Unlike our previous journeys, this one will take us down a new road.
To the place of full armor.
Kanan and Sabine have their share of armor but are far from this. So to get started we were able to take part in a project with KW Designs. Build and finish the Legacy female Stormtrooper for Liz based on the Star Wars Legacy comic series character Jes Gistang to debut at San Diego Comic Con.
The idea for this came from Michael and Stacey Bender showing Kevin the Star Wars Legacy comic series character Jes Gistang which set Kevin up with a great design to create a new female 501st costume. Because this project was run by KW Designs, I wasn’t actually part of the reference grabbing part of the build. However, I do know that gathering references for comic book characters can be tricky. Simple things like artists interpretation, style, and small differences in comic panels can make it very difficult to nail down details.
In this case, we had not only the one comic which this character appeared but there was one more reference.
Gentle Giant made a statue based on the character which gave a clear 3d representation of the character. Details were sculpted in a realistic style and the high quality of the costume was a much better reference than a comic that offered a wonderful read, but for a costume builder, a very loose sketchy style with lots of room for interpretation.
Now with KW’s EXTENSIVE armor building experience, he knew everything that would be needed for this costume. Me, however, I’m gonna really simplify that list.
- Neck seal
Oversimplified, sure…. but the real list is too crazy.
The Hunt for Materials
so once again this project was a little different. The first build we’ve ever done as a group with 3 other girls we had to make sure that our materials matched everyone as close as possible. So as a group we sourced gloves and boots. That way the girls would look exactly alike.
The girls all got their black under clothes individually. As long as there was no showing logos or inventive details or panels on it or anything it was fine. The go to for most of the girls was Under Armor athletic wear.
The gloves were Blackhawk shooting gloves.
So it looked to me like when building full armor the soft parts at least on this build were pretty much all found. While there were small alterations like permanent marking out Under Armor logos if they showed, stitching velcro onto the backs of gloves, or attaching leather strips onto the boots most of the stuff was simply purchased.
Except for the neck seal. The ladies all ordered as a group through KW’s seamstress and received their pieces according to their measurements.
What an easy build!! The hunt for materials for me during this time felt like this costume was going to be simple and easy!!
Boy was I wrong.
This is a fully armored and operational costume!
Like I mentioned before I had built armor for some of our costumes like Sabine and Kanan. But although Sabine has a good 13 or so armor pieces they are all fairly simple pieces formed and fitted to her costume. Kanan has one arm pretty heavily armored but then just a pair of kneepads!
Both of those examples are not really comparable to the trouble I was about to get myself into.
But I didn’t know that at the time so here I was thinking I was on easy street!!
Now let me jump back in time real quick to let you know that although I was taking part in building the armor Kevin Weir was the one who actually sculpted and molded the kit. Kevin is a 501st member who is responsible for MANY of the clone armor kits worn worldwide. Kevin has built everything from Episode II clones, to The Old Republic Jedi and Sith armor, to Captain Rex from the latter seasons of the Clone Wars. Actually, if you want any clone or armored character from The Clone Wars series, chances are he has made the kit. Commander Doom, ARF Troopers, Phase II Clones, ARC Troopers, Pre Viszla, Bo-Katan, Commander Wolffe, the list is almost endless.
The idea to make the Legacy Stormtrooper armor a reality came from a wish to make a costume for the 501st Legion for females that was specifically built with females in mind. While there are many females in the 501st their costume options are pretty limited. While it’s true that any woman can wear a Stormtrooper, TIE Pilot, Jawa, Imperial crew, Officer, Royal Guard, or Bounty Hunter those costumes are created with males in mind. Once you consider the options created specifically for females your list probably looks something like Aurra Sing, Zam Wessell, Bo-Katan, Asajj Ventress, Mara Jade, Darth Talon, the Tonnika Sisters, and a handful of other legends characters like Admiral Daala. Nothing against any of those costumes but compared to the amount of male options available the list is pretty small and specific.
So with that in mind Kevin worked hard and long on sculpting and creating molds to make this costume. Before we ever agreed to join the project Kevin had already spent countless hours molding, bondo-ing, and vac forming.
Now back to the point where I’m about to assemble the armor for Liz.
Gigantic pile of shiny white ABS plastic stares me in the face.
I face it knife in hand without the slightest clue of where to start.
Being the Jedi master I am I give my fears no purchase, yet I still stand confounded.
Enter Kev and Bender.
While I had never seen anything like this indomitable pile of plastic before me, these two have wrought many beautiful costumes from the same humble beginnings.
While Kev was pulling kits and offering tips, Bender was letting me know exactly where to start and what to do. Without them, I’d probably be here today with a much different looking armor for Liz…
Now day one for me was pretty much spent penciling and cutting out the pieces. While that doesn’t sound like much it’s very time-consuming. I remember leaving after 10 hours in the shop and still staring at a pile of white plastic. The first 2 days I felt like I had worked forever but was still looking at an unrecognizable pile.
This being our first group build I found out that part of what makes a group build fun is the people. On this build, we were stuck in the shop for 12 hours a day with Kev, Bender, Stacy, Cam, and Leeanna.
Luckily it turned out hanging out with those guys and belt sanders was a super fun time. Kev and Bender blasting Offspring led to Bender and I realizing each others love for Metallica so we were able to fit those albums into the playlist (MASTER. MASTER.)
We also had the adventure of Liz and Cam and the importance of eye protection.
Otherwise, Cam might be a very different one-eyed person today.
Bender using the belt sander to vibrate out guitar solos on pieces of plastic he was sanding down.
Lots of Zeppelin, Queen, and Michael Jackson make a build shop move!
But most of all I’m thankful that Bender was there working so I could watch what he was doing to pick up on what my next move should be, or if I needed help I could ask him and he was happy to tell me what I needed to do.
I also learned that this was going to take a while…
and the Mariscos spot down the street has bomb specials.
I’ll get into more of this build in part 2!!