The Dorky Diva

fandom. fashion. fun.


Welcome to The Dorky Diva! I'm Savanna, a Star Wars fanatic who tries to sprinkle fandom into every day life. Follow along for new cosplay updates, outfit inspiration, beauty reviews, convention coverage, and more!

The Clawdite Chronicles 12.20.21 - Making the Chest Armor, Painting the Shins and Blaster

Long time no update! As I'm writing this, my Zam Wesell costume is actually COMPLETE! I haven't had time lately to update the build progress, so I'm going to retroactively walk you through the past few months and show you what it took to finish up the costume. Today I'll be going over how I made the chest armor, painted the shins, made the ankle armor, and painted the blaster. 

Making the Chest Armor

When I originally started this build, I thought the fiberglass chest armor I received with the rest of my armor/greeblie parts would be used on my final costume. Once I got further into the build and realized how much shorter my torso is compared to Leeanna Walsman's torso, I realized that I would need to scale down some of my armor parts to fit me better. Since my original chest armor was solid fiberglass, I didn't really want to deal with cutting and resizing it, so I decided to start from scratch. I used the original chest armor to make a template out of paper and resized it to my liking. Then I took some styrene to cut out the base (underside) of the armor. 

After that, I cut the trim piece out of ABS plastic and cut the inlays out of ABS plastic as well. I heated up all of the pieces with a heat gun to wrap over my shoulders and under my bust line. Then I glued the trim onto the base of the armor, which turned out to be much tricker than I originally anticipated. Once that was all done, I hand-cut the Mabari inscriptions out of the inlay plastic with an X-acto knife (this was soooo difficult to get right). Finally, I primed everything with spray paint and painted the trim/base armor dark purple, to eventually match the shin armor and forearm cuff. The inlay piece was painted with an aluminum finish. To finish it all up, I weathered the pieces, glued the inlay into the base, and attached the left and right sides with hinges so it would flex over my chest.

Painting the Shin Armor

After painstakingly sanding, filling, and sanding the shin armor some more, I finally felt like I was in a decent place to start painting the left and right shins. I will say, this is the one piece of my final costume that I intend to upgrade and improve at a later date, but for now I decided to paint the armor instead of wrapping it with leather, just to save me some time ahead of my December 4th due date. 

For the base color of the lower legs, I chose the Montana Gold - Deep Purple spray paint. The color on the can looked exactly like what I had in mind. However, once I started spraying the pieces, I realized the color had a hint more blue than I really wanted to see. To counteract this, I used a blend of airbrushing paints to mute the color and give it a slight red tint. 

In the photo below, you'll see the middle picture is the before (Montana Gold) and the after (airbrushed). I used brown, black, and red airbrush paints to give it an overall darker color and more shaded look. After putting in the time to airbrush them, I was really pleased with the final color. 

Making the Ankle Armor

The ankle armor was another piece that almost stumped me. These pieces bolt into the shin armor, need to flex with the foot, and had recessed notches across the front. After lots of thought, I decided to make the base of the ankle armor out of ABS plastic (same as the chest armor inlays) and overlay it with a thin piece of styrene that I could then cut notches into. I layered the pieces together and tacked them at the seams with glue. After a coat of primer, I painted them with the aluminum color and weathered them. I also drilled holes into the ankle armor and shin armor to bolt them together with Chicago screws. 

Assembling and Painting the Blaster

You might remember seeing in my last post a photo of the 3D printed blaster parts. These parts were already very smooth and didn't need much cleanup work, but the blaster was missing a couple key details that I wanted to include. Thankfully my husband was able to 3D model and print the small detail parts so I could glue them onto the blaster. He also remodeled the "nozzle" (end piece of the barrel) because I wasn't happy with the size and details of the original one I received. 

I assembled the barrel with an aluminum rod through the center to make it more rigid and stable. I glued the barrel parts together and took a lot of care to sand everything down very smoothly so you wouldn't be able to see the seam lines. After that was all prepped, I used Gordon Tarpley's tutorial to prime the barrel gray, rub it with ultra fine steel wool, and paint it with Alclad Chrome to give it a very slick, machined aluminum appearance. 

Lastly, I painted the handle black and glued together all the greeblies to complete the blaster. I love the way it turned out!

That's the update for now! My next entry will cover how I made the holster, helmet, and the final costume reveal. Stay tuned!