Back in 2002 after Attack of the Clones came out my brother and I made Star Wars Halloween costumes. I went as Jango Fett and my brother as Boba Fett. We made our helmets out of bicycle helmets and cardboard. We made our jetpacks out of cereal boxes, soda bottles, and paper mache. I wish we had more pictures of those costumes and maybe there are a few film negatives somewhere of them.
Anyways earlier this year I sat down to create my own concepts for a mandalorian jetpack. The concept below is from 4/21/19.
I drew my conceptual designs from variety of Star Wars canon jetpacks from the movies, video games, and animated television series. Jango Fett’s Kamino (Z-6) and Arena (JT-12) style jetpacks. Boba Fett’s jetpack on Jabba’s sail barge. Imperial Super Commandos. Pre Vizsla’s jetpack seen while wielding the Darksaber against Darth Maul. Sabine Wren’s jetpack from SW Rebels.
Some of the jetpacks I discarded for myself being 6′-3″ (1.9 meters) tall and 220 lbs. The imperial super commandos and Sabine Wren jetpack style isn’t really made for people of my size. I also found a few existing mandalorian jetpacks from other mandalorian mercs.
I decided to stick with the original Star Wars Boba Fett Z-6 style jetpack for my base. I found templates on the Mandalorian Mercs website.
I started with a piece of 3mm Sintra to transpose my templates. Looking back I should have used 6mm for a more supportive base structure to my DIY jetpack.
I used some action figure jetpacks to make sure I laid out the templates correctly and then used some drafting tubes as my side tanks.
As mentioned above the 3mm was quite flimsy, so I reinforced it threaded rods and nuts. Then I used additional pipes/curtain rods to give it more structure.
I’m not sure what these things are,;something to do with a computer. If turned downwards they look like some sort of thruster base for propelling force. Again highly recommend using 6mm so that you have something more durable to attach to.
The center tube is approximately 3.5″ diameter. I listed a few of the places I researched above in the images like The Dented Helmet and Make Magazine.
I then added a center tank using an HVAC duct pipe. What I really wanted was concrete testing cylinder(s). These would be more of the size I needed. I did find some later from a soil testing facility. If you order online it would come per box and you only need one. I also used an empty wiper fluid for the top part to be more cone shaped.
I then centered a PVC pipe down the center with an inner pipe inside of it. I also found some sintra (6mm) that I used as covers to the side tanks, which I will also recommend that you use 3mm instead for the side covers.
The top of the side tanks and the rocket are made with glade fresheners and plastic Easter eggs. I use got soda cans and cut the base off to be the bottom of the side tanks.
This is where I stopped for several months as I looked into how much this was all costing and I put it on hold. I’ve put several projects on hold before after realizing how much it was going to cost to make it properly. Then it was November and The Mandalorian came out on Disney+.
The Mandalorian Season 1 Episode 3 we got our first glimpse of Paz Vizla the heavy infantry mandalorian and the famous words from The Mandalorian “I gotta get me one of those.” I started doing my research again for a mandalorian jetpack. I found a 3D print off Etsy and did the math on how much it would cost me to build a DIY jetpack vs. a prop with sanding and assembly. With Christmas around the corner I went ahead and ordered a Z-6 style jetpack from Coz3D off of Etsy.
While waiting for it to ship I also ordered a Heavy Infantry 6″ Black Series from Best Buy. From what I had seen in the episode and from the additional images on Google Paz’s jetpack looked very similar to Fitz Late Crusader jetpack (see below) from the Krayt Clan. A lot of visual concepts were similar and both looked awesome for a heavy mandalorian.
My jetpack arrived after Thanksgiving and I started working on it. The seller recommended using regular super glue to put the 3D printed pieces together.
I made my thrusters appear to be propelling me forward, oppose the look you see when Boba or Jango Fett are flying away from their opponents. I did mess up the little cross detail and it is on the inside instead of the outside of my personal jetpack. I also found that my scale for the original DIY jetpack was severely off in size, way too big (see vent template in second image below)
I then started working on the rocket part and found the grappling part that extends from the rocket itself which I thought was a really cool detail in this 1:1 prop kit.
The other thing I had to do was make a backplate for my kit. My kit used a cape with side plates to make it look like I had a full backplate. Since my kit is all metal it needed to be metal. I went to Lowe’s and got a piece of 18 gauge sheet metal, my front armour was made of 16 gauge and wanted something that I could form a little bit easier as backplates are notorious for difficult shaping.
I got as far as I could with my backplate until our next armour party when I could get some help from others for my build shape. I continued to glue pieces onto the jetpack with super glue.
I loved the smaller details like these piano keys to give the jetpack a realistic vibe to it.
I also learned in my reasearch that I should use foam to fill in between the side tanks and inside the side tanks to make it more sturdy and durable (also right weight feel).
The side tank top and bottom caps were threaded for screwing on. I glued the bottom ones in place and then unscrewed the top ones filled with foam. Once filled with foam and cured, I got the top off and applied glue to the top cap screwing it back on.
After several days of letting the foam expand I removed the excess with an exacto knife and flathead screwdriver. Then I sanded down the visible parts for my next step. I coated the whole jetpack in bedliner spray. This not only hid 3D printlines but also acted as a coating against sunlight/elements exposure.
After the bedliner spray had dried I went through with metallic spray paint and added several coats to the base. I then added greeblies to make it unique to me and give it more of a Star Wars feel/vibe. A couple of features used were wiper blades, electronic parts, truck antenna, and screw caps. JB weld was used for an adhesive in addition to super glue.
I also ran a wire brush in the opposite direction of the print lines to give it a weathered look. Next at an armour party my Alor’ad Tiric Keel brought his metal working hammers and tools to begin shaping my back plate more.
Heat was applied as necessary to be able to shape the 18 gauge metal better with a butane torch. A little heavier method than traditional heat guns on sintra.
Once the basic shape was formed to fit my build attaching the jetpack to the backplate was in order. I personal would only wear a backplate with the jetpack and just a cape without, so the jetpack will be permanently attached. I clamped it in place and then put in screws to hold it in place. I later went and replaced the screws with bolts and nuts.
I then added some greeblies to the jetpack. Little caps here and there. A hose connecting from the base to the center tank. Then on both sides quick disconnects for future hoses to my gauntlets. It is because when you have a host connected to your fuel tanks you can use it with your flame thrower.
After I added some electrical with an antenna I also added some strapping to the inside of the backplate. Not sure how it will attach to my kit yet, I might need to make a harness that I wear under my flak vest that this would attach to.
I then went and checked out my jetpack in the mirror. It looks and feels proportional to the rest of my body and then I called it a night.
Over the next several days I started painted. At first I used a metallic base coat on everything to make it appear metal underneath with weathering.
Then using painters tape I prepped the jetpack for the base coat – hunter green.
After several coats of green and days later (winter takes longer to dry) it was time for the secondary base coat – old Ford blue.
Once the blue had dried and a few days later it was time to add accent yellow – sun yellow. I wanted more of a golden yellow, but after weathering with black it turned out fine.
The next step was start weathering with black spray paint. I coated the entire jetpack in black and then wiped it away. This gave the whole kit a matching weathered look similar to the rest of my kit.
Then I went in with acetone and removed more paint / add more black paint to other areas to make it evenly weathered across the whole jetpack.
At the next armour party I added accents to the backplate to match my kit. My kit is hunter green with hunter orange accents.
This finished my jetpack. I will update after I figure out an attachment to my kit method; which will probably be when it is warmer outside.