Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Inspired Cannister Mod

Over the years, I've fielded many inquiries regarding armor-building. In fact, finding a distinct lack of helpful feedback from existing armor owners was one of the main reasons why I launched this website six years ago. While I enjoy the dispensing advice about all things armor, it's enormously satisfying when I receive thanks from fans who have completed their own costume. And it's even sweeter when said fans have gone that extra mile to share one of their own modifications. Such is the case with this thermal detonator/O2 cannister mod sent to me by Rick:

Your sites have been an invaluable resource for my first experience at building armor. I thought I would share a mod of my own that I’m really thrilled with.

Basically, it is a thermal detonator with threaded caps, perfect for storing keys, cash etc.

FX Armor Thermal Detonator Caps and Control Panel
Two 2” Threaded female to pipe fittings
Two 2” Threaded male to pipe fittings
2” PVC pipe cut to exactly 2.5”
Aluminum Tape
Two keychain belt clasps
Four rivets
Gorilla Glue

Glue the 2.5” section of 2” PVC in between the two male threaded fittings to join together. The threaded ends will face outwards. The 2” PVC makes a nice flush tube through the center.

Wrap the Aluminum Tape around the smooth end of each female threaded fitting.

Glue the FX armor cap over the open aluminum end of each female threaded fitting.

Bend open and flatten one end of each belt clasp. Leave the other end in its bent shape to attach to your belt. Drill two holes approx 1.5” apart on the flat end and then bend it into a curve to fit around the canister.

Attach the belt clips to the center portion of the canister by drilling the holes and securing with rivets.

Attach the control pad to the center section with industrial strength velcro.

Hope you guys can share this with other troopers out there. If I get some free time, I’ll build another one and take more detailed photos of the assembly.

I just completed my first set of armor and have had a great time building it.

Feel free to contact Rick for more details on this mod.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Imperial Cadet Training Manual

In 2005, with Star Wars Celebration 3 quickly approaching, I saw the need for something to hand out to young fans at troopin' events. During this time, the 501st typically had stickers, temporary tattoos, buttons and such, but those were consumables and supplies often ran low, or the event organizer simply didn't have enough lead time to have them produced. Inspired by an early Legion coloring book produced by Dallas "Dustin Crops Boy" Poague (an ex-501st member who now runs Monkey In A Dryer screen-printing business in Minnesota), I decided that a black and white printable pdf file filled with Imperial-style games, puzzles and activities would be an economical turnkey solution for 501st events around the world...well, at least the English-speaking world! Presented as a 12-page "Top Secret" Imperial Cadet Training Manual, the activity book proved to be quite popular over the years, making itself useful as a giveaway at events both large and small. In September 2008, however, I was thrilled to hear that my design was selected to be used by 78 Pottery Barn Kids stores as part of their classic Star Wars decor product launch in North America. (On a side note, PBK donated $15,600 US to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital on behalf of our participation.) In the photo below, you can see some of the activity books in the hands of an employee as BH-3384 takes a break at a Florida event.

I recently added a few pages to the book and, after finding out it was being sold by scalpers on ebay, made it a free download via I have to also give thanks to TK-742 of the German Garrison for a lot of the initial artwork used in the book.

TRIVIA: The back page of the Imperial Cadet Training Manual is a mostly-blank page labeled "Imperial Endorsements" which is used for fans to collect autographs from their favorite characters. While proving quite popular at the Pottery Barn Kids events, this page was really just filler when I originally ran out of ideas for additional content!