Thanks sooo much for the wonderful words EVERYONE !!
To answer a few questions that have come up real quick.
Shell alignment / closures -
The shells DO line up perfectly out of the mold. There is a VERY specific way I did this in the molding process. Basically, each arm gauntlet master was made FULLY ASSEMBLED. What this means is, the 2 shells for each gauntlet are one with each other for each gauntlet respectively. Then, a mold was taken of an upper shell for instance, carrying the mold about 1/8th of an inch down past the parting seam of the bottom shell. Then, a mold was taken of the bottom shell, carrying the mold 1/8 of an inch up above the parting line of the top shell. What happens here is, when each piece is pulled from the mold, carefully trimming at the part line of each shell, yields a 99.99 % perfect fit. I will illustrate this later tonight. I took a few pics of the molds so that everyone can understand this explanation. It's really very cool actually. This had to be done for accuracy sake. Jango's Gauntlets shells do not "tuck" inside of one another. And although I've never done this with my previous gauntlets, there was always a problem with the shells lining up coming from two separate molds made at different times, ect.. There is one caveat however. As some of you may know, fiberglass tends to "CREEP" over the first few weeks of its life, and sometimes longer. This means it can move out of shape. So, taking this into consideration, the shells could still be misaligned when received to some degree. So the first way to head this off, is to mold each shell with 3 dimensional sides, essentially closed all the way around. This will also be illustrated with the coming pics. This keeps the sides from moving inward during this crucial period. When received, they can be trimmed and fitted properly. But there is still a margin for error here, as if they're not fitted immediately after trimming, the "creeping" can still occur. The the last and final way of pre-empting this issue, is the "NEW" gauntlet shell closure as seen in the pics above. This keeps them aligned, no matter what. Forever. Keeping them latched when not in use, will keep them fresh for the life of the prop.
The closures are easier to use than one would think. If you have someone helping you suit up, it's not an issue whatsoever. If you happen to be alone, they can still be closed by yourself. With the help of a couple of knees
And in answer to some of your PM's, yes, our own absent Whojedi is partly responsible for this
He had the opportunity of assembling the Jango Fett display at Celebration II. He had GREAT info. Perhaps someone could post a link to that info here for all to see. And I'm quite suprised no one has attempted this to date. Granted, it's a SERIOUS PAIN IN THE RUMP, but pretty cool when you get right down to it. This information was reinforced in the last 6 months as a couple of other members who have had intimate opportunities with a Jango display while it was touring Europe. They can chime in if they wish. All in all, it's worth the effort. You never have to worry about them coming loose when trooping. And you never have to worry about cracked shells when torquing on the industrial strength velcro
The finish -
As stated above, there are many steps involved. A special thanks to Terminal Fettler for chiming in today and reinforcing that ! Thanks man
I've seen your amazing work as well, and appears that you would know
I emphasize that the molds have to be nearly perfect, and the material vacuumed, for one main reason. I sort of discussed this in another thread recently, so I will paste my quote ...
But for the best possible finish, there are many tricks to be learned. What I mean by this is, most ppl don't care if they have to sand their finished pieces after casting, before buffing and polishing. But this ruins the potential finish, permanently. It will still look like metal, but not like bright aluminum. It is of the utmost importance to keep the natural "skinning of your aluminum coating INTACT. That way when it's buffed after cure, it's as bright as it can be. Otherwise, if there is an imperfection, and you have to sand down past the skin coat, it part will look like stainless steel or lead. It's just the nature of the process. The first priority is making the cleanest, smoothest mold you can.
So, essentially, sanding is a no no for this sort of finish. Of course, nothing is absolutely 100 % perfect, I degress. Even those pictured STILL had a defect or two
(Need I say how much it really peeved me off?) And, no matter what you do in material preparation, you will still get a bubble here or there in the finish
Just look at the real Jango gauntlets ! There are a TON of them
But I've also figured aout how to fix these areas after de-molding if necessary. And believe me, that isn't easy either
It takes double the aluminum filler to patch a small area so that it can be blended properly. I suppose what I'm trying to say is, PLEASE understand that these are still hand made, not machined, there will always be minor defects. It cannot be helped unless we take these to manufacturing
Brak's Buddy - Thanks man !! I had to learn something new on the photography bro, these things were a GRIPE to take pics of
I think I shot over 700 pics to get about 80 good ones. Is THAT normal ?
Perhaps YOU could get a few good ones for us at D-Con ????
Again, a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone for their kind words !! Picture galleries to come .... then I'm off to finish the revisitation of my ROTJ GAUNTLETS :cheers