The Stormtrooper Abdomen button plate - was it vacformed?

R2Dan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hey guys!

I was going through the BluRay features the other day with my mate Dennis, and while looking at the Luke torso we thought "Hell, this doesn't actually look vac formed at all!"
Why, do you ask?

Look at this screen grab of the Luke suit (which I nicked from another thread, hope that's okay):



See how sharp those ridges are?

Here's another of an archive suit:


You notice there's a colour difference, not a surprise as they most likely were added on later, but were they vac-formed at all? Or maybe cast? Something completely different maybe?

What do you guys think? I'm not convinced they're cast, but I'm not 100% sure they are just another vac formed piece anymore either...
 
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ObiHahn

Active Member
It might just be really really thin material, even ABS perhaps, but this just doesn't seem like a vac-formed piece. The definition of these small lines look super sharp!

We also came to the conclusion that no replica armor has truly replicated the sharp small ridges as of yet, so please chime in with your thoughts and theories.
 

gonk27

Sr Member
Well it looks to me like that part's vac-formed into a shallow negative mould, rather than over a postive one. That would give you all the detail.
 

R2Dan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
To be fair, it's TE-Matt who planted a seed of doubt when he commented on Rob and Si's replica suit on Facebook. This made me look more closely
 

R2Dan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Well it looks to me like that part's vac-formed into a shallow negative mould, rather than over a postive one. That would give you all the detail.
Yep, I thought of that as a possibility as well
 

Stormtrooper

Well-Known Member
Hhhhhmmmmm..... interesting query, indeed.

I'm no authority on what 'is' or 'isn't' possible with vacuum-forming thermoplastics techniques, but to me the shallow plastic sheet surrounding the button panel, indicates that the piece was vacuum formed.
If it weren't for this crudely-trimmed plastic around the button panel, then the piece could be cast from resin or made using some other method...

But, as this abdomen button panel was one of the additions hastily made after the Sandtrooper scenes were shot, I don't personally think that the costume department would have gone to great lengths like using another fabrication technique, for what is essentially just an additional detail.
Chances are, they vac-formed them along with the other *Storm*-trooper specific additions, in one short afternoon back in '76...:unsure

But I agree, the lines *are* remarkably sharp for vacuum-forming tech... perhaps it was achieved using a negative mould as Jeremy suggested.

pppsssstttt! Quit over-analysing the stormtrooper costume, Dan! Now that we've all finally got the Definitive Stormtrooper Replica, don't go lookin' for things that aren't right! :lol Just kiddin, man.... Perhaps we've all become over-analytical, and will never truly be satisfied?!
I remember emailing Dale back in 1998, asking him why the Armor F/X helmet had a seperate dome. And he replied very courteously, saying something like "Don't get hung up on finding differences with the movie Stormtroopers - just enjoy the overall effect of the costume'.
Aaaahhhh, memories. We've certainly come a LONG way since then! :thumbsup

Cheers,
John
john@manicminer.plus.com
 
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R2Dan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
But I'm all about details... why do you think I'm widely known as "accurazi" (short for accuracy nazi ;)) here in the German Garrison :D

I think the negative mould vacforming is a very possible explanation. Now I just need to convince Rob and Si that they need to build a new mould ;)
 

Stormtrooper

Well-Known Member
On a side note.... check out the absence of a bottom lip, on the chest-plate. Was this the result of over-enthusiastic trimming, or as I've always suspected, due to Hamill's shorter height, in order to make the costume's components look proportionally correct.

Must've been tricky adding the necessary wire brackets onto the chestplate, since the normal location would be the bottom lip. Maybe the costume department's 'old friend' Gaffer Tape came to the rescue?
In fact, seeing how much Gaffer Tape was used on the Stormtrooper costumes during the Tantive IV scenes.... I'm surprised that Gaffer Tape wasn't credited at the end of the movie! :lol

Cheers,
John
john@manicminer.plus.com
 

R2Dan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Yeah, Lukes chest and backplate were cut short - no idea how they connected them to the ab and kidney plate though.
 

gizmo

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
If you look at the archive pics of lukes suit sitting on the shelf you can see inside and it looks like large pieces of black elastic straps were glued inside for the chest and back plate.

As for the ab detail I say negative mold vac form. That's why I'm not permanently attaching mine in case we get better ones soon.

Ben
 
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