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Avatar's Imperial Knight WIP (redeux)


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I wasn't able to edit my original post from March, and I realized I posted the wrong images from my folders, so I'm starting a new WIP thread.

So, I'm very close to being complete with this build.  The kit I received from Kevin Brice.  It sat for quite a while, as I really didn't know what to do with the parts, and finding reference was difficult.  Thomas' fantastic handmade armor looks a bit different than most of the ABS that is pulled now.  I finally did find some references...Dan Rodo got approved, a dude from New York named Magnus made a helpful video set about the assembly, and I had a few communications/pictures with Tommy Sutton...so I was able to get going.


Finding someone to paint helped too, as I am really crappy at that, and didn't want to risk screwing up the armor.  So, I finished trimming the parts, and sent them off.  The red we used was Volkswagen LA3H-4Y Salsa Red, and it looks pretty cool.  I have an album running on Imgur, which this images in this post will come from.  But, you can go direct to Imgur too, if you want to see them all there...  http://imgur.com/a/mMeHh


Individual photos to follow...

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I did most of the rough trimming, but as noted in the initial post, at that point I was kind of stuck.  So, on to other things I was able to work on.  Gaining assistance from Vreedonsett, who showed me how to cut, dye and rivet leather, we worked on my Imperial belt.  It was a definite confidence builder having someone who knew what they were doing watching over me while I did the work (thanks again Mike).


Here's how the staining turned out on the belt, before washing it down.  The brown almost had a cherry appearance.  This is a panoramic photo, so disregard the choppiness of the belt edge, that's just panning the camera the length of the belt.  :)




I don't have the pictures of the belt assembly process (not sure why), but here is the finished product.  Definitely more brown after washing the fresh dye, though...



Edited by Avatar190
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By then, I did locate the information I needed, got the pieces all trimmed and painted and began the assembly process.  Gluing the shoulder straps to the chest plate.  For all gluing, I used Super Gold+ CA glue (except attaching the pauldrons to the shoulder bells).  The left shoulder strap did not adhere well, so I ended up using J-B Weld on that piece, which did the trick.





The red paint used is Volkswagen LA3H-4Y Salsa Red


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The Imperial cogs came flat.  The armor itself is curved, so it would not inlay properly in the armor parts.



So, I placed the cogs in boiling water for a few seconds to make them pliable, then held them shaped with my fingers til cooled.



I was then able to drop them into the bracers...





With the underside of the bracers, they are held secure to the arm with two elastic straps, and held from sliding up and down by velcro dot sewn onto the forearm of the suit.


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And also drop the cog in the left pauldron...





Shown here with the snap strap attached (which secured is to the shoulder)



Here is the snap assembly.  You can also see the piece of velcro where I attach the cape to the shoulder bell.



Right pauldron (no cog)




Edited by Avatar190
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Ok, by now, I've painted the inside of the chest and back plates black (mostly to cover the white stripes left from hanging the armor when it was painted red).  And, velcro strips are in place to secure the shoulder straps to the top of the back plate, and the sides of back and chest together.  Also, velcro pieces in place for attaching the cape and the upper back plate.










This is a newer photo, initially those snap anchors were not on the bottom of the chest plate, I had velcro there.  I'll explain later.


Edited by Avatar190
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Here's how I did my snap assembly for the pauldrons and the shoulder straps.  After a few test troops with the armor, I have determined that I do need to pad the shoulder straps, as the snap buttons dig into the tips of my shoulders, and it really starts to hurt after about an hour...









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Chocolate brown cape, made from YaYa Han suedecloth.  Velcro strips sewn along the top to secure it along the inside of the back plate, the outside of the back plate at the shoulder blades, as well as under the left and right pauldrons.




Attached first to the top of the back plate.





Then pulled down to the inside of the back plate, and secured again with more velcro.





Here is the upper back plate, which covers the top of the cape.



Inside of upper back plate, with piece of velcro for a strip of cloth, I velcro that cloth strip to the upper back plate so as to be able to secure the upper plate to the back plate.









And here, secured over the top of the cape, holding it in place, and keeping the upper plate anchored as well.


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Strangely that last image didn't post, it only linked...let's try again.



And here is the upper back plate, secured in place.  I feel that the velcro is far less noticeable when I'm wearing it, then it appears in this picture...


Edited by Avatar190
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Backside of the chest plate and pauldrons, now painted black.  Used snap system, à la stormtroopers, to attach the shoulder bells.  Velcro to attach the sides and, as I mentioned before, the ab plate and cod piece.



Ab Plate (front and back w/velcro)





Btw, notice the black...this isn't paint.  I thought I'd give it some "weight" by using Flex Seal.  DON'T DO THAT.  It does give it weight, but Flex Seal does not let you stick anything to it.  So, none of the velcro or any glue that I tried to put onto it would not stick.  And it was a HUGE pain in the testicles to get the residue off, so things would adhere.


Cod Piece (front and back w/velcro)




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I used YaYa Han "leather" fabric strips to tie the armor pieces together behind the belt with velcro, It worked well, I had no problems with anything popping off.





Problems I experienced, the YaYa Han fabric was too stretchy, so it allowed for a lot of movement.  This would be comfortable, but...



As noted above, the stretchy YaYa Han fabric was too stretchy, and as I found out at Celebration, the armor pieces would be popped out of place from my gut.  I didn't care for the look.


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The snap configuration with the strip of pleather.  Hoping this provides enough rigid support to prevent breathing and my gut to pop the armor pieces out or alignment with the belt.



All of the pieces snapped together, as viewed from the backside.



This is the front view, without the belt



Front view, with the belt


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So, the latest test run was at RennCon this past weekend at Bristol Renaissance Faire.  The cod piece definitely held in place better.  Ab plate still pops out a bit, and the snaps kept popping out, which might have been the problem at the time of this image.  Might replace the snaps for stronger snaps, or incorporate velcro with the snaps (likely this).  Wondering if I reinforce the pleather, or go with leather and harden it...  Really need to get that hand guard and bracers placed correctly...too much gap.  I'm going to tighten up the sleeves on my tunic, and make sure those bracers are sitting in the proper place to marry up with the hand guards.  Oh, and pad the shoulder straps, like I mentioned before...damn I was sore after this run.



I'm just waiting for my pants to arrive, and aside of those few tweaks, I might be ready to go.  Anyone here have any thoughts, comments, suggestions?

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Current checklist for changes needed:

  • Pants - ones in these images are incorrect.  I do have a pair of Vader pants, but I do not like them they are too hot.  But if my replacement takes too much longer to arrive, I'll do what needs to, and suffer.
  • Sleeves - need to tighten up the wrists, they are too big
  • Bracer & Hand guards - after fixing the wrists, get that gap closed up
  • Upper back plate - ensure velcro is not visible below the shoulder straps
  • Touch-up Painting - not really visible, but I know it's there, and I want it fixed
  • Shoulder straps - install padding

That's it for now...I think...

Edited by Avatar190
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Silly question: what's wrong with your pants? Any leather/leather-like pants should work since both Vader-ribbed and smooth leather have been seen in the comics. I find the old leather pants I use are quite comfortable and not hot at all.


As for the sleeves, you may have luck with adding zippers to the cuffs. I wanted mine as tight as possible, so I added some 6 or 7 inch (not sure what I wound up with) zippers to the sleeve seam at the wrist. Allows it to go over my hands then tighten up around the wrist. Zippers are covered by the glove cuff, so not a problem there. Also, not sure if we ever discussed this part, but I wound up using some leather thread and just tied the cap plate to the shoulders. Two small holes and run the thread through and tie inside the hollow of the shoulder. Removes all signs of a connection and can't feel the thread.


I like the padding the shoulders idea. Thinking of padding mine as well as some padding in the upper chest to keep the armor forward a bit more (helps camouflage my gut :P ).


I think you nailed it pretty good, man  :)

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Thanks Tommy, and thanks for the help earlier.


To answer your questions, the pants I'm wearing in these pics, actually, are just some Champion running pants I had from Target.  So, yeah, they have a sheen to them, but don't think it gives a leather-like sheen...ya know?


And the sleeves should be relatively easy to fix...just tighten up what already has been stitched a little bit more.  I'm not expecting much difficulty with that.  I'm also considering sewing some velcro right on the cuff edge, and then on the inside of my gloves, just so they will adhere together just a little bit.   :)

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Looking good! Where did you get your undersuit?

My friend and I got the kit from KB Props as well, except our chestpiece is a different, less-accurate shape where the pecs form a line straight across. It's interesting to me that they are so different.

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I did neglect to update here that I was approved on September 11th.

Yes, that is very strange our chestplates are different, wonder if somehow you got an older model that was lying around or something.  The one I have matches the one in his Facebook armor album he posted this year (and I got my stuff August of 2016).

I custom ordered my undersuit from Giovanni (Crow Props).  When I saw the First Order TIE Pilot flightsuits up close, and how similar to leather they looked, I just knew I had to see if I could get the suit for the IK made.  Gio and I communicated a few times, dug up a bunch of reference photos from Jan and Thomas, and he went to his seamstress and they came up with a plan.  Submitted my measurements, and granted it took quite a while, but he got the job done.  And I am very pleased with the result.  The suit breathes, so I don't sweat my cajones off, yet gives a leather-like appearance so it looks right.

I inquired, and Gio said that he is able to make more suits, for those interested.  He also makes the male and female versions of the belts, and boots for those who need.

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Kevin sells a few different sizes and each has it's own look.  From the look of Avatar's shoulders, I would guess he got the normal (large) kit. Mine is the medium (the large was ginormous on me) and the chest has a different shape to it...but it fits my frame much better  :).

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I've reached out to Gio at Crow Props, and he responded once, but hasn't responded to any further e-mails. :/ Does it just take him a while to respond? I just asked if he does the boots in both the chocolate brown and black.

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On 5/6/2019 at 2:39 PM, GyozaGuy said:

I've reached out to Gio at Crow Props, and he responded once, but hasn't responded to any further e-mails. :/ Does it just take him a while to respond? I just asked if he does the boots in both the chocolate brown and black.

Gio can be hit or miss on emails, but I was always pretty lucky with getting a hold of him.  However, I haven't had any direct communications with him since 2017, so I cannot speak for now.  Though, as far as I know, he's still well spoken of in the Legion with reliability.  I do know he's been working closely with the new Major Vonreg pilot costume, so his attentions might have been diverted elsewhere (though that really should prevent one from responding).

You can get boots almost anywhere though...  I'm wearing Han Solo boots, which are basically tall jackboots, which come to the knee.  So don't feel like you need to special order boots, unless that's something you are really striving for (or need very specific sizing).

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