It is currently Sat Sep 21, 2019 8:30 am


Post a new topicPost a reply Page 1 of 1   [ 7 posts ]
Author Message
 Post subject: Chrisco27 Praetorian Guard Build Write-Up (Picture Heavy)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:24 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:33 pm
Posts: 6
TKID: 42488
Here is my Elite Praetorian Guard build write up. While researching for my build I realized that because this was a newer character and not as prevalent, there was a serious lack of information out there about doing a build especially here on Forcepike. Luckily I found the 501st Praetorian Guard Facebook page and was able to find most of what I needed for the build. But I knew from the start that I wanted to photo document the whole process to create a build write up so others did not have to search as hard.

As a disclaimer, this is what I did for my build. I am sure that there are different and better ways to do this build. I don’t claim to be an expert but I am pretty handy and can hold my own with most projects. I welcome others who have done a Praetorian build to share their experience and offer improvements on the methods here. Some of the things I have done may not be right for you so give it some thought before blindly following. I do try to give options. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about my build and I’m just trying to help. Feel free to ask questions, I’m sure I missed something or could be clearer. Again other experienced Praetorians feel free to offer knowledge and other options for the build.

Thanks
Lobster Chris


Tools and Materials Needed:

Protective equipment: safety glasses, work gloves, rubber gloves, hearing protection, respirator
Hammer for snap setting
Snap setting tool
Snap setting anvil
Tandy line 24 snaps (or other high quality snaps)
Soldering iron
Drill and drill bits
Scissors
Compressor (to blow down pieces, clean off dust)
Small saw (for trimming the shoulder straps)
LOTS of clamps, various sizes
CA glue (superglue)
5 minute epoxy
E6000
Spray adhesive (for felt lining)
Bondo
2 part fiberglass epoxy
Fiberglass cloth
Cheap paint brushes for fiberglassing
Painters/masking tape
Sandpaper various grits (120, 220, 320 400 500 or equivalent)
Stands or string (to hold your pieces for painting)
Spray primer or spray primer/filler
Spray paint, your chosen red
Blue paint for chest square (I used Humbrol 15 gloss)
Silver metallic spray paint (for weapons)
Clear coat
Plastidip (if you choose to line the inside with it)
2 inch red webbing (maybe 10 ft)
1 inch red webbing (maybe 2 ft)
1 inch Elastic banding, any color (maybe 16-20 ft if doing elastic for arms)
15 ft of paracord, any color
Velcro strips, sew on, any color (will glue on for shins)
Velcro sticky back, 2 inch any color (attach sides)
Red felt, 2-3 yards (for lining armor)
Plastic or webbing (to make snap plates)
Plastic (for making shin buckle plates)
Wooden dowel (for weapons)
Neodymium magnets various sizes (for weapons)
Metal flat bar (for weapons)
Zip ties
Two small blocks of wood
1 inch thick hard foam
Soft foam/helmet padding/hard hat liner etc for helmet lining
Pencils, markers
Angelus Brand Leather Preparer and Deglazer
Angelus Brand Fire Red Acrylic Leather Paint
Angelus Brand High Gloss Acrylic Finisher

Kit and Weapons Manufacturers

Anyway I was just finishing up my Stormtrooper build (ANH Stunt TK) a little while after the Last Jedi had come out. I fell in love with the Praetorian Guard and started doing my research. By piecing together facebook posts (and comments to those posts) I found that there was really only one way to go for Praetorian Armor. The gold standard at this time is from Jim Tripon, made of flexible fiberglass. I have seen people doing 3D print armor now too. But I wanted Jims armor so people said to contact him and he can help you. I Facebook messaged him asking about his armor and he sent me his order form and info PDF file. Jim makes all of the armor, the three helmet styles and all soft parts. He did have the option to buy only the armor or a helmet or do the armor, undershirt, pants and skirt as his “full kit.” I went with the full kit, got all three helmets, armor, and soft parts so he gave me a bit of a discount on helmets which was awesome, thanks Jim! I would highly recommend his stuff.

For weapons there were a couple options but I went with Empire3D. I got all 3 helmets and plan to eventually make all four guard variants, but for now I got the Electric-Bisento to go with the mando helmet and Twin Vibro-Arbirs for the samurai.

My BBB Day was September 18, 2018, and I also got my weapons around that time. I opened everything up and laid it all out to inspect, inventory, and just play with it.

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image


A common question is always what are these 4 small pieces that come with the kit. Well they are the 2 bars that go on the left shin, and the two shoulder plate risers.

Image


Initial Assembly

I decided that I was going to assemble my armor (trimming, strapping, gluing snap plates, tec.) before my paint. I know some people have completed their armor differently, like painting then assembling, but I thought this was a more logical way so I didn’t scratch my beautiful paint yet to come.

Although I have to be honest I did paint a bit before working on strapping. This being fiberglass armor, the backside of the armor is rough and can give splinters. If you have ever worked with rough fiberglass you know its not fun and can give nasty itchy splinters. I sanded the backside of the armor (while wearing gloves, long sleeves and a respirator) to get rid of any stray fibers and then spray painted it with the Rustoleum professional safety red (the same color I will use on the outside).

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image


This was one of the steps that differs from other people. Others have left the fiberglass rough or coated it with plastidip or lined it with felt. I did find a red plastidip I was going to use for this.

Image
Image

I opted to initially paint the backside because this seals in the rough fiberglass and allows you to handle it without worry of splinters. I knew I would need to handle it a lot. Again maybe not nessecery but it worked great for me. A note on this though, if you then want to glue/epoxy anything to the inside of the armor, like snap plates, Velcro, webbing, I recommend sand down to fiberglass at that specific spot to get better adhesion, instead of having paint peal up. As you’ll see later, spray adhesive worked fine over the paint. I believe I also read that someone else put plastidip over the paint and it was fine. Side note, I used my compressor quite a bit to blow the dust of my armor.

Image


Strapping

I pulled some experience from my recent TK build to help with the strapping. To attach the chest and back pieces I used strips of webbing. I bought 2 inch thick red webbing online for this.

Image

I had a lot of tandy line 24 snaps left over from my TK build that I put in the webbing. I used a old crappy soldering iron to melt the holes through the webbing and also folded over the end of the webbing to put the snaps through a double layer for extra strength.

Image
Image

I made my snap plates from left over ABS plastic from my TK build, but ive seen others use a piece of webbing as the snap plate and glue that in with success.

Snap Plates

For making snap plates first you need snaps and have to know how to set them. I would recommend high quality snaps for Tandy Leather (Tandy Line 24 snaps), you can find them online. These do require a snap setting tool and “anvil” underneath to set each side of the snap. I have used cheap snaps and they don’t hold as well. Some people use crimp on snaps but again, they will not work as well. For the snaps there is a male side that snaps into the female side. Each side is actually made up of two pieces that sandwich the material they are set in, to secure the snap. The back side of the snaps has a shaft that goes through the material and through the front side of the snap and gets bent over by your snap setting tool which secures it.

Image
Image

Place your anvil under the bottom of the snap and always keep the snap on the anvil when hammering. Then take the snap setting tool and place in onto the shaft pointing up through the material and front half of the snap. Take a hammer and tap the snap setting tool. I found it helps to angle the snap setting tool ever so slightly and hit it, then move the top end of the snap setter around in a small circle while hitting it. Going slow and steady will help you not bend the shafts and ruining that snap. If it starts to go bad stop and get a new snap. This can be frustrating. I have bent many snaps working on my costumes but work at it. It feels good when you snap a good snap.

Image
Image
Image
Image

To make a snap plate take a small piece of plastic or webbing, size can vary based on the application but maybe around and inch square. Drill or melt a hole just big enough for the shaft of the snap to go through. Then set your snap.
Side note, after you cut webbing or elastic, I would recommend you fuse or melt the ends so they don’t fray and ruin your straps. You can use a lighter, match or your soldering iron.

Image

The color of these materials doesn’t really matter because they will be hidden (but I like making it match). I wanted to properly trim the fiberglass shoulder straps on the upper back and upper chest so I figured I should get the ab section placed correctly and then work up to the chest and back. I glued in snap plates to the ab section.

Image

In this picture im using neodymium magnets wrapped in cloth to “clamp” the snap plate in place while the glue dries. Little trick I learned from my TK build.

Image
Image


I planned to have the ab section float with suspenders that crossed both in my front and in the back. To visualize, a suspender would start on the front left then go over my right shoulder and end on the back left. The other suspender would start on my front right go over my left shoulder and down to the back right. This gives you a pretty stable ab section and the straps will not fall down on you. This is why the snap plates are slightly angled on the ab piece. I initially tried to make a simple strap out of the 2 in red webbing with snaps at both ends. This proved difficult to find the right height and also to get the ab piece level. I ended up installing an adjustment buckle thing into each strap to easily get the right length.

Image
Image
Image


Once I knew about where the ab piece would sit, I could then start mocking up the chest and back pieces. Using tape and some extra hands, I was able to roughly position everything. I marked on the shoulder straps of the upper chest piece and upper back piece where they needed to be cut, and then cut them (side note – I didn’t, but I would recommend before cutting the back shoulder straps, make sure you have enough room to attach the shoulder risers. I barely had enough room). Then I marked and taped the two chest pieces together and the two back pieces together where they needed to be positioned. I planned to glue in snap plates and use webbing to connect the pieces so I marked out where to glue in the snap plates. And for better glue adhesion I sanded off the paint where the snap plates were going. Then I made up and glued in all the snap plates with E6000.

Image

Between the upper chest and lower chest and between the two back pieces, I put in three pieces of webbing. In hindsight this may be overkill, as I have seen a few others use only two pieces.

Image
Image
Image
Image

These are some of the clamps I used for the whole build
Image


Also I put the side webbing very far to the edge which could get in the way of installing Velcro to hold down the sides of the chest pieces to the sides of the back pieces (it ended up being ok, but next time I might move them in slightly). Over the shoulders I did a strip of webbing as well, but the 2 inch webbing was a little wide so I trimmed it a bit to be hidden by the armor. For all these pieces of webbing I made sure to label them because if you pull them all off you could easily mix them up and they are not exactly the same.


Helmet Assembly

While I waited for glue to dry, I worked on my samurai and knight helmets. For the samurai helmet there are two tabs that are raised up from the top rim of the side/face part. These tabs line up with indents on the underside of the brim or top piece. For the initial attachment I used 5-minute epoxy just gluing these two tabs. In this picture I taped the pieces together while they dried and you can see the two glue spots inside the helmet.

Image
Image

I then fiberglassed the inside of the helmet to make it one piece. First, I sanded the areas where the fiberglass would go. I then cut fiberglass cloth into strips about 2 in by 5 inch. For epoxy I used West Systems two-part epoxy; the 105 Resin and 206 Hardener.

Image
Image

There are many options here for epoxy, just use something good for fiberglassing. After properly mixing the 2 parts, I took a brush and applied a coat of epoxy everywhere I wanted the cloth to go. I then laid down the strips of fiberglass cloth over the seam of the two pieces, overlapping the strips until I went around the whole seam. The cloth will start to absorb the epoxy underneath which is what you want. Then taking your brush apply more epoxy by dabbing it over the cloth to completely soak it. You do not want bubbles or dry cloth anywhere. Let this dry and you now have one piece.

Image
Image

I did lightly sand the inside to ensure no pokey fiberglass remained and then used some Bondo to fill the crack on the outside of the helmet and blend the pieces to look like one. Bondo is also a good option for making any cosmetic changes if needed or filling holes.

Image

For the knight helmet I taped the faceplate onto the helmet and tried to get my head in it, but no go. My big head could not squeeze through so I had to somehow make the faceplate removable (people with smaller head may not have this issue). Velcro could definitely work here, but I also read that others had used magnets and thought that would be a cool way to pop the faceplate on and off. I got a pack of neodymium magnets, about the size of dimes but many sizes will do. You will need 8. To ensure perfect alignment the placement of the magnets is critical. Bear with me here as I try to explain how I did all this.

On the helmet there are two tabs on each side that the faceplate overlaps, this is where you could glue it for smaller head people. I took a forstner drill bit the same diameter as the magnet and VERY carefully drilled these tabs to make a very shallow crater indent, DO NOT DRILL ALL THE WAY THROUGH! These indents will be where the magnets attached to the inside of the faceplate will sit ensuring proper alignment. In the pictures, you can see where I taped over the indents before painting, not sure why I did that but its not needed.

Image
Image
Image

I then carefully set magnets into these indents and put the faceplate over them in its proper place. Then I taped the faceplate to the helmet, which will hold the magnets in place. I then put other magnets on the outside of the faceplate that would mate with the magnets underneath. Once these outer magnets were on, you can remove the tape holding the helmet and faceplate together and the magnets will stay in place on the inside of the faceplate exactly where they need to be. You can then trace the location of the magnets with a pencil. This allows you to then remove the magnets, put down some 5-minute epoxy and glue them back in the right spots. I did this method one side at a time.
When all 4 magnets on the inside of the faceplate are glued, tape the faceplate back onto the helmet. Then take the remaining 4 magnets and put them on the inside of the helmet tabs. They will automatically find the magnets on the faceplate and settle where they need to be glued. Again trace these locations. Remove the magnets and using 5-minute epoxy, glue them to the inside of the helmet tabs. Make sure the magnets are facing the right way when they are glued back in. If reversed, magnets will be magnets and repel the faceplate. Not quite what we want. The pull of the faceplate magnets should be enough to hold the helmet magnets while the epoxy dries. Once dry, you should have a perfectly aligned faceplate using magnets.

Image
Image



Arm Assembly

Next I worked on the strapping for the arms. Side note when you first get the arm pieces, I would recommend keeping all the pieces for each arm together but also separate from the other arm, so they don’t get mixed up. I would also recommend labeling them, I did “L1, L2, etc.”
Everyone has different length arms so you have to work to get the spacing right for the segments. You want essentially equal spacing down the arm and for it to look proportional for the wearer.

Now for the arms I have seen two ways to put them together. First is with paracord tied down through the holes in each piece with simple overhand knots holding each piece in the right spot, two cords per arm. The second I’ve seen is using two strips per arm of webbing or preferably elastic webbing (for more flexibility) with snaps connecting each piece. I did go with elastic and snaps, but there are some pros and cons of each. The paracord is much simpler and I have heard it works great. By just tying knots it can be easily adjusted and you don’t have to worry about doing snaps, snap plates, elastic (some people don’t always get along with snaps). If you need a little bit more room for your arms, the paracord doesn’t take up as much space as the elastic and snaps either. With the paracord if you did have to get to a middle arm piece it would require the untying of many sections to get there and then would have to retie (not bad, just tedious and inconvenient). Again I’ve heard paracord works well and others have gone that way, but it didn’t seem as worry free for me, but I can’t really put my finger on it. I have had great success with snaps and wanted to go that way. Elastic and snaps is more work initially and takes some focus to get the right spacing because once the snap is placed it can’t really be moved. A little nerve racking, but once it is right it won’t move on you and it is worry free. Also by gluing in snap plates I feel it gives more surface area for the stress of movement to be spread out, not just the paracord pulling around the hole. I have skinny arms so I am not worried about space inside either.

If I was going the paracord route, there really is nothing I would need to do for arm strapping at this point. Once painted I could just thread in the paracord and use trial and error to tie the knots in the proper places and be done. Seems pretty simple. Even if you are doing paracord, continue reading the following paragraphs because I explain how to assemble the arm.

But for elastic and snaps, more work is needed. To properly size the arms, I mocked up one arm using… drumroll please… paracord! I was able to properly space out and mock up one of the arms to fit me. When I did this I put on the chest and back pieces to know where the arms would lie in relation.

Side note, let’s go over some of my terminology. Each arm is made up of 10 pieces technically. Eight are tube/ring pieces that your arm will go through, I generally call those the arm segments. Then one piece I call the “shoulder bell” (taken from my TK build), then then top “shoulder plate”.
When I talk about putting the arms together with paracord or elastics and snaps, I am putting the eight segments and shoulder bell together. The shoulder bell is attached to the shoulder strap (much like a stormtrooper kit). The top shoulder plate is not actually attached to the shoulder bell, instead it is attached to the riser that comes off the back piece and then rests on the shoulder bell.

Image

So for my mock-up I tied the 9 pieces together. I started by taking two pieces of paracord, I believe about 4 ft long each and tied a simple overhand knot at one end. If I were keeping the paracord I would of course get red to match, not that it will be seen but why not go all red? These I threaded through the holes of the shoulder bell. The shoulder bells are identical, but it may be hard to tell how they sit. There are two holes that should face up and the blocks on the inside should be closer to the bottom.
(I know there a lot going on in this picture, but just look at the orientation of the should bell for reference)

Image

The blocks have holes through them so you can tie the paracord through them or could go through the holes in the shoulder bell itself. I would recommend tying to the blocks so you won’t see the paracord coming through the holes in the shoulder bell. The top shoulder plate will hide the holes though.
Next thread on the largest of the 8 arm segments. This should have a large cut out that will face up (which leaves room for your arm/armpit area). Thread the cord from the outside of the piece to the inside and tie an overhand knot. Once you have the piece on hold it up and see how it hangs. Its hard to judge spacing at the moment, but adjust the knots on the inside of the piece to where you are happy with it. In general, the piece above should at least cover the holes where the paracord comes through. Once its set, grab the next largest piece the thread the paracord from the outside to the inside and tie your knots. Adjust accordingly. And repeat, and repeat… keep an eye on you spacing and try to keep everything looking right.

Image
Image

Continue until you get all the pieces together. Do a test fit and see if it fits your arm length. Mine was a little off and needed adjustment (long arms). This can take some time messing with knots. But now with all the pieces tied on just untie the smallest, bottom piece and position it where it needs to be. You can leave that one be and just adjust the middle pieces to have equal spacing and get the perfect look. I would also recommend putting on the chest and back pieces to see how the arms sit in relation to those to help get the right length. Shoulder bell should be right up against the shoulder straps (for me).

Image

Once I had the one arm mocked-up I could use that for a template of where to position snaps for the other arm. Before putting it together, I made up 16 small snap plates (plastic plate with a male snap). I glued in two plates in each arm segment. I know some people have just set the snaps in the holes in each fiberglass piece, but I did not want to stress the fiberglass by doing that. I also though it would be difficult to get my tools into each piece to set the snaps. I placed the snap plates directly over the holes in the arm segments thinking that this was where the pieces were designed to be attached and they will hang nicely. That placement seemed to work well in the end. For the gluing, I put a piece of tape over the hole on the outside of each piece so the glue wouldn’t seep out. I used E6000 and glued all those in.

Image
You can never have too many clamps, and you still always seem to run out.

Once dry, I started with assembly. I used elastic to allow for some flexibility in the arms if needed. I bought some red 1 inch elastic because red is cool, but again it wont be seen so the standard black works too.

Image
Image

I wanted to ensure the snaps would be secure and that over time that the elastic would not stretch out so I doubled up the elastic. So in the end I needed a total of 8 strips to complete two arms, each strip was a little longer than my arm, maybe 3 ft to be safe.
I took two strips and with my soldering iron a burned a hole through each at the end and set a female snap through both. With the soldering iron I also fused the ends of the elastic. Repeat the process to make another double elastic strip. Snap these two onto the smallest arm segment. Now is the tough part, lining up the other pieces to get the spacing right. I had hung up my arm mocked-up with paracord. I then held up the arm I was making with snaps and found where the second arm segment would sit. I took a marker and carefully marked exactly where the elastic sat on the male snaps inside the second arm piece. I burned a hole though the elastic strips on the mark and then set the female snaps. I snapped in the second piece and repeated the process always matching the spacing to the template arm mocked up with paracord. Take your time, be careful and it should come out great.

Image
Image
Image
Image


Once done with that arm, I took apart the arm done with paracord and glued in the snap plates on all the arm segments. Then using the completed arm as my guide, I assembled the other arm. I did glue a snap onto the small blocks inside the shoulder bell and continued the elastic strips up and attached the 8 arm pieces to the shoulder bell. You can use a snap plate here but I just straight glued a male snap to the block. Also important, label the elastic strips, such as left front, right back etc because each one is specific to its location. This is because the snap plates could be glued in at different heights and if the elastics were switched it could throw off your arm segment spacing. Trim any excess elastic if needed.

Image
Also take note of the labels in this picture.

As you can see in the above picture I glued webbing into the shoulder bells to attach them to the shoulder straps. However, this was done after painting, and ill talk about that later. So the arms are done for now.



Shoulder Risers and Shin Bars

Next I wanted to attach the risers that come off the back plate and hold up the top shoulder plates. I put on the ab, chest, and back pieces. The top point of the risers should rest at the center and top of the shoulder so that when the plate is attached, it will sit correctly. So by yourself, or with help, figure out where the risers need to be glued to the back plate.

Image

I glued my risers on. I have seen others use magnets to hold them on, maybe also using Velcro. It depends on how you want to secure things. I heard that sometimes the magnets could pop off with big movements so I decided to glue mine. Then I will tie or zip tie the top shoulder plates to the risers.

Image
Image
Image
Image


The last bit of assembly I did was gluing on the two bars to the outside of the left shin piece. These go side by side just below the indent for the “buckle” rectangle on the back piece making up the shin. I believe I used super glue here.

Image
Image
Image



Priming, Painting, Clear Coat

Again there are options here. I have heard other people just sand down the red fiberglass and clear coat it or polish it. This does seem to work and cuts out some steps (especially if you hate painting). However I have also heard that it does not always look as good, or it isn’t the right shade of red. I saw great results with people painting the armor red and clear coating so I decided to do that.

Paint Prep

So on to painting. With all this sanding and assembly, the armor was a little dusty/dirty so I washed all the pieces with soap and water. This removes the dust and all the chemicals that could be left from the manufacturing and even oils from your skin. We don’t want any of that on the pieces.

Image

Once dry I handled the pieces with rubber gloves to keep them as clean as possible. On a nice day, I set up an elaborate stand system for all the pieces outside for painting. The arm, ab and spat pieces that are enclosed rings, I strung up on a clothes line.

Image
Image

I didn’t find this til after priming but I noticed a lot of small fiberglass specs or beads on the faceplates of the helmets and in the line details of the armor which were not wanted and looked bad. I took a tiny reading glasses flathead screwdriver and ran it along the grooves and broke of these little beads. Seemed to work well for cleaning up those areas.

Image

Thinking ahead I knew there were places that I wanted to keep free of paint, for future gluing or other reasons, so I put on some painters tape. I did this over all the snap plates to keep them clean, over the places where Velcro would glue onto the shins, and over the slits on the face plates. I did the face plates because I didn’t want the slits to get filled in with the multiple coats of primer and reduce my vision (afterwards I'm not sure if it really made a difference) .

Image
Image



Priming

I first used a spray primer/filler from Rustolium on everything.

Image

The primer/filler is thicker and can better fill in small pits and imperfections in the fiberglass.
I initially planned to rely on the filler to fix the imperfections however came to find that I should have sanded the pieces more. There were some places that needed quite a few heavy coats of filler to fix.

Image
Image

But it did work out fine with a few coats. In between coats I did sand, to take care of any problem areas or drips.

Image
Image

Generally, you want to do multiple light coats with spray paint to avoid drips but I went heavy on purpose to fill spots. I found that I used about 2 cans per coat on all the pieces. I think I used a total of 8 cans for 4 coats. Others may have different results.

I did have a small accident while setting up for priming. I had to carry each piece out and put on the stands I made and on one of the trips I dropped the knight helmet on the ground. It was onto grass but when it hit I heard the distinctive crack of fiberglass. FML. I picked it up saw that the helmet had landed around the right cheek area on one of the lower tabs where the faceplate attaches. Luckily it had not broken off, but I could see the hairline crack across the whole area.

Image
Image

I took that helmet back inside to repair. I sanded the inside to expose the fiberglass (I previously painted the inside). I prepped some fiberglass cloth and resin and got to work laying down a couple layers of fiberglass cloth on the inside. On the outside I also lightly sanded and just brushed on a coat of epoxy to cover the crack. Feeling a little (or a lot) mad at myself I went back outside and did my priming.



Painting

I let the primer dry for a couple days and then set everything back up for painting. I used Rustolium Professional High Performance Enamel in safety red which was used by others. I liked the look and it seemed to perform well for them.

Image

I sprayed a few light coats on all the pieces. Since the Rustolium professional spray cans are larger, I used about one and a half cans per coat. I did 4 coats so I think I used about 6 cans? I let this dry and packed up for the day.

Image
Image
You can see the repaired knight helmet is a few steps behind in the painting because of the accident.

This was one of the first times I really saw what the armor was going to look like finished and it was stunning. I wanted to just put it on then and run around. Its tough when I get excited. I just want to finish but that’s when I can make mistakes. I definitely have in the past, so patience young padawan, it will get there.

Before clear coat, while I was checking over my armor, i remembered I had to paint on the blue square on the chest piece. I broke out a navy blue paint from my Humbrol set left over from my TK build (I believe I used Humbrol 15 gloss). Using a very small detail brush, I carefully painted the square and let it dry.


Clear Coat

Next was the clear coat. I originally was going to go with the rustolium gloss clear (which is still a fine option).

Image

However reading about other’s builds on facebook and their recommendations, I decided to go with Spray Max 2K Clear in a spray can.

Image

The 2K means it’s a two part clear. Within the can there are 2 parts much like an epoxy resin and hardener system. Before use, you have to mix the parts and then you have a limited time to use it. It is supposedly much closer to a professional automotive clear coat, gives better scratch protection and just looks way better. It is expensive though. And to do multiple coats may be cost prohibitive. I bought a 6 pack of cans for around $100 US. But I have to say I am very happy with the product. Unfortunately I live in New England and I started this whole project in the fall. I managed to get the priming and painting done with nice weather but only got one coat of clear on all my parts before I ran out of time and warm weather.
Also, the two-part clear is some nasty stuff, far worse than spray paint for health hazards. (you need to wear the right mask certified for those kinds of chemicals) It also will get everywhere. Unlike spray painting in a garage, where its pretty controlled, Ive seen reports that this stuff will get residuals on everything in the garage. So I’m going to wait til spring. One coat looks good enough to troop in (it certainly still bugs me though that I don’t look my shiny best).



Final Assembly

Attaching the Arms

With all the painting done it is time for final assembly. I still needed to put on the straps that connect the shoulder bells to the shoulder straps. I made a hole and set a male snap pointing down in the shoulder strap webbing. I placed this snap in the strap where it rested on the top ridge of my shoulder. I then took about 6-8 inches of 1 inch red webbing and put a female snap in one end. I snapped this onto the shoulder strap and threw on the chest and back pieces. I then put on an arm assembly and laid it over the 1 inch webbing snapped to the shoulder straps so I could mark where this webbing was going to be glued into the shoulder bell. For me the shoulder bell butted right up to the fiberglass shoulder straps. I then glued in the 1 inch webbing straps to the shoulder bells inside along the top ridge.

Image
Image
Image
You can also see the felt lining I put in, but ill talk about that later.

I have seen other methods to attach the arms.
Side note on some improvements: Later on, while doing my approval pictures, this one snap holding on the arms popped off. Most snaps I used were high quality Tandy snaps. But I ran out and the snap I used for this shoulder bell to shoulder strap connection was a cheaper one. To help this I added a second 1 inch strap with snap, just like the original, for double the strength.

Image

This two snap system has worked well. Although the snaps are difficult to attach while suiting up. I can manage to get one side done but I cant then reach the other side with the arm on. I need a helper to snap the other arm and they have a real hard time getting both snaps. I plan to change how this is done. I want to use a plastic buckle that I can just clip in. hopefully I will update this thread with that change in the future.


Shins

I also worked on the shins. I used E6000 to glue in Velcro, the sew-in type. I put the hook side on the back shin pieces and the loop side on the front shin pieces. Not that it really matters which side is where. Just make sure they will actually mate up and wont be seen when the shins are together. This Velcro is the only thing I have holding the shins together and with a 3 mile parade under my belt, I’ve had zero issues with them coming off. I did use a mixture of red and black Velcro here (ran out of red).

Image
Image
Image

Across the seam on both sides of both shins there is a rectangular indent where a flat piece of plastic has to go. There originally was supposed to be a buckle greeblie here but it was changed to just a flat piece. I used some left over ABS plastic from my TK build trimming to make 4 pieces that fit here. I painted them red to match. The CRL only requires this rectangular cover piece on the outside of each shin. So I glued a cover piece only on the outside on each front shin piece. I then glued a small piece of Velcro on the back of the cover plate with matching Velcro glued in the space where this tab will sit on the back shin piece.

Image
Image


But to fill the space on the inside of the shins I took two of the small pieces, cut them in half and glued a half to the front and glued the other half to the back shin piece. I could have left full cover pieces on both the inside and outside of the shins but I figured by doing the half pieces it would be simpler and no risks of breaking off another small piece of plastic that stuck out. (all this gluing of pieces could have been done before painting all the armor but I forgot)

Image


Felt Lining

Another large part of final assembly was lining most of the pieces with felt. Since there are so many small parts moving against each other, your paint will be destroyed quickly without protection. I used red felt for this because it will likely be seen on the edge of the pieces. You could probably use other materials like fabrics, foams or the loop side of Velcro. The generic red felt I got was a pretty good color match. To attach it I used 3M spray adhesive, which worked well. Other glues could be used too.

Image

I started with the chest and back pieces. The upper chest sits on top of the lower chest and the lower chest sits on the ab piece, so both need felt on the inside of the bottom portions. Same with the back pieces. I did the best I could and traced the outline of the bottom of these four pieces onto the felt. To cover the area I wanted, I only needed to go a few inches up from the bottom, maybe around 3 inches. I also cut out around where the snap plates were to not interfere with those.

Image
Image


Next I lined the spats. These will sit around the bottom of the shins and on your boots so its nice to line them. Because of the shape of these, make sure to cut a large strip of felt and test fit before gluing.

The most important lining is the arm pieces. This is where the most movement happens. I took the arm segments and cut strips of felt that would wrap around the inside of each and pretty much cover the whole inside surface.

Image

This may have been slightly more than needed but it gave me peace of mind. Also when you store the arms you can just compress all the pieces up into one another to reduce space and the full lining is nice to have protecting them. I did have to make cut-outs so I wouldn’t cover the snaps. Glue in the pieces as best you can following the bottom edge. If the felt sticks out and will be seem, just carefully trim after its glued. As you can see in one of the pictures, once the spray adhesive is on, I rolled up the felt strip to control it better and unrolled it out onto the glue.

Image
Image
Image

Make sure to line the shoulder bell too as this covers the top am segment.

Image



Chest and Back Side Attachment

For the chest pieces and back pieces, they are connected at the shoulders but I currently did not have anything to attach them at the sides. For this I used sticky back Velcro.

Image

I put on the ab, chest, and back pieces and positioned the pieces how I wanted them. I wanted the chest pieces, upper and lower, to go over the back pieces and I marked where the Velcro should be attached. To not scratch paint, I put hook side Velcro on the back pieces facing out and put the loop side on the inside of the chest pieces. I forgot to do this before the felt lining so I had to pull up some of the felt to make room for Velcro.

Image

After some use this Velcro system seems to work, but it could shift on you during aggressive movements.
I would like to note that I do not have anything attaching the chest and back pieces to the ab section. The ab section is held up by the suspenders and the chest and back are independent of it. This will allow for some flexibility and I have not had any issues so far.


Top Shoulder Plates

I did a few things with the top shoulder plates. First, to attach them, I zip tied them to the risers that come off the back plate. I had them pretty tight, but they were still able to move a bit when I lifted my arms.

Image
Image

However when I put everything on later, I found that the top shoulder plates were too close together and my helmet would hit them and not sit nicely on my head. I needed to move them out a bit. I decided to make a small block of wood much like the fiberglass block already glued to the underside of the shoulder plate and added that in as a spacer. I drilled a hole in the wood block to still use my zip tie method. I could have glued in the wood block spacer but I just zip tied it in. seems to work well.

Image


Also, for the top shoulder plates to sit nicely on the shoulder bell beneath, I wanted to add a pad or spacer. I had some 1 inch thick, hard foam around the house that was perfect, others may need different thicknesses here. I cut out 4 circles about 1.5 inch in diameter (2 per side) and added a layer of felt on one end. The felt will rest against the shoulder bell to protect the paint from scratches. I glued them in and figured that by doing the two positioned where they are, it would help to center the shoulder plate on the shoulder bell. I’m not sure if two are really needed, one may work fine, but I know the two work well. I also added a small piece of loop side Velcro to the bottom of the blocks on the top shoulder plate for scratch protection

Image
Image
Image

The zip ties are how I plan to attach the shoulder plates when I wear the armor, but when the plates are attached the armor does not pack well in my bin. So what I have been doing is cutting off the zip ties for storage and for each troop I will use new zip ties and attach them. It is slightly wasteful and annoying but it works for now and I have millions of small zip ties. I will work on an alternative.



Helmet Fitting

For the inside of the helmets, there are a few options, and it kinda depends on your personal preference. You can just use sheets of soft foam and custom cut pads to glue in. This doesn’t always look pretty and the foam could get gross/smelly after a while but its relatively easy. You can try pre-made bike or motorcycle helmet pads. Often these may even have sticky backs to just stick in or maybe even Velcro so they are removable. Similar to these, I’ve seen combat helmet padding kits used. Or combat helmet suspension systems which are similar to hard hat suspension systems which can both be modified to fit. These suspention systems are nice because there is space between your head and the helmet where air can move, especially if you want to put fans in (the foam hinders airflow). These helmets do have slightly different shapes inside so configuring your setup could take some work. I needed a quick solution for an upcoming troop so I went with sheets of soft foam and custom cut the padding (actually I did use a piece of foam that came with my TK helmet, the yellow piece).

Image
Image

People always ask how the visibility is in the helmets. Its actually good and much better than other helmets including my Stormtrooper bucket. There are a lot of slits and they are close to your face so it works. I have let many people from my garrison try it and they are always surprised.

Image


That is pretty much it for armor assembly. I would recommend trying everything on and carefully walking around a bit. You find out a lot about your armor and what improvements are needed. I also discovered the armor makes you wider, especially going through doors. I found this out the hard way and put in the first scratches. Ouch.



Boots and Gloves

For boots and gloves, there were a couple options when I started looking. Originally I had planned to buy from Imperial Boots. I liked the look and I thought they had the best shade of red. I went to buy them a while later and found that they had discontinued their Praetorian products because of lack of demand. I knew that Crow Props and owner Giovanni Rodriguez also made the boots and gloves, and EndorFinders makes gloves. I believe that the boots and gloves shown in the CRL are from Crow Props, the small down side is that the Crow Prop shade of red, both the gloves and boots, is a little dark. They are certainly approvable but I wanted a brighter red to better match my armor. I saw that others had actually dyed the Crow Props boots and gloves a brighter red so I bought them and the materials to re-color them. I must say the boots and gloves from Crow Props are great and are high quality. I would recommend them.

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

To re-color the boots and gloves, I bought Leather Preparer and Deglazer, Fire Red Acrylic Leather Paint, and High Gloss Acrylic Finisher all from Angelus Brand.

Image

I will describe my general process, but make sure to read and follow the directions of each of these (they have pretty good instructions on the bottles). I first used the Leather Preparer and Deglazer. Wearing rubber gloves, I wiped it onto the gloves and boots. It seemed to remove the shiny finish on the gloves and make them dull. It slightly removed the red dye in some places too.

Glove on the left is before and the right glove is after
Image


When rubbed on the boots, it didn’t seem to make much of a visual difference, but I still did both to make sure.

You cant tell but left is before right is after
Image


I let those dry. For the gloves to sit nicely and dry, I put each one over the top of a spray paint can.
I then started dying the pieces, again wearing rubber gloves. I used the fire red paint and brushed it on. They recommended a few light coats so that’s what I did. I let the paint dry then finished by brushing on the High Gloss Acrylic. Again you can do a few coats of this. The final color and overall outcome was amazing. Sorry I don’t have good before and after, but I was really happy I decided to recolor.



Weapons

For weapons I knew I wasn’t going to be able to or have the means to make anything that was good, so I needed to buy them. Based on other people’s suggestions, I started to look on Etsy. At the time of my build there were only a couple options on there. I went with 3D printed weapons from Empire3D. I got the Twin Vibro-Arbir blades (double bladed weapon that can separate, matches with the samurai helmet), and the Electro-Bisento (shorter staff weapon, matches with the Mando helmet). These were my favorite combos so I started here, but in the future I plan to have all weapon/helmet combos approved.
I ordered the kits that came in pieces and that I had to build myself. They came quickly and looked like good quality prints, not that I have a lot of experience.

Image

For organization purposes I put all the weapon info here towards the bottom, but I did work on the weapons in conjunction with the armor and did a lot of the painting at the same time because they were using the same paints.

The pieces were pretty smooth but you could see and feel the very small ridges of the print lines. I wasn’t sure if the primer and paint would fill these in easily so I decided to sand down all the pieces to help. I believe I use 120 or 240 grit for this. I took a little while but I worked through all the pieces.

Image


I also did a couple test fits to see how everything went together and found that I needed to sand some pieces because they were just a bit too big and I didn’t want to break anything by forcing it. Especially after a couple coats of paint which adds some thickness. Good example was fitting the blades into the bases.
I took some time and thought about how I wanted to assemble each weapon verses how to paint each. Some pieces I knew I could put together before paint, but others needed paint before assembly to look clean. I decided the blades of both weapons would stay separate until after paint, along with all the small accent plates that attached to the vibro-arbirs. I could put together the two handles of the vibro-arbirs and the main shaft of the electro-bisento. The bisento blade was actually three parts that could go together now as well. I used 5 minute epoxy or superglue for assembly. after the glue was dry I sanded the joints down so they would not show after paint.

Image
Image
Image
Image


I had an accident here where I dropped one of the arbir handles onto my cement floor and it snapped right in half. This gave me a glimpse at the internal structure of the part. It had a solid wall with a lattice structure and some hollow space in the middle. This certainly made it light but apparently a little fragile. I would NOT recommend abusing these weapons. No fighting with Kylo please. I did glue the pieces back together with 5 minute epoxy and its had been fine since.

For the vibro-arbirs you can assemble them as one whole piece, but I definitely wanted the option to use it as one or separate them for dramatic effect. The handles have a hole in the ends that a flat plastic piece slides into to glue and align each handle. I had heard that others have had problems with this piece breaking. Also the handles wont really stay together unless held. I had to solve these problems. I decided to replace the alignment piece with a metal bar which will not break. I bought some metal flat bar stock from the local home improvement store. They didn’t have the exact size so I went slightly larger and using a grinder, ground of material until it was a nice tight fit. I epoxied the metal bar in one handle, the other handle would then just slide on and off.
But I still had the problem that the handles would not stay together. For this I used magnets. I found very small neodymium magnets online that were 5mm in diameter. these were just small enough to embed o the end of the handles to hold them together. I drilled 4 holes into each of the handles and glued in a stack of 3 magnets into each hole. My reasoning is more magnets would have a stronger attraction. Again make sure the corresponding magnets in the other handle are oriented the right way to attract.

Image
Image

I also added a large magnet farther up under an accent plate, that would attract to the metal alignment bar when inserted into the handle. All these magnets seem to be enough attraction and the handles stay together. I might not trust the magnets if I started swinging it around, but just holding it, its enough.

Image

For transporting the weapons, the vibro-arbirs separate which makes them easier, but I was worried the long elctro-bisento could get easily damaged. I decided to make this weapon break-down too. Again you can definitely just assemble as one piece. To hold the shaft together though, a dowel or pipe or something has to be inserted and glued through the pieces. I used a wooden dowel. I test fitted all of the pieces together to form the shaft of the bisento to find out the length of dowel I needed inside. I then cut the dowel to the right length. I planned to make the bisento in two pieces with a bit of the internal dowel sticking out of one piece and then be inserted into the other to join the two pieces.
At the top of the shaft was the head, the piece that the blade fits into. The dowel did not go too far into this piece and this would not work as the place to have the weapon separate. I decided to attach the first shaft section to the blade head to give more length where the dowel could insert. I then cut the dowel at the half way point of that first section from the blade head. The small section of dowel would be glued into the blade head and the first section of shaft to hold it together. The rest of the shaft would be assembled onto the long dowel section and a short length of the dowel should remain exposed. Before gluing, I though about how to hold the two half together and again went with magnets. I did the same thing using the small magnets in the end of the pieces like the vibro-arbirs. I also drilled into the ends of the dowel where it was cut and embedded larger magnets for increased attraction. I glued everything up and it works really well.

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image



Weapon painting

First I primed all the pieces of the weapons with the same rustolium primer/filler I used for the armor.

Image

This worked well filling in the small ridges on the armor that were left after my sanding. I did lightly sand after the first coat to help smooth out the surfaces more. After two coats of primer had dried, I started with the colors. The blades, which are still separate at this point, were fully coated with rustolium metallic silver (chrome looking cap). It doesn’t come out chrome but looks slivery. This was what I was going for and looks pretty screen accurate.

Image

All of the small detail plates that go onto the arbirs were also coated with this metallic silver. The handles to the weapons were painted with the rustolium profession safety red like the armor, to match.

Image

The handles do have silver accents which I painted after the red. I allowed the red to dry and then taped around the areas I wanted to be silver. Once I was happy with the taping, I sprayed the silver.

Image

Once all of that was dry it was time for final assembly. I glued on all of the accent pieces.

Image
Image
Image



Mobility Talk

People always ask how the mobility is for the costume. It is actually pretty good. For starters you can sit down because there isn’t much hard armor from the waist down. You can also go to the bathroom without removing armor which is huge. Although you do have your skirt there and depending on what you wear for pants could complicate things.
Also because I went crazy thoroughly lining all the pieces, I can confidently move and not worry about scrapping armor against each other. For the arms I have pretty good range of motion. I can just barely reach my face and can take my helmet on an off. I can snap the first arm onto my shoulder strap, but I then cannot reach my shoulder with the first arm on to attach the second arm (I need a helper here). I can lift my arms up pretty high but can’t go straight up as the shoulder plates limit it.
All in all, it’s a comfortable costume. My first troop in it I marched 3 miles with no issues. For my second troop I spent 8 hours in it at a comic con indoors, with a couple breaks, but I lasted, while others (like royal guards, Vaders, Snowies) could only do an hour or two. Aways make sure to stay hydrated.


Transportation Container

To get my kit for place to place, I use a Husky 37 inch, 50 gallon rolling tool box bought from my local large home improvement store. I would recommend this type of larger container, especially if you have multiple helmets. Even with only one helmet, I don't think you could get everything in a smaller bin. For me it takes some creative packing just to fit everything and the three helmets in to the 50 gallon, but I can fit it, and also I can get my weapons in it (when broken down). I however cant fit the tool box tray in with everything, so I have a bag for small items.


Kit Up Order

For suiting up, like other costumes, there is a particular order that works well. This could very much depend on how your armor is strapped. For my armor and how I built it, this is my order for kitting up.

1. put on your pants and shirt. (I will assume you have on whatever under clothes you want depending
on environment. Also good socks). I tuck the praetorian shirt into the pants.
2. put on the spats
3. put on your boots, pull spats down over the boots
4. put on your shin armor, over your boots but down inside the spats
5. put on your skirt
6. step into the ab section and pull up into place. (this can be tricky with the skirt on)
7. if you have a separate red balaclava from your shirt, put that on
8. put on your chest and back armor (make sure your shoulder plates are zip tied on)
9. put on our arms (a second person is needed here)
10. put on your gloves
11. put on your helmet
12. grab your weapon and go be a lobster.

For taking off the armor, just reverse the process.


I guess I will end with a couple shots I submitted for my approval and some shots of my first troops.

I do know my skirt panels are overlapped wrong. The back panel (the one with the seam down the middle) is in the back in my approval pictures, which is required by the CRL. There is technically no mention about which panels overlap which, but for screen accuracy the side panels should overlap the front and back. For later troops I just rotated my skirt for the better look.

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image


I hope you enjoyed my rambling and if I helped only one person, it was worth it.

_________________
TR-42488 Praetorian Guard
Lobster Chris
New England Garrison

"We are about accuracy, not elitism"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Chrisco27 Praetorian Guard Build Write-Up (Picture Heavy
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:49 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:58 am
Posts: 128
TKID: 63613
Amazing, thank you very much for this. :) Hope you don't mind if I mention you in my own WIP.
Just got my kit today, sad part is that im going to have to start by shimming the shins..lthey dont fit well on my calves. Your write-up definitely made it feel less overwhelming!

_________________
"Tag and Bink are my ideal Royal Guards"

TR-ROTS Build Status
--Complete and Approved--

TR-Praetorian Guard Build Status
--Complete and Approved--


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Chrisco27 Praetorian Guard Build Write-Up (Picture Heavy
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:49 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:12 am
Posts: 462
Location: QLD, Australia
TKID: 5973
Huge write up!! Well done :)

_________________

TR - 5973 (ROTJ)
Dylan "Norbitt" Saunders
Redback Garrison
2014 - Sovereign Protectors Detachment Command - PR Team
2018 - Sovereign Protectors Detachment Command - COG

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Chrisco27 Praetorian Guard Build Write-Up (Picture Heavy
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 12:59 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:33 pm
Posts: 6
TKID: 42488
Shikkakku wrote:
Amazing, thank you very much for this. :) Hope you don't mind if I mention you in my own WIP.
Just got my kit today, sad part is that im going to have to start by shimming the shins..lthey dont fit well on my calves. Your write-up definitely made it feel less overwhelming!



I don't mind at all! This info is to help anyone.

_________________
TR-42488 Praetorian Guard
Lobster Chris
New England Garrison

"We are about accuracy, not elitism"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Chrisco27 Praetorian Guard Build Write-Up (Picture Heavy
PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2019 10:44 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 1:03 am
Posts: 1
TKID: 10116
Starting a little late on mine but thanks for this thread. Just awesome!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Chrisco27 Praetorian Guard Build Write-Up (Picture Heavy
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 11:05 am 
Detachment Historian
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:13 am
Posts: 314
Location: Australia
TKID: 18887
One of the most informative threads on Praetorian guards I have seen! It's an outstanding build with high level workmanship in every aspect.

You'll see that this thread is going to be invaluable to people building Praetorian guards

_________________
AUSSIE AOTC ROYAL GUARD: Raising the forcepike in Tasmania
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Chrisco27 Praetorian Guard Build Write-Up (Picture Heavy
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 3:54 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2016 2:18 am
Posts: 6
TKID: 0
I am stunned at the absolutely fantastic amount of photos and information you provided. I have been hoping to find something like this. Thank you so much.
I am now even more ready to undertake this kit.
Thanks again for the amount of time and effort you put into this build. I am greatly inspired.

TigerRider


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post a new topicPost a reply Page 1 of 1   [ 7 posts ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron


Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
twilightBB Style by Daniel St. Jules of Gamexe.net