Update 2/24/2023: Shoulder bells will be upgraded due to metal spikes permanently attached. The replacements will be rubber. Below you can see images of the first shoulder bells I created back in 2016 with the metal spikes.
A few months ago I got green hardhats to use to replace both my shoulder bells and my knees using the old ones as a template (see images below).
Unfortunately when I held them up to my shoulders I realized I had cut the shoulder bells too small. I also found that my arms are bigger now, so the old ones were on the small side too.
I then decided to get 4 more helmets; two for my shoulders and two for my knees. This way I would have plenty of room to make them the correct sizes. The yellow helmets will be used for my shoulder bells and once sanded down will be painted to match my back apparatus in the same yellow color with weathering. I also really like the design ridges and grooves on these yellow hardhats to give more definition to my shoulder bells.
Once cut out and matched side-by-side, I got a few shots with the shoulder bells in place on my deltoids. The sizing looks a ton better than the original ones.
Tomorrow I will be starting the sanding process with 60-80 grit sandpaper, then moving to 120-180 grit, and finishing with 220-320 grit. After both shoulder bells are sanded I will have to wait for warmer weather to paint. It is currently -10°F and my garage is not heated so it is around 32°F.
Today I started the sanding process with 60-80 grit sandpaper, then moving to 120-180 grit, and finishing with 220-320 grit
I washed off the fragments between grits and let air dry. After sanding with the final 320 grit I let air dry and then painted. I painted the underside of the shoulder bells black. This side should never be exposed when wearing the shoulder bells on my kit and I like to paint the undersides of my armor plates and inside of my helmet black. The outside was painted marigold yellow using rust-oleum spray paint. It is very close to the same yellow I used on my back apparatus.
The yellow shoulder bells will next be weathered to match my back apparatus as seen below. This kit is geared towards a beast hunter mandalorian and the colors used for that kit must remain environmental colors.
It was really cold when I painted the shoulder bells, but I was able to paint in my garage and then move them into my bathroom with the bath fan on for ventilation and a place to dry at room temperature. The paint set well and next step will be weathering before attaching to my kit. The rubber spikes can be added later.
Shoulder bells match up well with the chest armor. Spacing off for photos below and are just sitting on my deltoids. Also tested out gauntlet style gloves with heavy leather bracers and the ends do not poke out the back of the bracers.
My second pair of hardhats arrived and could now be cut out to create my knee plates.
I originally lined up the front of the hardhat for the new knee plates, but then would switch to the back of the hardhats for the final knee plates.
I overlapped each of the knee plates and clamped together. This would allow for final shaping to be exact and then the holes for strapping would be aligned on both plates.
A test fit proved correct for siding and now I could sand the plates. I started with 60-80 grit sandpaper.
After rinsing off residue and shavings with hot water and air drying I could continue with additional sanding. Same application of sanding with 120-180 grit with rinse and dry. Final with 220-320 grit sandpaper.
As seen above I taped off the shoulder bells and painted hunter green to match the rest of my kit’s armor color. The yellow serves as an accent and will have underlying yellow weathering when I weather. The yellow accent color will match my rear back apparatus.
I also painted my freshly sanded knees. I am really looking forward to trooping in this kit as I’ve mentioned before I like to kneel to get down kids height. As you can see the old knees flacked off the paint from constant kneeling on them and the green hardhat material underneath will help with additional weathering.
I transferred the leather strapping from my old knees to the new ones. They are fastened with chicago screws and small belts.
I had originally looked at dog collars, but ended up in the women’s section for smaller belts that could be cut down to the exact size. I also had to layer up leather pieces to create the correct thickness for the chicago screws to work correctly.
Shoulder bells in approximate location on flak vest. Below shoulders and knees with the rest of my late crusader kit. Weathering tomorrow.
Before weathering I tested out my new knees with leather strapping. They look and feel great. I will probably need to adhere a piece of velcro on my flightsuit for each knee to keep in place.
The next step was weathering. First I painted black and then rubbed that off with a rag. Then I added metallic, browns, and black acrylics. Acetone followed with grime and dirt from my garage floor.
Below you will see each step with the shoulder bells that I did for the knee armor plates at the same time. First I started with black spray paint, wiped off (form of blackwash), and then added dirt/grime from my garage floor. The original armor was weathered the same with the addition of potting soil, which I don’t have right now in the middle of winter.
I then added metallic acrylic for accented areas of weathering to show “metal” underneath. This was done because these shoulder bells are yellow hardhats and do not have metallic as a base coat. Next I added browns and greens with a foam brush.
I then added more dirt which came off one of the shovels stored in my garage. I wiped off the paint and dirt leaving it only in the crevasses where it would stick in real life with tracking prey in the environment. Next I used acetone to lighten areas on both my knees and on the shoulder bells. It accelerates the weathering process on the paint. I then sprayed on brown to match up with the same effect as my rear apparatus tanks in the same yellow with brown weathering. I finalized everything with a straight black acrylic blackwash and wiped it off.
I then took a screwdriver and scratched in scratch marks. This would happen crawling through brush and branches. Scratches would occur on my helmet and then my shoulders as I would push through undergrowth. The rest of my existing armor has the same type of weathering.
Shoulder bells are done and match the weathering as the rest of my armor. The yellow on the bells especially lines up well with the back apparatus color.
Now to wait for new rubber spikes to arrive for shoulder bells.