Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club

Mandalorian Armor => Soft Parts => Topic started by: No'saj Huune on Apr 02, 2010, 02:19 AM

Title: SpecOps V2 Vest (First Troop Update 5/2/10)
Post by: No'saj Huune on Apr 02, 2010, 02:19 AM
Originally this vest was found in this thread...

I decided to start this new thread about the vest so it gets some more exposure and everyone can see it.  First let me say I'm a rather large fellow in girth which fluctuates almost daily due to my diabetes so I went with size XL to allow for the changes as need be.  That being said this vest just may be a great find for those of us of big stature as you'll see in the pics.

Cost: $19.95
Cost after shipping (UPS Ground): $30.04
Shipping Time: From Salt Lake City, UT to Killeen, TX was 3 days (ordered on Friday and received Monday)


Ok right away I see the advantages to this vest.  First the number of D-rings are great and in good locations.  The "collar cover", for lack of a better term, has two sets of snaps to adjust to your neck size.  Adjustable straps on the sides for a comfy fit, I'm impressed so far.


As you can see here both shoulders have velcro which can work out great to attach a cape (full or half) or other items you want hanging from your shoulders such as trophies or greeblies.  You can see the placement of the snaps to adjust to your neck size, I have to use the outer ones otherwise it felt like I was choking.  On the right breast (and left not shown) are more of the soft velcro to attach name tags or your armor.  The disadvantage is that the zipper isn't concealable and the D-Rings would have to be removed once your armor is attached.


The back has a "patch" you can remove (also attached with velcro) and two snapping connectors.  The advantage is that if you want to put on a back pack or attach your amour its a little easier now.  Now there is a zipper back there and honestly I'm not sure what its for, possibly a small camel-back or maybe a small "cool touch" pouch (which is what I'll be using it for).  But now for the best part in my humble opinion...


CINCH BELT!!!  This part was not in the description and was a most welcome surprise!  Its fully adjustable and well concealed once you close up the vest.  You can see the difference it makes in my belly in the following pics.


Front and side view of me without the cinch belt on.  Yes I can admit I'm a larger fellow, especially this week, and I'm constantly worried about my how large I'll look in costume but now look...


You cant really tell in the pic to the left but thats a "loss" of about three waist sizes.  I had it as tight as I could get it and was surprised at how comfortable it was, I really couldn't tell I had it on.  On the right I'm kind of slouching when my wife took the pic but you can still see the difference.


And here it is all sealed up.  You can't tell in this front photo but the collar piece actually goes higher (seen below).  The "neck guard" is very comfortable, you can hardly tell its there.  I've got the side straps pulled as tight as they can go and had plenty of room wearing it so maybe I should've gone with just a size L but I'm not returning it now.  The shoulders shouldn't be as "pointy" once I sew on the parts for the shoulder bells to go on and its length will probably vary from person to person but you can fold it up and in as needed (sorry no pic of that).


As for your helmet test I think it'll pass for just about everyone.  My wife looked from below and said she couldn't see my skin with the collar pieces up so no need for me to get a another layer of cloth on my head.  All in all I think this is a good investment, I'm satisfied with it thus far.  Tonight I'll begin the dying process (which takes two weeks) to make it black for my costume.

Thanks for taking the time to read this thread, hopefully this vest will work for someone in some capacity if not for the Mercs.  CHEERS!!!
Title: Re: SpecOps V2 Vest (Pic Intensive)
Post by: Frost K'Amon on Apr 02, 2010, 03:05 AM
Let it be known that mercs does usually frown on the usage of unmodified mil-spec or knockoff military gear, so you're going to want to make sure that you get most of those molle velcro strips covered with something.
Title: Re: SpecOps V2 Vest (Pic Intensive)
Post by: Slade Kel on Apr 02, 2010, 03:23 AM
There's not usually an issue with the molle vests. A'den Skirata uses one himself, though to be fair he's a shabla walking tank, so virtually every square micrometer of the vest is covered.

I took the liberty of Pshopping one of your pics to make it easier to explain my suggestions.
I'd say either modify the vest by cutting off the portions to the outside of the red lines on the left, or devise larger shoulder bells that'll cover up the excess material, such as on the right. I also took the liberty of shopping in armor, just on account of the fact that I'm bored. :P.

Oh, and it'd probably be a good idea to lose the spare buckles, unless you're going to attach things to them.
Title: Re: SpecOps V2 Vest (Pic Intensive)
Post by: No'saj Huune on Apr 02, 2010, 03:56 AM
Oh it'll be modified no worries there  ;D  Virtually all, if not all, of the buckles and belts will be removed and the vest will be dyed black.  My armor will cover up most of it when I did the mock up a few minutes ago.  Like I said with my weight fluctuations (10-25lbs a week) I went with the X-Large  but I probably should've gone with the Large.  Everything wasn't as tight I thought it could be so it'll look better once its dyed and washed.

Oh and no cod piece for me, too uncomfortable :P  Lion cloth and kama  ;D
Title: Re: SpecOps V2 Vest (Pic Intensive)
Post by: Slade Kel on Apr 02, 2010, 04:11 AM
Heh, I hear you on the cod piece thing. I've been playing with different versions ever since my very first kit and haven't found one comfy. My last set had an armored loincloth, just a cloth with separate plates, so that it had that armor look, but was flexy. My newest set has a loincloth as well, matched to the kama for style and comfort all in one ;D.

I too have had weight flux issues in the past. My only suggestion there is exercise, exercise, exercise. Changing eating habits to healthy is all nice and shiny, but a good, regular workout is the only real answer to keeping one's weight stable, especially with health issues like your diabetes.

I assume you bought the vest recently from that site mentioned in another thread (I can't remember which)? They might have an exchange policy, and you might even be able to grab a large in black so that you don't have to put in the effort of dyeing.
Title: Re: SpecOps V2 Vest (Pic Intensive)
Post by: No'saj Huune on Apr 02, 2010, 05:17 AM
They can exchange it but they are completely out of black for "the foreseeable future" as they put it.  As for the health issues, its a bit more complicated than just the diabetes (it started a chain reaction), believe me in my line of work I get 8-10hrs of a work out five days a week so thats not an issue LoL.

I've got the vest in the wash now to prep it for the dye tomorrow, I'll take pics of the armor layout on it  :)
Title: Re: SpecOps V2 Vest (Pic Intensive)
Post by: Slade Kel on Apr 02, 2010, 05:35 AM
Ah, sucksauce. Everyone's always out of black :P. Well, I've seen vest similar to this one dyed, so there shouldn't be any problems.
Title: Re: SpecOps V2 Vest (Pic Intensive)
Post by: SnakeEyes1 on Apr 02, 2010, 11:07 AM
Personally I like your idea i think it would be a bit different from what a spec ops mando would have. Good luck and hope to see some finished photo's on this.
Title: Re: SpecOps V2 Vest (Pic Intensive)
Post by: No'saj Huune on Apr 11, 2010, 12:53 AM
Just a few more days of soaking in the dye bucket and then more pics  ;)
Title: Re: SpecOps V2 Vest (Pic Intensive)
Post by: Dar'kumn Vol on Apr 11, 2010, 09:17 AM
Looking forward to see ing the results vod.
Title: Re: SpecOps V2 Vest (Pic Intensive)
Post by: No'saj Huune on Apr 21, 2010, 11:31 AM
Ok its been awhile since I put the vest in the dye bucket and here's the result...


11 days later and its darker, the velcro soft parts are black, but its not black as I expected.  Heres what I did...

1. Washed it in the machine twice with my regular laundry (with six boys there is plenty of laundry to do in one day).

2. Put it in the dryer once for 50 min.

3. Used a 10 gal. bucket filled as follows -  2 gal water then add 1 packet RIT black dye, add 1 gal water then put in vest, add more water until vest is covered then add 1 more packet RIT black dye and 2 tablespoons of Sea Salt.

4. Wait about two weeks.

Now normally with all my synthetic materials this works.  After 1 week I pulled it out and saw it wasn't as dark as I wanted to so I then added 1 packet of RIT Dark Green dye to the mix and 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt and waited.  As you can see its still not as dark as I would like so I contacted the site by phone and asked them for any assistance.

 The operator was very nice and said they've received several calls about this "issue" and the reason for it not being able to be dyed correctly is due to the materials being compliant with California anti-fire regulations.  Basically she said its made to be fire retardant and while it may catch a little it won't go up in flames if lets say a cigarette falls on it.   So now I know :rolleyes:

What this means for me is a slight redesign in my armor plans to include brown.  For you it means if you want a darker colored one go for the woodland and try to dye it but don't be surprised if it only gets a tad bit darker.   I'm sure if I wash it enough times it'll eventually take hold of the color, but I'm not too worried about it.
Title: Re: SpecOps V2 Vest (Pic Intensive)
Post by: Slade Kel on Apr 21, 2010, 04:22 PM
Those chakaare! How dare they make it fire retardant!

:P. Well, you win some, you loose some. You could always just use a few other brown soft parts. The brown goes fine with the olive-drab flight suit, and when you think about it, Boba had a white vest, gray suit and green-red-yellow plates. Not like odd color combos haven't happened before.
Title: Re: SpecOps V2 Vest (Pic Intensive)
Post by: No'saj Huune on Apr 21, 2010, 05:19 PM
Thats why I've changed my original plans from a gray/black/purple/OD green to grey/leather brown/purple/OD green.  Plus I figure the brown would work better with my characters background of being Bounty Hunter first, Beast Master second.  :P

Ok so are there any questions?

NOTE: The dying process I outlined previously works about 90% of the time with synthetic materials.  If someone wants a detailed outline I'll be more than happy to post it here and maybe it'll become a sticky, ya never know  :P
Title: Re: SpecOps V2 Vest (Pic Intensive)
Post by: Slade Kel on Apr 21, 2010, 06:43 PM

Seriously, my clan has three purple folk, and now I've incorporated some purple and a color shift blue-purple paint I picked up at Lowes.

On topic, I think that leather brown should work just fine with the other colors; I think black is starting to get a bit overused anywyay. Given that I use mostly black soft parts myself, I have a right to say it :P. I've been looking at incorporating more brown into it, but just haven't gotten around to doing so.
Title: Re: SpecOps V2 Vest (Pic Intensive)
Post by: Hondo Karr on Apr 21, 2010, 08:31 PM
just an idea, i gave my bro my black molle and he lightly sprayed it with grey primer. it turned out really good. you could try a matte black paint spray on it. ive always weathered my nylon stuff with spray paint. it absorbs and hold well without flaking off.
Title: Re: SpecOps V2 Vest (Pic Intensive)
Post by: No'saj Huune on Apr 21, 2010, 08:44 PM
Never thought about spraying it but maybe for the next one I will  ;D
Title: Re: SpecOps V2 Vest (First Troop Update 5/2/10)
Post by: No'saj Huune on May 03, 2010, 02:20 AM
Well I performed my first troop on May 1st for Free Comic Day with my clan mates and put the SpecOps V2 to the test...


This was taken before I realized my center diamond had fallen off, but as you can see it worked out pretty well.  The armor is held on by heavy duty snaps and I have to tell you that this vest is a pain in the shebs to align everything correctly but heres the run down.



So all in all I recommend the vest for trooping but definitly try it on more than once in full kit to know where to place your girth belt and/or tactical belt.  I had mine over the lower backside and just at the bottom of the front, but one time bending over to pick up my weapon and it slid right off the front.  Not sure how to fix that though.

Another thing that kinda got to me but wasn't a big deal is the neck guard.  With my buy'ce on I could hear it rubbing against the inside of it which got annoying real fast (but to be honest I didn't have all the padding installed yet).  Also the neck guard can and probably will get caught on the bottom rear portion of your buy'ce, so take care to put on your buy'ce so it doesn't happen to you.

Oh and I didn't end up using some "ice packs" in the back pouch like I thought I would have to, the weather was very nice and breezy so there was no need.  However at home the night before the troop I did put a few in to test it out and let me tell you I was freezing with them on my back but was overall very very cool, even in my buy'ce.

So yeah, this vest did exactly what I thought it would and then some.  And if you're like me and a "larger than normal" sized vod this will probably work for you.