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DHKnecht's Death Trooper Armor Build WIP

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Probably not the best time (or is it?) to start a Death Trooper build, but here goes:

(QUICK NOTE - Updated items below; all items received, printed, sanded and finished)

In early February, 2020, we had to go to Orlando because my 15 year old was in the national cheerleader competition, hosted at ESPN World/Disney, and included tickets to Disney World.  No complaints, since I was able to check out Galaxy’s Edge.  Wow.  I had never seen anything like it, nor even a Storm Trooper in person.  We didn’t get to go on any of the attractions due to time and the long lines (in part because of the 20,000 cheerleaders there, too), but just being there to see it was incredible.  The highlight had to be when my 3-year-old grandson broke down violently crying in fear when Kylo Ren was staring down a woman and telling her to “clear the way.”

So that got my interest up.  I’ve had a 3d printer for a couple of years now, a Prusa Mk2S, and had looked at some Death Trooper armor files for $100 or so, but they were split in so many little pieces that it didn’t look worthwhile.  Also, it was quite a daunting thing to do just for a costume I’d never wear.  A friend had told me about the 501st and the story about how some of the members were called in to help with production of The Mandalorian, but it wasn’t until I saw the storm troopers, Kylo Ren, Lord Vader, and others, IN PERSON, that I was blown away by the detail and sheer awesomeness of the kits.  Yes, these weren’t 501st members, but it got me interested and I started looking.

That led me to the 501st website, and from there, after reading about the function and history of the group, the CRL’s (I looked at ALL of them in detail), and even the local group here in Louisiana (Bast Alpha Garrison), I was really impressed.  What finally got me hooked was this forum here – the Spec Ops.  Reading what was available, vendors, pieces, sources for builds, build reports, and the like, convinced me to try.  The most important thing?  I contacted Tom Campbell with TDK Props (based on recommendations that I kept seeing on this site), purchased his files, and was incredible impressed with the accuracy and detail of the files.

I started printing something small with an old roll of black PETG plastic, baking the roll to dry it out first.  The hand plate cover looked great, so I moved to the right bicep.  Half-way through, the filament snapped, ruining the print and jamming the hot end of the printer.  In trying to clear the printer (and throwing away the bad roll of filament), I snapped a fan wire and had to re-solder it, then broke the heating wire trying to unscrew the nozzle.  It was a comedy of errors, but I eventually disassembled the print head, cleaned it, replaced the parts, acquire new and better rolls of PETG, and got started again.  After printing a few parts with some problems, I finally got the temperature of the hot end and print bed right and tweaked some other things and have it all dialed in perfectly (or near so).  (If anyone wants more info on the print settings, feel free to send me a private message or ask here and I’ll send the info to you; I’m really impressed at how smooth PETG prints and how flexible it is – infinitely better than PLA).

So that was actually almost two months ago.  Everything is now printed and assembled, and I am on to sanding/painting.  In the middle of printing, the Corona virus hit.  I’m not sure whether it’s a great time to be working on this or not, as I’m working from home too, but it sure gave me time to stay on top of prints, so there was almost no down time when the printing wasn’t going.

Unlike many of the build reports here, this is one where it will be almost all a direct 3d print (as opposed to a vacu-form or molded kit).  In retrospect, it would have been easier to get Jim Tripon’s fiberglass kit or one of the similar ones, but my 3d printer churned away and that part is at least now done.  Below is my list of parts/sources and what is completed so far, as well as some pictures of items already printed (but not yet finished/painted):

•Helmet:  3d Print (Tom Campbell’s Files) – Printed; started sanding/finishing – see pics below

—Helmet Electronics:  Voice/iComm by UKSWrath – in hand, awaiting installation in helmet -- UPDATE - also have an Adafruit MP3 board with remote button to add under my glove to play Deathtrooper voice sounds (taken from a Youtube video of Battlefront Death Troopers speaking)

—Helmet Fans:  Self-built, acquired from ebay, various sources, 2 40mm fans

—Helmet Padding:  Airsoft Helmet Pads, 19pc set, Amazon.com, in hand

—Helmet NSM:  3d Print (Tom Campbell’s Files) – Sanded and halfway primed/painted

—NSM Light:  Small LED, UKSWrath - UPDATE - not impressed with the LEDs; looking into switching to EL Panels

—Helmet Eye Lens:  Amazon.com, dark green face shield, as recommended by Chaos on this forum, in hand

•Armor:  3d Print (Tom Campbell’s Files) – Printing 3/4 complete – see pics below

—Armor Enhancements: Rubber Shoulder Straps/Buckles/Wrist Straps – Plastic Arms Dealer – in hand - UPDATE - the silicon wrist straps from Plastic Arms Dealer were nice and soft and stretchy, but one of them had some pits and holes and didn't look right; also, the color is a bit faded, not a true black; I ordered two from Przemysław Grzesiak and his were nice and dark black, but shipping from Poland resulted in one cracking beyond repair

•Undersuit:  Jim Tripon, ordered and completed; awaiting shipping to be available again from the Phillipines (Jim’s location)

•Boots:  almost ordered Imperial Boots, but found a pair of Doc Martens Mayer in my size on ebay, brand new, so scooped them up (for the same price in hand as the Imperial Boots, but without the long wait)

•Gloves:  Endor Finders – in hand (pun intended)

•Balaclava:  Amazon.com – in hand

•Belt:  Jim Tripon, awaiting shipping from the Phillipines

—Canvas Belt Pouches:  Jim Tripon - UPDATE - Jim's pouches were way too big - ordered and received the ones from Przemysław Grzesiak and they are much better in size and even better material, but the elastic belt loops should be positioned higher, as they tend to lean forward too much as if they are top heavy

—Belt Boxes/Covers:  3d Print (Tom Campbell’s Files)

—Leather Belt Pouch:  the CRL only says one, but the picture has two; making one myself, since I have some leatherworking experience, but this might be one of the last things I do - UPDATE - ordered one from Przemysław Grzesiak; it's decent, maybe looking a little hastily made, but it'll do fine

—SE-14R Holster:  making this myself, based on Nanotek’s thread/plans here on specops

•SE-14R:  3d Print (Tom Campbell’s Files) – Printed and 95% complete; just need some touch ups to the paint and to seal it with clear coat

•E-11D:  3d Print (Tom Campbell’s Files) – Printed and ready for sanding/paint assembly

—m300 Light:  Amazon.com (Chinese knockoff)

—Sling & Swivels:  ebay

—Retractable Stock Rods:  ebay (used some 200mm RC car axels)

—Electronics:  Blast FX by TRamp ordered, awaiting completion and shipping in about a month (that’s how long his build/ship times are)

•DLT-19D:  3d Print (Tom Campbell’s Files) – printing complete, but not working on this one really until everything submitted and awaiting approval

•Heavy Weapons Specialist Pauldron and Chest Rig—Jim Tripon – awaiting shipping

•Heavy Weapons Specialist MP40 Ammo Pouch – still sourcing this - UPDATE - received a nice one from Przemysław Grzesiak

•Heavy Weapons Specialist Grenades and Magazines – 3d printed, haven’t printed these yet, working on normal approval first

I’ve included pictures below of different parts in different stages of completion.  I still have a long way to go, but I can’t wait for this to be done and finalized.  This armor looks superb and I hope I can get mine to look as good as everyone else.  I plan to go for Lvl 2 Specialist, so I’m building with that approach.  I’ll post more on my build process as far as sanding grits, processing times, layers of paint, etc., etc., but it’s all in a state of change as I play around with it for now.

Finally, if anyone sees any issues in the paint, sanding, printing, layout, form …. anything …. Please let me know!!  I am not afraid of criticism … it is encouraged!!  I welcome any input, no matter how harsh, on how to make this as good a build as I can.  I couldn’t have done even what little I have so far without the help I’ve received from many of the members on here, either what they have already posted or what they helped with when messaged.  Thanks in advance and here’s to the long process ...

NOTE - Pics to follow in next post …



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Here are a few pics of the work in progress (still getting used to how to upload pics here):

First, the helmet, glued and some minor sanding where the pieces were joined, but that's it so far:


Two pieces of the thighs.  The sanding is where the pieces had to be joined.  No filler has yet been used.IMG_1768_s.thumb.jpg.4594f5e851b0c375c97ac9cb5066f337.jpg

Those are the only two pics it will let me upload.  I need to figure out how to add more, or make these smaller ...

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14 hours ago, DHKnecht said:

Those are the only two pics it will let me upload.  I need to figure out how to add more, or make these smaller ...

Awesome WIP post, a recommendation for photos is to create a free account over at imgr.com once you upload a photo you can get a BCC code to paste in your posts. It really much easier

Also there is only one leather pouch on the belt. There are 3 larger canvas pouches, two smaller square hard boxes, and a leather drop holster for the pistol


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5 hours ago, Chaos said:

Also there is only one leather pouch on the belt. There are 3 larger canvas pouches, two smaller square hard boxes, and a leather drop holster for the pistol

Thanks - I was curious about that, since the CRL pic shows 2, but the CRL itself only mentions 1.  I figured it was just one since that's what everyone else did.  The CRL must be an older picture.

I'll also make an imgr account so I can post more.  I've never used that site so I wasn't sure.  Thanks again :)  

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@DHKnecht The picture I posted is the CRL belt photo. The full front and back photos were taken of Tom Campbell. He does use another pouch on his belt to carry Trading Cards. That is what you are seeing. We didn't bother redoing the photos or editing the extra pouch out since we have individual items photos for reference. Hope this clears up the confusion.

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hi Don good to see you here.  Wow, good read and thank you for posting photos.  Im reshooting my own Specialist approval phtoos tomorrow if the weather holds out. 


for Imgur, this forum is pretty easy, and I use the heck out of it.  Click the button at the bottom of this window that says INSERT OTHER MEDIA, and click on insert image from URL.  When I open IMGUR, I find the picture, and use  Direct Link , copy the URL, and paste it into the window that opens when you click INSERT OTHER MEDIA / From URL.  

it will paste i the window and you can put multiple posts in .  

Thanks for posting and Ill be watching your progress. 


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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey man, great start! I have a feeling you’re gonna rock this build .

 I’ve got a question for you, any issues gluing the PETG?  I’ve recently picked up some PETG but haven’t tried printing with it yet. I was under the impression it was hard to glue. I bought a Prusa mk3s about a month ago and have fallen in love with printing. 

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38 minutes ago, wook1138 said:

I’ve got a question for you, any issues gluing the PETG?  I’ve recently picked up some PETG but haven’t tried printing with it yet. I was under the impression it was hard to glue. I bought a Prusa mk3s about a month ago and have fallen in love with printing. 

No issues whatsoever with gluing PETG.  I've used E6000 and medium viscosity superglue (with superglue accelerator).  I'll do about 90% of a seam with E6000, coating each piece to be glued, leaving a little spot every few inches for superglue.  After matching the pieces just right, I hit the superglue with accelerator to have it set instantly, and hold it in place with clamps while the E6000 dries.  That gives both a hard set with the superglue as well as the longevity and flexibility of the E6000.  Doing it this way, I've had very little that I even need to fill with a filler or bondo.

One other thing -- I've made sure to adjust my prints so that I'm printing a flat surface against the printbed for each piece I have to glue.  That way, it helps assure the right angle of the pieces and gives a nice, flat surface for each piece to mate with.

If you take a look at the pic of the thigh pieces above, they were done this way, and the sanding at the seam was with a dremel with a sanding wheel.  This smoothed the seam and I've since sanded the whole of them flat with an orbital sander and 150 grit sandpaper.  This has gotten rid of almost all the print lines, which is helping greatly with the finishing process.  (PETG also doesn't melt under an orbital sander like PLA would).

Also, getting the right settings with PETG is important.  Play around with your temperatures.  I found that using the high end of the heat range for the print bed temperature was much better, whereas the mid to high range on print head temperature helped.  However, the single biggest factor was the fan speed ... slow your fan speed down to about 30% when printing normally (with an override of 100% when bridging if you have that option).  That lower fan speed gives much better layer to layer adhesion and helps let the PETG flex without coming apart.

Good luck with your Mk3S ... I'm jealous ... having the filament sensor, power interruption protection, and removable print plate make this so much better ....

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/28/2020 at 12:17 PM, wook1138 said:

Hey man, great start! I have a feeling you’re gonna rock this build .

 I’ve got a question for you, any issues gluing the PETG?  I’ve recently picked up some PETG but haven’t tried printing with it yet. I was under the impression it was hard to glue. I bought a Prusa mk3s about a month ago and have fallen in love with printing. 

If you want a very good bond with PETG, I'd suggest using weld-on3/weld-on4. It's a solvent that will bond the PETG parts together and they will most likely break before the joint fails. 

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  • 4 months later...

Here's an update and some pics of the helmet.  I'll post more later of the complete suit.  I wore it for Halloween but had to leave off some details so it still isn't ready to submit for approval.  On here, for accuracy and detail, I actually added the metal screens under the vent holes.  The wires coming out were for the speaker/voice system by UKSWrath, but it isn't fully installed yet.

PS - I know there is a small piece on the upper front grill that broke off.  I have it and need to re-attach it.

Quick question for anyone out there --- what's the best position for the internal fans?  It was cool outside for Halloween, but the helmet was *very* hot.




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First Steps

So my first time fully suited up was Halloween 2020.  I had been feverishly working to get the suit completed, for the previous month, but it was progressing slowly.  This was mostly due to the fact that I’m a perfectionist, so every detail had to be just right, every little minor imperfection, gap, warp or pinhole corrected, the paint application perfect.  If not, sand off, fix the part and reapply.

I was planning to go walk with my 4 year-old grandson who dressed as Kylo Ren.  The day before, though, I was still sanding my re-printed shins and the ribbing areas of the thighs.  I worked 38 hours straight, staying up all night on the 30th, and just painting the shins at 11:00 am on Halloween morning, hoping the paint had cured enough by 4:30 to wear them (it did).  After painting the shins, I still had to sand the “rubber” ribs on the thighs and glue those together.

On top of finishing all the pieces, I was really just getting started with the strapping, so I ended up doing things in quite a rush.  I even left off quite a few smaller pieces so I could have something to wear (i.e., I left off the sniper plate from the thigh, the vent tubes on the helmet, the solid boxes from the belt, and I even left off the silver belt buckle unintentionally!). By the time I was packing it all up to go to my daughter’s house to suit up, it was already almost 6:00.  By the time I got there and my son-in-law helped me suit up, Halloween was practically over.  I missed walking with my grandson, but met him down the street, and hung out for about half an hour before heading back.  Since it was night, and my lenses are a cut away from a plexiglass welder’s face shield, I couldn’t see anything at all.  It was all dark.

Here's a pic of us.  I had already taken off the forearms and gloves, and just threw the helmet back on for a pic.  YES, there are issues.  The ab plate pokes out from under the chest plate, the chest plate is sticking out too far (due to the side plates not holding it all together right).  However, this gave me an idea of how it should fit, and what I needed to work on.


All in all, it wasn’t a failure, but it was far from a success.  For starters, it was hot.  Don’t get me wrong, the weather was beautiful, in the mid-60’s.  However, it was stifling hot in the helmet.  I have a set of fans, but didn’t get to put them in.  Those are a MUST for next time.  Then I had issues with the legs.  I think the shins are still too long (I already reprinted them once, shortening them by two inches), and the thighs might be too small on the lower edge, so they didn’t ride up high enough.  It didn’t help that one of the thigh straps came undone, so the right thigh fell.

Moving to the arms, it turns out that the forearms are too long also.  It appeared that they would be okay in testing, maybe a bit long, but acceptable.  However, once I had the undersuit on, and the biceps and shoulders in place, I couldn’t bend my arms well at all, less than 90 degrees.  It was frustrating.



The chest and back were good, but not perfect.  The side plates under the arms that join the chest to the back were a bit short.  Again, they fit ok in testing, but not with the full undersuit, ab and lower back in place.  That’ll be an easy reprint.


The rest of the pieces were fine, even great.  The ab plate, lower back, cod piece, butt plate, shoulders and biceps were perfect.  I’m 6’ ft. even, 220 lbs., so I thought the ab plate would be small, but it actually fit fine and worked well.  


My design for the belt used an underbelt of velco, with a solid layer of Velcro on the inside of the main belt itself, so it was just like attaching two Velcro straps together.  I sandwiched the ab plate, back plate, cod, and butt plate between the two belts (each plate had Velcro on the under and outer sides), so they held firmly in place and worked great.  However, I’m not a fan of the how the pouches look.  I ordered ones from Jim Tripon (with my undersuit), but he sent ones that are too big (maybe they were sandtroooper pouches? Anyone?).  I ended up getting pouches from Przemysław Grzesiak, but they fit up too high and not firmly enough against the belt/body.  I'll probably have to re-stitch the belt loops on these to get them to fit and look right.

I mentioned the helmet (see post above for pictures).  I think in terms of looks, it came out great (even though I forgot to add the flat black vent tubes, as seen in the pic of me and the grandson).  I spent more time with bondo and sanding than I’d care to think about, all to get the contour perfect.  I had issues with one of the face plates, first with pinholes, then when filled, the paint crazed badly, sanded, then crazed again.  I finally had to sand it down all the way, even removing the primer, and pretty much started over, but it eventually came out right.  I still have the full voice system (from ukswrath), tusk lights, and fans to add.  Plus, I still need to paint a few of the recessed areas flat black.

On top of all of that, I figured that I would be able to put it all on myself.  Step through the thighs, into a boot.  Bend my leg and lace up the boot, then put on the shins.  Yeah, right.  I couldn’t bend my leg enough with the thigh in place to get the boots on and laced up.  Even then, I thought I could keep my leg bent when stepping on a chair seat (or my storage box) to put the shins on, but I couldn’t even do that.  At that point, I pretty much gave up and let my son-in-law put it all on me and strap me in.

Overall too, I was a little disappointed with the paint.  Even those areas that I had painted weeks ago and that had time to cure still rubbed and scratched too easily.  It scratched down to the gray primer, so it looked like white scratches that showed up way too easily.  I used Duplicolor primer, and it went on nice and smooth.  I sanded the primer with 1000 grit, then used Duplicolor Gloss Black High Performance Wheel Coating.  This paint was recommended because it has a small amount of Urethane in it that is supposed to prevent damage and chipping (since it is designed to go on rims).  I didn’t think it did any better than normal gloss black paint.

So again, it wasn’t a failure, but it was far from a success.  There go my hopes of being a 501st member anytime soon.  Looks like I still have a few weeks or months ahead of me reprinting and painting and finished the fit for everything.

Any and all comments are welcome!  I know there are a lot of issues left to finish, so it doesn't bother me if anyone posts negative comments.  I'd prefer that so it tells me where I can improve!  Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you!

Don K.



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Nice work! I bet the kiddo was happy to have his own DT escort. Most of the issues you found are normal. I can't think of anyone who was able to have a perfect wearing the first, or even the 10th time putting the armor on. Heck its been 3 years since I first put my armor on and even right now I am in the process of tweaking it again. I too used a grey primer under my top gloss coat, and just like you I have wear spots that the primer shows thru, in my opinion it adds character to the "weathered" effect. I guess its wearer's preference. If you are looking for a durable gloss topcoat you can use some type of resin like Andy uses on his armor, or you can use SprayMax 2K clearcoat. Its a little pricey and does require attention to detail when using, but it is an automobile clear coat so it stands up to the rubbing. Another technique I use on my armor is for the pieces that overlay another and that rub, I attached black felt pads to eliminate the rubbing and wearing, it works and if you position them correctly, they don't show at all. Keep at it, you'll find you never stop tweaking, that the fun part of this hobby.

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Chaos - thanks, that's a great idea with the felt backing.  I will definitely do that with the back of the chest where it rubs on the abdominal plate, and on the inside of the shoulders.  I already was figuring on doing the 2K clear coat.  At $25 a can, it's a bit pricey, but if I can get away with 1 or 2 cans, it's worth it to protect it.  Oh, and as to the wear spots that show primer, a sharpie is a nice quick fix.  It dulls down and wipes out the white/gray of the primer, and doesn't affect the surrounding gloss black much at all.

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