**PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THIS IS NOT 100% ACCURATE!**
So here it is, after over a month of planning, building, sewing and painting (not to mention yelling, sweating, cursing, "Hulk Smash!"-ing, etc...) I managed to finish my first attempt at an ESB suit for Halloween. Put the finishing touches on it right before heading out to a party. Here's a few photos:
I'd like to elaborate a bit on the pieces and processes I went through to make this if you care to read it...
HELMET: A $100 Don Post from 10 years ago. Nothing special, but I cut out the tiny eyehole and enlarged it. For the visor I added plain automotive window tinting to a mylar drum skin (I found the 12" Evans Resonant Clear to be the clearest head to see through). CA super glue did NOT stick the visor to the helmet. I had to use contact cement. I added better/more silver detail with a silver paint pen and a piece of foam inside for comfort/fit.
ARMOR: This was scratchbuilt thanks to WOF's templates. I managed to find the only piece of sintra in my city from a plastics shop that sold an 8' long sheet to me for only $10 (!!!). I used a pounce wheel & chalk bag technique to transfer the patterns to the sintra (I will post a separate thread on how to do this later). Heat gun molded (onto various drum shells and a few fire extinguishers for different curves!) and attached with velcro. Will definitely look into snaps next time, although the velcro allowed me to reposition any crooked pieces. I made the dents with a ball-shaped dremel bit. I tried my best to make it look like the ESB dents.
GAUNTLETS: This was a tough one. I again used the WOF templates, printed them out on to thick paper and pieced them together with tape. i then injected expanding foam into them and placed them in between pieces of 2x4 to hold the sides straight and avoid bulge. They did bulge a bit in the upper parts, but I used a band saw and belt sander to cut down any extra foam and got back to the original shape.
I then bondo'd the pieces, sanded them on a belt sander and filed them to get somewhat straight faces. You can see that they're not perfect. I added a knuckle from an old double kick drum pedal to add mobility to my hose. After the first photo above was taken I shortened it to sit more straight. Mini darts were pieces of actual darts (not the pointy part, some silvery middle piece) and I had no Casio calculator so I cut a piece of Bondo cheese file and painted it to look sliver. From afar it looks okay. The big dart/rocket sucked: it was an old big plastic syringe. Meh. Not proud of it, and i looked everyhwere around town for a suitable cone piece to work with.
CLOTHES & BOOTS: My beautiful girlfriend worked just as hard making all the soft pieces as I did doing the armor. Shirt and pants were closely matching grey clothes from Value Village. The vest was ripstop nylon spray painted white (no matching colour at Fabricland), same with the sleeves but painted grey. Also had to weather the thigh and shin pockets to match the pant colour. The boots came out horribly; they were rubber boots with the closest shaped toe that we could find. My g/f successfully resized them to make the ankles fit more snug. I tried spraying them with primer and paint but it stayed gummy and never stuck. Same for the piping, which was fabric. I tried four different types of glue and nothing worked. I eventually ripped them off when I came back home for a quick stop/check.
SOFT PARTS: Ah, the crown jewel of my g/f's accomplishments! She scratch built these out of upholstery vinyl. The photo speaks for itself:
The girth belt is hard to see in the first photo but we used cloth rope dyed red and sewed together to scratchbuilt belt ends and an old buckle. The gloves were just thermal work gloves with grippy palms. Didn't have time to try sewing white pads to them but they looked kinda close. My girlfriend sewed the cape and did a great job weathering the bottom by rubbing it with a file over my concrete steps. I ran out of time finding decent extensions for the braids so I just cut up an old violin bow and braided that. The braid was the part of the costume I'm the least happy with.
JETPACK & RIFLE: This was a bit of a rush job. Built it in a night using mostly found items in my garage. I used the WOF template for a rough sizing gauge only. Made a back piece out of masonite and affixed three old ABS pipe pieces (found in my garage) to it. Added some quick paneling to fill in the middle parts and some pine pieces. The jets were ball hockey balls and little dollar store plyons that said "You Did It!" and "Perfect! Perfect!". In the centre pipe I attached a wooden dowel and built up the rocket parts around that. It proved to be incredibly sturdy and withheld a night being pushed around in a crowded bar. Even the bottom jets survived, amazingly enough. I put old backpack straps to the back and fed them through the vest (a two-man job).
The gun was a bit of a write-off: $10 western rifle from Wal-mart toy section with an inaccurately-sized scope fixed on with convex wood pieces and electrical tape. Also survived much handling. Kind of impressed with myself on that one.
PAINT: The photos don't do it justice but the yellow pieces had nice weathering. I used Krylon Italian Olive for the green and lightened it with clouds of white/grey. The shoulders and knees were Krylon Sun Yellow with black clouding to darken it. I should have used something more orange. I used a metallic silver pen to fill in the dents and scratches. My girlfriend expertly painted the logos with acrylic.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I felt totally awesome in it, even got dragged up onstage at the bar for the semi-finals for the costume contest (crowd response + lots of young girls + Boba Fett = immediate disqualification. 'S okay, though cuz my friend who was Edward Scissorhands won.)
Now I'm sitting at home with a huge mess of tools, paper, sintra dust and glue glops on my kitchen table and nothing to do but clean. My girlfriend and I both spent Saturday night in a bit of a daze cuz we had gotten so used to coming home and working hard on the costumes (as you can see above, she sewed her own Bespin Leia costume as well as an Obi-wan Kenobi costume for a friend). I kinda wish I had a mannequin to display this thing. I don't want to put it away. It seems to be a shame to pack it up in a rubbermaid container ad stash it in the closet. It would go great with my Boba Fett collection in my living room.
I'd love to hear some feedback from you all. Big thanks to anyone who endured my inane questions in the past month and helped me figure out how to do this. Super big thanks to Wizard of Flight for his amazing templates (though a few 'tab A into slot B' instructions would have helped too!). I enjoyed being a fringe member of your community and hope to continue contributing and making more an better suits in the future. I think I found a new hobby!!