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A Sandtrooper in the making...my WIP.

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It's taken me nearly 9 years, but I have finally started to build my (hopeful) TD armor. Still incredibly intimidated and feeling way in over my head, but I think progress is going well? I'll let more experienced eyes be the judge of that.

I cleaned off the accumulated dust, dug into the box and laid everything out to see what I was in for. After taking stock, I dug into the cobwebs of head to remember everything Moncal schooled me on when I picked up the kit about trimming it. It went like this: Look at piece for 20 minutes, run upstairs to the computer and read the forums for an hour, return and trim. Rinse, repeat.

went from this:

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To this:

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Then I got to work on the arms. Cleaned, sized, and glued all the backing strips. Now I'm to the point of gluing on my first cover strips and I'm hesitant. I originally planned to do the angled "fence slat" corners, but thought it would look odd and inconsistent with not all of the strips ending straight. So I cut them to size and did a slight rounding on the corners. It looks good to me, but I dont want something like this to prevent passing a basic or higher inspection. Thoughts?

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Again, thank you to everyone for the immense resource and help.

Brad

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Update:

Finished the shoulder bells, and construction on biceps, and forearms. Mostly happy with them. Picked up snaps, webbing, and some nomex gloves.

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Started tweaking the ab / kidney / butt interface. Taped together to do a cursory fit and realized the return edges on the back are digging in hard. Reduced those considerably and massaged the ABS to a better shape. My kit from Moncal doesnt have kidney notches, but from my initial fit, the sides of the kidney match the abs, and the butt plate is flush with the kidney. So not sure if I should "create" notches and trim the butt plate back some?

Also ran into a snag with the 3 button plate. The buttons are nearly as wide as the raised portion on the abs, so if I trim it fit without overhang, I would eat into the buttons. That said, I pulled some scrap from the bin and had a go at moulding my own. Theyre not great, but they do fit the space better. I just softened the scrap with the heat gun and pressed it down over a few of my RE magnets stuck to metal bracket. Not the sharpest detail, but it actually matches the kit. Sadly once trimmed it still is not flat along the edges. I may try again to see if I can push it down a little flatter. That or try to rig up a small vac table???

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And yes, the kit supplied 3 button on the right was pulled with dimes.

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I am currently making a new 3 button plate as well. I took a nice piece of scrap ABS for the plate itself, then traced circles the size I wanted. Stacked up 5 of them and sanded them as one. Glue the buttons on with ABS paste. 

Your method is probably much quicker. Good job

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I had to build my 3 button plate to. I used domed head car interior trim clips. When I built my Tie kit I needed to use 2 of them in the trident area and so I had 4 left. Cut the backs off and glue them to some styrene sheet, a bit of paint and all good

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Nice build! Looking good!

I especially like how you did these buttons, i'll try that with my shoulder covers on my just finished Tie Pilot...

This bump... IMG_3957.jpg

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More updates...and questions. 

Taping and test fitting the thighs/shins for sizing is giving me issues.  The fronts of the shins are glued and went together really nice and straight. The backs have not been so cooperative. The left one specifically. Despite trying to massage into a better fit, the two haves will not line up even close. The edges are parallel, but top to bottom it's really twisted. I've tried gentle heat, taping, clamping but no joy. There is no way hooks or velcro will hold this long term. There are pronounced return edges, so I cant just trim the seam at an angle. The cover strips would not hide it. That said, would it be horrible if I trimmed the top and bottom where marked to correct the "twist"? The bottom wouldn't be noticeable, but it would create a slight offset to the moulded edge at the top. BTW, the "notched" backs were according to the trim lines.

Hopefully this shows the concern and my proposed fix:

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I can tell the backs of the thighs will also be giving me grief, but for now I'm more concerned with length of the front. Its tough to gauge with everything taped together, but can / should I trim some of the top front down? I know mobility is not supposed to be the first thought that pops to mind regarding armor, but I can't bent forward/down at all. The top digs in something fierce. Forget bending down to pick up something, stairs would be a no go. Thigh should sit right at the top of the knee cap yea? Thats basically where I had it taped to sit so I cant lower the whole thing.

Now, I realize any semblance of return edge would be lost, which is fine. I actually wanted to create the notch on the top outside of the thigh anyway. But my concern is, will I be creating too much gap to the ab panel?

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Related to creating notches where previously were none...I want to make the kidney notches and trim the butt back because I think the side looks odd just dropping down right in line with the ab. My concern there lies with the kidney plate. It's flush top and bottom with the full length of the ab/cod piece. Usually when I see the notches, it's to create a transition between the lower edge of the cod to the butt piece. Meaning the kidney is longer. On mine, I could create a nice notch if I come from the seam between the ab/cod back @  22mm and trim the butt edges to match. Here's a crude overlay with the idea. Also laid in about an inch trim off the thigh. Too much gap? Overthinking stuff that will be covered by a belt and pouch anyway??

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I think your suggest cuts for the kidney, butt, and thighs look great. I'll let some of the other guys chime in about the shins.

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Well, still digging into the shin issue before cutting. My shins were marked inside by Cal before I picked them up, so thats how I mated them, but started to wonder if they were mismatched. Looking closer at them, it appears that the right sides of the shins are identical, and only the lefts are different. So that rules out swapping them I think. It would just create the same issue on the other leg. Also noticed that the right leg as assembled has a noticeably bigger diameter. I didnt think much of it since asymmetry is so prevalent in the armor. Although I am curious if maybe I accidentally received two "outside rights"  with one incorrectly marked as an "inside left"? Hard to say, this kit is from 2010 and from my understanding went through a big revision @ 2012. I've reached out to FAC for insight.

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It was fairly common back then. I think it had something to do with only have the one side to cast the ROTJ tour suit. The longer side should be on the outside of your leg.

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Well, I think I have the shin issue fixed...or at least minimized. Instead of cutting I figured I should try harder to get the back the aligned. So I taped it up and went at the whole thing with the heat gun hoping to set it. It seemed to work although now I have a slight twist to the seam. I'm going forward with it and hopefully it wont be too noticeable once closed up with the cover strip.

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When I built my TK, the shins gave me a giant headache.  At least it doesnt look like you will need to add shims to your kidney plate :D 

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Felt like a big step, but I finally got to test fit the torso. Went OK, but it revealed some issues. Ignore the black fastex belt...it's what I plan to use for the thigh garter, but is standing in for a proper belt I just don't have yet. Also, the shins are only sitting there and are open in the back. This was to test the fit of the torso and shoulder bells, but my daughter wanted me to put on everything I could.

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- Despite careful measuring, I think several of my straps need re-made to different lengths. Especially between the kidney/tail piece. When I connected the tail to the cod, it pulled the top of the tail out away from the kidney. I really don't care for elastic being somewhat unpredictable, but I fear nylon webbing would be so rigid it would pop snaps like crazy. I was already having issues with the chest/ab straps popping. I know on one side the ab panel is actually pushing up on the snap and popping it, so I have already moved the snap plate up hoping it will solve that.

- Tail piece needs massaged narrower. The belt really pulled in the kidney/abs so now the tail sticks out on the sides.

- My shoulder bell straps are just clamped in place to find the correct position. Not sure what to think. They are basically touching the shoulder straps at the top, but would create big gaps if I drop them down? However, I have no idea how a backpack strap will fit in there??

- The biceps are only attached via the shoulder bell elastic/hook method, but they were tending to creep up and around. I am considering an internal strap as well to keep them better managed. Opinions?

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Test fitting the lower half and finished the strapping on the shoulder bells and biceps. Still on the fence about connecting the bicep and forearm, but need something to aid keeping them in place. Wondered if it might help keep my shoulderbells from rotating backwards too?

Fairly happy with the gaps and overall fit. Unless something is glaring, I will cut and finish assemble the thighs and strapping.

Would like some input on the sniper plate. I have looked at every SWAT submission 5 times deep and cannot for the life of me get a good feel for where exactly to position the height. It's really elusive depending on the viewing angle. Right now it's taped with the outer points lined up with the width of the shin from straight on. It doesnt interfere with the thigh which is nice, but is it too low??

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Took another big step and finally got up the nerve to cut out the helmet. I was so freaked to mess it up. Scoring and snapping the other parts feels much more controlled, but a dremel to ABS?! It's like trying to cut a straight line with a red hot scalpel in warm butter.

But, it did raise a question of dentistry...6 or 8 teeth?? I'm leaning towards cutting out the extra holes for a couple reasons. First, I like it. The other has to do with the actual helmet. I think because the ABS used is thicker, that the detail is not quite as sharp. You can JUST barely see an indent for that last set of holes. I penciled in where they would be. I think on a sharper detailed bucket, even if you leave the last hole solid, that the shadows still create the illusion of the hole. On this one, I think it would totally disappear. So my thinking is to go ahead and cut it out. I THINK that ANH TD's were seen with both. At this point I'm not emulating a specific TD, but if I were down the road, then this might hinder higher PO approval yea?  BTW, I will have and orange pauldron, but I prefer a lower/straight brow bucket and from my research none of the screen captains were low? 

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If the brow isn't too low that shouldn't hinder your PO approval, same goes for the number of teeth, both, six or eight are perfectly fine, this only is of interest if you decide to go for SWAT and want to emulate a specific trooper. 

Everything else is looking good, the position of the sniperplate too, only exception is the gap between the biceps and the forearms, too much black visible, try to shorten your strapping a little bit. Maybe you can pull the biceps down a tiny bit. It would also be better if the gap between the shoulder bells and the chest was smaller. 

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2 hours ago, Hausi said:

If the brow isn't too low that shouldn't hinder your PO approval, same goes for the number of teeth, both, six or eight are perfectly fine, this only is of interest if you decide to go for SWAT and want to emulate a specific trooper. 

Everything else is looking good, the position of the sniperplate too, only exception is the gap between the biceps and the forearms, too much black visible, try to shorten your strapping a little bit. Maybe you can pull the biceps down a tiny bit. It would also be better if the gap between the shoulder bells and the chest was smaller. 

Thank you for this feedback. Yea, I don't want the brow super low, more just level. Maybe @ 1/4" below the trim showing. I think I'll go ahead and cut the additional teeth too.

As for the bicep/forearm gap, I didnt have any strapping in place for them yet in the above pic. The forearms are just sitting on my thumbs. I wasnt sure on using straps to the biceps or going the foam route. I decided to go with straps that are currently waiting for glue to cure. Should be able to try em on again tomorrow. I'm hoping the way I placed them will help pull the shoulder bells forward just a bit.

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I'm enjoying following this Brad, keep up the good work. You're making great progress.

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Hi there, well they already have told you everything Bro; so nothing to add.

You are doing an amazing work, keep doing it! :)
Vader would have said: Impressive, most impressive!

Good Luck!!

Inviato dal mio SM-G935F utilizzando Tapatalk

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@DarthStevius and @sand_dorn Thanks! Had to step away from it for a couple days. I got working on the ears and frustration rose pretty solid. First one went really well and easy, second not so much. I had to re-drill a couple holes in the bucket that I didnt want to. Still not crazy about the fit, but it's together. Got the lenses installed nice and clean though!

Decided to work on making a neck seal and focus on some of the other stuff a bit. I think I'm going to remake my shoulder straps. Something is funky with the front/back/shoulder bell recipe. The elastic strap to the bell is pulling the shoulder elastic which makes it all droopy. The bells just wont stay aligned. I thinking of making new shoulder straps with the same visually correct elastic, but gluing some nylon webbing under it. Maybe replace the elastic to the should bell with nylon too?

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The straps connecting the chest to back sag and kinda bunch up. That's natural. It's also a reason why TKs have ABS straps on top to cover them up. What you can do to minimize the effect is to double up the elastic. By doing 2 pieces or do a fold and sew it together.

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On 5/18/2018 at 6:45 AM, Airborne Trooper said:

The straps connecting the chest to back sag and kinda bunch up. That's natural. It's also a reason why TKs have ABS straps on top to cover them up. What you can do to minimize the effect is to double up the elastic. By doing 2 pieces or do a fold and sew it together.

Thanks @Airborne Trooper - I had some leftover elastic so I took your advice and just added it to the back of the existing straps. Made them MUCH more stable. Also made new shoulderbell straps in nylon. Even without the extra elastic, that helped quite a bit.

Got back into the helmet. Walked downstairs to my work area and forgot I left the table light on...this kinda stopped me in my tracks. I'll never tire of this.

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Got the ears as close as I'm able. Butchered a hardhat and got my insert ready. Then dismantled it to get some color on it.

First and second coats of grey done.  Really cool how these start to come to life with the details. Freehanding the paint was a nice zen step in this process. Gonna have to lay off the coffee when I get to the coach lines. Thought about using the tube stripe decals to trace as a "stencil" , but I think I'm just going to freehand those too.

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