Universal Soldier - The Definitive UniSol Build

Art Andrews

Community Owner
Community Staff
EDIT: I am only just getting started here... still have a lot of images to add to the initial post.

I have always wanted to create a replica Universal Solider costume, but never took it on because it simply seemed too complex and had too many custom pieces. However, I recently was able to acquire one of the few sets of original armor which has me once again looking into replicating this costume and sharing the process with you.

The costume can be broken down into a number of categories and components:

  • Headset
  • Body Armor
  • Clothing
    • Undershirt
    • Pants
    • Gloves
    • Boots
  • Webgear
    • MP5 Shoulder Holster (under right arm)
    • P9 Holster/Mag Carrier (under left arm)
    • Desert Eagle Drop-leg Holster (on right thigh)
    • PR-24 Holster (on left thigh)
    • Duty Belt
  • Weapons/Tools
    • Cold Steel Defender I (on back)
    • HK SP89 with LS45 Sight (under right arm)
    • HK P9 (under left arm)
    • Monadnock PR24X Collapsible Baton (on left thigh)
    • Desert Eagle .357 (on right thigh)
    • Cold Steel Magnum Tanto II (on right thigh)
    • Instaflate (on duty belt)
    • Thermal Monitor

Headset: The headset is a custom compilation of, primarily, found parts. There isn’t really much to tell but here are pics of the only one I have seen in private hands.
universal-solider-headset-1.jpg universal-solider-headset-2.jpg

Body Armor: There are two variants of the body armor. First there is the non-plated armor seen in the first scene of the film. This is a tight fitting armor that appears to little more than a flak vest. This is the armor Van Damme is seen wearing throughout the film. The second type of armor (the type I have) is the more iconic over-sized plated armor, which includes massively thick “plates” on the vest. All of the remaining UniSols switch to this style of armor once Van Damme defects. Aside from this variation, the setup for each solider is essentially identical.

The plated body armor consists of a bib-style vest that is held together by ITW Nexus Side Release buckles on each side (two on each side). There are 6 vacuformed plates on the chest and 6 more on the back. There is a soft foam plate over the shoulder blade and a vacuformed spaulder attached via a Velcro tab and snap on each shoulder. Each of these plates is covered with 6 color “chocolate chip” desert camouflage fabric. The right spaulder has a custom “Sniper” patch with skull and cross bones. The left spaulder has a “Special Forces” tabard with a Delta Force arrowhead and sword patch below the tabard. The body of the vest is lightly padded and backed with an off-white flannel material. The vest has a 6” slit down the back of the neck that velcros closed.

Clothing: The Unisol undershirt appears to be custom made for the production. It is a 6 color desert camouflage, mesh material with a tan solid fabric collar. There is no sizing or tags.

The pants appear to be original GI issued 6 color desert camouflage ripstop BDUs. It is possible that some of the pants, primarily those worn by Van Damme and Lundgren were custom made or customized.

The gloves appear to be custom made with mesh tan finger and back of palm, leather palm and a tan fabric wrist. A nylon wrist strap cinches the wrist and velcroes closed.

There doesn’t seem to be a standard boot, only a standard style of boot which is a military-esque tan suede tan boot with a custom leather strap around the top of the boot with two non-functioning buckles that simulate the look of a tanker boot. Ever UniSol appears to have a different boot. Interestingly, Lundgren’s base boot is the same as was used for the Scout Trooper in return of the Jedi.

Web gear: All of the Unisol’s webgear was made by Eagle Industries. While all of it was customized for the production, much of it started as standard Eagle products.

The main harness is an MP5k shoulder rig, which secures the MP5k in a vertical position under the right arm and allows for quick deployment, which still being attached to the rig.It is not entirely clear as to whether Eagle actually ever sold these publicly, but they do resell a black version that has been branded for HK. There are 4 main mods to this piece from its original design: 1) Two baseball grenade pouches have been added to the left shoulder, 2) the retention straps on the right shoulder have been raised about an inch and a half, 3) The double vertical mag pouch under the left shoulder has been replaced with a double horizontal mag pouch and an SAS style holster (for the HK P9), and 4) two vertical straps have been added to the strap across the upper back so the Cold Steel Defender sheath can be attach horizontally, with the handle facing toward the right.

The drop leg holster on the right thigh secures the Desert Eagle .357 and has a sheath attached in front of the holster for the Cold Steel Tanto II. The holster has the typical two leg straps that velcro closed.

The PR-24 holster seems to be completely custom and is simply a long vertical strip with one button-snapped retention strap and what appears to be two black elastic straps. It has one leg strap.

The duty belt is a standard Eagle Duty belt, but has a small loop added just to the left of the buckle to hold the unidentified tool the UniSols carry.

Weapons: The primary weapon appears to be an HK MP5k but is actually an HK SP-89. It has an ARMS brand claw mount with an Imatronic LS45 Laser on top.

The HK P9 appears to be standard with no modifications.

The control baton is a collapsible Monadnock PR24X. It is important to note that the handle for the baton is different than the handle found on most of these batons as it lacks the large “ball” end. These are either very early models, prototypes, or items made specifically for the film.

The Desert Eagle .357 is shown with a bottom-mounted Lasersight laser and in the first seen, with a stubby suppressor. However, the holster does not appear to be able to accommodate either of these accessories. Two additional mags for the Desert Eagle are held under the left shoulder.

The Cold Steel Defender includes the standard leather sheath and appears to have no modifications.

The Cold Steel Magnum Tanto II appears to be standard with no modifications.

The tool belt is a GT Instaflate/Superflate CO2 powered tire pump. These are no longer produced but relatively easy to find on eBay.

The thermal monitor is a slightly modified Chojin Sentai Jetman Cross Changer toy as discovered by @jhk1982. These are pretty rare and collectible toys from China, but can be found on eBay.


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Re: Universal Solider - The Definitive UniSol Build

I loved the first movie! I cant say much about the "sequels" but I'm interested to see your progress!
Re: Universal Solider - The Definitive UniSol Build

I loved the original, i haven't seen the sequels but it was nice to see they brought the original actors together for one of them. I think the one item that may cost most is that thermal monitor, might be just as cheap to get it made in 3d and printed if you don't mind it not being super accurate.
Re: Universal Solider - The Definitive UniSol Build

I loved the original, i haven't seen the sequels but it was nice to see they brought the original actors together for one of them. I think the one item that may cost most is that thermal monitor, might be just as cheap to get it made in 3d and printed if you don't mind it not being super accurate.

Was lucky enough to snag one off eBay for about $80! Will have it cast for our group.
Re: Universal Solider - The Definitive UniSol Build

Got in my Chojin Sentai Jetman Cross Changer toy today and immediately went to work on it. The first thing was to remove the back spring clip entirely. Second was to flip the front clip around (facing upward instead of downward) and carve out a groove for it to fit in. Because these pieces are so small and so delicate and the space is so tight, this was a bit nerve-wracking and stressful, but after a couple of hours of very careful filing and sanding, I am very happy with the results and feel I have a piece extremely similar to the original. One of the cool things I discovered was that there is some detailing on the underside of the lid of the hero thermal monitor. Upon taking the toy apart, I discovered that detail is just the circuit and light chip found in the original toy that has been removed and glued to the underside of the lid!

Still have some work to go including getting the blinking light to work and getting the entire unit painted.






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Re: Universal Solider - The Definitive UniSol Build

After buying a ton of 1" webbing, I have realized that the wrist straps for the thermal monitor are actually 1.25" which is not a common webbing width... except for web belts! Ordered a nylon web belt off eBay along with 1" tan velcro from Amazon. Getting closer!



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I dig this! I don't think it's Hot Toys but another company that makes figures is going to release universal soldier figures
Art , I love this old movie...seen this a few months back . I like the discovery of the thermal monitor...never knew that was actually a toy....nice find from your friend. :eek. I would have never guessed , that in fact , is what it was ! I assumed these were all studio props made . looking forward to seeing all this come together , and the detailed information , on everything for the costume !!! :)

I think the universal soldiers should have had M41A pulse rifles , like from Aliens myself to complete the outfits....:lol:p
I have finished what I could with my costume and have ran out of time for the wrist monitor and boot covers.... I have a huge event on tonight where my costume will be getting its first public appearance, will post pics from said event tmoz :) but here is it for now20151120_202924-1.jpg

- - - Updated - - -

I have also preordered both the Unisol dolls lol
Last night me and my brother and the honour of working with Jean Claude Van Damme and got to walk him on stage for his interview at his world exclusive black tie dinner event here in my hometown of Manchester England.... we got to meet him before hand and he taught us how to work it like real soldiers etc the we walked him on stage to the Fight to Survive (Kumate) song from Bloodsport!! It was an amazing experience! Then we got our pic with him afterwards! :) dream come true!!

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