Love the detail on the paint job, have you considered adding weathering of some kind? I think it'd really take it to the next level.
I found that the easiest way to attach plates was with industrial strength velcro, using the industrial stuff on the back of the plates and normal, non-sticky back velcro sewn to the vest. Others just bolt it to the vest, use snaps, or a combination of snaps and velcro. What I like about velcro though is that it's very easy to adjust on spot, so in the end it comes down to your personal preference.
Looks great so far vod.