Archive for the ‘Airsoft Sites’ Category

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!


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…


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.


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.


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?….


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


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!…


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?)
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…


Raptors made it out for a game day at last!

Raptors in stereo

Raptors in stereo

Made more important by the fact a good buddy was going under the knife this week (get well soon Derka) we both got up to see him for a game at NSC.

Deka practising using only 1 leg..

Derka practicing using only 1 leg..

First thing I noticed was how lush and green the place was, brilliantly jungle like in places, the next just how many first timers and new people there were. Really good to see some old friends as well and find out how they were getting on. Not that you care mind you, you want to know about the shooting I’m guessing…

Great to see the first games were favourites of mine, some limited site quick matches to get everyone up and shooting. There has been some considerable site work since my last visit and loads of new structures that caught me out. A mention must go out to whoever got me along the main path – cracking shot that I never saw coming, centre of the chest. Well played…

As we assaulted the quarry to mop up the stragglers of the first game the new structures became very apparent. Good use of caravans, Reliant robins and wooden barricades gave those defending a good chance to make us work for the kills.

After a quick return match of changing ends we moved into some scenario based games. Locating the bomb and moving it to the enemy base. I liked the way in which the spawns were set away from the base as it is very easy to give the defenders such a quick respawn in these type of games that the attackers stand little chance of actually completing the mission. The woodland at NSC is superb for these wider ranging games with lots of cover, slopes, dips and good tree coverage. Playing alongside some buddies Jamie and Derka the teamwork seemed to be like riding a bicycle in that we naturally fell into supporting each other and some great comms and banter all round (well done lads!)

Well earned rest. Knackered

Well earned rest. Knackered

The end of the match got tense as we came under sustained fire as we tried to secure a route for Jamie (lightest, youngest and therefore fastest) to leg the bomb to it’s target once we had secured the route in. Exciting stuff that I’d really missed playing and for those wondering whether they should give airsoft a go, I can honestly say xbox/playstation shooting or even paintball never comes close to these moments…

On the turnaround version of this game it did become evident that the team starting in the far wood had a definite advantage when making ground early. Down a slope with little in their way it became hard for the team starting from the quarry to make headway. Having said that, it was great fun defending as the opposition sought to make good their lack of a win so far on the day (sorry, had to rub it in…)

The afternoon brought some trench attack games. I’d forgotten just how hard it is to get up into the trenches against some determined defenders. Whilst I must admit it is great fun defending as I can bob up and down claiming some sniping kills, it quickly becomes exhausting to be on the receiving end of it.

They'll be along soon... oh goody...

They’ll be along soon… oh goody…

Our attack on the trenches was simply knackering. Only some dogged persistence by some inexperienced players combined with some that hadn’t realised old and unfit I may be but I can sill climb a decent slope to appear from the least expected places meant we eventually made it through.

Who knew Spiders could climb...

Who knew Spiders could climb…

Surprise Mofo!

Surprise Mofo!

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable day, which is the main point isn’t it?

One last word, and something we both agreed on and mentioned on the day. the sportsmanship was some of the best I had ever seen. I do not remember a single instance of thinking “damn it I hit him”. The hit calling was exemplary amongst both experienced and newbies and I don’t think the marshals had to talk to a single player at all throughout the day. So BZ all round…

Thanks to Mick and his marshals, all the players and some great teammates for a top days airsoft.

Dog tired. Ready for beer. But very happy.

Dog tired. Ready for beer. But very happy.

NSC Airsoft website here

Photos by Swampy, or shamelessly pinched from the guys at NSC. Video by Spider


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

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!


A very warm welcome to our new contributor! We’re happy to have MilGeek give us his review of a game day we both attended recently. A cracking write up of a great day I had playing alongside him. Make sure you make a visit over to his regular home at the MilGeek blog for all manner of gaming, modelling and military history as well as airsoft. If you’re eagle eyed you can even spot him in some footage we put together of our visit to Centurion CQB. You can find the vid link at the end of the post… Enjoy!

+++TX MilGeek+++

First of all, I must thank Spider for giving me the opportunity to submit this game report as a guest writer. It’s rather nice to be trying out new surroundings!

Event: Centurion Airsoft’s’ first CQB ‘tester’ day
Venue: The Military Adventure Park, Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Something of a pleasant surprise, that very nice chap and airsoft aficionado Spider alerted me to a CQB event being run in Scarborough by Centurion Airsoft. Well, as the venue was virtually at the bottom of my street – sort of – there was no excuse for me not to join in.

In fact, I had been planning a return to airsoft for some time, it was just fortuitous that Centurion managed to secure a temporary indoor site at the town’s Military Adventure Park (which usually runs laser quest games). Centurion described the event as a ‘tester day’ to evaluate the viability of a game run in a relatively small building – which turned out to be the old outdoor swimming pool admin and changing rooms!

MAP CQB venue, Scarborough

Drawn from memory, so probably not 100% accurate, but this diagram gives you some idea of the layout of the CQB venue at the MAP. The ‘red room’ is the main point of contact and the main bottleneck.

This dilapidated building is quite compact but is a bit of a Tardis as it consists of a maze of small rooms which filter into the large changing rooms – most recently the building has been used for Zombie Apocalypse games (hence the rather unnerving ‘blood’ smeared walls). Centurion Airsoft secured the venue for this one-off trial event and the building was just about right for short format games for about 20-26 players, any more and the rooms would become too congested.

MAP CQB venue, exterior

The only playable exterior entry was this side entrance – the majority of the action was conducted inside the building and AEG’s were prohibited anywhere outside the designated safe zone so we didn’t freak out the locals!

Game Formats

Obviously, long format and complex ‘mil-sim’ operations were not perhaps appropriate for a site of such limited space. The limited number of rooms available to us was just not great enough to afford varied locations as we used all the available space for all the games. So, shorter ‘attacker/defender’ type competitions were organised, such as ‘free the hostage’, ‘escalating attacker’ and – a very ingenious – ‘find the bomb code’ game!

The ‘escalating attacker’ was ideal for a limited player situation – everyone but two players defended the main room and the two designated ‘attackers’ tried to ‘kill’ defenders in order to convert them into attackers. EVentually the balance of numbers would turn to the attackers favour and defending would become harder and harder.

CQB Find the bomb code game

A win! Yellow team decode the bomb to take the game! An excellent prop and well thought out game – captured ‘defenders’ had to be searched in turn to discover the secret bomb code.

It’s worth repeating that – as a first time venue – this was a ‘tester’ event and some of the games were modified and improved – based on player feedback – as the day went on. But all-in-all the day worked out very nicely indeed and it was a credit to the Centurion staff that things went off so well.

Safety and enjoyment

Obviously paramount importance was given to safety. As a very close quarters game a lot of emphasis was given to the need to avoid head-shots, also firing was limited to semi-auto only with a FPS limit of 350fps (nobody opted for sniping for obvious reasons).

Now, here’s where there was a bit of a conundrum (and the only hic-up in the day)…

By it’s very nature CQB prohibits the amount of fully exposed target opportunities and while the staff heavily emphasised the preference for ‘centre of body mass’ shots and ‘no head shots’ naturally the head is often the only part of the body which become visible in this sort of simulation!

Simply by random chance you ARE going to accidentally make a head shot even if you aren’t trying to – defy anyone to say they didn’t – I certainly did! The plain fact is, due to darkened rooms how would you know a lot of the time? (— Note to self: Erm, take a torch! —)

Illuminating a doorway in CQB

“You want ME to go in THERE?”

…The issue of limited target exposure aside, what made this such a contentious issue on the day was the baffling choice made by many of the players NOT TO WEAR FULL HEAD PROTECTION! Yes, despite this event being clearly advertised as a indoor CQB airsoft event approximately 75% of the players on the day opted for the ‘cooler’ polycarbonate ballistic glasses eye protection…And maybe a hat!

I personally opted for full helmet, goggles and lower face protection (which earned me some derisive glances)…

CQB protective head gear

My goggles are the perforated steel plate type of ‘mesh’ googles and not the less safe wire mesh goggles – though I did take my hardy Bolle polycarbonate double-layer eye protection, but in the end I was concerned about ‘fogging’ up so went with the less safe mesh. I noticed that Spider chose to wear mesh goggles and a mesh lower face protection as well, and also had a handy head mounted video camera to protect his bonce!

At this point I could write a huge diatribe about the whole ‘full face protection spoils the realism’ and ‘it’s not paintball’ arguments made by some airsofters regarding full face protection….But guys, THIS WAS CQB! Headshots will – and did – happen, I know because one of the things about wearing a helmet is that you hear the head hits like a snare drum being played on your head and I had a virtual military tattoo being played on my head at times!

Headshots – a lesson learned

As if to stress the point even further, I was involved in an incident which perfectly illustrates why head-shots can happen even though there is a ‘no head shots’ rule in place. As I say, head shots can happen purely accidentally but more particularly in the case where you are dealing with a darkened room. Putting fire into a darkened room without illuminating a target (…oh, I wish I had brought a red dot and a torch…) is something of a necessary evil at times – you want to lay down suppressing fire but you may only have the vaguest notion of where your target actually is (judging by the direction of incoming fire).

Now remember at this point that the defenders in the darkened room have the advantage – as attacking from even a low lit room means that you are silhouetted against the doorway every time you pop out to take a shot!

Sillouette of doorway from darkened room

Defender’s eye view of one of the main doorways – any attackers coming into
this entry point are clearly silhouetted targets!

Illuminating in CQB

The same entry point, this time illuminated by Spider (attacking). Without a
flashlight this is a big black yawning hole of doom!

Because I had good head protection (LOL) I popped my head out the doorway more than I perhaps should – in fact on a number of occasions I moved across the open doorway laying down fire as I went…And I got a hit, a head shot! Du-oh! To which the recipient shouted ‘no blind firing’!

A bit annoying as THEY had the tactical advantage in that they could better see me than I could them – and I must have been clearly visible crossing the doorway as I fired!

— Discuss this situation! (The moral could be to only fire at positively identified targets BUT this is difficult in the frantic situation of CQB and without illuminating the target – and in so doing giving away your position in return. Maybe clarify the ‘suppressive fire’ rule so everyone understands the difference between ‘suppressive fire’ and ‘blind firing’? Though I suspect the guy was just annoyed that I hit him!)

CQB painting a target

I’d say that was ‘positive target acquirement’ by Spider and his magic torch!
‘Take the hit?’‘Er, yes please!’

Conclusion – emphasising the positive

Now, I’ve gone on far too much about negative sounding isolated events – but hopefully you will understand that there are ‘positive’ reasons I included these incidents as they highlight some of the challenges about playing CQB – a very difficult game format. However, I have to balance these with a whole day of enjoyment and good play.

The Centurion staff did an amazing job, they were friendly but firm about discipline (a good thing) and were very ingenious in their game format development. Saying that this was the first time they had done this I think they really have to be commended for running such a well organised and fun event!

Airsoft CQB entry stacking

Spider’s eye view of my big ass! As you can see I sort of fill the doorway and make a wonderfully silhouetted target for the defenders!

I really hope that they think that the event was a success and decide to run more – and not just because having a airsoft event at the bottom of my street is ‘convenient’ for me! If I had journeyed to this event I would still have thought it very much worth while. So thank you very much Centurion Airsoft and also a big thank you for the owner of Scarborough’s MAP for making the venue available.

SO – now to the traditional pros and cons:


  • Perhaps not advertising/emphasising the ‘advantages’ of full head coverage in a CQB event so that potential players can make a more informed choice about whether to wear it.
  • Not marking ‘safe zone’ with signs (just as a visual reminder)
  • Not organising an alternative mini-competition for the long-arm shooters while the pistol comp was going on (those not involved with the pistol comp were getting restless due to the length of waiting)
  • And that’s it! 🙂


  • Well and courteously run event.
  • For your £20 (walk on) fee you got a a bacon butty and cuppa before starting and a bread and stew lunch! Terrific!
  • Very sporting fellow players – as far as I could see everyone took their hits! Excellent.
  • No arguments – not one ‘it was a hit’ – ‘no you didn’t’ nonsense (again this was due to good event management, well done Centurion).
  • No-one was sin-binned or sent home (I probably came closest by my unfortunate head-shot on the Marshal)…Oh dear!
  • Very enjoyable and ingenious game – I particularly enjoyed the ‘bomb code search’ game.
  • Just the right amount of players, it could have so easily be over-congested
  • Very good venue – small, but an interesting set of rooms
  • Very friendly and entertaining set of fellow players (Spider was on his usual great form)
  • There were proper toilets – hurrah!
  • BBs were on sale.
  • …Oh dear, I could go on and on…

Bottom line: Bloody good day and I’d definitely do it again! Highly recommended – 7/10.


CQB in darkness

So, just how dark was it?


And finally, just a few ideas for whatever they are worth…

– Portable cover with ‘kill house’ boards: These are free standing portable boards – about one player wide – that can be moved about by the staff to vary the cover in the ‘kill house’. They are particularly useful for modifying ‘bottle necks’ by providing additional cover just inside doorways and in the middle of large rooms.

– CQB timed target clearing mini-events: One idea that could have been used for the ‘long arm’ shooters while the pistol shooters did their thing would have been a separate ‘steel plate’ or paper target course through a few rooms. Timed target course for room clearance techniques.

– ‘Hostages’ scenario: A few designated people could have acted as hostages – shooting a hostage would have resulted in the attackers loosing a player. More than two hostages killed would mean a win for the defenders.

– CQB tactics mini-briefing: Not a training session as such, but some ‘useful hints’ about good CQB entry techniques for everyone at the beginning.

– White board availability: Sounds daft BUT it might be useful to have a large white board available in the safe zone to illustrate game rules and job down ideas, techniques and tactics.

Related links:

> Centurion Airsoft official web site

> Scarborough’s Military Adventure Park official web site

And now the vid as promised!


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

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


Sad news that GunHo Airsoft in Guisbrough is closing down. Sorry to see any site, especially one I’ve managed to get to a few times close up shop.

They’re hosting a final skirmish day this coming Sunday, hope they get a good turn out to see the place off in style all the best for future endeavours and thanks for all the games!


Some good news for all the airsofters in the North East, yet more opportunity to shoot your friends!

NSC Intel revealed

NSC Intel revealed

Mick at NSC has announced a new site and increasing their game days from fortnightly to weekly to play alternate weekends at their new and existing sites. The site is near Beamish and from the photos I’ve seen should be a cracking play. One to visit as soon as I can!

All the details you need, including the inaugural gameday on the 27th Jan can be found on their website and forum. More places to play and more opportunities to get new players involved, that has to be a good thing!


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]


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


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


…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?


A welcome return to Airsoft for me, after a Christmas break of 4 months!!!

The planned trip to Otley saw us arrive amid melting snow and patches of ice.  One of us early and one of us late ahem…. A good turn out with a first in Airsoft for me, a large group of voucher users.  F+O have used the Groupon offer system and the result was at least thirty players the vast majority of which, if not all, were first timers.  A good idea and a way of inexpensively introducing new players to what can be or at least can  be perceived as an expensive hobby.  Again another good idea was the hire gun users being loaned a tac vest as part of their package another way of making new players feel more included in the ‘geardo’ feel of things.

So into the game brief, which we mostly missed, and another turn up is the handing over of control of the site from owner Jamie to a couple of his regulars badger and erm sorry if forgot the other guys name.  Still the instruction, safety and advice was delivered well and with more experience will only get better.

First game saw us defending bunker hill at the far end of the site.  Same as last time, although with no greenery, it was a bit of a turkey shoot but none the less a good warm up?  This part of the site is cracking with undulations, sand bags, holes, ridges and recounts.  More work here would make an excellent ville.

Second game, the ambush, saw us attacking down hill towards a known choke point to spring an ambush and fight our way throu with our VIP. Never knowingly undersold or outflanked, the raps were justly done in just so a fashion.  An excellent bit of sneaking by the enemy saw a lone gunman through our lines to fire on us from behind.  Well played fella.  Sorry I didn’t catch your name!

Third game was a tricky setup given the number of new players.  Three teams split up, one to take the VIP to a meet with thesecond, whilst the thwe’d us were hell bent on interdiction.

All went well until game on when all hell broke loose with bb’s flying everywhere! Not quite as the marshals intended however a cracking game with a couple of damn fine nerve shredding hits for the oppos when spider slotted them from deep cover.  Never knew what hit em, till he stood up and laughed at them.

A break to the safe zone up the previously mentioned big big arse hill saw the raps nursing a couple of injuries (paggered more like) and an extended lunch break was had.  Good to catch up with my mate and talk about all things Airsoft. Like my shiny new ascu2 installation on my G3!! Cheers to mick and sneak and all in the chat for talking about it.  Works a bloody dream!

Post lunch was reverse of the morning and saw us attacking bunker hill. A hard climb and a fair old stalk for not much offering but a good game none the less with the new guys starting to push hard and make a go oF it.

Finishing up at the car park again the raps knocked it in for the day and headed home.  All in all a really good day.

Again Otley is hard work, muddy but a really good site.  Am looking forward to it being full and hosting site wide games hopefully in the future.

Anything I miss spider??



The Raps are planning a return to Otley on the 12th Feb, for a combined outing. Long overdue return for me after Christmas and real life jobs so looking forward to shooting with my team mate again on the calf burning slopes of the Khe Sanh wood! Rock on.


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!


Well, what a weekend. Plenty of highs and lows, and certainly eventful!

Mrs Swampy put up with us both burbling on for an entire evening the night before as we loaded up everything we could think of taking…

There's a sink in there somewhere...

We set off heading south to our first stop of the tour. Action Hobbies. I’d arranged a pair of MP5PDWs to be waiting, I’d been looking at these for a while now and well, since they were in stock and we were passing!

Gimme da Gunz!

A warm welcome from the guys there, especially considering they were in the middle of building their new shop area and not really open to the public. Should be good when complete, plenty of space and certainly looks like business is booming. Certainly deserves to be, several times this year I’ve found their website to be the only one with decent stock levels as opposed to lots on offer on other websites only to be found to be out of stock and no date for restocking (yes it is a pet hate of mine). Anyway, a brace of full metal (and solid feeling) CYMA MP5PDWs into the car and off we sped across Milton Keynes to our next stop.

Bletchley Park
Home of the codebreaking effort during World War II. I’d wanted to visit here for a while and you know, since we were passing!

The Goose that laid

anyone got a fuse?

As probably befits its clandestine history it’s a fairly discreet turn off into Bletchley. It has a rich history and its origins are fascinating. It became home to some of the most brilliant minds of its day as they battled the Axis cryptographic services including the fabled enigma machine. To even begin to summarise it’s contributions to the allies would be to do a disservice somewhere, far better you have a look at their website, or even better check it out for yourself! (I also recommend a good read such as Station X), you can learn about the men and women that gave us such marvels as the Bombe and recently recreated the world’s first operational computer – The Colossus


The dastardly enigma

We had a cracking few hours wandering the hallowed huts and there are plenty of exhibits that until fairly recently were largely forgotten and ignored (The restaurant in Hut 4 also served lovely pasties and ginger beer!). Just looking at the complexity and ingenuity of the code breaking effort is breathtaking. The only proviso is there is obviously a lot of restoration work still underway and a few huts were closed off – all for good causes I am sure!

Bombe's Away!

Of particular interest to me personally was the history of HMS Bulldog and her part in obtaining “The Loot”. I served part of my time on her modern namesake as an RN Officer where we remembered the actions of our predecessors every year. (The cinematic historical travesty U571 is not an accurate portrayal….)

Proud to have served on her namesake...

This inconspicuous little establishment and the men and women who worked there in utter secrecy played a vital role in the Allies eventual victory. it can be argues that without them Britain would have starved as the wolfpacks cuts us off. It seems strange walking around them that the minds at work in these little huts were one of our greatest weapons… Whilst we always must remember that history was not played out with the benefit our current sensibilities and morals, it does seem shameful the way we treated a man who did so much for us.

Thanks largely in part to him you don't speak german

(Footnote to Bletchley Park – Since our visit we have read of the sad death of Tony Sale, one of the founders of the Bletchley Park Trust and the mastermind behind the successful rebuild of Colossus. Without dedicated people like Tony our historical knowledge would be far less complete, and a lot more boring!)

Yes I always look like this driving a ship...

Onwards to Battle
We hooked up with the Misfits at a suitable hostelry just before GZ and landed on site together. Fortunately we managed to get base camp erected before the rains forecast for the Friday turned out to be torrential monsoons!

Basecamp Raptor

The heavens opened and given the camp site is a riding field for much of the year the inevitable Glastonbury conditions soon occurred. The roads were soon requiring the attention of several tons of urgently acquired gravel and with the back breaking efforts of the marshals some semblance of a road was restored.

GZ marshals combat engineering roads

I took the opportunity for a walk round the safe zone, having a stroll round the Zero One Marquee which seem to have plenty on show, and the boot sale, where plenty of players had second hand kit for sale.

If only...

Unfortunately for me at this point I decided on some rigorous testing of the portaloo facilities due to a digestive system failure. In an attempt not to waste the airsofting opportunities I retired very early and felt sorry for myself. I believe that in my absence and despite the conditions a good time was continued to be had by all as they had merry games such as “watch the shop flood”…

Saturday kicked off with better weather and the usual GZ style with a safety brief and then the teams depart to their respective bases. There’s obviously been a lot of wok since I was here last as the structures have become more substantial and more atmospheric. GZ have also increased the gaming area to the west with a serious amount of woodland ideal for creeping about in now in play.

We started up at the well known check point Charlie and spent most of the morning in either setting ambushes or hitting Delta near their base. Hanging out with our old friends the Misfits we managed a couple of fantastic well timed attacks and covered a lot of ground.

I had a slight hiccup when attempting to flank an enemy junction through the thick undergrowth I found myself next the Fort with an unprotected open doorway. I then spent a tense 30 mins sneaking about in the dark ground floor shooting anyone who came in and listening to the Bravo forces upstairs calling for help on their radio as there were “loads of enemy” below. I’ll take it as a compliment lads!

The day gradually wound on to a ferocious firefight over the village for the close of play, with a three way battle and a never ending stream of dead walking out. I estimated at least 100 Others piled in and similar from the other teams all in a small tight area. The noise and charges were epic!

Once we finished for the evening I must admit the dodgy stomach and lack of proper food and fluids took their toll on me, and I made my excuses for a quiet evening again.

Overnight I discovered that because the Others had completed the most tasks and launched the most nuclear strikes we were naturally last in the points stakes. (as always!)

Sunday kicked off slightly later and more humid. This time we started from the very exposed Burrows site and were immediately hit by both teams at once. It was during this battle I experienced what must be acknowledged as one of the problems of GZ. Hit calling. Whether it is the high proportion of younger players, or the fact that people only play there one a year I don’t know. But after realising no-one was going to call a sniper rifle hit I stormed a postion with my pistol. The first 2 guys sportingly called it with a fair degree of surprise, but a younger player laid in a bush with his back to me was a different story. Completely unaware of my approach I got to within 18 inches of him so decided a single shot to the assault vest was sufficient. He turned to face me and started to bring his AEG up so I shot him again in the front. Only to be asked “what I was doing?” Needless to say I shot him again, this time on an unprotected arm whilst explaining “waiting for you to call your hit”. I was told he “wanted to see who it was” shooting him. I tactfully explained it makes no difference if you’re hit and you should call it, and shot him again for good measure.( Somewhere he could definitely feel it). It was obvious he was sure it was friendly fire and he was looking to avoid calling it. Things like that really ruin the event, as you can’t help but think “well if they’re not going to call it…” it takes a real effort to keep yourself honest after something like that.

I should add it’s not a situation limited to GZ and I’ve seen it at other big games with lots of players who don’t know each other, and whilst the marshals do their best,(even catching the guys who decided no hot pyro didn’t apply to them as they rained smokes onto my position!) with 1700 players it’s always going to be tough.

I got stuck into defending our base and before long several hours had passed. During my next spell in the dead zone my radio battery died, and between that and a renewal of my stomach ache I beat an early retreat to the campsite.

Overall, I had a great weekend. It’s always good to get the Raps together and we had some great stops. Fighting alongside friends such as the Misfits is always enjoyable. Personally I could really have done without feeling poorly which hampered my socialising and I missed out on saying hi to so many people. So best wishes to BattleTec, Legion, and anyone else I meant to see!

Finally thanks to H and his merry band. The marshals really do work hard to lay on what is a massive festival of airsoft now. Hopefully they know it’s appreciated! next year with some luck I may be in better condition to enjoy all of it!


So its a week to go till GZ for the Raps after a two year hiatus (thankfully thursday camping is back on). The itinerary is set and the tour begins 25/08 with a trip to [REDACTED– Won’t be much of a surprise if we tell them now will it? – Spider] and possibly perhaps maybe a trip to an Airsoft store. Who knows hehehe

In honour of the trip and the fact I have broken 4 cheap radio headsets i decided to get a new throat mic.

Iasus Concepts NT3 Black Ops system. Bought and shipped from Hong Kong for under a ton (including adaptor for my motorola) it took only 36 hours to reach the UK and then the usual 8 days to get from ‘The International Hub’ of stupidity to Rotherham Depot. Still its here and in one peice and looks the Mutts. Tried throat mics before with some success but they were the cheaper wired kind that form a C shape around the throat. This is a full belt deal and fits perfectly and is comfy. Comes with optional ear pieces (not at extra cost!) and the acoustic tubing is adjustable by trimming and using a spacer which is secure and works a treat. Testing to follow shortly.

Soooooo had some time in the months leading up to GZ to sort out all of the Airsoft related jobs that get forgotten about and they are nearly done.  List was getting silly so got stuck into a new Ghillie Suit first.  Ive had some Jack Pycke Netting (like net curtain netting) for some time and thought it would make a decen t base for a suit.  SO using a boiler suit as a template a new one has duly been cerated.  Its the last of my old batch of camo scraps so its been bulked with torn up flecky material which isnt ideal but will do.  Looks the biz so the MKIV suit to be started this winter will definitely be on this theme as far as a base goes.  As for the hessian (dont like jute it tends to clump) Im not going to go down the route of using upholsterers webbing as it is messy and takes a shit load of time to unravel for the fibres.  Instead its gonna be natural hessian thread / twine home dyed in my choice of shades.  More to come later…

Finally in swamp at the minute has been my rather dissapointing ( in terms of performance) CO2 powered Umarex USP.  Sold as having a variable hop (which it doesnt) has lead to me not skirmishing it and sitting looking at it longingly and contemplating another purchase I decided to try and mod it.  After all if I knack it then theres no option but to buy a new one.

So after handing it around half a dozen people finally figured out how to field strip it.  Very simple if not given to a bunch of bozo’s.  Simply depress the breech cover ( mine is NBB by the way) and slide the slide back and lift from the rear.  Confronted with an alloy block holding the inner barrel, which was disassembled it allowed me to drill and tap a small grub screw into said block which sits neatly over the tiny hop ring inside (it does have a hop ring…) once done variable hop.  Pics to follow if I can be arsed.

H&K USP CO2 Airsoft

Anyhooooooooo thats all for now and for those that are bothered…. 160 odd hours to go.

Link to there throat mic here