Does anyone know how to scratch-build an X-wing chest box?

Discussion in 'Costuming and Props' started by tripilot, Sep 28, 2010.

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  1. tripilot Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Hey everyone,

    Because I'm on a strict budget as a poor college student, I would like to scratch-build the missing piece of my new X-wing pilot costume. Although I know that a wooden chest box may not pass muster for the Rebel Legion's costuming standards, I am more interested in having something ready for this Halloween season and saving money for a future vacuum foamed model for other events.

    While I found a 2005 post by Reaper 63 describing his scratch-building process, I am having some trouble following his directions. I would really like some pictures, if anyone has them.

    http://boards.theforce.net/costuming_and_props/b10019/21371988/r21446664/

    Also, several other posts referred people to a tutorial at degobahswamp.com, but the site no longer exists.

    http://www.dagobahswamp.com/projects/xwingpilot/chestbox.asp

    Does anyone know of other tutorials or references to wooden scratch-built chest boxes?

    Cheers.
  2. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    It may sound cheap & cheezy, but cardboard is great for construction. Hot-glue to put it together. You can get the hose pard(s) at a hardware store for a couple $.
    If you want more specific, you'll need to talk to someone else. Get the best photos you can to work from and go from there.
    Good luck.
    Post pics when you're done?


    The original switches on Darth Vader's chest plate were just painted cardboard.
  3. AramysStrael Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2004
    star 4
    Wasn't there some guy who did youtube tutorial videos on making star wars costumes on the cheap? I mean they wouldn't have passed muster to get into the club, but they are right up the alley for a poor college stupid who wants to do a star wars themed costume for Halloween.

    You might also want to try to see if there are any pepakura designs for the X-Wing Chestbox out there. Use some cardstock to print the design out and you may reach your desired effect, and it should still be cheap enough, for you.

    Stop the press! Found the link:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9tleGG4Vl0

    At 3:55 is where you see him pull out the chest box and talk about it.

    Maybe that will help you out for a cheap build.

    - Bill
  4. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    I think you mean "Student".
    ;)
  5. AramysStrael Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2004
    star 4
    I am not even sure what it was that I was typing. I think sometimes I get to thinking about other stuff when I am typing and inadvertantly transpose them there, when I don't mean to.

    Like I could have meant to say student, and somebody walking by could have said stupid and that is what I typed, not even thinking about it.

    Sorry.... I did not mean to call anybody stupid! :D

    - Bill
  6. Reaper63 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2002
    star 4
    It's been a long time since Those chest boxes were made. And I'm not sure what more you would need from me, since I don't have any of those chestboxes anymore.

    But if you have questions, I'll try to answer them.
  7. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    If you haven't found them yet, here are 2 images that migh help a little bit.

    [image=http://www.elasticsmiledesign.info/artprojects/xWingPilot1.jpg]

    [image=http://www.elasticsmiledesign.info/artprojects/xWingPilot2.jpg]
  8. tripilot Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 28, 2010
    No worries about the malapropism, Bill, lol. I didn't think that it was some kind of Freudian slip.

    I saw the video and found it to be extremely helpful. I'll start the project this weekend.

    Cheers.

  9. tripilot Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Thanks for taking some of the pressure off this project, Koohii! I keep forgetting that most people will simply enjoy that I bothered to even wear the costume, let alone craft something 100% screen accurate.

    I will absolutely post pictures when I finish!
  10. DARTHLARS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 12, 2002
    star 4
    No, they were not. Where did you get that?
    The rocker switches on Vader's chest box and the X-wing pilots chest boxes are the same: plastic.They can also be found in the Millenium Falcon's cockpit and and on several other props.
    However, in the later movies, some rocker switches were made of wood.

    Here is my home-made chest box with measurements and guide-lines that show how the various parts are aligned to eachother: (this picture is black and white)
    [image=http://s22.photobucket.com/albums/b345/DarthLars/Pilot/measurements.jpg]
    I made mine from sheet styrene and putty. The rocker switches were sculpt in Sculpey and then carved. The metal parts are "Chest Box Knob" and "Tie Plug" from Elvistrooper.

    The method I recommend for building the box is that you make templates and copy them so that you have one copy for each side. Glue the templates to the plastic and cut them to the template.
    The "score and snap" method for cutting plastic: score a groove (at least once) with a knife using a (metal) ruler to get a straight line and then break the two pieces apart. It will break at the scored line, but not entirely cleanly. Therefore, make the groove a mm or two from the final line and use files to get the rest.

    I painted all my lines, which was tedious. I recommend instead that you use narrow detailing tape from a RC Model store -- that is what the original props had.

    The strap is 1" wide and dark green. The original was a military strap called "Nato #7", that could perhaps be acquired from Army Surplus stores attached to a bag or something else. (when you are there, look also for olive-green material for the leg flare holder! US Army Duffel bags are recommended in tutorials) I cut brackets from L-shaped pieces of plastic (computer case) and glued them inside the chest box so that the strap goes like this: (the strap in the picture has the wrong colour)
    [image=http://s22.photobucket.com/albums/b345/DarthLars/Pilot/chestbox04-inside.jpg]

    The hose is a grey dishwasher machine hose that you can get at a hardware store.

    You also need a buckle for the straps, which you can get at Strapworks.com or elsewhere (perhaps attached to something else at the Army Surplus store ...). The type is quite common. Strapworks is also a common source among pilot costumers for the 2" webbing used for the ejection harness.
  11. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    Uh, from a guy who worked at ILM. Suppose he might have been exagerating. Or outright lieing.
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