My long-awaited Anovos/Denuo Novo First Order Stormtrooper armor

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
For those that don't know... Back in 2015, Anovos rushed out a small number of "Alpha" kits to members of the 501st to dress up for the premiere of The Force Awakens. It was largely good, with a few issues -- some of which they addressed, some of which required serious work by the end-user to get them up to something like film-accurate. After the premiere, they announced that they were going to take the time to do it properly, fix the shortcomings the Alpha suit had, and started preorders for various levels of kit. I had initially opted to pass. I was more okay with the design than many, but didn't feel strongly enough about it to need to make a costume.

Then in 2017, the novel Phasma came out -- going into her backstory, and also introducing us to Captain Cardinal. I have had a weakness for red things in Star Wars since 1982. The Emperor's guards made a heavy impression on me, a violent slash of blood-red in the middle of the monochrome world of the Empire. So formal and faceless and imposing. Since then, other red things have caught my attention. Some Royal Guard related, some not. Cardinal had the armor, which I liked well enough, but also the Captain's accoutrements that Phasma had -- the cape, the boot armor, the sidearm and heavy rifle... Plus I liked the guy. So, in the summer of 2017, I jumped onto the preorder bandwagon for a set of Standard The Force Awakens First Order Stormtrooper Armor Kit Plus Standard Edition The Force Awakens Helmet.

Then a whole lot of us settled in to wait...

Along the way, The Last Jedi came out, in which the general public dislike of the First Order Stormtrooper helmet saw a revision to the design, plus tweaks to the armor, most of which I don't know the reasoning behind. Anovos announced that they were updating their reproduction to match, without offering us options or asking if we were okay with them changing the thing we had preordered to something similar but different. I stayed in, trusting to my ability to alter it back to TFA spec, so long as I had a good base derived from Lucasfilm assets to work from (and could trade the helmet for a TFA version...).

Time passed. There were sporadic updates, most notably when they expressed dissatisfaction with the initial pulls they got from China and decided to start from scratch, milling concave dies the plastic would be pulled into, rather than convex bucks the plastic would be pulled over. Inversion-forming. They wanted to capture all the crisp detail on the outside of the armor, as with the original film suits. Some time later, they posted pictures of piles of the new uncut sheets, and a rough mock-up build on one of their employees. A couple people got kits, and then silence. People going on the new "Rise of the Resistance" attraction at the US Disney parks noticed some suspiciously familiar armor on the First Order Stormtroopers standing at attention in a hangar bay. We'll probably never know the full story, but it seems Disney yoinked the majority of that first batch to populate the new rides.

Time passed. A class-action lawsuit happened. Another movie came out -- the last of the Sequel Trilogy. Mixed reception to the trilogy in general and that film in particular make it unlikely we will ever see First Order Stormtroopers again any time soon. They do not have the caché of the OG OT model, timelessly appealing to general audiences. Many felt slighted -- justifiably -- by never having the opportunity to wear their finished armor at a relevant movie premiere. Anovos lost the Star Wars high-end costuming license, and is in indeterminate status as a company. Their website is gone. The other properties they had license to are in limbo. But NECA -- who make the cheap retro action figures and other such collectibles that populate those portions of the electronics and entertainment collectibles sections of Walmart and Target... Well, some years back, they bought Rubies Costumes when the latter went bankrupt.

A bit over a year ago, NECA created a new business called "Rubies II", which seemed to exist for the sole purpose of hosting a company called Denuo Novo, who now had the high-end Star Wars costuming license. Trying to go to the Anovos website led instead to Denuo Novo's. They seemed to have acquired all of Anovos' Star Wars assets, including the production facility in Texas that Anovos had built for the purpose. They announced in July of last year that they would be, amongst other things, doing their best to make Anovos' waiting customers as whole as they could -- with product or store credit. That didn't assuage everyone, and there was a lot of skepticism. But weeks later, boxes started showing up on people's doorsteps. I enquired about the First Order Stormtrooper. They had initially hoped for early this year, but kept updating as things were delayed. Earlier this summer, a few people started getting kits, and two weeks ago, my own Big Brown Box was at the front door.

In the intervening time, I had acquired upgrade parts and materials, gloves and boots, 3D-printed my blasters and boot armor. Now, after five years, time to properly get started...
Last edited:
The ubiquitous layout:

001 -- Layout.JPG

The first thing I noticed was that the resin pieces are very nice. Clean and requiring minimal -- if any -- cleanup. The second thing I noticed was that the thermal detonator will require some attention, as it is a single solid resin casting. The third thing I noticed was that Anovos lied.

I'll give everyone a tenth of a second to contain their shock.

We good?

These pieces are not made from inversion-forming into concave dies. These are made the familiar, traditional way so many of us know: heated and pulled over convex bucks. The technique Anovos said they weren't going to use because it didn't capture sharp enough surface detail. There's even webbing near the bottom of some of the pieces, on the wastage. This is a vac-formed suit. And I know it's the same one Anovos showed us before the whole shipment disappeared into Disney's clutches because all of the wastage has the exact same pattern to the roughness where the formed piece ends. They probably said it to buy themselves some time and hoped no one would notice the tells.

That said, I can work with this. A lot is going to need to be done, but I have the tools and supplies and reference I need for a lot of it. There are only a few problematic things I am going to need help from others to figure out and source.

I rough-cut all the ABS pieces with my Dremel and 2" diamond cutting wheel. Gods below, but I love that thing. Since there are several pieces that are seamless on the original suit, and not in this form, this thing would be getting painted regardless, so, apart from it being red in my case, you can treat this as a guide to making an Anovos/Denuo Novo TLJ FOTK into a more film-accurate TFA version. Next step is cleanup.
Last edited:
I have a technique, when something's going to get painted, where I use my fat Sharpie to liberally apply it around the cut line...

032 -- My Approach.JPG

...and then sand down with ~200-grit sandpaper. This was mostly 180, in this kit's case. This not only shows any minor surface defects near the edges where it was formed...

033 -- My Approach.JPG

...but, once it's sanded down on the return edge, what you're left with is a nice, clear cut line.

034 -- My Approach.JPG

As I write this tonight, all the pieces are at least rough-trimmed and sanded except for the backplate, the front and back halves of the "corset" (what I call the abdominal section -- it definitely feels like a posture trainer), and the forearms (which are a whole item of focus I'll get to later). Many pieces are also fined-in a bit more. I started with the legs...

The butt seam on the outside of the thigh looks good enough, to start. I have since trimmed down those bits of the glue tab you see sticking out above and below near the seam, but there's more afoot than that.

037 -- Right Thigh, Outside.JPG

That'll end up being a ~3mm gap between front and back halves, with the backer plate showing through. There's a thing in woodworking called "reveal", which is how much of the edge of the wood is deliberately showing. There's a lot of reveal in this costume's joints. Here's some reference from the original film suits -- in this case, a bicep piece:


That's a pretty square seam across the board. 3mm wide, 3mm deep, and that return edge is a good 6mm. This kit is pulled from 0.060" ABS. The return edges are soft. The ones that do go back 6mm don't do so anywhere near as cleanly or crisply as the film suits. I am going to have to clean up and build up all the edges. Which is fine. I have a lot of ABS on hand because I already knew I was going to be reworking the TLJ overlap inner seams on the biceps, thighs, and calves into TFA style butt joints. And that takes material. I'm going to go on to the calves in the next post...
First I am happy you finally got it. Second thanks for the detailed write key points you found. I know your full of joy finally getting it in hand as you jump into working it. I look forward to seeing the progress and fellow tips other folks willing to help out with tips and lessons learned. Thanks for sharing photos and tips as you progress through your build.
So here's the first place I need to ask for experience, advice, and/or insight. Here is the what the bottom of the calf and shin pieces has going on...


Here is what the instructions say about how to cut them:

040 --  Greaves Cutline 1.png
041 -- Greaves Cutline 2.png

042 -- Greaves Cutline 3.png
043 -- Greaves Cutline 4.png

044 -- Greaves Cutline 5.png

Now... After the instructions for assembling the calves, here's what it says about how to attach the spats:

Nope. The picture did not fail to load. It says nothing. The last step in the instruction booklet is the assembly of the spats, but nothing on how to attach them. I have so many questions... Why the cut there, leaving so much return edge where it is neither seen nor needed? Why that lower projection at all? Is the spat glued to that vertical face, after the top edge has been butted up into the underside of the shin/calf piece proper?

If anyone with familiarity with the original suits knows what's going on here, I would dearly appreciate your help.

I'm going to leave off here for tonight. It is 4am, after all. I'll pick up with the rest of the problem pieces tomorrow.
Gonna finish up with more on the legs and segue into the problem pieces, since one of them starts with the legs... From the bottom up:

One of the problems I have with the film suits is how ugly the spats are on the bottoms of the greaves...


It's so damn sloppy looking. I'm putting a snap in the buckle recess, rather than velcro, but that raw edge at the top, overlapping the bottom of the greave... Ew! They didn't care about the rear flap not lining up right, either:


And even with an inside view, I can't really figure out how this whole shoddy assemblage works:


I can see that I need to thicken the rear flap to 3mm, with a 6mm return edge at the back bottom, there. It looks to taper past that. There's a seam, but less gapped than the thighs and biceps. Or calves, looking up inside, and at the other pics. Consistency is not a dirty word. I already know I'll have to thicken things. See?



But I'm trying to figure out what that extra plastic tab across the inside back of the spat is, and how the whole thing connects to the greave. Is it just that bit of fabric glued at the front?

I don't know what to do here. I want to get my build as close to screen-accurate as I can, but better (painted backing pieces inside those ovals, for instance, rather than stickers/cut bits of gaffers' tape)... But I can easily make my spats line up with the greaves and look good, with aligned rear flap and curves, with gapped seam to match the other armor pieces further up the body... I just worry that making it look not like **** will ding me accuracy points.
The greaves are much simpler. The outer curve is the same between films. I just have to sharpen up the edges and thicken the reveals.




That's not gonna fly. :p But it's still a straightforward, known seam. The inner one will take a bit more. I need to find out the modest curvature of the TFA thighs and greaves, and howfar back the inner "latches" go on front and back pieces:


I have a lot of useful material to work from. Some of the inner seams were horribly aligned:


But most are lined up just fine:


And, thanks to some shots, I see how I need to make the inner overlap work:

And that pic is as good a segue as any for the knees...
The kit knees aren't very sharp, like the rest of the pieces...



...But they're about the right depth, if I can get those edges sharpened up:



Including how they thin out at the ends:


This is one piece where the thinness of the plastic really helps. From ukswrath over on the FISD, I'm going to mount more secure fasteners than velcro to the knees, to hold them in place on the gaskets.
Now, speaking of the thighs, the holster bracket. The one that comes with the kit is cast in one piece, unlike the one in the instructions, which shows a base and the stacked plates as two pieces that get glued together. It's pretty clean and already conforms to the curvature of the thigh piece:

014 -- Problem Pieces, Holster Bracket.JPG

015 -- Problem Pieces, Holster Bracket.JPG

016 -- Problem Pieces, Hoslter Bracket.JPG

I got R2Dan's laser-cut aluminum upgrade kit. Separate plates, all the screws...


But there's a problem:

017 -- Problem Pieces, Holster Bracket, Comparison.JPG

It's only a matter of millimeters. Everything's the right width. The screw-holes and cutouts are the same size in the same spots, but somehow it's all slightly foreshortened along the long axis and I have no idea why. Or what to do about it. The resin pieces are missing the undercut portions of the holster bracket. I am assuming Anovos/Denuo Novo exactly recreated the original part from the same 3D files used to make it. I am making an enquiry to R2Dan to see if he is aware of the issue and what his takeaway is... As with belt stuff, this is late-stage, as, unlike the left-calf "kit kats", which are seamlessly mounted, the holster bracket is screwed on after painting, like the ab boxes.
And, speaking of belt stuff, my last post for tonight, to give everyone a chance to catch up, pertains to pouches. I mean, the belt itself needs work. The ribbed rubber material is good, but it's sewn directly to the black webbing, without the foam layer between. ANd the buckle is nowhere near accurate. I'll get to that when I upgrade all that. But the things on the belt. *sigh* First are the front boxes. The originals are formed pieces over carved or cast foam backers:



This is one where the thinness of the plastic would be perfect. I have the solid urethane pad to carve the backer pieces out of. But...

012 --  Problem Pieces, Center Front Belt Box, Front.JPG

013 -- Problem Pieces, Center Front Belt Box, Back.JPG

Cast resin. Both of them. No offset. I could paint the back portion with rubber bumper paint, if not for that. I don't know the exact measurements of the original piece, so I don't know if the back portion needs to get shaved down or the outer portion needs to get built up. I am tempted to use these as bucks and form outer caps over them. If that looks like the right measurements...

Meanwhile, for the Alpha kit, the two boxes on the right side of the belt were thermoformed plastic. I'm not sure what the original costume pieces are. These are, again...

008 -- Problem Pieces, Long Belt Box, Front.JPG

009 -- Problem Pieces, Long Belt Box, Back.JPG

010 -- Problem Pieces, Short Belt Box, Front.JPG

011 --  Problem Pieces, Short Belt Box, Back.JPG

Cast resin. Useless for storage. I'm likely going to use the dimensions of these to make functional pieces. But it's damned annoying.

And speaking of damned annoying... The left-side soft pouches. They're supposed to be substantially different in height. Like this:


This is what I got:


The short pouch is too tall and the tall pouch is too short. Here's what the pouch cover looks like on it (untrimmed, I know):



I'm going to give then some tactful feedback that they need to double-check the pouch patterns or how they're being assembled, as the dimensions are way off. And ask why the decision to go with cast resin for all the belt and ab boxes instead of thermoformed plastic. I don't mind so much for the ab boxes, but it really messes with the belt boxes.
So does anyone on here have any familiarity with the film costumes? Like, to the extent of knowing any components used or having measurements of this or that? lonepigeon, I know the Sequel Trilogy hasn't been your focus, but you've got a pretty well-trained eye. I've asked over on the First Imperial Stormtrooper Detachment, and it's been several days with no answer.

There are places where it's helpful this kit was pulled in .060" ABS, and places where it's an absolute headache. The film suits' edges show a very chonky thickness, especially in the biceps, thighs, calves, and spats.


I'm trying to photoscale as best I can with other characteristics of my kit's parts, but when it gets down to this level, I prefer as precise as I can be. At the overlaps, like the one above, the tabs look to each be ~2.5-3mm, and the overall thickness twice that (5-6mm). None of th epieces I cited stay that thickness all the way around the edge, and I'm still giving myself eyestrain poring over reference.

I can tell, for instance, that the front side of the bicep piece seems to stay "double thick" from before the inside overlap seam to past the front decorative seam:


But then it thins out around the outside and back:



Notice in particular those "J" cuts at the top.

The thighs and calves are similar, and moreso to each other. Those more clearly have thickenings at the outside and inside where the seams are, thinning to the single-width thickness at front and back.




I find it interesting, though, that the thigh seems to not thicken at the inner seam, the pieces just overlapping as-is, with no "backstop", as with the others.

The spats are... a tragedy. I find it incredibly sloppy how they look to just wrap around the bottoms of the greaves, when they could be flush, butted up under...


They didn't work very hard to get the curves of the overlapping pieces to line up, and, in many cases, the "closure"... isn't, really:



I have spent quite a while so far studying this one, to try to figure out how the spats are attached. Is it just that bit of glued-on mesh fabric at the front? That tab on the inside of the spat, at the back -- that seems to just be some sort of guide for the overlap, but possibly also a "stop" to keep the back of the spat from riding up. It looks seated against the bottom of the calf armor.

But at least this shows pretty straight-on how the calves thicken for the side seams. And how the spat thickens from the side to the back where the flap attaches...


So I have to build up all those reveal edges, and sharpen up all the return edges. None of the suit parts have what I would classify as "Crisp" edges. I don't want to use a filler, for fear of it flacking or cracking as the plastic flexes. Not even Poly-Flex. I'm going to grind up some of the scrap ABS from trimming and see how the acetone paste approach works for building up the edges.

So. At this point, does anyone have anything more accurate than their own photoscaling for the return edges and overlaps? And, to move from that on to found hardware... Does anyone know what the buckle for the belt is and where to get it:


And what these parts are for the attaching of the outer to inner chestplate:


That hook is definitely an off-the-shelf part from somewhere, and it and those friction posts remind me of some sort of boat locker closure system. Stowage box cover hooks over the edge, push to close. I could be way off, though. None of the wording I've tried for my Google searches has turned up quite the right thing yet.

As far as my stuff... All the pieces are rough-trimmed to at least an eighth of an inch from the cut line, to be tweaked as I clean up all the edges. I'm ordering replacement pouches from Trooper Bay. I've cut out and am cleaning up all the oval and rectangular recesses. This is the slow going part. I can always remove more material, but I'm already looking at having to add a lot on, and I don't want to make even more of that work for me.

In other news, since they're finished and attached separately, I've got the base of the thigh holster and most of the ab boxes painted. They're not yet clearcoated, though.

I'll have more pics up sometime soon, I hope. I really need answers.
The Rogue One Shoretroopers have the J-cut too - they use a piece of string or thread to loop through those cuts to secure the shoulder bells to the biceps to prevent them from sliding out of position relative to one another.

Also velcro on the strap through the slot below that. I wasn't going to get into all of those finer points yet, because that's a couple posts' worth of more questions and requests for verification. *lol*
Another jump forward.


I was able to cancel the TLJ helmet portion of my ensemble, and now have a credit at DN. Additionally, I asked and they are expecting to have spare/replacement parts for the FOTK up in a month or so. I am definitely getting seconds of at least several of the smaller parts to double up for thickness and save on shaping work. Lately, I have been sick, so not much getting done. Sorry 'bout that.
Since no one's piped up, here or on the FISD, with anything they might know, I have been doing a lot of photoscaling and cross-referencing. I have gotten more frustrated with the sloppy inner-leg seams and the even worse spats and had a bunch of stuff percolating in the back of my head. I already knew I was going to make a more secure closure on the spats, and was considering how they're connected to the greaves: On the movie suits, as seen above, they seem to only be attached to the front piece with a bit of stretchy cloth, with a stop at the back to probably help line up the calf piece with the shin. And I kept being frustrated at the inconsistency in the seams. The outsides of the thighs and calves was a clean, butted joint, with clips across the join-line. Both the front and inside seams on the bicep pieces are the same. When they shifted to the TLJ style, the inside-bicep seam became an overlap like the insides of the thighs and calves. That got added to the thoughts jostling about in my head. The insides of the calves have detailing at the seam edges that are basically non-recessed versions of the outer-seam clip-indent rectangles. The TFA thighs had the same. The sides of the outer chestplate have similar details at the back edge, but there are no equivalent details on the back armor they overlap that I can see.

So after a bit of all that simmering over low heat, I decided to listen to my sense of offended æsthetics. I am making the inner thigh and calf seams, and the join where outer chest meets back at the sides, butted like the bicep seams and the outer-leg seams. The details that line up on the insides of the thighs and calves I am going to make one piece, crossing the seam, a la the clips on the outsides. This is where my motto comes into play... "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing." Instead of using velcro or snaps on the spats, I am making those clips functional, with an offset fulcrum and attached to connector rods on the inside to basically turn them into compression latches, like on ski boots, but with the loop piece anchored. Then I decided to do the same with the bicep clips. The spat back strap and bicep secondary piece will both be hinged. Then I decided to do similar with the other four small latches on the forearms, rather than the sloppy -- and frequently gapping -- closures on the film suits. The main part of the bicep will be attached to the shoulder and elbow gaskets, and the forearm back piece will be attached to the elbow gasket, too. As with the film suit, the whole arm will be able to be slipped on, but then the seams closed with latches instead of velcro.

Then the legs are where things start to get interesting. The thigh fronts and shins (and knees) are going to be attached to the knee gaskets. The outer seams of the thighs and shins will have play thanks to the compression latches, the inner seams will be hanging open on elastic retaining cords. Once I get each leg on, I'll work up from the spats. Ankle latch, then fasten the inner calf latch, then tighten down the outer calf latch, then repeat those two steps with the inner and outer thigh latches. I am presently weighing options for those inner latches.

Lastly, I'm making the side details on the chest plate and the central latch greeblies functional. I might do the leg latches the same, but it's not as necessary for them. Because of how the front and back butt up together, I want something with a little more holding power... So I'm looking at making the side latches modest electromagnets. Already have the mechanism planned out, and am gathering materials.

All of this requires a couple things. I have some sheet ABS to help build up thickness, but it would help more if I had extras of a couple pieces, like the spats and knees and shoulders, that are already formed. Denuo Novo has just listed parts packs, and I'm talking with them to find out if there's a way I can get just the plastic bits and they hang onto the resin pieces and sticker sheets for someone who needs them... All of this making it cleaner than the film costume also means that it won't pass 501st approval, so I'm also planning to get two more full leg sets and an upper torso set to make more film-accurate versions to get approved -- and then be packed away in the back of the closet.

No pictures with all that yet. Sorry. I'm only feeling good enough to start poking around at things this past day or so. I'll get more soon.
Thanks to the gift card I got from Denuo Novo for the helmet portion of my original order, plus the Black Friday discount and free shipping, I have now pre-ordered the right leg and upper torso parts kits for a whopping total of eighty bucks. Once I have the other leg, that'll bump my total clips to eight large and ten small, which will break down to two large for each of the four legs I'm building, four small for the two pairs of spats, and the remaining six small for the arms I have. If I can persuade them to offer just the plastic parts for a bit less, I won't need any more clip greeblies.

Otherwise, prep work continues. It's painstaking, but it's always easier to take more material off than stick it back on -- and I'm already having to do that to sharpen up the edges. I'm also still banging my head against lack of hard numbers. I'm photoscaling parts from known referents and also using the kit parts, on the assumption that they are accurate in gross dimensions and detail placement. I also measured the stickers, but I'm not sure what to make of that. They don't all agree with the indents in the kit parts, or with the few reliable figures I have for the film suits. One for-instance, the shin oval:


The dimensions I have for the kit part are 31mm x ~8mm. My next step is to check that against the spat's clip greeblie in the picture (and the spat itself, for whatever it's worth). The sticker for that indent is just a hair smaller than the indent.

ETA: Okay, so I'm an idiot. The spat has the large greeblie, not the small one. Huh. Time to sent DN a revised e-mail.
Wow, what a write-up and quite the saga! I still remember when people within the 501st were freaking out about the Anovos presale coming up. Now having been outside the Star Wars costuming community since those days and logging in to see someone JUST getting their kit in within the past month?...Holy guacamole. You have the patience of an angel, sir. Great build so far though! Looking forward to more updates!

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

If you wish to reply despite these issues, check the box below before replying.
Be aware that malicious compliance may result in more severe penalties.