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 Sea_Marshall WIP: Deathwatch Mandalorian (Live Action)

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  • Maybe I can help you. I am Boba Fett.
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Hi folks,

It's time I collected my thoughts and process on my live action Deathwatch build. This one took a while to find and collect all of the pieces. There were makers locally and abroad, but no where could I find most of the items at one point in time. Each item was sourced as they were made available and unless you were on the first production runs on a lot of the items, securing them became more and more difficult. For simplicity sake, I'll list off a few things that I can readily share with folks to get you started before I get into my work in progress images. Disclaimer: These are my own research notes and may or may not be something that you will pursue yourself, but will at least point you in the direction.

Flight suit, neck seal, vest:
Paint: Boogie Viola --
Paint: Shock Blue Middle --
Paint: Hydra Blue --

Not mentioned in these links are leather items or blasters -- I've enlisted Draft808 (Mitchell Hughes) of the Wolves of Mandalore MMCC for a set of leather accessories and my blasters are both from an online vendor, Hellhounds, on Instagram. The ammo cartridge for the boots are referenced from JJ industries small cartridges:

I think thats about it from head to toe. Enjoy your build and on to my build notes.

I'll start with paint, because this took me forever to acquire. It was through the graciousness of other Deathwatch members who provided spare cans of paint for my use. I could not find the paint in stock online, in stores, and even tried to order out of the US, but could not get it shipped. Eventually I was tipped off to Rise Up Art Co. and was able to find them as an additional supply line.

In addition to these colors, I used a Rustoleum Flat White and a Rustoleum Matte Clear Coat, found at your local hardware store.

I was fortunate to get a set of resin/fiberglass armor pieces at some point in the year and it lived in a box for a really long time. 3D printing the armor from the link above would be the same set of gear, but the upside to 3D printing is scaling the armor to your size. I've found that gauntlets, shoulders, and chest plates often need to be resized to fit the wearer. Fortunately this armor set seemed to work out.

Good ol' reliable dremel work to trim back the excess casting materials, followed by a 220 grit sanding, and filler primer coat was step one.

The helmet was acquired from Hellhounds, but could have been 3D printed as well. I went with a cast because it was the same mold used for the series. I figured that was a win, so I went with that. The benefit to the cast items is speed of preparation and sturdiness. If I had printed these items, I'd have fiberglassed the backs and interiors to bolster the strength of the prints. The downside to cast items is the cost. So... choose your path, both are viable approaches. One is more expensive than the other, but the time for preparation is required for the other. It literally is a decision of time or money.

Visor was cut out and surface was washed and sanded to 220, rinsed, then filler coated. (Jetpack cones happened to be in this work session)

All of the armor, once sanded to 220 and primed, was then sanded to 400, then wet sanded to 800. The wet sanding step isn't necessary, but it'll give you a cleaner surface finish. With the professional paints listed above, you should know that they're not thick coats. You want a primer layer and thin coats of the color on top. Because of the thin coats, you'll see more surface imperfections. The x2 Rustoleum Primer and Paints are way thicker and can cover up 400 sand marks, but 800 wet works really well with the thin coats of the professional paints.

Next up was Shock Blue Middle as the base color for all of the armor. This was awesome. One color across the whole set. No masking for damage and only light masking for the helmet. (at the time of this writing, I'm still working on the jetpack, which is also dominantly blue). I did two coats on the set of gear.

Following the base paint up, I pulled out the Deathwatch Stencils I ordered from Etsy. These were likely made on a Cricut machine and scaled to size. They were easily applied with the adhesive backing it came with and then I masked off the rest of the armor to prevent over spray. I could have airbrushed the stencils, but just went with a rattle can I had on hand. I ordered the three stripe set from the Etsy maker because I was undecided on what rank to go with. They were all the same price, so I just trimmed off the parts I didn't need.

The diamond on the chest is charcoal gray, so I spritzed that on real quick, masked the area, then tackled the white.

The helmet is a pretty basic mask job with painters tape. A tip though: cut thin strips of painters tape. The thinner the strip, the easier it is to take corners when you mask. Thick strips will kink when you try to mask and leave hard angles if you don't mask properly. The thin strip takes the corners, then use the larger strips for maximum coverage. You'll see there is a thin strip of purple on the cheeks -- this will help cover up any bad lines on the cheek curves and can be masked so when you do the visor, you get the cheeks at the same time.

All said and done, here's masking completed in the base colors. Not pictured here is the gauntlet. There is a white stencil on the right gauntlet. I did that with masking tape and was pretty easy to replicate. The knees have U shapes and that too was measured and masked. I suppose you could hand paint that on, but I just went with a mask.

I didn't get much in progress shots of the armor getting washed but the process for one item is basically the same for all with the exception of the helmet. The helmet is large and the working time of the wash is a small window before it really stains the color so I did that in two parts: the dome and front followed by the back.

It was recommended that I use an oil and mineral spirit "gunk wash". This is an amount of oil paint thinned by white mineral spirits to create a watery 'wash' that was applied using a cheap chip brush. Once the wash is applied, I waited about 15 seconds before I used a dry terry cloth to remove 99% of the wash, leaving some of the mixture in the grooves of the armor. The more you rub or buff the washed area, the more you can restore the natural color. Also, a damp terry cloth will help remove even more of the wash if you feel you've gone too far.  If you want to use acrylic paints, you can, and thin it with water instead. You can buy tubes of artists paints online or some art supply stores.

Here's a before and after of the wash on the helmet. It did a nice job subduing the brighter colors of the stock paints.

Lastly on the topic of paints and colors, here are two side by sides of standard lighting vs filters/color grading of the image to match what was on screen. (disregard the leg armor, it needs to be better secured and was just tossed on for the test fit. More on that later) This was a first test fitting. Definitely need to make some adjustments.

On to the flight suit. This, like any of the on-screen flight suits, was difficult to acquire. It's not the same as Din Djarin's so availability of this item was custom built for a long while, however, Imperial Boots (linked above) made a set that is readily available. It's pretty good. The fabric is heavy and thick. I had to modify the vest to tighten it up and may have to adjust the length to properly align with the chest armor. I'd have preferred the vest and legs not come with velcro attached because the vest is a leather type material and removing the velcro leaves holes where the stitching had been previously. All of it is hidden when armored up, but still... I'd have liked to have done it myself for placement. The velcro that IS there is not adequate to support the armor by itself and more needs to be added anyway. (just a small gripe I have of the set, but it's minor)

I decided to lightly weather the flight suit to align with the light wash I have on the armor. It was applied with acrylic paint via airbrush and lightly shaded throughout the flight suit, neck and vest.

In regard to mounting, I've used a tried and true locking pin back method for armor securing. You'll see 5 pins on the top of the chest armor, velcro strips at center (for taking weight off the pins, and I've attached the ab plate with a nylon strap so it's got some flexibility if necessary. The nylon strip is just velcroed to the pieces.

The shoulders have a 1-inch nylon strip that I sewed velcro tabs to, and then that's velcroed to the inside of the shoulder, a little futher into the bell, not at the top. The reason for this is (if you take a look at the vest shoulders) there is a double loop buckle. This strap loops through the buckle and velcros to itself. Cinching the strap will raise or lower the shoulder bell to the appropriate height and is easy to mount or remove from the vest.

Here's a look at the armor mounted to a dress form for reference.

That was a lot for a first post, but from here I'll update the rest of the build including the knees, gauntlets, gloves, boots, blasters, leather, and jetpack. From the time I received my first item to now, it's been about a year of acquiring parts but hopefully, if you want to build this costume yourself, the links above will get you started on your build.

More to come.


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