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Essiexx3's DT WIP

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Hello, approved as TFA Kylo a few months ago and have begun the deep dive into my DT build. Going for basic approval first and eventually Specialist.

Armor- Jim Tripon, tall kit o̶r̶d̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ received

Helmet- finished Armory Shop, ordered

Belt- Armory Shop, ordered

Undersuit- Darkside Closet, ordered

Boots- Undecided on Imperial Boots or Dr Marten's

Gloves- Endor Finders, received

Speed strap/belt pouch- Kerry Rowntree, o̶r̶d̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ received


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  • 4 weeks later...

Obligatory armor pic. Can't stress enough how impressed I am with Jim's kit. A couple small cracks in the cod piece and one of the thigh pieces but very easy to fix. Going to lightly sand the insides for now to give me something to do while I wait for the undersuit, then the real fun begins. Want to fit/strap it before I spend my nights sanding away. Likely won't need to do much trimming as this thing seems to fit pretty perfectly.


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  • 2 months later...

Well it's been almost 4 months so time for a WIP dump. 

Everything has been received except the bucket and belt kit. Likely going to use Jim's belt accessories and just use the actual belt material and canvas pouches from Denis once received.

Sanded interior of everything with 220 and may cover it with plasti-dip but honestly it's pretty smooth as-is and I may choose to not add the extra weight. I do have some 6mm EVA foam I'll likely add to certain areas at least.

I did need to patch a few spots with some cloth and resin, and filled in some bigger cracks with CA glue and Bondo putty.





I really like Lancer's build thread and his meticulousness. It's how I operate so I'm going to reference his info quite often- thanks dude!

I basically copied his technique for the buckle; hit it with 220 and then 400, though I'm using basic Rustoleum Filler Primer for everything. Two coats of that, wet sanded with 2000 and two coats of Rustoleum Aluminum Metallic Finish and here we are. Something got done! (Will be weathered)


On to the other buckles.

Followed same process as the belt buckle, but after scouring reference photos these dudes are definitely beat up. Pre-weathering:


I then LIGHTLY wet sanded everything with 600 to rough it up:


And finally with the help of my assistant double IPA I added weathering with some Kiwi Black Leather Dye, then took a flat head screwdriver and nicked everything up:



I went much lighter on the stabilizers, and actually today purchased an aluminum set so I can use Jim's as a back-up:


Ok on to the armor. As I mentioned everything fits pretty well. I'll need to trim the forearms about 1/4" which will be a later update, but did fit the chest and back. Everything else attaches to these so I wanted to strap these first and ended up taking 2 1/2" off the side extensions on the chest plate. Pre-trim:


First cut:


I'll post fit photos once I strap everything and before paint. 

For strapping I went back and forth in my head 100,000 times and ultimately landed on Roger Wyatt's triple velcro system. I just don't like snaps, and love the ability to adjust this system on the fly. I'll be using a combination of nylon webbing and industrial elastic for various components. Starting with the back and chest plates I went with the strength of nylon, and CA glued velcro hook onto both ends of each side:



For testing I used some adhesive backed velcro so I could move it around at will:


Full disclosure the fit was perfect so I CA glued some non-adhesive velcro onto the armor and let it sit for almost a day. Well much to my surprise while test fitting again and detaching the velcro it started peeling right off. So now I'm trying e6k and we'll see what happens, but the system is the same. Foldable loop secured onto the armor with a piece of hook glued to one end of the backside of the loop (what?!).

Nylon with attached hook secured to loop on the armor:


Fold over one side of the loop that has a piece of hook glued onto the back:


Then fold over the other side of loop to attach to hook:


Next up is hoping the e6k holds! Thanks for listening and until next time...

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Small update, e6000 did NOT hold. I let it sit clamped for 24hrs but that velcro backing did not want to adhere. Instead of trying again and waiting 48-72hrs I've just moved on to the good stuff. Will do some testing tonight. 



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  • 2 weeks later...

Strapping is almost done, just need to complete the thighs to belt and butt to cod. The Barge cement is some good stuff! It held well and is as advertised, but after much fussing I went with an even simpler solution. CA glue and nylon adheres instantly to fiberglass, and I decided on a simple buckle system which is still completely adjustable, secure and less steps to install.




I can so far fully dress myself, and each piece can independently be corrected for proper fit. 

I have conceded on snaps for the butt to cod connection, and will complete that and the thigh connection shortly.

Belt boxes sanded, primed and then wet sanded ready for paint. Not going crazy on the wet sanding for these:


And here's the aluminum impellers I weathered, not finalized but happy so far.



Hope to finalize strapping tonight, and then trim and assemble forearms and shins.

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Looking good so far. Question, are your straps for your chest to ab and back to kidney nylon or heavy duty elastic? I ask because if you used nylon it doesn't have any give. You're going to want your straps to be able to stretch and return when you move. If they don't give you are going to find either your straps are going to put/break at the attachment point or you are going to be very uncomfortable. You're going to want movement between the chest and ab and the back piece and the kidney plate. 

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5 hours ago, Chaos said:

Looking good so far. Question, are your straps for your chest to ab and back to kidney nylon or heavy duty elastic? I ask because if you used nylon it doesn't have any give. You're going to want your straps to be able to stretch and return when you move. If they don't give you are going to find either your straps are going to put/break at the attachment point or you are going to be very uncomfortable. You're going to want movement between the chest and ab and the back piece and the kidney plate. 

Great question! Something I went back and forth on (much like everything) and will live with the decision of nylon straps. It's certainly movable enough to bend and kneel so far, but won't know true flexibility until I'm actually trooping in it. I know my habits while in kit and am comfortable with things being a bit more rigid. If for some reason it doesn't work I can easily change it.

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  • 1 month later...

Update dump. Shipping confirmation for my bucket so now I'm in hustle mode after wasting time on video games and comic books ?. After a few test pieces I've found what works best for me. Initial prep on the raw armor is 150 and 400, cleaned with mineral spirits


Then using one coat of filler primer to find all the small defects driving me nuts- cracks, pinholes, gouges etc. Filling in the obvious stuff with spot putty and dry sanding everything again with 400, then another coat of filler primer. Done so far are shoulders, biceps, cod, butt, thighs and all greeblies.

Next is a light wet sand with 400 and 600 and the first coat of actual paint.


Yea different pieces for comparison but I'll post more soon.

I'll wet sand this with 800, apply another coat and see where I'm at. I'll probably take submission photos with this process to just get it done, but will continue to refine the paint. The plan is to wet sand with 1000, apply clear gloss enamel, hit that with 1500 and then compound and polish.

Used plasti-dip on the shoulder straps and will do the same on the thigh ribbing


Will finish initial prep on forearms, shins, chest, abs, and backs this weekend.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Things are definitely progressing though still no helmet which very may well be lost at sea. 

Everything fits well, I ended up just doing a magnetic attachment on the sides for the back and chest piece. Makes it very easy to put on and secure. 




For the hand plates I cemented some EVA foam inside them with a piece of velcro attached




On the arm impellers I tapped two additional 6-32 holes diagonal from each other and screwed it on.




Everything is snug and still comfortable. On the front of the shins I used cement on the overlapping parts and then put a layer of E6000 in and over the inner seams. Same for the forearms. Opposite sides have two strips of velcro at the just the tops and bottoms.



In between this I finished all the initial sanding prep, wet sanded everything I primed with 400 and 600, laid first coat of gloss down on shoulders and biceps and then wet sanded those with 800. Gonna stop with the topcoats until I get everything fully assembled and ready so I moved on to the shins. The gaps at the top will need 2 or 3 layers of Bondo but I have a good start and the seams down the front will come out good. I filled the bigger gaps along the top with CA glue before applying the filler.







I'll start sanding that tomorrow and get another layer on and see where I'm at. After that get the greeblies on the shins and thighs (probably CA glue, maybe I'll try something creative), assemble screw on system for thermal detonator and lower back, add hair ties to biceps and I think an elastic strap to attach them to the shoulders, finish priming and then just spend time painting. The buckles and rubber straps (wrist and shoulders) I am just going to do at the end. Oh and call out to Aquaman to find my bucket. 

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Well this dude decided to show up yesterday. Thanks for hearing my call, Arthur Curry!


Armory Shop MK4, it is gorgeous, couldn't be happier. Denis is the man.

Shins came out great. Right side is a tad wonky (looks better in person) but overall I'm happy. Ended up doing two layers of Bondo and then filled in some small areas with spot putty. 



Left side



I also ended up filling in the seams on forearms with putty. They were relatively small and didn't feel like gooping it up with Bondo for such a small gap.



Also for putty in small creases a small syringe like this works wonders


Got the metallic black Tamiya paint on the ab piece (no photo yet) and Plasti Dip on the thighs.


I'll probably be up all night and plugging away all weekend. Going out of town Thursday but if the universe aligns and my math is right (it is) I will take submission photos Wednesday night. If not it will be the following weekend. 

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1. Going asymmetrical



2. I love my CA glue


3. This greeblie is dumb


Already snapped off, if I weren't pressing my luck I wouldn't care but it just pissed me off, so it is glued and E6k'd.


4. Kill room or paint booth?


5. Black hell


My whole neighborhood is high now

Can't wait to finish this beast.

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Quick update, rustoleum is not my friend. Had some random splattering during the first coat which didn't bother me too much. Wet sanded everything to 800 and was excited for coat two when everything went to hell. Unopened box of cans and every single one just sprayed something awful. Some sections look great and then randomly I get this


Other pieces I'm too embarrassed to even photo. Tried went sanding with 1000 and it's not working, got everything smooth and I have these lovely fisheyes


So, I will wet sand the entire kit again to get it smooth and take a deep breath. I would like to try a different brand paint but I know that can lead to nightmares. Anything to avoid having to heavy sand everything off and start over is all I can ask for right now. Will talk to a paint store to get their opinion on something that can hopefully react well with this as it literally needs one or two nice even coats to be done. Bummed. Out.

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Paint 95% fixed and I'm very happy with the shine. Spent about 8 hours sanding everything down and back up, have some light cracking on portions of 2 pieces that I will fix when I'm back in town but that will be easy compared to what I just went through. 

Got buckles assembled


Drilled holes in the thermal detonator, dremeled off the ends of some chicago screws and glued them in


Just need to attach buckles, rubber wrist straps, attach the elastic straps I made for the biceps/shoulders and finish attaching boxes to belt/add velcro to belt, butt and cod and this thing is done. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Photo day. Some minor paint imperfections but likely something only I know about that I will try to not let drive me nuts. 

For the belt I used magnets to get the placement correct for the buckle and boxes, marked the belt and drilled holes appropriately. Same method as the thermal detonator on the boxes, cut off the ends of some Chicago screws and used 5min epoxy this time to secure them in the boxes. E6000 on the velcro portions of the belt, and Barge for the velcro on the armor.



Ended up using hot glue for now on the shoulder buckles, D-rings and wrist bands as if I decide to change those out ever I can remove them without too much difficulty. If they break off it is an easy fix without any damage to the armor. 

Added some quick padding for the helmet to take submission pics and will change that once I install the audio system and fans, but just looking to get this thing approved and can then work on all the optional details. Will post some pics later today. 

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Looking great Nathan, looks like all your hard work has paid off! Best of luck with your submission photos!

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Very nice, job well done! Congrats! 

Send me over a pic if you get a chance with your TX ID and garrison and I can post it on social media, if you'd like?

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Still plugging away. Better secured the elastic hair ties in the biceps, added some small velcro pieces to the shoulder buckles to keep it flush with the chest plate, and finally what I've been looking forward to is installing the electronics and fans in my bucket


It's snug but it fits. Pads, Ukswrath's audio system, 6700 mAh battery box and a 5v blower fan. Combo of velcro, hot glue and good 'ol gorilla tape. Got the beefier battery to keep the fan running as I like long troops. Only three burns from the hot glue gun as I was cleaning up, one of which ripped multiple layers of skin off so that was fun. Skipping the mic for now as it's picking up some screechy feedback with the fan being so close, plus I'm just awkward when live talking during a troop (I use a Micom rig for Kylo). I'm not really sure what's next, probably the LED light install in the neuro-saav, but this WIP is coming to an end. Kits are never really done so I'll always be tinkering, and I'll update anything worth sharing. This build taught me a lot, kept my sailor mouth very active and right now I'm just looking forward to trooping in this thing. Until next time, thanks for reading...

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