Finally, after a couple of months worth of work, it’s time to finally try all of this armor on to see how it all works together.

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First, I’ve made some minor fixes since last week:

I’ve repainted the helmet: the matte black paint I used wasn’t correct, so I’ve used some glossy black that I found. The matte black will serve as a good primer, and I’ve been able to take care of some of the masking issues.

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I’ve reglued a couple of snap plates that had come loose in the shoulder bells - I’d used hot glue thinking that they didn’t need to do much other than to hold on, but as soon as I put them on, they came right off. Back to goop.

I also put a snap in the middle of the abs and one in the belt, to make sure that the belt didn’t slide down. This’ll keep it firmly in place.

Next, I went and trimmed down the belt a bit more. I’d been too conservative with it the first time around, and after some feedback and looking at it again, it needed to slim down a bit more.

Lastly, I redid the strapping between the kidney and abs, making each one a bit shorter: it tightens the two together a bit, and makes it fit better. I think I need to redo the suspenders and tighten them up a bit: I’m toying with the idea of cutting them and adding in a way to make them adjustable, but that’s something that can come later.

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Finally, I didn’t end up cutting the abs plate in half to lengthen it: I found that if I adjusted the straps and put them on correctly, the two things should fit together a bit better. There’s some more minor improvements that need to be done here: the chest and back can probably stand to be adjusted, which means that I’ll need to pop them apart and redo them. That’ll give me a little more space to work with.

After all that’s completed, it’s time to put it on.

Armor needs to go on in a certain order. It’s always fun to see first-time troopers start to put their stuff on: you’re confronted with a bunch of choices. Even so, this new armor is slightly different from my older stuff, so it’ll take some getting used to.

Here’s the order that I use:

  1. Undersuit. Put on headset and neckseal.
  2. Boots.
  3. Shins.
  4. Abs/Butt/Kidney. Attach strapping on sides & shoulders.
  5. Thighs. Attach strapping from abs to thighs.
  6. Belt. Attach holster and detonator.
  7. Chest/Back. Attach straps between chest and abs plate.
  8. Amplifier and plug in headset.
  9. Attach shoulder bells.
  10. Upper Arms
  11. Forearms
  12. Gloves, then handplates.
  13. Helmet.

Here’s the first test fit:

It’s nice to finally put it all on. It’s a bit of a trip from the box of plastic that this started out as.

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That all said, there’s minor improvements to be made, the first of which was a snap plate that popped while I was suiting up. The chest / abs needs to be better resolved, and there’s some other things that I’ll do some work on in the next couple of days before The Force Awakens hits theaters. (Are any Vermont io9 readers going to the Thursday night screenings at Essex Cinemas?)

Now, time to show this to the folks in my garrison: they’ll be able to point out other issues before I submit this for approval.