Monday, November 22, 2010

Boba Fett 2 Gauntlets

I took some time over the weekend to make up some forms for shaping the pvc expanded cell board for the gauntlet base pieces.  There are curved pieces that wrap over the top and bottom of the forearm that have a bunch of stuff attached on top.  Wizard of Flight has some curve guides for them.  I transfered the curves onto some pieces of plywood, cut them out, mounted them, and then wrapped them with some card stock.

Then I cut out some pieces of board slightly oversize to the plans.  When you heat this stuff up, it tends to get some irregularities and curving at the edges.  So I figure I'll get the curve in there and then cut them to size, square them up on the belt sander, and clean them up.  That way I can be sure to cut the piece from the section that has the right curve.  I got a big pot of water to a full boil, then I dropped the pieces in one at a time.  It only takes 30 seconds or a minute for them to get floppy.  Then with some gloves, I put the pieces over the form and shape them down to fit.  As soon as it cools, it holds the shape:

Cool, huh?  Don't worry.  These are oversized on purpose, and they are supposed to have some slightly different shapes for the assemblies that attach on top.  

I got to thinking about these after I made them.  These are 1/8" thick.  There's another piece that double over the tops of these with some cut outs.  So that'll be 1'4" thick total.  That's too thick and cumbersome, I think.  So I found some 3/32" thick stock in my pile in the garage.  As soon as I have time, I'll redo this in the thinner stuff.  Eventually these will be painted and weathered to look like they are metal underneath.  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Boba Fett 1

So I've been scheming about building up the full Boba Fett costume for a long time.  I actually started in earnest on it before Halloween.  I tracked down a Sgt. Fang helmet.  I'll post more about that later.  The particular pull from the mold that I got from him has a lot of problems and will need a lot of work to make it right.  I'm pretty disappointed after all the raving about Sgt. Fang and the Mystery Helmet on The Dented Helmet.  But for now, I've been gearing up to work on the jetpack, the gauntlets and the other hard goods.  Jetpack first:

Scratch built Boba Fett has to start with the great set of drawings that Wizard of Flight has made available on The Dented Helmet.  Look for the sticky note links under the forums for the different parts of the costumes.

I downloaded all the plans and spent a while playing around with the pdf printing variables to get them the right size.  WoF drew the jetpack at 15" wide.  At the time, I think that was his best estimate of the actual width of the jetpack from lots of reference pictures (also posted on The Dented Helmet in the galleries.)  I've decided to scale the jetpack up a bit to about 16.25"  Two reasons:  1.  I'm a taller guy (6'2") than the Boba Fett actor, and 2. some new pictures and some careful sizing makes it look like the real thing is bigger than 15".  Even WoF seems to agree now, but he hasn't changed the official drawings yet.

Another challenge is getting the pipes that serve as the rocket thrusters and tanks the right size.  To keep the project cheap and light, scratch builders go with plumbing supply PVC pipe.  So I'm using 2.5" inside diameter pipe for the outside tanks and 4" I.D. pipe for the main tank.  These are both really close to the sizes on the originals as far as I can tell although WoF has the middle tank a good bit smaller.  So using readily available pipes requires tweaking the plans some more.  Here's where I am now.  I've got a number of the main pieces cut and fitting together with screws:

I went to Interstate Plastics in Sacramento and bought some expanded cell PVC foam board.  This is the Sintra (trade name) that guys are talking about on the boards.  A sheet of 4' x 8' .25" board is about $50.  I also got a lot of 1/8" pieces for a great piece out of their scraps bin.  I can't say enough good things about this stuff.  I used a lot of in on the R2.  It cuts easily, the edges clean up, it can be painted.  It's lightweight and easy to work with.  You can heat it up, bend it, and it will hold the shape.  You can glue it and create really strong joints with standard plumbing pipe PVC cement.   It's just about the ideal material for prop building.  I got enough to build several jetpacks and the gauntlets.  

The back of the jetpack or inside curves across both the X and Y axis. So I used a thinner piece (1/8") there and I've just temporarily screwed it together for fitting:

WoF's plans appear to be different from the real thing at the bottom here.  On the screen used jetpack there's a recessed box.  I'll be mocking that up and adding it.  It'll be more detail and work, but not difficult.  Once I've got all the modifications on these basic pieces sorted out, I'll be gluing all of these up.  That'll add a lot of strength and integrity to the whole thing.  The goal is to have it be tough, durable, but lightweight.  I'm also going to cut some big pieces out of the pipes where they are hidden under the pack housing.  That'll shave some more weight off.  More soon.