JT Elite Alpha Mask Review

Review

I have used this mask for several games, both outside in the cold, and indoor in an urban combat scenario. At all times the mask has largely kept free from misting (although I did use anti-fogging compound), even when going from inside (hot, and humid) to outside (cold and dry) without any need to use the Vortex II fan. There is very good vision through the dual pane thermal lens, which have proved to be strong enough to withstand paint hitting from close range(!) and resistant to scratches through removal of debris during a game and cleaning after the game. It is lightweight and with the contoured foam eye piece, is comfortable to wear continuously for a number of hours. The construction is robust enough to keep its shape when stored in a soft helmet bag in my kit bag with little deformation.

I had bought the purpose-built Vortex II fan in case I needed it, but to be honest, I only use it to cool my face rather than clear the lens! The Vortex II can be a noisy beast, but a drop of gun grease on the impeller bearing quickly sorts it out. Don’t use oil as it sprays!

Cleaning the mask is a labour intensive task. Thankfully, the peak is easily removed and the fan fixes to the ventilation holes on the brow without any alteration to the mask. Unfortunately, the goggles do not come off entirely without unthreading the strap, but can be ‘displaced’ to allow thorough cleaning of the rest of the face mask. Reassembly requires strong fingers and some petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to ease the location pins into their positions. Thankfully, this level of cleaning is rarely required as the mask can usually be simply cleaned with warm soapy water, a soft cloth and toothbrush to get into the smaller crevices.

The mask provides good protection to the face, ears and chin. Although there is no covering to the top or rear of the head which may be an issue for some users, it does allow a helmet to be worn with the minimum of modification. The chin-strap is useless. It does not stay tight to the chin despite repeated setting. Despite that, the mask does not move about on my face even when running or crawling through undergrowth.

Advantages:

  • Excellent vision in all environmental conditions
  • Lightweight with good face protection
  • Replacement single and dual pane lenses are available
  • Good value for money.

Disadvantages:

  • Can be difficult to re-assemble
  • Goggles cannot be easily replaced
  • Chin-strap does not stay in place.

Conclusion/Verdict:

While this is clearly a budget mask, it offers many features found on more expensive versions. The dual pane thermal lens stay clear under even the most arduous of conditions and the protection given to the face is excellent. This is surely the most important feature of any mask and although it has faults, overall it is a very capable piece of equipment and highly recommended for new starters.

If only it was easy to disassemble for cleaning, it would have got 5 stars!

Forum Discussion

By: Tony Smith

Date:19-03-09

Manufacturers Website: JT USA

Price:£35.00

Rating:

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Setup: Dual pane clear thermal lens, with & without Vortex II fan

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