With the Stormtrooper E-11 Blaster build finally done, it was time to weather it. Since my Stormtrooper armor will be “Death Star” shiny, I didn’t want to weather my blaster too heavy…just enough to show light wear and tear. Here, Paul is touching up the black before the silver is applied.

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Weathering is really fun. Not only does it make your prop look real, but, if you use some thought, it can subtly tell a story. Every chip can show where the gun was bumped on a bulkhead, light scuffing indicates where the armor has worn away the finish, dents appear after cold-cocking some mouthy rebel sympathizer…you know, job related stuff.

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Especially on an all-black gun, the weathering can also help bring out detail and add dimension in photos.

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Now that it’s done, I’m working on a stand for displaying it. More on that in the weeks to come.

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Paul and I also decided to work on our Stormtrooper armor. Once the parts were trimmed out, we still had to even up and smooth the edges. The Dremel and belt sander took care of most of the smoothing so that it just took a bit of fine sanding sponge to complete.

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I thought that it would be a quick assembly but the build is deceptively difficult. Each part has to be custom fitted to the wearer and if you want to join the 501st Costume Group, they have exacting standards. I downloaded a 60-page tutorial which I’m going to have to study like the Torah.

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Even though I should be working on some commissions, I couldn’t help putting a little tim in on my Han Solo pistol kit. The detail on screws can get soft on older molds, so I like to drill them out and replace them with real hardware.

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The scope mount screws will also help keep parts together.

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Here you can see how terrible the cast screws can look.

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Replacement screws test fit.

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Same goes for the knobs that secure the scope mount.

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New screw in place

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I was all set to install the barrel in the Caster Gun but forgot to carve out the breach and the rail ports.

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Since the barrel halves are roto-cast, the resin on the inside isn’t uniform. I had to use a Dremel grinder to carve a flat area for the reducing breach ring.

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A bit of the PVC pipe that I’m using for the barrel had to be trimmed to fit. The inside of the tube is painted black before I install it.

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I finished removing the seam where the pistol grip meets the barrel. One last application of primer checks the work.

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I can’t remember what I was thinking, but I was compelled to clean off the work table. Look, you can see the cutting mat! It won’t stay this clean for long.

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The barrel and the breach ring are finally glued in place. This also helps to support the resin barrel.

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Before I install the cold-cast breach rails, I gave them a good polish with 000 steel wool.

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After glueing them into the breach cap, I used a bit of epoxy to secure the rail guides to the barrel. Remember, I tells myself, the thin side goes against the barrel. This time I listened.

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The completed breach assembly.

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Now it’s time to glue both barrel halves together. Finally!

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Once the epoxy set, I applied Bondo to the seam.

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The Toy Story Robot was ready for the installation of its light kit.

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Before I install, I double check the rig to make sure it’s working.

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The rig as four pieces that need to be installed in the head: Two eyes and two brain lights. Since the wires have to feed though the neck lamp nipple, I have to cut each set of wires (one at a time as to not confuse things) about an inch above the controller board, run the wires down the neck and then re-solder them inside the chest. I tested the lights after each surgery and everything still works.

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The switch is screwed and glued on the inside of the battery hatch, the throw is trimmed down to extend slightly beyond the surface of the door and then the switch is glued to the throw.

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The brain lights are hot glued to the head and the eye lights are hot glued to the holes for the eyes. The red, clear eyes are then glued into the brain. The brains can then be glued down. This last step took a lot of test fitting as there’s not a ton of room inside the brains. Everything had to be positioned JUST right.

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See you next week!

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