Showoff : Custom Illuminated Base for Stormtrooper Mannequin

Discussion in 'Star Wars Costumes and Props' started by Stormtrooper, Apr 30, 2006.

  1. Stormtrooper

    Stormtrooper Well-Known Member

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    Well, since my first replica stormtrooper costume waaay back in '99 I've always thought it would be cool to have a Star Wars themed base for the mannequin to stand on.... better than a plain ole' chrome plate like you see on store mannequins.
    So my first homemade mannequin had an octagonal piece of plywood, which I covered in adhesive-backed black plastic, and added an Imperial Navy logo sticker to it.

    But I thought my current set of Stormtrooper armour deserved something a lil' bit better, so a couple of months ago I headed to B&Q (UK version of Home Depot) and loaded up on wood, screws, mitre-saw, adhesive-backed plastic sheeting..... oh, and some 'Link Light' flourescent lights :D

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The mannequin is a rigid fibreglass one (as opposed to poseable) which I then modified extensively by cutting the arms in 2, and fibreglassing wire into the elbows to allow them to bend (vital when putting the stormtrooper bicep armour onto them, as the arms have to be straight to slide the bicep armour on) and cutting the feet to allow the thigh armour to slide on etc. etc.

    [​IMG]

    The base itself is made from a plywood base and lid (covered in adhesive-backed black plastic). The side panels are hardwood from which I cut out the windows with a holesaw and jigsaw. These were covered in more adhesive-backed plastic sheeting to minimise the amount of seams between the panels.... the front 3 panels are on one 'strip' of plastic, and the rear 3 panels are on another strip of plastic.
    I experimented with 6 strip-lights inside but found that the light was TOO BRIGHT, and just didn't look right... so I settled on 4 strip-lights instead.
    And then I added some orange and red gel lighting sheets to the back of these panels for the desired Carbon-Freezing-Chamber look :)
    Also added tracing paper to the back of these sheets, to help diffuse the light, and to ensure that you can't see the lights and components inside the base by looking inside the windows ;)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A spray-can of car Dashboard Shine adds the finishing touch :love

    [​IMG]

    The hands are re-used from my old homemade mannequin.... basically wooden bodies with wire coathanger fingers covered in garden hose and bits of foam 'n' duct-tape.... super-poseable and strong enough to hold a valuable 27 year-old resin blaster :)

    The costume is now back at my friend's office / showroom where it is safely protected by commercial insurance.... and I'm once again left with a replica Stormtrooper suit with a plain jane mannequin. :lol

    Oh, and happy 1000th post to me. Woo-hoo .. It may have taken me 6 years but I finally got there. :cheers

    Cheers,
    John
     
  2. HDPE

    HDPE Well-Known Member

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    That's a pretty cool idea.

    The mannequin definitely has a Bespin pose.

    I'd love to see it without the armor on.

    BTW John, what's a ROTJ trooper doing on Bespin ;)
     
  3. well paid killer

    well paid killer Well-Known Member

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    Thats great man, I love the look of it. I think an Endor Moon base would have been a little less cool but might have made more sense with the ROTJ armor. :p Either way your work paid off, this base looks outstanding...
     
  4. blufive

    blufive Sr Member

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    Very nice.

    I dig it.

    :)
     
  5. Bountyhunter Niko

    Bountyhunter Niko Well-Known Member

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    Looks great. IÂ’m starting to think about bases for my troopers. Thanx for the kick up the backside.

    Niko
     
  6. gonk27

    gonk27 Sr Member

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    That looks fantastic John really effective, it sets your trooper off perfectly. I think I might try something similar for my R2.

    I suppose you could even use the same principle to make a two or three-tiered base, each level slightly smaller than the one below for Carbon-Freezing Chamber step effect. (Although it would take up more space).

    I've never seen that adhesive plastic in my B&Q it looks like darned useful stuff.


    Now build some walls and add some ceiling greeblies.. (you know you want to.) :D

    Jeremy
     
  7. allosaur176

    allosaur176 Sr Member

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    That is pretty great man...... :thumbsup
     
  8. rileyreplicas

    rileyreplicas Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Man, that is awesome. Now all you need is to add a small fog machine inside of it and have it puff out some smoke :) Very nice base.
     
  9. _Lee_

    _Lee_ Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Wow :eek That looks great John.It really makes it stand out.

    Ive just sent you a PM about something mate ;)

    Cheers

    Lee
     
  10. rmschneider104

    rmschneider104 Sr Member

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    Lookin' good. Sweet lighted base.
     
  11. PHArchivist

    PHArchivist Master Member

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  12. ob1al

    ob1al Sr Member

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    I love it. :thumbsup
     
  13. Stormtrooper

    Stormtrooper Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the kind words everyone... I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out myself, though I'm probably not quite ready for a full 1:1 replica of the Carbon Chamber Elstree set just yet. :lol

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(HDPE STORMY @ Apr 30 2006, 12:15 PM) [snapback]1235830[/snapback]</div>
    Here you go, Anthony.... before and after the modifications.

    [​IMG]

    I had to shorten the right forearm, as it was way too long after I added the wire to the elbows (you can see where a bit of newspaper has stuck to the fibreglass resin.)
    I cut the mannequin's feet *after* this pic... basically each foot is now in 2 parts, with a block of wood inside for each part to screw to.

    Jeremy - the adhesive-backed plastic is made by a firm called Fablon, and B&Q have a whole range of different colours like silver, wood-effect etc. pretty cool stuff. If you're looking for some and have difficulty shoot me a PM mate :)

    As for the whole 'What's a ROTJ Stormtrooper doing in Cloud City?' argument... hhmmmm.... well Vader *did* threaten to leave a garrison behind in Cloud City in ESB.... maybe he did just that?. Or maybe I need to start looking for an original ESB Stormtrooper suit, now? :p

    Here's a couple more 'work in progress' pics... if anyone has any questions about making soimething similar don't hesitate to ask.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Cheers,
    John
     
  14. HDPE

    HDPE Well-Known Member

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    Cool :thumbsup ,

    Is that "number 1" he's holding in the right pic :love ?

    Would it be strong enough to hold an all metal E11?

    I was thinking about doing something similar for my ROTJ trooper.


    A
     
  15. Lord Abaddon

    Lord Abaddon Sr Member

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    Very cool. Looks right out of the movie in both the pose and lighting style. Well done.
     
  16. lambotour

    lambotour Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Very cool John. Thanks for the pics and the tutorial :)
     
  17. gonk27

    gonk27 Sr Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Stormtrooper @ Apr 30 2006, 03:53 PM) [snapback]1235915[/snapback]</div>

    Thanks John, Ah the name Fablon rings a bell I think.

    I'll go hunting next time I'm in B&Q. If I come up dry I'll be in touch, thanks mate.


    Jeremy
     
  18. imaginager

    imaginager Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Hey, now that's a base. Excellent work and nice tutorial.

    Allan
     
  19. Star Wars Helmets

    Star Wars Helmets Sr Member

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    John,

    SUPERB looking display mate, absolutely superb

    Cheers

    Jez
     
  20. Howard

    Howard Sr Member

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    Pure class - so much better than the thin metal base seen on so many mannequins.

    Howard.
     
  21. DL 44 Blaster

    DL 44 Blaster Sr Member

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    One of the coolest bases I've seen.. The Carbon Chamber was my first choice for display room theme, but proved to be cost prohibitive with all the floor design.

    The mannequin mods are EXTREMELY helpful to me since I'll be doing this same procedure with what looks like the same mannequin very soon.

    Steve
     
  22. voice in the crowd

    voice in the crowd Sr Member

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    That looks great John. What an incredibly effective idea.

    I kind of get the feeling we will be seeing a few more bases like this in the future :)

    Great work :thumbsup :thumbsup :thumbsup

    Cheers Chris.
     
  23. troopermaster

    troopermaster Well-Known Member

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    That looks fantastic John,well done mate.

    You have really captured the ESB carbon freezing chamber look,it's awesome.Your ROTJ suit doesn't look out of place either.If you check your ESB DVD when Vader says 'put him in' in the freezing chamber scene,the trooper that gets knocked by Chewie is just like yours with the white edging trim and same shoulder straps velcro'd on ;) Check it out.

    Top job fella.

    -Paul.
     
  24. TomSpinaDesigns

    TomSpinaDesigns Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Looks great John.

    (though the trooper is clearly innacurate. ;) )

    wonderful display.
    Tom
     
  25. hydin

    hydin Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    awesome......

    if you ever do a vader mannequin, that would be a terrific base as well.

    original, and one hell of a display to show off a cool costume. big :thumbsup

    chris
     
  26. HDPE

    HDPE Well-Known Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(troopermaster @ Apr 30 2006, 07:48 PM) [snapback]1236024[/snapback]</div>

    Yeah I noticed about that guy when he rushes to Chewie, helmet looks different though.
     
  27. Darth Brass

    Darth Brass Sr Member

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    Very very cool.
     
  28. RKW

    RKW Sr Member

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    That's an imaginative idea for a base.

    But I hope you've checked that the heat generated by those lights isn't enough to cause the tracing paper to combust :eek
     
  29. Stormtrooper

    Stormtrooper Well-Known Member

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    Glad everyone likes it.

    Hydin - If I ever do a Vader mannequin I'll build a matching base with no gel sheeting in the windows... just tracing paper for a *white panel* effect... during it's construction I tried it without the orange/red gel sheets and it looked pretty * good :thumbsup

    HDPE Stormy - No, it's not #1 he's holding in that pic... if memory serves me correct it's #10 (which is currently en-route to it's new owner in the States ;))
    I think the wire-frame hands *would* be strong enough to hold a metal E11, but I reckon that the wire at the elbows would bend, and the forearms would probably sag down :unsure

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(RKW @ Apr 30 2006, 10:35 PM) [snapback]1236081[/snapback]</div>
    The flourescent lights are rated at 6 Watts each, and although they produce a lot of light they don't run all that hot... if you look at the pic of the inside of the base I placed them a fair bit away from the windows anyways...

    Cheers,
    John
     
  30. Lukes Roommate

    Lukes Roommate Well-Known Member

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    DANG.
    You beat me to that idea...
    Awesome job.
    And I'm glad to see it looks as cool as I had hoped.


    I plan on doing the base with the lit panels facing up.
    Motivation....rising....RISING....
     
  31. RoCKo

    RoCKo Sr Member

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    that looks fantastic, john.
    and the best thing about it.... it is the same mannequin i use for my sandtrooper... :rolleyes
    i will follow your advice and give my sandtrooper a better pose.
    thanks for sharing... :thumbsup
     
  32. Emperor Turpentine

    Emperor Turpentine Well-Known Member

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    That's fantastic John.
    Reminds me of the Vader display they had at the Art of Star Wars exhibition.

    Well done :)
     
  33. recoil

    recoil New Member

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    Great idea. will have to remember this if i ever get around to building up my prop room.
     
  34. Darksaber212

    Darksaber212 Well-Known Member

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    Coolness. B) :thumbsup
     
  35. kurtyboy

    kurtyboy Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Best trooper display base we've ever seen John. :thumbsup :thumbsup
     
  36. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    Too cool for words........

    I have that same mannequin. Since the arms are hollow, how exactly did you get the wires to stay at the elbows? Any pics of how you did the feet? I cut mine mid-foot and I can BARELY get the boots on him, much less get them off again.
     
  37. Boba Frett

    Boba Frett Sr Member

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    Very cool.. :thumbsup :thumbsup
     
  38. Stormy320

    Stormy320 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Hey - that is too cool and well executed.

    Nice job.
     
  39. Prometheus

    Prometheus Well-Known Member

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    ohhh.. very nice..
    Now you need vader and boba on the same kind of platform
     
  40. lambotour

    lambotour Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Stormtrooper @ May 1 2006, 02:01 PM) [snapback]1236436[/snapback]</div>
    And a happy owner he is. ;)
     
  41. swampbug

    swampbug New Member

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    I definately think it would have been more interesting if you had some light pointing up at the trooper, giving a orange glow to the edges of the armor.
     
  42. Soundwave

    Soundwave Sr Member

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    Very impressive, I think it looks awesome and compliments the armour well.
     
  43. Stormtrooper

    Stormtrooper Well-Known Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(clutch @ May 2 2006, 02:08 AM) [snapback]1236685[/snapback]</div>
    I cut about 3" out of each arm where the mannequin's elbows were.... I used wire coathangers for the flexible elbows... didn't unravel them... just pulled them out into a long rectangle and jammed one end up the hollow biceps, and the other end down the hollow forearms, so basically there's a double length holding each arm together. I then laid some glassfibre matt (saturated with glassfibre resin) between the inside wall of the arms and the wire, and also over the top of the wire, so it sealed it tight against the wall of the arms. Then when it had set I filled the elbow 'void' with bubble wrap and foam, finished off with some duct-tape to hold it all together and give it a natural shape.
    Unfortunately I didn't take any pics at this stage, as I was getting 'near the end' and was too impatiennt to take time out for photographs. :p

    As for the feet... I noticed early on that the mannequin didn't lean foward on it's toes when standing on the base (with the steel support through the heel of it's right foot) so I decided to amputate the toes altogether.
    So the feet are really just 3/4 feet which I then made 2-part with the blocks of wood inside and the screws etc. etc. Hasn't affected it's stability at all, and makes it less stressfull putting on, and taking off the boots.
    Again I haven't any pics of this stage, but hopefully you understand what I mean :)

    I've had a few PM's asking if the rear of the base has lighted panels as well, and asking for pics of the rear of the costume. Yes, the base has 6 lighted panels... one on each side, with the rear 3 sides being a mirror image of the front 3 (although the back centre panel has a small hole for the electrical cable)
    Unfortunately the mannequin and costume is currently at my friend's office / showroom, and the nature of his businesss means I can't take pics... Sorry :unsure

    Cheers,
    John
     
  44. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    Thanks John. Sounds like I need to get cutting again. :)
     
  45. LDR

    LDR Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    John, it looks great.

    A few more questions.

    Where did you get the mannequin, its a great pose, and i am currently looking for one in the UK.

    Perhaps you could do a little tutorial on how to make the stand, i know i would love to try and make one myself. Do the lights just plug into the mains? Also how much did the mannequin and stand cost?

    Looks great

    Thanks

    Lewis

    oh any pics of the hands without gloves.

    Thanks
     
  46. WebChief

    WebChief Sr Member

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    Very well done. I've always loved the Carbon Chamber theme for a display.

    Very well done. I've always loved the Carbon Chamber theme for a display.
     
  47. Propazoid

    Propazoid Well-Known Member

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    Awesome work John.

    -Zoid
     
  48. BATS

    BATS Well-Known Member

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    now that has to be the most simple way to display your trooper, yet
    in just that effort you have created an impactful display

    absolutelly bitchen


    I need to follow your example when I do up for display
    our 2 troopers and darth in the middle


    very very well done


    thank you for sharing
     
  49. Stormtrooper

    Stormtrooper Well-Known Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(LDR @ May 3 2006, 02:37 PM) [snapback]1237556[/snapback]</div>
    I bought the mannequin off eBay about 18 months ago... don't remember the seller but the cost was about £85 I think?
    I'll see if I can throw together some tips about how to make the base, but I don't think I have enough pics to do a full-blown tutorial :unsure

    The lights were about £14 each from B&Q... they 'daisy chain' together, with the end light connecting directly to the mains so no ugly mains transformer is needed :thumbsup There's a large range of different link-lights in B&Q, but I chose a style which has a built-in diffuser-lense over the flourescent light strip, so there's less chances of getting 'hot spots' - ie. the light is evenly distributed... and I painted the inside of the base with gloss white to maximise the light reflection :)

    Cheers,
    John
     

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