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Reports - Raptors Airsoft

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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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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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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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NTAC 1
Now we know that we only do game reports if we’re both at a site, but given the lack of play recently here’s one anyway.

Spider headed down to NTAC near Shildon to see some friends and get some shooting in. A Blisteringly hot day and having met up with some of the Einherjar lads it was apparent early on that it was well attended. Numbers were in the region of 75 so good sized teams!

It was immediately apparent that lots had been done since my last visit, briefing rooms, and the containerised offices to start. But once we got in the morning games the “arena” area has become a CQB fest of portacabins connected by walkways and fire zones. Some really good close in battles erupted and I was impressed by the sportsmanship of the players on both sides. The assaults of the fort were great to be defending although alarming at receiving such a volume of incoming fire! You know it’s only a matter of time so you cling on and keep firing for as long as possible!

You get some idea of the morning battle zones from the headcam here

The afternoon became more strategic with large ranging games taking in the whole site, including some wooded areas, trenches and the CQB buildings. In the heat movement became more limited and it took some real hard effort to secure wins. After a longish layoff from playing it was a good day out, with a big bunch of good players and some epic firefights… Particular kudos to the ghillied up sniper who duelled bolt actions with me for some considerable time despite a lack of support from his team mates. Top shooting and most of all excellent sportsmanship in calling a hit through a ghillie at very extreme range. BZ

NTAC 2
Also deserving a mention is the soon to be opening NTAC shop. As any reader will know I support anything that gets more folks playing and one of the biggest hurdles of getting into airsoft is the whole mail order side of things. NTAC have secured a small shop in Middlesbrough and are fitting it out at the moment

Andy prepping the shop...

Andy prepping the shop…

As a service to you kind reader, I did a quick recce (and because it’s round the corner from work…). Had the chance for a good chat to Andy, besides recollections of Ground Zero weekender Quad Bike shennaigans he showed me the store so far. As you can see lots done already and more to come. It promises to have airsoft and surplus gear (including a changing room!) Easy parking outside and he assured me that you will be able to check UKARA details (my thoughts on UKARA aside…) to process purchases faster.

So best of luck with the new venture, being 5 mins away during my lunch hour will almost certainly ensure I visit and I am sure details will follow on NTAC website and the inevitable Facebook page!

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A bitter sweet report this one, the final game day as the guys at GunHo airsoft in Guisbrough go for the big Endex. We made the effort to get along whilst we could and see them off.

The last hurrah

The last hurrah

Summer had definitely departed as we all kitted up, despite it being the last day there was a good briefing before we got stuck into some games. The first few games were of the attack/defend variety, getting everyone warmed up and in the mood. It reminded me how much I like the woodland GunHo was set in. Fairly flat but with undulations allowing for movement and hiding, and the guys there had an impressive number of structures accumulated.

The next couple of games were attacking bases set in one of the forts. Now my own lack of familiarity with the site showed here as I happily set off to attack completely the wrong structure – but it did allow us to flank a bit and get a few good shots in before it was quickly over.

Easy to get lost in here...

Easy to get lost in here…


When we defended at first we ended stuck out on a flank and I though it may be a quiet one, but before long the heavy resistance elsewhere lead the Opfor to try the route past us. Plenty of kills ensued including this belter…

The last few games we took part in were much larger rambling games, centred around capturing a device and getting it into the enemy base – one of the forts, whilst they tried to get it to our base. We set off on a stealthy and lengthy flank, which saw us getting into a few close firefights, some mad dashes and an advanced position putting fire on the enemy base. Which, when some more of our team caught up with the two old fat gits went well..

All in all a fitting send off I think. It’s a shame that real life has got in the way for the guys running GunHo although completely understandable. I think many players don’t realise the amount of time and effort that goes into running sites, not just from the owners but all the volunteer marshals.

So thanks for some more great game day memories, all the best for the future and I hope to see airsoft played once again back on a great little woodland site.

I did make this my first game day using my new gopro, which if i can edit together enough decent footage I will add up in due course!

A great place for stalking

A great place for stalking

+++UPDATE+++
Finally got around to editing and posting some of the video…

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So after a fair break we finally got together for a trip to Op-tacticals the Stan. Set in the old Stanley Tools site in Sheffield.

Sheffield loss is airsofts gain…


We arrived early and rigged for CQB expecting the action to be close up and frantic. MP5s,pistols and plenty of pyro being the order of the day. Also good to see plenty of guys from the North-East alongside us from NSC, Einherjar and NEAUK.

First impressions were of a large site, and although certainly dilapidated great potential for some CQB shenanigans. The OP-Tactical guys use an indoor area as shop/safe zone/briefing area which will be really useful when winter hits! The safety brief was probably the most detailed I have ever endured listened to, and whilst I am always supportive of anything that keeps us safe I think judicious use of a chrono is far more productive than letting me know the method statement for risk assessments is available for my viewing…

Whilst on the safety subject, the site insist that all weapons are left inside the safezone during lunch. Now I can understand the desire to declare the site safe and let everyone have a break, but stopping a player taking unloaded and cleared kit back to cars to change out, repair or walking to their vehicle with an unloaded pistol in a holster is getting a bit overkill. Especially when they can walk around with them in the safezone to begin with, and walked to and from the car park at beginning and the end of the day.

All OPFOR to reception please…


Anyway to the action! One of the marshals kindly gave all the visitors a walk round the site before gameon to give us at least a vague idea of where we were going. Turned out to be a big help. The teams were roughly divided along the lines of visitors (Raptors, NSC and so on…) versus the locals. We kicked off defending three boxes on different floors with the locals attacking with a time limit to recapture them. Good game to get everyone moving and our lack of site knowledge obvious as we were flanked in stairwells and struggled to hang on to the last box before the hour was up. But some strong teamwork and grit saw us through… as did a bucketload of BBs and pyro…

Wait until you see the whites of their eyes lads…


The next game involved us moving a VIP from the third floor to the ground (by the long route) and across the car park to the office block. With 45 mins limit to accomplish this it was always going to be tough. With 10 mins left we had barely covered half the ground before some urging on and fearsome attacks saw us get to the last door onto the car park as Endex was called… then some well deserved lunch…

What? In the dark? on my own?…


After lunch some banter from the homies on how they could have done the VIP game easily led to the marshals abandoning the planned game for a rematch of moving the VIP with the roles reversed. We restocked and rearmed and went to the task at hand with gusto. Smokes and pyro rained on us and the locals kept the attacks relentless.

Get Him!..and him!… and him! and that one! what about that one!


Although the chap who nearly stood on me decided to wisely take the surrender when I tapped his undercarriage with the muzzle of my MP5 and suggested it…Full marks to the “Special Forces” for not giving up and fighting to the very last second.

Hold the line!


Now I know it’s a bit annoying when a big bunch of travellers turn up on a site and are pitted against the regulars and hold their own, but we were getting the feeling that this was getting stacked against us when the marshal who was our spawn point kept buggering off early, our limits on defending were further back than the previous game and one of our guys timing it called over 52 mins played on the 45 min game… not so simple I guess and I will admit made it all the sweeter to hold them to just clearing the first floor… Great fun, nonetheless!

The last game of the day involved finding your teams general and capturing the OPFOR general, all the while keeping an eye out for valuable packages. A whole site game this gave teams a chance to explore a bit, with firefights rapidly breaking out all over the place.

Which floor are the bad guys on again?


A few of use became determined to push across the bridge and into the offices, leading to some cracking firefights on the bridge. I will at this point have a moan. I really did not appreciate the player deliberately shooting out the remains of the lighting above my position to shower me in broken glass and fluorescent tubing. I know it’s frustrating when someone is well dug in and protected by his team mates, but seriously, no need, and not funny. Fortunately the rest of his team were better sportsmen.

We were so successful in our push through (well played to the einherjar lads who came with us and Fleet!) we actually ended up in the OPFOR spawn. Not by design I may add as we couldn’t have found it if we wanted to! So after a brief chat with a couple of their guys we pulled back half way to the bridge and held the line to prevent their counter attack through that direction. They seemed determined to keep coming so naturally we kept defending it, with some guys sprinting back to respawn and return asap when hit. All in all a most enjoyable an hard fought win.

The NSC Lads – “Pie Hunters”

So overall feelings? A great CQB site. Hopefully the photos capture how tense and fast the action becomes in the tight surroundings, time limits fly by and with serous fire fights lasting an hour or more expect to get through some ammo, at which point I must mention their shop which was very reasonably priced for BBs and pyro. The OP-Tactical guys have kept large areas dark and I recommend a tac-light if you can. Charlie who seemed to brief and run most of the games did a great job organising and getting things running, thoroughly enjoyed the day out seeing players from all over the northeast making the trip down. My only reservations on the site would be given the ranges a bit more enforcement of single shot, I witnessed a few players getting rinsed from very close ranges; and I found myself missing the opportunity to lurk. Given the CQB nature of the whole site it is very hard to find any sort of tactical advantage to manoeuvre, games become very straightforward and linear, I missed giving people that little surprise from under a well camouflaged position.

Definitely worth another visit, and if you like CQB then you need to try it!

[All photos by Swampy and he has updated the previous MP5 PDW review. Nice work fella]

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A day out in Scarborough! A shame we could only do half a day due to commitments but it turned out to be a great find!

An early start for us as we headed to the east coast. I really wasn’t sure what to expect as the rain poured across the North yorks moors. As I had no idea how long the drive would take so I ended up arriving early, to find the first few Centurion guys setting up their tents for the day.

Shortly followed by MilGeek (good to see him back out!) and Swampy. First impressions were – It’s on a f*****g mountainside! Closely followed by a complimentary bacon sandwich and brew; In fact that pretty much set the tone for the day…

A bit light on numbers for the day they nevertheless began with an excellent briefing, concise and covered everything – even ensuring players were reminded to keep fluids up and look after themselves. Everyone was chrono’d and guns tagged as legal (something else I like to see as it promotes a level playing field)

The first game showed us a little of the terrain. It had rained consistently for 5 days prior and it showed. Trying to just get to the first spawn was an effort as I ended up knee deep in mud on a very steep slope. I am not the fittest of players but it was a real endurance test, it was re-assuring that it caught the marshals out how boggy it was! The game was a fall back attack/defend scenario with 3 stages in it and the marshals arranged it to run down the hill, meaning that the game play (the important bit after all) ran well. Like all sites you can quickly spot the guys who know the terrain and they used it well. I managed a few good shots before being crept up on and slotted before I even knew he was there. Well played sir!

As is fair we changed ends next, and after the slog back up the hill we attacked. The only thing I could find to complain about was that the opfor I spent a while stalking missed out on a grenade as the flashbang I dropped at his feet failed to go off, probably sank in a foot of mud given the condition… although 2 quick rounds from the pistol followed though…

Another quick game before lunch entailed chasing down a flag to return it either to our base, or the enemy base. In truth I’m still not sure which, but I suspect that’s my fault for not listening properly, as by this point I was busy breathing through every orifice available. Happily I managed a few quick kills before heading back for lunch, again thoughtfully provided by the lovely ladies back at the safe zone tent…

Unfortunately we had to make tracks at half time, although gave us an opportunity for a chat before going our separate ways, and also hearing MilGeeks views.

Overall for the day? For a site that has not been running long they are very well organised. Great briefings and well thought out games. The hospitality is second to none, for a walk on fee of £15 you get greeted with a bacon buttie and tea, lunch (substantial) is thrown in and more importantly everyone is welcoming. The site itself will lend itself to slower paced games that range about and allow sneakiness just due to the terrain, some great woodland interspaced with open area that mean you must think about your routes (and provide good killing grounds for bolt action users). Be prepared to get knackered, they must be in the running for the steepest airsoft site (even compared to Otley!) But well worth a visit and one we’ll certainly be back to. If you’re in the Scarborough area certainly no reason not to go…

… and I need to get fitter!

Centurion Airsoft website
Centurion Forum

– Spider

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A quick review.

Those of you who have visited our ramblings before may be aware that we picked up a pair of Cyma MP5 PDW last year from Action hobbies.

Great shop, very friendly when we visited, and good service, and the AEGs perform well, although wildly different fps when first chrono’d! (330 and 400!)

One think we both mamanged to accomplish was to snap the muzzle break in the first few months. Something neither of us had done with any other airsoft weapon.

This weekend whilst enjoying a cracking day out at NSC I ran into a group of 3 guys, all sporting either MP5 PDW or Ks, and ALL THREE had done the same. Everyone I have met who has one has snapped the same part.

So, what to do?

Well first up is to warn you if you buy one you will probably break it. After all 5 experienced airsofters all managed to.

Second, how to fix or prevent it?

Well, I fixed mine with 2 part metal epoxy resin which seems to have done the trick

Then to stop it happening in the future a new front end such as this from RSOV which protects the vulnerable part (and looks awesome into the bargain)

I still think it’s a great little weapon. Perfect sniper secondary or CQB gun. Just be aware what you’re letting yourself in for.

********** 28/08/2012***********

Swampy edit….

After playing with the PDW in a couple of open woodland and semi woodland games it was good to get to use the MP5 in a full on CQB game setting at the Stan in Sheffield. With 6 mags and a recently added reflex sight (v cheap imports) it was a cracking little gun for the tight corners and limited space at the Stan. Saw people with M4’s and AK’s struggling in the corridors and stairwells and for me (and I think spider too although haven’t asked him) it was a dream. Collapsible stock was a boon too allowing for side swaps at short notice and never felt encumbered by the rig that I used with it. Looking forward to the next CQB site…

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Beauty and the beast this one…

Beautiful weather, the best for ages, as we tried another new site. Gunho in Guisbrough, near Middlesbrough. It’s a site I’ve been trying to get to for ages as it’s so close and eventually all (both!) the Raptors made it.

They’ve got a a great location, laid back from a main road by a couple hundred yards it’s nicely out of the way. No neighbours to disturb and plenty of space.

So after the usual tarting about, sorting kit in the car park they eventually assembled a good crowd of about 40 including lots of 1st timers. These were fairly easy to spot for the bright hoodies and flourescent trainers. The safety brief I’m afraid to say was dire (really bad, the worst I have ever been at). There was some mumbling about taking hits and keeping eye protection on and that “fps for bolt actions was high”. Nothing about safe zones, or how to clear a gun, the marshal even had a safety brief sheet to read from which he ignored… Now I know that experienced players shouldn’t really need telling, but for the young newbies there (and there were lots), in their best hoodies, faced with rows of guys in full camo, tactical gear and fancy weapons they really needed a good loud authoritative and above all comprehensive safety brief. Not a great start.

great safe zone - if only the safety brief was as good

The first games were attack/defend type games. It’s at this game brief we discover “don’t go too far the paintballers are over there”. Now whilst I’m not as fervent anti-paintball as some, having both on the same site, at the same time with vague boundaries worries me. Anyway, the game ran well. Defenders only had a single life, attackers unlimited. It’s a good type of game to get going with as it gets everyone involved. Although giving the defenders 2 lives makes players more willing to get stuck in a bit. (I should also add I reaped the benefit of stripping down and cleaning my L96. Straight, consistent, accurate. Easy to be awesome with such a weapon at my disposal). As only fair we swapped ends, although when we attacked with the Einherjar lads the game did seem somewhat shorter… 😉

Einherjar lads take a tactical pasty

The day developed into some scenario games based on moving, capturing or discovering a bomb (shiny blue metal case) and getting it to the enemy base. The first of which gave us a run round the far end of the site. At this point you discover the sites best aspects, beautiful old untouched woodland. Fantastic even at this time of year with cover, some undulations to creep about it, and plenty of hiding spots. As we regrouped at our base having first grabbed the bomb we made a concerted move to get to the opfor base. I went scouting ahead for out bomb carrier, clearing a path, and pulled off what can only be described as an awesome shot, a one shot kill, on a target moving between cover some distance ahead. Only marginally reduced in it’s awesomeness by the realisation that he was on our team… With time running out fast we launched a co-ordinate attack on the enemy base as they cowered inside, falling short by some 20m as time ran out. A moral victory none the less.

After lunch we launched into some more objective based games. The woodland really is great, perfect for airsoft, and we got to see even more of it as the paintballers cleared off having spent fortunes on ammo…

Don't get lost

The first game of the afternoon involved medics. A good way of opening up the site and encouraging players to look out for their mates. Two things struck me here. First up, it’s great to see so many young players getting involved. They are the future veterans after all. But if the site can run paintball on the same day and supply camo overalls to those customers why not the airsofters? It really is annoying when having just crawled to a perfect sniping spot where I know they haven’t noticed me when a gaggle of young lads in bright blue hoodies (and I do mean bright) mill about asking you which way to the enemy. Not their fault and I try to be encouraging but sometimes you really feel like shouting piss off…

Next, organising games. Medic rules are great, and need bleed out options for when a medic isn’t coming. But simply dumping a dozen players immediately in the rear of a team that has just cleared and checked it’s rear really isn’t sporting. It’s bloody annoying.

The last game of the day involved pegs. It actually ran really well, and hooking up the raps and einherjar paid dividends as we subtlety flanked then stormed the opfor base, pinched all the prized pegs, shot a few more of their players coming back to their base thinking they were safe and had done well having grabbed a few of our pegs only to have them removed and returned. Team work pays off, and there was an object lesson. We are not the fastest, or have the most expensive systemas. But play as a team and communicate and it works…

The only way to finish the day appropriately was to bask in the glow of the beautiful evening sun and our victories at the pub down the road. All in all a good days airsoft.

Over a beer everyone seemed to agree the overall rating for the day was good, but disappointed a bit that it wasn’t great. Gunho have a great site, some of the best woodland going. The have a great location where they can build and a good safe zone. But the briefings and organisation were lacking on the day. I understand speaking to the guys that it wasn’t the usual marshal briefing. I understand it happens, but as they say “We have a dedicated staff of enthusiastic Airsofters with over 10 years experience in the sport”. Which means you know what happens with a lot of new guys and no clear directions. I also felt the day suffered sharing the site with paintballers. We all visit sites which get used for both – but not at the same time. It would allow them to give the hire guns some camo, and increase the number of marshals if only one activity is run at a time. I know it’s a financial decision ultimately, but with 40+ airsofters at around £20 a head (more for hire guns) plus sales of ammo, gas and pyro it’s not as if the airsoft was an insignificant activity on the day…

Enjoyed the day, great to see the lads out, and some fellow airsofters we hadn’t seen in a while – Definitely coming back, but would think about timing next visit when only airsoft is on.

GunHo Airsoft website

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…and I for one applaud it. Especially in the airsoft site sparse North East! Anything that encourages more people to play, give it a go or just support us in our pastime has to be good.

To that end a facebook group has sprouted for players in the North East.

North East Airsoft [UK] says “This group is now open to anyone who has played airsoft in the North east of England at either the NSC, NTAC, or GunHo airsoft sites (including the now closed Marrs site)” With best part of 200 people following the group so far, and plenty to look at.

It’s also a good place to get a look at others photos, videos and comments on sites. Hopefully it gets more people on more sites and leads to better game days. Now who doesn’t want that?

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On a blustery, wet and windy Sunday the Raps headed for our latest site,Northern Alliance Airsoft near Dishforth. Despite glorious weather for 2 weeks, autumn had definitely set in as we arrived. The high winds meant the “Longs” were left in the cars and the new MP5PDW brought out to play.

Easy to find, and on the edge of Dishforth Airfield at first glance the site looks quite barren. Once you park up and wander in you realise that there is a wealth of concrete stuctures and blast protection defences left over from more real steel appliactions. You get a good appreciation of the layout on Google Maps

Swampy stalks the buildings....

Relatively new, the site has only run 6 games to date, but already there is plenty of evidence of the effort they have put in with numerous structures. Although some of these are left over from a paintball operator who shares the site there is little paintball litter, and I couldn’t see any of the usual splatter which ruins the environment at most paintball sites.

With the WASPs, several Einherjar and a small contingent of Misfits joining us, we were met onsite with a friendly welcome. They obviously have a small loyal local following already, and things were kept very informal and friendly compared to some big operators.

Spider takes aim...


The day consisted of a shoot’em’up first game to get everyone playing around the site. Between the bunkers, blast walls (slippery when wet!), structures and undergrowth there is a wide variety in what is in fact a small site, even left over Airfield command vehicles.

Lunch was very well catered for, with hot food, drinks and munchies all included in the game fee. The amenities are good as well, with some of the bunkers used for shop/office, tables and chairs and proper on site all important toilets!

The afternoon consisited of more focused objective based games (capture items, locations, or move the VIP) which lead to some great firefights as the the regulars stacked up against all the travellers. Although we were outnumbered and lacked site knowledge I’d like to think we gave a good acquittal of ourselves and made them work hard for it!

There is real scope for this to become a cracking site. An there is an obvious enthusiasm to develop both in terms of the site and the running of the site.

One thing the site does suffer from is wind. Because of the open exposed land all round it I think bolt action days would be rare.

I really enjoyed the “get stuck in” atmosphere that the site has, friendly staff and the relaxed atmosphere. Possibly my only gripe would be for the marshalls to keep a closer eye on loaded weapons in the safe zone. A couple of times I put my glasses back on just in case, but they seemed to have it well in hand by the end of the day. In fact nice as the safe zone is, it does seem a shame that all the bunkers on one side are given over to the safe zone. Using it for games would open up the site a lot and make for some great longer games of base v base with objectives spread around the rest of the site.. and opportunities for sneaking and lurking about…

Overall a good day out, a good site in a good location (A1 Junction 49 with A19) that fills a large geographic gap, and more sites, especially ones this friendly is always good.

Their website is worth a look, with some good photos, as is their facebook page (I hope I can be forgiven for shamelessly pinching pics of me and Swamps from it!). Definitely worth another visit.

Last word, CYMA MP5PDWs, lovely feeling aeg. Perfect size, however we’ve both managed to snap the end of the barrel from the body in the space of 2 game days. Both of us. Something I have never done to another aeg. We didn’t have fancy silencers or peripherals. So fixes needed all round. Shame because I really like them otherwise!

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Our first run out since GZ, and feeling in decidedly better shape!

Although a crappy weather forecast was in prospect the day proved to be very different. The wind died and a nice autumn crisp morning was in prospect with the last few weeks of foliage meaning it was bolt action time! Also getting a run out for me for the first time was my MP5PDW, which Mick at NSC had sorted thanks to my effort to fit a new spring and lower it’s initial 390 fps….

The guys at NSC have been working hard to get some new structures in place, and combined with the thick covering of green in parts it made the day interesting!

We kicked off with a simple one end versus the other type game to get all the new players involved – and there was plenty of them which is fantastic to see. In fact there were so many it meant the marshalls extended the usual warm up game over a much larger area.

If you go down to the woods today...


Next up one of my favourite types of scenario. A downed pilot to be rescued, two teams determined to get to him, and 3 sniper teams sent out to cause chaos and mayhem. Swampy soon figured out that the snipers nest is no longer as covert as it was!

Swampy slacks off again!


Meanwhile I was having fun sitting in no mans land and taking it in turns to pick one off from each team. Later in the same game came a good chance to try out the MP5PDW properly. Caught between both teams we decided to go out guns blazing and tried to storm the structure the pilot was being held in. With Swampy covering I made the mad dash towards the tower, running the MP5 on an 11.1v LiPo I’ve decided to keep it to semi auto mainly, the trigger response is great and lets you just tap away. With the stock extended the accuracy for such a short barreled weapon isn’t bad either. It fell to the last of the 5 enemy to get me as I managed to clear the first 4. So near and yet so far…

Waiting for me!


The afternoon continued in similar fashion with large ranging games covering the entire site. Its been a while since I’ve had to cover so much ground at NSC and the legs were definitely feeling it by the end of the day!

SAW in action


With the cover so thick in areas, it made movement exciting to say the least as it didn’t take a ghillie suit to lurk succesfully!

Left a bit, right a bit...


All in all, a cracking day again, finished off with a couple of sociable drinks and left me looking forward to the next game day at NSC on the 2nd October!

What? Over where?...Ouch hit....

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Right, about to load up and get going eventually hitting GZ in Hampshire on Friday. There’s a few stops on the way that we’ll reveal later, and I’m going to experiment with lots of updates on Twitter, including in the game zone (Nothing too revealing for the opfor obviously!). So stay glued, we’ll be using the hashtag #GZWeekender and you can follow us either here on the right, or on our twitter feed here

We’ll see how it goes!

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The Raptors headed to First and Only’s newest site in Otley near Leeds. Our first game for a while and as we headed to the wilds north of Leeds the weather forcast was not good…

Raptors Encampment


On arrival it was obvious that it was not going to be a big numbers day. Just a few cars in the car park (which can easily accomodate a lot more) surprised us both as we’re used to the turnouts at Anzio for First and Only games. However even with the small numbers some great load outs were on view!

great Ruskie loadout

Great Ruskie Loadout!

Jamie and Bibby from F+O arrived having brought the shop trailer even for the expectedly low numbers which still gave us plenty of stuff to look at whilst chronoing and briefing. It did not take long before we set off into the woods for the first game

Two things immediately struck me, the woodland is fantastic for airsoft. Mature woods with lots of thick bushes for cover, masses of large ferns and big boulders, even numerous streams in small gulleys. It’s like something from a film set. The atmosphere due to the rain was hot and humid, all contributing to a close tense feeling (and more exciting!).

the woodland

The are 13 snipers hding in this picture


The second was the slopes. Largely formed in a valley bottom, the terrain is tortuous. Steep slopes abound, made even more tricky by frequent boggy areas and slippery surfaces when wet. All meant you had to plan and execute movement with care, and speed nigh on impossible! It meant however that moving and manouvering became even critical to the games.

One of the smaller slopes... possibly

The games kicked off with a fight for control of an area style game to get the two teams into the action. I wish I had some form of guncam at this point to get across just how dense the woodland is. You become convinced that every fern or bush hides a sniper, and with careful planning you can seriously get close to the opfor! I managed what probably appeared to be a stunning stealth attack to take the base from the enemy with about 60 secs to run and hold it to the end of the game. In reality, I had tripped over, slid downhill about 30 feet to find myself staring into the base with Bibby looking the other direction. A brief panic ensued with liberal use of the trigger finger to get me inside where I had little choice but to pray for the time to run out desperately taking down medics as they wandered in to revive their team captain.

The next game involved a rolling attack, where we as defenders got to set ambushes. If you are prepared to get your head down, and a little damp there are limitless hiding places. More than once I was able to let the attackers roll straight past and attack from the rear. I could hear the opfor position thanks to some great support gunning from one of our team who tirelessly enganged them with some considerable enthusiasm! It saved me having to keep raising my head for a look. Ultimately the opfor (red team) displayed some great teamwork to get their VIP to the final required position. It is incredibly hard to break down an attack when they communicate and co-operate as much as they did… well played!

Following this the scenario of an escaping drug cartel continued. They had to make a break for freedom as we pursued them. Unfortunately as the previous game was all downhill, this meant this one was uphill. By the time the battle had raged all the way to the carpark I had no idea who had won as I’d got lost in the dense undergrowth and was contemplating having a coronary… the lunch break was very welcome!

I'm sure I looked even more knackered...

After lunch I decided to give the bolt action L96 a run out (and Swampy running his bolt action as well). The dense woodland and valley of the site give it a lot of protection from the wind. As a result the gusty conditions in the carpark only last for the first 20 yards or so, at which point the sniping potential becomes clear. with so many places to hide, and relativley calm conditions it is a sneaky sods wet dream! We kicked off the F+O Khe Sanh game, with 3 areas to be sequentially defended. The first showed us some of the hard work already completed by the F+O team with several great bunkers to be defended. Following that we moved further down into the woods, where I had some of the best long range shooting I’ve had for a long while. (Kudos should also go to the Opfor for the sportmanship in calling every tiny hit, because some must have been hard to feel in the undergrowth.) I believe Swampy was having a similar time, and the Opfor continued to distinguish themselves in their repated enthusiastic attacks which must have been knackering to say the least! Especially worthy of mention were the two red team members who infiltrated our last base from behind causing mayhem and confusion and leading me to have to medic one of my own team after I accidentally pistoled him!

The last game reinforced just how tricky it is to move here. We had to attack across the slope. I had no idea where the opfor base was, and despite my best efforts managed to walk almost into it before realising as the BBs opened up. I then spent the remainder of it crawling through ferns in desperate search of some cover as Swampy kept up the radio commentary of just how precarious my position was (cheers bud!)

Yeah, of course it's safe down there...

All in all, a fantastic days softing, far exceeding any expectations I had. F+O have got themselves a great site with tons of potential. It probably isn’t your average run and gun field. But it is so much more instead. The possibilities for stealth, tactics, manouvering and atmosphere are limitless. For a self confessed sneaky sod like me, it’s close to airsoft heaven. If they can maintain the friendly enthusiastic sporting atmosphere this will be a site that every airsofter should visit….

Thanks all, players (of both teams) and marshalls alike, you made a great day!

P.S. We found a suitable hostelry as well! Just down the road. Hope you’ll all join us for a pint next time!

UPDATE
You can find booking info and directions all at the F+O forum page here

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New stuff is always good. So I’m looking forward to trying out some new mags for the AK105. So far the gun has been simply awesome (probably the kiss of death I know…) But my AK magazines are getting a bit tired and unreliable. So, to try and calm down my trigger finger now I’m using 11v LiPo batteries I thought some mid caps would be in order. Hence a new box of ten Star 105 round mags and a molle pouch capable of holding 6.

Also arrived this week, I’m sure everyone will be glad to hear, a re-supply of the Raptors favourite sniping ammo.

I’m at NSC this week, so an update on their effectiveness to follow!

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