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My IK Build Laid Out


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Greetings, all.


As I have had several people ask how I finished my IK costume, I thought I would drop a thread where I would try to explain the various steps I took to finally get mine done. Easier to drop this in here than retype it several times...and hopefully it will help some folks out with their builds. I am HORRIBLE at WIP threads as I tend to get to working and forget to stop and take pics. So this one is kind of an after action review of my build. Again...hope it helps.




As I don't have access to a place and materials to do my own casting of armor, I just bought a set from a guy advertising on the Rebel Legion forums (I hate to admit this, but I can't remember his name since I bought the armor a few years ago...but he has a TK ID number as his RL screen name...perhaps someone can add that later so he gets credit). I wound up ordering the "medium" size as the normal one I had bought previously had swallowed me. I also got the "female" size forearms and hand plates as they fit me much better. The back plate was a simple, plain plate with no details. So, trying to better match the drawings by Jan, I modified mine with a heat gun and various tools to get some detail. It is still not perfect, but it does at least show some of the details from the drawing (I know it is covered, but I liked the details, so I added them  :P ).




Unlike most others I have seen, I permanently attached my chest and back plate together at the shoulders. The plastic has enough "flex" to allow me to open it up and slip it over my head and shoulders. The sides are connected with velcro for a fairly smooth joint that is relatively easy to put on (with help). All the various parts like shoulders and other plates are held on with velcro strips for ease of adjusting. The ab and below the belt plate are on a strip of black leather attached to the chest with velcro. The cape cap plate is actually laced onto the back plate with some leather stitching thread and the cape is velcroed to the back of it. The hand plates are held on with velcro and the forearms are held on with strips of 3mm sintra with, you guessed it, velcro to hold the ends inside.








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For my tunic, I tried very hard to get it as close to Jan's drawings as I could. I did not make it quite the same due to actually finding a piece of motorcycle jacket weight, black leather for a VERY reasonable price (I think it was $160 or so for a FULL hide). It was big enough that I could make the entire front, including the tabbards, from a single piece and the back from two, half size pieces (and I still have quite a bit of the leather left over for other projects  :) ). For the pattern, I used a pirate shirt pattern I had laying around and modified it. I tested the pattern on some linen by making a gambeson for my Witcher 3 costume. It was not as long as the IK tunic and did not have the back zipper, but it is basically the same design, so it made a much cheaper way of testing it.




The pattern uses a single piece for the front and another for the back, so the front was easy to make into a solid piece with the zipper in the back. I used the largest size of the pattern and trimmed the sleeves to be more form-fitting. I then quilted the sleeves with 1 inch lines using a cotton linen for the backing and a cotton batting for the "poofiness" of a Vader suit. I also added zippers to the wrists to allow it to have an even more form-fitting look to the arms and fit into the gloves better.




Next, I made the front but added enough length to reach to about my knees. This results in what look like will be a dress or something, but works for the length of the tabbards. I then made a "pleat" down the middle of the front and another half way to the underarm seam of each side. This sectioned the front into 4, equal sized sections. The same went for the back except that the center pleat is replaced with a simple cut down the middle (zipper will be added here later). As I had already used this process to make the Witcher shirt, I knew how much to take in for each pleat to make the tunic fit snuggly so it didn't look baggy. I then made the collar by folding a piece of the leather over with some cotton batting inside and quilting it using the same, 1 inch lines. It was measured to come all the way up and completely cover my neck as seen in the comics. After the collar was added, the zipper could be added so that it zips all the way up to the top of the collar. Attach the sleeves and sew up the sides and the main body is done, snug, and has tails hanging to my knees. I put it on and found where the belt would ride, marked that and then hemmed the tails to form the 8 tabbards (shortening the side 4 by a few inches as seen in Jan's drawings). Now I have a full length tunic with Vader style sleeves and collar, the proper 8 panels on the chest and back, and 8 tabbards. Note that, with the leather, I did not have to use any batting or backer material on the chest or back. This lets it breath very well and I did not even sweat much at an outdoor troop at the Zoo when it was mid 70s.


Inside showing the sleeve backing and non-backed main body/tabbards:






Tabbard separation and full tunic laid out:





Tunic on without the armor:


Edited by BedlamX
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I made the belt by following the design and measurements Thomas had posted years ago. Layered leather with all the parts that pass through each other beveled to make it lay better and then riveted together. The buckle is made out of a piece of old street sign I got out of our scrap bin at work (I work in a traffic signals and sign shop, so we always have scrap aluminum laying around) that I cut, shaped, and added the disc to. It is held on by...wait for it...velcro . I used the standard Jedi belt means of fastening the back, but I turned the studs backwards so the belt "tail" actually lays beneath the belt. This eliminates the extra belt sticking out of the keeper but still allows me to adjust the size depending on how fat I get (my gut tends to change size quite a bit on any given day due to some gastro-intestinal issues  ). I also added a simple pouch (sized to hold my cell phone and a small money clip or aluminum wallet thingy) and a saber hook (the kind Luke has to hang his D-ring saber from). The whole thing is dyed with chocolate brown.






My cape is a simple trapezoid of warm brown ultrasuede that is hemmed all the way around and pleated at the top where it narrows to go under the cap plate. I based the way it hangs off Jan's drawings rather than the comic pics so mine does not come out as far on the sides as most people's do. It does extend out slightly farther than the pics shows, but I had not explained what I was after to the photographer (my wife), so she did not adjust it before taking the pics.





Simple riding boots I got off e-bay. My feet are small enough I can usually find women's boots and they tend to run much cheaper than men's. Real leather, Kenneth Cole riding boots for like $60 shipped.



Black swordsman gloves I picked up years and years ago at a leather clothing store that I never even knew the name of.



I HATE sewing the quilting in leather. So I went the smooth leather pants route and picked up a pair of leather pants from e-bay. They had a broken zipper, but I added a set of snaps and I like the look better. The tunic and below the belt armor hides them on the IK, but they look nice on some of my other costumes that I wear them with.

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I can't afford to drop $800 plus on a saber that I will use with a costume a few times a year. Besides...I like making things  . So I took an old Ultrasabers stunt saber with a white LED and added some black o-rings, a sink tube sleeve, an electrical box knockout plug, and a d-ring mounted into a hex cap screw. Some paint and some more hex cap screws and I managed to get the same silhouette as one of the 3d renders I found long ago. Not the prettiest IK saber out there, but I spent less than $100 and got to do most of the work myself. So I'm happy with it 





And the final product:






And protecting Vader (I know...not really canon...but a cool pic none the less  ):




Once again, hope any of this helps at least one of you guys and gals out in your IK builds. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions on anything I may have skipped over or not explained well.

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I appreciated those pics you sent me, Tommy, and they were very helpful.  Glad to see you posted them on here as well...


I'm well on my way in the build, I should make a WIP thread myself.  Hoping to have it finished for Celebration...

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