We’ve just about reached the end of this build: the end is in sight! This week, we’re finishing up the body work, and will finally get it all ready for a proper test fit.

It’s almost done! There’s just a bunch of random things that need to be finished up.


Thigh Armor

One of the things that’s stymied me so far is closing up the thighs - I tackled the cover stripes earlier, only to run into another problem: the backs wouldn’t close up, and they came together at an angle.

To solve this problem, I needed a wider cover strip. Because I’d run out of plastic, I had to find something else. While at the hardware store, I found the perfect thing: a heavy-duty plastic no parking sign.


The back of the sign is glossy white, and about the same thickness as the plastic used in the armor. A couple of quick slices with a razor and I’ve got the right parts.


The next step was to make sure that it was curved enough to connect securely to each side of thigh. A bit of heat helped: I held the strip of plastic over a stove top, when when it was malleable enough, I held it against a curved surface to cool down. After several passes, the plastic held its new shape.


After that, I trimmed the plastic and glued it to the back of the thigh. On the armor itself, I applied a strip of industrial strength Velcro. After a test fit, I trimmed it down to connect securely. Once the glue completely sets, I’ll trim down the top edge one last time so that it’s even with the top of the base armor.


I ended up trimming down the greeble on the abs plate - I didn’t trim it down enough the first time. The paint was also slightly off color after it dried, so I ended up picking up the correct shades, which someone on our forum had pointed out to me:

  • Blue = Testors 2715 or Humbrol #14 French Blue
  • Grey = Testors 1138 (yes really) or Humbrol #5 Dark Admiral Blue

These particular paints are glossy, as opposed to the matte that the other paints ended up being. They’re also a bit darker. Check that off the list.

Corners and Edges

There’s still some rough edges here - those are easily taken off with a power sander and some hand sanding - the shears that I used leave tiny grooves that need to go.


While testing out the legs and arms, there’s still some 90° corners, and they’re sharp - they’re not only uncomfortable, but given enough time, they’ll draw blood. I’ve taken the sander to them to round off and trim where it’s most needed, and I’ll adjust as I continue to wear this.


FX Refit

While I’ve been working on that, I’ve gone and done some more work with my older FX suit. This little side project was prompted by a thought: “You know, if I did this, and this, this would be a whole lot better.”


Several hours later, I’m down in my basement working on this. I’ve added on cover strips to the back of the thighs using the same plastic signs as with the MTK: this required two more of those signs, cut in half, which now means no more jury-rigging.

I also finished up the remaining strapping, so the FX suit is officially ready for troopiwhile I finished up some of the strapping. Already, the entire thing looks a whole lot better. It’ll make a good loaner for a friend when The Force Awakens hits.


Next week: Test fit! (I promise)

Andrew Liptak is the former Weekend editor of io9/Gizmodo. He is the co-editor of War Stories: New Military Science Fiction and hails from Vermont.

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