And again as Justin mentioned above, I still had to take the inside/nose side corners down a bit more to get rid of the return edges.  Just used a smaller diameter Dremel barrel sander and a round file for that.

 

Working on ears as of now...they're NOT fun.  ;)

Edited by Cali_Nole
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14 hours ago, MaskedVengeance said:

(...)   Do any of you have any thoughts on that, or other recommendations? My plan is to also a rubber and then metal washer before threading on the screw nut.   (...)

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Good idea with the additional rubber washer. :duim:

'Poor man's fiberglass' (CA glue and a piece from an old T-shirt) works very well to reinforce the thin material around the mic tips.

 

Oh and, great posting (as always :))

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14 hours ago, TheRascalKing said:

 

12 hours ago, Cali_Nole said:

As far as the cap sides, I believe what Justin mentions above is what I did (visual below).  I did this because since I had no idea where my screw/rivet would go, I wanted more surface available.  I ended up trimming these corners down a bit later, but it helped with initial mock up of face to cap/back.

 

I trimmed all the way to the mold lines on my neck from the get go, but it couldn't hurt to follow your line and then trim back as needed.  I personally cut to the mold lines due to having a fairly thick neck, and even now, without the s-trim the neck sits on my Adam's apple and is a bit uncomfortable.  Perhaps when I get padding inside, it'll correct that issue for me.

 

As for eyes, I did what you did and traced the mold lines.  And I also used a Dremel cut off wheel for the initial cuts (again 3 or so mm short of the lines, and then little by little sanded toward the lines with the barrel sanders.  This worked well for me, just took my time.  My final eyes are again, pretty darn in line with the mold lines.  And again as Justin mentioned above, I still had to take the inside/nose side corners down a bit more to get rid of the return edges.  Just used a smaller diameter Dremel barrel sander and a round file for that.

Thanks for this feedback, friends! That's an excellent idea about leaving a little extra on the cap front sides under the ears, particularly at the bottom near the neck, just to be safe. I will definitely employ that technique!

 

A question I forgot to ask in my previous post is regarding WHEN to spray the interior of the helmet. I see most builders do it AFTER cutting out the eyes and teeth, but Ales (ATA helmet) did it at the VERY BEGINNING. I can foresee the paint hiding potential cut lines if sprayed before trimming, but if I can overcome that, would there be issues with the sanding process, or some paint peeking out when viewing the teeth from the front? I see that some troopers go back and manually touch up (brush) the areas around the eyes and teeth after removing the masking tape. Because my paint is truck bed coating, it should remain unaffected by moisture, so I wouldn't think sanding cleanup would be an issue. Am I missing something?

 

Edited by MaskedVengeance
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This is the Testors spray can I used. The colour is very similar to my tears traps and frown paint.

It is a semi gloss and I guess batch to batch may have some colour variance too.

This is the Primer as opposed to Aircraft gray which I definitely find too dark, I think I have that one somewhere as well lol.

 

Hope this helps.

 

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OP (MV) Post #37: Troopers Helping Troopers

 

Troopers Helping Troopers. Bad Guys Doing Good. Those are both phrases we all see and most of us experience on an almost daily basis here on FISD, and I'm constantly amazed at the genuine eagerness to help others here on the forum. That drive to lend a helping hand is so prevalent that it's contagious―I find myself seeking opportunities to share the [basic] knowledge I've gleaned from the veterans before me―and then hopefully the cycle continues. And this generosity doesn't just end at shared time or verbal and written assistance; it extends into the very real world through the gifting of extra hardware or strapping, frown and hovi tip mesh, or patches and coins. Or in my case, a financial "band aid" gift which might enable me to hold on to my armor and continue my build all the way to Legion approval. Last week was a very tough stretch for my family and then out of the blue, providentially I'm certain, a selfless Trooper reached out to ask how we were doing. The result of the ensuing conversation was the gift of encouragement, and much more.

 

I don't yet know whether we can swing the rest of my build, but the gift that we were blessed with brings it a little closer to reality. Admittedly, there is still the mental barrier of committing a sum of scarce resources to something other than necessities such as diapers, healthy food, loans, bills, etc., but this act of kindness that my family received makes me that much more determined to make other sacrifices in order to see this through (For the Empire!). The thoughtfulness of each and every one of you is a true testament to the spirit of the community, and hopefully someday, or every day, I'll be able to pay it forward.

 

Caleb

 

 

Quote Response:

On 11/9/2020 at 6:38 AM, Sly11 said:

This is the Testors spray can I used. The colour is very similar to my tears traps and frown paint.

It is a semi gloss and I guess batch to batch may have some colour variance too.

This is the Primer as opposed to Aircraft gray which I definitely find too dark, I think I have that one somewhere as well lol.

Andrew - Thanks for pointing out the TD paint that you use. I will make note of that and keep it in mind for when I determine how to proceed with my build.

 

Edited by MaskedVengeance
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I normally have some grey primer around which is extremely close to the humbrol grey, so I sand the TD tube, apply a couple of coats of the grey primer, once dry I add a coat of gloss clear, done

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OP (MV) Post #38: Rough Helmet Trimming & One Year Anniversary on FISD

 

This is a relatively (by my standards) short update to show the very basic rough trimming I started on my helmet cap and face. My rough cut lines were drawn out in this post, and in continuing with pandatrooper's guide, I cut in eight areas including the neck opening on both pieces, the ear profiles on both sides of the cap, the top on the faceplate, the brow line, and of course the eyes. I essentially just cut close to my pre-drawn guide lines to give myself room for error, except for the brow line and two spots at the neck opening which I cut right to the lines. On the brow I used the plastic straight-edge again to form a straight line from the backs of the traps across the front to the other side. I left a lot of excess plastic at the neck opening where the cap and face will overlap, as well as at the bottom of where the ears will eventually be positioned. All of this will be further trimmed when I eventually attach the cap and face. Keep in mind, too, this is all pre-sanding since I want to do rough fitment of the pieces prior to proceeding with closer trimming and then sanding.

 

The tools I used were lexan scissors for the large cuts, a dremel cutting wheel (my first ever use of the wheel, and second time for the tool, which was admittedly a bit risky) to start the eyes, and then an xacto knife to further expand the eyes closer to the trim lines. More on the eyes after these first images.

 

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Eyes

First, know that I am not finished with them, and I would like some feedback. Looking at screen references (Gallery) of ANH Stunt eyes, some of which are shown below, it's clear that the cut lines were all over the place, with varying amounts of return/flashing left visible. However, my plan has been to go for an idealized look, as opposed to the awesome replica style by Dan (CableGuy), so I'll be seeking smooth and even curves and ridges.

 

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As of right now I believe I can likely trim some more at the inner points of the ears near the nose, and perhaps also some at the outer corners. Interestingly, I didn't even cut all the way to the suggested trim lines (still seen in photos below) along the tops and bottoms of the eyes, but from the front those areas seem to look ok to me. But perhaps the eyes are still too deep and could use some more trimming in those areas to better match the screen-used thickness of the eye sockets. What do you veterans think?

 

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These next images show the remaining pencil lines on ATA's suggested trim line seam. Does it really seem like I need to further trim the long tops, bottoms, and sides of the eyes? As mentioned above, I think there's room to further extend the inner points near the nose, but I'm not sure about the rest. If the consensus is for me to keep trimming all the way around, I think I will experiment with leaving a bit of extra on the right eye to somewhat emulate the screen-accurate bump.

 

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Additionally, today marks a special date for me since it is my one year anniversary on FISD (with an account), and tomorrow will have been a year since my introductory post. It's hard to believe a whole year has passed, and it's amazing how much more attuned I am to variances and irregularities in TK armor. Gone are the days of watching ANH and ESB and seeing idealized TK uniformity. Now I can't UN-see gaff tape, dropped or twisted biceps, open calves, and much more. I can only hope to someday be able to discern armor vendors by simply looking at a bucket or ab piece. Then we can talk about a resume-worthy achievement! Haha. Many thanks to each and every one of you who have poured your time and wisdom into my journey. Now on to my next 500 posts and beyond!

 

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One final note not really related to my thread, which is somewhat customary. Just this past weekend a family member shared their Disney+ account with me, so let's just say... this is the way...

 

 

Quote Response:

On 11/10/2020 at 7:02 PM, gmrhodes13 said:

I normally have some grey primer around which is extremely close to the humbrol grey, so I sand the TD tube, apply a couple of coats of the grey primer, once dry I add a coat of gloss clear, done

Glen - Thanks for your TD tip! I hadn't thought about clear-coating, but that does make sense considering that the primer will be flat and the screen-used TDs had some shine to them. That was something I was missing on my initial attempt.

 

 

Printable/downloadable PDF of my entire build thread to this point contained in [THIS SHARED FOLDER]. The PDF will be updated within a few hours of my own new posts and will note sequential version numbers and revision dates.

Edited by MaskedVengeance
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8 hours ago, MaskedVengeance said:

These next images show the remaining pencil lines on ATA's suggested trim line seam. Does it really seem like I need to further trim the long tops, bottoms, and sides of the eyes? As mentioned above, I think there's room to further extend the inner points near the nose, but I'm not sure about the rest. If the consensus is for me to keep trimming all the way around, I think I will experiment with leaving a bit of extra on the right eye to somewhat emulate the screen-accurate bump.

Hi Caleb, I think they look ok as it, anyway you can trim them later if needed .  :salute:

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OP (MV) Post #39: Imperial Dentistry

 

To continue with my helmet I began the teeth-trimming process using the screen-used references from the Frown Part Gallery as well as the aforementioned resources linked again below.

 

ATA ABS Helmet Assembly by pandatrooper (Print PDF)

ATA Stunt Helmet Assembly by Ales (Print PDF)

 

 

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My process first began with drawing a minimal outline within each tooth gap, which would serve as an initial guide for my drill bit. Having only used a sanding drum on my dremel once before (on my TD), I opted for the drilling method. First I created several holes in the caps, and then connected them by cutting with an xacto hobby blade. I then continued with the xacto blade and expanded the teeth holes further, as shown in the process compilation below.

 

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I then proceeded to expand them further with sanding needle files, and below is where I currently am. I think I've done a relatively good job, but I'm not totally sure about the tops and the bottoms, as well as the two end holes. Might some more experienced eyes be able to provide some additional insight?

 

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Here is what the inside behind the teeth currently look like. Obviously once I'm done I'll sand or cut off the excess hanging pieces.

 

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At this point I will wait for feedback and continue with other portions of the helmet before proceeding with final sanding and painting of the teeth. Thanks in advance for all your continued guidance, FISD!

 

MV

 

EDIT: Below is a photo of the tools I used for the past two posts. The rotary tool at the top was for initial eye cutting, and the xacto knife and needle files were for the teeth. I did not photograph my drill.

 

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Edited by MaskedVengeance
Reformatted images into collages; added tools photo
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  • 2 weeks later...

OP (MV) Post #40: Additional Helmet Resources + Intro to the Ears & Brow + First Hand Painting

 

I've had these ears in-hand for over half a year now, but never until now did I fully realize just how differently shaped the left and right are from each other. I knew everything was asymmetrical, and Alexey's photo captures it [im]perfectly, but wow this lid is wonky. The ear photos below really highlight the profile differences.

 

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Here is a supplemental list of resources for all things helmet-related which will guide my work in the next several posts. I will likely reference and link to individual techniques in my next several updates, but this is the entire collection.

 

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HELMET BUILDS

pandatrooper's ATA Brow & Ear Section (Print entire thread PDF)

Ales ATA Ear Section by Ales (Print entire thread PDF)

ANH TE2 Helmet Build by TK-4510

A.J.'s Helmet Work

kman's Lens Mounting Posts

LTM Lens Mounting, and Helmet Work

Cricket's Sponge Template Painting and Lid Work (several posts)

zv288bot's Helmet Assembly

Scimitar's Excellent Helmet (Pages 1-3)

wook1138 Helmet Progress

Ensi's Helmet Work

dereferenced's Photo-Heavy Posts plus Flickr album

TheLorelei's Helmet Posts (across many pages)

 

HELMET TUTORIALS

Quick Reference Guide OT TKs by justjoseph63 (see particular posts) (Print PDF)

Helmet Ear Tutorial by gazmosis (Print PDF)

Draw No Gap Ear Line by bpoodoo (Print PDF)

Choose Your Brow Height by CableGuy (Print PDF)

Helmet Alignment by CableGuy (Print PDF)

Template Painting 101 by justjoseph63 (Print PDF)

 

HELMET VIDEOS

Video of panda's finished ATA helmet

Video tutorials by TK-4510: Helmet Assembly series, Hand-Painting TE2 series, How To Apply Decals

CableGuy's TM Series & supplemental Stormtrooper Series

RS Prop Masters

RWA's Lid Build (2-part series), General Assembly Overview, and Hovi Tip Fitting

Pandatrooper's series

Armor Building with TK1636

 

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Before proceeding with additional cap side trimming in preparation for ear fitting, I decided to try a few things which aren't completely conventional―the first being to paint the front traps before locking in the brow height and ear placement. My goal with this was to enable me to fine-tune the precise location and cut angle at the ends of the brow trim, which I wanted to line up perfectly (to the extent possible) with the rear edge of the traps paint. Here are some example of what I was aiming for.

 

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With that goal in mind, I began by first finishing the trimming of the helmet cap around the ear area. As suggested by Terry (Panda) and many other Troopers, I drilled holes in the corners where the cut lines would meet to avoid any possible tearing. I believe I used a smaller drill bit than most but I wanted to create a tighter gap in those corners to help keep the brow trim wedged in and less susceptible to drooping. With the holes in place I proceeded to trim the remaining ABS with curved lexan scissors. I also decided not to sand any of the brow bottom edge in order to maintain just that little bit of extra "bite" from the roughness, which might potentially hold the brow trim in place better.

 

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I then set out to tackle my first hand-painting of my build, and used an uncommon (to my knowledge) technique to accomplish it. Because I have absolutely no experience in miniature or hobby painting, I wanted to us a stencil, and the decal sheet I originally purchased from Trooperbay seemed to fit the bill. Using an xacto blade, I sliced off the excess adhesive layer and test fit it to my ATA helmet LEFT trap. Seeing that this makeshift stencil was slightly too wide for my trap recess, I sliced the sticker so I could overlap the two pieces and thus shorten the total width. I then marked the helmet with a pencil where I wanted the outside edge of the black paint to be (the photo below shows draft marks which I eventually widened) and set the stencil. In an attempt to combat paint bleed under the stencil I pressed it down repeatedly with my fingernails (@justjoseph63 recommends a pencil eraser), and then further expanded the masking area with blue tape.

 

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Having already wiped down the ABS surface with isopropyl alcohol prior to laying down the stencil, I then proceeded with a thin laler of Testors 1145 Gloss White (purchased at Michaels or Hobby Lobby) along the edge, to try to seal any gabs under the stencil and prevent the forthcoming black paint from bleeding. I then followed it up with the appropriate Testors 1139 Semi-Gloss Black, also from Hobby Lobby. I applied first a thin coat followed quickly by a thicker coat without any wait time, so essentially only one coat, and below are my results. Note that the white paint photo was from my second (right) trap inserted in this process photo to show my actually sequencing. On the first (left) trap I left a little curved portion at the bottom covered by the stencil, but didn't use any white paint in that area as a test to see if "sealing" with the white actually does anything. The answer―it didn't really provide any benefit in this particular instances, but it can't hurt, so I will continue to use the strategy in the future. I will fill in the black in that remaining white area at a later time, even though it will eventually be covered by the brown trim, because you know, OCD.

 

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  • A couple other notes regarding painting. First, I absent-mindedly hand-shook the small paint bottles, rather than stirring them, but I don't seem to have introduced air bubbles into my paint job. Or maybe I did, and my inexperienced eyes simply can't discern them. To be on the safe side, next time I will stir them, perhaps with a folded up paperclip to create a whisk of sorts.
  • I also failed to remember that enamel paints dry far slower than latex home wall paint, and that I therefore should have let both the white paint and masking stencil sit longer prior to proceeding/removing. I only waiting maybe five minutes between the white and black paint, and pulled off the masking perhaps only five minutes painting. Luckily I don't think this impacted my results, and the end photo above is without any cleanup. I wonder if I should take my chances and replicate my exact same process again, or pivot to the apparently more tried and true methods. Perhaps some qualities of the TB decal cutout I used (adhesive on the bottom and smooth on bottom?) were beneficial?
  • Apparently I pretty much ignored Joseph's painting guide―not intentionally of course, but from lack of memory and not having it right in front of me to reference. That's what I get for using my ancient iPad to review RS suit and reference JoeR images for trap sizing, my printed binders stuck in another room, and working in my baby daughter's nursery closet at 5:00am. Instead of using two thin layers I applied a single thick one. Luckily only a thin outline of the black will remain visible once I go over most of it with gray. But don't be like me. Be like Joseph (and other veterans), and use his Paint 101 thread, which I've now linked to five times in this post for emphasis. Haha.

 

So with lessons learned, the following day I proceeded with the right-side trap. Even though I was successful with my technique from the first trap, I decided to employ at least some of the advice mentioned above. I stirred the paint with a toothpick and waited half an hour after applying the thin white edging before moving to the black. But of course I then fell back to my success from the previous day and only applied a single thick layer of black, and also removed the stencil after only 5-10 minutes of "drying" time. Basically the enamel paint was still very wet when I removed all the masking, but thankfully once again I was blessed with very good results, at least to my eyes.

 

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At this point I realized I had a little warp on the right-side of the brow near the trap and wished I had tried to smoothen it out a bit before applying the black paint. I read that enamel paint isn't as flexible as acrylic, and since I didn't want to risk cracking my fresh paint job, and had no prior armor and paint experience to inform me of whether or not it might actually occur, I proceeded with conservative caution. The arrows below show all the areas that I would have liked to apply some pressure to to fix the curvature, but I decided to work on only the green areas in order to avoid bending the painted area. Not wanting to risk over-heating with a heat gun, I decided that boiling water was my only option, but I also didn't want to just dip my lid into a pot, or even pour boiling water on that entire area due to the paint in close proximity. Instead, I dipped a white cloth into the water, pressed it against both side of the plastic, and simultaneously applied pressure in the proper areas. I did this repeatedly with fresh rounds of boiling water (while wearing thick protective gloves), but in the end I'm not sure it made any difference. I suspect I simply wasn't raising the temperature of the ABS enough.  But it was worth a shot, and I'll now simply rely on the brow trim to cover this odd curve. I'm sure this imperfection is more screen-accurate anyway.

 

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With the traps painted (black only; gray to follow later) and cured it was time to fit and slice the brow trim. I tackled one side first, using needle files to shift the trim back as far as needed to align with the traps (first set of photos below). Once I had that side flush and the trim cut at the appropriate angle I turned my attention to the other end, which I knew would be a bit more difficult to align properly due to my method. With the trim installed on the brow I eyeballed where I thought I'd need to cut and made a series of three conservative cuts to finally attain the proper length. Due to perspective challenges with the trim bent away from its final resting location, I actually got lucky with my final cut, thinking I'd have one more to make. Fortunately, I didn't overcut, and here were my results:

 

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  • I was extremely luckily with my third slice on the trim, which was still a cut of about 1cm, since I thought I had more material to work with. I had expected to need at least one or two more cuts getting down to 1-2mm, but the rounded ear section of the cap through off my estimates. In hindsight, perhaps a better way to cut the trim CLOSE to the final length would have been to remove the trim completely, tape it onto the front of the brow, and mark and cut accordingly. It could then be test-fitted and retrimmed as needed. The photo below shows both methods.

 

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Now on to a preview of my potential brow line and the current status of my cap and face plate alignment. I've always like a low brow, but I do also want to stay somewhat true to the common Stunt alignment, since that's what I'm building. Hopefully this isn't too Hero-like, though I know it's nowhere near Luke's level. Now that I think about it, I'm tempted to lower it further...

 

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And of course the seams/alignment under where the ears will be placed are all crazy. I trimmed back a little more plastic to get the pieces to fit well together. It looks like I could attain a better pairing of the two pieces by trimming more of the cap on the wearer's RIGHT side. Would you all agree? Should I also raise the rear of the face plate a bit more (but keep the front at its current height) to further reduce the gap along the tube bulge? This would result in the brow trim not being perfectly parallel with the tops of the eyes all the way around, but even screen references I see show the brow-eye gap narrowing on the sides near the ears.

 

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As I've often done, here is a review of the questions already asked throughout this post:

  • It looks like I could attain a better pairing of the two [helmet] pieces by trimming more of the cap on the wearer's RIGHT side. Would you all agree?
  • Should I also raise the rear of the face plate a bit more (but keep the front at its current height) to further reduce the gap along the tube bulge? This would result in the brow trim not being perfectly parallel with the tops of the eyes all the way around, but even screen references I see show the brow-eye gap narrowing on the sides near the ears.

 

50697086297_5377d5fd30_o.png

 

Finally, as you've likely noticed, I've updated my method of displaying photos in my posts. With less than 300 uploads left on my limited Flickr account, I am attempting to conserve capacity by combining images in collages. However, since many mobile collage apps downscale images, I'm using my 10-year-old Photoshop (and desktop computer for that matter) to manually compose the collages with each individual image segment retaining its original resolution (4,032 x 3,024). This means that my collages are quite dimensionally large (some over 12,000px wide) so they can still be zoomed in on for closer inspection. As is always the case, I try to display images in my posts at 800px (or 400px) in width so they don't visually weigh down the post and so viewers will lower-resolution monitors can hopefully see them entirely without lateral scrolling. Note: I want to continue to use Flickr, rather than imgur, in order to keep my image collection on a single platform, and since I like the organizational features of Flickr.

 

I'm also starting to add some additional graphics to my posts, mainly for format and aesthetic purposes. Hopefully they are a positive addition to my documentation and don't detract in any way.

 

That's all for this update. The time for ear trimming is soon approaching...

 

Printable/downloadable PDF of my entire build thread to this point contained in [THIS SHARED FOLDER]. The PDF will be updated within a few hours of my own new posts and will note sequential version numbers and revision dates.

Edited by MaskedVengeance
Typo fixes; PDF link added.
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13 hours ago, MaskedVengeance said:

At this point I realized I had a little warp on the right-side of the brow near the trap and wished I had tried to smoothen it out a bit before applying the black paint. I read that enamel paint isn't as flexible as acrylic, and since I didn't want to risk cracking my fresh paint job, and had no prior armor and paint experience to inform me of whether or not it might actually occur, I proceeded with conservative caution. The arrows below show all the areas that I would have liked to apply some pressure to to fix the curvature, but I decided to work on only the green areas in order to avoid bending the painted area. Not wanting to risk over-heating with a heat gun, I decided that boiling water was my only option, but I also didn't want to just dip my lid into a pot, or even pour boiling water on that entire area due to the paint in close proximity. Instead, I dipped a white cloth into the water, pressed it against both side of the plastic, and simultaneously applied pressure in the proper areas. I did this repeatedly with fresh rounds of boiling water (while wearing thick protective gloves), but in the end I'm not sure it made any difference. I suspect I simply wasn't raising the temperature of the ABS enough.  But it was worth a shot, and I'll now simply rely on the brow trim to cover this odd curve. I'm sure this imperfection is more screen-accurate anyway.

My bucket has the same warp at the right side trap, so it seems to be consistent for ATA.  I just considered it another bit of wonderful wonkiness when I was building mine.;)

 

13 hours ago, MaskedVengeance said:

As I've often done, here is a review of the questions already asked throughout this post:

  • It looks like I could attain a better pairing of the two [helmet] pieces by trimming more of the cap on the wearer's RIGHT side. Would you all agree?

To my (newbie) eyes, it looks like you could trim a little of the wearer's right side cap/back in the curve of the tube.  But if it were me, I'd still leave that bottom, front corner of the tube for now.  At least until you get things lined up the way you want them and figure out the bottom rivet position.  Just be really cautious if you do.  The back, right side edge of the face plate (the edge extending back into the cap/back when they're joined) is a good deal shorter than the left.  You don't want to trim too much and not have any overlap.  Hopefully this makes sense.  Of course, keep in mind this is coming from a fellow rookie's perspective...YMMV.:) 

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5siRPXT.png

 

Clipping the bottom (red) has helped things sit a little nicer on helmets for me, and worst case, many folks will put an extra rivet or screw near the top of the tube stripe (blue) to pull this area tighter together. Just ensure your ear will cover both (it should).

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OP (MV) Post #41: Testors Enamel Paint Finish Test, Vocoder Practice, & Teeth Sanding Question

 

While painting the black trap outlines mentioned in my previous post, I couldn't help but notice the stark difference in the finish of the semi-gloss enamel paint and the gloss I used in my gray test pieces when attempting to color match my thermal detonator. A while back I expressed interest in painting my vocoder and mix tips with a matte black to add some contrast to the helmet, like Dan (CableGuy) has done on occasion. However, since I've been seeking L3 approval, I decided against it. As mentioned in Joseph's OTTK Quick Reference Guide and per screen-references, the vocoder should have a gloss or satin (semi-gloss) finish. Perhaps my discovery of the stark difference between the gloss and semi-gloss Testors 1139 paint will enable me to maintain a not-so-shiny vocoder after all, by using the semi.

 

For your consideration and my own experience (practice) in painting curves, I painted three test vocoders onto some spare ABS from ATA. (Don't worry, I cut out all my exterior cover strips and still had about 70% of my spare sheets left; although I did consider painting onto the hidden insides of my rear drop boxes). First I took measurements of my actual vocoder on my helmet then drew scale (within 2mm) outlines on ABS scrap that was perfectly sized when scored and snapped into thirds. I then used a medium filbert (rounded edges for rounded paint lines) brush and stepped up through the paint finishes, starting with flat and ending in gloss. From left to right (or top to bottom) below they are shown in the order of flat, semi-gloss (satin), and then gloss.

 

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Do you vocoder veterans (haha) think the semi-gloss will pass L3 muster? I mean, it should, since it's the recommended paint and finish, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. Additionally, almost immediately after starting to paint I noticed that the more paint I applied, the smoother the surface would be, since the enamel would essentially "pool" together. So for the purpose of testing the paint finish, I took advantage of this and went heavy with my application, knowing that such a strategy would likely be impossible on the actual three-dimensional vocoder on my helmet. I figured, too, that I would still gain at least some experience in painting the tight, smooth, consistent curves of the vocoder, even if only testing on a 2D plane sheet.

 

 

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  • It does appear that I lost some of the crisp corners between the ridges on the full gloss iteration. I'm not sure if that's due to haste/sloppiness on my part, or any extra "pooling" qualities of the glossy enamel.
  • The semi-gloss vocoder has some oily-looking textures on the surface, which I'm going to attribute to the mineral spirits that I cleaned my brush with and quickly reused after the flat paint.
  • The 2nd and 6th ridges of my vocoder match the form of the actual ridges on my ATA helmet, and their heights are perhaps more similar to Hero lids than Stunt lids. I'm sure it would be mentioned, but would maintaining this height hold me back from L3 approval?

 

With a successful paint test on a flat plane, I thought it'd be prudent to also practice on a sloped surface. For these next tests I used only the Testors 1139 semi-gloss black, and I implemented two techniques. First, I used the same thick paint method as before, and then I tried a thinner application, with the goal of seeing if any running would occur. Buried in my scrap ABS collection I found the two quarter spheres that were trimmed from my thermal detonator and I drew vocoder-like ridges in two different directions in order to test the pull of gravity on multiple axes. Nerd alert.

 

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As you can see, my thick paint application was very susceptible to running, and though not as discernable in the photos, even my thinner application had some "pooling," though it all remained within the overall bounds of the paint lines. I love the nearly perfect smooth surface that I was able to achieve with the thick gloss in my first flat test, but I've come to the conclusion that those same results will be unobtainable on my actual vocoder. I've even contemplated going heavy and only painting parts of the vocoder at a time, but the sacrifice would be seams between the paint stages, and that will be equally bothersome to me. Do any of you have any tips for getting a smooth, consistent surface finish on your vocoder?

 

I also have another question regarding the very bottom of the vocoder that extends to the head opening. The first image of each set below shows my tentative paint outline pencil marks, and I'm wondering if I should keep the ridge curve as-is, or narrow it a bit (see second photos) to match the profile of the overall vocoder curve. I know, a tiny detail that I'm certain wouldn't make a difference for approval at any level, but I'm curious to hear your opinions.

 

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Lastly, I have a teeth sanding question which I'd like some input on. When using needle files on my teeth I tried to sand in a somewhat inward direction on the tops and bottoms to help hide the thickness of the cut/trimmed ABS, but on the left and right sides I mostly sanded straight back. My thought was that I'd paint those little 1mm edges and they'd appear to be a continuous tooth surface, but would that give each tooth too much depth? Do I instead need to keep sanding inwards at a tight angle (to match the colored lines below) to effectively remove those tiny tips from visibility? As my original tooth-trimming post images show, none of these tiny edges are visible from straight on. They can only be seen when looking down onto or from below the helmet, or from the left or right.

 

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  1. Will the Testors 1139 semi-gloss black on the vocoder pass L3 muster?
  2. Would maintaining the shown height on my 2nd and 6th vocoder ridges hold me back from L3 approval for this STUNT build?
  3. Any tips for getting a smooth, consistent surface finish on your vocoder?
  4. I'm wondering if I should keep the vocoder ridge curve as-is, or narrow it a bit (see second photos above) to match the profile of the overall vocoder curve.
  5. How should I handle sanding and painting (on the teeth) the edges between each tooth (from the ABS depth/thickness)?

 

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  • Lens Installation
  • Hovi Tip Recess Reinforcement
  • Final Eye Trimming & Sanding
  • Helmet Interior Painting

 

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On 12/9/2020 at 11:36 PM, Cali_Nole said:

To my (newbie) eyes, it looks like you could trim a little of the wearer's right side cap/back in the curve of the tube.  But if it were me, I'd still leave that bottom, front corner of the tube for now.  At least until you get things lined up the way you want them and figure out the bottom rivet position.  Just be really cautious if you do.  The back, right side edge of the face plate (the edge extending back into the cap/back when they're joined) is a good deal shorter than the left.  You don't want to trim too much and not have any overlap.  Hopefully this makes sense.  Of course, keep in mind this is coming from a fellow rookie's perspective...YMMV.

On 12/10/2020 at 10:28 AM, TheRascalKing said:

Clipping the bottom (red) has helped things sit a little nicer on helmets for me, and worst case, many folks will put an extra rivet or screw near the top of the tube stripe (blue) to pull this area tighter together. Just ensure your ear will cover both (it should).

Paul and Justin - Thanks for your thoughts! Your input is always valued and welcome!

Edited by MaskedVengeance
Changed questions to numbers rather than bullet points; photo reformat
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Fantastic build, your attention to detail and documentation is awesome :jc_doublethumbup: 

 

1. Vcoder - Semi @ all levels

2. No

3. Tips? not really considering the screen helmets were less then perfect

4. It's your preference, within reason ;) 

5. Full tooth leaving a small space between them and the gum line

 

Teeth position and painting reference photo. Also note the sloppy Vcoder paint job, I'm sure yours will be stellar in comparison.

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  • Will the Testors 1139 semi-gloss black on the vocoder pass L3 muster? I've always used semi, the Model Master Semi-Gloss Black FS27038 specifically.
  • Would maintaining the shown height on my 2nd and 6th vocoder ridges hold me back from L3 approval for this STUNT build? I doubt it.
  • Any tips for getting a smooth, consistent surface finish on your vocoder? I paint top to bottom and do 2-3 coats. Getting the top arched curves right is the hard part and yours look really good, with the separation and thickness very consistent.
  • I'm wondering if I should keep the vocoder ridge curve as-is, or narrow it a bit (see second photos above) to match the profile of the overall vocoder curve. I would paint to the curve.
  • How should I handle sanding and painting (on the teeth) the edges between each tooth (from the ABS depth/thickness)? I'd take a little more off the teeth. I usually do one pass for base color and then another pass with a finer brush to fill it in/smooth any brush lines and get all the edges where I want em. 

Hope that helps too. Coming along nicely and I love all the documentation! :)

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Posted (edited)

OP (MV) Post #42: Helmet Work Continues

 

Happy New Year, Troopers! I've never been one to place much significance on the transition from December 31st to January 1st, but in light of what we've all experienced these past 10 months, I'm actually excited and hopefully for 2021! I'm not sure what this new year has in store for my build, and despite my absence on the boards for the past couple weeks, I have continued to make slow progress on my helmet.

 

Side note related to the forum. When my Tapatalk forum feed seemingly went dark on December 21st I initially thought that site traffic was simply significantly reduced due to the Christmas holiday. But then I logged in on my computer and saw Andrew's server upgrade post, and realized I was actually simply missing new posts. When I have the time hopefully I can catch up, but I do think that the two week "break" without Tapatalk has enabled me to dedicate more time for other important things during this holiday season. It almost feels like a sabbatical of sorts, but I'm also eager to see the Tapatalk functions restored, since that is typically my primary means of following the boards. Hopefully the wait won't be too much longer. It also appears that I'll need to update the image formatting on many of my previous post photos, since my side-by-side photos are now too wide for the bounds of a single line. I was eventually going to recompile them into collages anyway, to reduce my image count, and I'll work on that when things are slow with my build. Also the tiny skewed FISD browser icon is driving me crazy!

 

And now back to my build. The "Contents" section below outlines the topics contained in this update.

 

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  • Tools and techniques used
  • Teeth final sanding
  • Eye final sanding
  • Hovi Tips: Part 1
  • Lens installation
  • Interior painting
  • Vocoder redraft
  • Questions review

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Here are some photos of the tools and techniques I used for the progress documented in this post. For sanding, I took a page out of AJ's book (thread), and used a portion of an unrepairable dowel from a dining chair. I cut off one end at an angle to give me a thinner (yet still rounded) surface to use in tight spaces such as the eyes, but I suspect I will also use the fully-rounded end for ear sanding as AJ did. I also stapled some sandpaper to the end of scrap wood to give me better access for smoothing the backs of the teeth openings.

 

Note, too, that I used blue tape to help protect the ABS exterior surface while sanding the teeth at extreme angles. I implemented this after discovering some micro-abrasions around the eye sockets from their shaping and sanding process.

 

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The photo below shows plastic sanding needles available at Hobby Lobby that I did not discover until after I had completed all my eye and teeth sanding, but I thought I would document them as a possible tool for future builders. Since they're round they might not be completely effective for achieving straight lines and sharp corers in the teeth, but they would still be helpful for removing residual ABS burrs left by semi-high-grit metal sanding files, and also in the rounded corners of the eyes.


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Teeth Sanding

In my previous post I asked for advice on whether or not should sand down, at a sharp angle, any of the thickness/depth of the ABS edges between the teeth. I decided proceed with additional sanding, and the two photos below show the difference between partial progress, and the final results. The very fist photo in the "Tools" section above, with the sanding needle in front of blue tape, shows the angle at which I sanded the tops of bottoms of the teeth gaps. Though these top and bottom depth edges were never really visible except at extreme vertical angles (perhaps a child looking up at a sanding TK), I wanted to eliminate them completely. I kept the left and right edges untouched, since they will be painted gray and blend in with each tooth.

 

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Eye Sanding

To continue with sanding, I decided that my left eye could use just a little bit more opening near the nose so I want to work with needle files and my homemade dowel sanding tool. The triple photo below shows the progression from start to finish. I possibly could have also taken just a smidge off the right (wearer's) eye, but I am very content with these final results.

 

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With my eyes formed to my liking, I thought I'd document the end result which should be common with all ATA buckets. In order to maintain a relatively consistent eye socket depth throughout each eye and between eye-to-eye (see ruler photo below for example), the overall angle of each eye is a little different. The pink and yellow arrows shown below highlight these differences. Just another perfect imperfection of these glorious OT TK buckets!

 

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Here is another take on the differences between the shapes of both eyes. The curve of the bottom edge of the left eye doesn't match the top of the eye so there will need to be a slight twist (bend on multiple planes) in order to achieve minimal gaps around the lenses. If anything, I suspect there may be a slightly larger gap on the outside edge (nearest the ear) of the left eye.

 

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The photos below show where my final trim lines are relative to the ATA suggested cut groves, denoted by the blue arrows. You can see that I didn't cut all the way to the suggested lines, which I've also seen other ATA builders do, and in my initial eye trimming post I received positive feedback on this as well.


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Hovi Tips: Part 1

While painting the black outline on my side traps a while back I decided to hit my hovi tips with the same Testors semi-gloss black. An easy two layers, followed by a couple twists on some 320-grit sandpaper to retain the white rims required for L3 approval.

 

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In an earlier post I touched on my concern regarding the super thin plastic in the hovi tip wells, and included the first photo shown below. I decided to proceed with milliput reinforcement in the same fashion that Ales implemented in his ATA build.

 

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Halfway through, the first photo below shows the size difference between the raw and reinforced wells. Honestly I probably went a bit thick on the milliput, but I had never before used any type of epoxy, so I was learning as I went along. They key, as I learned, was to keep my gloved fingers moist with water in order to maintain the malleability of the milliput. I wiped off excess epoxy water drips with a moist paper towel, knowing too that any extra residue would be covered by my interior paint job.

 

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With the hovi recesses adequately reinforced, and holes drilled out using the default ATA marks, it was time for a dry fitting. How does it look below? I wanted to avoid pointing the tips too far down, as I've seen on occasion here on FISD, and I think I succeeded. Right?

 

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Finally, a question regarding installation of the screen mesh in the tips themselves. The mesh I have from ATA and Ukswrath are identical, but neither of them drop right into the tips, which isn't surprising, as I know tension (and glue) will be needed to keep the mesh in place. Should I just use tiny wire cutters to shave the slightest amount of mesh off parts of my round cutouts? I've seen the highlighter cap technique and also the strategies noted in this thread, but I don't think any of the ideas work for pre-cut round mesh. Should I just press the mesh down into the tips and let some of the edges get bent back? I'd likely then pull them back out, flip them over to change the direction of the curvature, then drop back in with a dab of E6000. Thoughts?

 

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Lens Installation

Taking inspiration from AJ Hamler, Kalani, and Lou (all links to their threads), I opted to create mounting points for individual eye lenses. I had initially planned on implementing Joseph's sugru lens-mounting technique, but I realized that I wanted the lenses to be replaceable in case they ever get scratched, or to switch out lighter or darker lens shades for indoor and outdoor use. Derrick's acorn nut application on fixed screw posts also caught my eye (ha), but I didn't want to deal with individually leveling each screw post to ensure the nuts would fit tightly, or even having the raised nut on the eye side of my lenses.

 

Thus I proceeded with purchasing #6 t-nuts at my local Ace Hardware store, along with an assortment of #6 screws of varying heights to accommodate my t-nuts being situated at different heights relative to the eventual lens position. I used some plyers to easily snap off the prongs by bending them back and forth a couple times, and trimmed the base of the nuts. Each nut eventually looked like the last one in the first photo below, like a rectangle with a curved side and small notch.

 

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I then used milliput to anchor the t-nuts in place around each eye. Unlike my use of the epoxy for my hovi tips, this time I went bare-handed (no gloves), which enabled me to have more precise control when shaping the milliput into mounds. I found that the key was to keep my fingers moist with water, and I wiped off residual milliput moisture from the helmet interior even though I know it would eventually be painted over. I also made sure to have screws installed in the nuts while applying the milliput in order to keep it from squeezing up into the open bottom of the nuts, or seeping into the top. About an hour into the curing time I removed each screw to ensure they didn't get stuck, but even if I hadn't, I'm sure I would have been able to unscrew them. Simply an abundance of caution.

 

I figured I would likely only anchor the lenses at the five points spread throughout the middle of each eye side, but I decided to add extra nuts at the inner points of each eye, above the nose area. I would have hated to need to add them after-the-fact. Many other builders have used only two or three screws per lens, but I wanted to ensure a close fit with the lenses, hence so many t-nuts. And other than the contingency points at the nose, I situated the nuts at the low points of the eye sockets, where the lenses would need to be pulled in to, rather than the corners.

 

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Though I tried to be careful about not surrounding the heads of the screws with the milliput, it occurred nonetheless, which meant some sanding would be in order. I graduated from a low grit up to 320, to shape the mounds so that the tops were flush with the top of the t-nut. The collage below shows the general process that I will continue to describe.

 

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In order to cut the lenses to the appropriate shape I first created a template on simple printer paper. I pressed a sheet flush to the inside of the eye cavity and traced the opening with a pencil, one eye at a time. Below is a scan of my second template which I copied my original tracings onto. I believe lens excess surrounding the eye openings is roughly 2cm in width. Note: the eyes are not spaced apart from each other to-scale, so this template should not be used to create a single dual-eye lens sheet.

 

I added imperial and metric scale measurements on the image, should any other Troopers wish to use the template, and this google folder contains both this same jpg image and a pdf scan. Be aware that the files are sized for US letter 8.5"x11" printing, hence my inclusion of the measurements line, should anybody need to sale it on their printer. And though these are from my specific ATA helmet build, they should fit any OT TK armor.


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With my paper template complete, I then traced the outer border onto the ATA-supplied lens material. Since my lens shapes were so big, I would only have enough material for three lens cutouts (of this same size), so I knew I'd want to proceed with caution once I began drilling holes for mounting. After cutting out two lenses with my lexan scissors I traced a new template using clear binding covers (leftover from a stalled COVID face-shield project) which I would then use for marking drill holes. I then marked the holes with a sharpie, as shown in the fourth image below, and then copied them onto my green lens material. The reason I needed this middle step was because the clear sheets were far more flexible than the actual lenses, and I wanted precise hole locations.


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I then drilled out the five holes on each lens starting first with a small bit, and ending with a 9/64, which enabled the #6 screws to be cleanly inserted. I did not want to create excessively large screw holes so I could maintain maximum tension and keep the lenses as close to the eye openings as possible. I was mostly successful with this strategy, but needed to barely slot two holes with a round needle file to get the screws to seat properly. I suspect it will be pretty difficult to replace the lenses without first disassembling the eventual finished helmet.

 

When installing the lenses I also became aware that one of my mounting t-nuts was situated too high and was keeping the lens from sitting flush with the eye opening, as shown in the first photo below. Ironic that this hitch was due to a mounting hole that I decided not to use anyway. So for the third time ever I got out my rotary tool and installed the metal cutting disc. Not gonna lie, I made me really nervous using it in such close proximity to my finished eyes, but everything turned out ok in the end.

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With the lenses installed you can see how they are offset due to the shape of my eye openings. It's a bit bothersome to my OCD self, but nobody else will ever know, and it actually help me with my foam outline, which I will document below.


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Reusing my clear eye templates, I traced the eye openings onto my $1.49 craft foam (6mil) and cut them out at an angle with an xacto knife. I had seem something similar to this on one of the many "What's inside your bucket?" posts here on FISD or fb, and thought it looked cool and that it might provide some cushion against my head, depending on final wearing placement. If it ends up being too tight a fit, I can always remove them since they're fitted using adhesive velcro.


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Behold the end-result of my lens installation! This is one of my favorite photos so far, and I think it captures the demeanor of a TK. Reminds me of the Dark Troopers. Watch out rebel scum.

 

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Interior Painting

The previous section in this post showed a little preview of the interior painting which I'll now cover. Rather than use the most tradition options of regular black spray or Plasti Dip with cheese cloth, I opted for Justin's favored Rust-Oleum Truck Bed Coating spray (his ESB and ROTK thread links). With virtually no craft spray paint experience under my belt, I decided to tackle the cap of the helmet first by itself, so I could potentially learn from any mistakes prior to doing the face plate. I masked off the ATA decal and double bagged the outside of the helmet with commercial trash bags (no holes), then proceeded with spraying in my front yard on what I'm assuming was one of our last winter days in the 60s (f).

 

After consulting with him (thanks for always being responsive!!), @TheRascalKing's recommendation was to apply seven or eight coats 10 minutes apart. For the cap I was able to do about seven coats, but my impatient self, coupled with warming sunlight, only waited between four and eight minutes between coats. I believe the spray can actually states only a couple minutes are needed, of course in optimal temperature and humidity conditions. The first two photos below show my preparation and physical setting, as well as what the bucket looked like after only a single coating. I went light, per Justin's suggestion, to maintain an even application and minimize runs.

 

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After an hour or two of partial-curing I removed the masking with an xacto blade. No actual cutting was necessary; I simply stuck the blade tip under the corner of my trapezoidal logo masking to acquire a corner to grab on to. I then left the helmet piece in my garage for about a week to finish drying (probably only took a day) and gas off, since there was quite an odor. Photos don't do it justice, but the texture of this spray looks AMAZING!

 

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Happy with my cap results, and by now fully caught up with my final eye and teeth sanding, it was time to spray the face plate. I used my double-bagging method again, and spent a lot of time closely masking around the eyes and teeth. What a pain. Then during one of my lunch breaks at work I used our College's spray room in our Art Department, which had pretty cool ventilation.

 

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My results weren't quite as good as those from my cap since the can began to run low on paint, and we eventually depleted. This resulted in some slightly uneven coats in certain areas, and just a couple spots of running, but surprisingly they all still dried with the textured surface. Oh, and I should mention that I did not scuff/sand the interior of the helmet pieces prior to spraying, since Justin said he'd never done so himself and has never had any issues. So far so good on my end.

 

The set of photos below show first my raw spray job with masking removed, and then the final look after hand painting closely around the eyes and teeth. For this touch-up job I used Testors 1154 Black Metallic enamel since I thought the metallic look might match the texture of the sprayed surface, but I had never used it before, so I wasn't sure. I didn't realize until afterwards that it has a glossy finish, and I was hoping for more of a flat or satin, but it's no problem at all since it will be obscured by the lenses and frown mesh anyway.

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Vocoder Height Adjustment

In a previous build update I posted my draft outline of the vocoder, and though I didn't receive any negative feedback, I wasn't completely happy with how high the top three ridges extended. The first set of triple photos below show that original height, and you can see that the ridges are so tall that they curve back out with the form of the helmet.

 

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Therefore, I decided to lower all three ridges just a small amount, as seen in this next set of images. The last photo shows that my particular ATA ABS pull actually has one of the outer ridges taller than the others. My new pencil lines nearly reach the top of that higher ridge, and I'm sure it will all look ship-shape once painted.


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Thanks to feedback from Tony and Justin on my most recent thread update prior to this one, I will be keeping my 2nd and 6th ridges at their current height to match the molded ridges on my ATA kit, despite stunt suits typically having them a little bit higher. I also adjusted the edges of the three center ridges which extend down to the neck opening to better match the curve of the vocoder, as shown by the yellow marks below.

 

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Finally, Christmas was a little over a week ago, and I can't help but share my most recent stormtrooper-related acquisition! My biggest gift this year was the LEGO stormtrooper helmet, which was promptly assembled Christmas afternoon! Below is a time-lapse video of the construction. Also, who says you can't have Star Wars cookies without proper cutting templates. The bell looked kinda Deathwatchy to me. Next year I have plans to turn a dangly ornament shape sideways to create The Child's head.

 

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  1. Are my hovi tips pointed at an appropriate angle? I want to ensure they're not pointing too far down.
  2. What strategy should I use to install my pre-cut round hovi tip mesh so that they fit inside the tips? They are just barely too large to fit into the tips without trimming or bending some of the edges.

 

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  • Hovi Tip mesh installation
  • Teeth painting
  • Frown Mesh installation
  • Vocoder painting

 

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On 12/17/2020 at 9:33 AM, ukswrath said:

Fantastic build, your attention to detail and documentation is awesome.

 

On 12/17/2020 at 10:36 AM, TheRascalKing said:

Hope that helps too. Coming along nicely and I love all the documentation!

 

Tony & Justin - Thanks for your continued support with my build, and answering my many questions! You guys rock!

 

 

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Printable/downloadable PDF of my entire build thread to this point contained in [THIS SHARED FOLDER]. The PDF will be updated within a few days of my own new posts and will note sequential version numbers and revision dates.

 

Edited by MaskedVengeance
Rephrased some lens-mounting content; updated cropped green-eyes photo
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14 hours ago, MaskedVengeance said:

Finally, a question regarding installation of the screen mesh in the tips themselves. The mesh I have from ATA and Ukswrath are identical, but neither of them drop right into the tips, which isn't surprising, as I know tension (and glue) will be needed to keep the mesh in place. Should I just use tiny wire cutters to shave the slightest amount of mesh off parts of my round cutouts? I've seen the highlighter cap technique and also the strategies noted in this thread, but I don't think any of the ideas work for pre-cut round mesh. Should I just press the mesh down into the tips and let some of the edges get bent back? I'd likely then pull them back out, flip them over to change the direction of the curvature, then drop back in with a dab of E6000. Thoughts?

regarding your questions:
1. your hovi tips alignment looks great, they do not point too far down! :)

 

2. I like to use the highlighter cap technique, even though I don't have a highlighter but some other plastic cylinder where the diameter fits. :D
If the mesh is precut, fitting the inner diameter of the mic tips, then it will result in the most accurate and most painful way of assembly:
you will need a pair of tweezers and super fine drops of superglue
. If the mesh is a milimeter too wide or so, you'll have to trim it down.

You may also find a roll of insect screen at your local hardware store. They usually do not cost a lot and you can cut them out by yourself to use the highlighter cap technique. ;)

 

 

btw: this thread is quality content! :jc_doublethumbup:

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  • 2 weeks later...

 OP (MV) Post #43: Helmet Face Work

 

Recently my life has been so busy that I found that the only time available to make and any progress on my build is during my lunch break at work, so I decided to utilize our deserted Art Workshop. We are between semesters here at the College/University, since COVID delayed our spring term until the beginning of February, so the 2D studio has been TK central. Thus the work in this update occurred in short 30-60 minute sessions over several weekdays these past few weeks.

 

Oh, and one quick note regarding my thread formatting. Some of you may wonder why I so often link back to previous posts within my own thread, which may seem unnecessary. The reason I do it is because I don't want to assume that a reader began at the very beginning, and has followed my progress sequentially. I know I have personally landed on others posts mid-thread, and have wanted a system to easily navigate to related posts dispersed throughout the same thread. Keeping component topics linked together can hopefully help future builders (or even myself!) navigate through a series of posts dispersed throughout the thread related to a single topic. After all, many builders jump from one area to another due to supply availability, curing time, or fitment feedback. At some point in the future I'll also likely update older posts with links to the future posts that contain the next progression of that particular topic, similar to the "continued on..." notices at the end of stories on the front pages of newspapers.

 

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  • Vocoder painting
  • Teeth painting: first coat
  • Hovi Tips Part 2: Mesh trimming & installation
  • Frown mesh installation

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Vocoder Painting

 

I began this round of progress jumping straight into painting the vocoder, since it was something that required no prep-work such as masking, and was essentially a one-off job. In this first vocoder post I presented my initial penciling of the vocoder outline, and more recently in my previous post I lowered the top three bars to to keep them from curving outward with the form of the helmet. Oh, and let's not forget my vocoder test painting on flat and curved surfaces. I'm starting think I might be a bit obsessive, what with this plus my thermal detonator madness. Here, again, was my pre-paint starting point with a pencil-drawn outline:

 

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Per the ANH Stunt CRL, the "Vocoder (vertically ribbed chin detail) is painted black" (basic) and "the vocoder must be integrated into the helmet, and not a separate piece" (L3). That level three requirement is automatic with ATA's helmet kit (as is generally the case with all ABS OT TK kits), and the most-referenced paint guide notes that Humbrol #85 Coal Black Satin or Testors 1139 Semi-Gloss Black is appropriate for the painting.

 

Now, let me first state an important painting DISCLAIMER: I am no expert. I have practically zero painting experience, and many seasoned veterans maintain that multiple thin layers are the best method of application. But I am apparently stubborn and subscribe to anecdotal/outlier evidence (except I don't actually in real life). i.e. I had success with my vocoder test painting, and why fix what isn't broken? Haha. I have a bad feeling about this...

 

With that in mind, I wanted a really smooth surface on the front of my vocoder, so I decided to risk paint runs and supposed cracking, and apply a single thick layer of Testors 1139 Semi-Gloss Black enamel paint (also available at Trooperbay). The enamel smoothens itself out, so with enough application, one can minimize visible strokes. I started at the top, working my way down, and luckily I was blessed with mostly excellent results, which I present to you now. The first couple sets of images were taken before the paint had fully dried.


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As you can see, I maintained the slightly lower height on the 2nd and 6th ridges so that they'd match the molded ridges of my ATA kit. I just couldn't bring myself to extend the paint higher past the ridge onto the flat surface. Sorry @CableGuy, I know this doesn't quite jive with your ANH TK Vocoder Examples thread (Print PDF). Here is another helpful painting thread from Dan which builders may find informative.


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This pair of photos below shows how I followed the curve of the vocoder as I painted the bottom of the middle ridges which extend to the neck opening. This is related to the paint line question I previously asked.


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This next single image highlights the super smooth paint surface which I was able to acquire with a thick paint application. Just remember that I went against common guidance, and results may vary with this strategy (thick paint OR ignoring community wisdom). Haha.


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These last two vocoder photos show the slightly bending paint lines I implemented on the bottom. Most builders seems to paint back with straight lines on both sides of the middle three ridges, but I'd seen a couple threads with this type of hourglass shape. Only while drawing my pencil lines did I finally realize why some have the curved lines. On the bottom of the helmet the vocoder ridges are essentially molded in the shape of two waves (see second photo below), and following those waves while painting essentially results in an hourglass shape when viewed from directly above/beneath. Too me, at also makes the whole vocoder form look more structural and intentional.


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And in case still photography isn't enough, here is a link to a condensed video I recorded of my vocoder painting process. The painting actually took 31 minutes but this video is trimmed to the 8 minutes during which the vocoder was in-frame. I suspected out-of-frame helmet movement would occur, and didn’t want to potentially compromise the paint job by focusing on the camera. Thus, much of my painting was actually off-camera.

 

 

In the end, the only imperfections that I can see, which nobody else will ever notice, are two small air bubbles, one of which I spotted during the painting process, but thought it was dust or debris and therefore didn't hit with the brush. The other is on the bottom, as is a small paint run in one of the ridge gaps. Again, nobody will ever know. And the best part is that the front, and especially the top front is completely smooth! Final conclusion: success!

 

 

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Frown Painting First Coat

Entering this painting portion of my help build, teeth painting was what I was most worried about. Sure, tube stripe painting with stencils can often result in paint bleeding, but my base outline trap painting with makeshift stencils gave me confidence that I could overcome those challenges. And the vocoder needed to be free-handed—no easy task—but its dark black color and relatively obscured location on the helmet minimized my concern. But the teeth paint are front and center, fully exposed for the entire galaxy to see.

 

I previously linked to the RogueTrooper images below in my teeth trimming post, but the screen references are relevant again here. Similar gum-avoiding paint jobs can be seen on the following build and L3 submission threads:

 

Cricket  |  wook1138  |  dereferenced  |  MightyAtom  |  Ruffalo  |  Soulart

 

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Per the ANH Stunt CRL, the "frown is painted gray and does not leave the teeth area. A total of 8 cut outs in the teeth area of the frown are present" (basic). I will be using Humbrol #5 Admiralty gloss gray.

 

I had seen several troopers mask off their teeth in their builds, so I thought I'd give that a shot. Worst case, I get some bleeding and have to clean it up, which would be no different than overpainting free-handed and having to clean it up. Justin recommended the Tamiya 6mm and 10mm set, but cautioned to keep a watchful eye when stretching and pulling it tight to ensure it doesn't retract and slip out of place. Thanks for that tip!

 

I masked off the tops and bottoms of each tooth, as well as the tops and bottoms of each gap, but by intent was not to mask everything that wasn't to be painted. Some "free-handing" would still be necessary in some areas like the corners of some teeth near the gums (see the tops of the center tooth below).

 

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Once masked, I painted one tooth at a time, and similar to my vocoder, I did not skimp on the paint in my pursuit for smooth surfaces. 30-60 minutes after painting I carefully removed the tape, and the vertical pieces in the gaps were the most difficult. In hindsight, I'm not sure I would mask the teeth since cleanup of overpaint ended up being easier than expected, and I may have over-masked in some areas, possibly necessitating a future second coat. This first double photo below shows the pre-cleanup overpaint right after removing the masking tape. I finally experienced the stringiness of enamel paint, which hadn't previously manifested when I masked and painted my first trap. As always, click on the photos to open original large versions, to see the tiny details.


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For cleanup I used Gamsol mineral spirits in conjunction with a popsicle stick slicked to have a straight edge. Ironically, this exact popsicle stick came from @justjoseph63 when I purchased sugru from him, and I simply used the flat tip (the width of the thickness of the stick) to scratch away excess paint in straight lines. Much MUCH more effective and than toothpicks. Here again is a photo also included in the "Tools" section earlier in this post.

 

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Pretty obvious comp below. Before on the left, after on the right.


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This next quad photo show post-cleanup results, as do all the subsequent images in this section. I should point out that the Humbrol #5 paint I used does look a bit dark in some of the photos, and that is simply due to white balance compensation by my phone camera. The color is spot on, and is generally assumed to be exactly what was used by prop makers for the original film production in the UK.


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I think I'm spot on with the paint at the tops of the teeth not extending onto the gums, but I am a bit concerned that the opposite may be true at the bottoms of the teeth. Does it look like I might have over-masked and not painted low enough on each tooth? I also think I may further tweak and end tips of the frown. I'd like the untrimmed/unpainted last tooth openings to be wider, or at least shifted more towards the center of the frown, and the small painted tips to be thinner and longer. Does that seem appropriate?


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Oh, and I meant to paint more of a curve at the top of my center tooth, but I accidentally overpainted all the way to the masking tape, essentially erasing the curve. If additional painting at the bottom of the teeth is necessary, should I also slightly round the top of that center tooth while I'm at it? In such a scenario I would likely repaint the entire front to maintain a smooth surface.

 

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And because I had the amazing luxury of temporarily working in a real art studio at work, why not document my work space. I felt like a celebrity artist! If only I had such an area at my house; normally I'm working in a closet or the garage. And by the way, the 2x6" piece of wood was used to keep my frown relatively level while painting.


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This last double photo highlights both the frown paint and the fully-dried vocoder. Not too shabby.

 

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Hovi Tips Part 2: Mesh Trimming & Installation

In my previous post I inquired about trimming down my ATA-supplied hovi-mix tips mesh down to properly fit into the recession, and it turned out to be easier than I expected. First of all, here is what the ANH Stunt CRL has to say about the hovi tips. "Aerators/Hovi-MIX tips (cylinders on either side of the vocoder) are black or painted black" (basic), and "correct Aerators/Hovi-MIX tips are present. Screens used shall be of a wide type mesh, with the rim of the mic and the inside white or painted white" (L2). I actually painted by Hovi tips with Testors 1139 semi-gloss black months ago while I was doing my side trap outline painting, so check that off the list. ATA hovi tips come in all white, so I'm set with the inside color already, and in my previous post I lightly sanded the rims to ensure they're also white.

 

Also as previously mentioned, the mesh I have from ATA and Ukswrath are identical, and I decided to go with the stock ATAs. Sine my mesh was pre-cut, I should use the highlighter cap technique so I instead resorted to trimming tiny bits of the wire mesh with small plyers/cutters, photographed in the "Tools" section above. As it turns out, the mesh was really easy to cut through, and with careful trial and error, I finally achieved the appropriately-reduced circles. I then let some E6000 sit for a couple minutes to thicken just a little, and applied it inside the rim of the hovi tips with a toothpick before dropping the mesh in afterwards.

 

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Because I like order and alignment, I cut and fit my mesh to be leveled vertically/horizontally. Unnecessary, I'm sure, but most presentable to my eyes.


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I am pleased with the final results, and because the mesh is aligned with the vocoder, I think I can get over the ridges on the outside of the hovi tips not being identical to each other. Due to the mounting screw on the hovi tips being a little off-center, I had to rotate the tips (documented in my previous post) to achieve a proper pointing direction.


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Frown Mesh Installation

And finally onto frown mesh installation, which actually was the most time-consuming part in this build update. In a post from six months ago I highlighted my plans for installing my frown mesh, and that remained largely unchanged, with the main exception being the use of velcro rather than semi-permanent adhesion with E6000. The ANH Stunt CRL states that "mesh may be used behind the frown to obscure the face of the wearer" (basic), and below is a Billgram which presents the general installation process, as well as a photo of my $1.49 6mm craft foam, which is the same I used for my lens installation.

 

 

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To begin the process I first tried tracing the general shape of the frown onto a portion of clear sheet protector, which I previously used for my eye lens templates. Once I had a profile I was happy with I cut it out and dry fit it into the inside of my frown. After some additional trimming I then transferred the shape onto screen mesh and cut it out. In the past year on FISD I had seen many helmets and many techniques for installing frown mesh, but I wanted a clean and presentable solution, so I decided that I would obscure the edges of the mesh with a frame of sorts. Using my mesh template as a base, I cut spare craft foam (also used in my eye lens installation), and below is a scan of my pieces, in case any future builder wants a template. It was fitted for my ATA kit, but I should also suffice for any TE-derived kit, and possibly any kit at all. This Google Drive link contains PDF and JPG formats of the my initial design scans. Note: read ahead to find a revised version.

 

 

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I then used leftover velcro installed inside my helmet (it seems to stick just fine on my textured truck bed coating surface), on both sides of the mesh, and on the foam frame, and here below you can see the process. The biggest reason I opted for velcro application is because I wanted the mesh to be easily removable, since I may need to work on my teeth paint some more, and to enable me to replace it with other mesh patterns (perhaps tighter) if wanted.

 

 

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Though it looked ok, I didn't like that the frown now looked just like the eye lenses, so I decided to tray a different material for the frame. And actually just the mesh with the loop-sided velcro by itself without the frame look ok to me. Note: the foam appears too light in these photos, and is actually quite darker.

 

For my revised outline I use thin black plastic harvested from the bottom of an eco bag, just like what I used as a flexible straight edge while drawing my faceplate top trim-line. Here is my revised template, which can also be found in my Google Drive folder or by clicking the photo below.

 

 

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Shown below is my process of sorts. I cut the plastic sheet with a metal ruler and xacto knife, and then applied hook velcro to one side as I did with the previous craft foam iteration. I am happier with these results, and though I probably could have reduced the thickness of the frown frame, I will leave it be. Once again, the foam and plastic appear darker in person.

 


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And here we finally have some exterior shots. The helmet is really starting to come together as I add new components. Once I paint the tears, traps, and tube stripes I'm sure it will look AMAZING!


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Thoughts? Critiques and any of my work in this update? My previous questions are reviewed in the next section.

 

 

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  1. Does it look like I might have over-masked and not painted low enough on each tooth?
  2. I'd like the untrimmed/unpainted last tooth openings to be wider, or at least shifted more towards the center of the frown, and the small painted tips to be thinner and longer. Does that seem appropriate?
  3. If additional painting at the bottom of the teeth is necessary, should I also slightly round the top of that center tooth while I'm at it?

 

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  • Cap and Face assembly
  • Revisit teeth painting second coat
  • Ear rough trimming (if I can locate my lost curved lexan scissors)

 

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On 1/5/2021 at 5:53 AM, Ripper_L said:

1. your hovi tips alignment looks great, they do not point too far down!

 

2. I like to use the highlighter cap technique, even though I don't have a highlighter but some other plastic cylinder where the diameter fits.
If the mesh is precut, fitting the inner diameter of the mic tips, then it will result in the most accurate and most painful way of assembly:
you will need a pair of tweezers and super fine drops of superglue. If the mesh is a milimeter too wide or so, you'll have to trim it down.

 

Danny - Thanks for your insight regarding my Hovi tips angle and screen mesh. You confirmed what I expected, that I'd need to finely trim just a tiny bit around the edges of my pre-cut mesh to enable it to fit inside the rims.

 

 

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Printable/downloadable PDF of my entire build thread to this point contained in [THIS SHARED FOLDER]. The PDF will be updated within a few days of my own new posts and will note sequential version numbers and revision dates.

 

Edited by MaskedVengeance
Added missing links
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Beautiful work Caleb, glad you are still finding time to work your way through this build. Amazing detail and a very clean build thread as well,

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