Gudmund's Twenty Stormtroopers

From Gudmund in Norway
"A few weeks ago (September 2006), a project I have been working on for a year and a half here in Norway, was finally finished. Two years ago a friend of mine asked me if I could build 20 stormtrooper armours for a live action role-play he was planning. I said "sure", having no idea the amount of time it would take, being a student and having a real job on the side. But finding Your webpage made the whole thing possible. The process had to be kept a secret since the players of the LARP was not suppose to know about it. I managed to keep it a secret, and I ALMOST managed to keep my fiance during the whole process."

"Anyway, it all turned out O.K., so I thought I'd send you some pictures and some tips from what I experienced during the process. (Remember I suggested using "the top of the stove" as a heating source in a mail some time ago?)"

"To save time and plastic, I decided to make my holding frame 50x70cm since that was 1/4 of what the default plastic plate the plastic provider had, and it could pull several pieces at once. I had the plastic provider cut them for me. Therefore I needed a vacuum-table big enough to take 50x70cm. My vacuum-table is mainly a plastic container from IKEA and a metal plate with lots of holes. The plastic container needed a lot of wooden reinforcements to maintain its shape during forming, so I don't recommend it, but it had the perfect size."

"I got rather tired of using tape to seal the plastic to the holding frame, and using screws to hold the fame together. So instead of using screws I added six "locks". Instead of using tape, I added heat-resistant silicone to both of the frames. I coated a styrene plate with lard, added silicone to one of the frames, locked them loosely together whith the lard-coated styrene plate between them, and let it set for a few days. Then I repeated the process for the other piece of the frame. Those two things speeded up the forming-process about 300%, maybe more."

"I tried several methods of cutting the plastic after forming, but ended up with a metal-plate-cutter."

"To save time and money, I made my plaster moulds rather thin, thinking I could re-enforce them later if needed. I was wrong. Adding more plaster just made them brake, so instead I filled them with expanding foam. -The kind that comes in some kind of spray container, used to seal window -and doorframes when building houses. I put the mould on a flat surface and raised it slightly with pieces of paper before I sprayed the foam underneath it. Then I cut the excess foam with a knife after it set. This made the base of the moulds slightly flexible, and they never broke again."

"For the detailing of the helmets, I drew the decals in vector graphics in photoshop(tm) and had them printed out as stickers at a local printshop. I used A3 sheets with several of the same decals on one sheet, but I have enclosed an A4 sheet with all the decals needed for one suit in this mail. Feel free to distribute it as long as the monopoint logo and url stay on it."

I shoot a video during the preparations of the stormtrooper NPCs on the LARP and uploaded it on youtube: The voice of the stormtrooper speaking is from a curcuit with a little amplification and a pair of crappy, active loudspeakers from a local hardware(ACME)store.

In a year or two there might be a Star Wars fanfilm avalible for download at the page: "The Drunken Jedi Master".

Again: thanks a lot for an exelent tutorial.