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Han Solo belt build-WIP
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SoloYT1300 (Robert Kohn)
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup... agree with everything you have said.

Note for others... this is the ESB version of the holster. Not everything you see on display however is from ESB. So keep that in mind when doing your research.
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CaptSolo77 (Brian)
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi All,


Yes, these photos are of the ESB version of the belt. Thank you Bob for pointing that out. I meant to do that in my post and forgot.

There are two very specific details which tell us this is true. First, there is no groove in either the belt or the drop-strap on the holster. This is only true of the ESB belt.

Secondly, notice the strap which goes around the thigh, securing the holster to the leg. There is a snap, followed by a space, and then three more snaps. This feature is unique to the ESB belt. Both other versions have the snaps consistently and evenly spaced. MP replicates this detail on his belts as well.

These details are very picky, and are not necessary for formal acceptance, however, if one wants to create accurate versions of the rig, they are something to think about.

On my current build, I'm going for something that will replicate both the ESB and ROTJ versions of the belt. To that end, I'm making the belt so that the drop-strap on the holster can be changed out, as well as the thigh strap being changed. This way, I can use the same belt, the same holster and the same set of buckles, only switching these two specific items.

What I find most interesting in all of this is the color. In the first photo I posted of the screen-used belt, it appears very reddish. On the mannequin display, it seems more tan. In the movie, it looks very dark brown. This shows how much lighting can affect the appearance of things.

I think any one of the color choices would be "correct" but I feel the British Tan is the best compromise. The biggest issue with going Dk. Brown is that it becomes very easy to over-stain it, and then it appears almost black.

Bearing all this in mind, realize also that if building an ANH belt, all of this goes out the window. Not only does the belt have grooves in it, as well as the drop-strap on the holster, but it is also more of a yellowish or golden brown. This is seen clearly in the hi-rez version of the photos that Bob posted. Also, the holster is shaped differently on the ANH version.

I hope this helps those who are currently working on this project. My own build is proceeding extremely well, and I will post further photos very soon. Good luck with your builds, keep us posted on your progress.

May the Force be with you,

Brian
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SoloYT1300 (Robert Kohn)
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If someone does go dark brown I highly suggest using a reducer and practice on scrap leather of same quality till you get the desired look.

I also think some of tha difference you seeing in the belt pictures is age. I think some of the people who archive these props should be shot at the way they are NOT taking care of some of the items. A bit of leather soap/ conditioner would go a long way with Hans belt. It just looked extremely dry when I saw it on display... kind of sad really.
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CaptSolo77 (Brian)
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Makes sense. When the belt is on display, it is exposed to artificial lighting hour after hour for days on end. I imagine that would do a lot toward burning out the color as well as drying the leather.

Anyway, time for another photo update. This photo is to illustrate the second and more significant problem with using costumebase as the pattern for the belt.

[img]
Han Solo Holster Strap by bri457, on Flickr

Here you see the holster strap from my current build. Pictured below is the template for this strap which was derived from the costumebase belt. As you see, the costumebase version is a very symmetrical "Y" shape.

In my build, the strap is not at all symmetrical; there are also very different curves in the front and back. The reason this is important can be seen in the way the Good Lord built us. Most all of us are somewhat, shall we say "rounder" on the backside. Therefore, the symmetrical design does not provide for a very comfortable fit.

I actually placed the raw version of this strap into the holster clips, tried it on, and trimmed it even further than it was pictured in my very first posted photo. It now fits like a glove, and feels incredibly cool wrapped around my leg.

On a side note, be very careful when cutting this piece out from the leather. It is a large piece, and uses a good-sized portion of a single-shoulder of leather. When I cut my first one, I had the template facing the wrong way and ended up with a left-handed holster strap. Wasted a decent portion of leather.

Getting ready to work on the holster next. Haven't quite wrapped my head around exactly how to sew the cap into the end, or how to best wet-mold it. I have some theories, though, so I guess I should just bite the bullet and do it. More to come.

This is CaptSolo signing out from Mos Eisely.

May the Force be with you,

Brian
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jedimika ()
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice! I really like all your observations and the advances over my holster that you're coming up with.
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CaptSolo77 (Brian)
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm merely standing on the shoulders of giants, my friend. There would be no advances/observations at all had you not first written the tutorial which convinced me that making this belt would be possible. Wink
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HanSagan (Peter Haynes)
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I did on my belt was just build a very simple wooden mould to stretch the leather over, roughly the same size as the blaster. Then I clipped the front of the holster to the back and used a tube of filler (or liquid nails, or anything else that comes in those standard size tubes) as a shape to hold the curve of the leather while it dried. It was pretty much a perfect size.




The leather is very workable for at least an hour after you water treat it, it's quite forgiving that way.

Hope that helps some.
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Jedi Loreen (Lori Procopio)
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like to use the actual gun to mold around. I just wrap it really well in plastic wrap so it won't get wet. That way you get the holster very form fitting, if that's what you want. Though not necessarily in this case.

I see your scope is inside your holster, but it's supposed to go on the outside.

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Havok69 ()
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How much do you wet the leather to mold it? I was thinking that I would wrap my gun in plastic, wet the leather and clamp it down where the seam will be with a bunch of binder clamps, however I am not sure of the wet part. Just spread some water on with a sponge, or soak it?
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SoloYT1300 (Robert Kohn)
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Soak that leather... it will not hurt the leather at all... and will eventually dry nice and well formed. I usually oversize the leather I need... till I get the right size... soak the leather. Then form fit it around the blaster or mold. Let dry around the blaster in the form you desire. Once dry then I trim any extra that I do not need. I do think most people cut the leather to size then soak... I just seem to do better with cutting it after the fact.

For those Hans who have multiple blasters:

You have a few options, you can make multiple holsters that fit each blaster specifically. or... You can make 1 holster that fits all your blasters.. so so. I went with the so so I guess. Basically take the largest of the blasters and make the holster to that... you may need to trim a bit here and there, but at least the others should fit. My Greedo killer is my largest blaster.

Bob
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Jedi Loreen (Lori Procopio)
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's how I wet form holsters, the way Bob does it. I cut the leather a bit wide so there's extra on the seam side. Then put scraps of leather under the clamp jaws so they don't mark the leather, then cut off the excess leather from the seam side when it's dry.
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HanSagan (Peter Haynes)
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I soak the leather in freshly boiled water for literally 2 seconds...as soon at starts to curl, take it out and stretch it over your mould.

Its a hasbro blaster, so the scope is attached to the body, thats why its on the inside.
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CaptSolo77 (Brian)
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Guys,

Thanks for all the great info!! That's what this thread is for; so we can all learn from each other and take what works best for us. I have my holster almost complete, here is a photo which illustrates the process I used:

[img]
Han Solo Holster by bri457, on Flickr[/img]

I actually sewed the holster together before I did the wet-mold. Prior to attempting this holster, I made a simpler one and used the clamping method. I could not clamp down very hard, for fear of leaving impressions in the wet leather. ( I hadn't thought about leaving excess on the edges.) When the leather dried, it shrank and caused the edges to be mis-aligned. No big deal, I sewed it and trimmed it, and it looked fine.

With this holster, however, I wanted to bevel and slick the edges for a more polished look. This is much easier to do when the leather is soft and flat, so leaving excess for clamping was not an option. Plus, once leather is wet-molded, it becomes very hard and rigid. Leather is tough enough to sew as it is, without making it any harder. For these reasons, I sewed first.

Before this project, I had always soaked my leather very well, in hot water. At least an hour. With this, however, soaking that long was a problem. I only wanted to soak the top part of the holster, (as seen in the photo) therefore, I had to hold the thing by the barrel portion so that I only wet the area I wanted. I wasn't going to stand there for an hour holding it, so it was only in the water about two minutes. Didn't seem to make a difference. Two minutes was as good as an hour as far as how well the leather would mold.

Like Bob and JediLoreen, I prefer the look of a holster molded around the actual weapon. I do NOT think this is how the screen-used holster was made, however. I think it was constructed more like HanSagan's suggestion of a simple wooden form.
If you look at the photo of the screen-used holster I posted earlier, you will see that no details of the weapon are present in the mold. The only wet-molding seems to be in the area where the holster curves around the magazine. In mine, the scope-mount bracket is clearly visible in the holster. I like that look, but to each their own.

With either method, the critical area is the barrel portion of the holster. This was another reason I sewed first. The cap helps the barrel keep its round shape. If it gets too wet, however, it will become soft, and try to form around the weapon, leading to a very mis-shapen holster. That's why I had to hold it above the water when soaking the top portion. If you wet mold the entire holster, then you would have to put something in the barrel area to make it hold its shape; thus the liquid nails tube that HanSagan referred to earlier. Doing this would make it difficult to form around the weapon though, unless you cut the barrel off of your blaster. Shocked

I did wet this area a bit because water will tend to change the color of the leather, and this would still be visible through the dye. Because it was only slightly wet, this area in the photo looks visibly lighter. This was meant to show roughly where the water line should be if using this method. The final holster dried with only slight color differences, and will look fine once stained.

I don't want to write a book here, so I think that's it for now. Feel free to post or PM me with questions.

May the Force be with you,

Brian
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CaptSolo77 (Brian)
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 4:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smugglers,


Sorry for my recent lack of transmissions. There has been a considerable amount of Bounty Hunter activity here lately, which has forced me to go "off the radar." I need to avoid any "Imperial entanglements."

Actually, I have been focused on completing my Anakin costume. It is the closest to being formally acceptable, and I want to gain formal approval as soon as possible, so that I can 'legally' offer the Han Solo buckles and hardware to other members.

My own belt is nearly complete. I only lack the metal disk and the correct belt-tools. I will take some photos this weekend and post them ASAP.


Keep watching and remember, "There's no match for a good blaster at your side."


CaptSolo77, signing off from Mos Eisely.
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jedimika ()
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Working on an Anakin as well? Awesome! Good luck!
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