Quartermasters Stores Review: Hero Within Field Jacket
These days Star Trek can, and is, a collection of tales with multiple settings. From secretive science experiments, to unimportant Starships. In the 1990’s Star Trek was seen as only one thing: A crew exploring space on the Enterprise. And there was even pushback to there being a different Enterprise and crew in the 80’s before the launch of The Next Generation. But producers of the time weren’t worried about cries of heresy as they came up with a new plan to expand the Star Trek Universe with Deep Space Nine.
Having a show on air that followed the Enterprise flying through space and meeting the bumpy foreheads of the week, Deep Space Nine would go the other way, focusing on a space station that finds a gateway to a far away quadrant allowing them to focus on exploring the local Bajoran cultures, whilst the aliens of the week would instead come to Deep Space Nine. A galactic crossroads.
It was a risk, and one that would give the opportunity to show something different in the Starfleet world. Though how it would begin in it’s pilot episode would show less risk while setting up what would end up becoming the most arc-based series of it’s time.
As always, there’s a few places to get your hands on the field jackets, from the budget costume suppliers Cosermart, to the high end made to measure Excellent Leather Store. Though as soon as Picard showrunner Terry Matalas shared Hero Within’s efforts, our interest was instantly gained.
Licensed retailers for costume pieces in the Star Trek Universe are few and far between these days. Having already produced some Trek-wear, as well as a copy of the Strange New Worlds field jacket, Hero Within had been gaining traction in their popularity. Despite some retailers being let downs (saying Anovos is enough to anger a lot of out of pocket fans!), Hero Within’s attention to detail combined with very reasonable pricing made this an instant win for me – and the first time I’d take a risk with a licenced costume piece.
Being in the second pre-release wave, there was a bit of await. But Hero Within laid out the expectations instantly, letting each wave know their ET and offered tracking as soon as it shipped. After an impatient wait for arrival in the UK, and seeing others showcased on their twitter feed, when the jacket finally appeared it took around three seconds to get the package opened and give it a whirl. Despite the fact I was in the middle of a shift….
The fit is the most impressive part. It’s always a gamble buying something online, especially having to face the reality that having a ‘dad bod’ in reality means I’m visibly middle aged. Plus many outfits sold online have a disconnect to UK sizing. However Hero Withins measurement chart was one of the few honest ones I’ve came across and it fits perfectly.
Detailing of course isn’t entirely screen accurate. On the show the jackets had a slight delta pattern on the shoulders which has been replicated by other companies in both cut-outs and print. If I was making this myself (my original plan, but time is limited!) I know the exact upholstery leather I’d be using. But through development HW made sure to stress test everything and removed the detail in the shoulders to improve durability and longevity as well as to ensure the jacket wasn’t just a costume piece, but a fully wearable item any day of the week. I did think I’d miss the detail, but as soon as it’s in my hands I don’t mind and really appreciate the effort from HW to make sure it’s an outfit that lasts.
In terms of material, most of the jacket is vinyl. All elements that do include the pierced sections are leather, while heavy duty spandex is used in the elbows. The vinyl doesn’t give the worn look I usually prefer, but does make the jacket look sharp and clean as well as keeps cost down significantly. Not all of the measurements are spot on perfect and don’t mirror up perfectly, but thats a point I appreciate as it gives more authenticity to a semi-military outfit.
And of course, the element that makes it stand apart from non-licensed works. The lining. It’s a small thing that you’d never see but having the bright blue star-field and Picard logo inside is a wonderful touch that’s hard not to appreciate, topping their previous lining print efforts.
To make the jacket pop more, I did get myself some new Admirals pins from a non-licensed retailer which really does bring the jacket alive. In wearing so far, I’ve also added a Fansets magnetic pin, who I’m a big fan of, but the magnets hold far better through different fabrics and due to the thickness of the vinyl will have to be replaced by a proper pin at some stage to be able to hold in place.
The pins – both rank and Starfleet insignia – really bring everything together. I won’t lie, I don’t think I’d love it as much without them on there. So in a weird way, it’s really a team effort and I hope Fansets, with their recent addition of TNG era rank pins, produce some 25th century pins to help compliment it down the line for non-flag officers. In terms of the delta however, as much as I appreciate the creative logic of changing the colours and Fansets releasing the season 3 version of the pin, I much prefer the cleaner style of the original release.
Overall, part of me does prefer real leather. But that’s the only real gripe I’d have, and it’s quite a small one. Even the smaller yolk I don’t mind. Forgoing any shoulder padding really helps with the comfort of wearing it. The product is excellent and if anything, I think it’s underpriced in the current market. But thats good for all fans and absolutely wonderful for a licensed company to produce this kind of quality for such great value for money.
In terms of their licensed products, Star Trek seems to be their biggest output. Though HW’s more generic jackets include items from DC, Marvel. Their Doctor Who line also has some interesting products. However, with their customer base supporting the Star Trek Universe line, Hero Within are one licensee worth keeping an eye on for some great products at even better prices!
Note: The Picard Field Jacket retailed at £81 GDP excluding postage. Other items, including tactical bomber jackets and the SNW field jackets retail at roughly the same price.
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