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Old 08-05-2003, 03:13 PM   #1
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Mask profile / review

Yes, I know I'm missing the VForce and Proteus... I haven't tried those on yet. All of the masks below I've played with, except the Invision (just got it). I have the Invision pics, but don't have them uploaded yet.. hopefully tonight. I figured some people would like to have some idea of the masks.

JT nVader Front Side

Cost: 21.99 - 29.99 depending if you want a thermal lense or not.
Cover: It covers more of the side of your neck than most masks. There's really not much difference honestly and shouldn't be considered a selling point.

-- Cost: At this price you could probably do a bit more searching and find a Flex7 or IZE for close to the same price, if not cheaper.
-- Vision: The vision on this is extremely limited. If it's the first mask you play with, you may not notice, as it's all you know. But once you get a mask with higher vision, it'll be hard to go back. Otherwise the lense was clear and not clouded.
-- Hard: The actual mask itself is made out of hard plastic, giving no bounce. If you get hit in the mask, it's gonna break.
-- Ventilation: Not much here... You're likely to get a pool of hot air near your mouth where you've been exhaling and it just collects
-- Padding: The padding doesn't fully cover around the lense. There's a strip for your forehead and for your nose / cheeks. The sides is just empty. Which you really won't notice the fact that it's missing, it makes it seem rather cheesy. This can also lead to the lense fogging easily with non-thermal lenses. Another problem is if you tend to sweat a lot, the foam can compress a bit and get a bit flat, causing the plastic from the mask to press against your face.

Rank: 3/10
It's really not the worst thing out there, but for the price and you could find something else, and the vision really isn't all that great. This might be alright if you have to borrow the mask for just the day and you rarely play. If you plan on playing a lot, save your money and look elsewhere.


JT Flex 7 Front Side

-- Foam: Much better foam than the nVader. It's softer, fuller foam. Although it still does absorb sweat, much like the nVader, it doesn't compress anywhere near as much. Comfortable to wear.
-- Vision: Much better vision than with the nVader. Although there is a small blindspot right in front of your nose, it's not much to worry about and the increased peripheral vision more than makes up for it. No problems with the lense clarity.
-- Soft mask: The bottom portion of the mask is rather flexible, allowing you to easily bend it. The point of this being that you can get bounces off the bottom portion of the mask, but also that the ventilation is rather nice as well.

-- Deformation: Although more of a problem with looks than anything, the bottom flexible portion of the mask can become a bit disformed if left in the same position for extended periods of time. It doesn't affect the functionality of the mask, but looks a bit odd when the flexible bottom looks like it's getting sucked in.
-- Blindspot: As previously stated in the vision pro above, there is a small blindspot directly in front of your nose where the mask sticks out a bit. If you're looking downfield instead of right in front of you, this won't be a problem. It does cause some people who are unsure of their footing to look down when walking / running.

-- Fit: This is more of a preference than anything. Some people, such as myself, like masks that fit close to their face (see the NVX below). Others don't like this. The closeness of the mask was a bit farther away than the Invision (not rated / reviewed yet). Since this is more of a preference, I can't rate this as a pro or con.

Honestly, there's not a whole lot that's bad about this mask. The small blindspot might tend to be a small nuisance as you may find yourself looking down to see directly in front of you and the mask deforming is really nothing to worry about as well. I have gotten a bounce or two off the bottom of the mask, as have my friends.. it's rather rare that you get hit in the bottom portion of the mask though. All in all, a good mask.
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Old 08-05-2003, 03:14 PM   #2
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Raven NVX Front Side

-- Vision: This honestly has the best vision of any mask I've tried. Not so much the clarity or tinting (see below), but because the peripheral vision is huge and it doesn't have the small blindspot the JT Flex7 does. I did have a slight amount of fogging *once*, but that was in the woods on quite a humid day. I could still see enough to play, but it still happened. This happened at the same time as the foam con (see below) so perhaps there's a connection with the foam..
-- Autotinting: The lense autotints. When you go in the sun, the lense will automatically tint. The effect isn't huge and the color depends on what lense you have.. some tint grey, others tint blue or yellow, etc. When I first read about this, I thought it was going to be a more dramatic effect than what I experienced. All in all, still works though. I'm not sure if me not really noticing the difference is a fault of the lense or just that I don't easily notice these things at the time. I think it's a bit of both...
-- Padding: The padding on this was nice. The 3-stage foam was quite a bit softer than the JT Flex7 which made for a cosy fit. Unfortunately, there are drawbacks to this as well (see the con section). The mask did come with extra pieces of padding that you can add yourself to the mask for your ears. I included this as a pro for the main reason that they allow you to do this. I first thought... why should I have to put the foam on myself, but later realised that this would give the best comfort for you individually. Honestly, I didn't need it, but I'm sure there are people out there that would. The foam is the same 3-stage foam that fits around your eyes.
-- Ventilation: Although it may not look like it, the ventilation is very nice. No humid accumulation or anything.. you can breath fine, yell and be heard. Unfortunately, Raven claims you can get bounces off the mask.. chances are unless it's a long ball, it's probably gonna break. It's no where near as hard as say... a JT nVader and is a bit flexible, but I doubt flexible enough to get many (if any) bounces. Another drawback, is that chances are rather good you'll be eating paint if you get hit there.. but that's true with just about any mask with high ventilation like this.

-- The strap: While the headstrap is nice, the problem with it is there's only one buckle. What I mean is, on most other masks there's two buckles on the back that you can pull away from each other to tighten the mask. This only has one, which somewhat requires you to remove the mask to tighten it. Is it a big deal? No. I just don't see why it wasn't included standard.
-- Earpiece: Look at the side view picture and you'll probably see the piece I'm talking about.. the part to the right of the lense that covers your ears. It "locks" over another piece of plastic at the top and two near the bottom. Unfortunately, it's rather easy for these locks / clamps to come loose. While at no time did I ever feel this was or could be a hazard, it can start pressing against your head and really get quite painful rather quickly. This problem mainly stems from the plastic being a bit flexible.. unfortunately, since it's flexible, it doesn't always want to stay in place. It only takes about 10 seconds to fix, but does require you to take your mask off. Although this happened maybe once a day, I wouldn't consider this a major defect.
--The foam: Ahh, the foam. This is unfortunately, the masks downfall. The 3-stage foam is rather soft and cosy. Kind of like having pillow laying on your face. This has a drawback though.. it's so soft, that getting it wet (namely from sweat) can compress the foam and press the plastic from the mask against your face. Although it does dry quickly and one can easily "deal with it", this isn't the part that concerns me. What does concern me is that after a few months of playing with it, the foam has come loose off the mask. It started with the forehead area, and later I noticed the nose piece had come loose and was starting to stick to the lense (having been pushed there). Since the foam wouldn't stay and not having much other choice, I took the foam off in one piece in it's entirety and purchased some foam glue. After spreading it on the mask and glueing the foam back into place, it seemed to stay.... for a while. While it felt fine otherwise, next time I went out to play I started to sweat and the foam came off again. This, I believe is completely unacceptable. There is absolutely no reason this should happen.

-- The lense: I'm not sure if this is a problem with the lense itself, or just the lense staining from paint, so I'm putting it here as well. I've had problems with small spots appearing on the lense. While they're not large and you don't notice them if you're not looking for them with the mask on.. it makes me wonder why they're there. Is it from the autotinting going south? Did rubbing the paint off with water cause this (though it is a thermal lense)? Just a bit of paint staining? All in all, not a huge deal.. you can definately play with it.. I just haven't seen this happen before.
-- Tight fitting: Much like the JT Flex7, I can't count this as a pro or con, as it's preference. This mask is definately the closest "face-hugging" mask I've tried on. It's practically right on top of you.

In the end, I would like to say I love this mask. My only real complaint is that the foam has come off... had it not been for that, I would still be using this mask and recommending it. Being at least $10 cheaper than the cheapest invision I've found is nice, but not if the mask falls apart after a few months. I've e-mailed Raven several times on this issue asking what can be done (if I can have the mask replaced), but haven't received an answer... looks like I'll be calling them to work this out.

I would have easily given this mask an 8 or 9 out of 10, but with the foam problem, I can't honestly rate it higher. It does way outperform the nVader on every aspect, which is why I gave it that one extra point. Perhaps if Raven had contacted me back and worked it out I would still give it a high score.. If Raven does work things out, I may change my rating to 7, but no higher because of the hassle of having to nag them to fix it.

The mask does come with a visor, but since I do not play with one as was too lazy to put it on for the sole purpose of taking a picture only to remove it 1 minute later, I left it off.
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Old 08-07-2003, 01:54 PM   #3
Ukraine Ownz j00 All
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Good Job Fall N Angel...

Congrats, this gets a place in the my sticky.
Atheist Paintball Club Member.

PM me or Alexi to join!

Originally posted by XtraBoy
How about "Off in the corner" That way if you lose in the finals or something, the other team could say "Yah dude, they almost had em, but johnny over here went up and bunkered the last guy and we ended up beating off in the corner"
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Old 08-07-2003, 02:48 PM   #4
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I'll write up a "review" on the Invision once I get a chance to play with it, which will hopefully be this Saturday.
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