I am also starting on a year long custom mando project. I decided to go with an "LSU" custom mando, since we already have a "New Orleans Saints" custom mando in our group. I have included a few drawings of what I am trying to go for. I have already ordered the armor and I have Batninja making the vest for me. Over the next several months, I will order my helmet, belt, scats, pouches and have the helmet professionally painted.
Here is a photo of our resident Saints Mando named Larry. See below:
He also did a Saints clone. See Below: