Well it's been a while since my first blog, so I thought it was time to share that Stormtrooper build with you all that I promised.
This was my dream costume and the one that got me started to even think about putting together a costume in the first place. I found a set of used armor for sale on E-Bay and lucked out. It turned out to be a nice set of Authenticprops (AP) armor, just terribly put together. For the record I would not recommend E-bay for armor, I was very lucky as I knew nothing at the time and could of ended up with junk that would never of been approvable by the 501st Legion, which is what I wanted.
So here is a picture of the armor right out of the box the day it came. Don't be fooled by how it looks in the picture....... it was horrible and I was devastated when I opened the box. The whole thing was put together with velco and was falling apart. The trimming of the parts was terrible and in some parts over-trimmed. The helmet decals were coming off and the blaster needed some attention.
I had never built anything like this or attempted to tackle a project of this nature before and I was terrified I would royally mess it up.
I had to start somewhere and it wasn't going to be the armor.... I decided to repair and repaint the blaster which was a resin cast. For reference, don't use a resin blaster for trooping, its heavy and fragile (I will get to that later) get yourself a Hyperfirm E-11 they are totaly worth it. Anyway I had to rebuild this blaster as parts had broken off I am assuming in transit to me. After some gluing filling, filling, and sanding my blaster was in one piece again. I then spray painted the whole thing black and hand painted some of the details. I then took a googly eye that was the same size at the reticle in the scope. I cut the back from the googly eye leaving just the lense. I printed a reticle and glued it on to the scope then the lense from the googly eye. I was really happy how this all turned out and it was a huge boost to my confidence and got me started on the main armor.
Next I decided to tackle the rebuild of the helmet. By this time I had done a load of research on whitearmor.net and had a good idea what I wanted to achieve for my helmet and my armor. I removed all of the old decals and stripped the helmet down completely. I ordered a few things like new s shape rubber for the opening the new decals, correct paints, a liner and a electronics kit for sound. I prayed the inside black then rebuilt the helmet. After getting it all back together I applied the new decals and repainted the frown and grill. I added the new rubber and it was looking really nice. The finishing touches were installing the mini Hovi speakers which I had to modify, and the fans and sound system. I picked this kit up on line from Skullworks, Im not sure he makes them anymore. I was really happy with how things turned out and again it boosted my confidence more and the armor was next.
I had to get a few more things to make this armor better. I picked up snaps, webbing, elastic, clamps (lots of clamps) Velcro and some tools. I started with the upper body. I pulled all of the armor apart and removed all of the nasty Velcro that was used to hold everything together. I cleaned up everything and started with the torso. I had a lot of work to do with the button plates as they were over trimmed and a mess. I decided to use Chicago screws for the buttons as they are easier to paint and look way better. I made a bunch of snap plates out of webbing and snaps and started strapping the armor to hold it all together. I used elastic for the straps which I added snaps to. Once I had everything positioned it was a matter of gluing the snap plate and waiting for the E6000 to dry. I also re-glued on the shoulder straps. After the glue had dried I could snap it all together with the straps I had made and test-fit it.
On to the Legs,.... and they were a pain in the ass. I redid the thigh pieces at least twice. I just couldn't get them to look right and glue together properly. I finally used wood blocks and clamps to keep everything tight for the glue to set. I had also ordered some TK boots that had showed up by this time. I feel like I am really beginning to make progress by this time! All I had to do to the legs was Rivet on the knee ammo belt and glue on the shin sniper plate.
Next up came the upper arms. These were not too bad to put together, just lots of clamps. Once I have them all glued together I used more snap plates and elastic strapping with snaps to attach the biceps to the shoulder bells and then the shoulder bells to the shoulder elastic strap that holds the breast plate and the back plate together. The forearms were a breeze.
Last pieces were the thermal detonator, belt, and hand guards. The all came together really nicely without any major hiccups. I had ordered a new canvas belt and holster to rebuild the belt set up, so just had to put it all together with some rivets and Chicago screws. I re-glued the thermal detonator back together and added the correct metal hooks I picked up off of whitearmor.net. The hand guards were massively over trimmed and there wasn't much I could do with them apart from clean them up the best I could and add some elastic to they sat flat on the back of my hands. All-in-all I was pleased with how it all came together considering the mess it was in before I started on this project. I had no skills and no previous experience, but boy was I hooked on making stuff now! It took a few months to get everything finished, it was Christmas when I was able to do my first suit up in everything together. I had to tweak a few thing but I was ready to submit to the 501st Legion for approval.
I took a several photos of everything individually and with me wearing the armor. Every conceivable angle was photographed to submit to for approval. I waited, Patiently. And waited some more. Then one morning I woke up to an email from the 501st legion than I had be approved and accepted into the Legion as TK-11972. I was ecstatic and couldn't wait to do my first troop. I learned very quickly on that first troop that I was going to have to make some major modifications to the back of the thighs and shin if I was ever going to walk again in this stuff. I was also approved as an EIB trooper at whitearmor.com
For anyone that want to make this journey I would first recommend contacting your local 501st Legion Garrison and signing up for their forums. Also there is a lot of great info on whitearmor.net I would stay away from E-Bay as there is a lot of junk floating around. Anovos has launched a kit last year and I pick one up myself which I am slowly building to replace this armor which I will retire to a mannequin. This set of Stormtrooper armor and I have done some amazing things from making sick kids smile at a hospital to dancing on stage with Weird Al.
If you have any questions on anything from building your own armor,or joining the 501st Legion please feel free to contact me.