Originally this vest was found in this thread...http://mercs.firespray.net/forum/index.php?topic=22629.0
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 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!!!