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 vluvski lady mando WIP, pic heavy! (first-timer)

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vluvski lady mando WIP, pic heavy! (first-timer)
« on: Sep 19, 2015, 11:01 PM »
Updated 10/12:
Well, I haven't shown any progress in awhile because I started working on my helmet, which has been slow going, and then I took a week off to get ready for a Halloween party at my house.  But, next weekend, my sister has a gender reveal themed "Luke or Leia," so it's full speed ahead to have something wearable (not approvable, but wearable) by that date.  Over the weekend, here's how far I got:
1. Body armor sanded and shaped
2. Target Boba Fett purchased for simple paint job (faster than cranking out my scratch helmet)
3. Flak vest purchased
4. Knees, cod, and basic gaunts sanded and shaped

To do this week:
1. Breast plates need final round of sanding over bondo'ed seams
2. Right breast and ab need sanding and shaping where the gap ended up too wide
3. Paint all body armor- metallic base coat only
4. Apply velcro
5. Smooth out bondo on BF helmet
6. Apply first level of basic embellishment to gaunts

To do later:
1. Make new pauldrons (decided I want to match the knees rather than the original ones I made)
2. Helmet, helmet, helmet.  Ugh, helmet.
3. Flight suit
4. Paint job with damage
5. Expand armor set to include parts for medium (right now, only cut for light)

And to fulfill my promise of pic heavy:
IMG]http://i359.photobucket.com/albums/oo35/vluvski/IMAG1006_zpsyqyezomh.jpg[/IMG]IMG]http://i359.photobucket.com/albums/oo35/vluvski/IMAG1020_zpspcnpc87p.jpg[/IMG]

Original Post:
A couple weeks ago, I went to a con, and saw a super cool Mando wandering around.  We ran into eachother on facebook a few days later, and when she said she built her own armor, I knew I had to be a copycat and make some for myself, too.

In two weeks time, I have gone from never having heard of Sintra or PVC foam or the Mandalorian Mercs, to having a molded set of chest and shoulder plates.

My primary raw material is black 3mm PVC foam (Celtec) which I acquired from Amazon at a ridiculously reasonably price.  I have a heat gun, reamer, straight and curved lexan scissors, and standard shears.

I also bought a set of aluminum hemisphere pans to use as molds for the cups.  Initially I tried to heat up the whole sheet and sandwich the sheet of celtec between two, but I found that I could work faster and with more precision focusing on one area at a time.  I can hit one spot with the heat gun (once it is warmed up) on HIGH for 10 seconds, and it is just barely cool enough not to burn myself without gloves, but flexible enough to mold.  I've been using the 4" hemisphere on the bottom, and rolling the back of a kitchen ladle on the top to mold about 2 square inches at a time or less.  This technique was especially effective for ironing our the peaks around my darts; there just isn't enough give to the board to stretch it for a good fit without the darts, for me anyway.

The following pictures reflect one short morning and one long afternoon of work the following day:
First deformation:

First cup formed (lots of gaps because it didn't form evenly and resulted in too little material at the center of the chest:

First cup right; second cup left, and a kids' vader chest plate because the second cup was really frustrating me.  Ultimately the darts spread out worked better once I came up with the ladle against the aluminum hemisphere pan technique to roll out the pointiness:

I had to puzzle in some scrap to make up for the gaps at the center of the first cup:

Originally I planned to use the traditional chest diamond, but I kind of liked the shield-shaped outline created by the 2nd cup.  Initially I was going to make it flush across the top of the chest plates with a separate collar, but when I drew it out, I didn't like how squared off it looked.  I came up with this instead. 

It also shows how I used the scrap pieces cut from the collar to build the shoulder armor:

I had to do a lot of trimming and test fitting to get it all lined up correctly:

And my stopping point completing the basic formation for the chest and shoulder armor:


This represents about 9 hours of interrupted work over two days, also including the simple vader shoulder plate and a toy car for my kids, in exchange for them not interrupting me constantly.

Jury is still out on glue.  I had some "plastic model cement" on hand that worked alright just to get things secured, but it gets pretty flexible when heated.  I then tried superglue (ethyl cyanoacrylate), which took longer than expected to set (20+ minutes), and released nasty, eye-watering fumes when re-heated.  My friend L suggested hot glue and bondo: would love to hear more feedback.  Hot glue seems like a good way to set something temporarily, but I don't see it sanding well for a nice finish.

Thanks for reading!

Kai Ree'tat


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Re: vluvski lady mando WIP, pic heavy! (first-timer)
« Reply #1 on: Sep 19, 2015, 11:30 PM »
Hot glue in our Texas heat doesn't hold up well, I use loctite super glue in the gel form for my stuff, and the bondo will help hide the imperfections if its done in small smooth amounts ( I learned the hard way and globed it on).

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Re: vluvski lady mando WIP, pic heavy! (first-timer)
« Reply #2 on: Sep 20, 2015, 07:38 AM »
I have a few questions, and I'm sure more in the future.

1. Is the piece I've cut acceptable as a collar, or do I need another piece/pair that fits closer around the neck?
2. One big concern I have about the helmet is that I don't tolerate very well having my peripheral vision obstructed. 
  a. How far can I open up the visor area before it becomes unacceptable?  Example from another thread:
  http://mandalorianmercs.org/forum/index.php?topic=69237.0:
 
  b. Could I use the same form as I have on the center chest for the opening (in the spirit of carrying the non-standard chest shape theme throughout my build)?
 

Kai Ree'tat


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Re: vluvski lady mando WIP, pic heavy! (first-timer)
« Reply #3 on: Sep 20, 2015, 10:07 AM »
That helmet design is more Legacy era with the wider visor shape, I had a need for my visor to be more open, but discovered I can see pretty good through mine.

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Khi'one


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Re: vluvski lady mando WIP, pic heavy! (first-timer)
« Reply #4 on: Sep 20, 2015, 10:41 AM »
Yay for being an inspiring mando! Makes me blush.

As far as the glue goes, I use a home repair hot glue on the inside of the plate to form the initial bond. It can tolerate a much higher heat than that of a regular hot glue stick. I'll typically then go over that with a layer of superglue, such as loclite that Kyra suggested. I try to avoid filling the entire seam with glue. This way when I boat the seam with bondo, it will fill in the gap nicely and allow for a smooth sanding.

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Khi'one Jaro

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Tek Sa'an


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Re: vluvski lady mando WIP, pic heavy! (first-timer)
« Reply #5 on: Sep 20, 2015, 11:52 AM »
Gorilla Glue is also great. Just read the directions on the bottle. And You're off to a great start. You'll have a lot of fun doing this stuff. And welcome!

Oh, and you can see fine through the visor. If you get a chance in the future, ask to put one of our helmets on if that ever comes up.

« Last Edit: Sep 20, 2015, 11:56 AM by Tek Sa'an » Logged

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Re: vluvski lady mando WIP, pic heavy! (first-timer)
« Reply #6 on: Sep 20, 2015, 03:09 PM »
welcme

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Re: vluvski lady mando WIP, pic heavy! (first-timer)
« Reply #7 on: Sep 20, 2015, 06:05 PM »
Thanks, all, for the feedback and warm welcome!  Enjoying this group already.

Here is my overall concept, since I decided to stop ignoring the good suggestion to draw it all out.


My concern right now is the shaping of my sub-collar, for lack of a better name.  I think on my body it sits low enough that it won't poke my neck, but I know how things tend to shift.  Even bigger concern is that if I am matching the shape of the ab plate to it up-side-down, it WILL hit soft tissue and be a huge problem stabbing my abdomen whenever I sit.  So, I came up with the alternative inverted chevron on the lower left.

What do you think?

Havelock


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Re: vluvski lady mando WIP, pic heavy! (first-timer)
« Reply #8 on: Sep 20, 2015, 08:58 PM »
First, I think you're doing some great work.  Second, I like the sub-collar, and if you attach it securely enough, poking your neck shouldn't be an issue.  Thirdly, I think the alternate ab plate idea looks awesome, and would probably work out better over all.

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Re: vluvski lady mando WIP, pic heavy! (first-timer)
« Reply #9 on: Sep 21, 2015, 10:38 AM »
Thanks, all, for the feedback and warm welcome!  Enjoying this group already.

Here is my overall concept, since I decided to stop ignoring the good suggestion to draw it all out.


My concern right now is the shaping of my sub-collar, for lack of a better name.  I think on my body it sits low enough that it won't poke my neck, but I know how things tend to shift.  Even bigger concern is that if I am matching the shape of the ab plate to it up-side-down, it WILL hit soft tissue and be a huge problem stabbing my abdomen whenever I sit.  So, I came up with the alternative inverted chevron on the lower left.

What do you think?

Love the alternate ab plate over the first one personally. I like that it has the chevron design there. Subtle and reads well.

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Khi'one Jaro

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Re: vluvski lady mando WIP, pic heavy! (first-timer)
« Reply #10 on: Sep 21, 2015, 10:54 AM »
Flows nicely with the set.. Wait.. We have to sit?! Man.. Back to the drawing board

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Khi'one


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Re: vluvski lady mando WIP, pic heavy! (first-timer)
« Reply #11 on: Sep 21, 2015, 11:12 AM »
Flows nicely with the set.. Wait.. We have to sit?! Man.. Back to the drawing board

Sitting is a skill you and throw in the face of those in their Tk armour :P

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Re: vluvski lady mando WIP, pic heavy! (first-timer)
« Reply #12 on: Sep 21, 2015, 12:14 PM »
Good work on the breast plates, I use fibreglass and resin on the inside and then fine amounts of bondo on the outside to deal with smoothing out darts.

Interesting concept with the collar. Not too much of a fan of the top section myself as you've lost the rather iconic diamond shape. I'd trim the sideways bits off and have a diamond shape and then the two sections of collar around that. Or possibly add a diamond onto the central collar section or cut it out and put a plate behind so it looks more embossed. Or possibly even just have the diamond in a different colour paint in that section. Just something so that the diamond is still there as its one of the things which really says Mandalorian.

Helmet wise, legacy is definitely all good. For the up cut, what I'd do is when you get/make a helmet, draw out in pen/paint/tape where you want the visor and then use the app team q and a board to get a definitive answer on how much you can take out in the upwards section.

And yeah, sitting is wonderful. Especially when all the TKs just look rather mournfully at you as you're sprawled out on a deckchair and they are stuck upright ;)


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Re: vluvski lady mando WIP, pic heavy! (first-timer)
« Reply #13 on: Sep 21, 2015, 01:16 PM »
I think it's cool, and you can always engrave the chest diamond in there if you go that route. Also, if you're worried about being poked by the edges, you'll have a flak vest on (right?), so the padding should help tremendously.

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Re: vluvski lady mando WIP, pic heavy! (first-timer)
« Reply #14 on: Sep 22, 2015, 09:19 AM »
Wow, thanks for all the interest!

I've been making some good progress.
On Sunday before church, I basically finished my bikini cod (it's pretty amusing that photobucket seems to think I may want a photo canvas print of this shot):

I have tons more pictures of the whole process to make a tutorial when I have time.

And my work for Sunday and Monday nights, progress toward a dome for my helmet.  I got some feedback from a pro set maker that it looked like I may have been getting my plastic too hot.  I worked for about an hour Sunday night and only got this far.  The 30 represents about 30 iterations of heat/press:

Once I got it this far, it seemed like I couldn't press it into the mold any further without buckling, so I called it quits.  After talking with him a little more about what I was doing, I realized he had mistaken my darts and glue for cracking, and I actually was not getting the plastic hot enough.  No wonder Sunday night was so SLOW!  Once again, I took tons of progress pictures in hopes someone else my find them helpful, but since it turns out I wasn't doing it right, will probably just toss 'em.

Things moved a LOT faster when I started using the smooth gloves (pro's advice) and stretching the plastic around the hemisphere by hand.  I don't like working with gloves because I can never find them small enough not to have baggy fingertips in my way, but I have to admit that getting the plastic hotter than can be handled by hand was key in improving the elasticity and moldability.  The hand stretching was very effective!

It got to the point where the flat plane of the table was getting in the way of space to pull the plastic down and around the hemisphere.  I felt like I needed a full sphere on a post to work around!  So, I pulled an old wooden candlestick stand out of the attic as a post.  Didn't even bother dusting the cobwebs off, haha!

I did have a little problem with the mold rotating underneath as I worked the plastic to the point where I was molding against the rolled edge of the pan.  You can still see the ridge in my stopping point pic at the bottom, which I haven't tried yet to smooth out.  I don't think it's going to be a problem, and realized that technique will come in handy for the crest on the dome at a later time.
Based on feedback that it IS possible to form a seam-less, dart-less breastplate, I was really trying to avoid slitting any seams.  In hindsight, at my skill level, strength, and patience, I probably should have embraced one seam rather than end up with several small ones, which I will strategically place behind the ear pieces and in the back peak/crest.  That'll be my goal for tomorrow night.  I think I did make a lot of progress in an hour's time, though.  Here's where I left off:


As for the subcollar, I might still cut out the diamond or add a raised diamond to keep with the traditional look.  I do want to keep the subcollar in some way.  I agree with everyone that I prefer the alternate ab plate over the initial design.  Anatomically, the first just won't work unless I'm trying to remove my own appendix when I sit.

Thanks again for looking!



 


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