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MilitaryMorons T-shirt by Andrew Bawidamann
2/16/09 - Over the years, I've received emails from visitors to my site asking 'Hey, when are you going to offer a MilitaryMorons.com T-shirt?' or 'You guys should come out with a T-shirt' etc. As fun as I thought it'd be to have my own T-shirt for the site, I never got around to thinking up a design, and put the idea on the back burner. The back burner way in the back.
Andrew Bawidamann - If you've visited my 'links' page, you might have noticed the banner for Bawidamann.com that's been there since 2004. I'm a long-time fan of Andrew Bawidamann's military pin-up girl art, which is reminiscent of the classic WWII aircraft nose art pin-up girl. Since childhood, Andrew has had a love for the art form that is rooted in military and American history.
Andrew creates his curvaceous military pinup girls with both modern and classic themes, with a lot of attention to technical accuracy and detail in the equipment. This is one of the things that struck me when I first saw them. This guy knows his weapons. It's not surprising that he's an avid gear guy and shooter. His graphics are both colourful and stylish, and are not limited to military themes; he also does old school pinups with various themes ranging from Space Travel to Pirates.
Andrew makes a living from his artwork, and sells posters and T-shirts on his site. I've worn a variety of his pin-up girl shirts for the past few years, and they always draw interest and compliments. They're unique as they're drawn using modern techniques and themes yet are instantly recognizable as an homage to a nostalgic style. He gets his inspiration from many sources; sometimes from requests from guys in the military. Some of his latest pinup girls have been done at the special request of soldiers, showing his dedication to the morale of our troops.
Now, the colourful pin-ups aren't the only style that Andrew does. He has a lot of other artwork that he'll sometimes print limited runs for art shows, conventions etc. One of these is the 'Steel Death' T-shirt shown below; a one-colour design of a skull, 'Afrika Korps' -style palm tree and M240 machine gun. Ever since I wore that shirt as part of a TAD Gear Praetorian Hoodie review, I've had inquiries about it. This prompted Andrew to start offering them on his site, along with some other single-colour military designs.
How about an MM T-shirt collaboration? - Andrew, being a shooter and one who appreciates the latest and greatest in gear and clothing has been a frequent visitor to my site for years and it's helped him spend more money that he should. So, during one of our email banters, he asked me if I'd be interested in collaborating on a MilitaryMorons t-shirt. My answer was a resounding 'YES'. It was a no-brainer for me; when one of the best military pin-up/graphic design artists in the country offers to custom design a shirt specially for you, you don't pass that opportunity up!
All of a sudden, the project suddenly jumped to the front burner and the fire was lit! I liked the Steel Death T-shirt design so much that I wanted something along those lines - a single colour graphic. Also, I didn't want huge 'MilitaryMorons.com' letters emblazoned across the chest or back like an advertisement. We both agreed on a more subtle approach, and have a cool looking design first, that anyone would want to wear whether it was related to my website or not. Basically, it's for the 'militarymoron' in everyone.
The Design - So began the process of coming up with a design. I had some idea of what I wanted to incorporate into the design: it had to have guns, and I wanted to stick with the skull with horns theme, which I have on my EMDOM/MM patch seen on my hat and shoulder below. Plus, as a joke, I sometimes wear horns on my hearing protection.
Andrew actually had quite a few graphic elements that he had already done in the past, and put together some ideas, piecing together different elements. I'd have to say that we didn't have to go back and forth too many times - the samples that Andrew put together all looked good enough for a T-shirt. It was just a matter of narrowing down the choice of elements in the design, then refining it. The main graphic depicts a horned skull in front of a spear head (signifying the 'tip of the spear') shaped like the Ace of Spades (the 'death card' in popular myth and folklore). The tapered cylinder with ribs is the part of the spear head which attaches it to the end of the shaft. Below the spear head are crossed Mk48 Mod 0 7.62x51mm machine guns like the one I'm holding in the photo below. A belt of ammo is draped over the buttstocks. Andrew placed the 'MM' in stylized gothic font above the ammo belt.
Andrew suggested we put a small rear graphic on the back of the left shoulder, for a more unusual position (instead of centered). Since I liked the Afrika Korps palm tree and skull graphic, he used the MM skull from the front and incorporated it into the palm tree and added the gothic 'MM'. The Steel Death T-shirt graphic had a distressed look which I liked, so Andrew distressed the MM graphic as well. The final design and actual T-shirt is shown below, and I couldn't be more pleased with how it came out.
MilitaryMorons T-shirt - Andrew printed his Steel Death design on Soffe Lightweight Military T-shirts, which has a more 'tailored/athletic' fit (at least on me). I also liked the comfortable, lighter weight material. We chose the same Soffe T-shirt for the MM Design. It's 50/50 Cotton/Poly and made in the USA. For now, it's only available in OD Green with a Sand coloured print. I'm wearing a size Medium in the photos below.
Important! If you prefer a looser fit, order one size up - these are a slim/snug fit.
Thanks to Andrew Bawidamann for doing such awesome work on this design - it's one badass-looking piece of military artwork!
Desert Sand MM Shirt
3/24/09 - In response to requests for a Sand version of the MM Shirt from Army personnel who can't wear OD Green T-shirts with their ACU uniform, Andrew re-worked the image to make it suitable for printing on a light coloured tee (the skull has to be reversed so that what was light on the green t-shirt is now dark). Again, Andrew did an awesome job, also adding more shading on the spear shaft and other areas.
The Sand MM T-shirt is printed on a Sand Soffe Lightweight Military shirt with dark brown distressed graphic.
Coyote and Black MM Shirts
1/6/10 - Andrew has done a run of Coyote and Black MM shirts. Both Coyote and Black shirts have the Sand MM print. Unfortunately, no SM or Med sized Coyote shirts were available at the time of printing, so those will have to be printed when they're available from Soffe. IMPORTANT! Do not order the SM or Med in Coyote, even though they're options in the drop-down menu on his site.
Andrew also decided to offer the Steel Death T-shirt in Sand, with a subdued graphic.
The MM T-Shirt is only available through the Bawidamann.com webstore in limited short runs.
Other stuff - Andrew came out with a sweet 'Fying Tiger's' girl shirt, shown below. The distressed artwork and colours really go well with the dark brown T-shirt. I also sent Andrew some of my favourite jackets to put the MM graphic on - all TAD Gear garments coincidentally. My V8 Garage Jacket with a tan graphic, Stealth Jacket with a subdued brown graphic, and my Striker leather flight jacket with a sand graphic. They came out pretty awesome, and make for some very unique items.
Four new Bawidamann T-shirt designs are shown below - the 'Death Card' (front graphic only), 'Specialty Girl', 'Green Beret Girl' and Sniper'. Note that 'Specialty Girl' and 'Green Beret Girl' have the same graphic on the chest.
A very limited run of EMDOM/MM patches (seen on my cap in one of the above photos where I have horns on my hearing protection) was produced in conjunction with the debut of the TNT bag, and were given out to the first 100 TNT bag customers (the patches are long gone now). Some of the visitors to this site inquired about them, after seeing them in my photos, so Ken at EMDOM and I decided to do another run of them. By that time, however, Andrew Bawidamann had designed my MM T-shirt, so I asked him if we could use the MM horned skull design for the EMDOM/MM patch. He responded by re-drawing the whole patch and doing the graphic (thank you, Andrew!). Instead of the light tan background of the first one, which I thought provided too much contrast, I went for a darker, subdued yet attractive colour scheme.
The new EMDOM/MM patch has a dark OD background, with lighter OD border and arrows. Depending on how the light hits the patch, the skull and arrows will alternately look light or dark as the direction they're embroidered are at right angles to each other, producing quite a cool effect. The gothic 'MM' letters and arrow outline are coyote, and the skull is grey. This colour combo goes very well with most colours, like MultiCam, foliage green, grey, coyote, khaki, OD green etc.
Discontinued and replaced by PVC patch (below)
3/29/14 - The new EMDOM/MM PVC patch is now available from EMDOMUSA, in the new Arid colour scheme. It's a five-colour patch with a dark brown background, medium grey skull, and khaki/tan/brown details to match a variety of colour schemes. Shown below is the patch against Arc'teryx Crocodile, EMDOM Coyote Brown, Crye MultiCam and PenCott Badlands. It measures 3" x 2" and is backed with hook velcro.
4/15/11 - After seeing the sharp details on some of the PVC patches offered by Milspecmonkey, I asked him if he were up to collaborating (producing) an MM Skull PVC Patch. He was up for it. Andrew Bawidamann, who designed the MM Skull graphic for my T-shirts, created a new skull graphic specifically for this patch. For every patch sold, $0.50 will be donated to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
The MM Skull patch measures 2" tall x 1.5" wide with angled-off corners and is sewn to hook velcro. I wanted it large enough to capture good detail of the skull graphic, yet fit on any 2" x 3" velcro field, like on the front or back of a tactical hat. The patches are made of flexible, rubbery PVC and have amazingly sharp detail. The skull graphic is raised from the background of the patch. I picked three different colour combinations that should cover the gamut of applications:
Special Operations Warrior Foundation - The Special Operations Warrior Foundation provides full scholarship grants and educational and family counseling to the surviving children of special operations personnel who die in operational or training missions and immediate financial assistance to severely wounded special operations personnel and their families. For every MM Skull patch sold (retail or wholesale to dealers), Mil-Spec Monkey will donate $0.50 to the SOWF.
Available from Mil-Spec Monkey or MSM Patch Dealers. Thanks for MSM for taking this project on, and Andrew Bawidamann for doing the graphic.
12/25/10 - MM Figure (one-off) - Back at the SHOT Show in January 2010, I met Tony Chin of Merit International Ltd, who asked if I was interested in collaborating on a MilitaryMoron 1/6 scale figure. My first reaction was 'Why would anyone besides myself want an MM figure?' He answered that it'd just be a fun project to do - maybe a limited edition as one in their series of 'Crye Warriors' figures. I'd actually been asked about collaborating on an MM figure in the past, but just never pursued it. The thought of having an MM figure (while appealing to my ego at some level) was more about fun than anything else. I thought it'd be funny if it also came with its own 'genuine MM garage door background' that everyone sees in my photos when I'm modeling the clothing or equipment. Of course, the MM figure would have a pixelated face (no one would want an actual head sculpt of me), which would be its unique feature. We also come up with the idea of having an MM Skull mask that fit over the pixelated face, based on the MM Skull design that Andrew Bawidamann did for my T-shirt and logo.
So, we started discussing what I wanted on the figure, and of course I wanted Crye Multicam. Also, it made sense to use their Crye Combat uniform as a base since they already had that. I made a wish list of equipment and weapons, but obviously some had to be substituted for off-the-shelf items as it'd have been too cost prohibitive to manufacture everything. The projected completion date for this was around July 2010, but that date came and went and I put the project out of my mind as I knew that these things always take longer than originally planned. Unfortunately, due to cost and the current state of the economy, the project never made it past the prototype phase.
In late December, I received a box from Tony out of the blue. I opened it, and it had my figure in it with a note. Even though he had been unable to get the project going, he assembled a figure for me from the prototype parts intended for the project.
My MM figure also came with a MultiCam ball cap, and an assortment of pouches. All the Crye stuff is very cool, but the most unique thing about it I have to say, is the pixelated face and skull mask. The features had been removed from the face and the pixels hand painted. I ended up touching up the colours a bit to reflect some of my photos. I was very impressed with the hand sculpted Skull mask - the sculptor did a great job of interpreting the MM skull picture and translating it into a 3D creation. I believe that it was built on a helmet. Also included was the FN SCAR-L that I requested, and my Browning Hi-power in a left handed holster. We went with the Crye Gen I Chassis and Blast Belt as it was more distinctive than the later models.
For a prototype, I think that the MM Figure came out very nicely. Let me repeat that at this time, there are no plans to produce this figure - this is the only one that was made. But, who knows what the future holds? So for now, please enjoy the photos, and I'd like to thank Tony again for my MM mini-me.
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