Good day, I am Master Methos, and this is my tutorial on the construction, and modification of model J-112 Jedi Temple-Issue Comlink. Since comlinks can be easily lost or destroyed, I will show you how to make one from scratch.
Comlinks are simple pieces of technology. They are used to keep communications between the Jedi ranks, and between individual Jedi operatives. This particular design is of the standard Jedi Temple issue, known as model J-112 (one of their best I hear..), modified for expanded uses of course.
Like all peices of technology under our use, the design must reflect the surroundings and personality of the builder. IT would be most authentic to use parts from your surroundings, but local shops will also do.
In advance, i apologize for the poor images. my T3 droid's photoreceptors are in dire need of replacing, so the stills it took are not of high quality.
Thanks to Master Tanthos for approving this tutorial to be posted on this forum, after all, it was written by a Lord of the Sith....
To build anything, you need supplies. No I'm not going to give them to you; you have to find them yourself, but I will give you a idea on were to look and what you'll need.
As said before, the comlink must reflect its user, to parts must be from your surroundings. Seeing I work in a guitar shop, i got my parts from the work bench and misc. parts bin. Most of these can be found in a hardware store, I believe.
Before you go out and scout for parts, you need to have a plan on what you want it to look like. Now would be a awesome time to pick out paint. For this comlink, I am using a spray paint made by Rustoleum called "Hammered". This paint has a bronze color, and when dried, has a hammered-metal texture. Also, for detail, I'm using Rustoleum's black spray paint. Note these are both paints for metal surfaces, and no it doesnt make a difference. You might want to pick up a small can of bondo, it will be used later in the tutorial, so if you dont have any sitting in your basement like me, put it on your walmart shopping list. To add, you might want to pick up some sand paper: 120, 200, and 400 grits would be perfect. And just buy packs of each, dont be cheap, you never know when you need good sandpaper.
First, you need to get your parents, girlfriend, or friendly speeder driver to take you to the nearest Walmart to secure a gillette sensor lady's shaving razor. These are what the propmakers used in episodes 1-3, and pretty much are the cannon representation of a comlink body. They cost about $5, and come in pink, blue, and green. For this tutorial, I bought blue.
Materials(Match the numbers with those in the picture below the list)
1. Gillette sensor female shaving razor (comlink main body) 2. Old screw-in trumpet valve topper (frequency knob/on off for menus) 3. Two pop rivets (extended-range parabolic antennas) 4. Old Headphones speaker and grill (speaker) 5. rosewood endpin for an acoustic guitar(deluxe reciever) 6. USB plug converter (multi-use port)
To make this razor look more like a comlink, it needs some work. First, take it out of the package(if you havent already) and throw the razor head in the trash, becuase you wont be needing it. Now, take a 3"x3" peice of some 220 grit and go over the entire razor body, then rip the peice in half and wrap it around your finger, and sand off the gillette name. It doesnt matter if you can see it or not, when you can run your bare finger over it and feel it to be perfectly smooth, you can stop. Now with the name sanded out, go over the entire thing again with 400 grit; this will rough up the surface enough to let you paint on it and do other work.
Now the fun begins. With your smoother-than-a-twilek-dancing-girl's-rear-end comlink body, you can begin to modify your parts to fit the needs of the comlink. For this particular comlink, I decided I had to cut the pop rivets and rosewood endpin down a bit to meet my vision. So with my trusty dremel cutting tool, things were cut down to size.
Now, taking a 1/8" drill bit, drill small holes on each side of the razor blade arms( you'll see there are small "V" shaped indents, drill in their middles). These holes will hold your antennas. Also with the 1/8" drill bit, drill a small, shallow hole in the upper part of the front grip area , this hole will allow me to mount the trumpet knob. Now would be as good time as any to take some masking tape and mask off the grip areas and anything else you dont want your base coat of paint goet onto.
Now with all of the major drilling and masking completed on the main comlink body, take your dremel cutting tool, and cut that USB adapter in half. Yes in half, you can even laugh maniacally while doing it. Now switch from your cutting bit, to that little stone grinding bit. Take a good look at the curve on the back of the comlink. Very carefully, use the sanding bit to curve in the top of the USB half of the adapter to fit the back of the comlink. Make sure it is even, and please dont hurt yourself. When you are finished, not only should the adapter be curved to blend with the comlink, but you should still be able to plug a USB device into it.
Now get your can o' bondo. [glow=red,2,300]Note: this stuff is powerful, i highly reccommend mixing it outside or in a highly ventilated area to avoid the fumes.[/glow] You dont need alot, only about a tablesthingy. With that mixed, you now have ten minutes to apply it to the comlink to join the USB adapter end to it. only put a dab under the USB adapter, then apply it to fill in all cracks between the adapter and the comlink body. Dont worry about adding to much, its going to be sanded down anyway. When finished, you want it to look like the usb adapter was made on the comlink. Now set this somewere safe to let the bondo set for two hours. This is a good time to go have a sandwich, watch cartoons, or catch the first half of phantom menace.
After munching and watching phantom menace looking for bloopers(oh I know you did), your bondo job should be dry enough to sand. taking another peice of 400 grit, slowly and softly sand down your bondo job smooth enough to were there are smooth and unnoticeable transitions from USB adapter to comlink. When this is acheived, it should look something like this:
Now would be a good time ot do a test fit of all your parts ot make sure you have everything layed out the way you want it, here's what mine looks like so fare..
Now for the hardest, and most time consuming step: Painting.
First you'll want to assemble a make-shift paintbooth. I cut a rather large cardboard box I found down the street (hey it was garbage day and on the sidwalk...) in half, and cut a small notch on the top edge. Using florist wire, I made a few wraps around the razor blade holding arms, and cut it to give myself some hanging room. On the other end of the wire, I twisted it around a old stubby pencil, this will ancor the comlink while its being suspended in the box. Before you even touch the paint cans PUT ON SOME RUBBER GLOVES! I cannot stress that enough. If you dont have em, those funky yellow ones your mom uses to do dishes with will do. This will protect your hands from over-spray, and keep any oil or particles off the paintjob.
For this comlink, my basecoat will be made with the hammered paint. No, I'm not using a primer, and you'll see why later. Now, with the comlink suspended in the box(you remembered to mask off the grips and detail parts right?), spray the living force out of the thing. Really, let it have it. When it looks thuroughly covered, get your moms or sisters hair dryer and on its highest setting, dry the comlink off. DO NOT TOUCH IT. Just keep the dryer on it for ten minutes. After that, spray another coat just to cover the comlink, dont go crazy on this one. And again, use your hair dryer on it for another ten minutes. repeat this process about 4 more times, then let the comlink dry over night.
If its still tacky the next day, dont worry. Donning your gloves again, get your paint out again, and this time, really let it have it. No holds bar. Dont waste all of the can, but really dowse the hell out of it, and do let it drip. Do not use the dryer this time!! After paint stops dripping off of it, remove the comlink suspended by its wire, and hang it up somewere out of the way were no one can bump into it or knock it off the wire. Now let it dry for 4-5 days.
By now, it should be bone dry. You can take the wire off it now, and with a knife or some sort, remove the masking tape. If some paint got through, thats ok, your going to paint over it anyway. If you want to leave it like this, skip the next two paragraphs.
For this comlink, I wanted it to look well-weathered and beaten up. So with some 400 grit, I lightly sanded the paint down a bit, and automatically, the bronze hammered paint gave off the look of tarnished bronze. And remember when I said to just let the paint drip? When you sand down the paint ,you see were it dripped, it dried and formed bubbles.... sanded down, those bubbles look like pitted metal! Nothing says corrosion like tarnish and pitting.
Now its time to paint the grips and detailing. Ok, now I realize I said I wanted to use black spray paint. That was a big mistake. I didnt mess up the base paint, but it didnt adhere well to the rubber grip. So buying some black acryllic paint from a local craft store, I continued.
Liberally apply the black acrllic to the grips, again cracking out your blow dryer for ten minute intervals. Repeat this until all the grip is covered in black. While they are drying, dry-brush some of the black acryllic to the detail areas and rubb it onto some areas ot make it look distressed. Now let all this dry over night.
Now paint on one more coat of the black acryllic on the grip, and let that dry over night.
When all the paint is dry, Congradulations!, you have completed the major work load on the comlink. Take this time to celebrate your nerdiness by going to borders and getting "Darth Bane: Path of Destruction". If you already have that, I highly reccomend "I, Jedi", or "Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter".
The final step!!! As a precaution, you might want to redrill all the holes you made in the comlink prior to painting it...
First, screw the trumpet knob into the hole you made into the grip, it should fit nice and snugly. Now using a small drop of white glue in each hole, attach your antennas. Do them one at a time, so you can ensure proper positioning. Now give yourself a good blob of white glue in between the razor blade holding arms, and stick on that endpin. Make sure it is atleast tackey, then position it to your liking. Let the glue dry over night.
There you have it! Your Modified J-112 Jedi Comlink.
that port comes in handy. awhile ago i was doing some spring cleaning around the comp desk and found my old wireless mouse and its reciever, and i looked at the reciever and thought,"wow, that looks like a droid caller..."