I decided that my first version of the fighting suit looked far too complex to be the one which Mandella would have fought in at the beginning of his military career, particularly compared to the suit I just finished, which would have been the second iteration.
So I went back to the drawing board with it, first re-reading the relevant sections of the book and then pawing through my vast reference files. I've been working on this all morning:
It feels much bulkier and cruder, which is exactly what I was going for. My two main pieces of reference were spacesuits and modern ballistic vests. When I finish it and the third suit (the one that Mandella wears as a Major in 2458,) I'll put them on a single image.