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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:40 am 
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How well will your armor line up with a helmet and chest box?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:07 pm 
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Wow, thanks, guys!

GundamZep: It lines up better than the other four sets of armor I had owned. The base of the Don Post Deluxe mask's neck has a very reasonable curvature to it, and I'm finding that the armor's over-the-shoulder curvature is just about right.

In various photos and screenshots, the neck of the mask rests on the middle "rib" on the front. This is the only high point and anomaly on Vader's armor. In the production photos and screeshots, there will be some shadow over this slight gap, and this is normal. Because this area happens to be black, the shadow blends in with this area so you don't notice it that much if at all.

I also found that the CostumeJunkie cape worked wonders but the cape chain is too long, as there are too many links. But if I shorten it and get it resewn so that something like 4 or so links are shown, the cape wraps around the armor very nicely and the leather trim starts to act as a bit of a collar to cover the back of the neck, like it did for Prowse.

I can't believe this is coming together.

So the next step is to improve the over-the-shoulder curvature....

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:59 pm 
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Now this is one project I'll be watching closely. Seeing that Styrene and ABS work well with me, that armour that I have always wanted may be a possibility.

Molding and casting small pieces, I think I've got the hang of it, but casting large items or making something out of Fibre Glass, well thats another matter.

I will be watching VERY, VERY closely!!!!!! :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:08 pm 
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Okay, I got done refining the shape. PHEW! It fits more snugly than before, and it "feels" more accurate. The important part is that I have to reasonably approximate a thicker chest.

Now, because it's still all white, you're not going to see much of a difference though the photograph, so I'll describe what I did.

On one hand, I had to make sure this was comfortable for me. However, aAs I'm shaping this armor, I'm not trying to bias it to just myself but I'm also thinking of padding placement and how this is going to help the woes of other Den members who have had almost as much bad luck with procuring well-fitting armor as I have! I wear a size 42-44" (I may be a 40-42 but jackets my size feel way too tight). Someone 38"-40" could theoretically wear this with padding.

The helmet-to-armor proportions and "The Look" are important to me. So when I put a Don Post Deluxe helmet over the armor, the flange lines up a little bit like:

Image

I may have to check again but the 1" strips are approx. as wide (on their outer edges) as the flange of the DLX, which is roughly proportionate with the movie armor. Consequently, the "PAIN in the NECK" graphic -- used in the first post of this thread -- shows those 1" strips wider than the dome flange.

(BTW, this also applies to ROTS armor, so a lot of ROTS armor turns out to be over-wide.)

I've got this armor at about 17.75". It feels right in terms of proportions. I'm going about this more organically rather than scientifically. But apparently the more accurate and expensive suits of armor out there (e.g. GINO, SPFX, possibly certain GH, etc.) were not 19" or 21". It's funny how people automatically assume Prowse with his 50" chest automatically wore things wider, and when you study screen shots of his helmet and shoulder profile, he did not wear his armor the way many fans have ended up wearing theirs. It's truly amazing how continued examination of prop photos, production photos and Hi-Def screen captures continue to teach us the subtleties of the Dark Side of the Force!
:toothy

I may make the neck line a little more "U" rather than slightly "V"-shaped, but I'm not going to go as wide with the neck as the screen armor. The reason is simple: there are a few people I've made friends with here on the Den who expressed kind words towards my projects and were interested in armor. Some may want this in kit form for cost reasons, and so the neck can be modified by them to suit their needs. To me, it's easier to remove material than to take inaccurate armor and to build out the neck area.

So the over-the-shoulder slope looks fantastic. I also heated the front corners and turned them inwards a bit, just like the movie.

I'm going to start sculpting the beveled surfaces on the top of the armor over the next day or so. This should be fun! I'll then prime it so that you can hopefully see the subtleties of the surfaces a bit better.

I also realize that there are very subtle flows of curvature on Vader's armor (or at least on this Mac armor) that need to be there in order for it to be more organic. It's too tempting to cut out a flat sheet, roll the shoulder straps over the shoulders, and then call it a day. The front of the prop armor may strike some people as flat, but if you look from the center on outwards, the upside-down "U" shape varies. At the same time I'm tryhing to capture an extremely subtle left-to-right arch.

The last thing I want is someone to say, "Mac, you blew it. It looks like you took a flat sheet of cardboard and painted over it. My kindergarten kid sister can do better!"

This is a great learning experience. I've achieved just about the right shape to where I can now cut off the excess material and begin sculpting!

Woo-hoo!

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:15 pm 
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Went back to the armor just now and did some more subtle refinements to make it look even more organic and to make it functionally more form fitting.

Image

I'm just about done with the heat forming process.

What's good about the refinements is the way it more comfortably rests on my shoulders and does not cram onto my clavicle (especially the end bump of that bone towards the shoulder). It lays well on my trapezium muscles.

I'm pretty happy with out it turned out!

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:41 pm 
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Okay, so to answer the question of how the helmet lines up with the armor....

Here's me with my Don Post Deluxe helmet.

Image

The shoulder slope profile works really well with the Deluxe neck.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:45 pm 
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This is mirror-flipped (I photographed it in a mirror and didn't unflip it).

Image

I really like this shot because it epitomizes how the neck of the mask lays on the armor.

Whew!

That's it for now!

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:31 pm 
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Mac...thats cool as hell. I love the way the armor looks to have the right fit. Looks like an awesome start. :thumbsup

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 2:31 am 
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Okay, it fits me... sorta. I tried it on my roomate and due to a shoulder injury he related it was tight for him, but then my plans were to thicken the chest anyway. But it goes to show that everyone has a different body type. I'm of slim build, and while the armor helps me achieve more athletic proportions, it may not fit everyone. (My roomate worked on Hollywood projects as key grip, but if you ask me, based on how mangled up his body is, I'd say he was a stuntman!)

I needed to model this on someone with more heroic proportions, but it would be weird going to the gym and scouting... men.... ewwww.

So instead I just went on an impulse buy and purchased a mannequin.

WOWWWW, this guy is TALL!!!! KOWABUNGA! Just putting the Don Post Deluxe on this thing boosted it to about 6' 9".

So here's the Mac Armor on the mannequin.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 2:31 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 2:33 am 
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Here's where some armor fail: the way it wraps over the shoulders. So much armor out there looks like it's about to slide off your shoulders as it's barely hanging onto your frame as it is.

So with this armor, instead, I've made the length generous. I intend to thicken the chest a little so that with padding he'll look properly proportioned.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 9:19 am 
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The armor on that mannequin looks great. You may not need to pad all that much. Also... you going for ANH, ESB or RotJ body shape?

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 4:24 pm 
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The only padding necessary here is to create a thicker chest. However, once cast in FG, the FG material will be stiff. Currently, this big thick piece of styrene is flexible. The mannequin's chest is thicker than mine so it's holding up. I have to plan this carefully. It may be that you're right, that padding is unnecessary -- provided I wear the padding within the suit. In times past dealing with other vendors' armor products, I was told to pad this, pad that, pad here, pad there (ended up looking like a football player -- think American football) and you could see the padding from the side and bottom. So wearing it within the suit makes more sense, provided the heat build up does not make it uncomfortable to do so.... kind of a "muscle" cuirass.

The armor was made from what was technically a picture of ESB armor, but when I'm done with it, it will be painted in the ANH style.

Originally, I was very worried that I couldn't get anything of good ANH quality, and didn't want to pay a vendor $800-1,200 just for the helmet. I thought the Deluxe was the only thing that would be of acceptable quality, so my initial investments were ROTJ (since the Don Post Deluxe is technically of that style).

However, I may end up building my own ANH. Let's see how Goldie fits with these proportions. Goldie (my Golden Armor kit extreme makeover) might work, but if the proportions aren't right, I'll use something a bit wider in the face.

I already have my ANH Vader boxes from Russ Replicas, including the belt buckle, as well as the chestbox rods and "coin slots".

I even have ANH tusks....

A complete ANH costume is not out of reach any more. :wink:

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- Mac

I am most only The RPF nowadays. Please contact me there.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 10:10 pm 
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Great, Mac. I love the way it fits around the frame and on the shoulders. You're right, that curve is tricky, but it looks like you pulled it off. :headbang


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