48-Hour ShoretrooperDecember 19, 2016
It's no secret that I love the costumes of Star Wars. I've written about them in the past here on The Dorky Diva, I'm a member of the 501st Legion, and I've helped create costumes for Star Wars fans who want to get involved with charity work through the 501st. Many of my friends know that I'm addicted to projects, especially building armored costumes, so a couple weeks ago I got a text from my friend Wes right before I was about to get some sleep for the night. He asked if I would be willing to drive all the way from Jacksonville, Florida, down to central Florida the next morning to help him build a Shoretrooper in two days. Why such a short deadline? Well, there was a special event coming up for the premiere of Rogue One and the costume needed to be complete by Monday in order to get approved for the event.
Of course I said I would help him, so I woke up at 5am on Saturday morning and drove three hours across the state to get to my parents house where we have a huge shed full of all the tools and space I would need to help complete this costume. Wes showed up around 10am with a dozen donuts (my only request for helping with this build) and all the armor pieces we needed.
Thankfully, all of the armor was trimmed and ready to be assembled, which shaved a good two or three hours off our build time. The first thing I worked on was the helmet, which was a piece of cake because I only had to Dremel out the eyes and neck opening. Then I started assembling the forearms and biceps while Wes assembled the complex shins. After that we both worked on the chest and back pieces, both hacking away at little details that had to be added to the overall set that fit together to create one piece. We struggled with the ab plate at first and then finally figured out how it was supposed to look and assembled that. By the end of the first day, we had all of the pieces primed and ready to be painted the next day. We called it quits before midnight to let Bondo dry on the ab plate and managed to get a full 8-hours of rest before working again the next day.
Wes and I were fortunate enough to know what brand and shade of spray paint that was actually used on the Shoretroopers in Rogue One. However, this created a problem because the specific type of paint we needed was sold out in all the stores near us and we only had two cans on hand to use. We needed two more cans so Wes drove two and a half hours round trip Sunday morning to get the beige paint we needed along with the can of red for the bicep armor. While he drove to Tampa and back, I sanded down the Bondo on the ab plate, primed it, and glued on all the greeblies. As soon as Wes got back, he applied small bits of liquid latex to all of the pieces so that paint could be applied over the latex and peeled off to create a chipped look.
When the latex dried, I started to paint those pieces beige while Wes painted the belt boxes that didn't need liquid latex. This is when it really started to look like a Shoretrooper! After hitting the armor with a second coat of beige, Wes grabbed a wire brush and some steel wool to weather the armor while I added the final touches to the helmet. By the end of the night, the costume was 95% complete. The fabric part of the belt was delivered the next day so we quickly attached the belt boxes, made some hip armor from scratch, and threw it all together for submission photos.
I felt so relieved when the submission photos were sent off and we quickly heard back that he was approved to troop the premiere event. This was an insane accomplishment and I was overjoyed to be involved with the project! It was even better seeing Wes stand on the red carpet during the opening night event with Star Wars fans swarming around him for a photo.
This project taught me that teamwork really does make the dream work! There's no way this Shoretrooper could've been built in two days single handedly. Now if only I could summon the help and motivation to get my Sabine costume done so quickly.