The Birth of a Trooper - Gluing the Left Forearm

My E6000 glue turned up today, and after a few test runs on some scrap-pieces of ABS I went ahead and glued together my first piece of armour - the left forearm. I picked up a bag of clamps from Mitre 10 Mega, and used a couple of paint stirrers to ensure pressure was applied evenly all the way down the seam (a very useful tip I picked up off the White Armor Tutorials). I'll be checking it in the morning, and if everything turned out okay I'll be getting started in the rest.

Stormtrooper Crowd T-Shirt

Christmas is going on a little longer than expected, as today I received this incredibly cool late present from my mum and dad. It's particularly apt given the project I've been working on over the holiday season!

The Old Republic - Taking a Break

Regular visitors will have noticed a recent lack of updates on my adventures in The Old Republic. I started these updates with a lot of enthusiasm, and feel it's only fair to give some explanation as to why they stopped so suddenly.

The truth is, I haven't really been playing a lot of SWTOR lately. It's been a busy few weeks with finals and Christmas, but even before then my enthusiasm for the game was beginning to wane. Don't get me wrong - SWTOR is a glorious, sprawling, and ambitious project. Despite this, it just hasn't got me hooked. To work out why this is, I've been comparing my experiences of SWTOR with those of KOTOR I and II - two games I simply couldn't put down once I had begun playing. After some careful consideration, I think I might have put my finger on where the problem lies.

It all boils down to the fact that I'm struggling to immerse myself in the game. I've never been a big gamer - nor have I played many MMOs. For this reason, immersion plays a big part in keeping me engaged. I want to feel a part of the action and become truly invested in my character. Unfortunately, this just hasn't happened for me in SWTOR. I think there are two main reasons why this is the case:
  1. A lack of roleplaying: From what I've experienced, players very rarely engage in in-game roleplaying. It's certainly not a compulsory part of playing an RPG, but it does a lot to add to the game if players tend to play in-character. It's hard to stay immersed in the fantasy of a Galaxy Far, Far Away when the General Chat is being spammed by messages regarding 'Tanks', 'Heals', 'DPS' and the allocation of Skill Tree points.
  2. Levelling: Any good RPG will of course require some sort of levelling system. Both KOTORs did this beautifully. Levelling occurred fluidly and rarely encroached on the narrative of the story. Players were free to explore and adventure as they saw fit, knowing that their skills were developing in tandem with their experiences of the galaxy. Unfortunately, the same is not true for SWTOR. I've found myself consistently and painfully aware of the in-game levelling system, so much so that it often detracts from my character's narrative. Side-quests - as opposed to being entertaining distractions - are compulsory chores for ensuring that your level is high enough in order to keep up with your main class storyline. Strict level requirements also mean that planets must be visited in a precise order - something which takes the huge and diverse galaxy of SWTOR and turns it into what feels like an on-rails adventure.
So there you have it. The two main reasons which - I believe - have stood in the way of my becoming more immersed in SWTOR. Neither is an intrinsic flaw of the game. Both are merely features which aren't compatible with my own playing style.

There may, however, be another explanation as to why these things are problems for me. Perhaps I'm simply playing the game wrong. If you think that might be the case, then do let me know be emailing me at I'd truly love to become more engaged with this amazing game!

How to Speak Wookiee

This book - How to Speak Wookiee - A Manual for Intergalactic Communication - comes courtesy of my partner. It's beautifully presented and great fun to read. The electronic soundbox of Wookiee phrases is pure genius!

Imperial Kids T-Shirt

It's always great to have a few quirky Star Wars t-shirts for special events. This one fits the bill perfectly!

Star Wars 16-Month 2013 Wall Calendar

I love having a Star Wars calendar each year, so this 16-month 2013 wall calender will be getting a lot of use!

Hallmark Keepsake TIE Interceptor Christmas Tree Ornament

Before Christmas I posted some images of the various Star Wars ornaments on our Christmas tree. I've now got another one to add to the collection - this very cool Hallmark TIE Interceptor. It's electronic too, and plays TIE Fighter sounds and the Imperial March!

Stormtrooper 8GB USB Flash Drive

This Stormtrooper 8GB USB Flashdrive is going to prove mighty useful for holding essays and assignments. His helmet pops off to reveal the USB socket, and It's made out of a durable rubber finish that makes him perfect for day-to-day use.

Christmas Haul

I was lucky enough to receive some awesome Star Wars goodies for Christmas yesterday. Look out for posts on the individual items shortly!

The Birth of a Trooper - Glue

The next stage in the armour building process is getting the pieces glued and trimmed. The general consensus online seems to be that the best glue for job is E6000. Unfortunately, it's been notoriously difficult to find in stores. I've now bitten the bullet and bought a tube online. Fingers crossed it arrives really soon!

The Birth of a Trooper - Thigh Brlt

Having cut out the whole suit of armour, it's now time to begin fixing it all together. The thigh pieces are usually hung from a belt that sits below the main stormtrooper belt. While rummaging around home I found something that will suit this purpose perfectly. It's the webbing from an old walkman (yes, walkman!) belt. All that needed to be done to it was to remove the headphone hook.

The Birth of a Trooper - Armour Test-Run

Once I had the armour precariously taped in place, I decided to take a little stroll. A big thanks to my Dad for filming this!

The Birth of a Trooper - Armour Work-in-Progress Update 5

The armour cutting is now DONE! I couldn't resist taping as many of the pieces together as possible and giving the suit another dry run.

The Birth of a Trooper - Cutting the Battery Packs

The battery packs - the final piece of armour to be cut out!

The Birth of a Trooper - Cutting the Knee Plate

The penultimate piece - the knee plate.

The Birth of a Trooper - Cutting the Shoulder Straps

As of this afternoon there were only a few pieces left to cut out. Next up were the shoulder straps.

The Birth of a Trooper - Cutting the Right Shin

Now all that was left of the main body was the left shin.

The Birth of a Trooper - Cutting the Left Shin

My hope was to get the rest of the suit cut out by the end of today. First up, the left shin:

The Birth of a Trooper - Armour Work-in-Progress Update 4

Most of the suit is now cut out - all that's left is the shins, shoulder straps, and knee accessories (and these should be done by the end of tomorrow). Here's an update of how the whole suit is looking!

The Birth of a Trooper - Cutting the Belt and Belt Accessories

I finished off today's cutting with the belt and belt accessories.

The Birth of a Trooper - Cutting the Hand Plates

Up next were the hand plates. Astute viewers will have noticed that these are A New Hope-style, whereas my finished suit will instead be based on those seen in The Empire Strikes Back. This means that in order to get 501st Legion approval I'll have to swap these out for ESB-style handplates at some point in the future.

The Birth of a Trooper - Cutting the Ab Plate Details

This afternoon I started work on some of the smaller parts of the suit. One of the fiddlier pieces is the panel comprising the ab plate details.

The Birth of a Trooper - Cutting the Butt Plate

The final piece of the upper part of the suit - the elegantly named 'butt plate'.

The Birth of a Trooper - Cutting the Kidney Plate

Having completed the upper section and the thighs, it was time to fill the gaps - first up, the kidney plate.

The Birth of a Trooper - Cutting the Left Thigh

Back to cutting. Next up was the left thigh.

The Birth of a Trooper - Cutting the Ab Plate

On to the ab plate today. Jon had already done a good job of cutting this piece out, so all that was needed was a bit of a trim.

I'll be cutting the ab plate in half for movement and most likely removing a chunk from the middle to give a better fit. Watch this space!

The Clone Wars Season 4 DVD

I spent the weekend in Wellington, and while I was there I managed to pick up Season 4 of The Clone Wars from JB Hi-Fi for $49.99.

The Birth of a Trooper - Armour Work-in-Progress Update 3

Here's a few more work-in-progress photos now that the top half of the armour is complete. Looking stormy!