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Han Solo belt build-WIP
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CaptSolo77 (Brian)
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:10 pm    Post subject: Han Solo belt build-WIP Reply with quote

Hi All,

Greetings from sun-baked Mos Eisely!! Just wanted to invite you all to join me on a new belt and holster build taking place here in the desert. Many thanks to Bob, Nikkos, and especially jedimika for all the encouragement and inspiration in taking this on. Here are some pics. First, the leather pieces:

[img]IMG_0237bybri457, on Flickr



These are all the leather pieces needed to complete the belt, mostly punched for snaps, rivets etc. All the little pouches are wet-molded, scored for stitching, and everything is ready for dye. Next, the buckles:


[img]IMG_0252 bybri457, on Flickr

And the backs:


[img]IMG_0251 bybri457, on Flickr[/img]

I especially like the back plates. The "loops" that the leather belt passes through are hinged, rather than being a solid piece of metal. This allows them to be bent up to pass the belt through, and then they pull flat against the body when the belt is worn. A bit better design than the MP version. Also, the buckles are fully interchangeable, allowing all buckle configurations from one set of buckles, and one belt.

That's about it for now. I'm off to dye and start sewing. More pics to come as the project progresses. CaptSolo77 from Mos Eisely signing out.
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Havok69 ()
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice - I'll be watching with interest. I'm still waiting for some extra cash to order my stuff for the holster. Soon! Did you make the buckles yourself? Are they steel? How thick are they? Just wondering, what are the dimensions of your buckles? I like the loop design, but I would wonder about their strength and how long they would last. What kind of blaster are you going to be using with it? All metal?

How did you wet mold the leather pieces? What color dye do you plan on using? Is this enough questions in one post? Smile Looking good so far!
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Nikkos Khann (Conley Nichols)
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:33 am    Post subject: Re: Han Solo belt build-WIP Reply with quote

CaptSolo77 wrote:
Next, the buckles:


[img]IMG_0252 bybri457, on Flickr

And the backs:


[img]IMG_0251 bybri457, on Flickr[/img]

I especially like the back plates. The "loops" that the leather belt passes through are hinged, rather than being a solid piece of metal. This allows them to be bent up to pass the belt through, and then they pull flat against the body when the belt is worn. A bit better design than the MP version. Also, the buckles are fully interchangeable, allowing all buckle configurations from one set of buckles, and one belt.


Wait, where did you get the buckles? If you made them how and with what materials? The buckles are the hardest thing to find. INPUT....NEED.... INPUT!
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CaptSolo77 (Brian)
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Havok69,

Thanks for your interest. I have been watching your progress as well. Do not feel any regret for your questions. This site, and all who have contributed to it, have provided invaluable resources to me. I feel it is only right to "pay it forward," so I will answer your questions the best I can.

The buckles were made by a friend of mine who is a very skilled metal-worker, according to MP's original designs. They are made from brushed aluminum, and are 1/8" thick.

I am more than happy to share the dimensions of the buckles, but would prefer to share that information after I have posted more complete photos of the final belt, and received some feedback. I would hate to have someone take my measurements and run with them if they are not correct.

As far as the "loop" design is concerned, strength and longevity are the very things that make this design better IMO. MP's backplates are laser-cut from one single piece of metal. This means that in order to pass the leather belt and snaps through his loops, the end tabs must be bent upwards, and then be bent back down to fit flat to the body in the back. This would be fine if one were only looking to have a single configuration of the buckles, however, if one were to change the buckles over and over to fit the various configurations of the movies, eventually the tabs would break. The backplates that I'm showing would outlive both of us, I'm sure.

The blaster I'm using is absolutely all metal, baby. As Han said, "there's no match for a good blaster at your side." I personally love the weight of a metal blaster on my hip. My ESB version is a Master Replicas version, my ANH blaster is a Denix conversion. I'm doing the "hero" version, but your "Greedo Killer" is looking great.

The wet-molding of the pouches is not as difficult as it might seem, but perhaps this forum is not the right place to go into detail. I may do a tutorial on this, but if you can't wait that long, PM me, and I will send you some info.

The dye color I plan on using is British Tan. Since MP's belt seems to be the "gold standard" of belts, I'm looking to replicate his as close as possible. I will post further pics as soon as things move along. If you have any further questions, feel free to post or PM me, I will answer to the best of my abilities. Good luck with your build,

May the Force be with you,

B.
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CaptSolo77 (Brian)
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Wait, where did you get the buckles?...The buckles are the hardest thing to find.


Hi Nikkos,

That's the million-dollar question, isn't it? Where did I get the buckles. As stated in my earlier post, the buckles were fabricated by a friend of mine according to MPs designs, as well as consulting original photos from the films. I am extremely happy with the quality of what has been produced. My friend, Jon, has expressed some interest in producing a small run of the hardware necessary to complete the belt. It would include everything shown in my pics, as well as the droid-caller clip, which is still in the prototype phase.

I expect to have photos posted of a semi-complete belt by next weekend, and anxiously await the opinion of the "powers that be," as well as those who are working on this project themselves.

May the Force be with you all,

B.
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Havok69 ()
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. As I already have my buckles being laser cut for me I won't need your set (or should I?) Depending on price I might pick up a set regardless. However I would definitely be interested in the droid caller clip no matter what. Hopefully I would be able to purchase just that piece. I was planning on cobbing together a piece of aluminum and a broom handle clip, but I would much prefer something more polished.
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jedimika ()
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like you're off to a great start, I'm looking forward to your final version...take lots of in progress pics please!
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CaptSolo77 (Brian)
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:00 am    Post subject: Han Solo belt build-WIP Reply with quote

Hey Smugglers,


Time for an update from the desert. Since my last post, the belt portion of the build is complete. Now all that's left is the holster. Here's a pic:

[img]
Han Solo belt-1 by bri457, on Flickr[/img]

The belt pictured on top in this image is the one I'm currently working on. The belt below is the first prototype that I made by following jedimika's tutorial. (thanks Michael. Wink )

I showed them both to illustrate the first of several issues with using a costumebase belt as the pattern. The issue is with the placement of the snaps on the back of the belt. The costumebase belt places the snaps equally spaced, about 1" apart.

This seems like a good idea in theory, because it allows for adjusting the size of the belt if one should gain or lose weight. However, it is not at all accurate to the movie. The belt pictured on top is much more correct to the film. Watching the scene in ESB where Han destroys the probe droid shows a great example of this.

The first pair of snaps should be set fairly close to the buckle, (actually, even on my current build they could have been a hair farther out). The second set is spaced nearly evenly, but the third set is quite a bit farther out, as you can see in the photo.

On the costumebase version, the snaps are all clustered near the buckle. On the correct version, the snaps spread out further, creating more visual interest on the belt. Setting them farther out helps kill some of the dead space on the belt, especially on the left side, where the dead space between the droid caller clip and the first set of snaps feels somewhat empty.

I say all of this because, although the costumebase placement of the snaps doesn't look entirely bad, after doing all the work to build it, I just couldn't live with it; knowing what the actual belt should look like. I hope to save future builders the cost and frustration this caused me.

Although jedimika has written an excellent tutorial on building this belt, and anyone considering this project should read it, I would caution against using costumebase as the pattern for the belt. As my build progresses, I will address some of the other inaccuracies, including the width of the belt. (hint: it's not 2 1/2" Wink )

Also, you'll notice that the costumbase version puts a loop on the right side, followed by the two pouches, and then another loop. (I removed the first loop from my prototype belt in order to measure it for the current build). In actuality, the second "loop" is another, smaller pouch.


I think that's about it for now. If anyone has further questions, or is in need of dimentions, placement, etc. please do not hesitate to post or PM me. I'm here to help.

I'm moving on to the holster now. This is CaptSolo77 singing off. Talk to you all again soon.

May the Force be with you,

Brian
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Havok69 ()
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking good so far. Is that a 2" belt? I assume you're not using a belt blank, but perhaps an 8 oz leather strip? You've got the wrong tools if you're going for ROTJ, since you're using the same buckles front and back. If you're going for ANH, you didn't do the 1/8" line on the top and bottom of the belt.

Also - I would mount the C clip under the metal strip so it can't spin around on your belt.

Thanks for pointing out the snap spacing on the back, I'll be sure to make a note of it and do the same.

Sorry for the nitpicking; I'm doing a bunch of research on my end just to make sure I'm making the best belt\holster I can and just wanted to pass along my observations.

I'm jealous you're almost done with yours; I haven't even ordered my stuff yet!
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CaptSolo77 (Brian)
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Havok69,

Nice to hear from you!! Clearly, you have been doing your homework. The buckles are only configured the way they are in the photo because I needed a buckle for the first version I made, to show it at least semi-complete. The belt tools I pictured were only placed for illustration, and are not correct to the version I'm building.

This belt will eventually work for either ESB or ROTJ, (I'll show the variations as my build progresses). The ANH belt is the most unique, and even with interchangeable buckles, you really have to make the ANH belt as it's own separate belt. Not only is the groove placed in the the belt as well as the drop-holster strap, but the holster itself is shaped differently. It is also a different color.

I'm doing this one first because it gives the most "bang for the buck," but I will make a separate belt for the ANH version. I think even with both belts, I'll come in at slightly less than buying ONE belt from MP.

As far as the width of the belt, I truly believe that it actually IS 2" wide. I have referenced several photos of the belt, both of Harrison wearing it and of the belt on display. If you print out any photo where you can see both the black 3-hole belt and the gunbelt, and then enlarge it until the 3-hole belt measures 1 1/2", the gunbelt almost always measures closer to 2". Try it yourself, and let us know what you think. Personally, I'm a bit taller (6' 4") so I like the belt a bit wider. On my build, I split the difference and cut it to 2 1/4". (I'm all about the friendly compromise. Wink ) That being said, I really think that 2 1/2" is definitely too wide. (sorry Matt).

I did cut my belt from 8 oz. leather. Tandy doesn't offer a belt blank that measures 2 1/4" Also, Tandy's belt blanks are so think that installing snaps may be problematic.

As far as the droid caller clip, I'm all to familiar with the spinning problem. On this build, I put a bit of JB Weld on it when I added the rivets to the belt. It seems very strong, but I do think your idea is worth looking at. I will bring it up with my fabricator.

Don't apologize for nitpicking; we are all here to help each other. The more eyes on something, the more independent observations, the better all of our builds will be.

Keep pushing on, if you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask. I look forward to seeing your progress.

May the Force be with you,

Brian
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Masterbean (Brian Bean)
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

awesome job, I'm slowly realizing that I need to completely re-make my gun belt, not just try to re-dye it. This is great info!
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Havok69 ()
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The more I look at your buckles, the more I think they need to be enlarged slightly. Looking at reference photos, it looks like the belt should be the same size as the side of the buckle it is attaching to. This doesn't apply to the top photo back buckle, but it does to the others. Not sure if I'm being clear enough, hopefully what I am saying is understandable...

Still looking good though!
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SoloYT1300 (Robert Kohn)
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree about the snap spacing... keep in mind my holster is around 8-9 years old years old. Some of the snaps are purely decorative and so not actually have a snap in the other side. Instead I hot glued a snap cover on to a rivit to get the right look... held well so far.

The width of the buckle may also be made a bit bigger, but tbh you have a really kick butt holster and it thrills me to see the quality of work coming out of the Fring as of late... very friggin cool guys! keep up the hard work, and keep posting the awsome update... mnore people will follow your lead I assure you!






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CaptSolo77 (Brian)
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Havok,


You are correct about the size of the buckles. They do need to be just a hair larger. I have spoken to the fabricator on this as well. They are so close on my current build, that I'm no too concerned about it. However if I ever get to the point where these can be made available, they will be slightly enlarged.

Thanks for the compliment Bob. I'm really pleased with how this project is coming out. It's not as difficult as it may seem, so I hope others will be encouraged to take it on!!

May the Force be with you,

Brian
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CaptSolo77 (Brian)
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Scoundrels,

Before moving on to the holster, I wanted to share a few reference photos/observations on the belt itself. Here are some images that I believe to be screen-used belts:

[img]
DL-44_in_holster by bri457, on Flickr

[/img]where-science-meets-imagination-han-solo-belt-rig-x2000 by bri457, on Flickr

Not only do I believe these are screen-used belts, but I believe they are the same screen-used belts. Look at the area where the holster strap connects to the holster clip. Notice the scratch between the snaps. It is consistent on both. There is a whole discussion on the boards at the RPF which suggest that this is the evidence for a screen-used belt.

I bring this up for a couple of different reasons. The first is color. Notice how in both photos, the belt seems somewhat reddish, or even Tan. This is also consistent with the color that MP makes his belts. I say this because there is a tendency to color the belt Dk. Brown or Chocolate Brown, because that is how it looks in the films. Like many things, however, (the Bespin Jacket, the Hoth Parka, etc) the way things look on film are not necessarily the way they really were.

The second point I would address is the placement of the "tool pouches" on the belt. In my build, I referenced MP's belt heavily. In his photos, it appears that the top of the pouches are even with the top of the belt. This is how I placed my pouches. In the second reference photo, however, it is clearly visible that the pouches are not even with the top of the belt. They are actually 1/8"-1/4" below the top edge of the belt.

The third point I would call attention to is the staining of the belt. Notice in the second photo that the edges of the belt, the holster-strap, and the pouches are left unfinished. Upon close inspection, even the interior of the tool pouches are left unfinished. This suggests that the pieces were dyed before they were sewn together. The exception seems to be the holster, which is dyed both inside and out.

I hope to make further progress on my belt-build this weekend, and will post more info as I move along. I hope this info is helpful to others who are currently working on this project, as well as those who may follow.

This is CaptSolo77 signing out. Good luck with your builds.

May the Force be with you,

Brian
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