In the fourth installment of the Star Wars TFA Resistance X-wing Pilot Costume, I’ll describe how I finished my 3D printed GLIE-44 blaster and provide detailed instructions on how to make a screen accurate holster using EVA foam. The GLIE-44 is a standard resistance blaster used by Poe, Finn, General Leia Organa, and other resistance pilots and troops in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.
To finish the blaster, I used acrylic paints and sealed it with Testors Dullcote. I used metallic taupe for a basecoat color, dark burnt umber for the darker top wash and silver sterling for accents, all available from Hobby Lobby but other similar colors could be used.
To create a holster I considered a variety of materials including leather, rubber, Worbla, and Sintra, but ultimately I decided to just use EVA foam. The foam stays flexible, it’s easy to work with, and will not scratch the paint on the blaster.
To start, I made this template which gets folded around the blaster and glued together to create the cylindrically shaped holster.
I cut out the pattern from an 11″ x 18″ 5mm thick foam sheet and found it easiest to cut out the foam larger at the area above the trigger. This leaves room for adjustment so the area can be trimmed to the exact correctly matching size when wrapped around the blaster. I also left the cutout area above the trigger solid until it was glued together, again so the exact location for it could be determined. I used DAP Contact Cement to glue the top edge of template section 1 behind the bottom edge of template section 2, making section 2’s edge about 3/8″ below the top of the blaster’s ammunition power cell. This leaves room for the front strap piece to be attached without it extending too far below the bottom of the cell.
With the body of the holster glued together, I marked and cut the area above the trigger with my razor knife, including the open cutout section. Then I cut the front strap piece from the 5mm foam, again leaving a little extra material so it could be trimmed to the exact size. This piece acts as a stop to keep the holster from pushing through the end. Once I was satisfied with the size and placement of the strap piece, I marked the location for it on the front and back of the holster and glued it on using more contact cement.
Next, I made a pattern for the raised trim that goes around the top of the holster. I found it easiest to just use a sheet of paper, laid over the blaster spanning between the edges of the strap piece on the front and back of the holster. Then I traced the edges onto the paper with a pencil and cut the pattern out with scissors. I transferred the pattern onto 2mm thick foam and cut it out with my hobby knife.
I then marked out an area around the edges of the template about 5/8″ wide using a strip of cardstock cut to 5/8″ wide as a guide. Once this inside area is cut out, you will have 2 templates: 1 for the raised edge trim on the holster and 1 for the textured area inside of the trim.
I transferred the edge pattern onto a 2mm thick piece of foam, cut it out with my hobby knife and attached it to the holster with contact cement.
To create the texture inside the trim area of the holster, I decided to use some mesh fabric I had left over from making Rey’s resistance rucksack bag. Window screen, textured vinyl or shelf liner might also work. I even tried stamping a pattern onto the foam by heating it and pressing a meat tenderizer into it, but ultimately, I liked the look of the textured fabric I had on hand the best, so I used that.
I used the inside section of the template to cut out the mesh, test fitted it to the holster and glued it in place, again using contact cement.
Next, I coated the entire outside of the holster with Plasti Dip to seal the foam and make the paint adhere better to the foam and fabric. Since I wanted to keep all the flexible and smooth properties of the foam on the parts that touch the blaster, I covered the inside with painter’s tape before applying the Plasti Dip.
With the texture and Plasti Dip applied, I moved on to painting the holster. I used a dark / charcoal gray for the base color that I mixed using white and black acrylic paint. In the few images of the holster shown in The Force Awakens, it appears to be a dark gray color, darker than the webbing on the flight harness. For custom colors, like this charcoal gray, I sometimes just mix my own to get the exact shade I want. After applying the base color, I washed and highlighted it with a lighter pale gray color to add an aged and worn appearance.
The Resistance Pilot holster has several rivets or fastener heads on the outside. To add these I used small rapid rivets available from Tandy Leather. Similar rivets may also be purchased from Hobby Lobby or other craft stores. The rivets are only decorative and are not needed to hold the holster together, so I only used the top half of the rivets.
Since the Resistance Pilot action figure shows the rivets to have a small indention in the center. I used a hammer and nail set to put a dimple in the rivets. Then I coated the rivets with some black acrylic paint applied with a small brush, leaving some of the silver metal uncoated for a weathered look. I marked the location for the rivets on the holster and made a small hole in each spot using my Dremel tool with a small grinding bit. If you don’t have a Dremel, you could also use a soldering iron to make the holes, or possibly just cut out a small opening for the rivet using a hobby knife. To attach the rivets, I put a drop of superglue into each hole before pushing the rivets in.
The holster hangs from the belt by a strap on the back. To make this part I first cut a piece of 2″ gray webbing about 10 inches long and heated the ends to keep them from fraying. I looped the webbing over my belt and marked the location to attach 2 rivets, that would make the loop tight around the belt. Then I made 2 holes in the strapping with a soldering iron and attached the 2 rivets using my rivet setter and a hammer. If you don’t have a soldering iron you could use a handheld hole punch instead.
With this complete, I placed the strap on the back of the holster, set the top of the loop about 3 inches from the edge of the holster and marked 2 the locations on the strap for 2 more rivets to hold the strap to the back of the holster. I placed these rivets in a location so they would not rub against the body of the blaster when it slides in and out of the holster, to prevent it from being scratched. Then I again used the rivet setter and hammer to attach the rivets.
Tools & Materials:
(1) 8 1/2″ x 11″ 2mm foam sheet
(1) 11″ x 18″ 5mm foam sheet
8″ x 8″ piece of mesh fabric (or other textured material)
Approximately 10″ long piece of 2″ wide gray webbing
Pencil / Pen / Sharpie
Metallic Taupe, Dark Burnt Umber, Sterling Silver Acrylic Paint (blaster)
Black, White / Gray Acrylic Paint (holster)
Small Paint Brush
Soldering Iron or Hole Punch
Nail Set or Philips Screwdriver (optional)
Dremel tool with small grinding bit (optional)
Check out the prior segments of the TFA Resistance X-Wing Pilot Costume Tutorial here:
Accessories make the outfit, so in this segment of the Star Wars TFA Resistance X-Wing Pilot Costume tutorial, I’ll provide the steps and materials needed to make a screen accurate belt and harness along with an alternative option if you prefer to purchase a completed belt and harness instead.
I made my belt and harness by following a great tutorial and parts list made by a member of the Rebel Legion forum. The tutorial is very detailed and contains all the information required to construct an accurate belt and harness, using basic sewing skills. You may need to register to view that area on their website, but the Rebel Legion forums are an excellent source for costume information and pieces for sale. I substituted the listed belt for the same style belt from a different seller, as I had an issue with the eBay seller referenced in the Rebel Legion tutorial.
The belt I used came with a plastic buckle, so I had to order an additional roll pin buckle. However, with the alternate belt I was able to construct my belt, (for my 42″ waist size) using a single belt, instead of splicing two together, which saved some work.
I ordered the referenced charcoal color webbing and painted the belt and straps with Medium Gray Duplicolor Fabric and Vinyl Spray Paint. If you plan on adding a holster to your pilot costume, you will need to order about two feet of extra two-inch webbing. For a thigh strap on the holster, like Poe’s costume in The Last Jedi, you will need about 3 feet of one-inch charcoal webbing.
The Rebel Legion tutorial suggests stitching the harness strap to the belt in the rear, so it stays in place. After having to remove the harness from the belt at this location to attach my holster, I decided to add velcro to the inside of the belt and the harness loop. This allows the harness to be easily removed if needed and allows for adjustment to keep the harness centered in the back.
I also opted to use Chicago screws, as suggested in the tutorial, which I purchased from Tandy Leather. I used a soldering iron to make the necessary holes in the harness webbing. Where the back strap connects around the belt, I also added a flat washer and a lock washer to each Chicago screw. Since these screws only connect two pieces of webbing, this filled the extra space, and helped to keep them in place.
To weather the belt I used small amounts of dark gray, black and brown acrylic paint, applied with a rag around the harness straps, belt edges and buckle area. If you don’t sew or just don’t want to make your own belt and harness, a seller on Etsy currently sells TFA X-Wing Pilot belt and harness sets made in custom sizes.
Check out the prior segments of the TFA Resistance X-Wing Pilot Costume Tutorial here: