Saturday, May 21, 2016

FemTK - Legacy Era Female Stormtrooper Build #7 - Ammo Boxes, Belt Assembly, and Detonator

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, Ammo Boxesand detonator
#8 Helmet

Once the corset and torso are complete, you can work on the belt. It is plastic, it comes in two pieces that should be marked front and back, and it velcros on.

Materials needed:

Dremel and attachment case
Fine Grit sand paper
Protective breathing mask
Protective eye glasses
Lexan scissors, curved and straight
Bolts and nuts and washers (see below, use the same ones as helmet)
Industrial Velcro (brand name, white, at walmart)
Drill 9/64 bit
CA Glue
CA Glue Accelerator (helps it dry instantly)
brackets included with kit
White Craft Foam, 1/4 inch thick
White nail polish
small screwdriver for brackets, monkey wrench and flat head

Update: here is the hardware needed for belt, detonator, and helmet
You need 4 of the 6-32 x 1/2 (two for putting front and back helmet plates together, and two for aerators)
You will also need 28 of the 6-32 x 3/4 for ear pieces and belt (2 on each helmet side, and 11 pairs for belt, and two for detonator is you mount it)

You will need matching bolts for all of them and washers. And I would get extras. They roll off the table, and on detonator I used doubles to make sure it wouldn't come off.

Washers were cheaper by the bag/box.

Update on detonator: It's been pointed out to me that the thin plastic might crack around where the heavy detonator is attached. Putting a small piece of scrap plastic with holes drilled to match will reinforce this area and provide extra support. But that means longer screws. I may do that in the future but its not in my build guide right now.

The Belt
1. Cutting out all the little parts

That bag of little squares and such are all the parts for boxes for your belt. Kevin gave you extra, but only three. So the rest you get to cut out. The smaller squares will have holes drilled in them and will bolt onto your belt. Called box mounts. Trim the edges off with Lexan scissors, then use your Dremel to sand them smooth and with straight edges.

The boxes are the same way. Trim edges and dremel them till they have nice straight edges.

The idea is that the little box will be bolted to your belt and the bigger box will glue over the little one. 

There are 6 boxes in front and 5 in back. That is 11 to do, 22 pieces not including the ammunition boxes. Watch almost half of season ten of Bones on Netflix while you do all this.

2. Assembling the Ammo Boxes
The Ammo boxes consist of three pieces, back, front and flip-up lid.

When trimmed, Dremeled and sanded, they look like this. Now you don't have to make the box functional (which means it doesn't have to open) but it actually is pretty hard to assemble if you don't cut out the opening in the front.

The back would glue into the front pretty easily - however...

The top doesn't fit over the front very well. They are the same size - detonator problem all over again.
You can either heat gun it or hot water it (and risk warping the plastic) or cut a notch to give it room to bend in.

So first, mark drill holes for your bracket. Put it all together and see how you want it to sit. Then drill your holes. I think I used my second smallest bit, 3/32.

Cut out the middle of the front top where the bracket will go.

This will allow the front to bow inward so you can shove it into the flip lid.

See, now it fits!

Position bracket where you want it to be, drill your holes and while you are at it, put a piece of foam in there (or two layers) so the screws go into the foam. If you ever decide to put an expensive phone in there, the sharp points of the screw won't scratch your screen. I glued my foam pieces together and glued them to the back. Thought it might help hold the screws in too.

Glue back to inside of front. Use CA glue and use painters tape to hold it in place. Works better than fingers. And its mostly done!

Tape top bracket where you want it to go and tape it down, see if it opens and closes correctly. Lift tape, draw an outline around bracket. Then put glue inside outline, tape bracket back on, let glue set. Remove tape and you got yourself an ammo box!

And lastly, paint the hinge with white nail polish to give it a polished look.

Belt Assembly

Now you are ready to put your belt together. This is one of the last things you work on, make sure you are finished with your corset first.

So, suit up in your corset. The belt has markings for front and back, and which side goes up. Let's start with the back. It should cover the seam between the back kidney plate and the butt plate.

Tape it on with blue tape on the sides. Have someone, or yourself draw a line where the top of the belt will be with a pencil. I have double mirrors and can do this by myself.

Now you have a placement guide. Also draw line on the sides where they should go. Put your front one on and see how much the sides overlap. If its a lot - more than three inches - you should trim the pieces, equally, both front and back. Think one inch off each side, front and back, would be 4 inches off the total belt. Anyway, mine fit great. So no trimming for me.

Again, mark where the front piece overlaps the back for a guide.

Remove it all and get to work.  Cut your velcro and place two sets (one on each side) that join the two belts together. Making the velcro a little narrower than the belt helps it fit on nicer.

Then I put a small skinny strip on the corset where the back belt would attache to the front part of the corset. Below I am seeing how wide it should be without showing, then I cut. I followed my pencil lines, and the erased them.

And now the belt boxes!

Grab 5 box mounts and blue tape.

I taped mine on to see how to place them. I used a bendable tape measure used in sewing - they are a buck at JoAnn's. 

Warning: After I was done I realized I probably should have put them on vertically instead of horizontally. They would have had more surface area to glue on, and would have less effect on the belt curving when tightening the screws.

Horizontally placing them works, though but you decide.

Some things to keep in mind are that the Ammo boxes go at the end in the overlapping areas. I put both mine together with velcro to get an accurate idea so I could leave an equal gap between ammo box and plain boxes.

5 boxer go on the back
6 on the front - see the CRL for a visual

If you felt like it, you could just put some velcro on the ammo box, and put it on the front belt, where it belongs anyway. I did mine last.

And its going to look like this:

Drill holes with your 9/64 drill bit. I held mine with my hands.

Warning: I messed up a box mount before I realized its easier to drill one hole in the box mounts, put a single screw in, and use that screw to anchor it for drilling the second hole. 

Don't be like me! I had to caulk to extra holes and reposition because when I drilled both at the same time, the mount box shifted and the holes didn't line up. 

Add your second screw and tighten. Note that the bolts are facing the box, that is why the box mounts have a depression in them. That way the bolts are inside the box and not outside scratching up your armor. Do not over tighten - they warp the plastic and crack the box mount.

See, flat heads on inside and they won't hardly scratch at all.

Now comes the glueing - the CA glue dries fast. And it runs. Good luck!

I found that I preferred to glue mine with the box in this down position. That way the glue ran down into the box and not all over. I messed up a few boxes and got glue everywhere before I did this. But you gotta prop the belt ends up on some books to do it.

Put some glue on middles of box where it will come in contact with box mounts.

Hold box in place and try your best to put it on level the first time. A few of mine were wonky, some where a little higher than others. But I kept them anyway.

You do have to press the sides of the box to the box mount.

Best tip: tape your fingers or you will glue yourself to the boxes.

And when you're done it looks like this.

Now, I decided it needed a strip of velcro on the back to hold it in place. I put a thin strip right above the joint. I then cut a longer strip to put on the belt. But I did it backward.

I put the velcro in place, sticky back up, and pushed it onto its matching piece. Took the sticky backing off, and then put the belt in place and pressed down.

And it put the velcro here, where it matches up.

Repeat these steps with the front belt and you are good to go!

The Detonator

Its the small tube that goes on the back.
I didn't take enough pics of my process for this. It was one of the first things I did.

1. Cut out end caps and sand them smooth
They came as squares and trimmed to be this: 

I didn't have to trim my panel piece very much at all. Just sand it a bit and remove a wonky crinkle in the edge. 

I chose to do option A, with a grey tube. The tube is regular 2 inch pvc pipe. I painted it the same grey as my helmet to match. Testors 1138

I also decided to mount mine using bolts and screws. Velcro would show and this seemed an easy way. The guys all use a external bracket system if you want to try that. Ask around the forums, or in the facebook group for Anovos Stromtrooper Building group

I drilled two holes one inch apart near the center. And I don't recommend that! I could barely get the screws in because of the length. So drill them two inches from the edge on each side.

I used the same screws from the helmet, and a washer on the inside. Because you have to tighten them, I decided to glue them in and tape them in on the inside.

So I put a piece of tape on my finger, sticky side up, put the screw, washer, and some CA glue on it and put them in. I used a pencil to tape them in.

And let them dry! And I scratched some grey paint off too. I will touch it up.

If you notice that the cap and the tube are the same size, you are not insane, and yes, there is an easy way to put the cap on that does not include reforming or heating.

First you need to reduce the diameter of the pipe about 1/4 inch from the end. This is easily done by sanding with a dremel.

I reduced the thickness quite a lot. The narrowed top almost allowed the cap to go on.

Then I put some dishsoap around the top edge to make it slippery.

Put the cap on the counter, and pushed the tube onto it. Try to push is down evenly or one side will be off. I had to use a lot of force but it worked great.

And if the dishsoap doesn't work, sand some more off or dip the cap for a few seconds into really hot water.

Now the cap doesn't go on all the way. And that's ok. The tube should be around 6.5 inches long. The pipe included was 6, and with two caps on, mine is just over 6.5 inches.

Warning #1: if you didn't drill any holes, do so before putting on the second cap. They don't come off!

Warning #2: If you plan to mount it with a bracket, and didn't drill any holes, the second cap won't go on because the air cannot escape. Drill a tiny hole in the bottom cap and plan to fill it later with caulk.

 Then I put on a washer and two bolts for future mounting to the kidney plate.

I also took a piece of paper and drew lines where the screws were so I would have a guide when drilling holes in my kidney plate.

The face plate goes on the front, the screws area is the back. Glue it on with CA glue.

And when you mount it, make sure the big button is up.

You should have finished your belt, suit up and put a pencil mark at the top of the boxes on your belt. Measure one inch above that and there is where you should make holes for bolts. With a two-inch pipe, you can see that the end result is that the tube will be mounted just above the belt without much room to spare. Looks like the CRL so I am good with it.

Make your marks, drill your holes. Sand off rough stuff. I used same screws as helmet, so use a 9/32 drill bit.

Put your bolts through to the back, and put washer and two bolts onto it. Tighten with monkey wrench. The two bolts will help make sure it stays put.

And it looks great!

Now for comfort, those screws are going to gouge you in the back. Just like the helmet - put some foam in there!

Cut a square of 1/4 inch foam (foamies I think Is the brand at JoAnn's) and glue it in.

I just put CA glue on each corner and held it down. No more back gouging for me.

Whew! You should be done!
Well, with the main suite that is.

On to the helmet.

Update: Its been pointed out that the thin plastic might crack around where the heavy detonator is attached. Putting a small piece of plastic with holes drilled to match will reinforce this area and provide extra support. But that means longer screws so I may do that in the future.

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, Ammo Boxes, and detonator
#8 Helmet

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