When we last left off a couple of weeks ago, we were finishing up the legs, and it’s proving to be a bit more complicated than originally anticipated.

The first problem was rectifying the screen-accuracy with something that’s practical to wear and regularly use. I’m not the same size or build as the actors who who originally wore the armor, and as a result, some changes need to be made.

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Last week, I joined the fronts of the thighs and shins with 20mm cover strips - that’s the width on the originals: so far, so good. When it came time to do the same with the backs, I ran into a problem: my legs are bigger. Where the originals had about a 20mm strip on the back, that’s not something that’s going to work for either part.

Moreover, both legs are a mirror image of the other: one leg won’t go on another. So, before I did any more work on them, there’s a simple thing you can do to make sure you don’t assemble them incorrectly: mark off which leg is which:

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With that done, I had to measure out what would actually work for my legs. The fronts are more important: most people are going to be facing you. I went back and forth with a couple of legion members about this, and basically came down to the following:

  • If needed, the rear cover strips can be wider, but they should be consistent.
  • The backs of the thighs should be glued together.

The shins are the tightest on me, so that’s what will be dictating what we need for a width. Trying it on and measuring it out, I came up with 40mm - between four strips, that’ll use up the rest of my spare ABS.

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For my purposes, I’m going to forgo gluing the thighs completely together: it’ll be harder to get in and out of, and it won’t be comfortable. So, one side will be glued, and the other will have a strip of Velcro affixed to it. The underside of the cover strip will also have the Velcro glued on.

While waiting for those to dry, it’s time to turn over to the shins.

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Regarding the footwear: in my defense, they’re easy to slip on and off, and they’re much more comfortable than my regular shoes when standing for long periods of time on a hard, concrete surface. Plus, shards of plastic hurt when you step on them.

Moving on.

Like the thighs, they’re specific to each leg, and they won’t work on the wrong one. Because each leg is unique, there’s certain parts that need to go on the right place. Stormtroopers have two unique parts for the knees: an ammo belt and what’s called a Sniper plate. The sniper plate (I have no idea why it’s called that) goes on the left shin. The ammo belt goes on the right thigh.

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See on the shins where I’ve left the cover strip intact, even though it overlaps? There’s a reason for that: it’ll allow me to secure the Sniper plate onto the proper leg. Some people rivet them at the ends of the wings, but I’ve found that they can flap around a bit, and I don’t want that. Instead, I’m going to glue the part directly to it.

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With some glue, and a clamp, it gets affixed to the proper leg.

On the right thigh, it’s time for the ammo belt. This curves around the bottom of the piece, and I can just use glue to hold it in place at regular intervals.

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While that part is drying, it’s time to look back at the cover strips on the thighs. To join the backs, I bought a roll of Industrial Strength Velcro, which sticks nicely to ABS. This stuff will work nicely while in the field, and it shouldn’t come apart unexpectedly.

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The loop side goes on the inside, where it won’t stick to my underarmor, and I’m using a full-width strip that’ll cover the entire cover strip and part of the armor’s interior. It should provide a little stability to that seam.

On the other side, I’ve cut a strip of the Velcro’s hook side in half, and affixed that to the plastic.

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And the results: half successful, and I’ve discovered / remembered one thing: human bodies aren’t always consistent: one of my thighs is a bit wider than the other. The end result is that one thigh fits well. The other, not so much. I’ll have to shim the seam with another piece of plastic.

Additionally, I need a heat gun, which I don’t have on hand. Because of the way the plastic is shaped, the seam isn’t quite flush, and they need to be curved in a bit.

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In the meantime, I can go back to the shins. Taking the last two cover strips, I’ll assemble them together in the same way: glue on one side, Velcro on the other. Once cured, I’ll get Velcro on there, and then figure out how they fit: the little edges and corners will be cut and smoothed down a bit more, and they’ll be fully functional.


Past Installments

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