As said, I found a partial 3' x 3' worn out rubber sheet about 1/2" thick (partial means about 20% has been chewed off by a dog). The size was enough to cover my upper half, I'm 5'2" in height. So i decided to make the vest to go with the fallout veteran helmet I made last time.
First off, we need pictures of the vest. This site (http://www.therpf.com/f24/fallout-new-vegas-ncr-veteran-ranger-finished-pg-8-a-101257/?highlight=fallout+ncr+veteran+vest) got me interested in building the helmet so I went back and looked at the vest.
Did not made any measurements (just made a lot of approximations) copied the pattern and drew it straight on the rubber sheet.
Other materials you will need that aren't in the pictures are glue gun, glue stick, velcro, straps and 4 hours of free time.
Step 1: Draw, Cut and Glue
Once I been able to cut out the chest portion of the vest, took one and see if it matches my frame. Was satisfied by the dimension so I just flipped it over and drew the other half to get the same size as the other. You can see I added another section on the side abdominals since I made a mistake in drawing the mid section part of the vest. when I finished cutting out all the parts I took my cheap soldering iron and made some very light passes on the edges just round them up a bit. Took some sand paper (600 grit) and rounded and smoothen up a bit more.
I do not have a heat gun so I used the soldering iron to bend and form the sheet. The photo of the backside shows how it was assembled as well as the markings where my trusty soldering iron made to make the bends and curves. Glue everything up and we are about 75% done.
Step 2: Bring on the Details
Only have 2 cans of paint available, 1 flat black and 1 clear coat so I can't spray paint the emblem. So I decided to engrave it using the soldering iron. Made some deep battle marks also. Spray painted a light coat to see how it looks painted black. Let dry for 15 minutes or so.
Using water color, I painted over the engraved emblem and added some blood red to match the helmet design. Let it also dry for a good 30 minutes to an hour to make sure the water color has fully dried.
Step 3: Finishing
Time to spray some clear coat on the vest to seal the water color. Let it dry again about an hour. I used velcro to fasten the straps, makes everything easier. just hot glue some straps to the sides and the shoulders and we are done. Although this set-up can't take a lot of beating it could probably be worn 3 or 4 times without having to repair something up. have fun building! :)
***update*** wasn't really happy with the right side chest plate so I was looking through some pictures and saw Judge Dredd's badge. I made a quick sketch and burn it on a small leftover sheet. Cut out the chest plate and inserted the badge. I maybe violating some unwritten law of character mash up here but hey, if anyone could live through an apocalyptic fallout my money is on Dredd. :)