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OddViking327

Oddviking's ANH Stunt build - AM 4.5

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       Hello everyone! After reading through a bunch of build threads, I just started on my build. I have two young kids at home in the pandemic, so I will have to squeeze out moments here and there to work on this, but I look forward to the escape. My plan is at least EIB, but I will aim for Centurian if possible at every step along the way. I will be hand painting where I can, using some templates from Trooper Bay.

       My background: I have several costumes in the Rebel Legion and my 327th Star Corps clone trooper (movie version) is approved in both. I am on the CRL team in the Clone Troopers Detachment, and my clone was recently made the CRL model when we updated that CRL. I am a digital artist and graphic designer, so I love doing elaborate photo-editing of photos of my clone into in-universe scenes. These all feature me, and about 100 layers of photoshop. (For more my Instagram is @OddViking):

XNbAWK8.jpg

 

HpfsieB.jpg

 

WIi0JUk.jpg

 

I love to build, and am not worried about the precision parts of the ANH Stunt, it looks like a well-documented challenge. I LOVE weathering all of my costumes, so that part I will miss, but the whole "cover-strips instead of seamless joining" will more than make up for it! 

I did a very well-documented build of my clone, and I appreciate everyone who adds to the collective knowledge base. Because I am not sure how much different my build would be to add to it all, I will just be documenting parts of my progress that I have questions about, or new things I discover. 

 

So I hit my first few snags. The first was answered by the people on the AM builder group on FB, and that was about how asymmetrical those forearms are. I already trimmed off most of the return, and am doing inner strips for strength. I have decided I will do the arched cut on the left as well for mobility. Someone posted good reference of some having that in ANH:

3jXVNw7.jpg

ANH reference:

9YEu912.jpg

 

I ground the back of the teeth with the Dremel, and then finished with needle files (that part was way easier than in the resin clone helmet, I am getting the feeling that parts of this build are going to go a lot more quickly being finished ABS from the start). So my first big question is about the helmet brow ridge. I have seen plenty of examples where the rubber ends where mine does, not quite to the back of the trap. But I am thinking I may need to order a new strip, cut the helmet notches further back, and line it up with that trap edge. What do you all think? It is a hassle, I wish I hadn't cut it where it was, but I prefer the more finished look of it all lining up. The CRL doesn't even show or mention that edge. How many of you have it like this? Also, does this strip ever get glued in with E6000 on the inside, or is the tension enough to keep it there?

GxBjnwt.jpg

Edited by OddViking327
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Welcome to FISD! You’re in the right place for TK armor, and it sounds like you’ll not have any trouble with the build, based on your experience. Awesome photos, btw.

You likely already came across it, but AJ Hamler’s AM build is an excellent one to follow, with great documentation and photos. I don’t have access to a direct link at the moment, but the thread is included on my All-In-One TK Reference thread linked to in my signature. I even compiled a PDF of AJ’s thread since I liked it so much, also linked on my Index thread.

As for your question about the brow trim, you’ll find that the screen-used suits had their trim ending all over the place. Some do like the clean cut angled at the back of the traps, but others are straight vertical and not quite to the ends.

Hope this helps, and welcome again!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Thanks! I should have mentioned, I am for sure using AJ's build thread (and thanks for the PDF!) as reference, he is a delightfully thorough craftsman, and well documented. I have also looked at many other builds, and a few of UKswrath's builds, as he is referenced a lot, and also part of my local garrison (I have his sound system in my clone helmet). Lots of other tutorial sections as well. I may be trying a new take on the magnet closure for the shin armor, and I will document that if my test works out.

Edited by OddViking327

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Okay, I decided to try something new for my shin closures. I am just testing out the concept, and it looks like it may work. 

Many people have used Cricket's magnet closure system. Having trooped with some Velcro on my clone, I know that Velcro is not the most trustworthy. While I wanted to use magnets, I came up with a different approach. The good part with this method is that if it is a terrible failure, it is more removable than the disk magnets with holes method. 

My primary reason for trying a new approach is that we all know that magnets are strongest pole to pole, and have their most strength in that direction. If you have a stack of disk magnets, you slide them to detach them because it is way easier than pulling straight up. The issue with Cricket's design is that we are trying to resist the calf armor from opening side to side, and yet that is how the magnets are weakest.

I had some strong cylinder magnets, 1/4" N-52 that are magnetically aligned along the length. I would put them on either side of the opening on the inside, so that they have their strong pull directed at each other. They are nearly 5 lbs of strength each, so I needed to cut that down a little, and I also didn't want them snapping directly together which would chip them over time (some of mine are already chipped). So I needed to create a sort of case around them that I could glue down. Because there will be plastic on the face, they will be a little easier to separate with that material, and protected. Here are the magnets from K&J Magnetics, and I believe I will use 24 total for the two calves:

TPkh2zH.png

 

To make the magnet pockets, I made a slot in a scrap piece of thicker aluminum by drilling two holes and filing it out. This could be made of wood as well, just something that you can press hard on, and doesn't mind some heat or pressure. For these magnets, the hole needed to be larger on all sides to accommodate the plastic, and I ended up with a 9mm x 16mm opening. It helps to have one edge bent up, so you can press it flush, sort of like a spatula. For the plastic, the cover-strip sheet that came with the kit was too thick, about 2mm, so I found some scraps I trimmed off my clone arms, and my thigh scraps from this suit will have plenty as well. That trimmed plastic is between 1mm and 1.5mm, and the thicker 1.5mm was more difficult to stretch, so the thinner is better in this case. 

I put a piece of sheet mild steel down on a scrap of plywood. This was both a non-stick surface, a heat sink, and the magnet holds itself in place on the steel. First I heated the plastic on low, until it just started to go floppy. Pressed down my aluminum guide, and got it halfway down. Then I hit it, while on the magnet, with the high heat until it just starts really shriveling (this is about 5 seconds of high heat, and rapidly gets too hot, so act fast), and pressed the guide slot down over it until totally flush with the metal base. Sometimes it took a few re-heatings to get it flush, and it needs to be so that when mounted, it glues flat to the inside of the armor, with the magnet contained.

JavqV8L.jpg

 

Then I clipped it to have side tabs for gluing (though a few will need a different shape, at the top and bottom channel shapes in the shin), and then trim one edge really close. The magnet needs to be as close to the edge as possible, so I sanded it more flush on a sanding belt (and rounded the corners). Now for my initial test. I clamped them onto the edges of some strips, and they seem to work well enough. So I made then more pockets, so I could test it on the shin halves.

p5ylXR8.jpg

 

I was most worried that they might be too strong, so I did five on each side, taped in place, right up to the edge of the plastic. I marked my stack of magnets that were all stuck end to end with two colored sharpies, red on one and blue on the other, so I could make sure one whole side was mounted with red ends at the edge and the other side all blue ends at the edge (When I do this on the armor, I will glue the magnets into the ABS pockets and mark them on the underside). I taped them all in, and tried it out, and it works really well. In fact, I think I will do six pairs on each calf instead of five, because it was not too difficult to open, but it really wanted to stay in place. If this doesn't work, I can still remove the pockets, and go with a different closure, because the armor will be un-affected.

FaWv1VT.jpg

 

So I will update when I get to assembling my calves. I do have a question for those with velcro or other closures: Where are the trouble spots, top or bottom? Meaning if I were to have a stronger spot, is it needed at the bottom, where the boots sometimes pry it open when walking, or at the top, from bending the knee? 

 

Progress update, I started on my snap mounts, cut and fit my abdomen, finished the forearms and biceps with inner strips and cover strips, and started on the thighs.

Edited by OddViking327
added a line

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Well that's certainly a little different from what I have seen before, nice work.

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Snaps. I have set a lot of snaps in my day, usually with leatherwork. So it surprised me when a few of my first ones had issues with setting skewed off at an angle from the hole. This will cause some strap alignment issues, and while it will be mostly elastic, I would prefer having snaps that line up. I am using Tandy Line 24 snaps, with a hand setter (hammer and punch style with a base, on an anvil). I found a solution:

 

I am using the sort of snap hole jig that is in AJ's build (linked in a comment above). I did some research on snaps setting crooked, and determined that because the webbing is thin, the snap shank is too long, and can fold over to a side. So I grab them gently in some vice grips, and sand the shank about 1/8" lower. Works great. Now I just need to sand 18 more or so, but at least they will set more easily:

 

6akl8RZ.jpg

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1 hour ago, OddViking327 said:

Snaps. I have set a lot of snaps in my day, usually with leatherwork. So it surprised me when a few of my first ones had issues with setting skewed off at an angle from the hole. This will cause some strap alignment issues, and while it will be mostly elastic, I would prefer having snaps that line up. I am using Tandy Line 24 snaps, with a hand setter (hammer and punch style with a base, on an anvil). I found a solution:

 

I am using the sort of snap hole jig that is in AJ's build (linked in a comment above). I did some research on snaps setting crooked, and determined that because the webbing is thin, the snap shank is too long, and can fold over to a side. So I grab them gently in some vice grips, and sand the shank about 1/8" lower. Works great. Now I just need to sand 18 more or so, but at least they will set more easily:

 

6akl8RZ.jpg

I will definitely need to try that! My snapping game is far from adequate currently.

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If you give them a slight tap with a Philips head screwdriver it will help the post to open up then the snap tool finishes it off, the post will fill up the snap and not just a small edge ;) 

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Moving along, little by little, in the dark of the morning before the kids wake up.

I have finished the inner and outer cover strips on my forearms, biceps, and thighs. I used to have just ten large magnets, which was only a strip of five on each side. For this project, I added 20 more, and I am glad I did. I used all 30 on the front seams of the thighs!

CEWUgma.jpg

 

I was awaiting a new brow trim piece so I could extend it to the back of the trap (I know many are short of the back, it is just my preference for how it looks), and once I had it, tackled a bunch of the helmet, including a lot of the hand painting. The ears were as troublesome as everyone says, and I even had to do some minor heat bending to make it work with less of a gap. Amazing how it all feels flush, and then the bolts get tightened and it is a gap again. I am glad to be moving on.

 

Just finished most of the hand painting. I used the Trooper Bay templates for most of them, but freehand painted the buttons (experienced artist, still was challenging). My question is this, in the CRL it states for level 2: “ Fall of tube stripe tops ideally lean toward the front.” but my template didn’t do that, and I am finding a lot of original helmets that also looks just like mine. It does say “ideally...” and I have examples of it comes to it (third pic of four original helmets).

Originals that look like mine: 

iYPVV1k.jpg

 

I asked around, and @CableGuy pointed me toward the reasoning. The "Dave M." template has a more distinct lean, and it needs to be toward the front.

 

For the tube stripes, I painted lightly with white first to "seal" any seeping cracks in my template, then 20 minutes later did a few lightly brushed blue coats 10 minutes apart, until solid: 

d27RsnQ.jpg

 

More painting, vocoder, frown, ears, traps and tears (not shown), and buttons:

J3HKRrS.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by OddViking327
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Some nice crisp paint lines, nice work

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Some interesting details you have brought to this build Colin, i like your ingenuity.

Keep up the great work.

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Magnetic calf-closure system:

After my initial test of my butted-magnet system, I finally got to completing the shin armor so I could try it out. A note about magnets: they are only really at full strength when exactly touching. Even 1mm apart, and they are at about half strength. So for this to work, the pairs of magnets need to be as close to each other as possible. Because of that, I tried one method on one, and through that process came up with a better method for the second that ensured optimal placement. 

To begin with, I created a bunch more of my heat-formed "pockets", including a different type for the top and bottom edges (longer rather than wider shape because of how close to the top and bottom edges it would be). I have my 25mm cover strips all ready to use, but because of the nature of mounting these, save the cover strips for after the closure is complete. Even though my armor was pretty close to butted, it needed to be a lot closer for this to work. I started by fine sanding the edges, and a little mild heating to get the edges to meet more flush. The tops will get the mobility cuts, but I waited until after the closures were complete to know what the true edge would look like. Once I had it flush, I taped it closed matched up, and drew my marks. These marks would be on-center for each magnet pair. I started with the top and bottom, and then divided the distance between by 5 (giving me four marks between, for a total of six magnetic closures, 12 magnets in all, per shin). My number was about 63mm between each line.

zEeIDMB.jpg

 

Once marked, I removed the tape. I used some coarse 60-grit sandpaper to roughen the back side behind each mark, where the pockets would be glued.  In the right photo, you can see what my pockets would look like. I paired them up to ensure they were similar. 

GClzD7F.jpg

 

A note on glue. I know the Stormtrooper lives and breathes E6000, and for most of the armor, that glue is a great choice. For this process, you will really need speed, and quick results, so CA glue with an accelerator spray is ideal. Because I once was unsure, CA glues (Cyanoacrylate adhesives) are often called "Super Glue" and it's a clear glue that sticks really well to things like plastic, fabric, and... skin. Many people call this "Gorilla Glue" but the problem with that (or any brand) is that Gorilla glue makes about ten products, including wood glue, and an expanding glue, all called "Gorilla Glue". CA glue is the preferred name to ensure people know what to use. Now, for the accelerator spray. Zap-A-Gap makes one, but there are many types. What it is is a spray that you can spritz on a wet bond, and it sets the glue (at least on the edges) in about 3 seconds. No kidding. Like you could take a quarter, glue it to the side of your work bench, spritz the edges, and then let go. In my experience, if you quickly pried it up, the CA glue would be wet underneath for some time, but it would be "clamped" by the already cured edges while the remainder dries. This closure method relies a lot on that rapid dry time.

 

Gluing magnets into the pockets. It is fairly important to keep track of polarity for the magnets, so put them ALL in a line, and use two different colored sharpies to mark each end, so that you have (for example) a blue and red end on each, and every red wants to stick to a blue. On the pockets, mark the "center line" that is where the center of the magnet would be on the seam edge, so you can line it up from the outside. Sand the bottom of each pocket to prep for gluing. Then set out your pockets bottom-side-up (if possible, on a piece of sheet steel like I have, or some other magnetic surface to keep them from sliding or trying to attach each other. Mark them red and blue as well to keep track of what goes where. Drop some CA glue in the bottom of each, and set a magnet in each pocket, aligned toward each other by color, so you have a red side and a blue side (or whatever colors you use). If you have accelerator, you can spritz these and be ready to move to the next step:

ZXzzr8o.jpg

 

Note: the following process was what I tried on one calf, and then improved on it, so be sure and read ahead for a much better process for gluing. Start on one side and in order down one "color" set, take each pocket, and add CA glue to the bottom edge, filling in more around the magnet. Mount it in place lined up with the edge line on-center for each magnet, and as perfectly close to flush with the seam edge as you can. This works best when the magnets are just touching. As each is set in place, spritz with CA glue accelerator, and then add a line of glue around the back edge and sides of the pocket, and spritz again. Move up one side, and then down the other, taking care to keep it from shutting before everything is truly cured (I would give it at least 30 minutes to an hour). These magnets are quite powerful, and could likely pop free from un-cured glue. Here is where I found a problem, and a new solution: Once I finally put the sides together, they clicked nicely with a satisfying click. The trouble was, you can see in the first photo, is there were gaps where various pockets were too close together, which then kept the better positioned ones from touching. So I had to go to each joint, and with a small piece of sandpaper wrapped on a bit of plastic, sand them until they met flush. 

mDwaKfI.jpg

 

I eventually got it much closer, but it took a lot of fine sanding and trouble to get them to match:

5IeJ2Z4.jpg

 

My solution for a more precise alignment of the magnets: I realized that the magnets want to be close and perfectly aligned. That's their purpose. So I should use that. So I did as before, and glued one side (like the "red" side), again, as close to the edge as possible. Full CA glue on each, and spritzed with accelerator to lock them in, and then I let that side sit for an hour to fully cure. First, I taped the calf closed as perfectly as I could, with the edges tight together. Then I took the other set of pockets with the magnets glued in, the "blue" side, and put glue on just the back half, away from the seam edge. I didn't want to risk getting any glue on the seam or opposing magnets, and it does spread out a bit. So for now, just glue the back side (pictured). Then I carefully, in order, set the magnets down the side across from their "mates" and the magnets themselves snapped into the perfect spot, touching exactly. If the other side was a little over the line, they would lock in back a little. It aligned them perfectly. As I went, I would place a pocket, then do some CA glue along the back and back corners, a little on the edges (remember, nowhere close to the seam edge), and then spritz with the CA accelerator, locking them in. Once that side was done, I set it aside for a half hour to more fully cure before removing the tape, popping it open, and then gluing the remaining spots, including around the edges up to the seam edge.

B5ItxRF.jpg

 

That one went together much more quickly, and it was nearly perfect. One of the pockets had pried up a little, so had to be clamped and re-glued, but otherwise a much easier method. I then taped the top edge, and now that it was in the final alignment, ground my mobility cuts.

 

And now the moment: Does it work? I tried them on, and they snap right shut around my calves. In the little I have worn them this morning, they seem to work really well. I will say that I expected them to be a little harder to open. I walked around, up and down stairs, and they stay closed, but when I do something extreme with the top edge, like crouching in a kneeling position, the top can spring open. I tried them on before the mobility cuts, and they sprung open more often when bending my knees past 90 degrees. Because of this, I am adding a "fail-safe snap" (popper for the UK folks) on a 1" black nylon strap inside that crosses the top of the seam on either side of the top magnet snapping on one side. The strap will be connected by reaching in from the top after the armor magnetically closes around my calf, that should ensure it never opens without me doing it. I will add pics of that in my next post, but for now it is on E-6000 time. Also I will finally add my rear cover strips, which should help finish these out!

 

Edited by OddViking327
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Nice work, a lot of effort put into this and it looks it was well worth it. I find with velcro if I try to bend too far it can also open.

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I mounted my fail-safe snap at the top, and it works. I just made a single snap mount and strap, roughened the spots next to the pockets to prep them and glued them in with E6000. First the bottom mount, and let dry for 24 hours, and then snapped the strap on, and glued and clamped the end down taught. Once the second part was cured the next day, I tried it out, and it can be easily reached to snap shut, and extreme bending my leg never opens the top. To pop it open is even easier, just slide a finger down under the strap and it pops off. 

 

K92jT1g.jpg

 

Next up in a few days, a tricky repair after a trimming mistake. Time to learn the lesson "Measure twice, cut once" again!

Edited by OddViking327
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That should do the trick

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My tricky repair after a trimming mistake:

I was following along with my notes on various measurements, but made the mistake of not double-checking against the actual connections. On my lower thigh ammo strap, I checked one side, and then cut both to sides to the same length. The trouble is, even though it is not required on the CRL, the back corner mounts on the ammo strap should end up the same distance from the back "corners" on the thigh armor (the green line pictured below). Also not required, but aesthetically important to me, was to have the center box aligned with the front cover strip on the thigh. My options were to order a replacement, or to try a tricky repair, but cutting the inside edge square, and fuzing a new piece to extend it to the correct length:

FNU8W8T.jpg

 

Once I had the pieces prepped, I also cut a "backer" piece of thinner styrene (from a parking sign) to go behind the seam (not full width, so it won't be seen from the top), and sanded all surfaces with coarse sandpaper. I did a quick test of some scrap to make sure how best to apply pressure during the bond, and then I used this "ABS and Styrene cement" for the initial edge bond. This cement is the consistency of water, but it temporarily "melts" the contact areas you brush it on, and then when pressed together, it "welds" those two soft areas. So I first brushed it on the edges, pressed them until they were clearly joining, and then once partially cured an hour (full cure reached at 24 hours), I used that same cement to bond the backer plate to the join behind the seam. Once that was cured a few hours, I then spread a line of ABS sludge to the top of the seam. Let it all cure overnight. I then sanded the sludge down flat, going up to wet sanding with 1000 grit sandpaper, and then the polished to a shine with Novus 2 and Novus 1 polish. Everything seemed good. Until I tried to flex it onto the thigh for a test fit. The seam cracked right where it needed to bend around the corner (circled in red):

A6XdqMO.jpg

 

So. I emailed AM for a replacement, because my work was for nothing. I was beaten. 

Or was I? Maybe I could save it, so I could at least have it finished and swap it out later? The seam failed because of the extreme tension there, it was basically internally weaker than the surrounding plastic, so it was breaking like a score and break. My issues probably stemmed from my attempting to weld it flat, when it should be welded in a curve. I figured there was no harm in one more attempt, so I solved the tension first. I used a heat gun and gently bend the plastic to one side following the thigh's corner, to relieve the tension on my seam. Then, I once again brushed the seam with the cement, and then laid a line of ABS sludge into the now more angled gap, and let it fully cure over night. Then sanded and polished that seam again, and tried it out. It worked! There is a slight seam imperfection in the shine when you look for it, but being on the inside of the thigh behind the last box, it may never be noticed. I drilled my holes and mounted it with two-piece rivets (paint to come), and it seems to work well!

iwNGbc0.jpg

 

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Following up on my shin armor, I added the 25mm  cover strips once it was all finished. Because the seam needs to click flush, the excess E-6000 glue needs to be removed from the inside along the cover strip (by lightly cutting with a blade, and then scraping and sometimes pulling it off in long, glorious strips when it works). So far, especially with my snap failsafe, they seem very secure. I had to pad the front of the inside to try and push that sniper plate further out from my knee, and so that top magnet is more strained and needs the snap on that side to maintain closure:

frSTJZH.jpg

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Looking good

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So the sniper plate works, but it does bite a little into the knee. It is not the most comfortable. Now I know, "not-the-most-comfortable" is the name of the armor game, and I am good with that. I padded one edge to pop it out and over, but it still rests on my knee cap. I was wondering if I could trim the knee plate back, on the pencil line in the picture below, and still have it look correct? What do you all think? Those few millimeters would mean a lot for comfort:

gA1wSjV.jpg

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Have you tried adding some foam behind the front of the shins, this can sometimes help move it away from the knee.

 

Id trim a little off at a time, you can also loose the slight angle on the side ridge, here's a reference of what I mean

imageproxy.jpeg.17e8eccb7402ddad69e2b760bca2d0d3.jpeg

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@gmrhodes13 I did add some velcro-in padding on one side to help center it, and now there really is no room left in the armor for more padding in front. I guess I fit it too well. In any case, I will trim a bit and see what it feels like. It is tolerable as it is, but will get annoying, and that is what I want to see if I can fix.

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Common issue with the AM sniper knee. Check a few other recent builds, you will see the trimming.\

Comfort is the name of the game, if you can't troop in it no sense in having "accurate" armor. Trim the plate, use foam pad to push out the shin. 

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