I bought the Flex-8 fullcover for a few reasons.
-It looks the dogs balls (good, haha)
-I'd been told that its lower venting is best in the business.
-it gives me full head protection.
I purchased the mask from a store here in New Zealand ( kiwipaintball ) was expecting black/Grey but instead got camo which suits me better anyhow since woodsball is cool and speedball sucks. This mask looks simply fantastic.
There are two stickers on the lens. One tells me that i have a Thermal Lens, the other confirms that im holding THE MOST COMFORTABLE GOGGLE SYSTEM IN THE WORLD!.............But they would say that.
Ok- time to get organized.
I GOT MAIL
It came in a nice black cloth (microfibre?) bag; devoid of any of its original JT packaging if there is any. The mask does not come with any cleaning cloths or fluid.
The instructions were hanging from its strap on a little plastic tie thing and are reasonably disappointing. Lens removal (for example) is discussed briefly but crucial steps seem to be missing.
HOWS IT LOOK?
The camo print on this mask is amazing. Who needs this modge podge stuff!!. The mask seems to be made to a very high standard. It just looks ANGRY and like it means business. You put this mask on and look like a hunter. People can tell that you just wanna gas up and cap some butt. You wont be mistaken for a praying mantis or flyman while wearing this mask ( its a real risk while wearing the bubble lens masks, haha)
HOWS IT FIT?
As the name would suggest- its actually quite a flexible mask. The straps pull the sides in and it absolutely hugs your skull. The head strap has a cool rubbery plastic non-slip squiggle on its back.
My ears don't hang down much past the mask despite what others have said- but I have a small head and cant help but wonder what the designers were smoking. An extra 10mm of "hang" there would hardly have broken the bank!.
Why did this not come with foam ear padding? Do they normally? Its not as bad as i originally thought ( ive been wearing the mask around the house) but its still slightly awkward having your ears against a fairly hard plastic surface.
With the exception made above, the mask is VERY comfortable. The rear plastic piece (between strap and head) distributes strap pressure evenly over the rear of your head while also providing lots of cover should you be running from an angry man with an RT.
The foam seals well against my face and is nice and soft though i feel it could do with being thicker- especially along the lower edge.
The front lower portion of the mask hangs down much lower than with other masks and i feel it lends good protection to the neck area. It seems to be a much "longer" mask than many others on the market!.
(im going really REALLY fast in this photo)
Visibility is excellent. I don't feel like i need a larger lens or like I'm missing out on any peripheral vision.
Lens removal is always apparently considered somewhat a black art with this mask. Since writing this review a few hours ago I've had the lens out and put it back in. Its not really that hard once you know what you are doing- and i still am not totally sure that the procedure i used is correct but thats the instructions fault. You have to push/pull out a few soft pins around the nose and after that its pretty easy.
Lower ventilation for your mouth/nose is EXCELLENT. While out PB shooting with my workmates a few weeks ago half of us felt like we were suffocating in our own hot CO2. Ew. The lower portion of the mask is all slots and fins- they could not have done any better or cut any more slots and i do not understand why so many other manufacturers insist on a solid lower shell with minimal venting.
The rear helmet portion of the mask sits up off the surface of my head (around 10mm) and is covered in vents like the front. I do not believe that this would add any noticeable heat during play as others have suggested from assumption.
The Flex-8's goggle design makes limited sense to me. There are ventilation holes molded into the top and bottom of the lens surround which would give adequate ventilation via convection (and even better with pull through fans) IF the bottom holes were not completely covered and blocked by the lower half of the mask. There is a groove below the lens in the mask bottom section which can easily be modified to give this ventilation and i imagine that was the grooves unrealized purpose. If anyone dose have fog problems and would like this explained properly with photos I'll create a mod thread.
Despite the points listed above I really like this mask. Somehow the pro's manage to outweigh the con's but thats a personal choice which you all need to make- personally.
-Looks bloody awesome.
-Comes in fantastic camo print.
-provides protection for your whole head
-Put some foam in there. Ears on plastic hurt!
-It appears that they have messed up the lower goggle ventilation holes. If my mask fogs i'll modify it.
-The instructions SUCK.
-The lens change system is difficult. There is no reason why it had to be like this!. (Youtube has videos showing lens removal I'm now told)
-The helmet doesn't actually have removable rear panels so you can not use the mask as a normal Flex-8. I'm sure it would be possible however to remove the plastic pins and replace them with clips of some kind :-)
I WILL UPDATE THIS AFTER NEXT WEEKENDS WOODSBALL GAME! Its humid here in NZ and is quite cold at the moment- so will be a real test for its thermal lens.
This post has been edited by flyingbrick: 08 June 2007 - 03:24 AM