In 1979 Mel Gibson starred in in a little film that would go on to spin out two more sequels
and launch Mel into becomming an "A list" star. That film was George Miller's Mad Max
I've always liked the film, even though the sequel, The Road Warrior is a much more popular
film in the scheme of things.
These two films were the reason I received a black "Police Jacket" style motorcycle jacket for my
birthday in 1989. I wore the jacket for a number of years, and eventually put it away in the closet,
replacing it with a more modern (and less HOT) motorcycle jacket.
And, as things happen in my mind (which they often do...) I started to wonder if I could convert
the jacket to look more like the MFP (Main Force Patrol) police jackets worn by Mel and crew
in the original Mad Max.
First thing I did was purchase an MFP badge from a place in Germany. It arrived broken (the pinback
was broken off), and cost me WAAAAAY too much. In America as of last year (2006) you can now get a
complete MFP badge set for about $50, including Badge, ID # badge, and MFP crosshairs badge.
I bought some metal epoxy and reattached the pinback. It seems to be holding up okay.
The jacket was another step. I didn't think I'd be able to easily remove the surface details of the
leather to match the film used jacket, but that didn't stop me! What the heck, I've owned the jacket
for almost 20 years, I don't wear it any more, it's fair game... right? ^_^
I started by cutting off the epaulettes from the shoulders, drilling out the snaps on the shoulders
as well as the upper snaps on the lapels. I also removed the 'Belt' and belt loops from the waist area.
The Australian bike jackets used in the film only had snaps on the lower lapels.
I also cut the front torso pocket off the jacket. This was the part that scared me the most, because if
I couldn't make this work, I was out a jacket... and left with scrap leather. ^_^
I then used some pleather (vinyl) purchased from the fabric store, and some glue.
They say it's vinyl and leather repair material, but trust me, it's glue. Good glue,
but still just glue. I cut one piece of pleather in the size/shape of the hole I cut, and another
larger piece to use as a backing and to glue to the inside of the jacket leather itself.
The shoulder armor is a pretty darn close match to the movie versions. These are a hard
tan plastic. I sanded off the manufacturer's logo, drilled 13 evenly spaced holes for the rivits
(before I realized that they actually only used 12 rivits. Doh!) and painted them black.
I then proceeded to rivit the pieces to the jacket. I used a piece of
sticky back velcro to hold it in place during the first few rivits. The original jackets had
a nickle silver colored rivit. I couldn't find a split rivit in the silver color with the correct
size head, so I had to go with a copper rivit.
First I used a leather punch to punch a hole in the location of the hole in the armor. Then I hand fed
the rivit through the armor, leather and jacket liner, flipped it over and then put a small washer on the inside.
Then I used a flat blade screwdriver to spread the rivit and a hammer to flatten them.
Simple enough? ^_^
After that, I knew there had to be something I could do about the holes, cuts and seams in the jacket.
After doing some calling, I found a local auto parts store that carried a real leather/vinyl
repair kit like you'd use for auto upholstery/dashboards. To use the kit you use a magic mystery
glue (pretty much the same thing as the fabric store glue...) to fill the remaining holes as much
as possible. Then when dry (a couple hours wait) you use the appropriate color of material, which
for all intents and purposes is an uncured semi-liquid form of vinyl.
You smooth any remaining holes with this stuff, and then put a piece of textured paper
over the goo. Then you take the heating tool (a round metal disk about the size of a quarter, with a
nonconductive handle) and you heat the disk.
I turned my electric stove on a setting of 5 or 6 (out of 9 settings) and set the disk on the heating
element for appx. 20 seconds or so. Then take the tool and press down on the paper, over the location
of the liquid vinyl. The heat from the tool cures the liquid, making it solid and viola!
The hole/cut/void is filled in and smooth! I was quite suprised actually at how well it worked.
Keep in mind that this IS a patch. It won't make for a perfect surface but from 10 feet away it
will look just fine.
I still need to stitch a leather tab on the front so I don't have to pierce the front of the
jacket with the badge. Of course at this point, would it really matter? ^_^
LIGHT BLUE RAGLIN T-SHIRT - Don't own yet. Seems to only be available in Australia.
LEATHER PANTS (Jeans style) - Don't own yet.
HI-POINT MOTOCROSS BOOTS - $89.00 eBay, 10/2007.
These are the correct style (well, as close as people have been able to identify based
on the shin armor plate...) but are a size too small for me to wear comfortably
for extended lengths of time. I'm guessing these are a US Size 10-10.5. I normally
wear an 11, so they're quite snug on me. My toes are at the end and are a bit cramped
so sadly I need another, larger size.
They'd obviously not been taken care of all these years, and probably
sat in the back of somone's closet or shed. The color was about gone and the leather
was dry and stiff as a board.
I spent about 5 hours working on them. I redyed them black, polished them once and
then used a leather revitalizing solution which softened them up quite a bit.
They still need at least one more coat of polish, perhaps two to get back to a good
shape and a nice black color. Plus the metal parts all need to be polished.
The leather inserts on the inside left boot are torn and should be trimmed out plus the
rubberized canvas/vinyl that acts as a "waterproof liner" is shot and doesn't really do much.
I've wanted a set of these boots since I originally saw Mad Max back in the 1980s.
They're out of production now though, and finding the exact style as the ones worn by Goose
in the film is near impossible. But you never know...
Goose's boots had the same shin guard, were missing the metal plates on top of the toes/arch of the foot,
and also had a sole similar to a VietNam style US Jungle boot.
SHOULDER HOLSTER - Don't own yet. I'll probably have to make this.
Smith & Wesson M19, 6" barrel .357 Magnum Revolver. - Don't own yet.
THIGH HOLSTER - Don't own yet. I'll probably have to make this as well.
12 Ga. Sawed off Double Barrel shotgun - Don't own yet.