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The Making of a Mando... Armor Kit

While I certainly want to keep doing these builds, I also like to enable people to prep and paint themselves. To that end, here's a peek into what it takes to make a Mando kit.

 

 

I currently source all of my armor from the Mandalorian Arsenal. Why? Simply because David has amazing customer service, a variety of pieces that let you customize your kit, and solid materials with an excellent wear life. If you are up to giving this a try yourself, head directly over there and he will take care of you.

 

The picture to the left is the way these arrive on my doorstep. They've been vac formed, trimmed out, and packaged up in segments.

 

 

Now comes my least favorite part of the process: prep work.

My passion is in the paint so this is definitely a chore for me, albeit a necessary one. While each piece is generally trimmed out around the edges they require more detailed work.

I'd estimate it takes me two-three hours to get a full kit done (not counting stops to provide food or assistance to small humans). I use a rotary tool with a diamond cutting bit and a mouse sander to trim everything in tighter to the edges. You'll need a 60 or 80 grit paper to handle the roughness of the cuts.

The ABS gets extremely warm while being cut and partially melts. It also has a tendency to fly off and land on bare skin. Ouch. Then there's the whole toxic fumes thing, so long sleeves and respirator are key. I recently upgraded from a half-mask and goggles to a full face mask and wished I had done so sooner.

In the second image, you see the end result of the process. Do this to about 25+ more pieces an you are good to go. It's not difficult, it just takes patience.

 

 

 

Everything gets a good hand sanding with 220 grit. This doesn't do much impact to the smoothness of the armor, but allows the paint to adhere better. I generally do the under coat first to avoid smears to the more visible areas.

The pieces are flipped over and painted. I'm a fan of the Krylon for Plastic series but if you plan on doing weathering, keep the coats light.

I don't understand the concept of pristine armor as Mando's are all about showing their prowess. So I don't have to worry about covering every inch thoroughly.

Depending on the type of weathering my client wants and the color scheme, I'll add a bit of detail over the base coat.

If you'd like more info on finishing these pieces, grab Painting and Weathering for Props and Replicas by Harrison Krix of Volpin Props. Amazing stuff from an amazing artist and fabricator.

 

After some more weathering and hand painting of the details, here's the final version!

 

 

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