Well, what can I say – I’ve got a thing for WWII. I could think of no better way to start off my ambitions to start reviewing gear again by first taking a swing at an item I could find almost no literature on myself before I purchased it.
Between the games, stories, podcasts and tattoos, my buddies know well that I’m the WWII-guy of our group.
Quite a few years ago, I became involved in the OAWWIIR group, founded by a great guy in London, ON.
Some years later, as a result of my ongoing battle with Hobby-ADD, I’d sold all of my WWII equipment, keeping only the originals and some of the smaller reproduction stuff that would fit nicely in my DIY foot locker. Now, I’ve got it filled back up with the stuff to make up a give-or-take 50% complete 82nd impression. Much to the bane of the guys who are completely buttoned up, I’m one of the fly by night (read: have kids, a family and lots of shit to do) re-enactors that might get out once a year.
Enter, the Echo Jumpsuit from ATF. I wanted to start building an impression again and of course, my first stop was At The Front. They make awesome gear. Period.
Sure, they’re expensive if you compare it to knock-off eBay stuff, but as a whole, I have yet to find a product from an ATF order that fails to impress in any way, shape or form. Quite simply, ATF is a company dedicated to making quality products that are accurate, built to withstand weekend warrioring and finally, they’re backed by pages and pages of forum conversations talking about how awesome they are.
The Echo Jumpsuit is the cheapest variety from ATF. I decided to go this route because I knew that my donning the uniform would be rare, so I didn’t want to put as much cash in to begin with. My thinking was that, if this really lit the fire for me again, I would purchase another uniform of better quality. When I unboxed the uniform, I was surprised to find that, aside from the near-warnings on the ATF website about quality (the uniforms are not made in house, so they don’t want to plant the flag for them), the Echo jumpsuit was awesome. It’s stitched well, though I don’t know if it specifically measures up to period tailoring. Here’s where I should introduce my review style; I don’t know everything about history and I don’t pretend to. If you want to know about how this product fits, how it looks and how it feels subjectively, to me, you’ve found the right place. Looking for some stitch-nazi combing of the uniform? Can’t help you there, bud.
The pockets are spacey enough to keep everything I need. From socks to mags for my airsoft M1 Garand and everything between, the snaps work and nothing feels loose or out of place. The button fly on the pants is tightly sewn and doesn’t look like it will need any attention for quite some time. The ties on the pants are what I would call ‘good enough’. Maybe it’s the material they’re made with – even though that could very well be correct, they don’t feel just right. The zipper on the jacket works fine and fluid, too. A belt for the waistline of the jacket is stitched well, but the buckle could be a little stronger, it bends easily as the belt is pulled down.
In all, the Echo Jumpsuit is well worth the money and given the chance, I would totally buy the uniform again. It fills a required gap for me in just the right way. I don’t feel like I’ve overpaid for a piece of kit that won’t see as much sunlight as I would like to see but at the same time, it’s not cheaply made crap. I would recommend this uniform to anyone wanting to wade carefully into the wallet-slapping hobby, whether it’s completely correct or not.