Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ab Plate Button Mod

It's amazing how small modifications can really change the overall look of your armor. The bulk of my armor is still the tried-and-true FX suit that I bought in 2002. However, with a new helmet and this ab plate modification, other troopers always ask me what type of armor I have (thinking that it's not FX, but not sure exactly what). Anyway, the ab plate buttons that come with the FX suit are actual black buttons that are glued into holes in the abdomen. The screen-used suits had the "buttons" molded into the plastic and were simply painted blue and gray. This is one of those cases where you might say "Hey, I don't care what the actual costumes look like! Real buttons are much cooler than painted-on buttons," and I'd agree with you. Up close, the FX buttons look more "real" and functional versus something just painted. It's a matter of fictional realism versus accurate reproduction. Have a look at this actual screen-used Return of the Jedi-style Stormtrooper armor that has been on exhibit. The abdomen button plate is unpainted and upside-down. How ugly is that?! My preference was to change the black buttons to ones with color, as seen in Stormtroopers from Episode IV: A New Hope, and to make them slightly smaller. Dagobah Swamp has a good tutorial for this, and I essentially did the same thing except I used thumbtacks rather than metal screw posts.

TRIVIA: Among other subtle differences, Sandtroopers do not have buttons on their abdomen plates. The Tatooine desert scenes in Episode IV: A New Hope were reportedly some of the first that were filmed around 1976, and thus the costumes weren't quite "final."

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