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KMan's Anovos TK Adventure Build

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Hiya, all! I’ve been hanging around here, soaking up the knowledge for a bit while I waited for, and the started working on, my BBB from Anovos. I think it’s time I started a build thread of my own, though, so I’ll walk back through the process. I didn’t take as many photos as I wish I had, during the process, but I think I have another to convey the idea, and I’ll do more going forward, now that I have this started up.


Obligatory BBB shot. Ordered May 4, received January 27. That was a long wait! (not as long as some others have waited; I was actually pretty fortunate) Fortunately, I was not in a hurry, and comfortable with their “Q1 2016" estimate, so it never actually felt late or like it wasn’t going to happen.




Naturally, a quick photoshoot was necessary, which gave me my spiffy avatar. :)






I'll break the next two weeks worth of updates into individual posts for more logical groupings...


AUGUST 2016 UPDATE: This thread has gotten long enough that it's easy to get lost, looking for particular bits of assembly info buried amoung updates, photos, and posts back and forth, so I'm updating this section here to add navigational links for easy access to the info you're seeking. Hope it helps!




Page 1:


Trimming: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=466328


Tape fit: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=466334


Blaster: Rubies vs. Hyperfirm: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=466336


Helmet examination (stock config): http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=466337


Gluing arms & shins: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=466338


Gluing thigh fronts: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=466341


Sniper plate test fit: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=466341


Detail Pics of glued/trimmed parts: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=466345


Gluing thigh backs: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=466670


Sniper plate: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=466670


Button Cover prep: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=466670


Shoulder strap gluing: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=466670


Rigging hand armor plates: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=467072


Shims: First Attempt: Part 1 http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=467267


Side Rivet placement (Initial): http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=467267


Inner cover strips: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=467267


Page 2:


Shims: First Attempt: Part 2: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=468809


Rigging torso: Anovos Velcro http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=468809


Inner cover strips (cont) http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=468826


Shingate: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=469092


Inner cover strips (final) http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=469094


Thigh rigging: Torso plates (Anovos): http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=469579


ABS Paste: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=469579


Shingate: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=469850


Page 3:


Belt Teardown: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=470486


Thigh ammo pack: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=470486


Bicep to Forearm: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=470486


Shingate conclusion: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=470794


Button cover cleaning: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=470794


Page 4:


Belt upgrade: snaps: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=471011


Crotch strap: Front: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=471470


Shims: Final: Part 1: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=471470


Thermal Detonantor: Parts Test fit: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=471470


Anovos Rigging snaps: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=471470


Thermal Detonantor: Build: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=472062


Shims: Final: Part 2: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=472130


Page 5:


Shins: Back cover strip & Velcro: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=474985


Belt Ammo Pack: Belt Repair: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=474985


Crotch strap: Back: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=475599


Side Rivet placement (Final): http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=475599


Hand plate shaping: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=475599


Belt Ammo Pack: Belt Repair & Attachment: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=475599


Shins: Back Velcro: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=475599


Clamshell strapping (screen accurate) http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=475733


Button plate painting: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=475733


Page 6:


Shins: Hot water reshaping: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=476998


Button covers: Rebuild: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=477052


Helmet eye flashing reduction: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=477052


Button covers: Install: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=477841


Rivet painting: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=477841


Backplate hot water reshaping: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=477981


Snap plates (chest) http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=477981


Page 7:


Drop box alignment: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=478078


Snap strip straps (chest): http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=478243


Button plate gluing: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=478243


Blaster D-Ring installation: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=478243


501st Submittal Photos: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=478259


Page 8:


Helmet fans: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=480425


Helmet interior: Painting: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=480425


Page 9:


Helmet fan bracket: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=480532


Helmet lens mounting posts: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=480772


Page 10:


Helmet lens modification: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=481104


Belt correction changes: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=489418


Thigh garters: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=489798


Torso snap strip upgrade: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=490632


Page 11:


Helmet accuracy upgrades (Frown repaint, ear screws, TD screws): http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=493633


Hovi mesh replacement: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=493934


Helmet electronics & padding install: Hovi speakers, iComm: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=496051


Shin water bath details: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=499854


Page 12:


Armor bin upgrades: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=502077


Centurion shoulder strap upgrade: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/35552-kmans-anovos-tk-adventure-build/?p=503878

Edited by kman
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I wish I had taken more shots of the “score and snap” method, but frankly, I tore through the process so fast I really didn’t think about it.




The first night I got home with the kit, I settled in and started right up!


I used a box/utility knife and aviation snips (less than $10 worth of tools). Follow the cut lines molded in with the knife tip, using medium pressure. Then I used the aviation snips to cut on each side of every corner. Just snip from the edge right up to the cut line, stopping just before the line. At that point, you’re just snapping straight sections off, and then the little 1/4" of corner pops off easily, and it was really, really simple. I’ll note this: I did, a few times, see indications of the “tearing” complication people spoke about. To avoid this (on the few times it seemed like it might happen), I just chased the cut line down with the utility knife again, while bending it, and it sliced through like butter. No tears.


There were a few minor slips, but nothing that shows, and certainly nothing structural. I went outside the cut line once or twice accidentally, but fortunately everywhere this happened was either in areas where you won’t see it (under a cover strip), or on a return edge that was getting taken down more anyway.


After one marathon session in front of the TV, I had completed 80% of the rough cuts, just leaving the legs and accessory pieces for the second night. Took perhaps 5 hours, I’d say? But I was watching TV the whole time, too, and in no real hurry.



Edited by kman
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Adventure build! I like it! Looking forward to see your progress. :)

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The first night I got home with the kit, I settled in and started right up!


I used a box/utility knife and aviation snips (less than $10 worth of tools). Follow the cut lines molded in with the knife tip, using medium pressure. Then I used the aviation snips to cut on each side of every corner. Just snip from the edge right up to the cut line, stopping just before the line. At that point, you’re just snapping straight sections off, and then the little 1/4" of corner pops off easily, and it was really, really simple. I’ll note this: I did, a few times, see indications of the “tearing” complication people spoke about. To avoid this (on the few times it seemed like it might happen), I just chased the cut line down with the utility knife again, while bending it, and it sliced through like butter. No tears.

^^This is exactly what I found that worked for me on my kit.

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On night #2 (not nearly as long) I finished the rest of the pieces.  So rough cuts finished by Jan 28, one day after receipt of the BBB. Nice!  I taped them all together with painters tape, and laid it all out.  Looking like armor! :D


Edited by kman
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Enough work!  Night #3 was play time.  I tried on the neck seal, which seemed very cheaply made (the zipper is terrible) but actually looks really nice on the neck.  The bib part is kinda cheezy but it’ll be covered anyway.  Pro tip: Put the neck seal on backwards so you can see the zipper in a mirror while you zip it up, and work with it directly in front of you.  Then simply rotate it to the back.  SO MUCH easier than the awkward stretch to zip it behind your head, particularly given how the zipper likes to stop at the transition form the bib to the neck seal.  At some point, I may look into converting this to a velcro closure, and ditch the zipper entirely.




As we know, the soft goods (undersuit) have not arrived from Anovos yet, so I used a relatively tight pair of black thermal underwear I had, since OBVIOUSLY I was gonna try this puppy on. :) Turns out my racing tights would have been a better choice (from my speed skating days) but these did the trick.




(Gap not actually as bad as pictured below, since the thighs kept sliding down with nothing holding them up!)




I’m a big guy.  6'3", roughly 220#.  (Working on lowering that last number) So I knew there was going to be some black showing between armor parts.  That’s ok.  Maybe some day I’ll be able to afford the AM or RT-Mod armor made for larger troopers, but for now, I think I can just barely make this work.  My homebrew loving beer belly will necessitate some side shims on the kidney plate, but otherwise, this should all work.  It’ll be close, for sure, but it should work, as long as I add appox 2" of side shims to each side of the kidney plate.  And I’ll eventually just cut them off and re-rivet, as the pounds come off.  Simple. :)




The Anovos belt looks nice, but it’s floppy as heck.  It’s actually not as bad as I thought once you actually have it on (especially when straighter than I had it in the above pics), because the armor itself provides some rigidity.  But still, I marked where the overlap hits me and measured the size, and proceeded to order a new belt from Rob Kittle (which arrived yesterday!).  So on my to-do list is disassembling the Anovos belt and moving everything over to the RK belt.



Edited by kman
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Side note about blasters: Weeks ago, without any real research, I happened to pick up a Rubies blaster I stumbled across at a costume shop.  I’ve since learned that it will suffice for basic approval, just paint it black.  So I did!  I’ve read a bunch of threads about all kinds of mods you can do to make it more accurate (it’ll never pass Centurion, but it can still be way better than stock!), so I’ll probably play with those options at some point, after the armor is done, just for fun.  A neighbor has a 3D printer she’s really excited about and always offers to make me small things if I want, so I’ll have to collect some bits and pieces and have them made.  I also bought a Disney blaster from eBay, just for the electronics.  It would be cool to move them into the Rubies blaster at some point!  Meanwhile, however, I went ahead and picked up a HyperFirm B-Grade, and I’m really happy with it.  It will pass Centurion no problem as long as I install a D-Ring, which is stupidly simple, so now I have both.  Yes!


Rubies E11 on top, HyperFirm ANH B-Grade E11 below:






Edited by kman
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Over the week I slowly collected the various bits and pieces I needed (or wanted!) to complete the build.  My biggest purchase was a belt sander.  After watching TK 1636's excellent videos, I knew I wanted to have tool, which simplifies sanding and return removal enormously: The large flat surface and curved front of the belt sander are simply PERFECT for this.  I picked up a Dremel, too, since my old one was dead, some E6000, and a bunch of cheap clamps from Harbor Freight.




I bought some neodymium magnets from Home Depot to clamp those hard-to-reach surfaces.  HD has a bunch of magnets, btw, but only some are suitable for our purposes.  The ceramic magnets are too big and not nearly strong enough.  You need the ones labeled as “SUPER” magnets.  The size is important, too.  The key limit is the return edges and the cover strips.  Your cover strip is always going to be smaller (or at least the same size as) your return edges.  This is particularly true with regard to inner cover strips (if you choose to use them): They’re generally the same width as the outside cover strips.  So if the fit is tight, at least you know the width of the cover strip is going to fit in there.  This is important because if your magnet is wider than the cover strip, and your return edges are close, the magnet may end up pushing the two halves of armor apart, as it tries to get closer to it’s over half, since the rounded return edges will be shoved out by an oversize magnet.  How do I know this?  I got one set of magnets that were too big, and that’s exactly what happened!  The skinniest cover strips are 15mm wide, so that’s the size limit I would keep in mind for magnets.  (Yes, you can get bigger ones for the 20mm wide strips, but the smaller ones work fine, so why bother?)  Anyway, Home Depot sells these 12mm magnets that did the trick just fine:




Be careful with them, because they’ll give you a nasty pinch of your fingers gets stuck between them.  I found this smaller size pretty manageable, though, and if you want them stronger you can double them up for increased power.


My helmet is pretty decent, I think.  I’ll want to sand down some of the top edge of the eye sockets, so the eye panels sit a little more flush.  I plan to do the black plasti-dip interior, and install Army helmet pads instead of the stock bands.  Definitely something that isn’t a high priority hurry, though.  Eventually I’ll install one of Echo’s fan systems. :)





Clearly the lenses need to be made more flush, by trimming to follow that lens curve under the brow:



There is a little bit of overspray, but not nearly as bad as others I've seen. Still debating fixing or not. Teeth seem reasonably trimmed, so I don't think I need to do much cleanup there, if any:



I think the grey is supposed to terminate into a point? If I have to fix this, matching the paint is tough so I'll likely redo the whole thing.





Left brow strip is good:



Right brow strip is not as good... but maybe I can live with it?



Left ear could be made more flush. Still wrestling with whether it warrants disassembly. (ignore the black marks, those will clean off no prob. that's last time I toss the helmet in a box with a painted blaster!)



Right ear: Ditto.



Back seems fine.



Inside rigging is as bad as everyone's. Fortunately I have the Army helmet pads to install, once I decide whether I'm painting or Plasti-Dipping the interior.  Then I'll tear out this rigging.


Edited by kman
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Big update!


Fast forward a bit.  This past Sunday, I went to an armor party with the Los Angeles Squad!  Echo and the others were enormously helpful with giving my fitting advice, which I wanted before actually gluing anything down.  They advised me on final trimming to size.  For one thing, since I’m a big guy, I’m not taking a huge amount off, but some still needs to come off or it’ll look funny, mostly in the front.  The back edges don’t usually have return edges anyway.  So primary concern is getting the front return edges lined up and sized nicely under that cover plate that everyone will be staring at.  So basically, we used the cover strips as the sizing guidelines, and tried to have half the material on one side of the strip, half on the other, and cut off everything else.  For instance, arms: 15mm cover strips, so find the return edge and draw a straight line along it.  (The line will eventually come off with the cover film) Measure 7.5mm over (half the width of the 15mm strip) and draw a cut line.  Repeat on the other half, and now the two sides line up nicely, and with the cover strip laid over, you know just how it will look in front.  The thighs were trickier since they didn’t line up quite as nice, and the return edges were larger... plus I didn’t want to remove a lot of material since I need the size to fit my large body!  Still, the basic process applied: We found the return line, and eyeballed just how far over the cover strip could be from it before it starts to look off.  Set that as the edge, and measure over ½ the cover strip width (20mm in this case, so 10mm over) and repeat for both sides.


After a long day of help, we wrapped up (thanks again, everyone!) And I headed home, where I finally started gluing!


First, of course, the prep work: The cover film needs to be pulled back to expose the raw plastic on the edges were I’ll be gluing.  Just those parts... keep the rest protected!  A light sanding with a foam sanding block on each newly-exposed edge, plus the back of the cover strip.  The cover strip also needs to be sized.  The strips provided by Anovos are all (purposely, I believe) an inch to two longer than needed, so they can be trimmed precisely to size depending on the individual.  Clamp it, score it, snap it, done!  Last step is to trim the corners, for comfort and to match the screen armor.  Four swipes across my belt sander’s top strip (powered off), at a 45 degree angle, gave me the nice appearance I was looking for.


Finally, I was ready to crack open the E6000. :)  Maneuvering it all with no assistance was tricky!  This is also where I discovered the issue with larger magnets, btw.  So I started off laying down the E6000 on one side, and clamping the ends, and using magnets in the middle.  





After about 20 min or so, the glue was at least hard enough that it all stayed put a little better, and I decided to do both halves at once.  That way I could be sure everything measured out just right, down the middle, with both halves.  I didn’t trust it to all line up perfectly later.  Taking a tip from ukswrath, after I clamped the ends with BOTH halves in place, I ran a couple of strips of painters tape over the top, which holds it nice and centered.  E6000 likes to drift, even with clamps, since it’s pretty slippery when wet!  Then I added the magnets to hold everything in place along the middle, and provide pressure to the bond.






The bicep armor was a lot easier, since it’s a lot shorter, and the armpit cutout allows better access to clamps.  So I didn’t need magnets on the biceps, which was nice, because I needed a lot more than I had!




I had just enough magnets and clamps to take care of the front cover strips on both forearms, both biceps, and the right shins.  (I actually had more clamps than I needed, but not enough magnets)



Edited by kman
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Glue Night #2 (The next night): After 24 hours, I removed the magnets and clamps, and finished the other sides of the forearms and biceps, and did the front strip of the left shin.



Edited by kman

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Naturally, I finished up pretty late on Monday night, clamping it all down close to midnight.  So to hit the 24 hour mark, on Tuesday I had to wait ALL EVENING until the same time, so the bonds would be strong enough.  PAINFUL WAIT!  LOL


The good news is it all came out nicely, I think!


This brings us current, to last night’s shenanigans.  I removed all of the magnets, clamps and tape, and set it all out, with the shoulder bells, and admired it all.  And then tried it all on again, of course.  Duh.


The forearms and biceps fit great!  The shoulder bells were just placed loosely there, of course, since they don’t need any strips.  I may need to reduce the return edge a smidge, and MAY want to try some hot water to get them spread open a little further, as they kinda pinch closed.  I know the straps will help keep them in place, but I don’t want them putting too much pressure on the biceps and scratching it all up.


The thigh front cover strips are glued and curing as we speak.  




The backs of the thighs will be the last bits that are glued with visible cover strips, tonight.  Also the backs of the shin armor, but that brings me to a complication: I don’t have shoes.


Note of annoyance: I was trading emails with the rep at TK Boots, to get my shoes, the day I got my shipping notice.  We were all set to go, and they asked me for my address, which I sent them later that same evening.  I didn’t hear from them right away, which I attributed to their being busy.  I followed up a full day later, and learned that apparently my email never reached them, so they proceeded to sell their last pair of boots in my size!  ARGH.  So now I’m waiting for the next shipment to come in, in late February, before I can have shoes.  This means hold off on the final work on the back of the calves, because until I know how big the shoes are going to be, I won’t know what size I can trim the lower parts of the shin armor to, in back. :(


I’m definitely going to get an extra sheet of ABS.  I definitely need it for side shims, and but want to glue in inside cover strips on each join, as well.  It’s a stronger bond and tidier appearance.  And, I want to put hooks inside the biceps for a strap holding the shoulder bells in place, so it’ll be handy for that, too.


So for tonight, I’ll do the thigh backs.  I also want to install the sniper place on the left knee.  I need to confirm placement, however: I took the bottom return edge off entirely, Ukswrath’s build thread indicated, and it also mentioned that for Centurion, you want to be sure to follow the existing line across the top, but of course, it doesn’t line up very nicely.  Does this look correct to you?  I think it’s about right, but I’m a little worried about the small gap in the very front bottom edge, where it crosses the cover strip.  If I push it back flush, though, it doesn’t line up with the top edge as nicely.




Biggest worry is this gap:









Edited by kman
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Time for detail pics.  Now that things are glued in place, I’ll need to start shimming things and cleaning up edges.  I’ll use a combination of my belt sander, my Dremel sanding tips, and actual by-hand sandpaper.  If any problem areas jump out at anyone, I'd love some feedback while there's time to make changes!


NOTE: Due to Anovos mislabeling the shin armor, the shins pictured below are NOT put together correctly! One half from each needed to be swapped with the half from the other leg. Keep reading below for more details...


Right Shin front:



Right Shin inside top:



Right Shin back:



Left Arm front:



Left Arm bottom:



Left Arm (elbow side):



Left Arm (wrist side):



Left Bicep front:



Left Bicep back:



Left Bicep Pit side:



Left Bicep elbow side:



Right Bicep front: (you can see the cover strip is perhaps 1/8" too long)



Right Bicep back:



Right Bicep Pit side:



Right Bicep elbow side:



Right Bicep, showing too tall cover strip:



Biceps going into shoulder bells (right)



Biceps going into shoulder bells (left)



The thigh tops are still clamped and hard to photograph, so I'll shoot those later. Along with the right arm, which I somehow managed to miss shooting.


The one bicep cover plate is definitely a smidge long.  I’ll cut that down.  I think the inside return edge of the shoulder bells should be a little smaller, as well.  Anyone agree?


Once the thighs are done tonight, they’ll need the top edge attended to a bit, as well. Pics to follow.


Does it make any sense to use some scrap ABS pieces to try to fill in any tiny gaps at make it relatively perfect?  I could see doing that for the tight tops, the forearms... a number of places, frankly.  Or should I leave things as they are, other than the sanding?


Also tonight, I’d like to glue the plastic shoulder straps to the tops of the chest piece.  How much return edge should come off first?  I need to track down some detail pics.  I may take off a little more of the chest plate’s neck return edge, too.






As long as I’m sanding again, I’ll remove the rest of the ab plates button panel return edges, too, so they’re ready to glue.  (Not gluing just yet, though)





1) Final cover strip on back of thighs

2) Sniper knee plate - Glue it on

3) Glue shoulder straps across the top of the chest piece.

4) Right leg thigh ammo packs - Rivet them on

5) Inside cover strips on all

6) Bicep armpit hooks

7) Take the last bit of return edge off the cover plates for the ab plate.

8) Snap plates!  We’re about ready for primary assembly of the actual armor pieces!

9) Move Anovos belt items to RKittle belt

10) Wait for shoes. :(

11) Trim and install velcro to close up back of calves

12) Clean up helmet trim

13) Black plasti-dip inside helmet?

14) Install helmet pads


Slow going, but it’s all definitely exciting!  I wish I didn’t have to work during the day and could just work with the armor...



Edited by kman
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Coming along nicely but for pete's sake, rip off the saran wrap!

Heh. I like it. Makes me feel safer!


As soon as I do the last work with with abrasives (dremel, etc), it'll start coming off of the finished pieces.

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Ok, for all that I didn't think I was doing all that much last night, I actually did more than I thought I would.


First task, of course, was to finish the back of the thighs. The usual processes applied, although it was extra complicated because the seams didn't want to lay straight. I put them as straight as possible, marked the overlap portion, and sanded down the sliver that overlapped a wee bit more, for a straighter connection, but that's about all I could do. Then I use some painters tape to connect the back of the ridge part (which does not get covered with the strip), trimmed and chamfered the cover strips as usual, peeled back the cover wrap and prep sanded the glue surfaces, and then applied the glue to the edges of the armor, s bit thicker than I have been previously. After that it was wrestling as usual, trying to get the cover place in position, flat, long enough to clamp the front and back and quickly lay a tape strip across the middle to hold it in place. I added double-stack magnets for extra hold, and taped more. Repeat and done!






I didn't get any responses to my questions (Kinda buried in post #11 above) about the sniper knee positioning, but I read over a couple of build threads and I think I'm basically on the right track.


So I futzed with the positioning a little more, and got it reasonably flush, and decided to go for it. The beauty of E6000, after all, is mistakes aren't permanent, right?


I trimmed a little bit more off the long edge, just in case is helped, sanded the edges of the sniper knee to a fully-finished state, surface-sanded the parts of the back of it for better glue adhesion, peeled back the cover wrap on the shin armor, added E6000 to the bottom edges (the only parts that will actually be in contact anyway) and clamped it down. I think it'll be fine when it sets, and if not, I shouldn't have any trouble peeling it off, right?










Next I went ahead and sanded off the return edges on the button panels for the ab armor. At first I took off JUST the returns, but after placing atop the ab armor, I saw that the "squares" where these plates go actually aren't very square. They're more somewhere between rhomboid and an isoceles trapezoid. So I angled some of the edges a bit to more closely parallel the molded lines on the armor, until I was reasonably satisfied, and chucked them back in the box. I don't want to glue them down until later. Maybe I'll tweak it more later, or maybe they're good enough as-is.






Last, I took a look at the shoulder straps, which connect to the chest armor, along the parts that extend along the sides of the neck. It's hard to find good reference shots in other builds for some reason, but again, E6000, right? It appears the return edges don't get further sanded (other than general finishing cleanup). The important hints I've gleaned from reading here are this:

  • The front and the back are different, very subtly. The frontside "bumps" are just a wee bit taller/more pronounced than those on the back. So I was able to tell front from back.
  • Ideally, the overlap with the chest plate should consist of the big rectangle and 4 of the smaller ones. For bigger troopers like myself, who want a little extra room, you can lower that to the big rectangle plus three of the little bumps... fewer than that, though, and you can't get Centurion.
So big bump + 3 bumps will get glued onto the chest plate. I prep-sanded the bottom as much as I could, applied a liberal amount of E6000 to the bottom of the straps, on the lower parts that actually may make contact. I pretty much eyeballed the position until they looked like they were coming straight off the respective chest protrusions, taped them in place so they don't squish out of position, and clamped them down for overnight curing.









So progress was made on ye olde to-do list!



1) Final cover strip on back of thighs

2) Sniper knee plate - Glue it on

3) Glue shoulder straps across the top of the chest piece.

4) Take the last bit of return edge off the cover plates for the ab plate.

5) Right leg thigh ammo packs - Rivet them on

6) Clean up excess dried E6000 off everything

7) Find source for ABS sheet


7a) Inside cover strips on all

7b) Bicep armpit hooks

7c) Add Shims to kidney plate to reach around my belly


8) Clean up trim on helmet (lens and in general)


8a) Strip and Repaint frown grey, if needed

8b) Black plasti-dip inside helmet?

8c) Install helmet pads


9) Wait for shoes. :(

9a) Trim and install velcro to close up back of calves

10) Start making snap plates, or use Anovos rigging for primary assembly of the main armor shell

11) Move Anovos belt items to RKittle belt


I will probably attach the thigh ammo packs tonight, assuming the thighs come out well when I remove the clamps.  At that point, I think I'm done with all the arms and legs, until I can get some ABS for the inner cover strips and bicep hooks.


I want to hold off on all things belt until the armor is more together.


So I have a couple of choices for next steps:  I could actually start making snaps plates (my Tandy snaps came today!) for armor assembly, or I could chuck it and perhaps use some of the Anovos-supplied rigging for that.  As long as I place the rivets and such correctly, the internal system shouldn't matter for Centurion.  And I can always peel off the Anovos straps and upgrade to snap strips later, right?  Is that tough?


Or I can step back, and shelve all of this and get to work on the helmet.  It needs clean up work, and I may re-work the lens system using screws and glued-in screw posts, and then of course the plasti-dip coating. (still debating on plasti-dip alone, or with cheese cloth)  I can also decide whether I want to strip and repaint the frown, and reposition/re-center the brow strip.  The helmet pads can be attached directly to the plasti-dip inside, right?


Of course, the biggest task is really figuring out how to shim the sides of the kidney plate, to accommodate my beer belly.  I've read a couple of threads on it (like this http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/30448-adding-kidney-shims-for-larger-troopers/and this http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/32266-side-shims-and-rivets/), and it's somewhat intimidating.


Big question: HAS ANYONE LOCATED A PERFECT COLOR MATCH ABS SOURCE?  I can always cut up a for sale sign for the inner cover strips, since they're not actually visible except the tips, but the side shims are another story.  I'd really like to avoid paint if at all possible.  I have lots of scrap, so ABS paste should be simple, but I'm not sure any of the piece are big enough to use for the side shims (let alone two side shims)

Edited by kman
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Wow Kalani, great Job you are doing on your kit and enjoying all the pics which I will be studying for my build.  :duim:

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I started this learning curve by watching TK 1636's excellent YouTube series on armor assembly: Armor Building with TK1636


At some point (actually, at video #20), I stopped, because my armor hadn't even arrived yet, and it seemed silly to keep going. Then there were build threads, discussions, etc. I kinda forgot to finish watching the videos.


Man, do I regret stopping! I've been angsting about how to do the side shims for a while now. I just watched the video where he makes shims for his demo armor, and wow, it's SO much easier than I thought!


Anyone worried about shims, don't be. All you need is the extra ABS, of course. The actual shim process is not a big deal:



(You may want to watch the prior video, too, #20 re torso fitting, to see how he measured the size needed for the shim)


Now I'm super psyched to get this build moving forward a lot faster.  I just found a local plastics shop, so as soon as I can get over there (business hours and my work hours don't mesh well, unfortunately, but I'll get there) to find a sheet of ABS that matches well with my armor, I'm going to be kicking this build into high gear!

Edited by kman
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Busy night entertaining company last night, so I didn’t get a lot done.


I of course tried on the suit just for kicks, since the thighs were finally glued. :D




Obviously there are no thigh straps holding them up yet, the thigh ammo pack is not yet attached, and the clamshell is literally belted in place around me, with the Anovos belt. But getting there!


We’re getting down the nitty gritty, now. I’m going to have to start making some real decisions and putting off a decision about connection methods. I’m still trying to decide between putting the suit together NOW, using the Anovos strapping, or holding off until I have the time and materials I need to make snap plates and snap connectors, instead. Or forgetting all that and buying a MrNoStripes movie-accurate hanger kit (which isn’t actually shipping at the moment, so who knows how long that would take). ARGH. Decisions, decisions!


I think I’m leaning towards trying the Anovos straps. Using E6000, they can always be peeled off, one by one, over time, and upgraded to snaps as I make them, right? (Can anyone confirm this line of thinking?)


(Of course, I can’t do everything final until I have the new plastic sheet to use to make side shims for the kidney plate. I still need to do inside cover strips for all of the limb pieces, too, actually... which also needs the new plastic sheet.)




So anyway, after trying it on, I pulled off the all the clamps, tape and magnets, and laid out the suit for an overview. I brought out the bag of Anovos straps to make sure all is in order. I appear to have of the straps I am supposed to, plus a couple of spares.




I think I could do this.


It was already late at this point, so just to start off in the easiest possible way, I went ahead and cut the 2" piece of velcro (loop side) for the hand plate. It’s probably silly to waste a photo series on this, but just in case it helps someone:




First up, lightly sand inside of the hand plate, so the adhesive sticks better, and clean it all out. I believe the return edge on this will be trimmed a good bit more, but the overall position won’t really change, so I can do that later.


Then I put on a flight glove and the elastic hand loop with the hook side velcro nicely centered on the back of the hand:




... then lightly placed the self-adhesive velcro onto it, for positioning, and peeled off the backing:





Place the hand plate on the back of the hand in the correct position:




The just slip the hand loop off carefully, leaving the whole thing inside the glove:




Carefully remove the hand loop part, and firmly press the sticky loop part onto the plate. This is what you’re left with:






I put a small bag of snaps and such inside the hand plate, just so it could conform to the velcro tab and apply even pressure, and set something relatively heavy on top of it to push it on hard, overnight. Repeat for the other hand plate.


The Anovos velcro and elastic seems relatively decent, to my untrained eye. Unless someone wants to talk me out of it, I may just use this set, for now, so I can finish up and get basic approval. I’ll convert over the snap strips at a later date, before trying to take it farther.


Next up, I need to make sure I have all of the tools I’ll need to start setting snaps (the included ones) into the ab plate, and moving the belt gear over to the TKittle belt upgrade. Oh, and I need to rivet the ammo pack to the lower thigh. Hopefully I can do that this weekend, definitely.

Edited by kman
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Oh, hey, while I think about it:
While waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for the Anovos soft goods to ship, I looked around to see if I can find something else.

Barricade posted a really cool one with Imperial Cog that I love, but unfortunately it's sold out, and he has not yet popped up to say whether he'll do another run.

FS: Imperial Cog under-suit (shirt/pants)

So meanwhile, I decided to take an inexpensive gamble on a cheap undersuit from Amazon. (I paid $16 with Prime shipping) I'm wearing it in the photo in the prior post, and it seems to be great for this! So if you're tired of waiting, or just want an expensive second pair, you can give these a shot:

Men's Thermal Set, Lightweight Ultra Soft Fleece Shirt and Pants


Size XL fit me well. Someone smaller than me will definitely want a smaller size!

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I struck out at three different plastic shops today, trying to find ~1mm ABS sheets. I eventually ended up at Home Depot, buying a No Parking sign to salvage for inner cover strips, at least, and actually stumbled across a plastic door thing on the PVC Pipe aisle that had nearly the right color. Funny how this glaring white stormtrooper plastic actually seems closer to beige than white, when held up to a white sign!


I got home, however, and based on a post I'd seen on the Anovos FB thread, thought "Hey, why not take a quite look through the trim scrap to make certain nothing will work?"


First, I strapped on the kidney and ab plates and belted them in place again, to actually measure the size needed and be certain. I need just over 2" x 6.5" shims (2 of them). So ideally 4.5 x 7" piece. (longer to curl over a return edge)


It turns out the big cutout section from the bottom of the chest plate is just big enough for that! The ab plate has a big piece, too, if I needed more, but it's fairly curved. I could possibly straighten it by removing the return edge, and carefully heating it up just enough to barely soften it, and slap a good heavy book on it, but I decided to try the chest piece trim first, which is already flat. Both pieces are really thick and strong, too... perfect for this!




For those who need bigger shims, flattening the ab cutout piece might give enough for a second (larger) shim. As it is, I BARELY got the two shims I needed, with very careful measuring and cutting with a ruler. I really wanted that nice flat piece to work, though, so I didn't have to mess with flattening the other piece.




Getting ready to cut the plate into two shims:




I nearly destroyed a piece trying to bend it over for the return edge, using a heat gun, before I figured out a decent way to do it. I think it's ok, just a small bump that I'll probably smooth down later. Be careful with heat, people! It's no joke how tricky it is!




Here they are, taped in place... this is going to work!








The next tricky bit was deciding how to attach them. I want this alteration to be reversible, eventually, should I lose weight or trade up on the armor. I decided a good way would be to take some more scrap, bend a severe return edge that lines up with the kidney plate's return edge, and superglue the "adapter plate" onto the shim, in just the right position to align with the existing kidney plate return, and have the new shim align correctly.






With the adapter plate is solidly in place, Then I glopped E6000 into the new joint and clamped the shim adapter lip to the kidney return lip. A picture is worth 1000 words:




Here's how it all lines up on the outside (yes, fortunately I remembered to peel back the wrapper, so I could sand the glued area):




Tomorrow, once the E6000 is set, I'll do the other side, then I can consider whether it's "good enough" or if I want to fill the seam with ABS paste and sand it down, to make it disappear completely. Either way, this should be a strong, perfect connection, that fits me nicely, and with an absolutely perfect color match, since it's literally from the same batch of plastic. :)


And now that I finally have some resolution as to the shim problem, I decided to go ahead and prep the ab plate and the shim it will be attached to, for the split rivet connection. (Fortunately I started gluing the right shim first, so I had the left shim available to play with while the other is glued)


I measured exactly per ukswrath's instructions, drilled the holes (10mm in, not the 20mm called for by the Anovos directions!) and test fit the rivets. That's one more task down!




Last task of the evening, as long as I'm gluing and working with scrap, I decided it's time to start on the inner cover strips. Unfortunately, I don't have any of the 1mm ABS Anovos used for their cover strips, so I had to make do with noticeably thinner scrap pieces. I think that'll be fine, since there should be less pressure on the connection than the outer cover strips. (The no parking sign I picked up from Home Depot was the same thickness, so why cut it up? Maybe I won't need it and can return it.)


I'll spare the details, since the process is hardly new by now, but I essentially eyeballed size and width of the strips (there aren't formal rules governing this anyway, as long as it looks good), and using a ruler for perfect cuts, I made two inside cover strips out of scrap, for one of the forearms, roughly the same width (and chamfer) as the outer strips. Since this is what will be rubbing against ME, I sanded it nicely for smoothness, and then went ahead and glued and clamped it for the overnight cure. (using clamps and magnets, as usual)




That went quickly, fortunately. Having to do all of these inner cover strips is definitely going to take a chunk of time, given the 24 hour time to cure each piece. *sigh* It really does clean up the appearance inside the armor, though! Not to mention make everything that much stronger. Once all that is taken care of, I can start attaching the various bits to string all the pieces together. :)


Oh, I also spent some time trying to get those stupid caps off the Anovos belt without destroying it, so I can migrate the plastic bits over to my TKittle belt. No luck so far, but I'll play with it more when I can. Meanwhile, it's in the freezer, which hopefully makes the glue more brittle?


Tomorrow will be busy, but if I have time, I think it's time to bust out the belt sander and Dremel, and start cleaning up the final edges of everything for the detailed finish.

Edited by kman
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Great job on the shims. It is something I'm going to have to tackle as well, although I will probably need more than 2". Just wondering if the way you've done them will be passable for Centurion because of the notches. I like that they are molded in on the ANOVOS Kit, but this presents a possible problem for those larger troopers who want to go for Centurion approval. Is it acceptable to shim like you have, or will it be necessary to trim off the molded in notch (thus requiring an even larger shim) and then cutting the notch into the shim itself? Something I am pondering.

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Just an idea here but if anyone didn't have enough off cut material for the correct length for inner cover strips on thighs, forearms etc, or they cut up the off cut pieces two small on initial trimming, they could instal them in 2 or more pieces instead of one with a join/joins that are barely noticable in the inside of the armor.

It would still have much the same strength  :duim:

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Great job on the shims. It is something I'm going to have to tackle as well, although I will probably need more than 2". Just wondering if the way you've done them will be passable for Centurion because of the notches. I like that they are molded in on the ANOVOS Kit, but this presents a possible problem for those larger troopers who want to go for Centurion approval. Is it acceptable to shim like you have, or will it be necessary to trim off the molded in notch (thus requiring an even larger shim) and then cutting the notch into the shim itself? Something I am pondering.



I've seen it done both ways, so I'm not really sure what's acceptable at the higher levels, and what's not. On my "version" the notch is still present, back in it's usual place. In others, they have filled in the back notch, carried it forward, and cut a new notch into the shim.


The good news is my shims are removable, so if I decide to change later, that shouldn't be an issue. Hopefully by that point, Anovos will have been able to provide some extra material for users that need it, so we again avoid the color match issue.


I should have enough spare material for at least one other shim by flattening the cut portion from the ab plate (pictured in my post above). If Anovos falls through, hopefully I can scrounge some more pieces and cobble together another shim, or maybe extend my existing ones, actually. Someone on the FB thread observed that if we make friends with a skinny Anovos trooper, it should be easy to beg for their scrap pieces. :) I'm sure there are lots of Anovos people out there who have no need of them, after all.


Meanwhile, though, if you cut the pieces off whole when trimming, like I did, you can use both of the pieces in that photo (ab and chest) to create your larger shims. Again, just figure out how to flatten that ab piece.

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Just an idea here but if anyone didn't have enough off cut material for the correct length for inner cover strips on thighs, forearms etc, or they cut up the off cut pieces two small on initial trimming, they could instal them in 2 or more pieces instead of one with a join/joins that are barely noticable in the inside of the armor.

It would still have much the same strength  :duim:

True that. Multiple smaller pieces could be joined, and just connected with glue strips on the back. Some ABS paste and a fair amount of elbow work (sanding, sanding, and more sanding!) and it should look really good from the outside.
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