by: Mario Matijasic [ ]
Crye Precision is one of the most innovative gear designers in the world. They are responsible for the creation of Multicam, the ubiquitous Combat Shirt and Combat Pant, as well as most of the armor and load carriage gear used by Special Operations Forces. Their AirFrame Ballistic Helmet is one of the latest “outside the box” designs to hit the market.
The AirFrame Ballistic Helmet design displays some truly innovative engineering while providing the operator impressive weight-savings, higher ballistic protection levels, increased modularity, and incredible comfort. The AirFrame features a unique overlapping shell design that creates an integrated vent, providing passive cooling while reducing the damaging effects of explosive blast waves. Developed for special operations units, the AirFrame was mandated with dramatically reducing head-borne weight while exceeding the ACH Frag Threat Rating. In fact, a fully assembled AirFrame Ballistic Helmet weighs a whole 20% less than a standard ACH/MICH TC2002 while exceeding its frag threat by an average of 20%. The AirFrame is compatible with a host of up-armored accessories that increase the ballistic coverage, as well as with common ear pro systems. The AirFrame Ballistic Helmet is currently being issued to Tier1 Special Operations Forces and has seen extensive action down range.
Live Resin recently produced number of different ultra-modern ballistic helmets in 1/35 scale and this particular review covers their AirFrame Helmet and Chops with Cover & Head (LRE-35183). The set is packed in a zip-lock bag additionally secured within a hard cardboard clamshell. The box art on the front shows the contents of the set, while the box art on the back displays the helmet in more detail and short assembly instructions. It also states this set can be upgraded with GPNVG-18 (LRE-35198) or any other Night Vision Device available separately from Live Resin.
The kit consists of 16 pieces for making 4 complete heads with helmets in 1/35 scale. The pieces are molded in grey resin and other than some thin flash residue, I found no evidence of any casting imperfections. The casting blocks are large but the resin pieces can be easily removed and cleaned. The set includes:
- 4 heads,
- 4 helmets,
- 8 helmet accessories.
This set depicts AirFrame Ballistic Helmet in 1/35 scale. The two-piece helmet shell is probably the most distinctive characteristic of AirFrame design: instead of the usual one-piece shell, the AirFrame has separate front and rear shells. The front shell has a larger diameter than the rear shell, and overlaps it just behind the top of the head. The side-cut of the AirFrame helmet is similar to the Ops-Core FAST helmet and it doesn't cover the ears so there is no interference with communication headsets. The AirFrame helmet in this set is depicted with the mesh camouflage cover. The cover is made of several separate panels, sewn together to follow the contours of the helmet. The cover features small slits cut into it for attaching natural foliage. Four rows of 550 cord sheath on the top provide additional loops for foliage, as does a horizontal row in the back. The cover has two small Velcro rectangles at the front, and two larger ones in the rear, providing points to attach items such as NVG battery packs, IR tape, strobes, etc. The front Cordura panel has a cutout for an NVG mount; in this case it fits the Ops-Core VAS Shroud which can mount the standard US Army Mount Arm, Norotos INVG or AKA2 mount arms, or the Wilcox L4 G24 mount. Many different NVGs are available separately from Live Resin; I would suggest using GPNVG-18 Panoramic Night Vision Goggles with mount and battery case (LRE-35198) to upgrade this helmet.
The helmet in this set also features Ops-Core Accessory Rail Connector (ARC), allowing any number of accessories to be mounted on to the helmet. The low profile ARC Rail Architecture incorporates a channel on top of the rail where cables or wires can be routed and secured using small plastic tie-straps. Also, extending from the bottom front of the ARC are the NVD lanyard bungees; these are elastic cords with a small hook on the end, designed to work with a variety of Night Vision Devices. By putting a tension on the NVD, these cords take out most of the vibration and rattle that is resident in NV mounts. Finally, the Chops… evoking images of Greek helmets or Boba Fett, the Chops offer maxillofacial ballistic protection that doesn't compromise communication, hydration or situational awareness. The Chops extend forward to the temples, and then drop down to provide coverage for the jaw. Chops have a subtle concave shape molded into them that help get a rifle stock closer to the cheek.
The set includes four identical heads in 1/35 scale. Each head sports a small protrusion on the top which serves as a base for attaching the helmet. Each head also features tactical glasses, balaclava face mask and Peltor Comtac headset, with AirFrame helmet Ops-Core H-Nape Head-Loc retention system cast on the head as well. All these details look good and are, as far as my references show, accurately reproduced in scale. Another aspect of the set that has to be mentioned are slightly thicker and longer necks than usual. Longer necks will come in handy while fitting the head to the torso, allowing a good connection at almost any angle. My only gripe is the uniformity of the heads supplied and, although there are several head sets available separately from Live Resin, I wish the company decided to include heads with small variations to them in this set instead.
I reviewed many sets from Live Resin and although I know what the company is capable of producing, this set left me speechless. The details on the helmet are amazing… not just the characteristic shape of the helmet shell itself, but also the cover with its tiny slits, cord sheath and Velcro pads, the ARC Rail Architecture, lanyard bungees for NVD… absolutely fantastic details perfectly delivered in 1/35 scale. The addition of Chops is definitely a big bonus for this set, as these accessories provide even more “cool factor” to the figures. Well done, Live Resin!
The fit of the pieces is really good and I had no problems building one of the heads for this review. The Chops are supplied as separate pieces in this set, and are installed as the real ones, using a tab which is inserted into a corresponding receptacle on the inside of the helmet. Be careful when positioning them on the helmet though, as the rear of the panel slides into a groove between the outside of the helmet shell and the ARC rail. I would suggest fixing the Chops to the Airframe helmet first in order to get perfect geometry of the pieces and then carefully installing the helmet on the head. This procedure is going to facilitate the painting process as well.
AirFrame Helmet and Chops with Cover & Head set (LRE-35183) from Live Resin consists of 16 resin pieces for building four complete heads with Airframe helmet and Chops in 1/35 scale. The cast is perfect and the resin features incredible amount of details impressively delivered in scale. The fit of the pieces is great and the set assembles without any problems.
This set is an absolute must for anyone modeling Navy SEALs or Deltas deployed in the current conflicts. Period.