Another Tie Fighter Pilot Costume

Discussion in 'Star Wars Costumes and Props' started by Nick K, Aug 28, 2015.

  1. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Hello again, and welcome to my latest creation. This time it is something to wear to Gala's and other events so I won't feel left out. I have always liked the Tie Pilot gear. They look a little menacing and the helmet itself looks a bit like an insects head from the side profile. COOL. So I asked Blaxmyth if he had a pep file for the X-wing helmet and he produced one which I duly made, but found that it was too big, so he resized it and that one was much better. As I didn't want to spend a lot of money on everything, I decided to make what I could, by hand.
    After cutting out the pieces and gluing them all together, I took it round to him and we put it against a real helicopter helmet and its sizing was pretty spot on. I applied some resin to the inside along with fibreglass cloth and more resin to the outside. Once this was left to cure for a few days, I trimmed off the excess bits around the edges and cleaned them up, so I could handle it without getting punctured by stray glass strands.Ouch!
    Before I continue though, I was wondering if anyone out there, who has a Tie Pilot Helmet, could measure the width, height and thickness of the ears, so I can carve them out of MDF? Would be much appreciated. Thanks.


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  2. Darth Lars

    Darth Lars Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That looks really good for an X-wing pilot helmet! Looking good so far.

    However, the TIE pilot helmet is wider than the X-wing pilots' helmets.
    The helmet shells in the movies were two parts of vacuformed plastic: left and right that were joined in the middle with a single flat strip of plastic over the mohawk. This mohawk is much wider on the TIE pilots' helmets than on the X-wing pilots' helmets.
    The reason why it is widers is because the width of the Stormtrooper face plate that has to fit in there. The mohawk cap in the front is also different.

    Polyester resin should adhere well to itself if you clean the surface with acetone before laying on more. But why not make both costumes? I think the X-wing pilot is, while not considered as "cool" as when showing your face, the X-wing pilot is more recognized and will stand out among a few imps.
    The boots and gauntlets for both costumes are the same. The flight suits and comm pads are the same except for the colour / paintjob.
     
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  3. division 6

    division 6 Master Member

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    Pockets on flight suits are different.
    TIE is missing the lower leg pockets and pocket flaps are chevron, where the X-Wing is flat.
     
  4. Darth Lars

    Darth Lars Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'm sorry, I should maybe have been more specific. That is true for most suits in ESB and ROTJ but in ANH all Rebel and Empire flight suits were of the same pattern: with rectangular pocket flaps and three pockets per leg.

    The revision of the flight suit with chevron pocket flaps appeared first in ESB and is worn by Imperials in ESB and ROTJ. One black ANH-style flight suit with rectangular pocket flaps has been spotted in a production image from ROTJ though.
    I would speculate that why don't see Rebels with suits of the second revision in ESB or ROTJ is because there were many left-over suits from ANH. There were many more Rebels in orange or grey suits in ANH than there were Imperials - enough suits for all Rebel pilots and techs in ESB. There were also new types of Rebel pilots in ROTJ but they got suits of completely different patterns.

    The most common suits to buy are Mon Cal (Faraway Creations), Mr Bojangles (Wampa Wear) and Cosplaysky.
    Mon Cal's suit is closer to the ANH version but has the chevron in the neck like the Imperial ESB/ROTJ version. I once got an orange and a black one and had to do some mods on each to make them into the ANH and Imperial ESB version respectively. Wampa Wear's flight suit is the ANH version. Cosplaysky's suit is the ESB/ROTj Imperial version and in a lighter fabric which is more accurate but may be less durable for costuming.
    So... if you are doing a ANH-style costume and/or getting Mon Cal's flight suit then the difference is the colour only. ;)
     
  5. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the input, which is greatly appreciated, but wait, there is more to come. As Darth Lars says, the helmet is wider, but I wanted to sand and fill the helmet as it is, so that I can handle it better. Mods will be show in up coming posts. As you can see in the pics, I have applied filler to the helmet and started sanding it to a smooth finish. I didn't apply any to the top of the mohawk because I will be cutting it down the middle using the pep fold lines as a guide. Ah ha.

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    Last edited: Aug 28, 2015
  6. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    And as you are discussing the flight suit, I already have mine as well as boots. The gloves in the pic aren't the proper ones, but I had them lying round, so I put them on to get the effect. And before you say it, yes I am a bit on the short side,BUT, at least my helmet wont get knocked about as much.:lol
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    Last edited: Oct 17, 2015
  7. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    The next step was to fill and sand, fill and sand again until I was happy with the finish. I also carefully used my Wen Mini Tool to score the parting line down the mohawk. Then I sprayed the whole thing with black primer to seal the filler and see any imperfections.

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  8. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Once this had dried, I sanded it down with wet 'n' dry sandpaper and then parted the two halves. I then made a cardboard template for the detail missing from the top of the ear and then I cut it out of some plastic sheet which now made the whole thing look more 'real'. I bent the plastic to shape and glued it in position.



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    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
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  9. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Next, I applied grey primer to the two halves and the face plate and then sanded them smooth.I then cut to size a strip of black styrene 82mm wide and then using Epoxy Super Strength glue, I screwed it down to the mohawk halves with surefast coarse screws and allowed this to dry for 2 days. After that, I dry fitted the face plate in to see what it would look like. I noticed that I would have to trim away a wedge shape piece of plastic from the back edge of each ' jowl ', on each side, to make it fit better.

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    Last edited: Sep 1, 2015
  10. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    I replicated the original oxygen strap mounts, by making them out of thin MDF, shaping, sanding and gluing them into position on either side of the helmet. Next I had to increase the height of the forehead on the face-plate because when viewed from the front, there would have been a large gap inside because of the size of the mohawk, so I measured the width and height needed and glued it in the center of the face-plate. I then cut another piece of plastic and laminated this on top of the first to flush it all with the vac-formed shell.

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  11. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    So. Here are some more pics of the build. Building up the front of the mowhawk and adding the tapered piece to the top. Plus, when I made the front divider, I realized that it was too short on top, so added another small piece of MDF to it and it looks a lot better.


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  12. jarebear

    jarebear New Member

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    Looking pretty cool
     
  13. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that jarebear. I'm working on the ears at the moment.
     
  14. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Step by Step pics of how I went about making the ears. I hope the pictures help to explain how I went about doing it. If there are any questions, then please feel free to ask them, and I will endeavor to answer them to the best of my ability. The main thing I was worried about was forming the profile of the helmet to the back of the ear, so I decided to use oil as a release agent on the helmet and when the ear was placed into position, I applied pressure and the filler oozed out slightly so that I could trim the excess off when it was dry. Worked a treat. I removed the oil later with paint thinners.
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  15. THXBOY

    THXBOY Active Member

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    Looks great! With just the primer it looks like an At-At driver.....hmmmmmmm
     
  16. oota goota

    oota goota Well-Known Member

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    very tidy man subscribed!
     
  17. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    While working on my costume, I need to know a few things about the sizes,shapes etc for the shoulder straps and bits, and was wondering if anyone could help. I know some of the bits are Storm Trooper, but how were they fastened to the shoulders? I've been on the 501st site, but mostly ST stuff there. Thanks.
     
  18. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Hi there. Took a couple of pictures of the helmet after drilling out the hose holes.

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  19. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Well, I've been busy trying to get this finished. Here is where I am up to at the moment. Once I applied the first coat of black and let it dry, I could see where the imperfections were, so I sprayed sanding primer on the areas, let it dry and sanded this. Worked well as a filler. I then applied the final coat and it looks great. Needs a cut and polish, but I am pleased with the end result.

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  20. Pedro

    Pedro Well-Known Member

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    Beautiful work on the helmet! Where'd the armor come from?
     
  21. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Hi Pedro. The front and rear plates were from a Pepakura file Blaxmyth had, and then fibreglassed. I then added a sheet of thin mdf to the back one and added a piece of styrene sheet that I had cut out using a template to the bottom of the front one and cut out the center section. I then made templates for the side, top and bottom, and cut these from thin mdf. Then I glued these to the fibreglass with Super strength Arahldite epoxy glue.

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    Last edited: Oct 8, 2015
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  22. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    After the glue was dry, I realized that the front edge needed trimming as it wasn't straight up and down. Doing that, it looked a lot better, and I then cut and glued the cover plate on with Arahldite. Once this was set, I made the neck opening smaller by cutting some plastic strip and glueing these the the underside of of the armour and then putting filler on the top surface to build it up level with the fibreglass. It was the a matter of sanding, sealing filling and sanding again and again until it was all smooth and blended into the rest of the armour. I then heavily primed it all and then sanded it all to a smooth finish ready for the top coat.

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    Last edited: Oct 11, 2015
  23. Blaxmyth

    Blaxmyth Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Nick - can't see the pics!
     
  24. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Next, I sprayed some black primer onto it and sanded, filled, well you know the drill. It came out really well.

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  25. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Here are some pics of the progress on the helmet. The gloss coat and markings. I also decided to do a different canon scheme and using a picture off the net which had Red Stripes, I decided to use Blue reflective stripes and Red for the insignia on top of the mowhawk.

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  26. Blaxmyth

    Blaxmyth Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    So, er.... will you be entering the Secret Santa this year?

    Just wondering.... :D
     
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  27. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    I don't know...Is it on this year? I haven't heard anything.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
  28. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Have started to install the fans by making the holding frames for them. Bent out of 25mm wide aluminium flat. The bigger fan blows air over my face and the smaller 30mm fan in the Mohawk, hopefully, will blow cool air over the top of my head, which is where all the heat in a helmet ends up. These two fans will be individually switched, so I can use each as required.

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  29. noble 10

    noble 10 New Member

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    that looks amazing
     
  30. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Thanks noble 10. Yes it's getting there. I have been working on the Chest Box at the same time, so here are some pics. Using a drawing I got off the Internet, I had it enlarged to a roughly correct size,(the squares being 25mm or 1"), and began cutting out the sides in Thinline MDF. I then marked where the pipes would go and place the end pieces in a vice and using a drill, drilled holes all the way round to make it easier to remove the waste. I then marked where I needed to cut the pipe and wrapped masking tape around it to give me a straight edge to cut to.

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    Last edited: Oct 17, 2015
  31. geordietrooper

    geordietrooper Well-Known Member

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    this pic might help you
    chest box in the Lucas archive
    note the bottom where the greeblies go should be angled not vertical like the printed reference your using
     

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  32. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that geordietrooper but I'm going to stick with what I have as this will be personalized for me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2015
  33. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Next I started assembling the pipe and caps to the sides. I then cut up the front pieces and glued them on with superglue using accelerator to speed up the process. I cut narrow strips to do the radius at the bottom and the sanded the MDF smooth before applying filler. This was then sanded smooth with a coarse sandpaper to give a nice finish. Tamiya model filler was then used to fill in any discrepancies.

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  34. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    I then cut out and tapered the top portion of the box and glued this to the main body. When this was done, I cut out the switches from 18mm/3/4" MDF and sanded smooth then applied a coat of Superglue to seal them. I then cut out a lid to go on top. This will remain separate but will be held in place with magnets as I want to install LEDs in two of the switches.
    I then sanded down the box and applied a coat of primer to it and to the switches at the same time. I assembled the tapered readout panel, to go on top, out of black styrene and then cut out a hole in the lid so the wiring for the switch could go through.



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  35. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Made the Fan Frames to hold the fans in position in the helmet. Large one for the face mounted just in front of my mouth and aimed upwards, and a smaller one to be fitted at the front end of the Mohawk to suck air in from the vent? at the front , and blow over the top of my head.

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  36. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    I had a friend turn up some of the greeblies on his lathe and they turned out really well. They certainly make the helmet.

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  37. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    I then started to instal the foam padding and electrics for the fans. I also put in the green film for the eyes.


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  38. MCM

    MCM Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'm digging this thread. My fiance and I are putting together a Tie pilot outfit ourselves and this thread has been a huge source of inspiration. I'm really digging your project!
     
  39. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much for that positive feedback MCM. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
     
  40. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Now, that 'Pill Box' that I have seen so many of you ask "Where can you buy one from?". Well, this took me all of 20 minutes to cut out, paint and glue. So, anyone wanting one should have a crack at making one yourself. Come on. Give it a go. You will be surprised how easy it is to make. I first cut the MDF which is 6mm thick ( this I believe is a bit too thin, so I have now made a new one at 9mm thick ) to a size of 60mm-21/2" and 40mm 11/2"and then cut out the hinge corners and rebate for clasp at the front. Once this was done, I sanded the top edges round and then sealed the whole this in Super Glue. When this was dry, I sanded it again with wet'n'dry to a smooth finish and primed and painted it. The white is just plain white styrene which I cut to size glued the hinges and clasp plate on and then stuck it to the back of the box to line up with the recesses that were cut out on the lid. All done. Hope this helps.


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  41. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    After the primer was applied and allowed to dry, 2 coats of Gloss Black was put on and in 30minutes I was handling the box and putting the rocker switches on. The grey ones were drilled out to accommodate the 2 LEDs I purchased. Wiring was then soldered to the terminals and the switches glued into position. The wires were then connected to the switch and power supply,which is 2 x AAA batteries in a holder.


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  42. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    I then made the sprocket wheels from thick plastic and added thin plastic to the outer edge where the teeth would be. I put the wheels in the vice and, using a chainsaw file, cut the teeth down to a marked line to get each one the same depth. I then found some plastic tube, which was an old kit part, and cut this to a length that looked right and glued these on. Then I found an old ball point pen that I could use the main body for the inner ring and cut this to the same depth as the outer ring and glued this on. Then, putting three cut-off discs on the shaft of my drill, I cut the slots across the two rings and they looked pretty good. I cut two small black plastic discs to go on the back of each to act as spacers and then I primed and painted them in an acrylic silver spray paint from the Plasticote range.


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  43. Blaxmyth

    Blaxmyth Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Nice tip! Thanks for that!
     
  44. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    So, the ComPad. I had made the main surface about three months ago, and finally had gotten round to doing the intricate details. These were just cut from flat plastic to the correct size and glued in place. Having such a large surface of detail, it is a shame that most of it is covered when installed in the sleeve pocket, which only provides a 55mm x 60mm ( that is 21/4" x 21/2" to you guys ) window.

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  45. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    Once the gloss finish was applied to the armor, I set about working out where the shoulder straps were to be located. I then drilled holes through all the components and bolted them together, putting the bolt head through a screw cover base and then popping the top cap on. worked a treat and looks good. The clips for the elastic were bent up from heavy wire weedmat staples. I then feed the elastic strap through these and sewed the strap together.


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  46. Nick K

    Nick K Well-Known Member

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    I also made a holster (RH) for the DL44 I made a while ago, to compliment the outfit. Well, I think that is all. I took it for a spin at a School gala in Paraparaumu, near Wellington, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was very rewarding to hear kids and adults alike compliment me on the costume and, although it took nearly 10 months to put together, was very gratifying in the end. You definitely get a buzz out of the experience. Right, 1 troop down, and goodness knows how many more to follow:).
    Now, what will I build next? OOOHH! I know... ;)

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  47. Blaxmyth

    Blaxmyth Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Well done! This thread is a marvellous tutorial as well as a record of a prop journey. :thumbsup
     
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