Sunday, May 1, 2016

FemTK - Legacy Era Female Stormtrooper Build #6 - Leg Pieces

Master List of Linked Build Pages:
#1 Getting Started -sorting armor and getting supplies
#2 The Corset and Butt Plate
#3 Torso and Shoulder Pieces
#4 Upper Arm Pieces and Shoulder Bells
#5 Lower Arm Pieces and Hands
#6 Leg Pieces
#7 Belt and Ammo Boxes
#8 Helmet

Now that your corset is assembled, lets move on to the legs.
*in progress - being updated as I assemble them

Materials needed:
Lexan Scissors, curved and straight
Ultra-fine sand paper
Dremel, sanding and cutting wheel attachment
Protective Breathing Mask for sanding
Protective Eye glasses
Metal Ruler (that bends)
Strong Magnets
e6000 glue
CA glue (super glue, but stronger)
CA glue accelertor (helps it dry instantly)
White and black webbing or strapping
Matches or lighter
Blue Painters tape
Update: 1 inch wide black elastic

Upper Legs

1. Trim, straighten, and sand edges
The upper leg pieces should already have been sorted and labeled by you. If not, see previous posts on sorting out your pieces.

Trimming the front pieces is pretty easy. They will overlap the back pieces and only need to be cut straight. They have a score line where to trim them. I trimmed mine there. I then used my dremel to sand them smooth. Fit them to their corresponding back pieces and see who they line up. If they don't match up, sand until they do.

I trimmed the bottom part with a 3/8 inch return edge. The online CRL shows return edges on all the pieces. After I get approved, I will trim them down if needed to make them more comfortable. Sand everything with your dremel and then a once-over with the fine-grit sandpaper. You don't want edges to catch on your underarmor.

Trimming the back pieces was also pretty easy. They should have a 1/2 inch edge that will fit under the front part when glued. Don't trim it off. If you accidentally trim it off, just see how to make a butt joint on the arms tutorial.

Now, these two pieces above are not a match, but you can see the edge on the back piece. I didn't have to trim the sides of my back pieces at all, just the top return edges.

The two pieces above are a match. 

Above, I have taped my legs together, with tape inside and outside. They fit me pretty good so I didn't need to trim them. If they are too long, trimming the bottom may be your best bet. You will have to heat the plastic and re-create the return edge. I have heard a heat gun, and bending it with a pair of pliers works great. If the legs are too big, I would consider leaving them unless you are very petite. If you do trim them, trim the same amount from both sides so the seams match. Measure twice, cut once.

While taping I noticed one part stuck out, and upon closer inspection I saw a score line I had missed. Cut it off in this manner indicated by my orange line and they fit together quite nicely.

As you can see, the back thigh has a wonky edge that goes behind the front for glueing.

This piece above shows how the return edges differ, trim them the same or at least taper the edges together so they match. Again, I chose to trim all mine to be about 3/8 inches.

When getting ready to glue, line up your edges to see how they look. I decided to make my tops line up rather than the bottom edges. (the photo above shows how odd the top of the thigh would look if the bottom were lined up instead)

Don't forget to trim the corner as indicated (in above pictures on the orange marked line). Put your small line of glue on the wonky edge of the back thigh piece and have a helper hold one end while you clamp it.

Update: my magnets left smudges. Cover them with painter tape!

I found that plenty of glue oozed out while clamping. I also used magnets to hold the middle parts together. I would clamp edges, put magnets on middle, then lift each clamp and wipe off any oozed glue. Look inside and make sure magnets are not over a seam or in the glue. You don't want to place magnets or clamps in the glue or they will be glued on as well. You may also want to lift the magnets on the outside and wipe off any glue that oozed after placing them on the seam. The magnets I bought did leave a bit of a smudge. I know you can polish it off using Novus Polish.

Let dry overnight and cure for 24 hours. Then glue the other side. When finished, trim and sand where needed. I messed up and found a small gap on my pieces near the return edge. I plan to simply put a small bead of white caulk on it so hide the mistake :)

Knee Caps

The Knee Caps are attached to the thighs with white webbing. The webbing is glued on the inside of the knee cap, then fitted through holes in the thigh. The webbing hole is covered by the trapezoid shape.

1. Sand Knee Caps
You should already have sorted your armor and labeled them right and left. If not, see earlier post and do so. My knee caps did not need trimming so I just sanded the edges with my dremel and then the fine-grit sandpaper.

2. Cut out and sand trapezoid webbing hole covers
The webbing covers are pretty easy to trim. Just use your lexan scissors and go to town on them.

Take them outside and sand them with your dremel and sanding head. Go over them with the fine-grit sandpaper afterward. Since the cover is going over the webbing one side of the trapezoid will need to be hollowed out.

When placing them I referred often to the CRL, the 501st Costume Reference Library Page. And just so you don't have to open another window, I included a really crappy screen shot of it.

As you can see, the trapezoid is angled with the top curve right on the seam, and the lower corner just off the seam. I duplicated this, and actually drew a pencil line where it will be. One thing to note is that the knee cap doesn't go over the thigh edge but right under it. So keep that in mind. It is possible that when you want to be approved they will notice this. 

My pencil tracing - remember, pencil can be washed off and erased. Pen and sharpies cannot.

Do other side, and I then marked a line in the middle where the webbing hole would go. I used the webbing as a guide to make sure the hole would be wide enough without being too wide. Your dremel should have come with a nice little cutting wheel. If not, go back and buy one! They cost a few bucks and make this step so easy. I guess you can drill a series of small holes and cut them with the scissors too.

The webbing will then be attached to the inside with either glue or velcro. Use CA glue, because CA glue can be removed whereas e6000 may not be removable.

A little too low but you get the idea.

So, change out your dremel head to be the cutting wheel. Makes two cuts where you marked it, about 1/8 inch apart.

Use exacto knife to cut ends. Sand.

Push webbing through to make sure it fits.

If you position cover on, you can see what its going to look like.

And an inside shot to get the idea.

Now cut yourself some strips of webbing - I cut mine 8 inches each. Run ends over with match or lighter so they don't fray.

Put webbing in holes half way. Position kneecap where you want tit to be. Make sure they are centered. Hold webbing in kneecaps with fingers on one side. Remove kneecap while holding webbing inside, and mark lines and tape in place. Do this for both sides and make sure its just where you want it to be.

Remove kneecap and webbing from holes, grab your CA glue. Lift up each piece, put glue in lines, and tape back down. Spray CA kicker or wait. 

Repeat for other side. Your kneecap now has webbing!

Push webbing inside holes again. Tape kneecap in place and mark lines with pencil where the webbing will be. Tape inside webbing in place.

Do a sanity check and make sure each kneecap looks ok.

Lift each one, put glue in the lines and put back down. Let dry.

Erase most of pencil marks. Lastly, use e6000 to glue on trapezoids. I have larger clamps that reach inside more than little ones. They worked great.

And your knee caps are on!

Updates: I found my knee caps were glued on too high. The thigh pieces go pretty high up, so my knee caps have to be right at the end. They make it hard to walk down stairs. So for my safety, after approval, I will be trimming mine to be shorter. 

Lesson: put knee caps on last, test fit them with shoes and shins, and after you have glued on the strapping at top of thighs.

Now its time to glue in those black webbing straps that connect to your corset.

I tried them on, used a small piece of tape to mark the strap where it should meet the top. And then took them off and glued them with CA glue.

Updates: I found the black webbing didn't work well. It bulged and didn't have enough give. I redid mine with black 1 inch wide elastic. Much better!

Lower Legs

The calves fit together quite a bit different than other parts. It is one of the hardest parts to assemble. You want to work on the arms first and then work on the calves last. The arm pieces give you good practice for lining up the edges - trust me.

The calves are assembled using a butt joint of sorts. A butt joint is normally a straight piece, however, on this piece you will be using the custom piece included in the kit. The goal is to cut the right and left calf pieces with straight edges so they line up. The joint piece will be glued behind it to reinforce it. The back of the calves is not glued at all but is left open and fitted with velcro so that the piece can be put on your leg easily. Keep in mind that the opening must go toward the inside when putting on the velcro.

1. Trim and Sand edges
Just like the rest, plan on trimming and sanding edges using your dremel and fine-grit sand paper.

The joint part came with cutting lines. I used them and trimmed the bottom and top return edge to be small than the outside pieces. (So it fits inside, of course!)

The calve-joint had a R or L in the bottom plastic part. Label them on the inside R or L before trimming so as not to mix them up.

The inside and outside calf pieces should have come pre-labeled. They have a cutting line or score line already marked on them. I used my metal ruler the best I could to get a straight line with them. Then I lined them up. I sanded small parts till they lined up. I admit this was pretty difficult.

2. Fitting them together
Tape them up and see how they fit on you. If you are shorter, you may need to trim the top.
I would suggest doing this with your shoes on, but in this case the end flares out and will fit over most shoes.

And then I taped them up and realized they don't fit my calves!

(lots of swearing....)

Curse my Wisconsin winter diet! There is just too much good cheese and ice cream here.

which means I will take a break. Build my helmet, wait for my shoes to come in anyway, and gather some ideas about what to do. And maybe diet to lose a few more pounds. Crap.

to be continued.... 

Ok, shin-gate has been resolved.

I lost 2 pounds but that is not the real deal. And it only helped a little.

I decided to trim return edges from the top. Yep, all of them. And they now fit. Whew! I was not looking forward to shimming or any of that ABS Paste stuff.

Ok, so now we move on. Tape them up and make sure seams all fit.

3. Glue pieces together
Just like the arms, glue one side at a time. Use magnets, tape, and clamps.

4. Trim and Sand edges again, and put caulk on seam
Here is my left all done.

I chose to line up the bottoms edge rather than the top.

The top will be hidden by the knee caps. And of course I will be sanding that odd piece off at the top so it has a smooth look.

The seam isn't too bad but when you fill it with white caulk it looks great!

5. Install Velcro
Now its time to put on that Velcro. Please use the good stuff. The cheaper stuff doesn't hold as well, and will cause problems.

What you want is Industrial Strength Velcro. Name brand. (walmart sewing section)

Position your pieces correctly. And remember that the outside piece has to open on the inside. So here is my left calf. The outside most piece must open toward the inside of my leg.

Cut your strip to fit your calf piece right over that seam.

Now here is an easy trick to putting them on. Reverse your pieces. Put the outside one on the inside. Then put your velcro strip on it. 

Then put the other matching strip on the outside.

Now, position them correctly again and, viola! Velcro all good to go.

And you have completed your legs!

Master List of Linked Build Pages:
#1 Getting Started -sorting armor and getting supplies
#2 The Corset and Butt Plate
#3 Torso and Shoulder Pieces
#4 Upper Arm Pieces and Shoulder Bells
#5 Lower Arm Pieces and Hands
#6 Leg Pieces
#7 Belt and Ammo Boxes
#8 Helmet

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