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Sculpting more Rahm Kota armor

Koda Vonnor

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Sometimes the smallest costume parts are the most fun to make. :D


I made the list at work yesterday. The smiley points to the following build.

















Always reuse your molds. 8)


Happy Holidays to all Darths, Lords, and Acolytes.


~ Vonnor

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LOL! I'm not sure which is cuter... the itty bitty mold, or the dice. (The resin kicking was fun to watch, too.)


Thanks for the laugh, and Happy Holidays back atcha!


Pam :-)



P.S. I feel your pain on laying up fiberglass in the rounded mold.... I'm convinced that my Mara shin guard molds came into existence for the sole purpose of driving me insane when I try to cast in them!

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I think the bandoleer buckle bolts were the most fun parts to make so far. After comparing these pix to the references I need to take a little more off the tops and bottoms of the corner bolts. Other than that they came out nice.


I also stuffed, backed, and turned the hip pad and loin guard. No mounting or weathering on them yet. Notice the hip pad takes and holds a curved shape due to the backing being stretched a bit across the width as the edge seams were sewn.


More to come.






~ Vonnor

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I wanted to share something I stumbled upon this morning. The reference images show faint corner dots on the metal strap buckles that seem to appear and disappear as the position and lighting changes. After ruining my spare 1.75" strap buckle trying to add the dots with sandpaper I took a pencil and chucked it up in my drill-press. I spinned it up and pressed the eraser end against the diagonal-brushed surface of the buckle. The results were quite nice. Sorry for the underexposure, I had to shine the light just right for you to see the effect.




~ Vonnor

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In the interest of posting SOME kind of weekend update, here's the short info (It wasn't a very productive three days):


Bought fabric for pants and shirt and a pants pattern.

Pre-washed fabric. Went to iron fabric. Iron doesn't work.

Go buy a new iron and bring it home. It don't work either.

Go back and exchange iron.

Ironed fabric.

Laid out pattern on fabric, but forgot to double check girth (ima heftybutt).

After cutting out fabric, measured hip circumference against pattern pieces.

... :shock:

Wasted half the day and 2.75 yds of fabric.

Went back to fabric store. Sold out of same pants fabric.

Reverse-Engineered old pair of Dockers for proper fitting pattern.


I did manage to find the perfect pants fabric (will work for shirt body too) at an out-of-the-way JoAnn Fabric store. It's cotton sateen and a close color match to the references. It was also on sale for 50% off. :D The slight shimmer creates light and dark highlights as the lighting changes. Quite a nice drape and still light as a feather. It has a touch of stretch which is nice for the shirt. After finally completing all of the pants except the waistband (about half hour ago) the fit is perfect. Snug from the widest part of the butt to the waistband, and baggy from there down to the boot tuck.


I also managed to dremel down the edges of the right vambrace halves and add a correction coat of Bondo. I also cut and sanded the front and back upper bandoleer couplers.




~ Vonnor

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After staring at the shirt collar edging for a few days, I bought some canary yellow bias tape. But no matter how I held it to the light it just wasn't the dingy gold that the reference images suggested. So I decided to have some strong tea and think about it. While I was thinking, a section of the 55/45 poly/cotton canary yellow bias tape fell right into my tea mug! :shock:


Needless to say my tea was ruined, which was OK since using the three tea bags like I did had made it almost too strong to drink. Not only that, but it took me 10 whole minutes to fish the tape out of the mug.


Looking on the bright side though, after those 10 minutes and another 5 in a cup of water with a splash of white vinegar, plus 3-4 cold water rinses, darned if I wasn't left with dingy gold bias tape.




Here's a pix of the tape sitting next to it's pristine sibling on my first ever self-constructed pants!


It was a good week. 8)




~ Vonnor

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I put the final shaping on the right vambrace halves today. The contours came out very nice. Next comes a little surface filling and adding the raised edging. Just wrap heavy paper around the model and trace the edge, then cut out the sintra using that template. I will fill the edge gaps and back-fill the corners with epoxy putty, then Dremel all edges to the final thickness.







~ Vonnor

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I love how a little edging can give a boring part a new facelift. :D


My aim on the skew was to have it match the taper of the truncated cone. It came pretty close (see third pic).


Ran out of double-sided tape last night so will edge the other half today.






~ Vonnor

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I cut the main belt blank and painted the belt hardware to better match the CG model. These are some photos for my leather crafter's reference. I also trimmed down the edges of the vambrace plates and filled in a lot of gaps and bubbles using PC-11 White Epoxy Paste as a filler putty. I got it at a local ACE hardware. It's not toxic like Bondo is and it's a lot creamier. You also get almost an hour working time before it starts getting thick. The down side is it takes 12 hours to harden enough to sand down, and that's with a couple 75 watt bulbs shining on it.


Next the right vambrace halves get primed and the three cross-straps added.


Stay tuned.







~ Vonnor

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I primed the right vambrace halves and glued up a temporary jig with 5/8" spacers to hold the piece in it's shape. I marked and cut the holes for the three cross straps. I did it by hand using a dremel and left a bit of garbage that I'll have to fill in after the straps are in place.


The idea was to file the holes on a steep angle to help the Sintra straps lay down as flat as possible. I ran out of steam and want to watch the Bronco's play the Patriots tonight, so It'll probably be tomorrow for the straps.


One note, the straps need to hold to the contour of the tapered cone, so they can't be cut as simple flat parallel strips. I'll do my best to approximate the curve for the cuts and leave them a little big, then heat curve them and take down the edges as needed.


I also did a dye test on the suede used for the loin guard and hip pad (dye shown in photos) to try out some weathering. The brown strip in the foreground will be the mounting straps for the loin guard.


More later.






~ Vonnor

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I cut 3mm Sintra straps to individually calculated curves (see template in background) for each strap position. The photos show them loosely heat-formed and placed in the slots.


This week I'm in need of help.


There must be a trick to bending Sintra with a heat gun, because no matter what I did I kept getting uneven bends and even finger compression dents from where I was pressing on the hot straps. I tried putting an initial curve in the straps by wrapping them around an empty wine bottle as I heated them up, but still got a lot of uneven curves. I have enough Sintra to cut many more straps if needed, but if someone knows an easier way to bend the straps I would be extremely grateful for advice.


See the closeups I also got an unwanted concavity in the cross sections. :(


Ideally I want an even curve across the straps with a sharper bend as the strap goes into the slot. The CG images suggest that contour.


Also of note: The fiberglass resin and Bondo gets very hot and flexible under the gun. I discovered this after seriously distorting one of the strap slots! :shock: Not that I can't take advantage of that physical property to micro-adjust some of the overall contours, but it was scary to find out by accident. I fixed the strap slot with heat by the way. Not perfect but close enough for where the strap goes into the slot.


Many thanks!







~ Bill C

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I did a bunch of little stuff today. I put the mounting on the loin guard and a start to some weathering. That's just light brown suede dye applied with a foam Q-tip. I will touch it here and there with dark brown for a little variance in the edging, and will try thinning some leather paint for the rubbed areas.


I also discovered a Sintra bending trick over at The Dented Helmet. Here is a step-by-step. I cut three new straps being very careful to get the edges square and the curves round. I made a ductwork mandrel about the same taper as the vambraces. Using a sofa pillow and a heat gun I heated up the strip 'til it was like a floppy noodle, then pressed the mandrel onto the strap and wrapped the pillow around the whole thing. After a minute or so the strap was nicely curved. I have to get the first weathered paint coat on the parts before I can glue on the straps, so that'll wait for a warmer day.


I think the three side-by-side straps look like a little shield generator model. :P


Next it's back to the hands.












~ Vonnor

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Weekend update:


A bit of a setback today. I attempted to attach the three cross-straps to the vambrace halves. It seems epoxy is not good at gluing Sintra to fiberglass/bondo. I got the straps in place then popped out the temporary spacers and formed and glued the elbow guard on. The idea was that the straps would flex enough to allow putting the bracer on, but first one then another of the epoxy bonds broke, then the center strap itself broke.


Also the elbow end of the cone is about 3/4" too big in diameter. Even with the shirt on there will be just too much play. At the moment I plan on taking it back to the sculpt and trying again. It will be better if I mark the strap slots on the clay anyway. That way I can cut them much cleaner. I can also take molds of the sintra straps once I get them shaped and fitted, then cast them in the urethane I used for the handguards. Much more durable than foam PVC.


Try and learn. Such is the way of the scratch-build. :|


~ Vonnor

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As a way of a bump-slash-update, I spent the morning attempting to build custom leather gloves with straps around the wrist. This was to approximate the look of the CG model. I had purchased a couple of sheepskin hides but one turned out to be paper fragile and tore almost by just looking at it. I reverse-engineered (seam-ripped) an old gauntlet that was too large for me and used it to cut out patterned pieces, then tried to sew them up with a machine.


Yep, another "fail" post. :P


The second hide turned out to be a "napa" hide. Basically a cheap split-grain with an artificial surfacing applied to it. The seams ripped out as soon as I put my hand into it.


So after a frustrating but educational waste of a precious weekend (my Sundays are all shot), I decided to punt the custom gloves. In the interest of short-cutting the CVI countdown clock I ordered a pair of these. That's the company I bought the TFU1 Kota fingerless gloves from. I'll use some of the cheap hide to make wrist straps for them, sew some velcro to the backs to hold the handplates, and call it a day.


Well, not exactly "call" it yet. I'm heading off now to lay some clay on the ARMature for the vambrace re-dux.


Sculpting is therapeutic by comparison. :mrgreen:


~ Vonnor

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Guest Aysel

sorry to hear about your glove making fail, I had a similar experience when trying to make my own, I also gave up. Also good idea with the pillow to form those sintra pieces, I've been doing it by hand and leaving finger prints >.< so what does this leave you with needed to get done?


^_^ Katie

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  • Pour production left handguard
  • Sculpt wrist clip
  • Mold wrist clip
  • Fiberglass wrist clip
  • Shape/sand wrist clip model
  • Make block mold for wrist clip
  • Pour two production wrist clips
  • Make 2 sintra elbow guards
  • Sculpt left gauntlet front
  • Sculpt left gauntlet rear
  • Make left gauntlet molds
  • Fiberglass left gauntlet front
  • Fiberglass left gauntlet rear
  • Shape/sand left gauntlet front model
  • Shape/sand left gauntlet rear model
  • Repeat previous seven steps for right gauntlet
  • Make sintra left forearm plate
  • Make sintra right forearm plate
  • Make mandrel for belly plate
  • Cut/bend sintra belly plate
  • Lifecast torso
  • Sculpt backplate
  • Mold backplate
  • Fiberglass backplate
  • Shape/sand backplate
  • Sculpt breastplate (BP)
  • Mold BP
  • Fiberglass BP
  • Shape/sand BP
  • Fit backplate/BP to armature
  • Sculpt scapula plate
  • Mold scapula plate
  • Fiberglass scapula plate
  • Shape/sand scapula plate
  • Build bandoleer ribbed straps
  • Make metal strap for bando
  • Assemble bandoleer
  • Make shirt
  • Mark hip straps and assemble
  • Assemble main belt with custom hardware
  • Make clips for saber holster frame
  • Sculpt contour mandrel for saber holster
  • Mold holster mandrel
  • Cast holster mandrel
  • Lay fiberglass over holster mandrel
  • Shape/sand saber holster
  • Paint and lace-up saber holster
  • Paint armor
  • Weather armor
  • Build armor mountings/closures
  • Paint glove fingers and belt front
  • Weather boots


58 items.


24 weeks.




Not likely to happen by CVI/D*C, but it will happen. :D


~ BC

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Back on the project again.


Some lessons learned were applied to this re-build. After measuring the first attempt at the arm vambrace halves, I had a good half inch diameter to play with at the elbow. The re-sculpt was completed in about 4 hours. I did that along with the new molds last weekend. Here is the fiberglass lay-up I did today.


Some things I did differently:


  • - Built up the mold-walls around the sculpt so that there was only about 1/8" model thickness around all edges.
    - Split the mold halves along the divide so I could fiberglass each half separately
    - Cut a paper contour template and used that to cut out the FG cloth - Wanted to lay 4 layers of cloth one piece per layer - that really came out much cleaner!
    - Mixed the Rondo gel-coat thinner but hotter (little more resin and hardener than normal) - The cool weather helped a lot, had time to brush on the goop then hit it with a blow-dryer and it kicked real fast.
    - Let the gel-coat set up a bit longer so the first resin brush-in didn't funk up the gel
    - Used MUCH less resin - took a lot of time to dab and stipple the resin into the cloth each layer


I still have to add little break-away tabs between the halves, to hold them together while the surface is sanded, slots are cut, and the cross-straps are added (That's what the registry keys are for).




Will be rolling the updates much faster again.


Stay tuned.


~ Vonnor

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Here are the rough break-out vambrace halves. At first glance they look pretty good. The contour and taper are much closer to the reference images and they came out feather light.





But looking at the end view of the aligned pieces, you can see that I accidentally cut one of the skewed split lines wrong on the sculpt. I broke the cardinal rule of all crafting:


  • "Measure twice, cut once."


Look at the difference in the twisted cuts.




Not sure how it happened, but the rear half is almost 3/4" bigger around at the elbow than the front half. That caused the "under-bite" misalignment of the two halves seen on the left side of the photo. At the wrist they are both equal. I thought about trying to make it work, but it's going to be quite noticeable near the cross straps so...


I will do one more sculpt/mold/casting. I'll likely go 5 layers of fiberglass this time as 4 was a bit flimsy. Luckily the only significant loss was time. I have plenty of clay, Hydrocal, and resin/bondo.


Third time's a charm, they say. :P


Practice, practice, practice...


~ Vonnor

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