RAID-Mod BDUs for sale?

 I'm a big fan of the cut of old-school BDUs, but I like the functionality of the pocket placement on ACUs. I have modded my Tiger Stripe BDUs to combine these good bits, resulting in what is known as a "RAID-modded" uniform. I am looking into selling these uniforms, perhaps on Etsy. Vote in the poll at the end of this post to let me know if this effort would be worth it.
 As you can see, the vertical pockets have been moved from the front, to angled chest and arm pockets. These are full velcro, ensuring your ID or other items will stay secure.
 The arm pockets also have pull tabs, and velcro for flags.  So I would like you to ask yourself, how much would you pay for a set of BDUs like this? They would be available, made to order, in a variety of camouflage colors, in any size you need. These uniforms cost at least $25 in materials alone, plus my time.

Please, take a minute and vote in the poll in the sidebar, so I can gauge interest.


Homemade UCP Combat shirt

 My buddy here was moving away, and wanted a combat shirt - Badly. Our local surplus store didn't have any good deals on a legitimate issue shirt, so she picked up a $3 ACU undershirt, and I cut up an old ACU blouse. A little while later, we have a passable UCP combat shirt.
                                             On the technical side, the undershirt was size "Extra small", and the blouse was Medium Regular. If anyone wants to imitate this kitbashing, it would behoove you to get similarly sized clothes so that the sleeves will match up more closely.

The inverse of this shirt was also created - ACU vest, with tiny t-shirt sleeves. Pictures will go up as they become available.


Tiger Stripe RAID BDU mod

I have recently picked up a pair of Tiger Stripe BDUs. In short, I love them (Link sends you to my local camo test). They are perfect for my area, at this time of year. During the same trip, I picked up some ACUs in Multicam, also known as "my other love". While wearing the ACUs I realized the benefits of the ACU cut, mostly in the pockets of the shirt. I decided my Tiger Stripe BDUs needed to be RAID modded - That is, the chest pockets are moved to the arms at a slant, and the lower pockets are moved to the chest, also at a slant. This allows the wearer to more easily access items in the pockets, even while wearing a tactical vest or plate carrier. It also looks pretty cool. So I fired up the sewing machine, stayed up all night, and got it done.

For those of you unfamiliar with BDUs, above is a picture of a normal 3 Color Desert BDU jacket (Also known as the DCU, if you want to get nit-picky).
 This is my RAID-mod Tiger BDUs. Like I said, chest pockets on the shoulders, and lower pockets now on the chest.
 Close up of the chest pocket. The pattern is so involved that from a distance you cannot even see the pockets! I retained the buttons rather than adding velcro, for the sake of noise control.
 There's an arm pocket. Great stuff.
 Both chest pockets, in the mirror.
 Here you can see how easy it is to put your hand in. It is an improvement over the vertical pockets.
 Shoulder pockets not only look really sweet, but they are useful while wearing chest rigs and the like. This is just for airsoft, so it will likely end up holding a map, or my keys.
 Rolled sleeves, white side out. Bottom of the pocket just tucks under the roll.
 Rolled sleeves, patterned side out. Overall, I am quite pleased. It took me much longer than I expected to finish this project, but I learned a great deal. If I were to do it again, I would likely be able to do it more quickly. These BDUs are 100% cotton ripstop - I find it easier to work with slightly heavier fabric. Another option would also be to pay $15 or so to get the local tailor or dry-cleaner to fix it up. Depending on how much free time you have, it might be worth that to you.

So what are your thoughts? Leave a comment!


Ghillie Comparisons

I have always been very proud of my second ghillie suit... But my first ghillie suit hardly earns a mention. I decided to finally offer picture proof of my improvement.
 On the right is the second suit, and the left is the first suit. The jute is far too dark green, and with a blue tinge to it. In an attempt to resurrect the first suit years ago after it was created, I tied a large quantity of jute to it, without bothering to dye it, or separate the strands. As a result, the suit actually looked worse.
Here is a meager trial against the closest bit of local vegetation. The first suit is too dark and blue, while the second looks more appropriate. Click on the pictures for bigger ones, as always.

The second suit is more military style, with garnish only on the arms, back and hood. The first suit is a hunter style suit, including garnish on the front, back, arms and hood. It should be noted that the hood of the first ghillie is a true hood, and is not attached to a hat. Because of this, it is incredibly difficult to keep the hood on. A Flecktarn uniform was used for Ghillie v1.0, which would usually have been a good base. Unfortunately, my poor attempt at ghillie-making erased any edge the pattern could have provided. An ill-conceived mud bath also added to the intense weight of the first suit. It does not include pants, but weighs nearly twice as much as my second suit. For in-use pictures of the newest ghillie, click here. I generally keep the old ghillie hidden away in my garage, so if you are in the market for a cheaper ghillie, drop me a line in the comments, with contact info.


Maverick Paintjob

Way too much Fallout 3 makes you want to paint things like they have been through a nuclear war. I had painted this Mav OD green months ago, keeping the slide and grip more or less normal, and making the cylinder completely black. The barrel was also painted black. The other night a friend was talking about playing a Zombies Vs. Humans game, with nerfs, so I went out to the garage and went to work. It's my first attempt at weathering, but it gets the job done. If you have ideas for how to do better, or what to name it, let me know in the comments.


Camo Tests - M81 Woodland, Truspec Tiger Stripe, Multicam

Today was a bit slow, so I decided to make a run to my local Army Surplus store. "Local" is a bit of a lie, I probably drove about 40 miles one way. I have had an itch for Tiger Stripe camo for a few months now, and decided to finally fulfill that desire. I was also in the market for Multicam, as well as ACU-authorized combat boots. I wanted everything cut like BDUs, rather than ACU style. I ended up driving back home with a lead on some boots (If anyone has suggestions, please leave them in the comments), a full set of Tru-Spec 100% Cotton Tiger Stripe BDUs, and a Tru-Spec Multicam shirt. When I got home, I went for a walk, bringing my BDUs, as well as a camera.
Left is a surplus Woodland BDU jacket, middle is the Tiger Stripe, and Multicam is on the left. I live in a pine forest, and these pictures were taken about an hour before sundown in mid spring. This is by no means a professional test, but for the casual airsofter it will serve just fine. At five feet, the Tiger Stripe is the least noticeable of the bunch.

 About five paces away, the Multicam appears too light, Woodland is holding it's own, and the tiger stripe is still in the lead.
A few more paces back, the same is true. The woodland pattern works very well in this area. The tan in it seems to be out of place during the spring, but as a more all-season pattern it works well. Looking at these pictures after the fact, it seems like I should use more than one test location for a more legitimate study. The tiger stripe has the same coloration as the woodland BDUs, however the tan is only used sparingly, to contrast the black stripes. This dark pattern fits wonderfully with the dark tree behind it. The multicam appears out of place. From the end of summer to the winter, it would blend nicely with the dead foliage. 
This last shot is from 80-100 feet away. The tiger stripe is invisible, the woodland is barely noticable, and the multicam remains too light. My next skirmish will definitely be in my new tiger stripe BDUs.


Shoot 'Em Up

A boring Sunday night, devoid of any homework or otherwise useful work led me to create another holster. This one is a bit of a test. I wanted to see how my rivets would work, and I wanted a simple "Wild West"-esque holster. "True Grit" can be blamed for this desire. Wonderful movie, I would recommend it. I discovered that you need to be sure that the back of the leather is completely level for it to wet-form well. If you look down the barrel, there are several slight inconsistencies caused by the rough backside not being completely level. Perhaps this could be fixed with a razor, or with sandpaper.
In this holster, I have learned how to properly distribute dye. The way I accomplished this is by heavily diluting my leather dye in a small tub. Multiple layers of dye darken the finish, until what you see here, or darker. It is not a 100% perfectly even dye job, but much better than my previous attempt.
As you can probably tell by the orange tip, this is also an airsoft replica. This particular one is a TSD 6" Revolver. If I remember correctly, it is based loosely on the Colt Anaconda. The stitching was actually made possible with the diamond punch set on this holster, rather than drilling. Using the four prong punch I spaced out the holes, and drove the single prong punch all the way through. Allegedly this allows the leather to "close up around" the thread. I also did a better job of grooving the stitches below the level of the leather, to decrease wear and tear.
This last picture shows the major weakness of this holster - The right beltloop (Slot? Belt Slot?) is cut far too close to the edge of the leather. I had to cut down the holster so as to get a proper draw on the revolver, and dumbly forgot to check the spacing on the belt loop. I will be sure to watch out for this in future builds. The belt slots were cut in a different manner than my previous holster, as well. Rather than two drilled holes and box-cutters to cut it out, I used a homemade punch consisting of a wooden dowel and a single-edged razor blade. My first attempt to cut leather with this homemade punch snapped the razor in half. The blade is much sharper than I expected, and very little force is required for clean cuts. Unfortunately I failed to pre-drill the holes at the edges, which would have made it possible to have nearly perfect belt slots. Next holster, I will be sure to remedy this.