Friday, March 30, 2012

Backplate & Jetpack Harness

To wrap up the backplate attachment and jetpack harness, I started by doing test fittings to see how long the straps would need to be.  They would have to go over the shoulder of the harness, through the flak vest, and through the backplate.  It took me two tries, but I finally figured it out.  When I got the length correct, I used grommets to make everything permanent and used pill-shaped D rings as my jetpack fasteners...

Here are the straps through the flak vest. Note the grommets added to the back of the vest to attach the backplate, just as I attached the armor on the chest.

Here is the mounted back plate with the straps showing:

With the backplate in place, I needed a way to attach the neckplate to it. I drilled holes in both and fashioned a bracket from a piece of aluminum flat bar, and screws that I cold-welded in place with JB Weld and a bit of super glue for insurance.

Boba has silver shoulder studs to cover those screws and keep everything secure.  A set of studs came with my armor. I spray painted them silver, and routed them out with my Dremel tool.  Note the double route so that I had a little "shelf" to support the nut, but some extra space behind it to thread the screw through.

I glued the nuts in place with super glue.

The studs were screwed on.  Note the cape is attached with one of these:

Here's a close up of the jetpack hooks slipped through the strap rings:

And the diver's belt from the jetpack secured around the front:

And we have a fully attached jetpack!

Almost done!  I have the gauntlet hoses and shoulder braids left!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Boots Finished!

I started out with these canvas boots from Man of War.  Great design, affordable...and comfy, too!  The problem: they were snow-white, and Boba's boots are the darkest part of his costume.

I found a lot of methods for painting and weathering these, online. Most people just use acrylic paint -- but I wanted the shoes to breathe as much as possible while being worn.  Paint would completely seal the boot's air flow. I didn't want smelly, sweaty boots if I ever decide to wear the costume.

My solution was to dye the boots with watered-down RIT Black.  Aiming for a charcoal gray base color.  Here's how they came out:

The center stripe down each boot is supposed to be almost black, and there is a lot of grime and shading. I had to resort to SOME acrylic paint.

 I watered down Liquitex Mars Black and dry-brushed it into the boots while they were still slightly damp.  After they dried, I added a small layer of brown grime with Testor's Rust, and added the aluminum toe-spikes. Finally, I scuffed them up with some sandpaper.

And we have finished boots!


Friday, March 23, 2012

Codpiece and Butt Plate finished!

Yes...there's a BUTT plate.  Get all your giggles out now, folks.  (And if you thought that was funny, there's also a CROTCH STRAP.)

Here are the pieces painted silver (Rusto Aluminum) with liquid mask added for the macro damage.

Next up, the under-layer of Rusto Line Striping Yellow:

 Another layer of liquid mask and the final color, Rusto Hunt Club Green misted with flat black.  Once that dried, I scratched the pieces up with a screwdriver and some gravel. Finally, a coating of Testor's Dullcoat.

To attach these to the costume, I was originally going to use a belt, but I decided to use the same grommet method I used for the flak vest. There are enough belts on this costume already!

So I added #8-32 1/2" screws to the backs of each piece, with an extra screw for the crotch strap.

Grommets added to the pants:

Here they are, all finished, and on the mannequin!

And with all the belts and straps!

More soon!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shoulders Finished!

The first step on the shoulder armor was to add these #8-32 1/2" machine screws using epoxy:

Then, I added corresponding grommets to the flak vest:

Here's the silver layer (Rusto Aluminum) with the liquid mask applied per movie photos.

After that dried, I added the "primer" yellow layer, (Rusto Pale Yellow) and another layer of liquid mask.

Then the top coat of Rusto Line Painting Yellow misted with Rusto True Orange.  Once that was dry, I scratched it up with a screwdriver.  On the left shoulder, I applied the vinyl decal of the bantha skull, and then dirtied both shoulders with Testor's "Rubber" colored paint.  After a coating of Testor's Matte Clear Coat, we have finished shoulders!  These photos look a bit more yellow than the shoulders look in real life. (They're more orange than this...) Stupid phone camera!

Next up, the codpiece and butt plate!


Friday, March 16, 2012

Finally Coming Together!

The project is finally starting to really look like Boba!  Let's start with the knees.  I added velcro and epoxied some 1/2" #8 screws to the inside of the knee plates:

When the epoxy was dry, I dyed some 1" elastic straps to match the flight suit, and applied grommets:

My wife sewed velcro to the knees of the pants:

And we have finished knees!

I got my vest and neckseal from my mother-in-law, who made the pieces from scratch with no patterns.  She did a hell of a job!  I weathered them with the same method that I used for the flightsuit in the last update.  Here's the neck seal on my very dapper mannequin:

For the chest armor, I epoxied screws just like I did with the knees. When they dried, I added a little graphite dust to the tips of the screws and then pressed them into the vest while it was on the dummy.  I used the center-line of the vest (based on the distance between shoulder seems) as my guide.  The graphite powder left a mark for each screw, and then I added grommets:

Here are all the finished pieces on my dummy!  It's finally starting to look like Boba!

 More to come...


Monday, March 12, 2012

Flightsuit - Finished!

So I bought this beautiful flightsuit and jetpack harness from Man Of War. 100% cotton. When I got it, it was snow white.

 The Return of the Jedi flightsuit seems to be a faded version of the Empire Strikes Back flightsuit.  It's gone from grayish-blue to pale gray.  From my research online, it seemed that RIT Pearl Gray dye was the way to go.  Unfortunately, Pearl gray is much darker than I needed, so I did some testing on scrap swatches of white cottonand came up with a recipe.

In 2 cups of very hot water, I dissolved 1 tablespoon of dye powder per gallon of water that I intended to use.  I was dying this in a big plastic tub, so I used 4 gallons of water. (4 tbs of dye is less than one package of the dye powder.)

Added 1 tsp. of Speedball Super Black india ink per gallon of water.

I filled the tub with gallons of very cold water.  (I DID NOT use hot water. This is cotton. It would  shrink.) I tossed in the dye liquid, and added about a cup of salt.  Mixed well.

I threw in the flightsuit and stirred constantly for about 10 minutes.  Then I hung everything to dry overnight.

When it dried, I ended up with this:

Next, I had to weather it.  This was by far the scariest part of this entire process because throughout the weathering, I couldn't tell what the final flightsuit would look like when it was dry.  Just had to have faith and use my imagination.

I filled an empty spray bottle with water and RIT Dark Brown dye powder, and just a pinch of RIT Golden yellow dye powder.  Mixed well.

The trick to this whole thing was that the flightsuit had to be DAMP so the brown dye would spread out through the fibers and didn't just sit there like paint.  The result was supposed to look like old stains that have been washed over and over, but never came out.

I hung the pieces from the ceiling in my garage, and started spraying on the dark brown dye using movie photos as reference.  I alternated between the spray bottle and dabbing with a sponge dipped in the dye solution.

I knew that the flightsuit looks much darker when it was wet from the original dye process, so I had to estimate how much weathering to put down.  I figured I'd go just a little bit overboard because it would get lighter.

I let everything dry, and it turned out I was right.  It got a lot lighter.  I went back and added two more layers -- repeating the process until I had multiple tones of grime.  Some a little more yellow. Some a little more brown.

The final result is this:

And here it is with the white jetpack harness.  You can see the contrast.

Here are some close-ups:

In other news, the balance of my armor is in from Bobamaker!

And I chopped off my mannequin's hands and replaced them with wooden artist models, so that the fingers flex, and he can hold his blaster.

More soon.