Character Name: Vol'digg Metaal
Character Source: Star Wars Expended Universe
Estimated Total Price: $100 CDN
When I joined the Alliance Impériale - I had no Star Wars costume... and I couldn't understand why because I'm such a Star Wars fan. I started searching for a costume that would be fitting for me, that would be fun to make (armor :P) and that would not be too costly. I started with Clones and soon found out that a suit of armor is really expensive. I then looked at face characters from the bad guy side and couldn't find something that would fit my criteria (Vader would have been nice - but again, real costly).
So finally - I stumbled on this forum: The Dented Helmet. They were concentrated on Boba Fett, Jango Fett and Zam Weasley at the time. There was also a great section on custom mandos. I then thought - here's the opportunity I wanted: a Star Wars costume that would make use of my creativity.
I picked up as much information as possible and sometime at the beginning of 2008, it was time to start.
This costume was really about using the skills I had perfected with all my previous armored project. So I patterned the armor pretty quickly, made it out of craft foam and painted it.
However, I experimented with various things during this project:
It's something I had never did on previous costume - they all looked like brand spanking new outfit. But this one was a veteran mercenary and needed to look the part. So it means including blaster impacts and lightsaber cuts into the armor. I really like how it turned out.
My method: Hot glue and a layered paint job
The hot glue was for making the impact point as if the armor melted where the lightsaber or the blaster would have hit.
The layered paint job was done as per so many tutorial I found at the The Dented Helmet.
Making it look dirty
Weathering was about making the armor look used - now I had to dirty it up. Watered down black acrylic paint did the trick here. I had a lot of help from my wife about this part of the project, it seems I just don't get how dirty should look like :)
I also couldn't tell the mix of paint and water - I was mixing them as I was going along and added more or less water depending on which piece I was working on.
Also an important part was that I was wiping a lot of the paint I was applying (with an old cloth)... to make effects, make sure the paint was setting in cracks first, etc.
Using a "net" of straps to hold the armor
Since I divided the armor in single plates (best example is my back armor)... I couldn't strap my armor as I had done for previous costume (like Odin for example). I then thought about using a "net" of black nylon straps to stick the plates to with hot glue. I think it looks quite good.
What would I do differently with this costume if I had to redo it?
Buy a bucket
As fun as it was to built the bucket - I'm not satisfied with it. I'd buy a premade one (there are some cheap one out there and that are really well made).
Include fans in the bucket
It's so hard to wear this costume for a long time cause it gets really hot under that helmet. Using fans would very much help with this problem.
Use other material for the visor
I used a plastic binder from Staples to make the visor - not a good idea.
It's cheap but I can't see anything unless it's really sunny and my visor is not all fogged up. I'd go with a better visor, either something already made for that purpose or acrylic covered with a special finish (kind of like shadowed car window stuff).