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:
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!
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!