by John Burdis
Finally, having looked at the pictures in Empire and digested everything that I need from them I have decided to comment and Grud says, ‘it’s all good’.
Before I go any further I should add that I’m a massive Dredd fan, have a few minor parts in the upcoming Judge Minty fan film (also worn ‘that’ uniform) and I’m also ex forces. This will help you understand where I am coming from with the whole uniform. Also a bit of advice for anyone not knowledgeable with the Military and the wearing of uniforms, you get issued two types, work and parade. Many people try and slightly alter the works uniform just to make themselves look a little better and usually are met with the phrase “it’s not a FUCKING fashion parade!” on inspection.
Above all these uniforms are NOT bespoke, you get the size or nearest size to your size, that’s life!
First up, the complete package! Helmet, badges, leathers, pads, Lawgiver and colour scheme, it’s all there and it looks like a real uniform that could be worn on the streets, to fight crime! Above all, that is what the uniform is for and so we don’t need to see the extremes of certain artists work up on the big screen.
Having not read the script (why would I want to spoil the surprise) but sadly not being able to escape the gist of the storyline, this uniform seems to be from the early stages of Mega City One (check the first appearance of Dredd in 2000AD). Because of this, it has to be practical, hard wearing, easy to wear and distinctive in a crowd.
Helmet – When issued these you would be issued a stock size for your head, this is taken from the circumference of your head and nothing else. It’s not made individually for your face and therefore some may not look right but they’re not there to be all nice and pretty. It’s there to protect primarily and secondly to help you stand out in a crowd to let the public see you, if they need your help. When that first picture came out, screams of its too big flooded the net. I knew it was mainly down to the angle of the picture and the bespoke point above.
Looking at the pic of four Judges in Empire on page 98, you can see this point. Lex has part of his cheeks in shadow and there is light between the bottom of the helmet and neck protector, so the helmet looks big. Alvarez looks spot on, his dark skin blends with the shadows and his neck protector is higher and goes up behind the back of the helmet, making it look smaller.
The Judge stood at the rear looks absolutely perfect. The smaller Judge, well I take you to my point about being issued your helmet. If the helmet is your size then unlucky that’s the one you will be issued!
One last thing about the helmet, the cross section that covers the nose. I know many people will say it hinders your ability to see properly. Well similar designs have been used through the ages, just look at the Greeks/Normans/Vikings/etc… It’s a tried and tested design!
Let’s compare it to the modern day and the wearing of a respirator, I had to be able to fast rope down from a chinook wearing it, move through corridors/rooms/stairwells, etc… I also had to be able use my primary and secondary weapons, with it’s restrictive view. Now how was I able to do that? Training is how but unlike the Judges I didn’t train for 15 years wearing it!
Leathers/Body Armour – Spot on with the hard wearing, contact parts being reinforced and the areas where you need to breathe being made more accomodating (around the crotch – look at the cover). You can also see tiny holes around the body armour, probably to help keep you cool by wicking moisture away from you. You have to make a stand between protection and comfort and protection will always come out on top!
Shoulder Pads – Perfect for what is needed. As has been said by many a fan, these are as close to the original version of the Judges uniform as we have seen in a long time, close fitting and protective! There are no snag points on these (an eagle, like in the comic would be a massive snag point), so you can shoulder barge your way through bodies and doorways without worrying about being slowed down. The eagle is embossed on the right hand shoulder, which is great and they are functional. They’ve even made them gold in colour, what more do you need! Some have mentioned the sloping shoulders, I take you to the point at the top, again!
Badges – The name badge reminds me of Stallone’s a little and I can live with that. It’s functional, flat (no hero badges here) and sunk into the chest armour (no snag points) so it’s another practical part of the uniform. Okay, there’s no chain but that’s a grab point for a perp in close quarter combat and is a big no-no. Just look at the amount of clip on ties that have to be worn in certain jobs nowadays because it’s a grab point enabling the wearer to be choked, similar stuff!
Elbow/Knee Pads – These look as though they are more than just the pads, with a sleeve protector added, to fit over the leather. They seem to have fastners at the top of the sleeve as well but I can’t be sure from the pictures. These would probably end up being damaged the most through everyday use in Mega City One, so it’s best that they can be slipped off and exchanged easily.
Boots – These look quite flexible for ease of movement while still providing enough protection on the streets. Notice there is no boot holster, do you really think that would work. The Lawgiver Mk I might have just about got away with it but there is no way the MK II would and especially the beast Urban is carrying in this.
Colour Scheme – This is spot on with the helmet, the black/blue of the leathers, gold shoulder pads and green boots, knee and elbow pads
My final point is about the room entry picture on pages 100/101. This is superb, see how Dredd is balanced as his foot is hitting the door, none of that superhero bollocks here. The Lawgiver is in the two handed grip and so can’t be knocked out of his hand as he advances through the perps upon entry. Once his foot smashes through that door his body will lean forward and the Lawgiver will be front and centre and perfectly in line with his vision.
Anderson has another perfect weapon hold and look how she is leaning into the fire position, with her body braced. Her eyeline is above the rear sights of her weapon (it’s CQB –close quarter battle) as she doesn’t need to aim over a distance. She seems to be stood slightly to the left of Dredd, covering the door in case anyone is in view behind it, covering fire needed!
Big thanks to John for the above article. If anyone wants to check his Dredd fan credentials, John is also the owner of the Cellar of Dredd so good luck to anyone who wants to play the “You dont KNOW Dredd like I do” card. 🙂