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My decent into Star-Wars Madness... Part 2

Tools of the trade:

After the happy arrival of my Big-Brown-Box, and armour inside, I started to seek information on how to build the damn thing. Prior to buying, I did my fare share of research on, the 501st form. There is so much information there that I almost got lost in all the sub forums. The many friendly users there advised that I should start simple: gather the tools and materials that are required for the build.

Below are the very basic tools needed to get started:

1. CA glue.

Also known as Cyanoacrylate or fast glue, this is a very strong and fast drying adhesive. One downside with working with it is that if you make a mistake, it is rather difficult to separate the parts you've just stuck together without breaking them. This glue normally comes with a hardener (see yellow spray can), that instantly dries any of the glue it comes into contact with.

I prefer it over regular epoxy glue and superglue, as it works very fast and the both latter glues have a little flexability to them. This is something that could over time come loose, especially in armor parts in the torso and arms that flex quite a bit.

2. A garden trimmer:

Most builders will use a pair of specialized cutters for plastic, but I have found that a standard garden trimmer accompanied by a utility knife is easier on the hands. You can order the cutters from Amazon, but these worked just fine for me.

3. Unlike the Stormtroopers from the original trilogy, First order stormtrooper armour is slightly more complex, and requires sticking parts together while eliminating any signs of a seam. Therefore there is need for a filler. Most use wood-filler, but since the armour tends to move as you troop, I decided to use Evercoat Polyflex. This is a filler used mostly in fixing car bumpers. The advantage of this stuff compared to wood-filler is that its (relatively) flexible, works great with plastic, easy to sand down and holds paint well.

4. Safety:

One very important subject that some people neglect is their own personal safety while working on a project. When sanding plastic, plastic particles tend to get everywhere, lungs included. When cutting plastic, some pieces tent to take flight. Additionally, taking a deap breath of vapors coming out of Evercoat as it dries may be harmful for your health. Therefore it is highly recommended to invest in protective gear: Safety-goggles, a half-mask respirator (consult with the professionals at your local hardware store) and flexible work-gloves are a must.


* As I am known to be a klutz, I made sure I have a backup. I will be using my 3D printer to reproduce parts I inadvertently ruin. Additionally, if there is a part I wish to upgrade (for better detail), a 3D-printer will allow me to make anything I need.

Disregard the shower head and handle. These things take up a lot of space, and in a small apartment as mine, I make use of every single square meter I have. Thankfully, I have another bathroom with a functioning shower.

** One of the downsides to 3D-printing are layer lines. These printers generate the object your making one thin layer at a time. Up close, these layers are very prevalent and will not kosher for the 501st

That is why I print in ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). As this plastic melts in acetone, one easy way removing layer lines is to pop the printed object into a acetone vapor bath. For this I have a very large pot (50 liters estimated), a simple electric stove, and a porous table (to place the object on, while in the pot, thus the object does not touch the liquid acetone).

In a future episode I'll explain how this works in detail.

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