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Merkava74's Muddie Build (Jim's Kit)

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Hi guys, my first post here, and I would like to share my build. I hail from Singapore, and Jasper's the name. I'll be building Jimmiroquai's awesome kit, and I'm pretty much following Ricky's awesome build, but with slight differences to what I feel works for me. This is going to be a speed build, as I intend (hope, pray, beseech the powers that be) to have it approved by May 4th! Special thanks goes out to Darren @JAFO, who came through with a lot of parts and advice!

Here are my major parts list. There will be sub-parts that I will get from other sellers, and I will provide more details during the build. 

Armour (yes that's how we spell it in this part of the world) - Jim

Scarf - Darren

Poncho - Plash Palatka (Courtesy of yet again Darren who pre-dyed it for me)

Tunic and Pants - Jim

Gloves - Highland

Imperial Belt - Gian Filippo Zamboni

Lower Belt - Paul Prentice

Boots - Soviet Officer Boots (sovietboots.com)

Ammo Pouch - Yugo M56 (Darren again)

Grenade - 3D printed and modified off Jon Weger's files

E10 Blaster - 3D-PropsNL


So I have ordered almost everything, and some 2 times, and they are coming in drips and draps. In order to try to make my very tight timeline, I will work on whatever comes in through the mail, in no particular order. So here goes, and comments are most welcome!


Here are the links to parts of my build for easy reference:


Helmet Torch

Helmet Telemetry Unit


Respirator Discs





Ammo Pouch



Shin Armour and Boots

Tunic, Pants and Cape



E-10 Blaster



Chest and Back

Painting Armour


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So this came in, so it will be the first item that I tackle. I will not be using the oiler, since it is also optional in the CRL. The pouch is vintage, the leather has hardened and the pouch has been flattened quite badly. 



So I made some Balsa wood blocks to act as inserts. 12mm x 24mm x 240mm was the size I went for. Shoved them in, and the pouch began to take shape. 




Next up, generous amounts of leather conditioner to soften up the pouch and let the inserts reform the shape. The conditioner also has the effect of darkening the leather slightly, which is exactly what I wanted. 



Finally, I velcro-ed the pouch tightly together, and will be leaving it as such for the next couple of days for the conditioner to work into the leather, and then decide if I need to condition it more. 



Edit: After 2 days, it is holding its new shape well. 


I would say this is a good start and I like what I'm seeing. Cheers!

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Next up were the Highland gloves. This will be a simple weathering. I find that many costumers forget this, resulting in the whole outfit just not looking very natural. Here you can see the original pair, before weathering. To weather it was a simple airbrush shading of the areas that are commonly in contact through handling which will generally get exposed to mud and dirt. 



The colour I use for the shading is Tamiya Acrylics Flat Earth, XF52. Here you can see the difference before and after. 




They were then lightly drybrushed with Tamiya Buff XF57. Here is the completed weathered gloves. 



I might further weather it with sky grey to tie it together with the rest of the fabrics and armour. Will get to that when I do the rest. 

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I drilled a hole and inserted a screw into the body of the torch so that I can slot that into a corresponding hole in the Telemetry Unit later. 



I had to find a little screw with a flattish head so that the batteries would still be able to slide in and the torch would still be functional. 



Next, weathering. I shaded the torch with Tamiya Gun Metal X10, weathered it with acrylic Raw Umber and Burnt Sienna using a sponge in a dabbing motion, and then drybrushed with Tamiya Flat Aluminium XF16. 



I also sprayed over the lens and weathered it as it was too bright and I didn't want to see the 9 LEDs. It still shines through when lit, but muted. Much more tactical than the original. 



Another part done, waiting to connect with the TU when it's printed. 

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Received my blaster from 3DPropsNL. It's a beautiful piece. Really good quality prints. As of now, they are making the E-10 compatible with BlastFX, but I am in a rush, so went for a ready one that has not been modified for BlastFX. It came painted too, but I wanted to redo the paintjob as I wanted a particular kind of weathered look. 

Stripped it down to as many parts as I could. This is how it looks:



I also have a M300 torch, and wanted to use my own. There is a slight difference at the front, and I prefer that tapered hood. So I'm swapping that too. 



Sanded down the parts a little more to remove most of the print lines. 



Then I primed with Black Primer, and shaded with Tamiya Enamel Gun Metal.



Here are all the parts shaded.



And the Blaster re-assembled, ready for weathering.



Weathering was done with my usual Raw Umber and Burnt Sienna acrylics. painted liberally onto a small area, and wiped most of the excess with a dry cloth. Remember to do it section by section, as you do not want the paint to dry on you which will make removal difficult. Finished off with Flat Aluminium drybrushing. 



And here is the final product. I might add mud weathering later on after I complete the armour and fabrics to see if I need to tie them all together. 







On to the next item to arrive! (Grenade, I think.)

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Thanks David!




So my TU arrived, courtesy of Paul Prentice. It is a beautifully cast piece, with cast metal texture which makes it look very realistic. 



Drilled a hole at the bottom to receive the torch.



After black primer, shaded with Gun Metal.



Weathered with my usual Raw Umber and Burnt Sienna. Yes you will hear this very often in this build. I come from a military modeling background, and these 2 colours are the foundations of weathering. Finished off with Flat Aluminium drybrushing. 



Glued the torch to it, and calling it complete. I will not be adding the 2 zip ties, as I like the look of it as it, and it still conforms to the CRL. 


Added a 5mm paracord around the back of the TU, inserted 2 bolts, ready for assembly with the helmet. 


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Thanks @Blackwatch, @IcyTrooper and @Raider!



I managed to find a pair of Halcyon Mark 9 Superjet goggles, and took the nose bridge adjuster for my muddie goggles. Shaved off the resin part. 



I then cut out the 2 bottom rectangles, and also routered a groove for the lens to sit in later. I didn't want the lens to protrude out when I fix the foam backing later. 



I'm going to be using Alclad's Mirror Chrome for this paintjob. The key to Alclad is to make sure you have a shiny base. You don't have to use theirs, any rattle can with a good gloss will do. The surface doesn't have to be smooth, like in this case, you just need it glossy, The Chrome will shine where it is flat and glossy, and no so where it is not, which is the kind of effect I'm going for. Here you can see the base coat applied. 



And this is the result after shading with Alclad. Note that I shaded, as compared to covering every corner with paint. This leaves the edges darker, and exposing the black base below it. 



Next up, my usual weathering with raw umber and burnt sienna. It is still shiny, just probably the angle that I took the photo. 



Lens being applied. No, I take no chances. 



Applied a 3mm foam backing to it, and weathered the foam. I also weathered the lens by liberally covering it with raw umber (not burnt sienna since lens don't rust), and then wiping off the excess in the middle. 



Painted and weathered the buckles. 



Thanks to @JAFO, found these cinch locks that resembles the buckle nearest to the goggles. Had to cut out the last bit. final look on the left. 



Sewed 2 pieces of strapping to it. These will be glued to the goggle foam, and needs to be stiff for the glue to stick. 



Sewed up the rest of the goggles strap. From the cinch lock, I sewed a short thin (25mm) elastic strap to the wider (40mm) elastic strap. Remember to add the buckles in before you sew the last part! Here, do note my direction for the largest buckle. Even though the photo in the CRL has it in reverse direction (the bigger side buckle nearer the goggles, reference photos show it is this way as I have done. Also, do remember to measure how tight you want the wider strap to be by wrapping it around your helmet, stretching it to your desired tautness, and cut at that point. 



The completed goggles. I realised that my "box" in the buckle cam loose after I took this photo. Had glued it back. 



And a test fit on the helmet. It holds its place very well, so I may not need to add magnets as what Ricky had done. Side note. I find my helmet too short. It's accurate, and is the hero helmet that Solo wore, but I prefer the normal trooper longer one. Am trying to get another helmet from another source. 



So, calling the goggles done too!



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Started on the prepping for these 2 pieces. The biggest problem as @rickyboyblue mentioned in his build was the 2 collars from the back armour not sitting in the slots on the chest armour. I think I might have solved it. 

First up, cut up 2 holes in the chest armour where the collars will sit. The holes are around 25mm, long enough for webbing to go through. 



Then cut 2 slots in the collars as shown. Be careful you don't cut too deep or too wide. It is just long and wide enough for the webbing end to be slotted in. Around 5mm deep, 20mm long and 2mm wide. 



This is how it looks like when the 2 pieces are joined. They line up perfectly, with little room to move. 



Next, I made 2 short straps, and sewed them 90 degrees, making a L-shaped strap, with snaps at the end. 



Slotted the straps into the collar slots, and glued the damn thing shut. Here, it is important that the joint is strong as this will be taking the most load. 



Next, slot the collars into place, and the straps through the corresponding holes in the chest armour. Pulling it tight towards the front, glue the male snaps in place. It is important that the straps are pulled tight here. If it is loose, it defeats the whole purpose. 



And it's done. I am amazed at how strong this is. I was literally jumping as high as I can, turning left to right vigorously, and there is absolutely no play at all, and the whole front and back armour is being help only by this joint. With this, I am not even intending to do a strap at the shoulder to hold the 2 pieces together. 


So this is my method at solving the problem, and I'm really happy with the results. 


To secure the front and back armour at the waist, I opted to go for the magnets route. My armour will overlap front over back. Here you see the 3 x 30mm magnets on the inside of the front armour. 



And their corresponding magnets on the inside of the rear. Due to the thickness of the fiberglass, I needed to stack 3 magnets each. But it held very well. And yes, the 2 snaps for the belt holder later.



For the shoulder straps, I embedded 2 x 20mm magnets each, so that they do not rotate when stuck on the chest. 



I also glued the back half of the shoulder strap to the back armour. 



For the back piece, I cut a slot for the strap loop to hold the respirator strap in place, and also cut out the 2 holes for the hoses. 



I decided there was no need to use any connectors. The hoses go in perfectly, and are held in place by their own ribs. Very snug and will not come out on its own. 

Edit: For Specialist approval, you WILL need connectors. It is a simple task of adding 2 tubes slightly smaller in diameter to the hoses, attach them angled inwards and towards the front. 



This is how it looks on the outside. Looks good. And then I realised it will all be hidden under the cape anyway...



So, these are the major stuff done for the chest and back armour. Also attached male snaps to the top of the front armour for the shoulder bells. But I suspect they will not be strong enough when the weight of the cape presses down on them. I'll get to that when I do. Ready for painting. 



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wow, what great photos.  thank you for sharing these with us. I love that you are showing and explaining each step.  That is going to help out a lot of people. 


how did you route down the goggle frame? cylinder cutter and a steady hand? 

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1 hour ago, Blackwatch said:

wow, what great photos.  thank you for sharing these with us. I love that you are showing and explaining each step.  That is going to help out a lot of people. 


how did you route down the goggle frame? cylinder cutter and a steady hand? 

Thanks! Yes, i’d be glad if I could share some tips and help others with their builds. 


I used one of these bits, taped a piece of blue masking tape around it at the height of how deep I want the groove to be, and slowly rout it along the goggles lens opening. The diameter of the bit is about what I wanted too. Yes you do need to try to keep your hands steady, but since this is on the inside, mistakes are still ok. 


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Pretty straightforward parts here. 

Got my upper belt from Gian Filippo Zamboni. Applied masking liquid to it for the paint chips. At first, I applied on both the buckle and boxes. Then finally decided that the boxes do not need that effect. The lower belt boxes are from Paul Prentice. 



Here are the upper and lower belt parts primed, ready for shading. 



And here they are weathered with the same Raw Umber, a little of Burnt Sienna, and misted over with a medium Grey for the Mimban dried mud look. Colours look a little light here due to harsh lighting when the photo was taken. 



Attaching the upper belt was pretty straightforward. Nothing much to say here. Here's the completed upper belt.


And I weathered the leather strap a little to blend in with the rest of the costume. 


For the lower belt, I followed the CRL and sewed 2 x 38mm straps together with a zig-zag pattern. 



For the lower boxes, I drilled 2 holes each, sunk a M4 bolt with a flat hex head, filled up the rest of the hole with epoxy, and had the ends stick out for attaching to the belt with a corresponding nut later. Super secure way of fixing boxes in my opinion. 


Then I measured the distance between the boxes that I needed. I had approximately 40mm between each box. Used masking tape to mark out their positions, test fitted it on my waist and liked the distance. This is the correct order of boxes, by the way: from viewer's left to right - Drop Box, Medium box, Small Box, Small Box, Medium Box, Long Drop Box.



This is what it looks like attached with 2 washers and a nut, with Loctite Heavy Strength. Note how the hinged drop box is attached with a strap glued on, allowing it to swing freely. 



Velcro was sewed onto the back of the belt, and here's the completed belt. 


And also weathered the strap. 



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My shin armour are from Jim, and he has corrected the top and shortened it. My shin straps are from Paul Prentice, but I ended up only using his rubber straps and not his buckles. I used Jim's buckles instead. The reason is that Paul's buckles come with a molded section of the straps, which I found to be stiff and doesn't sit around my calves nicely. Jim's was the buckle itself. What I did was cut the rubber strap, glued it to the front and back of the buckle to simulate it going through, while maintaining it's flatness relatively. I reinforced the strap-buckle-strap setup with a piece of strapping. Holds it very well. 




This is how they look on the other side. 



For the shins, the only work I did was to cut out the 4 slots where the straps will be.



Next, I attached the short end of the straps setup to the shins. I glued it down, and reinforced with a piece of strapping with a snap at the end for the other end of the strap to fasten to, and then added another long strip of strapping across it for added strength. 



I had originally wanted to fasten the other end of the strap to the snap on the shin armour, but after test fitting, I realised I do not have enough space to squeeze my fingers in there to fasten it. So I added a longer strip of strap with a snap at the end. This will go to a corresponding snap somewhere in the middle of the shin strap. 



On the other side of the shin armour, I glued a strap "loop" where the end of the rubber strap will slide through, and the snaps go on the rubber strap itself. This is how it looks completely rigged up. There is enough flex left right and up down, but also securely holding the rubber strap in the shin armour, and doesn't pop out. 



My boots are from Sovietboots.com, and to prevent the armour from sliding out of place, I attached 2 snaps on the boots, one for each strap. 



Next, I proceeded to weather the boots with acrylic browns, greys and blacks. Heavy weathering at the bottom, and lighting it out as I get higher. 



The shin armour setup was also painted and weathered. Usual raw umber, burnt sienna, black grey shading. 



Finally, they were put on the boots, and weathered together with grey misting to blend them both together. Here are the completed shin armour and boots. 







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Or filters. Whatever they're called. Jim's kit was not the level of accuracy that I wanted, so I cut out the existing discs, and got a friend of mine to fabricate 2 aluminium ones using the 3D files available. 


And here it is cut out. The diameter is 80mm. 



And here are the fabricated discs. The circular lines you see are not uneven. They're just reflection of the different grains used during the cut. It's smooth. 



Here they are primed with gloss black, ready for Alclad Mirror Chrome on the outer rim. 


Alclad Mirror Chrome applied. 


I then masked around the chrome, sprayed the center black, and then shaded with Gun Metal, and then weathered the whole thing with... again raw umber and burnt sienna, attached the isopon wire mesh below, and then added a piece of black foam below that so that it pops and cannot see through, and then finally secure the M4 hex bolt and nut. Done!



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Here, I will be doing the 2 shoulder bells, biceps, chest and back armour. I added 3 snaps to each shoulder bell. 1 at the top, slightly forward for connecting to the chest armour, and 2 at the bottom for attaching to the biceps. The biceps had 2 corresponding snaps which I do not have photos for. I masked up all the snaps, and sprayed 2 layers of Plasti-dip on all the items. I made sure that I had glued everything on the inside first before Plasti-dip, as I heard horror stories of the rubber peeling off together with the snaps. 


Here's everything Plasti-dipped. 



After priming them black, I shaded with Tamiya Field Grey and Tamiya Red for the right bicep.

Edit: I did in the end get my auto paint guy to mix the Toyota Red 3E5 and Montana Gold Yellow Cab for the right bicep as required for Specialist approval. But you don't need to get the exact colour code as long as it resembles the same colours. 


Same with the chest and back armour. 



Next, they were weathered with blacks, greys, raw umber, burnt sienna. 


The biceps yellow stripes were also added, and the biceps weathered too. 


The whole set:


The chest weathered too. I was careful to make sure it was more weathered at the bottom than at the top. 


All the armour parts weathered till this stage. 



The final step to the weathering was to mist it with a grey, to simulate the Mimban mud dust. It knocks back the weathering a little, and ties everything together very well. Here you can see the effect, that they are lighter. Then they were sealed with a matte clear coat. 


Added the 5mm foam to the 2 sides of the back armour. 


Could not resist putting it together on my mannequin to see how it all looks. 


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The tunic and pants came from Jim's kit, while the cape is the Plash Palatka. Let me start with the cape. 

I wanted to make sure that the cape would be consistently worn every single time I trooped, in the same flow and shape, and easy to attach and detach. So here's my method:


From the diagram above, first I lay the poncho on the floor, and I wanted the . bottom corner to be slightly off centre. The 2 orange circles are where I will sew magnets into the poncho. First, I find the right height to fold my neck line down (1). Then, I measure my shoulder width, enough for the poncho to reach to my chest plate to have the magnets stick under it. I marked the 2 positions, and sewed on the magnets. Note that at this point, (1) is folded back up. Then, at the same neck line, I folded the left side (2), and sew at strategic points so that the folds draping down are natural, while still hidden after I finally fol (1) down at the end. I do the same for the right side (2). And finally, let 1 drop down naturally, covering the hidden sew lines, but kept the whole cape in 1 consistent shape. 

Here you can see the magnets sewed to the corners where it will go under my chest armour. 



Here's the cape laid on the floor weathered. The shape stays no matter what.



And here it is on my mannequin. Again, same folds stay in shape. 



The tunic and pants went through the same weathering, which is basically acrylic browns and greys applied using a rough sponge. 




The Imperial Cogs sewed on. 



Finally, a shot with the armour to check that the weathering blends. See how the cape sits nice on the shoulders. I get this every single time I put it on. Same spot, same folds. 


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With the completed discs (earlier post), I moved on to the resp. First, I cut 2 slots on each side for the straps to go in. I didn't want to glue it to the resp as I think this part is going to take a lot of weight from the hoses. If this comes apart during a troop, that's pretty much the end. 


Here's how it looks with the correct strap and buckles. Snug, slots are hidden, and really strong. 


This is how it looks on the inside.


I then proceeded to shave the entire rim of the resp down to 2mm, in order to be able to receive the rubber trim around it. NOTE: After I did that, painted the whole resp, and attached the trim, I was told that there was going to be a CRL update that will make it inaccurate! THERE IS NO RUBBER TRIM ON THE RESPIRATOR. It was a painful thing for me as I have to build up the whole rim again with epoxy putty, and repaint the whole resp. Nevertheless, I'll show you my process WITH the trim, and then show you how I reworked it. 

Here's the comparison of the rim after I shaved it down to 2mm. The right photo is the original. 


Here's the resp test fitted with the trim. If it wasn't shaved down, the trim wouldn't fit around the rim. 


Resp base coated with black primer, shaded with Tamiya Field Grey.


With the Discs glued down, rubber trim added and the whole piece weathered. 


This is how I attach the hoses inside the resp. Squeeze them through by folding them in half, then expand them inside again. It already holds its place very well, but I decided to go one step further and skewered rods into the hose to prevent them from ever falling out. And they are easy to remove too. 


Hoses attached, and resp misted with grey. 


This was where it was supposed to be complete, I posted the photo online, and received the news that the rubber trim was not going to be in the CRL. So: Used a 2-part epoxy putty and kneaded the rim back. Since I was re-doing it, I decided to remove the discs and refine it to sit better on the resp. 


Here's the parts repainted again. 


And this is finally how it looks completed (again). 


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The helmet is pretty straightforward. Here's what I did from the photo below:

At the back, the 1 big and 2 small magnets are to hold the goggles strap in place. The 2 holes at the side are for the Disc greeblies, and at the same time for the chin strap on the inside. The 2 stacks of magnets nearer the front are for the clips of the resp to hold the resp up. I used 3 x 20mm N35 rare earth magnets. Holds like there's no tomorrow!


Drilled 2 corresponding holes on the helmet where the TU will be. 


And here's the TU in place for test fitting with the goggles and ear disc. 


Helmet was then primed black, and the "rubber trim" masked so I can spray the green. Remember to cut the trim at the rear to simulate the "break" in the trim. 



The helmet lining was taken off a skateboarding helmet, but the foam was still too thick and could not fit into the helmet. Trimmed it down, and added 3M VHB tape where I thought it would come in contact with the helmet and pressed it down. 


The completed helmet test fitted with the goggles and respirator. 




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9 hours ago, 87ninefiveone said:

Really amazing work Jasper. I appreciate you taking the time to document your build so well. It's going to be an invaluable resource as I progress through mine. 

Thanks! your build is looking awesome! Love your large format printer!

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