Advise for a newbie


New Hunter
Greetings all!

I've been perusing the site for a while now, and I'm finally at the point where I figured I should go ahead and join up. To start, thanks to all for their incredible willingness to share their experiences. This site is an amazing wealth of talent on display.

Special thanks to those that took the time to post their templates, stencils, and tutorials! I've got a fair amount of questions though, so I figured I'd start with the intro and ask for general advise.

I'm a smaller gent in the US, 5'6" around 160 in decent shape. I'm not really interested in 501st or trooping (yet), I'd just like a good costume for me for fun. Unfortunately, budget is very low. I'm gravitating toward a cheap rendition first, then improving the quality of each piece one at a time over a long time. I'm fairly handy, I build sets and props for local theater groups, but I've never done anything like this. A first goal would possibly be to visit kids in the local hospitals, that sort of thing. But baby steps. Halloween first (though I'm not expecting to have anything in time for this coming Halloween).

To the questions:
1) Is it a good idea to start with a base rubies bucket? I realize fully that this is bottom of the barrel quality. But I'm thinking of starting here so that if I mess up the paint, I won't be as frustrated as if I'd built my own from scratch and ruined it. Learn on the plastic, perfect on my own build.

I've seen two types in the store: two piece Boba and two piece Jango. For some reason, the Jango seemed better to me. Smaller perhaps, less flimsy. Either way bondo, sand, and paint will happen.

2) Sizing. I've read a lot on proper helmet size, but never came to a conclusion. I wear a 7.25 hat size. The templates seem to run larger from what I see in testimonials. Anyone know the sizing btw the plastic crap and these templates? If I go with templates, down-size 10%?

3) Is it a good idea to jump right into Boba (arguably the most complicated) or make a first costume as a custom Mandalorian and slowly build up the skill base?



Well-Known Hunter
If budget is an issue you’re going to be buying everything 2-3 times to upgrade.

I suggest the Rubies Helmet on amazing if you’re lookint for something cheap and decent to repaint.


New Hunter
Thank you, rnbuda. I hadn't thought of the repetitive purchase issue, but that's just the beast I'll have to deal with. I'll start with the bucket, and start raiding resale and surplus shops for costume parts first.

Do you think its wise to jump straight in the Boba, or cut my teeth on a custom mando first?


If you set realistic expectations for timeframes on when you'd like to have things done by then jumping right into Boba is not an issue. It is actually what I'm currently doing. I've never done a costume of this quality and level of detail but it's actually fun to study and try to replicate.
Do you think its wise to jump straight in the Boba, or cut my teeth on a custom mando first?
Boba is a BIIIG costume, made of 100 individual parts that all have together just right. It's a long and daunting task. It can be done, and it can be done on a budget, but man oh man does it make it tough. My first rendition of a 501st Fett was set on a $1200 budget, and I did make it, but that was all scratchbuilt armor, cheapo helmet, and secondhand soft parts. The end quality was iffy at best, and because of all the corners I cut, I wasn't happy.

I went the custom mando route before building Boba, and I learned a lot from the process! It also allows for more of a creative and personal approach because there's no "wrong," way to do it


New Hunter
Thanks all!

I'm going to start with a custom mando that looks similar to Boba without being serious about accuracy just yet. Learn first, then go accurate for v2, and maybe give this version to my son.

Again, budget. I found the target helmet locally, and I still think the jango is better than the boba, though I still can't determine why. Also found a cheap rothco flight suit that I'll start the dye removal process on first. That is the weirdest definition of "khaki" ever. A lot of yellow in there.

Stumbled on these on amazon:

Thoughts? Seems clunky, and obviously would need to come up with something for the bottom half, but maybe a decent starter platform?


New Hunter
well, I got the rubies helmet, and its too big for my head. fits my son though, so he gets this and I'll start on the cardboard bucket. I printed just the base WOF template and the plastic one is a good 10% bigger! So its off to the hobby store to get the cardboard, glue, and blades. I guess I'll start a WIP thread.

thanks for the advise! this will be fun


If you have any desire at all to go accurate as you can, don't buy cheap. Save your money and go all out when you can. I bought cheap with the plan to eventually go accurate and it just made the entire process longer and more expensive. I regret all of it. Revision after revision after revision that led to rebuying after rebuying after rebuying. The problem is that anything cheap is not something you can improve the quality of later. You can put the best paint job on the worst cast, and it still won't work in the end.

That being said, if you just want something for fun with no plan to ever be super accurate or 501st; Rubies helmet with hasbro accessories will do fine. They look close enough to the average eye with the right paint job. Alternatively, the custom mando route is nice. You have more freedom and can make it your own, even make your own boba-eque mando. I made a custom mando along side Boba to test various paint techniques, glues, attachment methods, etc.

The best advice I got on this forum is; "buy cheap, buy twice".


My two cents on this subject is first decide how accurate you want to be. Second the helmet it's the thing people notice first and focus on. You can get some really accurate ones here. I'd research and decide which one you want and get one here , I think you'll be glad you did.


New Hunter
thanks for all the replies!

Accuracy is not my focus now or anywhere in the near future. "boba-esque" mando is the direction I'm going. The rubies is too big for me, so its going to my son. anything I do he can also use, and its all for fun. I'm going to start a WIP thread while I make my own bucket. Otherwise, my plan is to raid thrift stores / amazon for flight suits, maybe used motocross armor etc, and piece something fun together. If the bug catches me, I'll go accurate. But for now, mando is the plan.