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All Star FM 4000 MAG


LineyNinja

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I have been seeing more guys in the pros wearing the All-Star FM4000. I have heard many good things i.e lightweight, durable, comfortable to wear. However, I have also heard many negative things about the mask i.e sparks fly when you get hit, the upper bar does not extend far enough out leaving umpires vulnerable. I know I have seen some guys wearing a matte skull cap with it. I like many of the positives but am concerned about some of the negatives. 

Two things:

I am interested to hear what everyone's thoughts are about the mask

Have you found anything that backs up or disputes the cons of the mask?

Thanks guys!

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6 hours ago, LineyNinja said:

I have been seeing more guys in the pros wearing the All-Star FM4000. I have heard many good things i.e lightweight, durable, comfortable to wear. However, I have also heard many negative things about the mask i.e sparks fly when you get hit, the upper bar does not extend far enough out leaving umpires vulnerable. I know I have seen some guys wearing a matte skull cap with it. I like many of the positives but am concerned about some of the negatives. 

Two things:

I am interested to hear what everyone's thoughts are about the mask

Have you found anything that backs up or disputes the cons of the mask?

Thanks guys!

The FM4000 Magnesium has been my primary mask this year. It's very light, won't bend (according to @MadMax and his materials science knowledge), and the pads are really comfortable. Yeah they're massive but they're comfy. The bottom pad has a plastic plate in front so that the blade-like bars hit the plastic and distribute the force instead of having a localized impact (right, Max?). Now the top pad is tiny because the mask is designed for catchers, and they wear a helmet. Mike Everitt got drilled on the top of his FM4000MAG and was concussed. I've only taken one good shot to the jaw and I didn't see sparks fly. I didn't feel the impact either, so the mask did its job. I'm pretty sure the top of my head isn't exposed when I wear this mask, but I'll double check in a mirror sometime. 

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Maybe this should  be combined in with the other thread that's talking about this mask?  Anyone have any thoughts before I merge this into the other?

My thoughts:  Everitt could have and probably would have been concussed with ANY mask getting hit the way he did, and where he did (queue up Mario in 3, 2, 1....) anyhow .....

The top pad isn't "tiny" ...it's just the standard top pad from All-Star (however compared to the bottom pad) ...yes, it's tiny :D 

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I’m glad to see Spencer ( @Stk004) get his perspective in, because not only does he have this exact mask, but he has a second magnesium mask (a Champro/+POS model) with which to compare this to.

Here’s my sentiments on the FM4000MAG:

As I said over there, in so many words, you’re looking at the industry game changer. The mask frame is the culmination of rigorous testing undertaken by All-Star over the past several years and optimized in the FM4000 hollow steel model. Even this model, as ideal as it may be, still “suffers” from the same shortcomings that plague conventional masks, both for users and manufacturers. Steel, titanium – these bend. A bent mask is looked upon as “failed” or a liability, despite it doing its job, and depending on the model/price, may become a customer service / warranty return. Aluminum doesn’t bend, but it presents its own challenge – the welding of aluminum has to be very meticulous, and the energy of impacts tends to aggregate into the welds. Because catchers masks are routinely abused (dumped on the ground, hurled into dugouts, etc.) manufacturers have been consciously avoiding using aluminum in catchers masks because there’s no way to tell if/when “that one big impact” will be the one to overwhelm the welds.

Diamond took a big gamble and went all-in on aluminum, and produced the iX3 line. The catcher’s version has seen mediocre sales, but its challenge lies more with the NFHS prohibition against traditional masks than any technical deficiency. Working against it, too, is lack of collegiate or professional representation, wherein those catchers are much more apt to wear Nike (titanium, what else?), UnderArmour or Easton. Their umpire model, however, has been a runaway bestseller, and in fact can be said to be the convincing factor motivating Wilson to introduce the DynaLite Aluminum. Why? Because the DFM-iX3 is light and it doesn’t bend. Most amateur umpires will simply never see the velocities or impacts that would overwhelm that mask frame; the pads, however, were a different story.

The reason I explain the background with Wilson and Diamond (and Nike, to a certain extent) is that the struggle between lightweight-ness and strength in masks has also included the struggle between costs and profitability for the manufacturers. Surely, a well-made Titanium mask is tremendously light and strong, but when it bends or breaks, it becomes a customer service return, and a leech on a manufacturer’s profit margin. For that reason, Nike doesn’t sell titanium masks in North America. Instead, Nike supplies them, and considers them as part of a branding package they outfit universities and professional catchers with. Wilson, and Rawlings, and All-Star... they sell masks, and when you pay $200+ to one of these companies, you expect the mask not to break (or bend), and if it does, you expect the company to rectify it, right?

Here’s where the FM4000MAG shines – it won’t break or bend.

It is die-cast magnesium alloy, meaning it has no welds whatsoever. The bars are more like blades, and All-Star has optimized the mold such that the blades of the mask are deepest, and thereby strongest, at the points most likely to be hit by the highest impact loads. Molten magnesium is injected into the mold at the two fill tabs (those blocks in the ear guards), and as such, the magnesium alloy is densest at the “nose” or front of the mask. The shape of the mask, too, affords the best sightlines and contours around the wearer’s face, bringing as much of the pads into contact with the wearer as possible.

And the pads on the 4KMag are massive. They have to be – something has to absorb all that energy that isn’t being absorbed by the mask frame. Magnesium, like titanium and aluminum, has such a low density that it instantly transfers that assaulting energy to whatever is strapped to it – the pads. Now, as Spencer pointed out, these pads are unique. Jonathan Lucroy – one of the first user shows of this mask – is said to be a contributing voice to the inclusion of a “loading” or distributor plate within the pad. Instead of only that portion of the pad where the impact strikes being engaged, the bar presses against the loading plate, and the energy is distributed laterally to the rest of the pad. The jaw pad, especially, on the 4KMag is oversized, with nearly double the volume as its for-steel predecessor so as to offset the drop in the mask’s density.

What two other companies put such considerable amount of attention on pad composition? Hmmm... Force3 (Kevlar!) and Team Wendy’s (Zorbium!).

It’s the pads, gentlemen (and lady umpires). It's the pads, pads, pads. Stop settling for archaic foam-filled leather sausages!

Now, as to “sparks flying” when this mask is struck... have you ever gone camping, and/or used a firestarter tool? They’re magnesium. If I scrape my knife across a firestarter block of magnesium, I’ll Be rewarded with a spittle of sparks with which to light good tinder and kindling on fire. The sparks are the result of friction and heat. What is a 90+ MPH leather-yarn-rubber ball impact other than a whole lotta friction and heat?

As mentioned, too, it’s a “little thin on top”. By that I mean, the forehead region is shaped a bit... shallow, and the forehead pad is bit... small. It’s a challenge to wear a hat with a brim deeper than a 4-stitch (2 inches)! But then again, keep in mind the mask’s origins – All-Star is a catcher’s company, and what is it a catcher wears on his head with this? Not a simple hat!

The negatives of which you ( @LineyNinja) imply are the same that any other conventional mask presents. What amplifies the negatives isn’t anything physical; instead, it’s fiscal. The mask is $250+, and for that kind of price tag, conventional thinking wants this mask to solve all the problems. To slice bread, toast it, and butter it in one fell swoop! In all fairness, this mask can’t do that, nor should it be expected to. But it sure gets close. It gets very very close. I consider it a worthy alternative – and perhaps friendly rival, or sparring partner, pushing each other – to the other mask endeavouring to solve the problem, albeit in an unconventional way: the Force3 Defender.

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From All Star's website:

  • Constructed of injection molded magnesium, the FM4000MAG is the next evolution in catcher's masks.
     
  • Magnesium is the perfect material for a mask with low density for extremely light weight (16.8 oz) and high vibration damping properties. 
     
  • The bars are a bit fatter than our other masks, but have the same flattened profile and openings for outstanding visibility.
     
  • LUC pads are lightweight and wrapped in moisture wicking material that doesn't pull or snag facial hair scruff. These pads are also machine washable, just let them air dry
     
  • The included DeltaFlex™ harness is designed to hold the mask securely in place. The material on the inside of the harness which touches the skull cap is sticky so that it prevents the mask from rotating and shifting
     
  • CLEANING: Machine wash padding and harness in cold water. Air dry.

fm4000mag_bk.jpg

fm4000mag_na.jpg

fm4000mag_sc.jpg

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On 4/20/2018 at 12:54 PM, Stk004 said:

Yeah I'll take some tonight. 

I apologize for the delay. I keep my mask in my car (shocker) and haven’t brought it back to my room. I have two games tomorrow so I promise I’ll take some pictures for you guys tomorrow night. 

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1 hour ago, Stk004 said:

5add3c56d7b51_Mag1.png.5ce30c65768d27d5d518dcff2a24fe90.png5add3c7031eca_Mag2.png.16a22ca380d7cd4ea82cef1f7bd67c50.png5add3c79983f2_Mag3.png.f2e5c38619599f9b7776b1b88eb2d897.png5add3c8fdfd85_Mag4.png.cf20a2f2eb91c80ab91f56ca41fafe4f.png5add3c92a4b61_Mag5.png.47b5929696728e553f6f1c43fe40b88b.png5add3c958d969_Mag6.png.e10dfe0eb85b0e82636789fcdc633cfe.png

Man... those bars look much thicker than I thought they were. Also, even though we all know the reason why, it's interesting how much smaller the too pad is. I wonder if there is an option for a thicker pad there?

33 minutes ago, umpstu said:

Me want.

Funny... I just told The Boss the same thing. The smart woman that she is. First question out of her mouth was "how much is it?" 

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1 hour ago, BT_Blue said:

Man... those bars look much thicker than I thought they were. Also, even though we all know the reason why, it's interesting how much smaller the too pad is. I wonder if there is an option for a thicker pad there?

Funny... I just told The Boss the same thing. The smart woman that she is. First question out of her mouth was "how much is it?" 

That's why I included that top-down picture. That was my first reaction when I bought the mask, then my reaction again when I got on the field for my first game with it. You get used to it pretty quick, but yeah the bars (or "blades," if you prefer) are quite thick. 

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4 hours ago, Stk004 said:

That's why I included that top-down picture. That was my first reaction when I bought the mask, then my reaction again when I got on the field for my first game with it. You get used to it pretty quick, but yeah the bars (or "blades," if you prefer) are quite thick. 

Too bad you don’t have a packaging scale so as to include the photo of how much a FM4000MAG (doesnt’t) weigh.

It almost doesn’t feel real.

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3 hours ago, Stk004 said:

Yeah somehow that didn't make the trip to my dorm room. 

Good plan. Packaging scales in dorm rooms might lead to some pretty pointed questions from law enforcement. :D

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12 hours ago, BT_Blue said:

Man... those bars look much thicker than I thought they were. Also, even though we all know the reason why, it's interesting how much smaller the too pad is. I wonder if there is an option for a thicker pad there?

Funny... I just told The Boss the same thing. The smart woman that she is. First question out of her mouth was "how much is it?" 

The top pad is just the standard pad ...only the bottom is unique

more to the point, ... the top pad isn't "tiny" ....it just looks like it compared to the bottom pad :)  the top is actually a standard sized pad

 

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3 hours ago, Thunderheads said:

The top pad is just the standard pad ...only the bottom is unique

more to the point, ... the top pad isn't "tiny" ....it just looks like it compared to the bottom pad :)  the top is actually a standard sized pad

 

To Jeff's point, here's the top All-Star pad (bottom) compared to the top pad of Wilson memory foams (top). 

5ade217da93d9_PadComparison.png.27f09f984629a67bd852efc742a43b01.png

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  • 1 month later...

Is it that much better than my Champro Mag, with TW pads? I'm talking money wise, because I don't mind shelling out dough for increased safety. I'm a believer in the science behind the zorbium pads, the Champro is pretty damn light, and isn't low profile.

 

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2 minutes ago, kylejt said:

Is it that much better than my Champro Mag, with TW pads? I'm talking money wise, because I don't mind shelling out dough for increased safety. I'm a believer in the science behind the zorbium pads, the Champro is pretty damn light, and isn't low profile.

 

The Champro Mag is a great mask, and is actually sitting right next to my All-Star at the moment. If you're comfortable with the protection it gives you I'd say keep using it. I've only taken one decent shot to the All-Star so far and it just bounced right off. The All-Star is comfortable and cool, but is it worth $200 more than the Champro? Meh, probably not. I do like the concept of the blades intersecting the plastic plate on the bottom pad though. 

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