I’ll admit I’m no great crafter. Thankfully I learned a lot from some of the best in the business; the guys of Sniper Ops UK. Here’s my take on that vital bit of kit…
Firstly, at the time of writing, 3D leaf suits are becoming the most popular choice and for good reason. Gone are the days of looking like a big pile of string and the use of these leaf suits covered in realistic artificial plant material allows the airsoft sniper to disappear at extremely close ranges, and saves worrying about adding veg at the start of the game (some games would be over before you even finish your suit). So of course, I bought a cheap chinese Yowie suit for £20 and went to test it out.
After one game day I came home and decided it wasn’t quite right. The material is thin and I didn’t think it would take the weight of much garnish. Although the messy realistic leaf pattern is good, the suit clings to the human shape too much for my liking. And besides, my local site isn’t leafy woodland. It’s a mix of grass and scrub.
I went back to my old Jute suit and stripped it. This is the UK Sniper Systems MOSS suit, or at least the head and shoulders part. And this is the only expensive part of the build, although cheaper options are available now. My thinking being that it fits looser, breaking up the head and shoulders part, and would give a less form-fitting shell to hide under. I could also move my head a little under a hood without making all the camo on the head move and potentially give me away. The material is mesh, but tough, so it’d be breathable to a point and would be ideal for adding veg onto, and it would cover part of my load bearing too. Only trouble was…it was a flat green colour. I did attempt to paint a Dye camo pattern on but then it looked even worse. I needed to build a 3d leaf base onto it somehow, but on a low budget. I can’t sew and didn’t want a suit made of glue or cable ties.
I found this on Amazon (I’ll put links for materials at the end of the article). It’s camo netting without the net underneath, and was less than £1 for a 1mx1m sheet. OK it’s flat green on one side and flat brown on the other, but a bit of Krylon would sharp fix that…
Dark earth and tan, plus a piece of netting, attacked from different angles and distances, gave it variation in colour. All I did then was cable tie it to the MOSS hood and that gave me a base to work from.
From here, it was a case of attaching suitable materials to the paracord or mesh of the hood, and pulling it through the camo netting. This means I don’t have loads of cable ties visible (couldn’t find camo coloured ones anyway) and adds depth. I have a vague earthy base with veg “growing” through it. I don’t know if anyone else has done this anywhere; I haven’t seen it before and I do spend countless hours looking at ghillie suits, so I’m quite pleased with myself. Of course, it may mean that its crap but I think it does well enough to make me not look like a player, and that’s the main aim of the suit. To not look like anything in particular and hope that people don’t notice that you’re there.
So here it is after adding some fake leaves and other bits and pieces. I used a hot glue gun to attach some cheap silk leaves which were dusted with varying degrees of Krylon to mimic leaf litter on the floor. These will be a permanent part of the suit regardless of what gets added over the top. At this point, it’s worth going to your site and taking pictures of the environment before ordering materials.
My next move was to add some green raffia because my local site in summer had turned very green. Raffia is dried palm leaves and looks a lot closer to grass than jute threads. Natural raffia is easy to find but is a horrible bright whitish colour once you get it outside –
It’s also a pain in the arse to dye, so I really recommend spending a few extra pence to buy it pre-coloured. In the picture at the top of this article you can see how good it looks slung onto the grass. You can Krylon it, but it rubs off and generally the colour isn’t as good.
I wear a leaf suit underneath this, which helps split the human shape up more into two different textures (top and bottom). By not gluing, I have the option to untie the green raffia and either put brown raffia in for winter, or strip it out altogether and attach leaves or other plants depending on where I’m playing and at what time of year. I can’t afford one top quality leaf suit, let alone one for every season and environment.
I have a Jack Pyke LLCS balaclava to cover my head and neck, currently needs work to lighten it up so I don’t have a dark shadow under the hood. And that’s pretty much it. If you have the hood and access to Krylon, the whole thing was done for less than £15. Obviously a leaf suit and balaclava are needed to finish it off but could easily be optional for your average skirmish day.
Skipped all that after I said links were at the bottom? Here you go.