Blog RSS

The Sterling Finishing Touch, Part One

Part 1 of Developing the E-11 Blaster Kit

Sterling, isn't it?

Back in my ol’ Stormtrooper cosplay days I often spent hours, days and WEEKS making my white armor perfect. You know what I am talking about: measuring your armor, scoring it, making the perfect cut. Then you measure if it fits, make the proper adjustments, measure if it fits, adjust...then see if it looks right, detect asymmetries...the whole kit and caboodle. Then finally, if your fitting mirror could only talk, you have… the PERFECT set of armor that fits you flawlessly! You couldn’t be prouder and you’re ready to hit the convention or event.

But what’s a classic trooper without his or her’s blaster?!?

If you’re like me, this is where things go, “eh”? After all this time to create the perfect piece of armor, you’re suddenly scouring eBay, forums, friends and family looking for an E-11 blaster. It then dawns on you; when it comes down to it, you really only have three choices:

  1. A Real Sterling Conversion
  2. A Foamy
  3. A Kit
Right off the bat, a real Sterling (the base of the E-11) is just out of the question because... well, depending on what country or state you’re in, there might be some legal jurisdiction issues and, not to mention, it’s horrendously expensive and equally heavy. Try holding one of these for an extended period of time, and you will get a real appreciation for our Greatest Generation troops.
 
A “foamy” is made of condensed open cells. It is generally made of a single cast, with a process that skins the inside of a mold, then an expandable open cell formulation creates the strength of the body around a metal armature. This option is awesome if that's your cup of tea, but sacrifices undercut detail due to the nature of the total foam build. Secondly, finding sources for really good ones is a tough thing now a days. In my day, this is what I used for lack of other options.
 
Kits really ranged in my day. The first issue was simply finding them: I often had to ask around, search eBay or hope someone in my costuming group resolved to never build theirs and would sell it to me! When you did find one or some, their accuracy and complexity was really polarized.  Some kits were mind-numbingly simple, but lacked detail and accuracy. Those same kits usually had a seam line that took days to sand then align with putty. Then some kits were direct casts of Sterling parts and conversion kits that, while amazingly accurate, were exceedingly complex to put together, then ended up being brittle because of the tiny parts hanging on for dear life with a drop of CA glue.

The crazy thing about it all, you’ve put in all this work into making your outfit incredible, but the finishing touch was a scramble to find something suitable that, honestly, didn’t match the caliber of your suit.

I am sure you’ve had similar experiences and it’s what framed our design of the E-11 kit. Many of us in the company have worn suits and have the bathroom scars to prove it. But with our kit we wanted it all: accuracy, durability and, most importantly, the ease of putting it all together whether you were an experienced kit builder or a beginner.

It all started with one rule: Make it super accurate but super easy.

This is going to be a three part series that looks at just that.

Wait, why three parts? Because the finishing touch is easily overlooked as the best part to the costume—next to the helmet of course—but it gets the least love!

Obviously, this is the intro into the problem that has existed for most of us. Be on the lookout for the following segments where we will dive deeper into how we chased the accuracy of this piece, and how we made it easy.

Questions? Comments? Let us know below what you think of these insights.

Anovos Productions LLC March 15, 2019 4 tags (show)

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.

top