User avatar
By Fienen
#4977991
And so it begins. My pack arrived last week, and one of the first things I did was start planning out all the mods I'm going to do. I'm not going to go too nuts, but I do want to try and do a decent job on a budget. To that end, I have a plan with roughly $100 in parts and I'll share progress and steps for it all. I'll also be posting my part list and links shortly.

Caveats. That price doesn't account for my ALICE frame. I'm also getting a set of the Dale resistors resin printed from a friend. I didn't include the battery price, since you can get away without it (just a quality of life upgrade). Lastly, I won't be doing MUCH to the wand besides the handle.

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So here's my Haslab pack next to my 3D printed, scratch built pack. Immediate observation is just how good it is. Yeah, a lot of little details need - and will get - work, but from a few feet away, this thing really rocks. But just wait...

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I want to start with a test fit of the ALICE frame. This is nothing special - just the Rothco repop frame. I'll follow up later with some weathering and distressing on this to make it look like it has some age on it.

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Here's the motherboard with the straps stripped off. For now, I don't plan to go crazy filling anything in on the back, and instead I'll leave all of this reversible. In the long run, I might look into replacing the motherboard, or making a cover for it. I'm not sure yet. But there's nothing too special about taking the existing straps off.

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Checking the layout of the hardware. As plenty of others have noted, it's super cool they planned for this and provided the hardware. Ignore the fact that I have the vertical brackets reversed.

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Everything screwed down. There's very little to this mod, and it goes right together. Fast way to get an important look of the pack right. I'll be adding the foam padding to the top shortly too.

Stay tuned, more to come! I'll get the build sheet typed up and posted, and start in on things. I'll be swapping out most of the pack accessories, upgrading the ribbon cable, doing a proper weathering job on it, and some electronics. Should be fun!
kahuna900 liked this
User avatar
By Fienen
#4978005
Part list time! Let me break down what you'll be seeing in this thread in case you're on the hunt for similar stuff. You can get a lot of stuff pretty cheap, especially if you can order bulk and split with some other folks. If someone needs a side hustle, you could put together an upgrade kit with most of this stuff in it and sell it. Also, some of this stuff is already going out of stock, so I'll try to note some alternates where things may be vanishing. GBFans is a good best most of the time.

Disclaimer: I'm actually doing a total of three packs, so some of the stuff below only had to be bought once and was divided between three packs, and the cost noted reflects like. Stuff like the tape, or things that I got in quantities, like the PG7 strain relief.

Extra stuff3D printed items Got better suggestions on anything above at similar price points? Let me know and I'll note it in the list! Also, a huge shout out to the Haslab Pack Mods Resource spreadsheet maintainers, because it's a great reference point as well for all of this, especially if any of my links die.
User avatar
By Fienen
#4978031
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If you're doing weathering on any kind of large-ish props, these brushes are money. They're 1" chip brushes from Harbor Freight, and at $0.59 each, you can't get enough of them. They're big and sloppy enough to go fast with, and small enough to get into nooks and crannies really easily. And when you're done, just toss them. You can certainly clean them if you want to, but they're honestly super disposable.
User avatar
By gamera1968
#4978039
It seems like you have it all planned out.

NICE.

My Haslab pack is in the middle of being converted to an late 80's version.
User avatar
By Fienen
#4978103
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Some quick advice. If you're doing propbuilding, cosplay, mods, or whatever, it's extremely helpful to put together a physical folder of reference photos to use while you're working. Can you just rely on your phone, tablet, or computer? Sure, but this makes it fast and easy to sort stuff, flip back and forth between references, as well as make annotation and notes. And you can print them bigger than phone and tablet screens. It can also make for a fun table prop if you ever set up somewhere to show off, to give people the chance to compare them.
gamera1968 liked this
User avatar
By One time
#4978104
A neat trick would be to make it look better than the reference ISS pictures. Although the changes to the pack in AF look really cool, the weathering looks like it was dredged through stones or gravel. I think the weathering on the actual 1984/1989 packs that turned up at auction could be more realistic and satisfying.
User avatar
By Fienen
#4978151
I won't be going perfectly screen accurate. I'm going for "more accurate," which will include the weathering and distressing. I have some techniques I use that I'll be sharing as I go that I think generate good results. I'm debating if I want to strip the shell all the way down and do a full repaint or not, or just layer my work over it in place.
User avatar
By Fienen
#4978371
So I'm just waiting on some last parts before digging in deep on the project. In the mean time, might as well start on other stuff. Since I'm doing three packs, it makes sense to run through some of the bulk items and get them all prepared.

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First off, if you don't have one of these, GET ONE. They are incredibly handy when bouncing between spraypaints. I also love the M12 Milwaukee drill for small, non-construction projects like this. Small and handy.

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Masking off elbows and prepping heatsinks for primer and paint. Not much to really call out here. I printed the heatsinks at .1mm layers, which should make the filler primer really effective.

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These ended up a bit darker than I was planning. I'm gonna go back and review some reference material and decide if the difference is enough for me to go back and fix it. Otherwise, these will be ready to go. I don't think it'll bug me that they're a little darker.

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I'll do a couple passes of filler primer and sanding on these just to get them smooth. I'm not bothering with the back side, since you won't see it at all. I won't show that process, since most folks know how and you can reference my other build thread for it. I'll show them again once they're black and getting the parts attached. These should look great when they're done. Oh, and I'm also gonna do a silver undercoat on them along with some Rub n' Buff.

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Getting all the tubing and stuff precut, too, while I wait on the red and yellow to get here. This will make it easy to weather all this ahead of time too. When the project's done, I'll have some leftovers I'll toss up in the For Sale forum.

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