Building Boba: Research

As most of you know by now, I’m getting another costume! This time it’s my favorite Star Wars character, the infamous bounty hunter Boba Fett. In this blog series, I’m going to detail the process from start to finish.

I’ve always wanted a Boba costume, even before I started on my Stormtrooper. But I knew that this costume is very detailed and difficult to build, not for novice builders. But now, after having built a stormtrooper and trooped a few years, I feel confident that I am up to the challenge.

Last year, after seeing a mandalorian armor as set dressing in Solo: A Star Wars Story, I got my hopes up for that rumored bounty hunter movie. And I thought: What better time to start than now? (And just a few months later, The Mandalorian series was announced!)

The first step is the same for all costume builds: Research.

In the name of transparancy: I’ve done some of this research years ago, but officially started this project on . I will be writing (or rather “have been written” by the time you read this) these posts as they happen, but will wait a while before I post them on the website.

Part of this project will involve a long waiting period without anything happening, and that’s no fun. I will state the time of writing on each posts, and as I get closer to the homestretch, I expect the posts to be “live”.

I’m aiming for one or two posts per month once I start posting these, but I’m not very good with schedules, so no promises.

Step 1: Deside which Boba I want

There are many variants of Boba Fett’s look. The Empire Strikes Back? Return of the Jedi? A New Hope Special Edition reshoots? Star Wars Holiday Special? Maybe the white prototype? Or even one of the pre-production prototypes?

My first stop was 501st.com to read the CRLs. Every type has their merritts and their flaws. I like all the colors in ROTJ, but the Holiday Special is also really cool. The costume, that is. Not the movie. Never that movie! Also: Why did Lumpawaroo have a cartoon of his father in peril? Is that a normal thing on Kashyyyk? Do all wookiees make cartoons of themself to their pups? Here, boy, here’s a cartoon of uncle Han and your father going up against a terrible virus employed as a bio-weapon and then being double-crossed by a dangerous bounty hunter! Wookiees have the strangest family fun time… But I digress!

Since the CRL for ESB looked most complete at the time, and because this was the film that made me a Fett fan, I desided to go for the Empire Strikes Back variant: http://databank.501st.com/databank/Costuming:BH_Boba_Fett-ESB

Me with a 501st member in a Boba Fett costume
Snapping a selfie with a 501st member in a Boba Fett costume.
At Intergalactic Weekend in Bodø, September 2017.

Step 2: Get to know the Fett builder community

Once I knew which Fett variant I wanted, it was time to get to know the community surrounding this costume. The best way to do this is to find the Detachment.

Boba Fett costumes are under the detachment called The Bounty Hunter Guild, so I registered with their forum and started reading: TheBHG.net.

There is also a club — separate from The 501st Legion — called Mandalorian Mercs. They are a bunch of awesome guys and gals with magnificent, custom mandalorian armor: MandalorianMercs.org.

Another online community is Boba Fett Fan Club. Just for fun.

Since I’m aiming for Legion approval, I need to stick to Legion requirements, as defined by the detachment. The Bounty Hunter Guild is specializing in all the canon and legends bounty hunters, not just the Fetts. The Guild is a good place to learn about the Legion requirements and getting to know the community, but Boba Fett is a highly detailed costume, and you need more research material than what the Guild alone can provide.

Luckily there is an online community called The Dented Helmet devoted just to this costume. So I registered there as well: TheDentedHelmet.com. The Dented Helmet is also not part of The 501st Legion, but is concidered by many as the definite resource for all things Boba Fett costume. The site is run by Movie Prop Sites, who also run the highly acclaimed The Replica Prop Forum.

I then spent two-three hours a day for a few weeks on the various sites, just reading, taking notes, comparing to the CRL and researching. Research, research and more research. This is the most important step in any build.

Step 3: Reach out to other builders and makers

I do not have the tools or the resources to make a complete costume from scratch. For the Boba Fett costume, you’d need to be a sculptor, metal worker, tailor, horse wrangler, painter, shoemaker, electrician and more. But in the communities, there are sculptors who could help, metal workers who can build parts, tailors who can sew, horse owners who can provide you with hair, and so on.

After some 30+ hours of research, I started reaching out to different builders and makers. Their advice have given me a good overview of what I need to complete my ESB Boba. More research is needed, of course, but around 30 hours will give you the grand overview you need to start.

(It was about the same with my Stormtrooper armor. Around 30 hours to start, but total research time was probably 100+ hours.)

Progress

My goal is to have an approved costume by December 2019. I estimate that the total cost will be somewhere around 50.000 NOK.

Here’s the parts I need, as of May 23, 2018:

  • Helmet
  • Neck Seal
  • Flak Vest
  • Chest Armor
  • Back Armor
  • Jetpack with harness
  • Cape
  • Wookiee Scalps
  • Shoulder Armor
  • Gauntlets
  • Gloves
  • Flight Suit
  • Ammo Belt
  • Hip Pouches
  • Girth Belt
  • Sidearm Holster
  • Codpiece
  • Kidney Armor
  • Knee Armor
  • Shin Tool: Sonic Beam Weapon
  • Shin Tool: Anti-Security Blade
  • Shin Tool: Survival Knife
  • Shin Tool: Jetpack Adjustment Tool
  • Boots with boot spikes
  • Weapon: ESB EE-3
  • Weapon: ESB Sidearm
  • Jetpack harness
  • Electronics: Rangefinder servo
  • Electronics: Rangefinder lights
  • Electronics: Helmet fans
  • Electronics: Jetpack lights
  • Electronics: Chest display
  • Electronics: Gauntlet light

So let’s get started!

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