Lou, KY Costuming Thread!

Discussion in 'Mid West Regional Discussion' started by Sad_Max, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. Sad_Max Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2005
    How to build, wear, walk in and maintain a Star Wars costume

    This thread is for any and every idea on building and wearing a Star Wars costume. Feel free to post questions. If you already have a costume, post pictures and advice.

    I have experience with the following costumes, and I'll be posting on these:

    Darth Vader
    Boba Fett
    Tusken Raider
    Queen Amidala (Episode I)
    Padme Amidala (Episode II)
    Bikini Leia

    I'll start with a discussion on the Vader costume. This was a relatively easy costume to assemble. I'm certainly not the authority in the area of costuming, so feel free to add your own thoughts, or to yell at me when I'm wrong (which is often).

  2. Sad_Max Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2005
    The Darth Vader costume consists of the following parts:

    Helmet w/optional Balaclava (face mask)
    Outer Cape w/clasp
    Inner Cape/Tunic
    Chest Piece
    Cod piece
    Body Suit
    Shoulder Pads
    Shin Armor
    optional lightsaber

  3. jedimika FanForce Chapter Rep

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    Apr 2, 2008
    star 4
    This is an excellent idea! I think we can all benefit from your experience.

    I have to rely on other's sewing skills but I'm getting better at the "construction" side of it.

    I have...
    A Rebel Legion approved
    -Rebel Trooper
    -Old Republic Jedi

    Almost completed Stormtrooper armor
    Pieces to make a Mandolorian costume (including bucket)
    Clone Trooper kit (nothing done yet except open the box and look at it)-I'm hoping to put together a Clone Wars Obi-Wan

    I don't have...
    Time [face_whistling]

    One of the best pieces of advice I have is the best accessory for a costume is a handler. Someone to hold your stuff, take pictures for you and others, and reach those parts of the outfit you can't. They're invaluable and often unsung. SAL-UTE!

  4. Cungr_Vanck Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2008
    star 3
    *returns the salute*

    Merely doing my duty General Kenobi!

    I have -

    Rebel Trooper outfit - non-Rebel Legion approved. Had a friend handle the sewing and I purchased the helmet online. Yes, I cheated. But, it looks good!

    Working with my girlfriend on new ideas and such. Right now though, time and money are a tad short for both of us.

    Really would like to make a Yuzhan Vong costume as I have only seen on example of such at all the cons I have went to.
  5. Sad_Max Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2005
    [link=http://][/link]I have to start off by telling you that I do not sew, nor do I know anything about vacuforming (or even how to spell it). I assemble my costumes from purchased materials, and I pay an expert to make something where I don't have the expertise (such as creating the plastic armor shapes). However, the materials come to me fairly raw. It does take some know-how to put everything together. If you want to make everything yourself, go here: http://members.optusnet.com.au/dewar_s/Vader/Vader.htm - Good luck with the huge amount of time your life just lost. Also, I am not 100% screen accurate. You want to make screen accurate costumes? Move to Hollywood. I'm interested in having fun and making people smile. This was my first costume, so I bought many of the pieces pre-made.

  6. The most prominent feature of the Vader costume is the helmet. There are a variety of different helmets for many Star Wars costumes. I do not recommend any fiberglass helmet. They are too heavy and hot. My Vader helmet is some sort of plastic, and it works fine for me. Apparently the Don Post helmets are great (I don't have one). Metal tusks are for sale on eBay, but do you really want to pay extra for something you can spray paint, and that few people will notice (the answer is no). Buy some good chrome paint, and spray those tusks. One feature you see much hype about is the back electronic component thingy device whachmajigg. I don't recommend this, as most helmets cover this part up. Expect to pay $100 or more for a helmet. The best helmets cost much, much more. You won't get much for less than $100. Most of the cheap helmets are not shaped correctly. Unless you're great at building things from plastic or fiberglass, and I mean GREAT, then buy your helmet. I highly recommend installing fans in a Vader helmet. Fan kits can be purchased at Radio Shack, and they are EASY to build and install. I'll post something on making fans, lights and mic/amps later. I also recommend getting dark lenses. It would be a good idea to put a thin layer of black foam above the breathing grid so that no one can see inside the mask. If it's hot, take that face mask off while wearing the helmet. You'll overheat with that thing on!

    (pictures coming soon)

  7. The cape and tunic can be made easily. I do not sew, so I have all of my cloth materials made. These parts are relatively cheap. The clasp on the outer cape is some sort of overpriced garden chain. I opted for a generic chain. Is anyone really going to notice your one chain that is not screen accurate? Does that really make the costume? (the answer is no) If you don't sew, you can find ANY black cape to work for the outer cape. It should be as long as you are tall, and it should be able to wrap completely around your shoulders. Your tunic can also be ANY all black tunic that opens in the middle.
    Read more about the cape here: http://members.optusnet.com.au/dewar_s/Vader/OuterCape.htm

    (pictures soon)

  8. I bought the body suit, belt and chest piece already made. I've seen some homemade belts and chest pieces, but they never looked very good. I always opt to buy pre-made plastic stuff and paint it if I want something to look a particular way. You can work miracles with the right kinds of paint - well, not ACTUAL miracles. Expect to pay in excess of $100 for a good body suit.

    (pictures soon)

  9. I really lose when it comes to the shoulder pads. I bought a pre-made set, and I made no alterations. The set I have is from Episode III. I believe the original trilogy pads are all-black. Mine have grey stripes. I have seen good fiberglass shoulder pads. Expect to pay in excess of $70.

    (pictures soon)

  10. Cod pieces are for sale all over eBay. I recommend getting something with a firm clasp system - don't get any belt for any costume that only uses Velcro. Expect to pay between $30 and $80.

  11. The gloves are important. Why? Everyone sees the gloves. Everyone will want to shake your hand as Vader. They will expect you to wav
  12. Sad_Max Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2005
    The Boba Fett costume consists of the following parts:

    Helmet w/optional Balaclava (face mask) and antenna
    flight suit
    vest w/ribbed neck seal
    cod piece
    butt piece
    chest armor w/optional electronic display
    shoulder armor
    knee armor
    neck armor
    back armor
    rope girth
    ammo belt
    side pouches
    ankle spats
    wookie scalps (colored rope)
    shin tools
    jetpack w/harness

    Before I post anything else, check out the best Fett costuming site around: [link=http://www.thedentedhelmet.com/]The Dented Helmet[/link]
  13. mindtwister_138 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2002
    star 3

    OMG!!!! Not only is this thread awesome but informative and funny as well!
  14. jedimika FanForce Chapter Rep

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2008
    star 4
    I agree! I'm really inspired to do some costuming work this weekend!
  15. Sad_Max Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Found this on Craigslist today:


    More of Fett this evening
  16. jedimika FanForce Chapter Rep

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    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2008
    star 4
    This is my helmet. There are many like it but this one is mine.


    I wish I had documented the assembling of my helmet a little better. That way you could see what NOT to do.


    As you can see I didn't line up the helmet quite right. Not very even. It was a first try and it's not too noticeable. I also managed to screw up the placement of the hard hat/helmet liner. Those are the now useless clips you see inside the dome. A lot of people will use foam. They swear it gives a nice custom fit but I just thought a regular helmet liner would look more 'professional'...no, I don't know who I was trying to impress. So instead I ended up getting a batting helmet that was on sale at the local sporting goods store and ripping out some of the pads and hot glueing them into my bucket (slang for helmet).

    Probably the best advice I got from a 501st member was to go to skullworx.com and buy all the electronic parts--fans, battery boxes, speakers, etc already wired up as a kit and ready to drop into the helmet. I'm just not very handy so I liked having everything ready to go in one package.


    So everything is now in and my head still fits inside my bucket (barely, but I have a large head). If I'm happy with the way everything is placed I'll use a little more glue to secure the components. I'll just need to wear it a while to see.



  17. Sad_Max Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Again - I do not sew, nor do I know anything about vacuforming (or even how to spell it). I used many sites as a reference, most notably [link=http://www.tk409.com/fett.html]TK 409[/link] and[link=http://www.skaines.com/fett/Pages/design1.html] The Ultimate Fett Costume[/link]. There are TWO Fett costumes, Return of the Jedi and Empire Strikes Back, and if you didn't know that, then it probably doesn't matter which costume parts you use (because know one else knows or cares). My suit is mostly ROTJ. Also, apparently I cannot edit the Vader post, so I'm gonna delete that post and repost the post with pictures, posthaste!

    Boba Fett can be the most expensive costume to make, and it easily has more parts than any other Star Wars coctume. It is one of the most cumbersome costumes.

  18. The Helmet - look on [link=http://www.thedentedhelmet.com/]The Dented Helmet[/link] and eBay for Helmets. Do not buy the Rubie's helmet - it sucks like a boy band. There's a helmet known as the "mystery" helmet, or SgtFang, and it's pretty awesome. If you really want to impress, then buy the $1000 Master Replicas helmet, then kiss sound financial decisions goodbye! Be sure to use the DARKEST lens possible - people can see your face easily in the Fett helmet. I bought the antennae from FettMaker. This is a person in the UK, and I think this is the website (although it looks to be under new construction): http://www.thefettmaker.com/. I lined my helmet with foam, but I wish I had used a better helmet fitting system. The foam wasn't quite sturdy enough. I wouldn't recommend it. My helmet is fiberglass, and it tends to be on the heavy side. It is HOT. My helmet was about $120.

  19. [image=http://i364.photobucket.com/albums/oo84/msscha01/SUC50113.jpg]

  20. The Flight Suit - I bought my flight suit from an eBaying Bolivian fella'. His user name is [link=http://myworld.ebay.com/cucblack/]cucblack[/link]. He custom makes your order, and he's Latino, so each order is extra sexy. Any grey (ROTJ) or blue (ESB) flight suit should work. Expect to pay $30 - $100 for generic suit, $120 - $150 for custom made. CUCBLACK includes ankle spats with his suit, and the ladies go CRAZY for ankle spats. (I have two different ankle spat designs for this very reason)

  21. [image=http://i364.photobucket.com/albums/oo84/msscha01/SUC50136.jpg]

  22. There are vests with the ribbed neck, and those without. I recommend getting them as one piece. Why, you ask? Well, who wants to know? Anyway, the vest should have Velcro (use industrial and sew it on) in strategic places to hold the chest armor. I bought my armor from eBay, and it was touched up with various acrylic paints. Making armor and painting are two separate and equally skillful tasks, so be sure you know what you're doing if you try these. The Vest will hold your ab, right and left chest, shoulder, collar and center emblem armor. I recommend using sewed velcro. I used adhesive velcro on the armor, and sewn velcro on the vest. I used a piece of white tape to decorate the center emblem. My left chest armor has a cheap electronic nametag behind it to simulate a space name tag. It is set to random letters and symbols to look all "SPACEY." A vest will cost $30 - $80, and the chest armor (and shoulder) between $30 (for plastic) and $200 (for fiberglass).

  23. [image=http://i364.photobucket.com/albums/oo84/msscha01/SUC50121.jpg]
    [image=http://i364.photobucket.com/albums/oo84/msscha01/SUC50122.jpg] You can see the velcro and the name tag, as well as the tape on the center emblem.
    [image=http://i364.photobucket.com/albums/oo84/msscha01/SUC50129.jpg] Here is the shoulder armor. The mandolorian bull-devil, or blevil, sticker can be bought from eBay.

  24. The gloves can be seen in the pic above. They are grey (gray?)... graey chemical gloves. They'er rubber. They cost like $5. The
  25. jedimika FanForce Chapter Rep

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    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2008
    star 4
    Okay, here's a tutorial for a quick and easy holster for a Rebel Trooper blaster. I have very limited leatherwork experience but this is very easy to do and can be done in about two hours with some help for a first timer. I got my help at Tandy Leather Leather here in town. We're really lucky to have one in in town. Cost is around $15-20 depending on if you get the leather on sale or not and if you give your holster a lining.

    First get your leather. This is an 8oz vegi-tan leather I'm working with. Lay out your pattern and remember the leather will have a smooth side and a rough side. You typically want the smooth side showing although some people like their holster rough side out because it looks more weathered that way.


    After you've traced your pattern cut it out with either leather shears or a straight edge/utility knife. If you use the utility knife go slow making shallow cuts going deeper each time. I use a combination of both. And save those scraps of leather. You can use them to test dyes/colors and practice tooling/carving leather. You can also finish the edges with a 'beveler' and 'slicker' to just make it a little more professional looking.


    Next put down a drop cloth and get ready to dye your leather. We'll be using Tandy's all-in-one "praire brown". You'll put some dye on a moist sponge or other applicator and using quick long strokes apply the dye. And make sure you're wearing (disposable) gloves. Leather is nothing but tanned animal skin after all, so the dye will go into YOUR skin just as easy and you don't want people at work wondering why your fingers are brown! Ewww! You don't have to apply dye to the non-showing side but I usually do just because I'm OCD like that.



    Now we're just going to attach the front part to the back part (it will make more sense in the pictures). You can hand stitch it (which I've done before) but we're just going to keep it easy and use rivets. You'll punch holes through the leather with well...a leather punch...and pound some rivets in to hold it all together. Simple.


    That looks pretty good. We could leave it like that as the rivets are pretty smooth and flush to the leather but why risk scraping up our blaster? Let's take a small piece of suede we have sitting around, cut it to fit and use some contact cement to bind it to the leather. Now our holster will have a luxurious and practical lining.


    Now we're almost done. Just fold the front part over, pound in some more rivets, fold the top part back to make a belt loop and pound yet more rivets in and you're finished.


    Wow, that looks good enough to sign our names to. And doesn't that blaster look nice and comfy in its new home?


    If you're better at tooling leather than I am you could put a little rebel symbol on the front. You can also use these same principles to make a holster for imperial blasters or other weapons. Next, since I plan to start working on my custom Mandolorian, I'm going to try to teach myself how to make functional leather pouches. Wish me luck!

  26. jedimika FanForce Chapter Rep

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    Apr 2, 2008
    star 4

    Still a lot to be done but at least thanks to Cungr's GF I have a Mandolorian vest to build around. As you can see I have most of the needed components for a custom Manolorian. I need to decide on a color scheme. I was thinking a jungle/savage/primitive type pattern but I really like the way that white "pops" on the black vest so I may go with a lighter color. I also have to trim up the helmet but thankfully it's already primered. I may fill in the Boba dent or leave it, I'm not sure. I'll also have to build up the gauntlets. And then there's all the little details. I should be pretty busy this Summer.

  27. Jai-Rew-Sett Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2008
    star 2
    where did you find your armor? Ebay? I have been watching a few on there. I already have the helm, and I am building the blaster. Other than that, that is all I have so far.
  28. jedimika FanForce Chapter Rep

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    Apr 2, 2008
    star 4
    Yeah, Ebay. Are you doing a custom Mando or a Fett?
  29. Jai-Rew-Sett Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2008
    star 2
    Good Deal, it's gonna be a custom.
  30. jedimika FanForce Chapter Rep

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    Apr 2, 2008
    star 4
    Okay, been a while since I posted in this thread but been a while since I've done any prop work. The most recent thing I did wasn't Star Wars but it IS a good example of making something on the cheap that looks pretty good. For the Wolverine movie I was going in costume as a pre-weapon X Logan so I needed some bone claws. Started on these the night before the movie party. Not great but I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out given how fast and cheap I made them. I used...

    2 3/8" wooden dowels (less than $1 each)
    heavy paper clips (free from work)
    Epoxy putty (about $5 a tube, used 2/3 of a tube)
    Spray paint
    Hot glue

    I started with a good blob of the putty as my base/handle. When it was mixed I griped it in my fist so I would have a "custom" fit and stuck in the paper clips while it was soft.

    I then cut the dowels to about 7 inches and started roughing them up with a file. I realized a dremel would be faster and switched to that. I was looking for a non-symmetrical bone like texture. I rounded the tips but didn't want them too sharp (just for safety). I then fine sanded them to get some of the burrs off (I should have spent more time on this step)

    I then fit and clipped the wire (paper clips) to my hands (when the grip was set up) and attached the dowels to the wire with hot glue. I also put a bead of hot glue where the wire met the grip just to make it more secure.

    Then I just spray painted them white and used a little flesh colored paint on the wire so it would blend in more. If I would have had more time I would have probably added a dark paint wash to them but as it was the paint was still tacky when I went to the theater. The wood dowels gave them a nice yellowish undertone though.
    Yeah you can tell it could have used a little more sanding.

    I tied for the costume contest and some people thought I had glued the claws to the back of my hand so I guess I did a better job than I had originally thought.

  31. jedimika FanForce Chapter Rep

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    Apr 2, 2008
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    Here is another recent simple project I did. I needed some red boots for a super hero costume (the wife reminded me I can also use these for my imperial guard costume I'm working on). Browsing the hero costume forums I ran across advice to use some Meltonian Nu Life color spray to color plether, leather or vinyl another color. I purchased from an online store rather than drive all over town looking for it.

    I started with some old jedi costume boots


    and just kept adding coats over several days until I got red boots


    I used one whole can and there are some spots that still show through. I'm told this is normal--it takes about 2 cans for best coverage. Some people also recommend Duplicolor fabric and vinyl colorspray found at most auto supply stores. Also if you're starting with black boots and want to go lighter some coats of white before your desired color will go a long way to getting the results you want.

  32. jedimika FanForce Chapter Rep

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    Apr 2, 2008
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    How things stand with my Star Wars projects (I also have Superhero and Steampunk stuff on the burners)

    Stormtrooper armor-I'm soo close on this, what's the holdup?
    Rebel Pilot-Only a few things left to do. This will probably be the next completed costume. Be expecting pictures soon I hope.
    Custom Mando-I have everything I need to get started..so why haven't I?
    Han Solo-based on a off hand remark by our area Wookiee I picked up a decent Han Solo costume from a vendor called costumebase (more on them another time) but I'm too much of a perfectionist, I've been upgrading it and plan to make my own belt and holster out of leather instead of the pleather one it came with.

    I think my problem is I get distracted by and excited by new ideas and projects without following up on the old projects. It's like I have ADD or something. ADD plus being a perfectionist? That's a great combo.
  33. Jai-Rew-Sett Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2008
    star 2
    I am also on the A.D.D. bandwagon! I've just been too busy lately to do anything. All the parts to my costume are sitting in a pile in my closet, minus the helm in which has become a decorative piece on my entertainment center(lol)...
  34. jedimika FanForce Chapter Rep

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    Apr 2, 2008
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    As we ramp up to CV and start deciding on and getting costumes ready it's my intention to keep this thread active as a resource and source of ideas and a way to document our successes and failures.
    I recently finished my Rebel Pilot costume and have submitted it for Rebel Legion approval. While I wait on that I thought we might look at a costume both Cungr and I have, the Rebel Fleet Trooper (RFT). This is one of cheaper and more comfortable costumes to put together. There are several good tutorials online but the best is probably at studiocreations.



    The panel shirt is made from 2 (matching) dress shirts. The first shirt acts as the "base" and the second shirt is the sacrificial material used to make the front panel for the first shirt. Guesstimate about $20 per shirt.

    The black BDU vest is made from a black BDU shirt. Cost is around $25.

    The grey cargo/BDU pants run around $20-30.

    You'll need black boots. The costume boots run around $50 compared to the real military/police/jack boots (remember the original SW films used a lot of modified military surplus and found items) which run around $200-300. I just have regular costume boots for now but will be investing in some nice boots later since they're used for so many SW costumes-RFT, Rebel Pilot, Han Solo, ROTJ Luke, Imperial Officer, etc.

    Belt and Buckle blanks from Tandy Leather are about $15 together.

    The blaster is just a repainted SW RFT nerf blaster, about $25. These are getting tougher to find so if you have any thoughts about making an RFT costume you may want to get one now and tuck it away. There are also higher end blaster prop replicas available if you want to spend more.

    A holster (see above post) is not required but certainly helpful when you're posing for pictures as a "captured" RFT.

    The most distinctive part of the RFT is of course the helmet. Without the helmet the character is just not as recognizable. Helmet kits run about $60 (plus shipping) and are pretty easy to put together. Or you can get a built helmet for around $150 (plus shipping).

    If you're not handy with needle and thread or don't know anyone that can modify the shirts for you there are online costume sellers where you can get a panel shirt/vest/cargo pants combo (almost) ready to go. Costumebase (who I'll discuss later) offers the shirt/vest/pants combo for around $50 (plus shipping) but remember you'll probably be spending more money later to have it tailored/altered to fit you (unless you're extremely lucky).

    So in all you can expect to spend around $200-250 for an RFT costume which is actually pretty cheap in comparision to other SW costumes. It also has the advantage of being very comfortable to walk around in and keep on for long periods of time.

  35. BulbousFreak Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2007
    star 1
    Cool jedimika, thanks for the tutorial. I'm finally trying to put together a costume myself, although I'm not sure if I want to put forth the money necessary to make it Legion-worthy quite yet. I'm trying to improvise my way to a decent Plo Koon. Already got the mask (haven't seen it in person yet, it's coming through the mail). And I have a good robe that I'll just need to have fitted to my corpulent bulbosity. Still need to get some boots (shouldn't be too hard).

    The things I wanted to ask you about are tunic and pants...I've read the stuff online about Indian homespun cloth for the tunics but is there a shortcut? As I said I'm not going for Legion approval quite yet but I do want to make this look serviceable enough for public appearances.
  36. jedimika FanForce Chapter Rep

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    Depends on the version of Plo you're looking to do. If it's the movie version most of the pictures I find on google images he has his robe closed so you can cheat that way. It looks like his tunic is a chocolate brown, a little lighter than his robe. You should be able to find a nice textured fabric. It also looks like he has a light brown turtleneck thing that should be pretty easy to fake. and some light brown khaki's should do for his pants. One cheat some "jedi" use, and it's done more for comfort, is to leave the sleeves off your tunic. You don't see them when you're wearing your robe anyway so it saves you some fabric and it makes all those layers a lot cooler at a con.

    If you're looking at a Clone Wars Plo that may be a little harder, it looks like he has a long (past his knees) tunic with a built in hood. There's also the issue of putting together some forearm armor.

    Remember you could just also be a plain Kel Dor jedi. That gives you a little more room to be creative with robe/tunic colors and such.

  37. __KypDurron Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2002
    star 1
    Okay, so Im really wanting to build a Clone Trooper Armor set. Anyone have any good suggestions or sites that will help me get started?
  38. jedimika FanForce Chapter Rep

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    Apr 2, 2008
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    Since the clones are considered both good guys and bad guys at various times both the 501st and rebel legion have clone detachments.


    A forum specifically for clone troopers...

    I can personally recommend this clone trooper 101 manual. I bought it and it has lots of reference photos and diagrams about how to put a suit together. When I finally get around to putting some armor together for a clone wars Obi-Wan this is what I'm going to use.


    Most of all make friends with the local 501st. Stalk them on the forum boards and volunteer to help at troops...handlers are always needed and appreciated. I've learned more from looking at their armor first hand and asking questions in person than I've learned from anything I've read online and they're happy to try to recruit you. Kentucky is part of the MidSouth Garrison.

    Hope this helps