AP Trooper Kit Assembly

Discussion in 'Replica Costumes' started by KevVader, Feb 24, 2006.

  1. KevVader

    KevVader Sr Member

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    Well, after a few false starts and some dickin' around....I've finally started my AP Trooper kit in earnest tonight. There have been other threads that are detailed assembly tutorials (thanks Clutch.)...but that is not my intention here per se.

    I'd just like to show my progress as I go and post some tips/tricks that I've found along the way. Hopefully, it will assist others who are going to start their AP kits....and I know there's a few of you. ;) Also, anyone else who has assembly, finishing, painting tips....whatever, please feel free to post here as well....let's have some fun with it.

    First off, I've assembled a few FX kits in the past...so I do have a bit of experience in assemling a kit. However, the FX kits were already trimmed and ready to be put together. I'd characterize the FX as akin to those Monogram Snap-Tite model kits :p ...just snap them together and you're done. In contrast the AP kit needs to be trimmed beforehand...which I'm finding out is an art in itself. The pieces come pretty much as how I'd think they'd come out of the vac table....some pieces are rough trimmed but most need to be cut out of their form. The different pieces vary in thickness.....but all are much thicker than the typical FX kit. Here's a few examples...the helmet is mostly trimmed, apart from the eye sockets, teeth, and the ear edges on the cap back. Although, you can see that the hand plates and detonator are in one sheet...
    [​IMG]


    Consequently, you're going to need some heavier hardware to cut and trim. Here's some of the tools that I'm using.....other tools & materials will be needed once I get to the assembly stage...

    [​IMG]
    Dremel with cut off wheels, drill bits
    Stanley straight snips ( work great.)
    Utility scissors
    Hobby Xacto knife set
    Utility knife
    assorted files
    emery boards
    screwdriver set
    goggles & mask (Safety first kids.)
    Large Tim Horton's (double/double)...already ate the apple fritter...

    Basically, I've been trying different tools as I trim different pieces. The Stanley snips are great for trimming the large thick pieces from the form sheets (i.e. chest/back plates, hand plates, etc...), the utility scissors work great on the thinner pieces...like trimming the outline of the ears on the cap back. The Dremel with the cut off wheel works great anywhere but you need a steady hand. I was sweating as I cut out the first eye socket....then I used a drill bit...way easier and better control. But you can use the Dremel elsewhere.......perfect for trimming large thick pieces as well........you just get a lot of debris flying everywhere. Plus you will have to de-burr the edges as the ABS melts and collects along the edge of the piece you are trimming.....I used the utility knife to trim that crud away. Not a huge fan of scoring and then breaking the excess away...but that will work as well.

    After the final trimming, I then use a file to smooth out the rough edges...especially after using the Dremel...then I finish the edge with the emery boards....gives a nice smooth edge. I bought 5 packs of 50 emery boards for a buck a pack....highly recommend them for finishing sanding.

    Here's the few pieces that I've trimmed, filed and sanded....
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Assembled the thermal detonator.....
    [​IMG]

    I then wanted to trim the helmet (couldn't wait. :p )...there's not much to trim...although you really need to take your time with the eye sockets and teeth. One slip and you can totally f*ck up your lid. Needless to say, this trimming and clean up took about an hour. Then of course, I had to test fit the parts together ;) .....

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Yeah, baby. :love ...that's what I'm talkin' about. Even without lenses, decals, trim and paint...it looks mean.

    Of course, I also had to try it on.....well, it fits...but my wife now calls me Scarface... (note to self: trim screws.). It is a tight fit...the old corkscrew method of putting this thing on works well.

    At this point, I decided to call it a night.....and get some bactine and Band Aids for my face. :p

    Stay tuned....the assembly continues.....
     
  2. Darth Kahnt

    Darth Kahnt Sr Member

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    Helmet looks good Kev.... as does the coffee..... :D
     
  3. Star Wars Man

    Star Wars Man Well-Known Member

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    sweet. the thermal detonator...idk...looks...lumpy.

    nice though. (this thread having 3 posts, looks as though it will be like that one stormtrooper assembly start to finsih in the archives...)
     
  4. yakcam

    yakcam Sr Member

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    Oooohhh, thanks for this thread Kev. :)

    I've got a couple of suits on their way so I'll be using this and Clutch's thread to help me get it right.

    I do find though, that I have a steady hand when I hold it in front of me, but if I pick up a dremel, paintbrush or knife, the closer I get to a prop, the more "wobbly" my hand becomes. It's kind of like trying to push 2 opposing magnets together, weird :unsure

    Cheers,

    Kraig
     
  5. KevVader

    KevVader Sr Member

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    Thanks lads....DK, ya gotta love Timmy's. :p

    Kraig, the Dremel is a great tool....but it can sure make a mess of things quick as well. I've been using it sparingly 'til tonight.....found a great skinny cutting bit that's perfect for cutting openings and such....and yeah, Clutch's tutorial is great...got quite a few pointers from there....more updates on the way. :)
     
  6. Boba Frett

    Boba Frett Sr Member

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    Looking good Kev :thumbsup
     
  7. TK 4130

    TK 4130 New Member

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    Looking good... I also have the AP armor. I should be done in a couple of days. I've been putting it off forever, but I finally got my @ss in gear and I'm gettin' it done. Keep up the great work. :thumbsup :cheers
     
  8. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    Dang Kev. That looks awesome. Thanks for posting. I gots to get me one of those helmets.

    P.S. Thanks for the kind words on my tutorial...
     
  9. Star Wars Man

    Star Wars Man Well-Known Member

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    come on update?
     
  10. vaderfanforever

    vaderfanforever Active Member

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    I had the opportunity to see this armor up close. It is very nice armor. There is no way I could every be a Stormy with this armor. My head is too friggin big.. I think I'll stick with my Vader, thank you very much :p
     
  11. Brinn 71

    Brinn 71 Well-Known Member

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    ...This Trooper Kit Assembly topic is brought to you by TIM HORTONS. Proud sponsor of the TK crew. :p


    Great work man. Good luck in 'roll up the rim'.

    B
     
  12. yakcam

    yakcam Sr Member

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    I'm nervous just looking at what's ahead of me :$

    [​IMG]

    I must say that AP's service, packing and product are AWESOME... To get 2 suits in one box and have it travel from the US to Australia in one piece is one hell of an achievement.

    I can't sing his praises enough :thumbsup

    Cheers,

    Kraig
     
  13. GeneralMayhem

    GeneralMayhem Sr Member

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    Good to know the quality is consistant with the AP kits. Can't wait until mine is ready for shippping.
     
  14. Darth Domain

    Darth Domain Well-Known Member

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    What price are they or is there a link i could follow?
     
  15. KevVader

    KevVader Sr Member

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    Brinn....won a free coffee so far......still waiting to win the truck. :p

    ..more updates coming...didn't have much time to work on it this week...gonna spend some quality time with my armor tonight... :D
     
  16. KevVader

    KevVader Sr Member

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    ....trimming like a fiend tonight...made a lot of progress...

    First off, I finished cleaning up the cuts on the helmet....used a square hobby file to sharpen the frown holes...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    ....the lid is really starting to look mean now....especially in the right light....
    [​IMG]

    Trimmed and rough filed a lot of other pieces as well....

    thigh plates....

    before trimming....
    [​IMG]

    ...after trimming and a light filing....
    [​IMG]

    Most of the trim lines are very pronounced on most of the pulls. However, a few are faint......so I recommend tracing the trim lines with a Sharpie marker....easier to follow when the Dremel is spinning....
    [​IMG]

    Not sure how these thigh pieces are supposed to fit together....gotta figure that out... :confused
    [​IMG]

    Shoulder bell before trimming....
    [​IMG]

    ...the pair of bells after trimming...
    [​IMG]

    ....very impressed thus far with the crisp, sharp lines of this kit.

    ...also here's the energy sink pieces that hang off the belt...one untrimmed the other trimmed....
    [​IMG]


    That's enough for tonight...sick of sucking ABS bits. :p

    I think I'll finish off the helmet next...some finishing sanding, then paint, decals and lenses. also have an old football helmet that I'm going to rip apart and use the padding for the interior of this lid.
    I'm thinking ESB for this one.....black frown, etc...Also going to try to find some darker green lense material....

    Stay tuned. :D
     
  17. Darth Kahnt

    Darth Kahnt Sr Member

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    Looking good Kev.
     
  18. yakcam

    yakcam Sr Member

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    I just thought I'd suggest the best way of cutting the teeth for those that don't have an already assembled bucket to compare with. Most try and cut the teeth from the front, well one of the first things I noticed when I first got a trooper is... that isn't what the pro's do.

    Check it out.......

    This....
    [​IMG]

    And this.....
    [​IMG]

    Does this....
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Then all you do is give it a clean up using a small file or something similar.

    Also, just in case you're wondering, I don't draw all over my helmets. I just like to use a whiteboard marker (wipes off easily) and cut to the mark with a dremel then trim from there.

    I hope this helped some :)

    Cheers,

    Kraig
     
  19. KevVader

    KevVader Sr Member

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    ...interesting tip Kraig for the teeth.....So when cutting from behind using the grinding stone, do you just grind off the raised area of each tooth vs. cutting it out?
     
  20. yakcam

    yakcam Sr Member

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    Hi Kev, yes just take the bubble down, but leave a mm or 2 in height. It's probably safer just to flip it around and see if it looks right from the front, if not take some more off.

    Both my Gino/CRProps and SDS's are done this way.

    Cheers,

    Kraig
     
  21. GeneralMayhem

    GeneralMayhem Sr Member

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    I know the "lazy" right eye is screen accurate, but has anyone but me thought about "minimizing" it a bit so it's not so obvious? Or am I the only one who thinks it just sticks out too much?
     
  22. ckwanwoo

    ckwanwoo Sr Member

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    Goooooo~~d stuff :eek
     
  23. shabad

    shabad Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Great pictures and help, this will be a huge benefit when I tackle my own.

    For the trimming are you using the dremel cutting wheel and then sanding with the dremel and file? With gloss ABS how do you minimise the surface scratching beyond the cut line? Every time I see the AP armor I like it more :D
     
  24. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Lookin good, Kev.

    I enjoyed my AP as long as I had it... had to get rid of the armor recently. :cry

    Here's a little tip in case of Dremel mishap - should you slip and accidentally score the plastic, cut some ABS strips from scrap pieces from the kit and dissolve them in a drop if acetone. When ABS has turned into a white goo, apply on damaged area, let dry, sand & polish. I got a deep scratch on my faceplate (didn't even see it happening), just below the right eye. Saw this tip somewhere, tried it - works like a charm.
     
  25. Boba Frett

    Boba Frett Sr Member

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    Nice progress on the kit, Kev :thumbsup

    Any more pics for us :love
     
  26. KevVader

    KevVader Sr Member

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    I thought about that as it is a bit too pronounced IMO....however, the problem is that you can't trim too much or you have a big gap when you put on the lenses. I suppose you could try heating it up and flattening it out but that could get messy...part of the joy of getting a close to screen accurate set of armor....gotta take the bad with the good....

    Kraig....10-4....that's a really great tip for the teeth...thanks.

    Shabad...I rough finish with a coarse file to get off the melted crud that the Dremel leaves...then a finer file...and then finish sanding with emery boards. After I finish all of the trimming and finishing sanding, I'll go back and buff out the scratches with Novus plastic polish....to avoid the scratches in the first place?....be really careful. :D ...or I suppose you could put masking tape next to your cut lines to avoid sanding marks....

    SL3844...you sold your armor already??? Didn't you just get it?....too bad....BTW...great tip for deep scratch fixes. :thumbsup

    BF....more pics coming....once I get going on this, I don't want to stop. I think I'm really primed to finish off the helmet now....then I'll tackle the rest of the armor....
     
  27. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yep - financial emergency of sorts... it was fun owning an AP kit for a while... :unsure I did keep the helmet though - couldn't part with it.
    And you're very welcome re: the scratch fix.
     
  28. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    Kraig, great tip. Kev, great work so far.
     
  29. DL 44 Blaster

    DL 44 Blaster Sr Member

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    When making my Sandtrooper AP helmet I used a heat gun to gently heat the area and then just bend it in with my thumb.

    Steve

    [attachmentid=7006] [attachmentid=7007]
     
  30. DarthJRW

    DarthJRW Well-Known Member

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    how much are these kits ??
     
  31. altername

    altername Well-Known Member

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    I did. I also don't like that eyes kind of sweep up so I "minimized" that. I didn't do anything drastic though. It's all very subtle. "Worts and all" are all still there, I just toned them down a bit to make them look, IMHO, a little cooler.
     
  32. KevVader

    KevVader Sr Member

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    Anybody have any close up pix of their painted vocoder? It's the one part of the helmet where the ends of the vocoder ridges aren't pulled that sharp.....tried painting it twice but it looked like crap....
     
  33. Star Wars Man

    Star Wars Man Well-Known Member

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    kev, plez, plez dont make it esb. this looks so sweet dont go esb. anh all the way, besides u got anh hand armor.
     
  34. Boba Frett

    Boba Frett Sr Member

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    ESB would be cool , there are so many ANH troopers out there , and hand armor is easy enough to find ;)
     
  35. altername

    altername Well-Known Member

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    Yea I'm interested to see how this turns out.

    Now I have my own selfish question. Kev, what do you intend to use for your chest/back plate shoulder straps? I'm using velcro right now but I'm not happy with it. I've thought about snaps because I'd like it to be non permanent (rivets).

    Anyone have any comments?

     
  36. KevVader

    KevVader Sr Member

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    ...I'm still on the fence as to whether I'll make it ANH or ESB...there are alot of ANH troopers out there....I dunno...we'll see how it goes...and yes, I can get a set of ESB hand plates fairly easily...

    Altername....yeah, I'm looking at my options...industrial strength velcro would be strong enough, but I want something a bit slicker....rivets/snaps would probably be the way to go. I had bought a quality rivet kit when I put together my Vader chestbox straps so I can make my own snaps. I was also thinking of using an old set of suspender straps in conjunction with the rivets....I'll keep you posted....

    Now, I just want to paint this vocoder peoperly.....I have a few reference closeups of the vocoder section, but they do seem to be painted different depending on the helmet. Plus the fact that on the AP helmet it's hard to tell where the outer ridges begin/end....I may just have to wing it very carefully....

    Anyone?....Bueller?
     
  37. TK 4130

    TK 4130 New Member

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    Here's my two AP helmets. I used liquid mask. Just take your time, you'll be glad you did. I rushed mine a little and I'm not that happy with it.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  38. KevVader

    KevVader Sr Member

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    Perfect....thanks brotha.

    Liquid mask???....never mind....googled it. I'll have to pick some up....
     
  39. GeneralMayhem

    GeneralMayhem Sr Member

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    Is it going to be a stock suit, or a Sandy?
     
  40. Star Wars Man

    Star Wars Man Well-Known Member

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  41. KevVader

    KevVader Sr Member

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    ....patience, young Jedi..... ;)
     
  42. dashrender

    dashrender New Member

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    Thanks for this tip. I have had a scar that has been bothering me and I didnt know how to fix it.

    Thanks again.
     
  43. KevVader

    KevVader Sr Member

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    .....back at 'er....MORE trimming....

    ...forearms.....
    [​IMG]

    I think I f*%ked up this edge!
    [​IMG]
    Some of the trim lines are very faint and/or non-existant. This is where reference pix come in handy.I think the lip should be longer but I can trim/sand it to look good....but a screw up nonetheless....

    ...not sure which pieces these are.....arm pieces?
    [​IMG]

    ...one calf/shin....
    [​IMG]

    ...the other calf/shin....
    [​IMG]


    ......getting quite the collection if ABS trimmings! :p
    [​IMG]

    ....maybe I'll melt them down and make another helmet! :D

    I've gotten a few questions from fellow AP Kit owners about what to do with fininshing a freshly sanded edge....yes, the gloss will have been sanded off at the edge, but a shot of Novus polish ( Novus 2, 3 for heavier scratches and Novus 1 for a polishing coat) will gloss the edges back up again...

    More pix to come tomorrow....I think I'm finally going to try to paint up the helmet after my screw ups with the vocoder.

    ...either that, or I'll try to finish off trimming all of the pieces as the novelty has worn off!

    Stay tuned!
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2007
  44. troopermaster

    troopermaster Well-Known Member

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    Don't worry about leaving an edge/lip on the parts,most real suit's don't have hardly any at all.There seems to be a big misconception that you must have the illusion of thickness to be movie accurate.I found that having no lip on the forearms and biceps helps avoiding pinching and digging into your arms.I say 'helps' but in reality these things NIP :angry

    Also,drawing a faint line where you are going to trim helps alot ;)

    -Paul.
     
  45. KevVader

    KevVader Sr Member

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    ...Yup, I typically do trace a trim line with a grease pencil/marker....wipes off easily afterwards.

    But.....f&*# ups still do happen.... :$

    And your right, I'm sure that the film used suits were not that carefully trimmed and consideration was not given to the perception of thickness of the armour. Having said that tho....that's what I'm going for....
     
  46. KevVader

    KevVader Sr Member

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    Been a few weeks....but I've been a busy lad tonight...finally finished rough trimming all the pieces!...thank God! My Dremel went through quite the workout....amd I'm proud to say that I never broke a cut-off wheel! :D

    Anyways...here's the rest of the kit rough trimmed....

    I think these are upper arm inner pieces...
    [​IMG]

    Upper arm outer pieces...
    [​IMG]

    Chest plate before...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    ...and after...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Ab/crotch plate...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    ..and after...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Question....should the ab plate be cut seperate from the crotch plate?

    Kidney/butt plate...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Shoulder straps...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Knee plate...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    ...aaaaand belt....
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I still have to finish file and sand most of these pieces....that's gonna be fun....NOT!
    Also going to finish the helmet off (finally) to break the monotony of filing/sanding....


    I bought these very nice lenses off ebay.....darker and much thicker than the lenses strip that comes with the kit...
    [​IMG]



    After all that comes assembly of the armor (God help me!)....stay tuned!
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2007
  47. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    You're kickin' * Kev. How'd you get the shoulder straps cut so straight.? Keep the ab/crotch together. The originals were all one piece.
     
  48. Darth Kahnt

    Darth Kahnt Sr Member

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    Lookin' real good Kev...
     
  49. RoCKo

    RoCKo Sr Member

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    looking good...
    have "fun" with file and sanding... i can remember the day... :unsure

    keep us updated.
     
  50. KevVader

    KevVader Sr Member

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    Thanks boys.

    Clutch....I basically just eyeballed the shoulder straps.....I got lucky as they came out great. Alot of extra to trim off some of these pieces. However, that is where using the Stanley straight bladed snips came in handy....great call on your part.
     

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