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Sykes Airsoft Face Mask

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Sykes Airsoft Face Mask Review

 

There's a new mask coming out from the Philippines, named the Sykes Airsoft Mask. I first read about them over at MIAirsoft.

 

Needless to say two words come to mind: creepy and bad-*albatross*!!! ^_^

 

They're available in black and OD Green. More colors (Tan, OD Green with black stripes, and woodland) will be released in the near future.

 

img8757os4.jpg

Filipino Player wearing the mask in game. ^^^ Yes... that's a mask. :blink:

 

arvinatmalauak2wq2.jpg

 

An entire team wearing the mask:

teamiramasksnk0.jpg

 

The retailer states that this mask is "Known to withstand 650*++ FPS pointblank" and that it "Withstood several shooting/durability tests with a 650FPS rifle including extreme cold and heat testing".

 

I purchased some through a new domestic (US) retailer called CactusHobbies and I received mine a couple weeks back. Two OD Green, one Black (one of the OD greens were for a teammate). The price was $45 for the mask, $50 for the mask plus work safe goggles. I skipped on the work safe goggles.

 

Here are some initial observations:

 

* Mask Materials: From what I can tell, they are basically fiberglass and resin. Should be strong enough for anything I'll be shooting at it. There is a little flex to the mask, but not much (which is fine by me). The mask is about 1/16th of an inch thick and pretty light. It feels like they took a face cast of someone, added some thickness over the face cast and then recast the sculpt. This thing is plenty strong.

* Mask Strap Material: Black non-adjustable strap. The fact that it's not adjustable kinda sucks for the long term, but should be pretty easy to replace. That being said, the elastic does keep the mask close to your face. For those who will be buying a mask from Cactus Hobby's second shipment of the Syke's Mask, the new masks will feature an adjustable strap and include a balaclava.

* Mask Color: My black one started out as OD Green and was repainted black (I can tell by the inside of the mask and some thin paint spots on the outside of the mask below the nose). My guess is that all the masks in their range will start off OD Green and then repainted. The OD Green mask doesn't appear to be repainted on the outside. I'd suggest spraying the OD Green mask with Krylon Flat OD green as there is a slight sheen to the standard OD Green used on the mask.

* Mask fitting: I've only tried on the black mask, but from that brief test fitting, here are some initial reactions: (1) Shape wise the mask fits well on the face. (2) The mouth and nostril holes are just small enough to prevent BBs from penetrating through said holes. Plus the material is very hard in those areas so forced penetration through there should be unlikely (good for prison inmates too! Sorry... bad joke). Breathing through these holes is surprisingly easy and doesn't restrict airflow at all. Also because the mask is so close to your face, the air you're breathing in is coming directly from outside the mask rather than collected within the mask like on some paintball masks. (3) Not a fan of the strap mounting position. When the mask is worn the strap is just too low to sit above the ears (they kinda pull the tops of your ears down). I tried to position the straps over the ears which has a tendency to allow the straps to slide down a little which can be kinda annoying. This can easily be fixed by the manufacturer during the trimming stage and can probably be fixed by me by either extending the slit for the straps, or by cutting new strap holes and putting a second set of straps further up the side of the mask. (4) The eye holes could probably be cut a little larger or the eye holes should be made to be pushed into the eye sockets a little shallower. This is because they seem a little too close to the skin around my eyes making me feel like my eyeballs are bulging slightly (even though they're not).

* Mask Finish: The coloring has already been covered, but being that these are made out of fiberglass and some sort of resin how well a piece like this is finished is very important. Background ~ For those of you who have worked with fiberglass/resin in the past will know what a complete PITA it can be to work with, and especially trim and clean up. The process of layering fiberglass can be hazardous as there are millions of little fibers that can easily pierce your skin (which is uber painful) or they can be easily inhaled (equally unpleasant). Once the resin is set, you'll have to trim the piece for excess fibers and resin and the two aforementioned hazards are still extremely present. With all that in mind, this Sykes Face Mask is pretty well trimmed. Touching the periphery of the mask I don't notice any loose fibers or burs. That's good. They did an okay job on the eye, nose and mouth holes... but it could have been a little better. There were some minor fibers and edge inconsistencies in those areas that could have been fixed on their end. Nothing a file and a little sand paper couldn't fix. The outer surface of the mask is nice and smooth which shows they had a decent mold to start with. The inner surface could have been a little better. Considering how sensitive our faces are, wearing it you can feel a little bit of the fiberglass fibers rubbing against your face. It's not painful, but I noticed it. It could just require a break in period and then it'll be fine. I'm not sure. What I do plan on doing is taking those thin sheets of padding you get with Sansei masks and lining the cheek areas of the mask with that thin padding for a little extra comfort.

 

Initial verdict: When I first pulled it out of the packaging, I was like $45 for this!?!! Then upon closer inspection, considered the fact that it's fiberglass/resin, the labor involved in making a mask out of it, and the overall quality of the piece, I felt a little less guilty for spending that much for it. So far it appears to be a good mask and as my office mates pointed out, it's freaky as f*ck!

 

Got it painted up last week. I had to redo the paint job a couple times as the liquid masking solution I used the first time was too old and wouldn't remove properly so I had to go old school using masking tape instead. (Would have been much easier to go with rubber cement ~ hind sight!).

 

Inspired by Metal Gear Solid 3's "Zombie" Face Paint, I bring you my new mask:

 

The Mask itself after painting:

mask02te6.jpg

mask01cu4.jpg

mask03xk3.jpg

 

When worn:

mask04mo5.jpg

mask05db1.jpg

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Design inspired by these pics:

Pic 01

Pic 02

Pic 03

 

I would have gone with white for the bone color but didn't have any on hand so went with Krylon FDE instead. Still pretty effective, and doesn't scream I'm over here quite as badly. ^_^ BTW, the teeth are intentionally not perfect to look like they do in the game.

 

Couple more observations... You want to wear full seal goggles with these. Yes the mask is close to your skin, but when I tried my ESS ICE shooting glasses with them the glasses didn't sit quite right. I'm actually regretting not buying the Work Safe goggles for the extra $5. <_< That being said, I'll have to try them with my ESS TurboFans sometime soon. On another note, the inner surface of the mask ~ take some sand paper and give the inner surface a quick sanding. It'll remove any problem spots and make the mask a LOT more comfortable to wear. Also use a dremel to remove any excess spots. Didn't take much effort and I kinda wish the mask came that way. One thing that was interesting is that the mask is asymmetrical. That's probably a big reason why this mask is kinda creepy as is. Asymmetry goes a long way to making fake faces look real. Almost no one's face in real life is symmetrical. That being said, it kinda made painting the mask a little difficult as you want the pattern to appear as sysmetrical as possible.

 

Worked out pretty good in the end I think.

 

One last thought... I'm thinking of cutting some eye protectors out of one of my spare ESS Goggles lenses. If I can install those onto the mask, it could look pretty cool and work well too. More soon!

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nice review bud! Would make a nice alternative to a the mesh goggle face masks. Also, top notch on the paintjob. Reminds me of the Soldier/Zombie "Bub" (or was it "Bud?") from Day of the Dead :D

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According to Cactus' products page, they will be producing "Ballistic and Army of Two" face masks next.

 

This is possibly the greatest idea ever.

Heh, first thing I thought of when I saw this was "oooh... Army of Two style." Glad to see I wasn't alone.

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Thanks for the plug to our local forums!

 

My question is, how well would these go with glasses? It seems like they're a bit wide to fit your glasses around, though I could be totally wrong.

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nice review bud! Would make a nice alternative to a the mesh goggle face masks. Also, top notch on the paintjob. Reminds me of the Soldier/Zombie "Bub" (or was it "Bud?") from Day of the Dead :D

Thanks for the kind words! ^_^ If I can get this to accept mesh or hard ESS goggle lenses, that would be awesome! Testing out now...

 

According to Cactus' products page, they will be producing "Ballistic and Army of Two" face masks next.

 

This is possibly the greatest idea ever.

Army of Two masks are still in the planning stage... so it'll be a while still. :(

 

how well would these go with glasses? It seems like they're a bit wide to fit your glasses around, though I could be totally wrong.

And thanks for the plug on your own forum back to this review! ^_^

Honestly, IMHO anything short of a full seal is a bad idea, especially with these masks. There's a bit of flare around the periphery of the mask, so that tends to get in the way of shooting goggles' arms. Also, because of that aforementioned problem, the bridge of the shooting glasses won't sit right on the mask leaving a lot of space between the mask and glasses. I honestly feel the best solution would be full seal goggles. That gives you 100% assurance that you're protected (short of the lens breaking itself). I have hope that the shaped lenses may work. One very noticeable feature of these masks is that you really don't feel like you're breathing in hot air because they sit so close to your face and all the air is coming directly from outside the mask. But if you pull the mask even 1/4" off your face and then try and breathe, you'll notice that it feels much hotter and more humid in there. The key to this thing's success is the fact that it's flush against your face. Pretty ingenious!

 

Edit:

My teammate that I got the third mask for is painting his flesh colored and added facial hair to the outside! THAT will be creepy! :lol:

 

More of my teammates are going to be getting these. We're thinking of a bunch of different skull mask variations, one unique design for each player. It'll be very personalized and noticable (which I guess will be good AND bad in their own ways:P)

 

 

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ooo! Would be interested to see how mesh goes with the mask! Will that be the sensei style mesh goggles or those BUGZ style ones?

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ooo! Would be interested to see how mesh goes with the mask! Will that be the sensei style mesh goggles or those BUGZ style ones?

Interesting... Quick Google search... I've never actually seen the BUGZ goggles before.

 

Personally in the 14 or so years I've been using Mesh goggles (been in the game for 18+ years (started in HK at age 13)) I've never had issue with either woven or drilled steel mesh goggles, and neither have any of my teammates back when I was playing in HK at over 550+ fps. I know people are concerned over shattered BBs hitting the eyes... never seen or heard of a single case of that in all my years. Not saying it can't happen, just that I've never been aware of it. The only reason why I switched to ESS Low Profile TurboFans is because I value visual clarity.

 

From what I understand of the many varieties of Mesh Goggles out there, it basically comes down to how the mesh is made: woven wires, or steel plate that has the mesh pattern drilled into it. Reading about these two types of mesh it appears the drilled steel plate mesh is rock solid, whereas the woven mesh may allow some penetration. That being the case, I think I'll go with the drilled steel plate if I have to use one of those two. But first I'm going to test it with the ESS lens. Planning on doing some cutting and shaping of the lenses this afternoon. Then I'll cut a slot just under the edge of the brow on the mask and have the lens slide down through the slot, and epoxy it in place. Fingers crossed!

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Perforated steel plate is stronger than woven steel mesh.

 

That being said, my chinese BOLLE x800 copies are brilliant - full seal and no fog - and don't even fog when the REAL Bolle x800s do.

 

For about a third of the price, too.

 

These masks look pretty cool - Hope they sort out that adjustable strap though, that's a major issue.

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I saw the pictures and was pretty freaked out by them. At first i thought the guys face was just painted and then as i scrolled down over the photos i realized that it was a mask.

 

Very neat product as lately ive become keenly aware of the real possibility of losing teeth during CQB. I no longer have a comprehensive dental plan so replacing my teeth could get quite costly.

 

I will definitely be looking in to these as long as they dont cause my goggles to fog.

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I meant in the way of prescription glasses, I refuse to wear anything less than full-seal goggles. I'm gonna check the mask out soon, as I live pretty close to the dealer.

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Trying to get the wire mesh to work with the goggles proved to be a real pain in the *albatross*, and I basically butchered the brow line of my second mask... so I converted the second mask into a half-mask that will work with pretty much any goggles:

 

mask11dw9.jpg

 

The problem with getting the mesh to fit was that the face mask had a lot of complex curves on it. :(

 

At least making the half mask made me feel like I didn't waste the mask. It's actually really comfortable. ^_^

 

 

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Can you post some pictures of the inside of the mask? I'm highly curious about the backing.

It's fiberglass... so it's just fiberglass backed:

 

mask12tm2.th.jpg

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It's fiberglass... so it's just fiberglass backed:

 

mask12tm2.th.jpg

 

Thought about covering with the inside with neoprene or something else thats soft?

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cool. loving the paintjob.

 

i recon it'd be cool to mod a pair of balistic sunglasses to seal to the mask. i recon a skull paintjob coupled with a pair of sunglasses (aviators maybe? :D) would look kickass in some sort of PMC loadout.

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the neoprene thing would be a great idea...if i buy one of these, thats what i will do..

 

anybody thought about getting like the back of a gas mask and taking the straps off of that, mine is really comfortable.the straps i mean.

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Thought about covering with the inside with neoprene or something else thats soft?

I have extra panels of thin foam that came with my Sansei masks. I was thinking of trying that. Another option that just came to me is just brushing rubber cement on the inside. A thin coat of that would help a great deal with comfort and not add any thickness. hmmm...

 

cool. loving the paintjob.

 

i recon it'd be cool to mod a pair of balistic sunglasses to seal to the mask. i recon a skull paintjob coupled with a pair of sunglasses (aviators maybe? :D) would look kickass in some sort of PMC loadout.

Thanks! It's probably possible to permanently affix a pair of ballistic sunglasses to the mask... I'd just have a hard time making it nice and tidy.

 

anybody thought about getting like the back of a gas mask and taking the straps off of that, mine is really comfortable.the straps i mean.

Possible... I'm just too lazy. So if someone else wants to give it a try, let us know how it went and where the attachment points are.

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im not too sure about neyoprene or foam, i recon that'd get a bit too hot. however the rubber cement sounds a great idea, much softer than bare plastic, but without the insulating properties of foam and neyoprene which get oh so annoying in summer.

 

hmm, this is really making me want to start my back-to-basics eastern bloc PMC loadout idea.

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My biggest problem is, the bridge of the nose of the mask is to narrow. I added some padding to the nose and around the eyes, as one eye socket of the mask is a little tighter that the other.

 

I did sand the inside which made it fit better but it's still not perfect.

 

I like the rubber cement idea. I will have to try that.

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My biggest problem is, the bridge of the nose of the mask is to narrow. I added some padding to the nose and around the eyes, as one eye socket of the mask is a little tighter that the other.

If one eye socket is a little tighter than the other, you could probably dremel the smaller one a bit to get it a little more open. I noticed the issue with the nose too. It was less the bridge itself, and more the width of the base of the nose where your nostrils would sit. It wasn't much of an issue for me, especially after I removed a little material in those areas but I can see it being an issue for someone with a particularly wide nose.

 

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