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    Ripsaw EV2 Extreme Luxury Super Tank

    We love big bad vehicles, especially tanks. If they would only just cost like a second hand Honda Civic, then we would be parking these at the nearest strip mall or everyone with a valid driver's license would be bringing these to every airsoft game. With the Ripsaw EV2 Extreme Luxury Super Tank, off-roading for those who can afford one just went up another level.

    The Ripsaw series have been getting a lot of attention these days, including the U.S. Army. These are tracked vehicles but with the agility and speed of 4WD off-roaders and can rip through almost any obstacle and terrain easily. They even have the version that is armed and amphibious that was featured on Discovery Channel. Heck! It was even on Mad Max Fury Road with a Chrysler Valiant Charge body mounted on it and was called the "The Peacemaker", peacemaker my a**!

    The Ripsaw EV2 Extreme Luxury Super Tank is a sleek version of the Ripsaw that is designed for those awash in cash and love to do a lot of off-roading and have a compartment filled with champagne and caviar  (no, we cannot confirm it has that option though). Powering the tracked vehicle are 12 inches of suspension travel and 600 diesel horsepower so in case the zombie-apocalypse happens, the owner can still travel in style while running over the walkers.

    With a black paint job giving a "serious business" look, the doors of the Ripsaw EV2 open like gull wings, which is usually a feature super cars that only the 1% can afford. Inside is a luxurious interior with all the knobs, buttons, and screens. The steering wheel is designed like it was made for Batman with the HH logo, which stands for Howie & Howie the creators of the Ripsaw, engraved on it to look like Batman's sign. Batman would surely approve of this with his Bruce Wayne persona ordering the secret Skunk Works of Wayne Industries to make one like it or just buy Howie & Howie and make it part of the Wayne business empire. The Batmobile and Tumbler would gather dust if Bruce Wayne orders all the options that can be crammed into it, which means missiles, machine guns, and countermeasures.

    Catching yourself drooling over the Ripsaw EV2? Well, for us who are below the 1%, we may just dream of owning one. This will surely run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the options, and being a limited edition Ripsaw. We might be relegated to owning the Polaris offroaders which are still very much absolute fun to use for airsoft events.


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    GoPro Hero+ LCD

    GoPro is expanding its product offerings with announcements last week confirming that the company is  working on a camera drone and 360-degree virtual camera rigs. The last one is interesting as they have 360 camera Plug-n-Play holders that are configured to hold at least 6 GoPro action cameras or more, depending on the effect that you want with your video.

    But also announced, to the joy of those who are on a budget, is the more affordable GoPro Hero+ LCD HD Action Camera. Priced at US$299, this camera goes on sale in the USA on the 7th of June. It will be released in the United Kingdom on the 12th of July at a retail price of £249.99.

    The GoPro Hero+ LCD is the more expensive version of the entry level GoPro Hero+ which was released with the Hero4 Black and Silver. The extra expense is brought to you by the touch screen LCD at the back which lets you do adjustments and playback quickly without the aid of another screen such as tablet, smartphone, or computer screen.

    The video capture is 1080p at 60 frames per second and 720p at 60 frames per second whilst still capture is a 8mp. Not a 4K action camera yet, but so far we can all liver with 1080p60HD YouTube videos for now streaming at 4K is still a problematic thing for many, unless you have a device can process 4k videos and a fat pipe broadband that can stream 4K video without any hiccup or need for buffering.

    The camera also has built-in Wifi and Bluetooth thus you can connect it to your smartphones or tablets with the SmartRemote and the GoPro App with the latter turning your mobile device into a live video remote for the camera, do playback, and instantly share the video online. With the touchscreen LCD of the camera, one can create and save short highlights and when connected to the GoPro App, you can share them online.

    What I like about this GoPro is that you can power on and start recording with just a single press of the button with QuickCapture, making it responsive to capture footage before you miss it. You can then use the Hilight Tag feature so you can mark that scene for quick finding for playback or editing.

    Now, we are familiar with the casing that GoPros come with. The GoPro Hero+ LCD has a built-in waterproof housing that is good up to 131 feet. To swap microSD cards or charge the camera, there is a the back panel where you can access the card slot and ports. At least you can do some diving without worrying that you left the waterproof case back at home.

    Now two things that many airsofters would like to see in their helmet cams that Hero+ LCD has. One is the SuperView which GoPro claims to be the most immersive wide-angle perspective. This means that it captures more of the scene with this feature at a 16:9 aspect ratio rather than the usual 4:3 aspect ratio. The other is the Auto Low Light which automatically adjusts the camera's frame rates depending on lighting conditions and optimising for low-light capture. For going from a bright outdoor airsoft firefight then going quickly indoor for close quarter battles, this capability would surely be helpful.

    With the free software available for the videos with the GoPro App and the GoPro Studio, you can do quick editing of your video to put your story together on the field, or with the computer at home to do even more compelling action video with the footages you have taken.

    For US$299, it surely is already a feature-packed action camera that's ready to go out of the box.  The GoPro Hero+ LCD is something that many airsofters would want with their action cameras, having a complete package that allows quick playback with the LCD screen, and more features to capture and edit videos at a more affordable price.


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    Sgt. Sherri Gallagher

    Almost a month ago, the Washington Times posted news about the U.S. Congress pressing the Military to have combat boots designed specifically for women. With the footwear issued to the servicemen and women mainly based on men's feet, and that women are more prone to fractures during training. Servicewomen deployed to Afghanistan have been complaining about the lack of narrower and smaller boots to use.

    The U.S. Military, with its big budget, have been buying boots for different conditions and terrain. But it had not planned of giving the option for women to be able to wear footwear made for them. The good thing is that, they may just work on it as they have been designing uniforms and vests that conform to the cut and sizing of women in the past years. With footwear designed for women, then they complete the full wardrobe for women to use to get into combat.

    Designing the boots for women will make them able to take long marches and combat, increasing their performance as co-combatants with the men in the field or the frontlines. With more and more women entering the military as a career, the more that the Pentagon have to make available facilities and benefits that women need, and that also includes clothing, tactical gear, and footwear made specificallty for them.

    In 2012, the British Army revealed a plan to issue new combat boots in brown color and that sizing shall be done in men's and women's sizing.

    This makes me think that one of the reasons that there are fewer women playing airsoft is that the gear that they are using are not comfortable to use since these are mainly made for men. With footwear always a consideration for airsoft, ill-fitting boots would surely be a turn-off for women. If such combat boots designed for women will become widely available for civilians to use in airsoft, then perhaps we can easily encourage women to play.

    There are already vests designed for women in airsoft, and they are flattering indeed. If the footwear also will be flattering, then we might see more women out there in the airsoft field. They are not Christian Louboutins, Jimmy Choos, or Manolo Blahniks, but I'm pretty sure they will get along with Danners, Bates, Magnums, 5.11s, or Lowas as long as they find themselves sexy wearing them.

    Thanks to the Ravishing Rick Dude for the link.


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    Ratnik

    Over the years, we have been obsessed learning about the future soldier program by the United States and other Western Armies, especially NATO members. Rarely do we hear about similar programs from non-U.S. or non-NATO countries. In this case, what people in the West are considering again the Big Bad Bear, Russia, are now starting to deploy their own future soldier combat system to their units.

    Some of us have been following the Ratnik combat system, which is the program developed by the Russians to match the future soldier programs of the USA and allies. This is comprised of body armor, sighting systems (thermal, IR, night vision, and lighting), and communications with special headset. The system was officially adapted by the Russian Armed Forces as of October 2014 with a 3-year contract for TSNIITOCHMASH to supply the kits.

    The Ratnik is said to have a body armor system that protects about 90% of the soldiers body, which includes protection for arms and legs. Together with the other equipment, a typical Ratnik-equipped soldier will be carrying almost 20 kilograms. It is also a modular system and thus, soldiers can put together the system that will be more fitting for their combat roles, including those serving in the Russian Navy where the armor protection also comes equipped with a life vest. There is also an export version of the system. Most will be equipped with the AK-12 assault rifle.

    The system also allows the soldiers to communicate with UAVs for intelligence gathering, better tactical communications, and with the high level of automation helping speed up decision making whilst in combat.

    In a news release by Rostec Corporation, the first batch of the Ratnik is now arriving to Russian Army units. quoting Dmitry Semizorov, CEO of TSNIITOCHMASH, in a meeting with reporters. Also mentioned in the news release is that "testing is currently underway for equipment kits designed for reconnaissance troops, snipers, gunners, mechanics, drivers, and gunners of airborne combat vehicles."

    The Russian military shall expect to receive 50,000 kits per year, though the order can be increased to 70,000 kits per year if need be.

    For those who put together Russian loadouts for airsoft and milsim events, it's time to do some updating with the gear to be current with Russian uniforms and gear. Now we need to wait for an airsoft version of the AK-12.


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    One Grunt's Opinion Raptac Op Viper Strike

    With the rise of more realistic and immersive milsim events being offered today, is it inevitable that old school milsim producers will go extinct unless they evolve? The answer is not a simple answer, depending on whom one speaks with and their opinion on today’s airsoft/milsim community. Those who seem to focus on the hardcore milsim players will agree that old school event companies must evolve their game play if they want to survive. On the other hand, those who understand the whole airsoft community feel more casual games offer a way for newer players to enter into the airsoft community;  and gives players a stepping stone between playing in one’s backyard to immersive game play. So what are some things to consider in this debate?

    What really set off this conversation off and has people wondering about the future of airsoft/milsim? The wild success of Milsim West and then Raptac made a splash that caught a lot of attention. Both event producers are pushing all known boundaries to redefine milsim as not just force on force battles in large fast engagements, but slowing down the pace to immerse its players in a more widely encompassing experience that pushes the player into the details of a grunt in combat. Think of these games as the more stretched out ride of a deployment, or movie if you have not been deployed. You slowly build up to those moments of intensity that are the hallmarks of combat and not run at the constant full throttle of old school games. This lets you become comfortable with the role and explore the details of being a grunt beyond just the shooting. These immersive events have captured the hearts of a many veteran players and those looking for more realism in their game play.

    Now the old guard or more traditional milsim game play is the American Milsim or Operation Lion Claws Military Simulation Series type events. These games are large, fast moving, engagements that look to keep the tempo of battle high. A simpler way to think about older style events or more common events, is that you are living a snapshot or short clip of combat. You are experiencing the intense aspect of combat the entire time in shorter iterations. Some will argue that it is not the entire time but in comparison to the more immersive events, it is just about. You are almost living the mad minute in each interval of combat, with periods of off the field rest or sleep in between. The fast pace and intensity gives a rush and the sudden, constant reaction brings groups of strangers quickly together in comradery. While you are not exploring the more in depth details of being a grunt, you do feel that rush and experience the quick paced fire and maneuver tactics needed in large scale open warfare.

    It doesn’t matter if you prefer the immersive concepts of modern game play or the old school, fast paced play, both are all still milsim. They are just different shades of the game, and it is ignorant to try and say one is not or that one is better than the other. In real combat situations, which airsoft/milsim bases itself off of, there are many shades of combat, from simple villages in civilian clothes, fighting force on force, or large nations deploying well equipped, special operations to conflict against a similar nation. It is not necessarily the clothes, the gear, or the length of time that makes milsim. The common thread is combat, chain of command, and unified strategy. You see combat in a war as a grunt so you’ll get that at an event. How much of it you see depends on the event. You will have a chain of command in real war, it could be officers and NCOs or simply the village elder. So you will see someone giving orders in a structure or simply as the most experienced player in an event. The degree of chain of command is all dependent on the event's size and needs. You will have a unified strategy for victory in real warfare but many tactics or skills for going about this victory. Obviously you want to win your event or at least the battles in the event, so a plan will be developed and tactics will be used. Plans will be in-depth battle strategies, requiring maneuvering units and other will be as simple as a wave assault used for centuries. At the end of the day everything else is just fluff and every event producer is giving your milsim just what shade is your preference.

    Since it is not about what is or is not milsim really, the need for all styles of play and different event producers is and always will be there. Not everyone is going to jump into the deep end of immersive game play, and a player has to grow in airsoft. So what some might consider a lesser form of airsoft, is actually critical rungs in the latter that every player must climb as they progress. Now of course you want things to change a bit, but evolving as a result of other more realistic play is not the real drive of change. For op producers of events like Lion Claws and AMS, longevity has come through a solid formula in which the spices are changed to make game play more interesting or bring fun in a new way, but the overall style of game play that has made them successful probably won’t change. Now before guys go saying that American Milsim has not been around that long, you have to consider something. Understand that they came out of what was once Milsim Events and that had been around a while. So the staff has been doing this a while with a successful formula and did not reinvent the wheel.

    Now yes, older producers are seeing lower attendance at some events, and yes the new flavor of the week is longer and more immersive play. This is capturing the attention of sponsors because they are all about riding the latest trend that their customers might be into. But, the events are not driving the old guard down or driving them to extinction. The reality is there are just more producers in the game now at all levels. This means less money to go around to all the event producers as they lose market share to regional event producers and newer national producers. Also, some event producers like Blacksheep Milsim have taken a hard hit from bad public relations and now have distrust in the community. So where do people go when the choice is a new cool producer or an older one that is having PR issues? Of course you see the shift and players lend their support in other directions. One can’t blame anyone other than themselves when that happens and attendance rates drop. So rather than the success or failure of event styles being hinged on realism is more simple economics and the level of good or bad press you get.

    I for one do not want to see any kind of event producer go out of business. I think variety is exactly what we need to provide a pipeline for players to grow in and to keep things different. One day you may want to run and gun in a high paced contest of shear fire power. On other days you might want to be a sponge that soaks in every bit of an event that immerses you into a way of life that has you speaking in a strange accent. How happy would you be if those options suddenly went away and it was just one flavor? I know it would suck because I like to try it all as it all offers something a little different. I will also say that the rivalries between event producers are actually mostly hype created by players. Most producers have great relationships with each other and understand like I mentioned that you need them all. Do not get me wrong, everyone has their shady instances, but overall it is not the open war some would like you to believe. Everyone targets a demographic in hopes of gaining some market share in what is a small niche community of a sport/hobby. So before you go hoping for the extinction of an event producer or tell them they must change, think about those guys behind you coming up from the local field level needing that happy medium to develop and find their fun.

     

    Just one grunt’s opinion,

    Javier ”Darkhorse”

    -------------------------------------------------

    About The Author

    Javier "Darkhorse" Franco, formerly from This Week In Airsoft, runs his own Airsoft Blog on Facebook called "One Grunt's Opinion." This article has been posted here with the author's permission.


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    The Lil Trucker

    Not exactly something that can be used for actual airsoft and milsim events, but for many airsofters who are also survivalists and have bug-out bags ready to go in their cars or in their closets, this tool will be something that they will love to have in their kit list. The Lil Trucker is a handy multitool that not only keeps you well-equipped on the road for any eventuality, you can use it even against zombies in a post-apocalypse world.

    A Kickstarter Project, The Lil Trucker raised US$123,310 over a modest funding goal of US$25,000.00. The first impression you get is that the name of the multitool would mean it’s something meant for truckers, but it’s a very capable tool that any adult would need to survive in a harsh environment. Whether you're a firefighter out to save someone trapped in a burning house, or in the outdoors setting up camp with friends or family, or doing some zombie hunting just like those from the Walking Dead, The Lil Trucker, will be an indispensable tool.

    This oversized bottle opener has a glass breaker, folding saw, can opener, hatchet blade, strap cutter, hex wrench, spanner nail puller, gas valve wrench, hammer, hook, wire twist, wedge, and pry. The only thing that does not have is a shotgun, which is too bad, but that won't fit in a such a small package. The Lil Trucker is made of carbon steel and the blade is replaceable.

    Apart from that, The Lil Trucker, also has a companion tool, or what Innovations Factory, the group behind The Lil Trucker, the "Survival Companion". This has a flint, magnesium tinder, whistle, and sharpener.

    Apart from being the multitool that does more than what it looks like, it's also a weapon. You can hack your way through a wall of zombies and defend yourself against humans who are up to no good.  In your bag of survival stuff, The Lil Trucker would be the most valuable of all. A gun, a crossbow, or machete can only do much and are mainly good for killing or hacking, the Lil Trucker can help you build a fort and keep you warm at night.

    The pricing for The Lil Trucker is US$69, but for additional accessories, you can pay up to US$99, which will include the sheath and survival accessories. These are pricing based on the Kickstarter campaign which already ended so expect to pay more when it becomes available for retail. But it will be a small price to pay when we speak about survival.


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    PEO Soldier Photo: 2nd Batallion 75th Ranger Regiment Camp Roberts, California (1 Feb 2014)

    Time to update our knowledge of U.S. Army combat uniforms as the Operational Camouflage Pattern Army Combat Uniforms will become available on the 1st of July 2015. At first, the Military Clothing Sales Stores (MCSS) will receive the uniforms according to the U.S. Army website, and that new soldiers will receive their OCP ACUs by the beginning of January 2016.

    The Operational Camouflage Pattern or OCP was officially adopted by the U.S. Army in July 2014. Whilst  it can be compared to the Crye Precision Multicam Pattern which was called by the U.S. Army as the Operation Enduring Freedom Pattern during the interim period as they found the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP, also known as the ACUPAT) inadequate in the areas of operations, the OCP is based on Scorpion W2. Both the Scorpion W2 and Multicam trace their origins to the Crye Precision Scorpion Pattern that was introduced in 2001, but lost to the UCP in 2004 after camouflage pattern trials that took place in 2003-2004.

    The Scorpion W2 is a modified version of the Scorpion pattern by the Army Natick Labs. The Multicam Pattern of Crye Precision has also been modified to meet requirements of certain Armed Forces such as the British Armed Forces with the Multi-Terrain Pattern (MTP), the Australian Multicam Camouflage Uniform (AMCU), Georgia, and the Chilean Armed Forces. The Russians use Multicam for certain units such as Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Internal Troops of the Ministry for Internal Affairs (MVD).

    According to the Army.mil press release, the cost of the OCP will remain the same as the UCP with active enlisted soldiers given clothing allowance to replace their existing uniforms. By Summer 2016, U.S. Army National Guard, U.S. Army Reserve, and Senior Reserve Officer Training Corp will receive their uniforms and equipment in OCP.

    Soldiers who have been wearing the Operating Enduring Freedom Pattern can mix and match their clothing and gear with the OCP during the transition period. Those who are using the flame-retardant Operational Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern ACUs  will be authorized to wear them during the transition which is expected to last up to the 1st of October 2019.


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    EE 4GEE Action Cam

    It looks like every person in the world can now to livestream whatever they are doing right now, thanks (or no thanks?) to third party apps for smartphones such as Meerkat or Periscope. This means that people with better mobile broadband connections moving from taking just mere selfies to livestreams of whatever they want to show, such as their newborn baby girl or boy, or cats playing the piano.

    But apart from those, there are those who will livestream something that it can be a part of history, such as toppling of a dictatorship by oppressed peoples, the unveiling of a life-changing discovery, or perhaps filming the police do something stupid which looks like the rage right now in the US of A.

    For the UK's largest mobile communications company, EE, it's also an opportunity to use livestream, put it in a small action camera, and go head to head against GoPro, Drift Innovations, Sony, and many more action camera makers. They launched the 4GEE Action Cam that will let you livestream anything happening in front of you over their 4G network or 3G/Wifi if there's no 4G coverage in a given area.

    That is an opportunity for airsoft players and airsoft event organisers to livestream airsoft tournaments and milsim events. That caveat is that it is totally dependent on the availability of mobile broadband coverage in the area where the airsoft event will take place, and it's usually in the outdoors where mobile connectivity is always patchy.

    Anyway, at first glance you'll groan and say that's a "GoPro" rip-off, though it's not a copy of the GoPro Hero action cameras as it's chunkier (and has 4G). The 4GEE Action Cam records 1080p HD video at 30fps and 720p at 60fps if you're recording the video to the 2.5GB internal storage or microSD card as you can expand storage to up 64GB with the microSD slot. But when you start to do livestreaming over 4G, then your video resolution will be at 720p at 30fps. It can also take still images at 13mp using the f/2.8 lens with 8fps burst mode.

    The package, apart from the 4GEE Action Cam, comes with hard and soft cases with the hard case being an underwater housing, and a companion Viewfinder Watch. We like the Viewfinder Watch as it allows us to correct the orientation of the 4GEE Action Cam by watching the video capture on the wrist at the same time control the camera. Why other action camera makers didn't think about this, I really don't know.

    When livestreaming, you will need to use the Skeegle mobile app. For those familiar with Meerkat and Periscope, Skeegle works the same way though with a difference. It is a more private thing when you livestream your videos using the 4GEE Action Cam with Skeegle as you will specifically choose to whom you can broadcast your video to. Once you have downloaded the app, you log in with your Facebook account and the phone number linked to it. You build your viewing groups (eg. "friends", "family", "work") with your phone contacts list. Once you want to livestream something to them, they can be notified via the Skeegle App or SMS.

    So far, EE have given no indication if they will allow the 4GEE Action Cam to be connected to other apps apart from Skeegle. Whilst Skeegle can be used over whatever mobile network apart from EE, Skeegle is funded by EE.

    The unique selling point of the 4GEE Action Cam is that it is the only rugged HD action camera with 4G, 3G, and Wifi (802.11b/g/n) connections, and the companion Viewfinder Watch. For competitors it's something that they may look into, especially Sony since they have the smartphone and mobile connectivity expertise. If they indeed put these features, we also hope we can use it with other livestreaming apps.

    The 4GEE Action Cam will be launched on the 16th of June. For a limited launch period, existing customers of EE can get it for £10 a month with no upfront cost and comes with a 2GB storage. After that period, it will be £99 upfront at £10 a month with the data shared with the mobile data plan. For Pay As You Go, £299 upfront for the camera with 2GB of data consumable within a 30 period or £399 upfront with 2GB of data that can be used in a 12 month period.

    The 4GEE Action Cam sure has its benefits, albeit a bit expensive. For airsoft players who want to livestream the airsoft action then this is the camera for them. Now you can watch someone get peppered with BBs in realtime.


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    PEO Soldier Photo MFAL

    Each and every airsoft player knows that the most important protective gear for any player is eye protection that we sometimes tell our team mates that they can go naked in the field and play airsoft as long as they have adequate eye protection. What's more, while we use substandard tactical gear to save a few bucks, many of us would not scrimp on buying the best protective eyewear.

    And some of the best are those worn by the U.S. Military and their allies. It is not also unusual for us airsoft players to share common brands in tactical protective eyewear: 3M, ESS, Wiley X, Oakley Standard Issue (Oakley SI), Arena Industries, Revision Military, Smith Optics, and Honeywell (though Honeywell is not particularly famous among airsoft players). These are best as they have gone through rigorous testing and meeting U.S. civilian standard (ANSI Z87.1 – 2010), Military Standard (MIL-PRF 32432), and a European standard (EN166, 169, 170 & 172). Even if the eye protection that some airsoft players have are rated to meet or exceed the ANSI Z87.1, it may not necessarily meet Military Standards since they weren't subjected to their tests. For milsim players, to be on the safer side, they'd rather get the Milspec eye protection.

    As such, many airsoft players would welcome the release of the Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL) by the U.S. Army’s PEO Soldier. Here is an explanation of the APEL:

    The Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL) is a Qualified Product List (QPL) of commercially available protective eyewear. Only eyewear passing the Army’s stringent ballistic fragmentation (MIL-PRF 32432 and ANSI Z87.1 2010) makes the list. Protective sunglasses also provide ultraviolet (UV) protection. Army officials update the APEL on a regular basis. APEL-qualified eyewear will carry the APEL logo on the eyewear itself.

    Since these are all commercially available eyewear, they can easily be procured by civilians from authorized resellers. The protective eyewear from the brands mentioned in this story all meet the requirements to make it to the APEL.

    For airsoft players intending to procure eyewear that is part of the APEL, they can consult the list below or download the APEL poster here:


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    Tokyo Marui 50 Year Anniversary Celebration

    With all the news happening in airsoft this year such as new technologies that promise to bring our airsoft experience to whole new level, there is something that many airsoft players around the world failed to notice. The company that defined and molded airsoft to what it is right now, and carried the torch of the industry when other companies fell along the way, celebrated its 50th year as a business early this week.

    Last 8th of June 2015, Tokyo Marui celebrated their golden year as a company at the Hotel New Otani in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. The Hotel New Otani is a very famous hotel that opened just right before the opening of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and is home to a 400-year old garden. For James Bond fans, Hotel New Otani was used as the headquarters of the baddies in the movie "You Only Live Twice" in 1967, called as the "Osato Chemicals and Engineering Company" which was a front for the sinister SPECTRE organisation.

    Around 250 people attended the party, comprised of regular employees, subcontractors and wholesalers. The media were there too, including writers and editors of airsoft magazines. Before the formal ceremonies, the employees were all lined up to welcome the guests from the reception to the party venue.

    As everyone got seated, the lights dimmed and the screen came up with the Tokyo Marui logo and 50 Years Anniversary as the opening screen. Then what followed were photos of the Japanese seasons as explained to me by Yuki Maeda:

    • Winter: The cold season scene with snow covering trees that have already shed their leaves.
    • Spring: Cherry Blossom trees in full bloom. The Japanese Cherry Blossom Tree goes to full bloom from April to May in many parts of the country.
    • Summer: The sun shining through and lighting up a bamboo forest. Bamboos grow in Japan and is used in much of Japanese traditional craft.
    • Fall: Trees become more colourful with their autumn leaves turning yellow or red in October and November.

    After the photos, the spotlight turned on the Chairman of the Company, Mr. Iwasawa Iwao. He explained that the four seasons is about half of his life and growth of Tokyo Marui as company. He started his story as a boy in World War II where he was evacuated from Tokyo, and upon his return to the city after the war he was shocked to find his house was gone. There was nothing waiting for him as everything was burned down due to the Allied bombings. He had to focus on surviving, as there was nothing much left to live on after the war. To stay alive, he had to do many jobs, big or small. The hard times after World War II was for him the "Winter" of his life.

    Later on in the post-war years, as Japan was reconstructing, he established Tokyo Marui in May 1965 making small toys for kids. The sales were good for the company, especially the toy gliders such as the "Astro Boy Glider". Such sales afforded the company to expand their product lines and they started to make plastic model and Remote Controlled (RC) toys. This was the "Spring" season for them.  The Cherry Blossom represents spring, meaning new life and a new year to start with hope for the better. The Japanese observe the season with entrance and initiation ceremonies.

    From making model toys and RCs, the company eventually moved to making electronic guns. This means that this was their transition to airsoft,  especially with the introduction of the Automatic Electric Gun (AEG). This was a period of rapid growth for the company. This was their "Summer", which is represented by the Bamboo, which grows rapidly. The word to describe this period is "hachiku-no-ikioi" which is Chinese in origin and means "irresistible force" and can also be translated as "no one can withstand our growth" for Tokyo Marui as a company.

    With the "Fall" season, this is the current Tokyo Marui image. With leaves turning to red and yellow around the country, the most popular one is the "Momiji" which is the version of the maple tree in Japan.  The colour of the Momiji's leaves in autumn is known as "burning red" and Tokyo Marui is "burning" for the next stage. The next stage is perhaps the next 50 years for the company.

    The company didn’t grow by itself alone and the company recognise the roles of the subcontractors, the wholesalers who distribute their products, the publishers who write about their products, and of course the customers and fans who buy their products. The Chairman expressed his heartfelt gratitude to everyone.

    The President of Tokyo Marui stood up next to introduce to everyone the awards the company have won in recent years. He showed all the Airsoft Players' Choice Awards in all their glory, winning for five consecutive times as the Best Airsoft Manufacturer and one of the first inductees to the Airsoft Players' Choice Awards Hall of Fame as Best Airsoft Manufacturer. Tokyo Marui has the most number of awards compared to its competitors in the Airsoft Players' Choice Awards which shows the recognition and support it gets from airsoft players worldwide. Also on display was the Plaque of Recognition for 50 years of Product Excellence from Popular Airsoft.

    He then introduced the Tokyo Marui personnel, numbering over a hundred, who made it possible for the company to grow and win awards to the loud applause of the guests.

    After all the speeches, all the attendees were treated to a sumptuous full course French meal. The Chairman and the Executive team went around to visit the tables to express their gratitude to the guests and employees.

    As the night wore on, the attendees were entertained by the comic duo, Tetsu & Tomo, famous amongst old and young audiences for their comedy act on NHK, Japan's main broadcaster. They are always recognised by their red and blue jerseys.

    To cap the celebrations, the Chairman, President and Executive for  Development and Design, went up the stage to lead everyone to a "Kachidoki" as suggested by the Chairman. A Japanese ceremony that is a thousand years old, "Kachidoki"is done before and after battle, which nowadays is more about victory and triumph. With fists up high and with their supporters, they shouted "ei-ei-oh" to proclaim that Tokyo Marui will be No. 1 and will not lose to the competition.

    More photos of the Tokyo Marui 50th Anniversary Celebrations at the Popular Airsoft Facebook Page.

    Here are the highlights in the 50-year history of Tokyo Marui. In the coming days, we shall be posting a more comprehensive 50-year history of Tokyo Marui, from a manufacturer of toy gliders, model toys, and RCs, to being the most revered airsoft company in the world.

    1965 Released the "Astroboy Glider" which was a hit, selling over 2 million pieces. This was followed by the "Zero Fighter Glider" which sold 300 million pieces.
    1966 Released the first plastic model walking Dinosaur.
    1968 Released plastic model of Japanese baseball legend, Sadaharu Oh of the Yomiuri Giants.
    1969 Released the plastic "Apollo" and "Lunar Lander" Model Toys
    1970 More baseball plastic models with the "Star of the Giants - Hoshihiyu-ba"
    1971 Released the plastic model of the MAT Arrow 1 used by the Monster Attack Team in "The Return of Ultraman"
    1976 Built the plastic 1/24 scale motorized "Porsche RSR Turbo,""BMW 3.0 CSL" sale and won Model Grand Prize of the year.
    1979 They released their first model gun, the 44 Automag.
    1984 The year the model car, the plastic 1/24 scale "Countach" went on sale, which went on to be a legendary big hit. They also released their first 1/12 radio controlled monster truck model, the Big Bear Datsun that became a big hit in the U.S.A.
    1985 The Samurai 4WD Buggy RC Model went on sale and was very well-received.
    They released their first airsoft gun, the Luger P-08 that became a hot topic in discussions due to its accuracy and affordability at such high quality.
    1986 The first airsoft gas blowback pistol was released, the Marui S&W M59 GBB.
    1991 The first revolutionary Automatic Electric Gun (AEG) was released, the FAMAS AEG
    The Tokyo Marui Colt M16A1 AEG was released and became a runaway hit in Japan.
    1994 They released the 1954 Godzilla model (Shodai-goji) with better skin and RC features.
    1995 A new airsoft pistol gas blowback system was introduced, with the Desert Eagle .50AE GBB Pistol going on sale this year.
    2000 1/24 RC Type 90 Kyū-maru Main Battle Tank that is airsoft equipped was released and started the airsoft tanks series.
    2003 The first of the famous airsoft sniper rifle series from the company, the VSR-10, was released.
    2004 The first airsoft Automatic Electric Pistol (AEP) was released, in the form of the G18C AEP.
    2006 Release of the first compact airsoft electric machine pistol, the MP7.
    2007 The first new generation AEG (NEG) was released, the AK74MN with the 'Recoil Shock Engine'
    They also introduced the ultra-precision Z gauge full-scale model railroad "PRO Z" with a complete diorama.
    2009 Release of the Hi-Capa 5.1R Gas Blowback Pistol.
    Introduction of the more youth-oriented GIN-DAN series with the Police Pistol SS and Glock 26.
    Introduction of the Tokyo Marui IRC SWIFT Helicopters that are co-axial and have gyro that become another big hit for the company.
    2010 They go into 'green industry' with the introduction of the 'Electric Eco Scooter'
    2011 20 Years of the AEG and released a video in collaboration with Hyperdouraku, Phantom and Agito to commemorate the release of the first AEG with the new generation SCAR-L AEG.
    They won for the first time as Best Airsoft Manufacturer at the 1st Airsoft Players' Choice Awards
    2012 Introduction of the NEW HK416D with the gas-powered M320A1 Gas-powered airsoft grenade launcher.
    2013 They announced the gas-powered M870 Tactical Shotgun.
      Introduced the VSR-10 Pro Hunter G-Spec with the 'Gun Sound' and 'Real Shock System' and the M4A1 Carbine 'Gun Sound' AEG
    2014 Announced the M4A1 MWS Gas Blowback Rifle and released the HK417 First Variant AEG.
    2015 Won Best Airsoft Manufacturer Award for the 5th time and inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Airsoft Players' Choice Awards.
    Announced the first Automatic Electric Shotgun, the AA-12 AES at the 54th Shizuoka Hobby Show.
    Celebrated the 50th Year Anniversary.

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    Ford F-150 Halo Sandcat

    Halo MA5B AEG? Check! Halo's Master Chief Mask? Check! Halo Warthog All-Terrain Vehicle? Errr… not available. The Halo game franchise artifacts are now appearing in airsoft, with that premium priced MA5B AEG already in the market and the Master Chief airsoft mask which is in the market before that. But for those who are fans of the Halo game series, nothing beats arriving at the airsoft field with those in a Warthog All-Terrain for that all-Halo effect?

    There's also an alternative to the Warthog, if this will be released to the market and it's just a one-off creation that even the United Nations Space Command found it special to give its designated code name.

    Ford Motor Company and Galpin Auto Sports have partnered once again to come up with a unique custom creations and this partnership dates back to decades with all street rods and custom trucks. For the Halo 5: Guardian promotion, they have unveiled the Ford F-150 "Halo" Sandcat.

    According to Ford this vehicle started its life as a Lariat SuperCrew 4x4 with an FX4 off-road package and a 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine. With the makeover, Galpin Auto Sports wanted it as close to the Warthog theme and thus applied the custom matte-green Halo body wrap. Additional stuff to make this custom job work are the Baja XTR off-road conversion kit from Addictive Desert Designs, custom Fox Racing shocks, 17-inch wheels from Galpin, Deaver leaf springs, Currie full floater rear axle, and more.

    As an added touch rear passengers can play with the Halo video game as they set-up an Xbox console system in the rear with the headrests equipped with video monitors. This means if you are in the front as a driver or front seat passenger, or as passengers in the back, riding this vehicle would mean fun. If you are able to snag one of these vehicles, then it's something to invite team mates to play Halo in between missions during milsim events. Since it's also a truck, you can carry all the team's stuff and gear at the back.

    With all the work made to it, the United Nations Space Command has given it a designated code name as "M552" which is close to the internal code name given by Ford to the F-150 truck, which is P552. F-150 "Halo" Sandcat  will be on display at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) at the Los Angeles Convention Center from the 16th to the 18th of June 2015.

    If you're not satisfied with the UNSC "M552”, here's a real world four-wheeled Warthog for you to dream of bringing to the airsoft field:


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    M18 Smoke

    Yesterday, our inbox received a bunch emails from our readers regarding a tragic incident that happened in France last weekend. According to the links which are reports from French news outlets such as Le Figaro, four teenage victims were victims of an explosion when they were handling dangerous chemicals to make their own smoke bomb.

    Aged between 14 and 16, three were found dead and one in serious condition who is now at a local hospital. It was said that they were following instructions to make a smoke bomb that they found on the internet. According to investigators, it was a hot day at that time they were making the bombs, with temperatures rising to 30C, which made the chemicals unstable. The chemicals were identified to be acetone and hydrochloric acid.

    They were found in an abandoned house in Bas-En-Basset in central France.

    The teenagers were said to be airsoft players as an airsoft pistol and plastics BBs were found in the area along with traces of acetone and hydrochloric acid. It was assumed that they were making the smoke bombs that they intended to use in airsoft games where airsoft players sometimes use smoke grenades to cover their movement or use as markers in objective based games. Most of the smoke bombs or grenades used in airsoft games are commercial pyrotechnics that are professionally prepared and are certified safe to use.  Apart from airsoft games, such smoke grenades are used for paintball games, film/tv special effects, and tactical training.

    It is unfortunate for this incident to happen as airsoft is a relatively safe sport, even with the use of pyrotechnics and 6mm plastic BBs provided that airsoft players have protective gear. The French Airsoft Federation (Fédération Française d'Airsoft or FFA) have issued a statement regretting the incident but have issued a reminder to airsoft players that under no circumstances should anyone make such concoctions from recipes found on the internet as the "manufacture of pyrotechnics is a very risky and highly regulated activity."

    Furthermore, the FFA strongly reminds airsoft players to use such devices that are made professionally and meet the standards in place with the recommendations of manufacturers to ensure their safe use followed.

    (There are safe and commercially available smoke grenades available for use in airsoft)

    The airsoft community is very much committed to the safety of airsoft players and incidents such as this is rare. But this serves  as a reminder for everyone  in the sport, including pyro manufacturers, airsoft event organisers, or airsoft forum owners/moderators, to be explicit that airsoft players should not make their own smoke bombs or grenades and leave it to professionals to provide these devices for use in airsoft games.

    According to TheLocal.fr, there is an estimated 25,000 airsoft players and around 2,000 licensed locations in France.

    Thanks to our readers for giving us the links to news reports.


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    Call of Duty: Black Ops III Multiplayer

    It's the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) ongoing right now at the Los Angeles Convention Center and for FPS games, which includes a good number of airsoft players, it's about the latest updates in first person shooters that will be released this year. For this genre, the biggest title of them all is Call of Duty, with Black Ops III set to be released in November 2015.

    Call of Duty: Black Ops III is set in 50 years in the future where Super Humans, enhanced by breakthroughs in medical technology, are the basis for "super soldiers" that the U.S. government is trying to keep secret as revealed in a previous COD Black Ops III released in April 2015. With such abilities, it means more options for the FPS gamer in playing both campaign and multiplayer game. We've seen jetpacks and robots in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Black Ops III will give you the same, and much more. That includes teleportation abilities and more advanced weaponry.

    The campaign mode has evolved from a strictly single player campaign to the option of having coop campaign play, allowing up to 4 players to cooperate in a campaign. With such an option, there are different ways of going through the campaign, which also means different gaming experiences. Here's a 4 minute trailer showing a coop campaign, brought to you by IGN:

    Those at the E3, especially the journalists, got to have a hands on with the multiplayer mode of the game.  Now, there are specialist classes to choose from which for those who have been playing rival FPS games such as the Battlefield series is something that they are familiar with.

    Each specialist has a special ability with the Outrider being a female specialist who is armed with a bow and exploding arrows and combat focus ability to see enemies behind walls. The other one is called Reaper and this is a robot that has an arm that transforms into a mini gun. But what the ability that I like about the Reaper is the Glitch which teleports you back to your last position a couple of seconds ago. The character with the Gravity Spikes is Ruin and has can move fast with the Overdrive ability. Seraph can do multi-kill with his handgun provided that they are lined up for the multi-kill shot.

    At the E3, two more Specialists were added. Prophet is more of an engineer who has the Tempest which is a lightning gun that can zap the target and other enemies within close proximity. Like the Reaper, he also has the Glitch ability. The other Specialist is Nomad that uses the Hive weapon. He releases a bunch of nano drones that can take out the enemy. He also has the Rejack ability that he can nurse himself quickly back to full health.

    All the Specialists' special weapons and abilities are show in the E3 2015 Multiplayer Reveal Trailer. Also announced is the Gunsmith, allowing you to customize your weapon with fully six attachment to equip and give it unique look with the Weapon Paint Shop.

    Also, Sony scored an exclusive deal that the DLCs will first arrive to the PlayStation 4. Before it was the Microsoft XBox.

    Will all these changes and enhancements help of Call of Duty retain its gamer base as it goes up with another bigger franchise, the Star Wars movie franchise, which will be releasing the Star Wars Battlefront video game, before Episode 7 "The Force Awakens" premieres in December? It will probably become an epic battle, but for us FPS gamers, it's all about choice and it's all good.


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    Ghost Recon: Wildlands

    We continue with stories from the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) as game publishers showcased their various games made for the dominant game consoles, mobiles and the PC for this year. One game publisher that was able to pull off a surprise is Ubisoft, with Ubisoft Paris taking charge of developing the newest in the Ghost Recon third-person shooter series, "Ghost Recon Wildlands."

    What really does get out attention is the breathtakingly massive virtual gaming environment they created as "Ghost Recon Wildlands" goes Open-World. Open-World in video games allow the player a lot of freedom to decide when and how to approach game objectives. If you're a Mindcraft gamer, then this is an easy concept to grasp.

    One aspect of Open-World is the massive environment for the gamer to exercise this freedom of approaching game objectives. In "Ghost Recon Wildlands" you are pitted against a ruthless Bolivian Santa Blanca drug cartel, as part of The Ghosts who were sent deep inside enemy territory or around the word to take down the cartel.  As a single player or in a cooperative gameplay, the gamers can  take the missions anyway they want and in no particular order. There are no cinematics as seen in FPS video games to drive the plot, and the missions are in 9 different environments around the world. There are also vehicles that can be brought into play: choppers, speedboats, trucks, motorbikes, and more.

    If you are familiar with Far Cry 2, expect factions in the game and try to influence their behaviour. Even if it's also a coop-game,  it also allows players to explore the game on their own and they can meet at certain points, since it's an expansive landscape and that landscape is based on mountainous Bolivia. As you approach an objective, you can determine decide whether you want to go quiet or you want to go loud, it's all up to you. That’s the beauty of an Open-World game and with the lack of a script, you create your own story in going through the game. It also reminds you of Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain, as it lets players decide how they accomplish the missions in  the best way they see is possible.

    It's something to look forward to in the future. However, we don't know when "Ghost Recon: Wildlands" will be released as there was no mention of a target release date at the E3.


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    Star Wars Battlefront E3

    Hopefully, this will be the last Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2015 story we shall post this week. For this story, it's really hard to resist The Force as one of the most written about upcoming video game at the event is the Star Wars Battlefront. Not exactly a video game that many airsoft forums will talk about, but still it's something worthwhile to post here because it's Star Wars.

    Many of Popular Airsoft readers who grew up with the first Star Wars Trilogy (IV: A New Hope, V: The Empire Strikes Back, and VI: Return of the Jedi), would agree that the Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is the best of in six episodes of the biggest sci-fi movie franchise. And the most memorable battle in the whole of Star Wars is the opening scene of The Empire Strikes Back, which is the Battle of Hoth. It was an Imperial Victory, but we will always vividly recall the gallant stand of the Rebel Alliance as they battled the Imperial AT-AT Walkers with snowspeeders of the Rogue Squadron led by Luke Skywalker, bringing the AT-AT down with their tow cables as their blasters were ineffective against the heavily armored walkers.

    At the E3, Electronic Arts showed us a scene of the Star Wars Battlefront that relives the Battle of Hoth as it takes place on the snow covered planet, just as the other battle maps of this game remind of us of other battle scenes seen in the Star Wars series. Called the "Walker Assault" it is a 40-person multiplayer mission in which the Empire will need to knock off the uplink stations before they can destroy the Rebel base and the Rebels will have to activate the uplink stations to call in the Y-Wing Bombers to stop the attack and the base protected. All the ingredients of the Battle of Hoth are there, and snowspeeders will be present to takedown the AT-AT Walkers with the tow cables.

    You will in a way, be reminded of Battlefield 4, as you will be able to fly the X-Wings or the TIE Fighters, or drive the AT-ATs and AT-STs in the game. The developer of Star Wars Battlefront is DICE, the same developer of Battlefield 4. Let's cross our fingers that when Star Wars Battlefront gets released on the 17th of November, it has less or none of the buggy issues that beset Battlefield 4.

    That's the where the similarities between Battlefront and Battlefield ends, as you don’t need magazine reloads in the game as you will be playing with blasters and they rather heat-up instead of run out of ammo in order to force you to conserve your shots. Other weapons, such as rocket launchers, are not part of the loadout of the player in weapon selection before the start of  game but are rather power-ups that can found during the game itself. That means apart from being on the lookout for the enemy who'd shoot at you, be also on the lookout for the power-ups that can help your group win the battle.

    Will you be able to prevent another Imperial victory on Hoth? Or Will you bring the Rebel Alliance down to its knees again with the AT-AT walkers? Either way, prepare to relive the Battle of Hoth,  the best battle scene in Star Wars and it will bring nostalgia to the older fans of the film. I just wonder how the controls are for the light saber duel against Darth Vader.

    Trivia: After watching the Star Wars Battlefront: Multiplayer Gameplay | E3 2015 “Walker Assault” on Hoth, name which World War II weapons that are used in Star Wars are and also have airsoft versions.


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    Surefire Fury with Intellibeam

    Surefire made another leap in flashlight technology when they finally announced the release of their SureFire P2X Fury with IntelliBeam. Whilst we usually think of flashlight technology in terms of lumens, power efficiency, colour and strobe functions, Surefire added another feature that would make (or not) competitors scramble to find the same function in their product lines --- making the flashlight smarter. The IntelliBeam feature was already announced during the SHOT Show 2015 in January.

    Last 16 June, Surefire announced their release of the a version of their popular P2X Fury flashlight equipped with  the IntelliBeam Technology.  The Intellibeam Technology is made up of a sensor and microprocessor that continuously evaluate the lighting conditions in which the user is in an adjust the output accordingly. What it does is that if it senses that it's indoor and close quarters, it will go for a lower setting and once in a wider location, such as outside, it goes to a higher setting so it can cast a brighter light at a wider area. The output can range from 15 to 600 lumens depending on the environment and the first thing that comes to my mind with this technology is power efficiency and prolonging the life of the flashlight.

    To enable the Intellibeam Technology in the Sure P2X Fury Flashlight, the user just needs to press or click the tailcap. But if the user needs the maximum output, all 600 lumens of it, he/she just needs to turn off and press or click again within one second.

    Some will say the this is a solution in search of a problem, but it has to be fully tested in an situation that the technology will show that an auto-sensing and output flashlight is what is needed. Sometimes we do beam our flashlights at full power in other people's faces even if not intending to,  a flashlight that adjusts itself to avoid glare can be a helpful thing. Only in tactical situations where we need the full power of the flashlight shall all the available output and lumens shall be put to use.

    Priced at US$229 the package includes two included 123A lithium batteries, 6 inches in length and weighs 5.7 ounces with the battries. It has a run time of 46 hours on low (15 lumens) and 1.5 hours on high (600 lumens).

    Press release below the video:

    SureFire Unveils World’s Finest Auto-Adjusting Flashlight: The New Fury With IntelliBeam Technology

    Fountain Valley, CA — SureFire, LLC, manufacturer of the world’s finest—and most innovative—illumination tools and tactical products, is releasing its first auto-adjusting flashlight—an IntelliBeam™ version of the popular P2X Fury. This new Fury with proprietary IntelliBeam™ Technology (P2XIB)­ features an intelligent sensor and microprocessor-based system that continuously and seamlessly adjusts light output by constantly evaluating your surroundings. This model always delivers the right amount of light for the task at hand.

    This cutting-edge technology also helps preserve dark-adapted vision by evaluating the environment before turning on, so it never activates on high in close quarters. If you’re in an open field, you’ll get all 600 lumens. If you’re prepping gear or loading a vehicle, it will dial in the necessary output based on the environmental feedback it receives, down to as little as 15 lumens. Just press or click the tailcap switch to engage this auto-adjusting mode. To override this mode, simply return to off and press or click again within one second to activate the max-output/tactical mode. This second press or click locks in all 600 lumens where maximum output is needed. The P2XIB defaults to IntelliBeam mode when it’s off for more than one second.

    The P2X Fury with IntelliBeam Technology—like all Fury models—uses a high-performance LED to deliver its broad, intense light that’s focused by its reflector into a smooth, wide beam with a bright central area and generous peripheral light. The high-strength aerospace aluminum body is knurled to provide a comfortable yet secure grip and it is hard anodized to military specifications (Mil-Spec Type III) for extreme resistance to abrasion and corrosion.

    The P2XIB is powered by two 123A lithium batteries (included) and has a MSRP of $229. It’s available for purchase via authorized SureFire dealers, by visiting www.surefire.com, or by calling SureFire at 800-828-8809.


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    Colt M4

    In what probably many of our readers have already read about last week, Colt Defense LLC, the 179-year old legendary firearms maker have filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy-Court Protection. The company, according to a press release they posted last 15 June, mention that they resorted to this "process that will allow for an accelerated sale of Colt’s business operations in the US and Canada."

    Known for some iconic firearms such as the Colt 1911 and the Colt M4 rifle, the company has been struggling in the small firearms market due to intense competition. In recent years, the company has faced competition in M4 manufacturing ever since the U.S. Army acquired expanding licensing rights in 2009 and invited other gunmakers to compete for M4 contracts according to Military.com. In 2013, FN Manufacturing and Remington Arms were able to outbid Colt to make the rifles for the U.S. Army.

    Filing for Chapter 11 allows the company to be protected by the court from trade creditors, vendors, and suppliers to allow it for continuous operations. Sciens Capital Management LLC, which is Colt’s current sponsor, has agreed to act as a "stalking horse bidder" for all of its assets and liabilities related to existing agreements. The current management team will remain in place.

    Current lenders have agreed to provide a US$20 million debtor-in-possession credit facility, subject to court approval.

    This is not the first time that the company has filed for bankruptcy in its 179-year history. Samuel Colt, the founder of the company, went bankrupt in 1842, when the first revolvers didn't sell well. He was able to bounce back into business in 1847 when he was asked to make the legendary "Walker Colts" by the famous Texas Ranger, Sam Walker. He went on to become one the 10 wealthiest men in the U.S. Throughout the years, the company has experienced ups and downs as a firearms manufacturer.

    Here is the full press release from the company:

    Colt Defense Announces Fast Track Restructuring

    Files Voluntary Chapter 11 to Implement 363 Sale to Newly Created Entity Funded By Sponsor
    Colt Expected To Emerge with Stronger Balance Sheet within 60-90 Days
    Company Has Obtained $20 Million in Incremental Financing to Fund Operations
    Colt to Continue Business Operations with No Impact on Customers, Vendors, Suppliers and Employees

    June 14, 2015 11:43 PM Eastern Daylight Time

    WEST HARTFORD, Conn.--Colt Defense LLC (“Colt” and the “Company”) announced today in voluntary Chapter 11 materials filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware (the “Bankruptcy Court”) a process that will allow for an accelerated sale of Colt’s business operations in the US and Canada.

    Colt’s current sponsor, Sciens Capital Management LLC (“Sciens”), has agreed to act as a “stalking horse bidder” and has proposed to purchase substantially all of Colt’s assets and assume secured liabilities and all liabilities related to existing agreements with employees, customers, vendors, and trade creditors. Colt intends for the sale to ensure a smooth and swift transition of the business with all of its iconic brands, products, and operations supported by a stronger balance sheet due to a significantly lower debt burden. As part of the Sciens led bid, Colt will be able to reassure its employees and local community of its commitment to continued operations in West Hartford through a long term extension on the lease for its manufacturing facilities and campus in West Hartford. In accordance with the sale process under section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code, notice of the pending sale to Sciens will be given to third parties and competing bids will be solicited, with an independent committee of Colt’s board of managers established to manage the bidding process and evaluate bids.

    The Company intends to continue its normal business operations throughout the accelerated sale process and has asked the Bankruptcy Court to approve certain Company requests to protect trade creditors, vendors, and suppliers, thereby allowing for its operations to continue uninterrupted during the Bankruptcy Court supervised sale process. Union-related agreements will also be unaffected and employees will be paid all wages, salaries and benefits on a timely basis.

    The current management team, which has been led since October 2013 by President and CEO Dennis Veilleux, will remain in place throughout the process.

    “The plan we are announcing and have filed today will allow Colt to restructure its balance sheet while meeting all of its obligations to customers, vendors, suppliers and employees and providing for maximum continuity in the Company’s current and future business operations,” said Keith Maib, Chief Restructuring Officer of Colt Defense LLC. “While entering Chapter 11 protection in the absence of a consensual agreement with our noteholders was not our preference and we do not take it lightly, we are confident it is the best path going forward and will enable us to continue to gain traction on a challenging but achievable turnaround in our business performance and competitive positioning in the international, U.S. government and consumer marketplaces. Importantly, Colt remains open for business and our team will continue to be sharply focused on delivering for our customers and being a good commercial partner to our vendors and suppliers. We look forward to successfully executing on this plan, which provides a sound path of stewardship for an iconic American brand and the key stakeholders we serve.”

    Colt’s existing secured lenders have also agreed to provide, subject to approval of the Bankruptcy Court, $20 million in debtor in possession credit facilities to allow for continuation of operations in the ordinary course of business during the Chapter 11 process. The entire process is expected to be complete within 60-90 days.

    On June 12, 2015, Colt’s previously announced exchange offer, consent solicitation and solicitation of acceptances of a prepackaged plan of reorganization with respect to its 8.75% Senior Notes due 2017 expired. The conditions to the exchange offer, the consent solicitation and the prepackaged plan of reorganization were not satisfied and such conditions were not waived by Colt. All 8.75% Senior Notes due 2017 of Colt tendered and not validly withdrawn pursuant to such exchange offer will be returned promptly to the tendered holder thereof in accordance with the Offer to Exchange, Consent Solicitation Statement, and Disclosure Statement Soliciting Acceptances of a Prepackaged Plan of Reorganization, dated April 14, 2015, as supplemented, and applicable law.

    Perella Weinberg Partners L.P. is acting as financial advisor of the Company, Mackinac Partners LLC is acting as restructuring advisor of the Company and O’Melveny & Myers LLP is the Company's legal counsel.

    For access to Court documents and other general information about the Chapter 11 cases, please visit: http://www.kccllc.net/coltdefense.

    About Colt

    Colt is one of the world’s leading designers, developers and manufacturers of firearms. The company has supplied civilian, military and law enforcement customers in the United States and throughout the world for more than 175 years. Our subsidiary, Colt Canada Corporation, is the Canadian government’s Center of Excellence for small arms and is the Canadian military’s sole supplier of the C7 rifle and C8 carbine. Colt operates its manufacturing facilities in West Hartford, Connecticut and Kitchener, Ontario. For more information on Colt and its subsidiaries, please visit www.colt.com.

    Forward Looking Statements

    This press release contains “forward-looking statements.” These statements about Colt’s expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions and future events are not statements of historical fact and reflect only Colt’s current expectations regarding these matters. Colt’s actual actions and results may differ materially from what is expressed or implied by these statements due to a variety of factors, including (i) the potential adverse impact of the Chapter 11 filings on Colt’s liquidity or results of operations, (ii) changes in Colt’s ability to meet financial obligations during the Chapter 11 process or to maintain contracts that are critical to Colt’s operations, (iii) the outcome or timing of the Chapter 11 process and the Section 363 process, (iv) the effect of the Chapter 11 filings or the Section 363 process on Colt’s relationships with third parties, regulatory authorities and employees, (v) proceedings that may be brought by third parties in connection with the Chapter 11 process or the Section 363 process, (vi) the Court approval or other conditions or termination events in connection with the Section 363 process, (vii) the increased administrative costs related to the Chapter 11 process; (viii) Colt’s ability to maintain adequate liquidity to fund operations during the Chapter 11 process and thereafter and (ix) other factors listed from time to time in Colt’s filings with Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements in this press release speak only as of the date on which they are made and Colt undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

    Contacts

    Media: Sard Verbinnen & Co. for Colt Matt Benson/Trevor Rees, 212-687-8080


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    Malloy Aeronautics Hoverbike

    The dream of many fans of Star Wars, apart from riding those space fighters and destroyers, is to ride of a more planet-bound Hoverbike. Seen in Episode VI: Return of The Jedi, the Hoverbike was used by Imperial troopers in the Battle of Endor, a decisive Rebel Alliance victory which led to the deaths of Palpatine and Darth Vader.

    For those who dreamed of riding a Hoverbike, it may just happen soon, especially if they belong to the U.S. Military. UK-based Malloy Aeronautics and U.S.-based SURVICE were joined Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford at the Paris Airshow to announce that they are joining forces to develop Hoverbike for the U.S. Department Defense.

    Malloy Aeronautics is developing the Hoverbike technology with prototypes available to prove it. It is also had a successful Kickstarter funding campaign to raise funds for the 1/3 scale drone of their Hoverbike.

    Their objective in developing the Hoverbike is simple: to combine the simplicity of a motorbike and the freedom of a helicopter to create the world’s first flying motorcycle. Anyone would love to see them succeed and with the U.S. Defense Department backing this joint venture with SURVICE, the chances of having the full working Hoverbike just got even more real.

    The Americans see the value in the Mally Aeronautics Hoverbike.  According to Reuters, the adducted rotors make it safe to use as it people and property are protected in case they get bumped. They can be used to carry troops over rough various terrain and cheaper than a helicopter. It is also manoeuvrable as it can go in tight areas where the choppers can't go in. Since it can be manned or unmanned, it can be used to supply troops at the frontlines using remote control technology. For now, the development of the Hoverbike is part of the Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle (TRV) program.

    Whilst this cooperation is about developing full-scale models of the Hoverbike before building a military-grade version, Malloy Aeronautics can work on developing a commercial model for their Hoverbike. With the funding U.S. Defense Department, the company can implement whatever improvements to their technology for civilian purposes. Hopefully, this becomes a success and who knows we might see airsofters going to milsim events riding hoverbikes in the future.

    Press release below the video:

    LT. GOVERNOR RUTHERFORD ANNOUNCES MARYLAND, U.K.  COMPANIES HAVE TEAMED UP ON NEW HOVERBIKE TECHNOLOGY

    U.K.-based Malloy Aeronautics opens office in Maryland

    ANNAPOLIS, MD (June 16, 2015)– At the Paris Air Show, Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford joined with SURVICE Engineering Co., a Belcamp, Md.-based defense firm, and U.K.-based Malloy Aeronautics, an aeronautical engineering firm, to announce that the two companies have teamed up on the development of Hoverbike technology for the U.S. Department of Defense. SURVICE and Malloy are working on the Hoverbike as part of an ongoing research and development contract with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. The Hoverbike is being developed to operate as a new class of Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle (TRV).

    As part of this strategic alliance, Malloy Aeronautics has also announced that they have established a U.S. office in Belcamp adjacent to Aberdeen Proving Ground to complete work on the Hoverbike. A model of the Hoverbike is on display at the Paris Air Show, which runs through June 21.

    “I am pleased to join with SURVICE Engineering and Malloy Aeronautics to announce their partnership on the Hoverbike, which represents a new frontier in aviation,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “We are also very excited to welcome Malloy and look forward to working with them to grow their operations in Maryland.”

    “Establishing an office in Maryland was a clear business decision,” said Chris Malloy, managing director of Malloy Aeronautics. “The proximity to the Army Research Laboratory and U.S. defense decision makers, access to the world-class facilities through the laboratory’s Open Campus initiative, and the co-location with our strategic business partner, SURVICE Engineering, were all factors in favor of Maryland as the best choice for Malloy Aeronautics.”

    “Maryland companies do a tremendous amount of research and development (R&D) for the U.S. military,” said Jeff Foulk, SURVICE chief executive officer. “If there is a new military technology being developed, there’s a good chance that some aspect was designed, built or tested in Maryland.”

    With about 400 employees, SURVICE is a specialty engineering firm that has been providing R&D support for the U.S. Department of Defense and other industry sectors for more than 30 years. Formed in 2012, Malloy Aeronautics is an entrepreneurial aerospace company that develops, markets, and sells drones and Hoverbike technology to commercial and military markets.

    The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is the nation’s premier laboratory for land forces and is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America’s Soldiers.  RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.


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    T-90 Russian Heavy Tank

    Even with the economic sanctions that the Western countries have put into effect against Russia due to actions in Ukraine and low oil prices that have put a wrench in the country's economic gears, last week the country still manages to open a military theme park that will cost them US$370 million if completed. Called the "Patriot Park" this is Russia's military "Disneyland" where all the Russian military hardware through the years will be put on display for visitors to touch and admire.

    Vladimir Putin opened the Patriot Park during the Army 2015 Forum last 16-19 June 2015.

    The park will have a total of 4,000 5,500 hectares (around 9,880 13,590 acres), the Patriot Park is an hour's ride away from Moscow. Everything has a military theme, with military rations available for lunch. Tanks, armoured personnel carriers, attack helicopters and more will be fully on display at this place. It is also an events exhibition centre and I pretty much assume that defence conventions and military conferences will be held at this place. I am not sure if they would allow some weddings to be held amidst the hardware on display. There are plans for hotels and entertainment centres for visitors who want to stay longer than a day.

    If you want to collect Soviet-era memorabilia, there are fridge magnets that show Joseph Stalin, Soviet Secret Police founder "Iron Felix" Dzerzhinsky, Secret police chief Lavrenty Beria and many more.

    Visitors can get to try some of the military hardware, but will be using simulators to experience what the pilots and drivers experienced driving the behemoths. There are also opportunities to fire Kalashnikov rifles and partake in extreme activities. Tanks such as the T-90,  the Ka-52 Alligator Chopper, and perhaps the new T-14 Armata tank will also be doing some exhibitions as well as the latest planes from the Russian Air Force. There will also be a museum for the Russian military vehicles that were built throughout its history.

    Planned to help instill a sense of patriotism and pride in Russia's Armed Forces, some parts of the Patriot Park are still under construction with the final phase seen to be completed in 2017. When it gets fully complete according to Sputnik News, will also include reconstructions of important historic battles of the Patriotic War of 1812, the First and Second World Wars.

    If you are wondering if you can bring home one of those armoured vehicles, you're in luck. They also will have an auction section where you can bid on the vehicles. Fancy a T-72 or a BMP?

    With such a vast land area for a theme park, I wonder if they would allow for some "airsoft and milsim conference" in case war doesn't break out between Russia and the West, given the tensions building up in recent years. If peace does hold on and tensions lessen with a new era of friendship and cooperation rising, this can be a "must see" place for airsofters and militaria fans. It would be fantastic doing some airsoft events in this place with some of the hardware used for demonstrations to crowds used put to full use. If indeed that happens, it will be what Disneyland is for airsofters. Time to check plane fares to Moscow.

    Now let's see if the Americans will also do a rival Military theme park. They can even situate it in Florida just like other world famous theme parks for more days of sunshine as compared to cold Russia.


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    Airsoft YouTube Celebrities

    Have you been thinking of being the next Jet DesertFox, Airsoftology Jonathan, Robo-Murray, or Khan Seb who are well known airsoft celebrities by their big presence on YouTube? Or how about being behind the camera like Scoutthedoggie? They attract sponsors that spur them to make even more videos which then attract more viewers and even more sponsors.

    Whether you are in front of a camera or behind the camera; whether you are covering an event, or doing an airsoft review, it really does not exactly take a lot of money to put up nice YouTube videos. Many of such YouTube celebrities actually started small, before moving on to better and more expensive cameras. If you have a creative mind but a small budget, picking the right smartphone should help you get started.

    The smartphone is the most powerful device that you carry around with you. It does a lot of things, apart from making calls, sending text, taking photos and watch dancing cats online. You can do great videos with it, provided that you have invested in the right smartphone that comes with a good quality video camera. And when we mean good video camera, it should be at least 1080p HD, or better, go for smartphones with 4K cameras.

    Rather than invest in expensive video cameras, or DSLRs that won't help you make calls or browse the web when need be, the smartphone especially those from the Apple and the Androids should do well. Whatever budget you have left can then be spent on a computer that you can use for video editing, tripods, fluid heads, baseplates, and rigs (though the last one is optional). You can also buy smartphone mounts for rifle rail systems.

    To give you an even better way on doing great videos with a Smartphone, here's another YouTube celebrity well known for his videos using smartphone cameras, Danny Winget that'll give you some of the best tips of using your smartphone for videos:

    There is one thing that he forgot to mention in his tips, and that is audio. You will need to get an external microphone for better audio capture, especially for doing interviews or a vlog. The good thing is that there are external microphones made for specifically for smartphones and tablet, such as the RØDE SMARTLAV Lavalier Microphone For Smartphones:

    You can check eBay or Amazon for lowcost rigs and devices that can assist you for better video and audio capture.

    Now, don't forget to plan before doing a video and having a storyboard or a well prepared set of questions. Even if you have the nice gizmos to start your airsoft YouTube channel, if you have nothing in mind to present or talk about, then no one would be interested in your video and it'll just be buried in those thousands of videos that are uploaded on YouTube every hour.


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