This last week, I’ve been working on one of the under-appreciated and more annoying components of Stormtrooper armor: the belt. This component is responsible for some of the headaches associated with Trooping, so we’re going to do it right.

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The belt does a couple of things: it’s functional component of the armor, because it holds together the mid-section, and it also serves as a point where you can hang your holster and blaster. Because it has several things hanging off of it, it needs to remain in place, not fall off.

(This has happened to me in the past, with embarrassing results. Nobody wants their butt to fall off mid-troop.)

Here’s the 501st Legion Costume Reference Library requirements for a belt:

Belt

For 501st approval:

  • Belt face is made of plastic (TK ammo belt).
  • The soft belt proper is made of canvas, or material with a canvas covering. Size is 2.75” (70 mm) to 3.25”(83 mm) wide and not wider than the plastic portion of the belt. The color is be white to off-white.
  • The drop boxes dangle from the sides of the front plastic belt (ammo belt) via white straps and are aligned under the plastic tabs of the ammo belt.

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For level two certification (if applicable):

  • There shall be three square buttons, one centered in the middle and one on each end of the plastic ammo belt.

For level three certification (if applicable):

  • Drop boxes have full inner drop boxes to close the back.
  • Not flat covers.
  • Drop boxes are vertically aligned with the end of the ammo belt with minimal gap between belt and box.
  • The corners of the of the plastic ammo belt shall be trimmed at a 45 degree angle.

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So, let’s start with the belt.

The belt comes in a couple of components: a molded plastic front, and a canvas belt. Older stormtrooper kits came with extra bits of plastic which were used for the belt, but nowadays, you can’t do that.

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After the part is cut and trimmed, I drilled two holes on each side: this is where I connected the belt to the canvas.

I made my own belt a couple of years ago, but this time around, I splurged and picked up one that someone made as part of a parts run. This one’s nice: it’s well crafted, and has a plastic core, which gives it a bit more strength. Two small bolts and they’re together.

Next up are the drop boxes. These small boxes hang off the belt, and in the past, they’re the sorts of things that you are always afraid that you’ll lose. We’re going to connect them securely.

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When I got my kit, it came with four boxes, and it wasn’t until I looked at the CRL that I realized that the accurate boxes were closed: one inside of the other.

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The CRL states that these need to be connected with white elastic. I cut off a couple of short pieces, and set about gluing them in. For this, I’m using hot glue, because it’ll set quickly, and because these aren’t load bearing, I’m not too worried about them going anywhere.

With the straps in place, I glued in the interior boxes:

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Next, I set about attaching them to the belt. I’ve already taken the belt out on one troop - it held up nicely, but there was something that worried me a little: the bolts on the interior side. They’re exposed, and can potentially scratch up the armor. These straps prove to be a solution to that particular problem: I can just attach them so that they cover the bolts.

I’m again using hot glue again: it applies easily, and it should hold the boxes securely in place. Now, the belt is complete!

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There’s another accessory that needs to be assembled: the trooper’s thermal detonator. This is another thing that I’ve always been terrified of losing, simply because I’ve never had a good way to attach it in the past: earlier, I just used Velcro, but that wasn’t entirely secure.

Here’s the requirements:

Thermal Detonator

For 501st approval:

  • (A.K.A. O2 canister) attaches to the center back of the belt.
  • Detonator consists of an all grey cylinder, without silver stickers or silver paint.
  • The cylinder is between 2” (50mm) and 2.68”(68mm) in diameter with white end caps on each end.
  • The white control panel pad faces upwards, with the controls/round washer style detail closest to the right end cap.
  • The total length is approximately 7.50” (190.5mm).
  • The thermal detonator is attached via metal or metallic-appearing clips, approximately 1” (25mm) wide.

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For level two certification (if applicable):

  • Thermal detonator belt clips are positioned with little to no gap between the clips and the end caps.

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The detonator comes with a bunch of parts: a pipe, end cap and cover piece. With my kit came a couple of holders: they would be more than enough to keep the part secure on the belt. Step one: drill some holes.

This was easy: I just had to make sure that the parts were straight, then marked off where the holes should be drilled. With a couple of screws, I secured each holder.

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Next, I took a little glue and applied it to the inside of the end caps, and stuck them on. It was a tight fit: they’re not going anywhere, glue or not. Next, on goes the cover plate.

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There’s one final thing that goes on the belt: a holster.

Holster

For 501st approval:

  • Holster is worn on right side of belt. Holster will be made of completely black leather or leather-like material and be worn on the right and affixed via two black loops over the belt (no fasteners).

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This was another part that I opted to just buy rather than make. There’s some excellent leather smiths out there, and this one is great: far better than the vinyl one that I’ve used for years.

There’s no good way to take a selfie of your mid-section, so you’ll have to take my word for it that this all fits together nicely, and I’ve got literally no qualms about trooping with it. Nothing is going to fall off, which is a huge load off my mind.

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Last week, I also neglected to take a final picture of my blaster. Here you go:

It could probably use another coat of glossy paint, but that’s one of those regular maintenance things.

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