For some reason 99% of night vision devices are like cameras, they mostly come in black. I don’t understand why housing manufacturers default to black. It is not exactly “tactical” and does not hide well in the day or even at night. In some cases, some NVG housings look weird when you look at them under IR light. Some companies have released some custom cut camo gear skins. However, those are mired with defects and material supply issues. Well, my friend Alex Ko of Nocorium is releasing his NVG Vinyl Wrap to fill a much-needed gap in the night vision industry.
Colorize Your NODs
There are only a handful of ways to not have a black NOD. Either you paint it or cover it up with some form of tape. Just like guns, spray painting your NODs is a quick and easy solution.
While similar, another option is a factory applied coating. TNVC has offered hydro dipped PVS-14s and other night vision manufacturers have offered some of their housings with factory-applied Cerakote.
First Gear Skins and Now NVG Vinyl Wraps
So other than paint and hydro dip, there are Gear Skins. Act In Black made some wraps for their DTNVGs and PVS-14 as well as Sentinel housings. However, there are issues with these fabric-based gear skins. Often the fabric stickers were cut wrong. They are cut on a laser but someone screwed up and mirrored the pattern. So your pieces are backwards. I personally experienced this with a set of gear skins for my black Sentinels. On top of incorrect pieces, the adhesive on the gear skin pieces is a little too aggressive combine that with the fact that the pieces are laser cut. Laser cutting the pieces prevents the fabric from fraying. However, it also sort of cauterizes the edges to the paper backing. This makes peeling the paper backing off very difficult. To make matters worse the adhesive does not age well. It becomes stronger over time and while that is great for long-lasting adhesion, it also affects the paper backing. Often the paper backing would delaminate and remnants of paper would still be stuck to the adhesive on the camo fabric. This makes applying them tedious and frustrating.
Here steps in Nocorium. Back in July, Alex Ko started making wraps for his DTNVGs. He just used some tape that was ranger green.
Then Alex tried some Camo tape that he had lying around.
He made patterns for three of the most popular night vision devices in the commercial market: PVS-14, RNVG, and DTNVG.
I sent Alex my ANVIS and PVS-15 for him to make patterns off of. He was kind enough to wrap my COD MW NVGs.
PVS-15s with prototype Nocorium NVG Vinyl Wrap.
ANVIS with camo wrap designed and applied by Nocorium. This was before he got the Vinyl Wrap material.
He even sent me an early prototype sample of his PVS-14 NVG Vinyl Wrap. One of the issues we were concerned about is the variance in different battery housings for the PVS-14. Alex has the battery housing on the right side. I have the old Insight style on the left. While they are both single AA power supplies, they are dimensionally different and applying the NVG Vinyl Wrap to the one on the left will be interesting.
The final product will not be hand-cut, nor will it have handwritten indicators on them.
As expected, the swell in the housing where the battery cap screws onto requires a little modification of the battery NVG Vinyl Wrap. Also, the 3D battery icon causes the wrap to bubble up.
At the moment, his PVS-14 wraps are only for a single AA housing.
Applying NVG Vinyl Wraps
Nocorium posted install videos of their NVG Vinyl Wraps.
Make sure you watch the entire video and do not skip any part. It is easy to make a mistake and apply the wrong piece in the wrong place. Ask me how I know. LOL
Here is what the PVS-14 is supposed to look like with the NVG Vinyl Wrap and proper single AA battery housing.
When applying the main body decal, it is best to go slow and take each bump sequentially. Burnish the decal into each crevice and ridge.
The wraps will come precut on a paper backing.
See the two long strips at the top of the sticker sheet? I mistakenly thought those are for the monocular pods. Wrong, they are for the rear eyepiece. So when I installed them, they overlapped a bit too much.
My second issue was not cleaning the housing before applying the NVG Vinyl Wrap. As mentioned earlier, I had used Rustoleum primer that looks like Foliage Green. However it does not stick that well to the polymer used in the DTNVG housing, Once I realized I had placed the wrong decal on the housing, I tried to remove it so I could use it on the eyepiece. Unfortunately, it peeled off the primer paint which you can see below is stuck to the backside of the Vinyl Wrap.
This is not a common problem but just be warned, clean your surfaces before applying the vinyl wraps. I used tape to peel off the paint as best I could and applied the rest of the NVG Vinyl Wrap. The install was pretty straightforward aside from mistaking the wraps for the eyepieces vs the monocular housing. Also, the eyepiece pieces won’t fit the DEP Ether occulars that I have.
The RNVG is a little more complicated since it has so many stepped cylinders. Watching the Nocorium install video helped a lot.
It helps to start the vinyl decals on the inside of the tubular housing. Less chance of the edges getting snagged and peeling off. Also, widen the PD adjustment so the pods are as far apart as possible. This will give you more room to apply the Vinyl Wraps
This decal is the more tricky one out of the Vinyl Wrap sheet. You need to negotiate it under the battery cap tether and fix it under the dovetail.
I should have wiped the surfaces down with rubbing alcohol. The battery compartment vinyl wrap did not want to stick onto the surface.
The power switch and LEMO port wraps are well designed.
NVG Vinyl Wraps Under IR
All the photos below have the DTNVG and RNVG wrapped in Multicam. They are sitting on a Multicam jacket. With some ambient light on, here is what the wraps look like through an Aurora Sport.
Green phosphor with and without IR illumination.
White Phosphor with and without illumination.
NVG Vinyl Wrap It Up
The Gear Skins camo stickers were great but too disappointing with the mistakes in manufacturing and application. Once they are on they are on for good. Removing them is very difficult. The Nocorium NVG Vinyl Wraps are a consumable item. They are lower priced than the Gear Skins offerings and you can remove them to change color ways whenever you want. Nocorium’s initial line up covers the more popular night vision devices. No one else was making skins or wraps for the RNVG. And now that he has patterns for ANVIS and PVS-15s he can make those as well if there is enough demand.
Recently Alex posted Vinyl Wraps for PVS-31s.
He has more down the pipeline. The first run will consist of Multicam, Multicam Arid, Multicam Black and Multicam Tropic. Not only will he have new patterns for other night vision devices, but he is planning on releasing other camo patterns. M81 Woodland and Desert Night Camo are coming as well as solid colors like Ranger Green. Some have expressed desire in splatter pattern like the one used by Spiritus Systems. Some patterns and colors may be exclusive to certain dealers. Wraps for the PVS-14 will be $22.99 while wraps for bino NVGs like the DTNVG and RNVG will be $29.99. To find out more and where to buy them check out their website.