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Posts Tagged ‘airsoft sites’

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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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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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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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

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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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intel
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!

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For the first time in nearly a year both Raps made it to the same game!

If you go down to the woods today...

If you go down to the woods today…


It was great to get together at our spiritual home ground at NSC, thanks to a lovely summer the place is like a jungle in parts and Mick and the lads have been very busy improving the structures dotted around the site.
Loads of new players (well, new to us!) was good to see although one regular not out (Best wishes to Derka who is recovering from a horrific achilles injury from all the Raps. Get well soon bud & stay away from all those other sports!)

So, to the gameplay!

A couple of assault/defend games in morning. Spread over a good portion of the site with the ultimate target of “goldilocks house” it quickly became apparent that the bright sunshine and thick tree coverage made advancing difficult. So many shadows and places to hide made it a defenders paradise. We chose to attack first and learnt the hard way that the quarry was a veritable killing field for the defenders and only some sterling work by our team across the whole front eventually got us through.

So naturally when we swapped ends me and Swampy made straight for the quarry as the Norvern Monkeys lead their assault.

Swampy was quietly taken down by a great bit of sneaking in his initial position high on the quarry wall. As it turned out it actually played in our favour. With him sniping and relocated we were both in a position to cover the approach to each other without exposing ourselves too much and the slaughter began. Each time one of use was under fire the other could take down the attackers, and the extensive cover made even spotting us hard for the attackers. By Endex I’d lost count of our kills and Swampy had taken the only Raps hit.

It was very flattering in the post game reload to have the attackers come and ask “how many of you were in the bloody quarry?” to which we could honestly reply, “er, him and me.” In the end they gave up trying to get through and redeployed their team elsewhere. The ultimate accolade for us. A whole team diverted just to avoid two fat unfit old buggers!

After a warming lunch provided by the site we set off in a rolling assault game. Stroming through the far woods this time we ended up assaulting the Quarry again , albeit from a competely different direction. Taking the slow sneaky route through the undergrowth you can see how jungle like it was!

The Swampy nesting in his usual habitiat

The Swampy nesting in his usual habitiat

We managed to creep through whilst firefights broke out all around us and waited for a chance to make the mad dash over open ground

In 5,4,..oh sod it now!

In 5,4,..oh sod it now!

Pulses racing we dived behind what little hard cover there was as we shouted for the rest of the team to keep up! Then we began clearing the buildings.

At this point kudos to the excellent sporting play of Vita on the site who as I covered a window with a pistol stuck her head through and immediately just said “fair one I’ll take it” before I’d even said anything. I may have got the shot off first (but I wouldn’t bank on it) and her speedy sporting reactions meant neither of us had to risk a point blank stinger! Bravo Zulu

The final part of the rolling assault was up into the trenches. Hard graft at any time but after 2 assaults already we were knackered! that didn’t stop Sneak joining us to prove that the gully can still be assaulted! Exciting daring-do as we traded BB’s up the steep hill to break into the rear of their defences. Although by the end of that absolutely knackered!

Good to see I can still be ready to shoot when knackered!

Good to see I can still be ready to shoot when knackered!

We ducked out a bit early to go grab a beer and chat as we’d not got together in ages – in no way a reflection on the day as it was an absolute cracker!

Great to see so many new players, and a fantastic day completely lacking in non hit callers, marshals having to get involved or shoutiness! Thanks all round as usual and we’ll make sure it’s not as long before the Raps both play there again!

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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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22nd April we’re off to try out Centurion Airsoft, Scarborough. Hoping the weather and legs hold out and rumour has it that the rare and elusive lesser spotted MilGeek will make a battlefield appearance! (There, now he has to go!)

As always be good to see anyone there, link to their website above…

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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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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??

 

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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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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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Now just a few scant weeks to go till we head south for THE bank holiday weekend bash at Ground Zero.

Raptors sign for the Others

Raptors sign for the Others

As is traditional we’ll be playing for “the others” dedicated to chaos and mayhem, and whose numbers stand at 470, vs Bravo (562) and Delta (569). So with 3 weeks to go there are 1601 bookings and there’s always a few more closer to the day… Will they top 1700 this year?

There’s some frantic last minute sorting of gear, and trying to work out just how many guns I want to carry up the hills. But even with usual chaos, in-game shennigans, Swampy on his iphone like a teenage girl, and outnumbered 3 to 1 it looks set to be a good weekend. Where else are you ever going to be part of an airsoft event on this scale?

It may not be the most serious event, but for sheer fun hard to beat…

The Raptors also have a surprise detour planned. More of that in the post match report!

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Short note, it appears that MARRS airsoft, a site in the north east has ceased playing. Never attended myself but a shame none the less. More sites means more players, so a shame to see any site close down.

If I hear of any new venture by the guys there rest assured a post will follow.

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Have we seen the passing of the golden age of airsoft?

It’s a thought that has been bothering me more and more. Airsoft in the UK faces pressures from all sides, and in some regions struggles to continue.

We had the VCR act passed and its assault on liberties. The threat to completely remove our hobby was narrowly averted by concerted action by retailers, sites and players. The bastard offspring of that stalwart defence, UKARA, continues to this day. A de facto licensing of airsofters without which it is nigh on impossible to obtain equipment for your hobby. Run and maintained by a cabal of retailers it’s short history is already tarnished with claims and counter claims of sites punished for offering memberships and other sites not punished for similar breaches. The stranglehold on the UK airsoft scene is undeniable, a power which is controlled by several retailers which exist in a competitive environment where they seek to maximise profit. It does not leave you with a comfortable feeling.

As for the airsoft guns themselves. China, long the source of cheap kit which enabled players to enter the hobby inexpensively cracked down on the producers. Either for breaches of law or more likely failure to pay off the correct officials. This saw a drought in the £100 region of AEGs which has continued to this day. As with all pricing habits, UK retailers seem to have maintained the higher pricing that resulted from the crackdowns.

Sites seemed to be springing up all over the place at one point. You could always find a site that you had never heard of before somewhere in the UK. Now, in similar fashion to the dot.com bust we seem to be seeing consolidation by the major players. The larger companies are grabbing every available site for their portfolio, and more and more single site operators seem to be going to the wall. With Council planning permissions increasingly difficult to obtain thanks to Daily Mail reading nimbys and left wing gun hating lentil munchers we are faced with a dwindling variety of sites as everyone is swallowed up by the Tescos and Wal-Mart of Airsoft operators.

So we seem to be entering a phase of commercialisation of the hobby. Is it all bad?

Not necessarily.

Larger site operators have more resources and have a depth of experience, so hopefully well thought our game days that hold your interest (and yes, better toilets!). The Internet allows players to purchase kit globally which will hopefully limit UK retailers prices becoming astronomical.

We are becoming mainstream. You are the norm. No longer some dodgy activity on the back of a farm that locals think is a paramilitary training camp but a legitimate hobby that brings leisure money into the economy.

Lastly, the best hope is you. The players. We are increasing in numbers. We will continue to as long as we keep making sites welcome for others to join, because that is the life blood of the hobby. Noobs. Without them rejuvenating the stock of people who play, and ultimately who pay for airsoft, we will dwindle to irrelevance and find ourselves ignored, and then outlawed.

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I’ve intentionally ripped this post from my own blog as I think it’s worth posting for anyone looking to get into airsoft.

I’ve constructed a map with as many airsoft sites as I could. You can find it as a Google earth layer here.

It’s been constructed mainly from the UKARA registered sites list, and for any sites that don’t appear or are in the wrong place it’s because I couldn’t find either the info easily on a website, or even the website itself. (I’ve tried to include website links where I could.)

Lastly, I didn’t get paid in any way shape or form to do this, not so much as a free BB. I did it so new players could perhaps get involved easier as I believe they’re the lifeblood of the sport. I make absolutely no comment on how good or bad a site is, and leave it up to you to find out – although feel free to comment away (I can always delete any I don’t like!)

If you can’t access Google Earth then you can either use google maps with the same information on here or just browse below


View Larger Map

If you know of more sites, or can give me better information then please leave a comment or drop me an email.

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