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Customizing your transport cases


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     I know I am not the first one to do this type of thing, but several people in other boards have asked for some kind of tutorial for the new transport cases I just made. While I don't exactly have a full tutorial, I did write something up that at least will let you get an idea of some parts to try out, and hopefully inspire some others to theme their bins. I do this for all of my costumes, and I feel like it adds something to roll up to a troop with a bin that hints at the costume you are about to suit up in. I usually add lights, because many Star Wars crates have lights, and I try and make it a bit in-universe (like no standard lettering).

    Because my bin was a little smaller to fit it all (and because many times we also bring just the bucket), I made a separate helmet case.

    Because my ANH Stunt build was my first really clean costume with no weathering (and I LOVE weathering), I was able to get some weathering in these cases to get that out of my system. 

    Below I will show some shots of the cases, and follow it with some build notes.

 

Note: I do not build these on commission. They are a labor of love, and part of the costume build that I love to build over a month in the early morning hours in my cold garage, but do not want to do these for money. 

 

If Instagram is your thing, I post things like this under the username "Oddviking"

 

The helmet case: I wanted to make something protective, and just large enough to fit around the helmet with some foam inside:

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These decals were used after the first set of photos, because I had just gotten a vinyl cutter and could finally add some more lettering:

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The Armor Bin: This is a little smaller than the usual 50 gallon one, a 45 gallon bin that had a good look as a base. 

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Some turnarounds:

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The helmet case screen:

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Edited by OddViking327
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Build notes for the helmet case:

 

Here are some overarching things I use on these:

- In all of George Lucas’s props, there were (almost) never any Phillips-headed screws, so start collecting those other types. Save any lathed/machined metal bits and parts for greeblies, you sometimes will find the perfect spot for one.

- Try and use uncommon hinges and latches to avoid the common-looking hardware store bits.

- I use primer on all plastic to ensure adhesion, but I skip it on the metal, so you can chip the paint on the edges during weathering.

- Reinforce things that were not intended to bear weight or stress (like a plastic flower pot needs help for the latches, hinge, so I added some white plastic pieces which also helped get things to line up over the lip, and I added aluminum strips down the sides for strengthening the handle holes).

- There is such a thing as too many greeblies. Give them some space, and asymmetry to let the occasional one enhance the aesthetic.

- On most plastic parts, especially bins, there feels like there is some mold-releaser on there from when they were cast. Just like other cast parts, I wash it first in warm soapy water before the primer layer. 

- Cover all logos. That means on plastic bins (or flower pots), I often grind or carve down the lettering, and then glue / bolt a plastic cover plate to ensure it looks smooth. For this one I did two curved shapes to cover all of the lettering that was on the bottom of the "coaster".

 

Parts:
- Hinge is a “Stainless Steel 6'' Cast Strap Hinge for Boat Marine”
- latches are “2pcs Flexible Rubber Draw Latch Over-Center Boat Latch for for Door Handle Cooler, Boat Compartment, Cargo Box, Front Storage Rack”
- custom Aurebesh OLED screen is from “Jettisonable” on Etsy @jettisonable_3d on IG
- plastic flower pots and saucer are from Home Depot, 14" "Southern Patio" brand.
- many of the tiny bolts are from a set of many lengths from Amazon: “VIGRUE 570PCS Stainless Steel M3 Button Head Hex Socket Cap Screw Bolts, M3 x 4/5/6/8/10/12/14/16/18/20/25mm Screw and Nuts Flat Washer Assortment Kit, Fully Machine Thread”
- black strip is some adhesive automotive edging.

 

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Edited by OddViking327
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On to the armor bin. I wrote up a bit more about this one:

 

Building the Armor Bin: 

High-level tips on this bin:

- There is such a thing as TOO MANY GREEBLIES. Greeblies -those little found objects and things that make a thing look like it has some utilitarian function of some kind. If you cover every spot, it loses something. Star Wars objects look best with areas of flat, and then areas of detail, with asymmetry being key.

- I used a lot of fasteners, and getting them one at a time at the hardware store can get expensive. There are almost no Phillips style fasteners in Star Wars, so I needed a non-standard bolt. I found a good kit of small nuts and hex hole bolts that were all M3 size but in many different lengths. This allowed me to not only know every hole was my 1/8" bit but also I could find the perfect length of bolt, to minimize the protruding end INSIDE the bin. I also capped every bolt with a small cap, glued on with E6000, or hot glue on my vents. I really want to avoid any chance of scratching the glossy white armor.

- For the wiring, test it all first before mounting, and use quick-connect wire connectors so you can assemble it all and test it, and then take it apart, run them through holes, and hook it all back up. Run any switches to the outside of the bin, so you can roll up to a troop, and then turn them on when people will see them, without having to open it up and do some switches every time (save battery power, and the buttons add to the look).

- Roughen with sandpaper all parts before gluing. But also, all greeblies and knobs are also bolted on. I have seen glue fail so many times, and on a bin that gets knocked about, everything should be secured with a bolt if possible.

- Because things get stacked on a bin, any greeblies on the lid should be secure, and tough, and not go above the top edge so that things could rest on top of it.

 

The build:
It started as a Husky 45 gallon tote. On my very first bin years ago, so much of the spray paint chipped off in that first year. It was like the plastic was resisting the paint. Later as I was washing off some cast parts to prep them for painting, it hit me. Like ALL CAST PLASTIC, bins have a mold-releaser spray residue on them when they come out of the factory. So a super important part of my bin painting process is the wash all parts with warm soapy water before starting. I did this one in the shower (with dish soap), but my bigger husky bin I washed in the driveway, like a car wash. 
Painting the bin was straight-forward, a few coats of primer, letting it cure for more than a day. So many painting issues, especially in winter, come from not letting the primer fully cure. Then some coats of white glossy paint. I usually do the weathering before the clear coat, but after applying some vinyl decals, in a few spots they started peeling off the paint. Not everywhere, but enough that I didn't want to risk more. I painted them back to white, and then did a satin clear coat to help the paint all stay. I used satin because gloss is really hard to paint weathering on, it has no "tooth", so I did a gloss coat after the weathering.
Next I wanted to try and do the light panel thing, so I did that first. I go over it more in my previous posts, but the basic idea is I created a matte black decal using my new vinyl cutter, and applied it to a rectangle of translucent plastic. To get the red, I used a square of 3M self-adhesive brake light repair film behind it. You have to have some black area to cover the overlap, as the red light will "bleed" out a little, and you want to cover that transition. The light is a battery dimmable night-light thing with batteries and two LED strips. I opened it up, took a red wire from the batteries, and soldered in a quick release cord, and soldered the other end to a toggle switch. That way I could cover the dimmer switch (it's in the center) and leave it "on" but the switch is now on the outside of the bin controlling it. I mounted it to an aluminum bar to keep it about 5 mm away from the plastic, so that the light diffused enough to make a more even panel. For the frame, I had been saving a few of these diaper wipe lids that had a cool shape. I trimmed off the lid piece, and the part you see is the bottom, where it has a flat area they glued to the package. For the two small lights, I found these great 8mm indicator lights, basically a 5mm LED light with a metal mount around it, and pre-wired with resistors. I wired them in parallel to the 9v battery and with a toggle switch. After looking at the specs, I figured out the hole size, and had these custom laser-cut aluminum hex plates (with my 1/8" holes) to give them a cooler mount. Their 9v battery case is velcroed into the corner for easy removal to change the batteries. I used a lot of the quick-connect wire connectors to do my circuits, because there were a lot of parts that had to go through the walls of the case, and those allow you to do all of your soldering on a table, and assemble it, rather than try and solder in the case. All of these wires could get smashed and caught, so I found a white two-piece pencil case at a dollar store that was the right size, and made a cover for all of the wiring, held on with acorn nuts and wing nuts so I could remove it without tools to change the batteries.
For the vents, I had been looking for years for good small vents for Star Wars projects, and this time, I realized I could just use an on-demand metal cutter site (I used SendCutSend) that I used on another project to cut some custom vents. I made the shapes in Adobe Illustrator like I used for the viny decals, and they came out really good. They have the same 1/8" hole that my bolts all use, and I backed them by the denser Phifertex Plus mesh, glued on the inside with a hot glue gun (and I hot glued over the bolt ends at the same time, so that is another bolt protection solution).
I added some greeblies from @Jettsonable which were painted with a sort of hammered finish spray (his last one came as a clean print), so I used filler primer to even it out, and then painted them white. I ended up glueing, but also adding two bolts to them to ensure they stayed put. Other greeblies were some old stereo knobs from a random lot I got from Ebay. Finally, for the trooper look, I had an extra belt piece that I glued to the top with white E6000 (and also bolted, the top flexes a lot). Vinyl decals finished it off. One area where the vinyl peeled off the paint on the lid, I had to cut a new rectangle of ABS, and glue/bolt it on, and apply new lettering (the area with "FISD" and "Imperial property" in Aurebesh). The reason I use the white paintable E6000 is because the seep out spots can be painted with the weathering.

For weathering, I did my usual technique of painting with mostly black acrylic, wiping off with a rag, painting in, wiping off with a wet rag, back and forth a few times, until it looks right. Lots of gunk under the edge of the rim where all of those chambers are hard to clean, and less in the open areas. Grime near buttons where fingers touch. Mud spray from the wheels up into their cutouts. Just do it with intention and though for HOW it got dirty. Finally, a glossy clear coat, being sure to tape over all screens, lights, knobs, vents, and buttons to keep the spray from affecting those areas.

All in all, I love how it came out, and I had few setbacks. I can't wait to roll up to a troop with this!

Parts:
Husky 45 Gallon (170.3 L) Latch and Stack Tote with Wheels
Battery powered dimmable night light panel.
3M High-Strength Red Lens Repair Film
Diaper wipes lid piece (Aiden & Anais, no longer made, but others are similar)
M3 hex bolt set
white dollar store two-piece pencil case
custom Laser Cut aluminum vents
Phifertex Plus black mesh
Hot Glue
white paintable E6000
8mm indicator lights
9v battery case
velcro
1/2" wide aluminum bar (1/8")
Round Toggle Switches
Rustoleum white primer
Rustoleum Glossy white spray paint
Rustoleum satin clear coat
Rustoleum Gloss clear coat
Liquitex Basics Acrylic black and raw umber paint
Antique stereo knobs from Ebay
custom vinyl lettering decals
stormtrooper belt plate 

 

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I made this diagram for someone following my build. My LEDs came pre-resistored, but if yours aren't, you will need to use an Ohm's Law Calculator to determine the different resistors (white and red use different volts).

 

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I hope I didn't forget anything, but I am open to answer questions! I look forward to more people making in-universe transport cases!

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Edited by OddViking327
Added a wiring diagram
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I've said it before on your FB post, but again, outstanding work on these precision engineered carry cases Colin.

Cant tell you how much I love them and to also have a build thread for them here is something the detachment is well and truly grateful for.  :th_AnimatedBravoSmiley:

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Colin, I posted it on your FB share, and I'll say it hear as well. 

This is amazing. I'm truly in awe of your creativity. I hope to try and mimic something like this.

Thank you for sharing!

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Curse you, Colin!  Just when I think I am ready for a break between new projects, you toss this out there.  Now I can't stop thinking about this, you rascal, you.  Outstanding work on these, brother... your creativity is beyond belief.  Well done, sir.  Well done indeed!  :jc_doublethumbup:

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If anyone is curious what my other bins are like, here are some pics:

 

Clone Trooper - 327th Star Corps:

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Lights:

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Swag box with lights:

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Jedi (tubes store saber blades):

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Rodian mask and hands (for a Rodian Jedi): 

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Endor Rebel Trooper (this one is just decals and weathering a green case):

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