Hello guys, I posted this over on FISD but I wanted to drop it here as well. Here is the link on FISD:
I hope that you guys here on MEPD do not take offense to my decisions. It is not my intention to spark debate of cause any bad blood between FISD and MEPD; however, I do feel a need to explain why I originally posted this on FISD and my reasons are mine. I look forward to learning from you guys as I have with the guys on FISD and I hope to share what I have learned here on MEPD.
I should note that during this build the FISD site was down for maintenance so everything got posted after everything was done.
Well Crap! Bad timing on my part. The site has been down since I began this build to I am typing it all up and will post everything I have done once the site is back up.
In the words of that Supreme Sith Lord Jar Jar Binks, “Hello Boyos, Mesa Back”. I have decided to do this in a separate thread from my ROTK build and post this thread here on FISD rather than on MEPD for a few reasons. To avoid and confusion and/or misconceptions here are the reasons and yews I will be cross posting it on MEPD:
#1. I mean no fooence to my brothers on MEPD; however, I believe, and have always believed that the (as it is now being called) Crystal Patrol Pack is NOT a sandtrooper. The Crystal Patrol Pack is clearly noted in literature from Rogue One that it is a “duty patrol” not a classification. Further, I have read that the “bottom line” is that MEPD gets the “dirty” Stormtroopers. Well, there are numerous pictures of the Crystal Patrol Pack “trooper” that are clean, clean, clean white armor troopers (ex. Celebration Europe pictures). So not all the crystal patrol packs troopers are dirty and to be quite honest, I have a dog in this fight. I do not want to “dirty” my $1,800.00 investment in the ONLY ROTK to be both EIB and Centurion approved. Regardless, this Horse has been beaten to death and it is clear that at least some of the parties who made the decision to give this pack to MEPD are not willing to change their minds at this point. Further, it really does not matter what I and numerous others think, what is done is done. So that is reason #1 why this thread is here first and will eventually be cross posted on MEPD. Please do not respond to this reason by arguing for the “why” the Crystal Patrol Pack is now an MEPD asset, it is not the reason for this thread and I do not wish to get into a “Johnson” measuring contest.
#2. All of the research for the ROTK CRLs and the Crystal Patrol Pack were done here on FISD by you guys. Sure many of you are MEPD as well but this discussion was started on FISD and since you all did the heavy lifting, the credit should stay with you here on FISD.
#3. I do not know the people on MEPD as well as I have come to know you guys on FISD. All of you have been instrumental in me accomplishing my TK build and attaining EIB and Centurion status. I value your input and suggestions. I do not have any issues with MEPD or the people on that forum but I started out my 501st adventure here on FISD and I just feel more at home here. Like I said, I will cross post this build on MEPD in the future.
Anyway here is the link to my ROTK build if you want it.
So here is my Crystal Patrol Pack Build…
When I ordered all the stuff for my ROTK, I also started to collect all the parts needed for the Crystal Patrol Pack. In a very short time I had everything I needed and just required the time to build this thing. For anyone looking to build this pack or has questions about building this pack there are several build threads here on FISD in the RO section, on MEPD in the RO section, and on the FB page for the pack build. I will link everything relevant here:
I am hoping to achieve a very close approximation of the Celebration Europe examples of the packs. It will not be perfect but very close to what we have seen and know about the pack.
Ok so for my build the thing that I expect to take the longest is the dyeing of the Alice pack and shoulder straps so I started this first. This is my Large LC-2 Alice Pack and LC-2 Shoulder Straps. Most people who build this pack use the woodland camouflage LC-2 Shoulder Straps but I located the Shoulder Straps in OD so these are what I am using. I posted a link on where to get the OD straps on the Celebration Europe thread on FISD if you are looking for them. The LC-2 Alice Pack comes in three sizes and the pack used for this build is the Large Pack. Most military surplus stores have them and there is information on the previously mentioned Celebration Europe thread to be able to distinguish the differences between the sizes.
The Dye I am using is the Rit Black powder dye and the Rit Black DyeMore liquid dye.
So I mostly followed the recommendations of the Celebration Europe thread and soaked the pack in1 gallon of boiling water then mixed the powder dye and 1 cup of white vinegar with another gallon of boiling water. I then added the dye water to the pack bucket and stirred everything about every 20 minutes for the first hour then made sure everything was submerged and left it for another 2 hours. Then I pulled everything out and hung it to air dry overnight.
While the pack was dying, I knocked out the six 1”x22” bed roll straps. The Celebration Europe thread says to use tan cotton webbing but I used 1” tan polypropylene webbing I had on hand. The weave was the same as the cotton straps used so I figured I can make this work. The key was to paint the webbing but leave the ends tan.
For the paint, I used a can of Rust-Oleum Camouflage OD spray paint I had on hand. I did a test and it worked great.
I needed the ends to remain tan so I used a Q-tip and some petroleum jelly to mask the ends of the straps about ¼” on both sides, then I tacked the straps to some card board.
I spray painted the straps with a very heavy coat and let them dry, then flipped them and did the same on the other side.
Next, I took the cam-loc buckles I ordered and spray painted them with the OD paint as well.
When the straps were dry I used a paper towel to remove the petroleum jelly and then cleaned the tips again with some rubbing alcohol and a paper towel. Exactly the look I wanting.
Next, I stitched the straps to the buckles. The Celebration Europe thread says to do this by hand but I have an industrial sewing machine and some tan thread so I did it with the machine.
And that finished the bedroll straps.
Next I worked on the Grande box. Following the Celebration Europe thread I disassembled the box. Then I marked and drilled the twelve 5mm back mounting holes. Then I marked and did the twelve 1+” wide hole cut-outs.
And that was Day one in a nut shell.
I started by taking the dry Alice Pack and Shoulder Straps upstairs and threw them in the washing machine with no soap for a rinse and spin cycle. Once they were done, I again submerged them in 1 gallon of boiling water. I then Mixed the Rit DyeMore in another gallon of boiling water and added it to the bucket with the pack. Again I stirred the pack every 20 minutes for the first hour then l let everything sit submerged for another two hours. Took everything out and hung it to air dry.
While the pack was dying, I started working on the antenna. The Celebration Europe thread had identified the fishing pole used for the antenna was the Avanti Precision X 12ft 3-piece Float Rod; however, that rod is no longer in production. A very close alternative is the NGT Float Master which is rumored to be made in the same factory. I managed to find several for sale for $24.95. I posted the link on the Celebration Europe thread and on MEPD. The only significant difference it that the threads at each eye are silver on the NGT vs red on the Avanti. I will fix that later but for now I wanted to get the antenna mostly done.
In this picture you can see the silver threads (yellow circle) and also notice the rod wrapping (green circle) which are exactly the same as the Avanti.
For the antenna you only need the top part of the 3 piece rod which is about 50 inches. The very top end of the rod is cut off removing the top eye. The cut should be about 50mm from the top of the second eye. Using my dremel cut off wheel, I chopped off the top.
Next I removed all the plastic inner rings in each eye with needle nose plyers and an x-Acto knife.
For the tip I got an assortment of vacuum caps from AutoZone and used the smallest one (5/32”) cap but it was still a little big for the rod end. So I added two layers of heat shrink to the end of the rod then added the snug fitting cap.
Next I threaded the ¼” rubber surgical tubing I got off amazon through the top three eyes and wrapped is for the area between the third and fourth eyes (counting from the top) then continued the threading for the reminder of the eyes. The Celebration Europe thread calls for a 4mm ID black silicone tubing but I figure my tubing is close enough.
The one issue I had was that when wrapped in the spiral, the tubing compressed and looks flat. To fix this, I inserted some black para cord inside the tubing for the area that gets wrapped and this made a big difference.
So this finished the antenna with the exception of coloring the threads to red from silver.
Next, I made the bed roll. So on the Celebration Europe thread there is no consensus on what was actually used for the bed roll. It looks to me like they used a USGI shelter half which would be consistent with most US military stuff so I snagged a shelter half from a surplus store and cut it in half. One of my concerns with this pack was the weight and how it has the potential to damage my TK armor so I want the weight to be a light as possible.
Next I took the half and filled it with some poly fill and rolled it. Presto, bed roll.
And that wraps day two…
I started off with taking the now dry pack and shoulder straps and running them through another rinse and spin cycle in the washing machine and then a quick tumble dry in the dryer. While that was happening I painted the threads of the antenna red. For this I used Tamiya clear red (X-27) acrylic paint. I simply applied it with a small brush on the threads and presto red threads that are a **** near perfect match for the Avanti rod.
After the pack and shoulder straps were dry, I took the shoulder strap that is worn on the left side and masked it off. I should note that this is actually the right shoulder strap. For some reason they are reversed on the pack but this is the way its done so this is the shoulder strap I used. After masking, I spray painted the shoulder strap with Rust-Oleum OSHA Orange spray paint.
This took numerous thick wet coats because the nylon would absorb the paint. The guys on the Celebration thread used a plastic-dip type of paint that avoided the nylon soaking up the paint but I had the Osha Orange on hand so I used it. Eventually the paint began to settle on the top. Once it was sort of dry in the thin areas, I removed the masking. Since I was spraying the paint so thick, it did bleed under the masking tape a little. Once the masking was removed I cleaned up the bleeding a little with a Q-Tip and some acetone. I did leave it somewhat messy though since it needs to have the “used” look. I also smeared some of the wet paint in the two masked off areas inside the rectangle to give the impression that they had once been orange. All this will get more weathering later on but for now, it looks good to me.
Next, with a seam ripper, I removed all the straps and back pad that are required to be removed as indicated in the Celebration thread.
Next, I took some 1” black polypropylene and the correct brass buckles and made the four buckles that would be added to the pack. Once these were sewn, I sewed them to the pack in the correct spots.
Next I stuffed the pack and 3 outer pockets with closed cell foam, then mounted it to the M75 frame.
Next, I mounted the grenade box to the M-75 frame with black zip ties.
I lined the inside of the grenade box with some black spandex material I had and then mounted the grenade cover.
And that wraps day three…
Day four (FISD site still not up)…
So I only got a few things done today. First I mounted the shoulder straps and the lifeboat hook greeble.
Next I mounted the bed roll and antenna. I am thinking I may have too much stuffing in the bed roll but I can fix that later. Overall, I like how the pack looks and all I need to do now is whether it and it will be done.
And that is it for the update. Thanks for the interest.
Day 5 update…
First, I unstitched the end of the bed roll and removed some of the foam. I re-stitched the end and mounted it on the pack. I mounted the antenna and it looks better now.
Next, I mixed up some craft paints using several browns, greys, greens, and black to develop about 4 colors of mud for weathering. I applied each color with a small 1” brush using several methods (splatter, dry brush, wash, etc…).
One of the colors I sued was a champagne pearl brown, this color added the effect of light glittering that one often sees with actual sand and mud (yellow circle).
I am also in the process of adding some black felt to the inside of the frame to help protect my armor from wearing the pack.
And that is it. The pack is mostly finished but I need to try it on with the armor and see if any additional protective padding will be needed. I am also curious if I will need to remove my Thermal Detonator to wear the pack.
That’s the update so far. Thanks for the interest.
Update… and this site outage really sucks since I am not getting any feedback from you guys about this build. Well I put on my kit with the pack and surprisingly everything seems to work well together. No issues with the shoulder straps, Thermal Detonator, or back plate. Walked around a bit in the back yard and I think we are a go for the DragonCon Parade. Here are some pics my wife took.
Thanks for the interest.