Armor Creation Day
Armor Trimming/Gluing Day
First Paint Application of TE Fiberglass Stunt Helmet
Second Paint Application of TE Fiberglass Stunt Helmet
Completed TE Fiberglass Stunt Helmet
Into My Costume....Suit Up
Trooper Expert (TE) Stormtrooper Armor Assembly Journal
Here is a chronicle of how my armor assembly went.
December 28, 2005
This is armor creation day. I spent the day with TE pulling what would later be my armor kit. It took about 8 hours of time to pull each piece of armor off the molds. The process was quite simple, but the trick is knowing how far to let the plastic droop in the oven based on what piece you are doing (thickness). We ended up pulling my suit and one other that was being shipped out. Basically all I did was grab molds, pull off the excess plastic on the frame and help with pushing down on the frame when the shop vacuum was on. I left TE’s place with a full set of armor (untrimmed) and a fully assembled helmet. This was one of the great days of the year for me.
April 17, 2006
Since TE moved down to Portland, I didn’t have the luxury of heading down just an hour (like before) to work on my armor. So I did the 3 ½ hour drive down to Portland from my place to have TE trim and assemble my armor. The whole process took him about 5 hours (I think it would have taken me weeks). I was just in awe of how fast and precise the trimming and assembly was done by TE. The only tool he used in trimming the plastic was an x-acto knife. All pieces were glued (with Jet brand glue and accelerant) and assembled like they would have been in the movie. So this is one of the most accurate suits you can get. After the assembly, I now had everything that I needed done to start painting.
April 18, 2006
Now that I have all my armor assembled, etc, I ventured into the realm of painting it. I decided to start with some of the smaller pieces first. I painted up the handplates, shoulder bells, belt pieces, thermal detonator pieces, belt boxes and the knee plate. I also painted the chest plate, back plate, butt plate and ab plate. What I found out in the process is that I goofed on some of the pieces when painting. I didn’t have adequate lighting in my garage and ended up having some dull spots in the armor. Ok for display, but not for trooping. So I took a break from this until I found out how to fix this.
April 19, 2006
I talked to TE about how to get the paint off. He suggested that I wet sand with 1000 grit sandpaper. Basically nothing too it as far as sandpaper is concerned…almost felt like paper. I spent the next couple of weeks fixing what I had messed up so I could repaint again. This was a painful process. I learned my lesson now it’s time to move on. Rust-oleum is a one-shot paint. Don’t get it right the first time, then you start over.
April 22, 2006
I painted the gray and black areas on the helmet today. It turned out ‘ok’ but I think it could have been better. Talking with TE he said it looked fine, but I am not sure I am happy with it.
April 30, 2006 - May 3, 2006
I took my time this time around to make sure I painted the armor correctly. I spent 4 days painting various pieces of the armor. The last piece I did was the helmet. As you can see from the pictures above, it came out very nice and I am happy with the overall 'sheen' of the paint. It almost looks like a mirror finish now. The helmet came out very nice with an even coat of paint.
May 5, 2006
Took another trip down to Portland to meet up with TE. I took my helmet down and he put on the blue tube stripes. This really brought out the helmet close to completion. I am very happy at how it looks too.
I also stopped by a local hobby store and picked up some blue humbrol paint for the buttons on the ab plate. The color I picked up was #15 Gloss Blue. This color matches the tube stripes. The only thing left to install is the mic tips.
May 12, 2006
I decided based on some feedback, that I should install a fan system if I am going to troop in this armor. So I went down to my local Radio Shack and picked up a few supplies. I grabbed some 9 Volt battery clips (2), split tube wire holder (5 ft), switches (2), 2 9 Volt battery holders and 2 mini-fans. I then got home and soldered the switch and 9 Volt battery clips together. Once that was done, I used a hot glue gun to install the fans and the split tube wiring holder. After I finished with the tubing, I put in the wires and glued the switches and battery holders in place. I now have a working fan system in the helmet.
May 28, 2006
I met up with TE to help him get some stuff from his old place and he brought up the mic tips for me. When I got home later that evening, I decided to put them in. I used a 1/8" drill bit and slowly pushed the drill bit through. The plastic was pretty thin, so I didn't want to risk any cracking. Once I got both holes drilled, I inserted the mic tips and screwed the nut into place. This marks the completion of the helmet. Now I need to drop about 40lbs. to get to an ideal weight to actually wear all the armor. I plan on doing this in about 3-4 months from now. I want to make sure that I keep the weight off for C4 so I can show off the wonderful work of TE. :)
Here are all the supplies used in assembling and painting the armor:
Gloss Protective Enamel (White): Part #7792 (2 Cans)
Supplies for the armor:
This site was last updated 05/12/07
All pictures were taken with my digital
camera or downloaded from the following sites: