After a very long hiatus we are back. I’d like to pretend we were off doing exciting stuff, covert ops, solving the energy crisis or maybe finding a cure for stupidity. But just mundane everyday life I’m afraid. that’s what happens when you get old…

Handsome as ever…

Our first get together of 2017. Off to a very sunny Northern Airsoft Alliance at Dishforth, near the A1/A19 junction. Met by loads of buddies from other teams who fate had brought out as well. Since we are now scattered across the north east the venue is an ideal meeting place. easy access and not too far to travel for any of us.

We met up in the car park for the traditional “where is the damn thing -I’m sure I put it in the boot” pre-amble and immediately it was obvious the amount of work that has taken place at NAA since were last there (although that was quite a while ago if we’re honest). One of our old suggestions was moving the safe zone and office to allow some more of the structures for games and they have done exactly that (from our suggestion I am certain). There are now purpose built shelters adjacent to the car park for the safe zone, seating areas, tables and a decent size office for signing in and selling you all manner of airsoft related goodies – at decent prices to! (yes, well known large multi site operator we’re looking at you)

The rest of the site has seen similar amounts of hard work. There are far more cut -throughs in and around the 2 bunker complexes. The structures dotted about have received some love and attention, and many of the bunker buildings now have internal partitions or barricades.

So to the games!

First up as always athe safety brief. Now on occassion the safety brief can be a bugbear of mine. Either glib and paying lip service or overly long and complicated to the point of unintelligible. Happy to report this was neither. Succint, to the point and covering everything needed to ensure good fair and above all else safe airsofting.

They actually all listened for a change…

The players were a good mixture of obvious regulars, a few complete newbies, and some like us not regulars but played plenty before. Quickly divided up into 2 teams with armbands (something I’m divided on, I understand why we use them but I love the chaos of having to remember who’s on your team sometimes and seeing what I can get away with). The first game was a long rolling retreat game across the entire site. We defended half a dozen positions sequentially with our spawn retreating further and further back. The attackers had a tough job, some good teamwork and communications meant we covered their limited lines of attack well and made life extremely hard for them. To their credit they kept coming – it must have been tiring in the heat and the sun to keep respawning and trying again.

They shall not pass!

The objectives were enhanced with a siren system in each structure – once they got a player in and set it off that base was captured and we had to fall back. Have to say the small Ares VZ I’m running at the moment was excellent. Sensible fps for CQB but it maintains a decent range and accuracy given it’s short barrel length, very agile as well.

It was hard going trying to keep up defending so I can only imagine how hard it was to maintain the momentum attacking. There were some great long range battles across open ground between the 2 bunker complexes with some good hit calling witnessed on both sides. The CQB in and around the bunkers themselves was fast, frantic and sporting. Didn’t witness any overkill which is always good to see and the odd burst of auto fire quickly followed by a quick “sorry mate” as they switched to semi. (It happens, we’ve all done it-be honest)

pew pew pew…

Having finished at one end of the site having been eventually and inevitably over run we had a game centred around just one of the bunker complexes. A simple capture real estate style game. 6 Bunkers arranged in 2 rows of 3. Each team starts either side with a respawn point set back and at the end of 20 minutes who controls the most undisputed bunkers wins. In all honesty I’ve still no idea who won. Was close fought and fast paced though, great fun and lots of pyro!

Lunch was catered for by the site. Orders taken when you sign in so you get your choice of a local fresh pie plus some snacks and cold drinks, all in the game day price. Small thing but always good to get! The new (well to us anyway!) safe area is great to relax in. Plenty of room, decent toilets and close to the cars for those inevitable trips back and forth…

After lunch we headed straight into a “move the VIP” style game. Again the whole site was available to us as the team tasked with moving the high value target. My suggestion we shoot him straight off and call it a draw didn’t seem popular so we got down to it. Trying to make ground through the bunkers was a nightmare. We seemed to draw fire from every direction and only some hard work flanking got us some progress. The open ground was no easier. With the defenders able to site back in the next group of bunkers we had to gird our loins and just go for it to get to the next piece of cover. We eventually made it to the ends of the site, but it was hard work. The last few areas seemed to be teeming with defenders. The last dash to get the VIP into the last building was a good fast dash under fire. Exciting stuff!

The last games were an assault on a bunker complex, the objective being to set off the sirens in each bunker as the team advanced. Over a smaller area than some of the games had been this lead to concentrated firefights as teams had to assault inch by inch dashing to each next piece of cover as the opportunity presented. This sapped the last of my energy on a warm day and having spent my last respawn I watched the opposition clear out the last few of our defenders, always good fun to sit from a decent vantage and watch the action sometimes – see the end of the video below! (banter notwithstanding!)

If I do have a suggestion from this game day it was at this point I realised just how hard it is for games to flow with players having the ability to shoot through tiny murder holes. It really is virtually impossible to do anything but stand there and get shot. Only by endlessly acting as a decoy and respawning about 20 times until the defenders were just watching me was one of our team able to close and drop pyro in. With players able to close doors on bunker buildings it quickly becomes dispiriting and makes the games stagnate. I think that either stopping the doors from closing or blocking some of these holes would help the games run faster and keep momentum up. Only a small thing and in no way spoilt my day!

One way to do it..

All in all, a cracking day. Not only did I find my enthusiasm for a good days airsoft renewed after a bit of a break but the consensus seemed the same on both teams.

Thanks all!

Great to see the lads out from various teams we know, shout outs to The Einherjar & Wasps. Finally huge thanks to Will and all of his marshals who even seemed to remember us. They made us feel most welcome and ran a slick and above all fun day. BZ all round

Bit of video, although camera issues and operator incompetence limited how much decent footage there was – gives a good idea of the site though!

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Well last year at some point I must have dropped it. Managed to pull or pop one of the two receiver to stock bolt holes and stripped it smooth. Buggrit. 

Asking the brain pool (derks and Jamie?) for advice we came up with tapping out and reinforcing. There isn’t enough depth of metal to use thread savers etc so a new hole was needed. 

My engineering skills are fairly limited and my tools mostly ‘acquired’ and therefore incomplete but I do have an M4 tap and an adjustable spanner. So the hole was drilled, tapped and cleaned. And it was straight!

To reinforce I bolted the new receiver bolt in with a nut on. This was wound down and epoxied in place to lengthen the thread. The stock needed a touch of dremmeling to seat the receiver properly. 

Works quite well and has held for at least one game day…..

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If you are trying a new inner barrel don’t forget to give it a clean first. It’s much easier off the gun but also very necessary. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s clean!

Still needs a clean though….

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…when you find a new Airsoft store. This one happens to be on my doorstep too. Oops.


Was in the process of helping out a Raptor wannabe with a part he was buying, and trying to save him some postage. Turned up to pick his purchase up expecting a small a ratty unit just doing mail order stuff but no!


I found a very neat, well presented store with a wide variety of gear and more importantly parts (lots of retailers nowadays have racks of viper fluff but no shiny CNC parts, springs, magic foofoo parts that you can’t find etc)

Upstairs was even better. An Aladdin’s cave full to the brim with rifles, pistols and aeg’s, barrels and an MMA style cage containing the shops two native techies.


Busy away on someone’s aeg they were only too happy to help out when I asked about obscure ASG Scorpion parts (shiny new stock adaptor to open up the M4 Soomod range of stocks to my Scorpion & the new high cap)ASPUK cover a lot fonts ASG range including the new scorpion.

As well as Derkas bit of kit, I’m after upgrade parts for my new VSR CO2 WellMB 10 Stocked sniper rifle bastardisation. Knowledgable support….I gave them the usual grilling, prices, alternatives, modding etc. All came up trumps and even learnt a new trick that I’d never thought of for modding barrels. So not just a mail order outfit but an informed operation.

So thanks to Richard, Paul and Matthew. I’ll be back soon for the second hand hop unit and a brew! Holding you to the price.


Almost forgot. They also have their own site. BlackDagger Airsoft out of Dronfield running on Saturdays. No website just an invite only Faceache page. So if you aren’t a twat I’m sure they’ll let you in.

Swampy.

Oh and they all have beards. Got to be legit then.

 

+++UPDATE+++

Because Swampy is crap at links…. here’s their FB page …Spider

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Well it seems this last year has seen the Raptors once again go all vain and interesting. Not content with Flecktarn pattern as the BDU of choice, I finally decided to get some ATACS FG kit now that it’s available over here and not silly money. I like MTP, Multicam types but never enough to buy it. That and most airsofters  use it nowadays so the raptors obviously avoid it like the fashion faux pas that it is.
Looking at images of FG on the net it looks deceptively woolly and vague which I really like. So the plunge was plunged. New BDUs and a rig with, for once matching pouches, bladder carrier and holster. Oooooh go on sir. Suits you.


What’s it like in the field? Well I bought Propper BDUs as I’ve always liked them. Spider bought cheaper stuff, went all stunt man and ripped the arse out of his. Not a bad repair to do but still having the two sets up close I’m glad I splashed out a bit as I don’t imagine we’ll be changing pattern for a bit so it needs to last.

In terms of colour fastness if you know the raptors you’ll know the BDUs never get washed. [yeah but seriously mate, those pants are starting to reek…. spider] Ever. It’s just bad juju and shouldn’t be done. That’s right. We generally stink but are all the more awesome for it. Also keeps the foxholes clear when needed, prevents aegs from failing and keeps peasants away.

I’m alone in the team for this next part. Painting aegs. I have a penchant for skinning my guns with a paint job to match. Did it with my systema and the Marpat I wore at the time (pain in the arse to stencil and paint) and it worked out well. This time I’ve done my M4, ASP2 and will be doing my CO2 VSR when I get round to getting it off Milgeek. Might even do the ASG Scorpion. Might.

So how did I do it. Well Milgeek will be along shortly I would imagine to show you how a proper modeller does it with an airbrush and skill. Me? I got half a dozen shades of Tamiya acrylic paints approximating my boonie hat in shade and had a bash. Good place for cheap Tamiya paints and small natural sponges is hobbycraft by the way.

I Started by spraying some heavy weight notepad paper with krylon Khaki as a base to test on. It seems ATACS FG runs light to dark as far as my eyes are concerned so this will be the base coat for everything, and krylon is  excellent for Airsoft needs. After that it’s daubing time with various bits of sponge and redaubing with a sponge with thinners on to lift colour off and give the watercolour effect ATACS has. Works quite well if a little less defined than the actual thing.

Repeating through increasingly darker shades finally to brown seems to fit nicely. The key seems to be working relatively quickly on partially dry previous layers to allow a little bleed between colours. Also repeating a few patches of previous colours here and there adds a bit of complexity.

A pleasant evenings work.

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As part of this years fashion upgrade I was pointed in the direction of a nice piece of kit from everyone’s favourite Gucci supplier UK Tactical. Renowned for being a bit pricey, their service and quality justify this price in my mind. Yes I’m a geardo and yes you can get 5.62 pouches from China but that’s not why I do the Airsoft.

The holster is relatively low profile, ATACS all over and importantly adjustable for lots of different frame sizes. It has overlapping Velcro panels that allow you to get the fit and retention you want. A neat thumb action unlock allows for a smooth draw. Very happy.

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So I’ve used trip mines on and off for a few years. Had some great laughs usually with misfires whilst setting…. Spider.  Never owned any myself always used spiders 12g spring loaded affairs. Very effective but arsey to set. Well for me anyway so never thought to buy any for the sake of them sitting in a drawer and not being used.

Roll on to a recent game day and Jamieraptor pulls a small cylinder and trip line out and twirls it around like a nunchuck. Always interested in shiny new stuff Jamie let me have a go.


The dynatex Scaremonger is small, very easy to set yet easy to trigger , runs on 9mm blanks, is loud and has a built in safe mechanism. Bit pricey should it go missing as people have had happen but worth it all the same I think. Should be fun at the next skirmish. Sprayed mine up green as its a bit shiny and visible.

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As part of my recent M4 refit I decided to replace the mag release catch and hop unit. Didn’t look very hard and trusted to the gods a bit as I was in a hurry at the time and plumbed for a nice loooong CNC hop and a standard catch from Poison Apple Airsoft via eBay. Arrived the next day – free. Prices were good. Deffo shop there again. Thanks.

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Still Airsoft never goes away even if real life is a bit busy on occasion.

Recently started a rebuild of my SRC M4 including a paint job. Now I’ve never done a rewire so it’s a bit of a learning curve and chuck in the addition of a Gate Nano AAB mosfet


then things get interesting. Especially for a non electrical type like me.

Started by taking lots and lots of pictures of the current wiring as I stripped it down to ensure I could put it all  back if need be. A word or two on the strip down – bloody awful. The SRC is a very badly designed V2 piece of kit. Shame as it runs great but the take down is complicated. Gear box internals are as standard however which is good news.

This is the first time the box has been opened on my SRC and from the get go everything was clearly coated in shed loads of an unknown grease. First job – a clean down with electrical contact cleaner and a relube with a good quality synthetic grease containing PTFE. The PTFE aids in preventing what is known as stick slip in lubrication parlance. At the point of start up there is always a high level of friction between metal surfaces when they’ve been at rest. The solid PTFE keeps the surfaces separated and aids immediate start up. Not sure how much it adds to performance but the theory is sound.

Decided to upgrade the spring at the same time and have a go at porting the piston to see what happens. It’s always been slightly underpowered so this should help.

Cosmetically I’ve added a FAB defence mag well grip. Had it for ages so it’s fashionably uncool in a magpul world but I don’t care as its comfy.


So the rewire…. Turns out that the twin core I normally use for such jobs is a tad too thick for the job. It caused a jam up between the hop unit and the upper receiver putting a twist on the hop onto barrel connection. Not good.  Hmm. Still don’t like electrics. So the rebuild is on hold until the narrower gauge bendy silicone wire gets here from flea bay. Also took the opportunity to order a replacement mag catch and a CNC hop unit. In for a penny I for just over a few quid in this case. Money well spent. Stay tuned.

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Well its been a long long long time since I was on here.  My daughter can now answer me aback and give me cheek its been that long!  Last time I was on I think she had managed to open her eyes a bit….

So to make it up to the Spiderloon, a few reviews and write ups methinks.  Starting with a recent trip to First & Only Retail in Swinton.  I happened to be passing by the area so called in for a chat and a look at some new kit as I hoped to be hitting the field again.  New TM and ASG aeg’s on the wall oooooh.

Got chatting to Dan the store manager about airsoft in general including import issues retailers are facing (making CYMA a bit harder to get hold of…) and had a look around the place.  They’ve a cracking tech centre and shooting range for short arms, plus a well stocked pistol cabinet.  Most gear tends to be on the mobile store however (if you frequent F&O sites you’ll be familiar with the beast) so if you want something in particular give them a call first.  First rate staff who know their stuff and how to run games.

Dan took me through the next gen TM with recoil and the new ASG Scorpion CZ Evo 3A1.  Both of which are cracking pieces of kit.  The TM showed the best recoil setup I have seen on any attempt to date, and the ASG comes with mosfet prefitted and three round burst on the selector as standard…… oh dear. Both are midcap options but with dead gun on mag empty.  The scorpion requires the forward release to be operated before gunning can continue.

I bought the ASG on another trip a couple of weeks later…. review to follow.

Jamie turned up a short while later and I was pleasantly surprised that he recognised me and mentioned the Spider,  given the hiatus and frequency of our trips to F&O sites.  I/we have always rated and enjoyed F&O game days and weekenders – they seem to lack the crap that sometimes comes with big site and multi day operations.  Just shows that listening to your players and looking after your customers pays off – a sale sir?  Why not.

A pleasant hour spent mooching and talking about softin’.  Can recommend a call in if you are a noob or seasoned player.

 

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Great to get together for a weekend again, obviously we take preparation very seriously with nutrition and hydration featuring highly on our list, so Saturday night went like this…

Nom nom nom...

Nom nom nom…


remember - Stay hydrated at all times!

remember – Stay hydrated at all times!


His snipers nest needs some work on the camo....

His snipers nest needs some work on the camo….

The following morning we set off back up to NSC at Boldon. First time out in a while again for us both. The hazy morning mist and post BBQ & beer fugue quickly gave way to a day full of heat and pyrotechnics…

resplendent as always..

resplendent as always..


First up, it was great to see some good numbers and plenty of young players getting stuck in. They certainly seemed to enjoy the day and I always like the general friendly atmosphere there from the players as well as the marshals.
all manner of Boom  width=

all manner of Boom


A quick top off with pyro from JackRabbit who has a good selection available on site now, and a good briefing as always, and off we went into a battle through the garages and cottages for those that know the site.
It was 30 mins or the pizza's free, right?

It was 30 mins or the pizza’s free, right?


Essentially a linear series of broken down buildings with fields to one side and a disused factory to the other. It makes for many angles of fire and some great fun lobbing pyro at each other with frantic dashes (see the youtube vid below!) in between. All in, a good way to wake everyone up and get the new players involved in the thick of it early.
Thiis place needs redecorating...

Thiis place needs redecorating…


The next game was a much longer game involving a rolling defence through a series of buildings culminating in clearing some of the bunkers. For the gaps in between the buildings you could really tell summer has arrived with the foliage providing some excellent cover (and hiding places for defenders).
"Come on, vogue....."

“Come on, vogue…..”


Once up to the bunkers it is incredibly difficult to make ground into them at first, but once a foothold inside is made they tend to fall in short succesion. It does make for some very different types of play as you move from broken down shells of buildings, through deep foliage, fields and trees into frantic cqb in dark limited bunkers. Something for everyone!

The mortar system used in this game was good as well, as suposedly random times and locations the attackers would be subjected to a mortar attack (marshal lobbing pyro) until the moratr was put out of action

That put a stop to that!

That put a stop to that!

After a welcome stop for some lunch, we headed out to play the same game reversed which is always good to see for attack/defend type games giving everyone an equal opportunity to experience just how hard assaulting can be. One thing worth mentioning is the pyro rules for the enclosed bunkers. A very sensible 1 smoke grenade at a time limit.

Swampy finding his inner artist...

Swampy finding his inner artist…


All the players I witnessed seemed to apply it sensibly and it ensured that defenders weren’t effectively gassed out and remained safe whilst allowing some tactical use of smoke to aid breaching.
Be the tree...

Be the tree…


The last game for us was an Alamo style defend a building on the other side of the site. with only 10 defenders the attackers came thick and fast, and as soon as they had a foothold through the undergrowth protecting their approach it became chaos. BB’s flying every, convinced someone was coming round the corner to get you. Proper exciting fun!

We called it quits there for the day and began the long haul south, with a quick stop to finish the weekend as we began naturally…

Who ate all the snacks?

Who ate all the snacks?

Finally, some video from the day itself…

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To balance out todays previous bad news it occured to me that we did not say cheers to Stitch me up for their excellent patches we took delivery of at christmas.

Coveted & sexy...

Coveted & sexy…

They do loads of work for airsoft teams and I’ve yet to hear a single bad word about them. Our’s was certainly delivered promptly and in great packaging protecting the patches – at a very reasonable price! You can check out their facebook page for loads of examples of their work and they’ll do batches large and small…
Well done Swamps for picking them!
BZ

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Anyone who reads our game day reviews knows we try to be as positive as possible and highlight the best points of sites, so this is one of those rare occasions we have to report something definitely not so good.

Recent Raptors returnee and resident grenadier expert Derka was looking to book a private game day for a special occasion, having played all the local north east sites and having had good experiences on the whole at all of them we had no hesitation in recommending the most local one to him to cut down on hassles with travel. So he contacted NTAC at Shildon.

He contacted them to ask if they could take 30+ full hires with a some additional walk ons (airsoft regulars with own kit) on a Saturday as part of his brothers stag weekend. Well over a £1,000 worth of business, when you figure in extra BB’s, pyro and drinks and munchies probably closer to over £2,000. Having had the booking confirmed and even offering to make a deposit he was informed no deposit was necessary and “pay on the day”. Off he went to inform everyone and book transport…

Fast forward to T-4 days when he was asked by the site if he knew a name in his party. When the name was unfamiliar it became apparent to the site that they had double booked the day and told Derka he would have to have another weekend. On the Tuesday before his brothers stag weekend. I’m sure you can imagine how this news was greeted.

In the sites defence they have explained that their booking system was overloaded as it could only cope with 100 free messages and so didn’t read any more, and they apologised for “any inconvenience caused”.

Have to say that the inconvenience is considerable, cancelling 40 or so players with less than 4 days to go, for his brothers stag weekend, having had a booking accepted and confirmed and having booked minibuses for transport. For a business taking orders over a thousand pounds the excuse that our free booking system was overloaded and we didn’t clear it is pretty unforgivable. I’m certain that if anyone was spending that amount on any other service you would expect a decent level of professionalism.

So what now?

Well, Derks is faced with last minute panic through no fault of his own. To further compound the disappointment all the other sites in the area say they would have been happy to help if they had a bit more notice to get hold of marshals etc, understandable really.

In all good conscience if you’re looking for a large game day booking we cannot possibly recommend NTAC following this. For a large airsoft booking in the North East try either NSC at South Shields or NAA at Dishforth depending on your location and preferences. A quick look back through our reviews and you can see from our game day reports that we’ve had a warm welcome and many great days airsoft at both.

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Off I went…
Not often I get to buy new gear at the moment, so after first having had a few goes on Derkas Ares Vz58 I made the trip south to Patrol Base to make the purchase. I know if you’re prepared to hunt around you can probably knock a tenner off, but there is still something I like about going to a shop, picking out the one I want and leaving with it.

Everyone loves a new gun!

Everyone loves a new gun!

Some comments on Patrol Base. It’s easy enough to find and we had no trouble parking up. Once inside its a spacious shop with plenty of stock. The guys were very enthusiastic even letting me shoot off a few rounds on the display model they had on show in their test range. My only proviso was they tried to sell me a battery they insisted fitted, and only the fact that I had experience of actually using a VZ58 made me cautious. When I said fine if they could fit it for me I’d buy 2 did they concede (after much trying) that none of their batteries in stock fitted. More of the batteries later though…

Almost fresh out of the box...

Almost fresh out of the box…

As the Ares website highlights, the VZ58 series comes with a propriety mag which are about £30 each at the moment, and you can see I went for the compact version. For those who like to read up on the real world counterparts there’s some info here.

Also in the box were cleaning rods, mag loader, and some reasonably decent instructions. Read them! No batteries of any kind, which I don’t mind as they’re usually inferior and never get used in any case.

Read them! You never know...

Read them! You never know…

I added a few modifications to my initial purchase. First up and probably most pragmatic was the magazine adapter to allow the VZ58 to accommodate M4 type mags. This gives you access to a far wider variety and they tend to be cheaper!

Mag well adapter for all those M4 mags you already have!

Mag well adapter for all those M4 mags you already have!

Next up was a suppressor, reasonably short and simple dual ended type. Primarily because I liked the look of it, but having skirmished the VZ58 now it definitely mutes the noise of the gearbox taking a lot of the sharpness out of it. It turns it into a satisyingly solid thump rather than a crack and seems to be harder to position from any sort of distance.

extra sneakiness fitted....

extra sneakiness fitted….

Lastly for now was the quick release sidemount attachment that allows me to use the QR sidemount from my AK105. Fitting was a matter of minutes allowing the VZ to mount a toprail for scope and sights. This top rail does make fitting the battery more fiddly so be warned!

QR sidemount ready!

QR sidemount ready!

The ring for attaching sligs is definitely robust and feels secure. After the somewhat flimsy affairs on the side of some CYMA AK’s this was a welcome find.

Why aren't all guns fitted with one of these?

Why aren’t all guns fitted with one of these?

..and of course it has a folding stock, with the stock folding to the right so you can still make use of the QR sidemount and access the selector switch with ease.

Even shorter...

Even shorter…

However!
This brings me to a definite gripe. The folding stock relies on a screwcap retaining a small spring over the pin in the hinge. I was warned by other owners this would be loose and to get some threadlock on it immediately. Like an idiot I hadn’t got round to it before I skirmished it the first time. The VZ didn’t even make it past the safety brief before this pinged it’s way across the carpark. Why they seem unable to secure this I have no idea. Sheer dogged luck and some very helpful friends enable me to find the escaped parts (and they go a long way) and it was replaced having been smothered in threadlock. I may look into a more permanent securing pin mod at a later date.

PAY ATTENTION! THREADLOCK THIS BIT!

PAY ATTENTION! THREADLOCK THIS BIT!

Power it up!
Right. Batteries. The only batteries I can find that currently fit the recived space are G&P 7.4v lipo at the moment. You can get them on the usual popular auction site from overseas, but I also recommend checking out our pyro supplier Jack Rabbit who have supply at wholesale prices here in Blighty. Replacing them can be fraught so here’s my best method so far…

Step 1 slide pin to unsecure rear of top receiver

Battery step 1

Battery step 1

Step 2 remove the receiver top completely.

Battery step 2

Battery step 2

Step 3 move the cocking handle rearwards

Battery Step 3

Battery Step 3

Step 4 remove the cocking handle reciever section as well to permit access to the battery with ease.

Battery Step 4

Battery Step 4

I find it easiest to lay the new battery in position carefully and essentially go through all the above procedures in reverse to fit. BE WARNED it remains a tight fit, be wary of trapping wires and damaging LiPo batteries when doing so!

But having done all this you are presented with a tidy tight and refreshingly rattle free AEG. Having skirmished it once I can assure that the electronic programmable gearbox seems to work well. using 7.4v LiPo gives it more than fast enough rate of fire, although I tend to leave it in semi. (see our video from the last game day report. I intend to program this to either a 3 shot burst or semi auto only at a later date, so I’ll update the performance then.

In action I found it beautifully nimble and accurate for it’s size. Power was dead on 326 fps out of the box (1 Joule) so no need to be using the quick access for the spring just yet that the current Ares AEG come fitted with.

Pros
Solid
Small size makes it agile (ideal CQB)
Good range on stock hop set up
Perfectly powered out of box
Can take standard mags with adapter

Cons
Make sure stock hinge is secured properly!
Battery compartment is small and fiddly

Overall? A cracking little AEG. I mean, just look at it...

Admit it, you want one now don't you?...

Admit it, you want one now don’t you?…

Costs…
VZ58 Compact £192
Mag Adapter £29.99
Suppressor £10
plus I went for some additional Ares Amoeba mid cap 140rd M4 magazines at £9.99
G&P 7.4v LiPo batteries £25

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A cold bleak wintery day…
An eagerly anticapted day out for a number of reasons. First both raptors made the long trek north to NSC Boldon, and always good to see my buddy! To make the day even better, long term Raptors groupies Derka & Jamie were in attendance.

Raptors rocking the ATACS FG camo...

Raptors rocking the ATACS FG camo…

It was also the first chance to give a new AEG a run out, having recently purchased a VZ58 from Patrol Base I was keen to see how it fared (review to follow)

Weather was as you would expect for the end of November in the northeast. Cold, icy and damp. Despite that the safe zone filled up quickly. The undercover area a great addition to the site letting you get kitted up, mill about and socialise out of the wind and rain (or hail and sleet in this case). Funny how much you come to appreciate this!

Swampy takes aim...

Swampy takes aim…

Into it then

As always at NSC a comprehensive and well done safety brief started the day. Then straight into a relative fast “kill the opposition” game to get people playing and warmed up! It was great to see so many youngsters playing, and playing well. It was quickly apparent that a lot of the undergrowth from the summer has died back a long way and there was a lot more open ground to cover – also presenting the opportunity for some manic long range duels.. one of which allowed me the chance of a great sneak up on one of the Opfor. All the time expecting a hail of BB’s coming at me. Definite pulse pounding moment – and for once captured on the gopro!

The next game was a fall back type scenario. The raptors plus Jamie decide to hide out in a little brick building and let the attackers pass by before delivering a surprise from the rear. As luck (and it was sheer luck) would have it it also presented an opportunity to shoot one of the NSC regulars in the back and leave him believing his own team shot him. Evil twat? certainly. But you’d all do it given the chance and you know it… The game progressed as we fell back to the bunkers. The attackers trying to breach and secure a footing inside whilst we desperately tried to deny them entry. Veritable hailstorms of BB’s traded in both directions, with some great sportmanship seen, with players calling hits in the dark and gentlemanly allowing shot players to clear the area before resuming hostilities. BZ all round.

What lurks in the dark?... Spider does. Always bloody Spider

What lurks in the dark?… Spider does. Always bloody Spider

One of my only concerns on the day at this point would be the use of smoke grenades in or near bunker entrances. Not convinced the smoke is particularly good for anyone in enclosed spaces and I know as last man in it was hard not to cough and give my position away. Would hate to see a ban, as a single smoke is fine overall – but several at once could be a real issue.

We were off for lunch at this point, and the nice warm grub provided by NSC was most welcome – hot drinks, hot dogs and soup all round seemed to go down very well with everyone.

Things that make you go boom

The afternoon games started with an objective based game to secure, arm and then defend a device that the guys at NSC had custom built. We had the chance for a good look at it earlier on and it looks awesome. Digital keypad activation with countdown timers and pyro detonators. I love great props like this in games and think they add a whole extra dimension to the gameplay

Tick, tick... boom!

Tick, tick… boom!

The gameplay was based on the use of a large open building with teams approaching from opposite sides. Players had to get to the device and arm it, then defend it for 20 minutes so it could detonate – or disarm it. We quickly lost ground to the opposition and found our spawn covered, from then on the end was predictable. No matter how hard we tried it they had us pinned back and got a well deserved win.

We returned the favour on the return match however, the youngsters on our team piled into the factory and secured the bomb, there then started a dogged defence as the opposition tried to straight on attack, then flank us. the game turning into a real gritty hold on to the end type situation. It has to be said with the close nature of the games we were having such a good time no-one noticed the cold or the damp, and i enjoyed running about so much I ended up laid out with cramp!

All in all a cracking days airsoft. Played in good spirits and enjoyed using the new AEG. I managed to get a bit of footage from the gopro although as with the AEGs the cold quickly ate into battery life… enjoy!

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Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 11.46.58A little left-field but traditional style board games are the new rock and roll…Er, a bit of an exaggeration but they are ‘quite cool’ once again for a lot of people.

Now, on the occasions we cannot dress up as soldiers and run around the woods going ‘pew, pew’ it is nice to – dare I say – ‘socialise’ with the family. Now, this process needn’t be as painful as you might suppose and that’s where today’s boardgames come in. Forget Monopoly (and the family arguments that it results in) or that beige bag-o-monotony Scrabble – how about an evening of adventure, daring-dos and untimely sticky ends?

Every couple of Friday nights my family and I sit down to battle it out on the cardboard battlefield and this week we tried out Gamewright’s ‘Forbidden Island’ (duh, duh, duuuuuuuhhhh)!

This is typical of the modern slew of board games that have been hitting the marketplace, it replaces tedious plods around a game-board circuit with a tense and imaginative adventure where you and your compatriots take on the roll of a cast-way roll (think TV’s ‘Lost’) on a mysterious island which – frankly – is out to kill you!

This game is for 2 to 4 players with a age range of 10 and above – now at this point I say ‘hold on there’ because you saw ‘age 10 and above’ and were about to switch off weren’t you? A word to the wise, a group of adults drinking wine while playing a board game easily falls into the intellectual category of ‘age 10’, believe me I talk from experience. Overly complicated games and booze do not mix! Forbidden Island is just the right balance of simple game mechanics and intriguing game play and theme.

Forbidden Island

The ‘plot’ is simple: You and your ‘Scooby Doo’ gang have landed on a mysterious island on the look-out for arcane treasure. To escape the island you must collect four mythical objects and get them back to your helicopter as a team. Simple enough? Oh well, did I mention that the island is sinking?

Honestly, this is stupendous fun (it must be to warrant the use of the word ‘stupendous’)! For starters this is a co-op game – you are all on the same side (against the island) so none of that pain in the arse huffing like you get in Monopoly when someone get’s knocked out! And furthermore, because you are all in it together and each have a very particular specialist skill you have to co-ordinate as a team to complete the tasks in the most effective (and quickest) way!

Forbidden Island

The Diver – one of the special characters in the game. You are allotted a character and this gives you some special skills – obviously mine was swimming, which is very handy on an island that is sinking!

All through the game the water levels are rising and bits of the island become flooded and then, eventually, disappear altogether hampering your task. For such a simple game mechanic things start to get very, very tense as you all try to negotiate water obstacles to escape.

Now, hopefully I have communicated the excitement of this game, but if not here is a – hopefully- the clincher. We lost our first game – the island sank just as we were about to recover the last mystical object and return it to the helicopter pad to make our escape. Despite this the whole group of us thoroughly enjoyed the adventure, every one of us was engaged in the storyline (even the wife, who famously ‘doesn’t get’ roll playing games) and several times during the course of the quest we were all on our feet pointing out ‘better ways’ to cooperate in order to finish in time.

Forbidden Island

Whah, whah, whaaaaaaah! Game over! The island sank.

It’s a cliche – but this game really brought us together.

Forbidden Island is destined – I know – to become a firm ‘starter’ game (as it only takes up to an hour at most). It’ll really warm the group up before we undertake longer and more complex games, but even if that’s the only game you play in an evening I don’t think you will be disappointed. Buy it now!

Steve

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Some of you may have noticed a marked increase in the output of Raptors social media pages of late. Both twitter and Facebook.

I would love to say this is because Swampy and Spider have become more knowledgeable and conscientious about publishing stuff, but lets be honest it would be easier to get a noob to take their hits at Ground Zero than that.

It’s all down to the enthusiasm of previous contributer MilGeek who has started penning (should that be keyboarding?) upon our pages. A long term airsofter and self confessed old fart (probably why he fits right in…) for those who don’t know him we heartily recommend his own pages on airsoft, military history, modelling and computer gaming. You can find him over on the MilGeek Blog and his spin off pages chronicling his modelling past times. (No. Not that kind of modelling you filthy minded…)

 

..and he does graphics too!

..and he does graphics too!

We’re sure you’ll like his stuff and he shares a fun first ethos like us, has a penchent for Ruskie gear, for those that can recognise him he’s has already appeared in our vid for Centurions CQB game at Scarbrough and written the report

Welcome aboard buddy.

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5 Years on and still going strong…

Who’d have thought this website nonsense would still be getting read? Haven’t you all got better things to do?…

Rest assured more to follow and thanks for popping in!

2 blokes, too many airsoft guns, no sense.

2 blokes, too many airsoft guns, no sense.

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Back again for some more!

Just a mere 2 weeks since our last visit we were once again at the still new NSC Site, East Boldon.

Another warm day, this time we brought a couple of buddies along to give NSCs new site another bash – and hopefully not get lost this time!

A familiar format started the day off.

Good briefs and chronos all round then off to a limited site game over quite a short range. Plenty of respawns to encourage players to get stuck in and get moving. Simple shoot and scoot also lets new players, of which there were plenty, get used to the AEGs and to getting shot!

Knock Knock?....

Knock Knock?… shortly before the gearbox gave out.

The next game was similar to the sequential fall back game we had on our last visit. On the defence to start with on this occasion. The lack of breeze let us rack up some pleasing long shots into the surrounding long grass as the attackers tried to flank us, but with everyone making good use of pyro on this game day it was a lot harder to maintain a defensive line.

Defending the bunkers especially became more difficult. We had to work hard to keep the attackers away from the breach point into each bunker, sometimes with some judicious use of flashbangs ourselves! It certainly made the game flow a lot faster.

Bugger…

It was during this game that sod’s law cam into full effect. After finding a great low key position to unleash some particularly sneaky shots into the backs of the opfor my Cyma AK105 gearbox gave up (see video!). I cannot really complain about it too much, except over it’s sense of timing. It has weathered much abuse over the last few years, all with a stock gearbox and run on 11v lipo, albeit mainly on semi-auto fire. So my next job before my next game day is decided for me, I suspect a new piston is due, and maybe a mosfet. We will have to see…

To cheer myself up I unleashed a trip mine as we fell back. A quick couple of minutes supported by buddies and the rear of the Garage had a lovely surprise for the attackers in store. Must admit to chuckling quite a bit as one unsuspecting player bimbled obligingly into it – all caught on the gopro for a change as well!

A quick spot of lunch and we were back out for our next game. This time a locate and rescue the hostage type scenario. Heat and post lunch laziness meant we really just spread out as a long straggly line and started covering the site trying to find the opposition. The hostage takers had helpfully clustered together, so once a firefight broke it didn’t take too long for our team to converge on that spot and drive them back towards their spawn. Once there it was pretty much impossible for them to get back into the fight. Hostage rescued, medals all round!

The next game was our turn to attack the fall back scenario. By this point the heat was taking its toil. Rather unimaginatively we resorted to copious amounts of pyro to dislodge dogged defenders. Sometimes it’s the only way…

It was good to get back again. The guys at NSC had done some work clearing out the passageways around the bunkers making progress more certain under foot and therefore a lot faster. It was also obvious players were getting to grips with the site and learning the best ways into areas.

The numbers were well up as well. Probably double that of a couple of weeks ago as word gets out about the new site. Some new young players getting into airsoft for the first time which can only be good for it, and well played to them as well as they got stuck in.

Only things I can think of suggesting from this game day?
It will be great when the large factory building gets brought into play more. No idea what structures could be placed in there, but seems such a shame it’s not utilised more (yet!).

Whilst I appreciate the marshals are learning the site as much as the players, some different games (already promised when we chatted) would be great. Maybe some domination type stuff with opposing team trying to gain control of bunkers? My own preference is for long duration site wide games to sneak about in, but I appreciate that not everyone goes for that – and it was great to hear the plans for night games are already under way, the site should be fantastic for that.

Does my arm look big in this?

One final comment on the game day. Arm bands. With so many new players, and players who don’t know each other pink tape armbands were dished out for one team. I understand why, I really do. I just don’t like them. I love the chaos of players having to check their targets and being able to bluff someone with a wave. Having a bright pink thing on my arm really can make hiding quite difficult. If arm bands are to be used on one team then maybe black? or both teams to wear them if bright? It’s a small niggle I know. But for a self confessed sneaky sod it does feel like it hampers me. It’s not like it even stops my own team shooting me.. Does it Derka? Well? Does it?….

Overall?

Great day, hot, tiring, bust a gearbox, and still enjoyed myself immensely

Intel

For those of you heading to NSC Urban we’ve knocked together a quick map.

And for those awkward situations…

Last comment! We placed a pyro order with a new supplier of all things boom in the north east, Jack Rabbit paintball and airsoft. If you fancy a bulk purchase, maybe you’re playing as a team and want to club together, or you just through pyro as fast as Swampy then get in touch with them. They looked after us well and after blowing almost all of this in one game day I’m sure we’ll be back for more – and they didn’t even have to bribe us for the mention!

Things that maek you go

Things that make you go boom!…

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Yes you read the title correct, NSC Urban.

NSC, longest running airsoft site in the Northeast have got themselves a new site. After missing the first couple of games the Raptors managed to haul themselves north to East Boldon to give it a try.

First impressions
It’s a long way north for us! Given we hail from Teesside and Sheffield, East Boldon was a bit further than NSC used to be. However if you’re coming from Sunderland, Newcastle or the Frozen North then it would be much more convenient than many of the current North East sites.

On arrival
There’s a drive up the road with the site laying ominously in the distance. This first glimpse sums up the site perfectly, a whole host of varied buildings surrounded by and interspersed with trees and undergrowth.

What? no, perfectly safe... you go first...

What? no perfectly safe… you go first…

Warm and safe.
NSC have taken over one of the first buildings as large safe zone. Although the guys there said they planned to use this for game area in the future I really liked having an undercover safe zone with a sheltered signing in area and somewhere to stow kit, have briefings and general mill about. I think that during winter months this would also be an invaluable spot for briefings, lunches and so on…

Warm and Dry!

Warm and Dry!

Kicking Off.
It was great to catch up with some familiar faces, but also reassuring to see so many new ones already appearing on the new site. A decent safety brief completed, chrono’s in force (both good to see as always) and we were underway with some quick shoot and scoot games around the central factory building to get everyone moving and introduce the new guns both to shooting and getting shot!

1st big game
The next game was rolling attack scenario, starting from the North end of the site and working its way around the site perimeter from building to building. We drew the attacking straw first and I was damn glad of some experienced players to work with in fellow Raptor Swampy and NSC regular Fleet as the defenders made it incredibly difficult for us. The first area to clear were the “cottages” the narrow passages and small rooms littered with frequent windows make for great building to building clearances and the undergrowth between provides good cover for moving across open ground. You can see some of these in the video clips below.

As we progressed onto the bunkers things became much harder. The approaches to each bunker are great fun with some high points for the opfor to shoot down on you from as you try to close the distance. Once up to them you have the maze like passageways around each one to contend with, full of undergrowth and corners for the defenders to pounce on unsuspecting assaulter’s from. Even that does little to prepare for the final push into each bunker. With a single point of entry into a dark interior anyone trying to enter opposed may as well have a neon light on them! Only repeated charges through as a team managed to eventually gain a foothold inside where we were able to press home the attack. I am more than happy to admit to being absolutely shattered come the very welcome lunchtime that the site lays on.

Turnabout is fair play. Not!
After lunch we got the chance to have our revenge! Albeit we played the same route reversed. The first bunker was relatively quickly taken as we failed to secure the corners and were over run. At this point my ignorance of the site became apparent. Falling back and digging in to what I thought was an excellent ambush spot I began to wonder why no targets had presented themselves. After listening to some hectic firing at a distance I broke cover to realise I had been defending the wrong bunker altogether for the last 5 minutes. A rather bemused marshal looked curious as I fought my way through the hawthorn from an unexpected direction to rejoin the fray. Although in my defence, that bunker was very, very secure…
Dropping back to the third bunker I decided I’d earned a spell inside to repay the multiple kills I’d suffered when attacking (and I fancied a sit down for 5 minutes…) I chuckled to myself as I set my trip mine on the doorway and got comfy to wait with baited breath.

My own version of minecraft...

My own version of minecraft…

Only the dud cartridge in the mine saved the first man in from a brown camo situation as the hail of BB’s started up.
With both raptors tucked in with one other team mate and fully magged up we set to making life hard for the attackers. Being on the defending end showed just how hard the attackers have it. Brightly lit from outside and unable to see where the defenders are at the end of a long dark passageway they have little chance for an aimed shot before being riddled from within. If you combine this with darting back and forth between galleries inside to surprise the odd one that does make it in, you can make it nigh on impossible for the assaulters to get a foothold. It made me realise just how good our teamwork was in the morning to gain entry, so Kudos to all those blue team mates!
It was some time later that the marshal called a halt to the assault on this last bunker as it was becoming apparent that it just wasn’t going to happen. I must admit to a pang of sympathy for the attacking team who just kept throwing themselves into the BB’s with endless energy. Well played lads, it was great to see.
I retired to the last set of cottage buildings feeling somewhat smug and undefeated to get cut down fairly quick by some great long range shooting, and on the last spawn I made the decision to attack the attackers… Had great fun getting a couple of quick kills to get rightly riddled as they figured out where I was. This did allow me to sit back and watch the action for a minute which is always good fun.

Last thoughts.
It was at this point we realised just how long the last 2 games had lasted, and with a long drive in prospect for one of us we bowed out for a quiet post shooty pint and some musings.

The consensus was NSC have got themselves an excellent site in prospect. The potential is awesome, you could have everything from CQB to some lovely sniping opportunities. It is a nice size for the sort of numbers north east sites get and I expect to see more and more new faces as word gets out, especially on Tyne and Wearside.

One thing we both mentioned was the potential of some great night games. The size, variety and type of areas they have could make for some very interesting (and sneaky) action in darkness…

If there were any reservations, it is that I don’t envy the guys at NSC the work they are planning to take on. Already having cleared lots of rubbish there is still some more to do, this will make gameplay faster as players don’t have to pick their way through rubble so much in some of the confined spaces.
I would love to see how the bunkers play out if more access points could be opened up, or if some cover could be placed just inside making breaching easier. As fun as it was dug in and getting an absolute bunker-full of kills, it made hard work for attackers and doesn’t let the games flow as much.
As mentioned above I really like the safe zone in a building, it provides shelter and a clearly defined area. I can appreciate why they want to use what is a great building for games but I really think the benefits outweigh the gains, especially with so many other buildings already available! Maybe some additional netting further delineating the safe zone doors focusing people on clearing weapons coming in and ensuring eye pro goes on as they leave – makes the marshals job easier with all those new players!

Warm and dry. Old airsofters like this...

Warm and dry. Old airsofters like this…

So all in all, we loved it. (Can you tell?)
Basically;
CQB? yep loads.
Great buildings to breach/clear/defend? Yep. Stacks and varied.
Undergrowth to lurk in? Lots. All manner of leafy goodness (although some with thorns as my backside will attest to)
Areas to snipe from? Muchos snipey bits.(always makes spider a happy little airsofter that…)

Aside from the new site…
We also tried out some new Camo for the first time. Raptors looked resplendent in their new clobber… (It was that or wash the Flecktarn).

Spider taking aim...

Spider taking aim…

Swampy's new style indeed...

Swampy’s new style indeed…

First impressions were that on grassland, undergrowth and some rubble it performs admirably. Comfortable and lets be honest looks cool as… We’ll have to see how it fairs as the seasons change.

Unfortunately my SD card in the GoPro decided to corrupt half the footage – but what was available lead to this, so you are spared my bunker episode of whack-a-mole…

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