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Posts Tagged ‘Report’

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

Handsome as ever…

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

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

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

So to the games!

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

They actually all listened for a change…

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

They shall not pass!

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

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

pew pew pew…

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

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

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

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

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

One way to do it..

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

Thanks all!

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

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

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

Nom nom nom...

Nom nom nom…


remember - Stay hydrated at all times!

remember – Stay hydrated at all times!


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

His snipers nest needs some work on the camo….

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

resplendent as always..

resplendent as always..


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

all manner of Boom


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

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


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

Thiis place needs redecorating…


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

“Come on, vogue…..”


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

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

That put a stop to that!

That put a stop to that!

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

Swampy finding his inner artist...

Swampy finding his inner artist…


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

Be the tree…


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

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

Who ate all the snacks?

Who ate all the snacks?

Finally, some video from the day itself…

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

Coveted & sexy...

Coveted & sexy…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what now?

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

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

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

Everyone loves a new gun!

Everyone loves a new gun!

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

Almost fresh out of the box...

Almost fresh out of the box…

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

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

Read them! You never know...

Read them! You never know…

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

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

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

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

extra sneakiness fitted....

extra sneakiness fitted….

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

QR sidemount ready!

QR sidemount ready!

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

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

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

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

Even shorter...

Even shorter…

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

PAY ATTENTION! THREADLOCK THIS BIT!

PAY ATTENTION! THREADLOCK THIS BIT!

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

Step 1 slide pin to unsecure rear of top receiver

Battery step 1

Battery step 1

Step 2 remove the receiver top completely.

Battery step 2

Battery step 2

Step 3 move the cocking handle rearwards

Battery Step 3

Battery Step 3

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

Battery Step 4

Battery Step 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Raptors rocking the ATACS FG camo...

Raptors rocking the ATACS FG camo…

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

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

Swampy takes aim...

Swampy takes aim…

Into it then

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things that make you go boom

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

Tick, tick... boom!

Tick, tick… boom!

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

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

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

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Yes you read the title correct, NSC Urban.

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

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

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

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

What? no perfectly safe… you go first…

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

Warm and Dry!

Warm and Dry!

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

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

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

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

My own version of minecraft...

My own version of minecraft…

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

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

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

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

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

Warm and dry. Old airsofters like this...

Warm and dry. Old airsofters like this…

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

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

Spider taking aim...

Spider taking aim…

Swampy's new style indeed...

Swampy’s new style indeed…

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

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

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

The last hurrah

The last hurrah

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

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

Easy to get lost in here...

Easy to get lost in here…


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

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

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

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

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

A great place for stalking

A great place for stalking

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

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

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

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

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

If you go down to the woods today...


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

Swampy slacks off again!


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

Waiting for me!


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

SAW in action


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

Left a bit, right a bit...


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

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

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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

Colussus

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!

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

Raptors Encampment


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

great Ruskie loadout

Great Ruskie Loadout!

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

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

the woodland

The are 13 snipers hding in this picture


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

One of the smaller slopes... possibly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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So for the first time in a while both the raptors were able to make it to an NSC game day.

We made our way north as the wind and rain picked up testing our radio headsets en route as we’d had someproblems with them recently. Needless to say they worked fine until we turned off the A19…

Another good attendance despite the forecasted iffy weather. (Possibly as they know that means I probably won’t be sniping?). A full carpark is always a good sign at NSC, which has seen the addition of several structures over the last few months.
The morning battery charging ritual of the car bonnets

George shortly before being shot in a similar place.

Shortly after the photo was taken he was shot in a similar place...

With a few new players, including even a few from the now defunct MARRS, it made target identification ever more vital, indeed for the morning session I was taken out by my own team more often than the OPFOR. Although The Einherjar (TM) have got this sorted with their own merchanding now prolific in the safe zone!
Derka of einherjar (TM) shows off his mug

Rookie - either in JohnTravoltaCam with matching disco Stu trousers, or missing some form of pointy hood.. not sure yet...

The first game of the day was supposed to be a fast paced end to end game invoilving the Quarry and the village. However the dense undergrowth, and large number of players lead to an unwillingness to press home attacks. The teams inched towards each other with no-one willing to make significant advances. [although kudos to Sneak for some of the best infiltration I’d seen in a while as I struggled to keep up with him advancing along the quarry wall]. A gradual war of attrition set in until we were able to reduce the enemies numbers enough that there were holes in their flanks we were able to exploit to the full advantage (when not being shot in the back by my own team that is…)

The next game up was a firm favourite of mine. the hostage rescue scenario. Despite my repeated suggestion, apparently you cannot just shoot the hostage and call it a draw…
Again, whether the weather, the undergrowth or hangovers, play was slow to advance. The rescuers inching forwards to the structures before freeing the hostage and “legging it” as the hostage takers respawned and rushed to retake him. Although at this point I ended up left behind as my fellow rescuers dissapeared into the distance, unfortunately the chasing team neglected to check the buildings leading to what could only be described as a fantastic 30 sec turkey shoot as they dutifully filed past…

Post lunch a large site wide game again seemed slow to get moving. I must admit I really like these games that ramble and leave room for guile as well as rate of fire. We quickly spotted one of the enemy teams objectives (a laptop) and staked out the apporaches to it. The OPFOR eventually arrived, leading to some great fighting in and around the trenches.

Finally, we lounged about largely knackered as some fun 1v1,2v2 and 3v3 games took place in and around the quarry. Great fun to watch and cheer the players on, especially worthy of mention was young Robbie shooting his uncle. Twice. Including a cracking headshot. well played fella…

Plumley shows his weapon

One small hiccup in an otherwiose great day was Pikie not lookig where he was going, and winning a free trip to casualty to be glued/stitched back together… not from a BB but from a branch to the top of the head. Moral is look where you’re going!
Look where you're going!

And finally since I was trying out my new lens (you can never tell can you?), a gratuitous shot of Swampy…
Swamps

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So both Raptors made their way across the dales to darkest war-torn Staffordshire for First and Only’s Merc Day at Anzio camp, Leek.

The plot was staged around the area of a African conflict zone and we had chosen to play as the local Africans. Rather than a standard “run and gun” day, this was intentionally pitched as requiring role playing, indeed there were 20+ role players from amongst the F+O regulars and marshalls playing character roles from UN medics to engineers rebuilding the collapsed state infrastructure. We tried to support the role play by dressing the part!


Photo courtesy of Jamie, WASPs, as I left the camera at home!

The other players were formed into 3 teams of mercenaries whose objective was to make money! Either in the form of cold hard cash or Gold bullion which started out life in a bank being protected on a rota between the 3 PMC teams.

The day kicked off as usual at F+O with chronoing of all weapons to be used, including sidearms. I always applaud this mainly on safety grounds, but also for fair play. It provides a much leveller playing field for all concerned. Even better was the improvements on the method from my last visit to Anzio with results being taken as an average of 3 shots and several chronos being used for any suspect guns to account for any spurious readings.

The briefs were comprehensive with a safety brief first, and then the scenario brief for the day. Getting 200 or so players to the right place and on time is like herding cats so well done for getting the game to start on time!

Bongo was the designated team leader for the Africans as we set up in our home building, and he set out his plan. Go forth and cause chaos! The whole team did this with exuberence, happily getting into the role play aspect I saw everything from players trying to sell christmas decorations to wandering security details, to drugs sellers and a drum band with spontaneously started following some mercs about. Our first real encounter was as a sightseeing VIP escorted by a PMC team came past our home. Obviously not happy with all their weapons outside our house a group of Africans soon gathered and shouting ensured! Fatman from the Wasps took this opportunity to get close enough to lunge through the protective cordon and stab the VIP… bad luck for his guards who I’m guessing didn’t get paid…

From then on the stage was set. We generally enjoyed ourselves harrassing hapless PMCs who were wary of shooting unarmed civilians and incurring the wrath of the UN inpsectors (a 20 min sin bin/investigation) and pretty much had to take it while we wound them up. We put up posters on their buildings, tried to wander in their security cordons and basically made a right pain of ourselves.

Things got more “serious” after some ingenious africans liberated large quantities of gold and money. The merc onslaught became merciless as they realised Bongos warriors had not only found him chairs from all over the site but gold and cash! Some frantic assaults on our base meant all the BBs saved earlier were rapidly expended.

The afternoon progressed getting ever more frantic with assaults on the merc bases and some great taxi driving by Jamie from F+O in his landrover ferrying Africans direct into the middle of firefights which was great fun, although you had a limited life expectency on bailing out in the midst of open ground and flying BBs.

Come the evening the raptors stopped for some proper food having run nearly all day on adrenalin, and realised just how knackered we were. It was testament to a fine days airsofting that neither of us realised just how hard we had run, pushed, hid, shouted and laughed in a great full days gaming.

High Points.
Giggling like school kids as we stood behind the Landrover preparing pyro to take out the engineers and their security details we’d been waving and smiling at seconds before

Low Point
Getting absolutley shredded in the knee which left me hobbling for quite a while (and then listening to the other teams comms as they congratulated each other on doing it) – but a tiny hiccup in an otherwise great day.

Overall, the level of commitment to the role play side of the day made the event. The preperation and work by the guys at F+O and especially those who agreed to role play characters made it easy for the teams to get into the scenario. Far more actually happened in a long days softing than I could hope to remember – One of the best days I’ve had for a long time.

Big thanks to the role players, the player marshalls, all the fellow players (nice to see the WASPs again!) – African and merc alike, and our illustrious team leader Bongo. You all made it a cracking day.

I’ll certainly try and make the next one.

+++UPDATE+++
Almost forgot… best line of the day to the desert/tan team…”watch your six… he’s got a banana!”

+++ Swampy Update+++

Couldnt agree more.  Was a great days shootin.  Made a complete change from milsim/ woodland/ speedball type games and was all the better for it.  With a pistol in your waist band and a fist full of pyro you had to use guile to find  your way to your objectives and adapt when you got there.  ‘Go hire the engineers’  ok so off we went.  Couldnt get near them werent allowed to talk to them so we pyro’d them instead plus about a half dozen PSD troops hehehe awesome.  Cant wait for the next themed day.

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So a diminished but not beaten Raptors duo set out for NSC on a cold damp and windy Sunday. The NSC Forum had been busy with reports of numerous new and visiting players, although that had happened before with large bookings which subsequently fail to show. Annoying for the players, but even worse for the site owners I’m guessing.

Unfortunately the conditions prevented the use of the new additions to the Raptors armoury of a gleaming pair of Mosin Nagent carbines, courtesy of Swampy! (well played fella)

I arrived early and the car park quickly filled up with people having to park outside! Obviously it was going to be the biggest attendance for a long while, all those having booked actually having made it! it was fantastic to see a good number of regulars, new players, and experienced airsofters who had travelled to play.

The games kicked off by throwing all the regulars out of the way for a quick game so the safety brief could get done for new players onsite with the minimum of fuss and heckling!. A good idea that seemed to work well as well as ensuring all players get to shoot stuff with the minimum of delay.

The Warm Up and watch your back!

We kicked off with a quick game of “Quarridge” (from Quarry vs Village”), but with an interesting twist. Before we started cards were drawn and one player on each team was a spy who could dispatch his own team as he saw fit, obviously trying to remain undetected. As yours truly was the spy I waited for my team to storm into great defensive positions and then whilst shouting for players to watch out for non-existent fire coming in proceeded to slot the entire team one after another. (much fun I must admit… sorry all!) The game was over in minutes and the opposition appeared wondering where everyone was. All very satisfying I must admit, and gave the site-virgins a chance to listen to the brief without undue distraction.

It seems a much bigger site running around it…

Next up was a site wide game with a capture the real estate objective. This lasted till lunch, and ranged back and forth between several spawns and objectives. The Opfor seriously put us under pressure from the word go, pinning us down and making us fight for every inch, then as we concentrated an attack to pin them back into their village spawn the tide turned (at least on the bit of the battlefield I could see!). Listening to the team comms I could tell frantic attacks were being thrown in all over the place as we tried desperately to capture the objectives. As the last few minutes approached we were only holding 1 of the 3 objectives as I made a stealthy advance through the village towards the “camp site”. I’d checked the 2 guys in the Opfor spawn were going to be there a minute or 2 ( I say checked – I mean I offered to shoot them again) and as I crested the ridge I saw 3 defenders all with their back to me. So being a gentleman I shot 2 as fast as possible but the third reacted fast and dug into the bunker refusing come quietly! Almost simultaneously Errol had spawned behind me and started peppering my position. Faced with a fight on 2 fronts I retreated to a safe position and managed to take Errol down with a damn lucky shot before hearing 1 minute called by the marshals. Desperation now took hold as I advanced on the bunker again, only to have some of the Opfor detonate a remote pyro they had rigged in the bunker – taking out their own man! Hardly believing my luck I dived into the bunker to the sound of several enemies opening up. Bravely I hugged the ground hoping I could wait out the last few seconds as I dare not even try sticking my head out to see where all the fire was coming from – just as the marshal called Endex! Success by the narrowest of margins…

Straight after lunch was a solid trench clearance game. The regulars defended first, and the attacking side were relentless. Despite a fairly high kill rate mainly due to site knowledge the defenders were slowly overwhelmed by some stirling attacks, coupled with some epic pyro which turned the trenches into a mist-laden Somme. The determination to get to get through was admirable, and on the turn around the defence just as difficult to break as we tried every trick in the book to get through. Including the sneak attack from the gulley. Which I will admit to being half way up as the grenade landed just at my feet with nowhere to go… bugger.

Finally another site wide game with a task based objective. First of all find the suitcase, then recover it to our base and find out the last task. Thankfully we started from the trenches so no massive hike out! This time the Raptors duo paired up for some sneaking about, which found us in a tiny foxhole in the middle of the wood, with the enemy advancing I heard on comms that our team had “withdrawn” to re-group as the enemy had captured the case. Just what you need to hear! We spent a frantic few minutes climbing over each other desperately firing off mag after mag and managed a quite a few kills before the Opfor re-spawned, re-grouped and came at us organised. Needless to say we didn’t last long after that! However as they tried to break out of the wood with the case, we were able to mount a counter attack en route, steal the case before they could do anything about it, and due to some great running by our bomb tech win the day!

Overall, it was one of the best days I have had in a long while at NSC. Every player I saw got stuck in despite the cold damp conditions, and some fantastic game play made for some great games. Particular mention should go to the Airsoft commandos who had travelled a fair distance to be there,

and a special mention to Zippy and Co, who were fresh from having a trim the day before in aid of Help for Heroes. Well played lads, pleasure to get shot by you!

The more regular teams were out as well, obviously the Raps patch was in force!

But also the new Einherjar team under Toes erstewhile leadership…

and not to forget Halo, the longest serving team at NSC whose patch was still worn proudly by Sneak!

Cheers all who were there, including the refs, who gave us a great day out. Hopefully more to come!

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A smallish team presence (GotJ, Swampy, Clone and myself) at NSC this week made for some good softing. The undergrowth is still thick and jungle like in areas as you can see
NSC undergrowth
Heartbreaking to see the vandalism on some of the structures on site, but some great short games and some enthusiastic first timers who really got stuck in and made the games very close and tense. Only 4 of us playing though(although Derka showed up to pimp some gear!) – and the others sorely missed (hurry back guys!)

Personally, it was a chance to give my SPR Mod 0 a run out, it’s first in a very long time, combined with testing out a new tan warrior chest rig and tan fleece. All in preparation for Corps Wars next month. First impressions were great, all very comfortable and the SPR shoots well with it’s new inner barrel and hop (I’ve previously used it as a crash mat and smashed the stock off…). Interesting using mid-caps, love not having to wind them, but realised just how trigger happy I am with my beloved AK105!

Later on in the afternoon, took my new camera for a spin to capture some action and managed to find George leading the assault as usual!

He seemed to be having great fun with his new AK, judging my the amount of giggling and hit calling going on…

All in all a good day. Nice to see some of the lads out again, and look forward to being back there in a fortnight… now what gun to use then?

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