Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sock Grenades For The Modern Era

WHAT? A post about socks? From the most hardline of the Gun People in HvZ?

Yes. Socks! No matter what, even if I "know I won't use them", I always have them in case I am wrong, and you should too. That matter is worsened by the modern trend toward using socks as the alternate ammo of choice for stunning partially-invulnerable special zombies. But as everything else escalates, socks need a bit of attention.

Some of the problems originally experienced with socks were that the result did not have any durability and was far too soft and low-density to throw effectively. Thus, players began using more engineered rolling techniques and tape by the late dark ages (2010). Carrying socks was troublesome, so velcro was often added. That is where the mainstream of sock technology is left, with these main troubles:
  • The hook and loop system (Velcro) may detach from the sock when it is ripped off the carrying gear, whether it is PSA backed peel/stick type or is glued on with a separate adhesive.
  • The typical flat rolling method creates a tendency for the inside end of the sock to work its way out the axis of the roll and then the whole thing unravels.
So this is how I do mine, which is based on work by one of the UF sock gods.

You need:

  • Scissors.
  • Medium size men's ankle socks (work best, use your brain for alternatives)
  • Duct tape
  • Adhesive back hook and loop fastener (Velcro), loop side (*)

The first step is to lay out your sock as if it came out of the package and cut it lengthwise in half.

Now prep your tape so it is handy because you WILL NOT have free hands in the next 2 steps. All strips should be around 10" long. You need one 1-1.25" wide strip and a number of 1/4" to 1/2" strips.


Start at the elastic end of the sock strip and start tightly rolling. The more tension during this process, the denser the result. Note that you leave the sock strip folded as it was after cutting.


When you complete the roll, hold it with one hand and grab the 1-1.25" tape strip with the other. Tightly tape the roll in the same direction of winding as the sock strip. 

Your sock roll is now a bit sloppy and uneven at the ends. We can get cleaner results and better compaction. Use a somewhat blunt stabby instrument such as the tip of your scissors or a letter opener to repeatedly poke the protruding material into the center of the sock roll until it is flat. It will act like a sewing needle and carry the fabric with it. CAUTION: Don't stab yourself in the hand while doing this!

Repeat on both ends. This is the result:

Finish it by placing against a solid object (not the carpet shown) and hammering with anything convenient until you have a dense, flat-ended cylinder.

This is what you want a sock to look like.

Now grab one of your narrow tape strips and wrap, tightly, in the orthogonal direction to the winding as shown.

This secures the ends of the roll, preventing end unravelling and loss of compaction.

Cut adhesive backed Velcro to approximately the size shown - about as wide as the diameter of the sock and slightly shorter than the width of the rolling tape strip.


Now this is the key.

Grab another narrow tape strip and wrap tightly near the end of the roll, overlapping the end of the Velcro. You don't need much overlap (it is lost surface area of fastener, so try to minimize it).

Repeat on the other end and you have a finished sock grenade.

The Velcro is secured by the tape at the corners, which are where peeling starts, and will rarely if ever fail no matter how frantically you rip socks off your gear as specials come barreling at you.

Now you just need sock gear of your choice.


This guide assumes the following:
  • Your game does not prohibit using less than a whole as-manufactured sock. In that case, choose smaller socks or adapt to a larger end product.
  • Your game does not prohibit tape on socks. In that case, you are SOL.
  • (*) You follow the common HvZ standard of using loop side "soft" velcro on socks and having dedicated sock gear with hook-side "scratchy" velcro, which is the inverse of the normal standard for LBE velcro use, in order to not throw hook side velcro at people. If you put socks on standard gear hook/loop areas, check that your game does not ban hook velcro on socks, because some do.

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