Written by Mike Carter, Hull KR Shirts.
Hopefully, by now, you’ve had the chance to watch the Special Edition of Talking Shirts with Hull KR Shirts. In this edition, I show you a shirt which never was, the Best of X-Blades shirt. It’s probably a good idea for you to watch the video before you read this review, so I have added it below for you. Enjoy!
Now that you’re all caught up let’s get further into the finer details of the shirt. The shirt is made up of broken pieces of shirts from the 2017-2019 X-Blades era. Hull KR are very proactive with trying to improve the quality and quantity of their retail range and this item was an attempt at that. The idea behind the shirt is excellent and I’m disappointed that it never came off as a retail item.
There were four different design layouts which the club had to choose from and I have CAD (Computer-Aided Design) images of them all included within this article! Oooo…
The shirt which I have is Option A1. This was the chosen design to go with should the sample have been signed off. Unfortunately, as I mentioned in the video, the sample shirt arrived with the club and the colours didn’t match that of the original shirts. The turnaround to request another sample and then manufacture passed the time scale the club wanted, which was pre-October due to the release of the 2020 Warm Up Tee, the first launch from Oxen. Therefore, another sample wasn’t requested. I’m glad that we have people at the club who have the mindset that if something isn’t right we don’t go with it. It could be easy to just say do it, even if it wasn’t right, to make a quick buck but that wasn’t the case here.
My only criticism of Option A1 is, I think there is too much white from the centre to the left shoulder (as wearing). I think that the chest may have looked better in another colour with a white sleeve – which features on all 4 CAD drawings. On the CAD drawing, it looks good, but when you have the sample shirt on the mannequin it looks very plain, in such a prominent position with all the other designs across the shirt.
I must admit I love the look of the 2019 home shirt sleeve trim combined with that of the 2017 home shirt though, that could make a great look for a future Hull KR home shirt…
Next up is Option A2. Now this one is probably my personal favourite of the four. Having the 2018 home shirt feature in the centre chest position gives a better look to that of Option A1 in my opinion. Both 2019 home and away shirts feature heavily across all the designs for the Best of X-Blades shirt and you can understand why. The twin stripe camouflage on the home shirt was excellent and the bold white stripe on the blue was shirt was a great colour combination.
Onto Option A3, this time the central chest spot around the badge was given to the 2019 away shirt. Again from the CAD image, I think it looks stronger not being white. The 2018 away shirt gets a stronger showing for the first time in the designs, with a lovely showing of pink down the right side (as wearing). Lovely stuff.
Lastly, we have Option A4. For the first time, we see the crest move into the tradition placement on the left side of the chest (as wearing). With the Best of X-Blades shirt not featuring any X-Blades branding, it looks a little bit lost in its now traditional position on this option, so I can see why it was decided to have it feature in a central location on the shirt.
As I spoke about on the video, due to licensing issues the 2018 charity shirt doesn’t feature on the Best of X-Blades shirt. When the club progressed with seeking the legal rights from Andy Bell of Erasure, it was only agreed to cover that shirt, and that all profits from the shirt went to charity.
You will have also noticed the #6 from the 2017 home shirt too. This featured across all four designs, and when I asked for further information on the shirt I was told it was a specific request for the #6 to feature on the reverse, in another fitting tribute to Roger Millward.
As you’ve seen in the video a sample was made for a vest too. I love a good vest, especially a Hull KR one, although they generally don’t like me, or my body shape. However, I feel the design is far more suited to that of a vest than a t-shirt. It seems much easier on the eye to me and feels much more aesthetically pleasing.
What do you make of the Best of X-Blades shirt? Would you have purchased it, if it was released? Which do you prefer, the T-Shirt or the Vest?
I’m very interested to know so reach out on any of my social media platforms with your opinion!