Blog Archive

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Reviving the Vents Predator (re-inVents)

It is time I revealed one of my more enjoyable paintball related projects; building a "faux" Vents Predator mask! This mask was all the rage in the early 90's. I remember always wanting one, but I already had a JT Snapper mask, and I couldn't afford to get another one just beacause it pleased me - and by the time I had cash to swing, Vents had gone to the grave.

Vents Predator.

As far as I understand Vents was doing just fine, but they were bought out by rival mask manufacturer Scott, who then promptly discontinued the Predator. An era came to an end. It wasn't long before retailers ran out of replacement lenses and other parts, forcing people to go to other brands. ( this the reason that nobody uses Scott masks at all? They are still produced afaik. But on the other hand, they were never that great. Even before Scott destroyed Vents, I though of their masks as uncomfortable, foggy and ugly.)

One evening as I sat contemplating the fate of the Predator, I came up with the idea of building a "faux" Vents; to rebuild the mask around a fresh goggle frame. After spending a few moments with a popular search engine, I realised I wasn't the first one to have had this idea. People call them "Re-Vents", and some poeple are even building them to order.

I found out that Re-Vents masks usually are built around JT Spectra goggle frames, and since I already have a plentiful stash of old Spectras, the project was basically afoot before I knew it. I put up a WTB thread in a popular forum, and it wasn't long before I was the owner of a well used Vents Predator!

The Predator taken apart. The frame and the lens
were basically finito, and unfortunately it was
missing large parts of the head armour.

These are the parts that were fit to use.
The decoration was done by a previous owner.

The Vents straps in a Spectra frame.

I'm really stoked that the straps were in such good condition, and that they fitted the Spectra without modification! I really dig their construction with the buckle in the back.

The big problem I was facing was head armour. I attempted to buy neoprene sheets to make new head armour for it, but finding a retailer of neoprene that was able to answer e-mail was harder than I expected. I still haven't heard from any of them, so fuck that.

The saviour came in the shape of a horrible rental mask that I'd bought for next to nothing. I butchered this uncomfortable thing and made a head armour out of it.

JT Elite rental mask. The goggle foam
was the WORST I've ever experienced.

Time to work that plastic! Bringing out a snap-off knife, hot glue and super glue, I was slowly making progress:

Learning by doing; having to glue back
bits that you are too hasty in removing.

The faceplate of the Pred doesn't fit the JT-frame perfectly, but the fit is good enough. The frame needs a couple of tiny incisions to accept the faceplate. Once it is fitted, it actually takes considerable force to remove it - more than what the Spectra faceplate rquires!

Once I was happy with the fit, it was time to paint! Yaaaaay!
One word of hard earned advice here: before painting anything, make sure it is clean and dry. I used rubbing alcohol to wipe everything down prior to opening the paint tins.

I prefer to use paint for RPG miniatures (Citadel). It is water soluable, dries quickly and will hold up really well. The biggest drawbacks are that it comes in tiny bottles and that it is on the expensive side. I think any matte acrylic hobby paint should work. The more layers you put on, the better it will last, so start with a base coat, covering everything that should be painted. I use professional water color brushes with synthetic bristles.

The mask recieved a dark green splinter pattern (note that I didn't paint the goggle frame; the abuse it will go through when changing lenses will strip the paintwork in no time). When it all was dry I just had to pop in a new lens and assemble the whole thing!

Hi thar!

The side pieces are fastned to the goggles using cable
ties, and to the faceplate using small key rings.

The chin strap from the rental mask got to stay.

The piece attached to the chin flap was cut
from the rental mask as well. Cable ties hold
it in place. I thought it was cool looking.

I love this piece of kit. BADASS!