Anovos has just recently made available the downloadable instructions for their First Order Stormtrooper Kit. While I think we all can appreciate the detail (and for the most part, the quality) of their products; I know that for some of us, the mixing of the variant details (i.e. Stunt Helmet with Hero Belt), inconsistencies with instruction manuals and of course the shipment delays have naturally caused a somewhat distasteful reaction at the mere mention of the company's name. A lot of us have jumped ship with this particular kit and purchased kits from other vendors, but like some, I have held onto hope that someday soon I will receive that fateful email stating that "Big Brown Box Day" will soon be here and that I can join the proud ranks of the First Order Troopers. Unfortunately, the downloadable instructions have raised some questions and even worse, made me question that I would receive a kit that would be legion approved without requiring any major modification.
First off, the instructions live up to Anovos' standard of being misleading and forgetting details such as specific tools required. There are low resolution photos of both the TFA and TLJ variants so it is unclear which one you are actually receiving. Photos of the test build suggest that we are getting at least the TLJ cod piece and for those that ordered the Kit with the TFA Helmet, that could be an issue.
The Tools and Supplies Required page lists: Utility Knife, Sandpaper, Ruler/Straight edge, Philips Screw Driver, Pencil, Clear Glue (E6000 Industrial Strength Adhesive), Scissors, Clamps, Drill Motor, 3/16in or 4mm Drill Bit and Gloss White Spray Paint (Rust-Oleum - Painters Touch 2X). What they don't list is a Torx screwdriver (for the Thigh Holster Hardware) and a means of sewing velcro to the black webbing (whether a machine or hand sewn).
There are no mention of any type of gaskets and leaves the attaching of the pieces to the builders imagination. Additionally, it does not indicate where or how the webbing should be attached. The images are unclear in parts as to which side of the pieces the velcro attaches such as on the interior side of the "Inner Chest" plate (?!) or sandwiched between the Inner and Outer Chest plates. This brings me to the major question that I have regarding this kit. All of the CRLs only mention a Chest Plate with a Back Plate/Yoke. The diagrams indicate that Inner Chest plate is glued (and velcro'd?) to the Outer Chest plate and acts as the exposed front portion of what would normally be considered the Yoke. The Back Plate has a drastically reduced Yoke that appears to be velcro'd to the Interior/Underside of the Inner Chest Plate creating an overlap and a seam. This very concept goes against the requirements of the CRLs. There is one photo of the test build that actually depicts this overlap.
Anovos states that they pride them selves on having access to the the screen used artifacts, but after scouring all of the images that I could find from TLJ, I couldn't find any detailed enough photos that would indicate this change in the armor from the original pieces used for TFA. Naturally, as have no experience with the FOTK armor of any kind, I could be wrong which is why I present this conundrum to the subject matter experts. Far be it from me to suggest that the CRLs are not completely accurate, but if anyone has any additional clarification to this, I am sure that there are a lot of us that would appreciate it. Granted, it would take that much work to modify the pieces to make them approvable, but after nearly 3 years of waiting and a serious chunk of change spent, it would be a shame to have to.
For those that haven't seen the instructions, please see the attached link: https://www.anovos.com/pages/star-wars-product-instructions