Just following up to everyone's replies. Thanks so much for the kind words. A few months later and I have about 7 troops under my belt. Considering upgrading a few parts here and there but it's been a blast.
The 3D printed sidearm by AprilStorm was a lifesaver. It stays in the holster anyway so I didn't want to drop a lot on it.
I'll be updating this thread when I get around to upgrading a few parts. I think I'm going to try to get my hands on real horse hair braids. I also want to weather my flight suit some more. Little things that add up.