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    Water Fes 2015

    Airsoft? What Airsoft? Get me a water gun and a plane ticket to Tokoname, Japan for the 1st August. Why? The photo above should be one very good reason why. If you want a gun fight in the heat of summer, I'd be willing to trade in my airsoft gun for a water gun. And Rinku Beach, Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture, Japan will be hosting an epic Water Battle Royale.

    The event, called the Water Fes 2015, is a full water festival where adults can just go and blast (or squirt) each other out in the Water Battle where the last man or woman standing gets to win JPY100,000 (around US$800).

    According to the organisers, the Water Fes was put together for Japan to have a fun festival to offer to the world. Italy has the "Tomatina" or Tomato Throwing Festival that is world famous but tomatoes are precious in Japan and thus, they'd rather have a festival with what they have in abundance as an island-nation, and that is water.

    The Water Battle Royale of Water Fes 2015 is the main event. Men and women in their beach wear and their beach bodies, all armed and dangerous with water guns try to knock each other out by taking out the paper targets that are strapped to their foreheads. If your paper target gets hit and washed away by a water gun, off the game you go. You can do some initial alliances to survive in the initial skirmishes, but as the players get whittled down to a few, it will be every man for himself, ala Hunger Games. You get to join either in the Team and Individual Water Battle Competitions.

    Access to Rinku Beach, which is an artificial beach, is easy. It is actually just right off the Chūbu Centrair International Airport and a 10-minute walk from the Meitetsu Rinku Tokoname Station. The airport itself was also built on an artificial island rather than built on precious land on the mainland.

    Apart from the Water Battle, there is a Lotion Battle though the mechanics at their website is a little vague on how this works. But there are more festivities with music and foam to spread the love around under the summer sun. The party will go on rain or shine, only a typhoon will stop the revelers.

    Tickets are cheaper for women which is JPY2,500/US$20 (will be JPY3,000/US$24 by July) while men are charged JPY5,500/US$44 (will be JPY6,000/US$48 by July). If you are not equipped with your own water gun, they have a "Weapon Shop" where you can choose your water gun from their fine selection water blasters.

    The Water Fes 2015 should be a good respite from the seriousness of milsim events and all the myriads of airsoft games that take place in summer, if you can afford a trip to Japan. Time to strip off from those BDUs and tactical gear, get into a different fighting load and it will be as fun.

    Hat tip to our reader from Japan, Kenji, for the link and info.

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    Combat For Falklands 2014

    A year ago, on the 12th to the 14th of June 2014, an international airsoft event took place in the Urals of Russia. Called the"The Combat For the Falklands 2014", it was an event where airsoft players get to do amphibious landings, based on the story of the Falklands conflict, but this time, a scenario was created wherein the British and Americans were defending the islands from the alliance of Argentina and Spain.

    Many of Popular Airsoft readers would remember this event to have an airsoft version of the M1A2 Abrams tank which was used by the defending troops and LCVP Mk5 landing crafts for the attackers. The event started with the amphibious assault where simulated artillery, mortar, and tank attacks were conducted to frustrate both sides from achieving their objectives. It was an epic start as shown in this video by the Red Army Airsoft Club:

    There were lots of questions that we wanted to ask the "Combat", the organizers of the event, and after sometime, they decided to answer them. But first here is a feedback of the event from an American participant. We caught Brandon at a coffee shop where he shared his impressions of the game:

    After the "The Combat For the Falklands 2014", and the even the "Combat for Manhattan" which they organized a year back, we were curious if they plan more epic games for airsoft players. A lot of people from the USA and Europe are interested if another event such as this will take place again. Here is our interview with them:

    Will there be even more epic games? If yes, then when will they take place?

    Yes.  We first took a rest from the previous project and now, we are planning a  new large-scale game. Perhaps as early as 2016, there will be a new game in the series called "Combat for ..."

    As to what this is,  we will not disclose all the cards. Just follow the news,  an announcement may be possible this fall.

    Your organization is well  known for creating innovations in the Russian airsoft scene. Helicopters, drones, Abrams tanks, landing barges, etc.  What else will happen?

    Definitely! We will continue to develop the level of play and continue to make innovations. We already have ideas for the game props and script of the game, which has not been implemented anywhere in the world. We hope we will succeed, but we will not disclose secrets.

    Your new projects will be only for Russian players or will they be open to foreign players too?

    We plan our games to be international. We will be happy to host players from around the world and are ready to help with the organization of foreigners visiting our games. If you have a desire to attend our games and you need information help to do it - please email us at

    Your site is not working. How can I follow the news from your organization?

    In fact, the site is not working as it is located on a global hosting site and it's undergoing reconstruction. You can follow the news of our group can at our Vkontakte group:

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    Ryan Flower's Mandalorian Combat Suit

    Early  this year, the airsoft community was fascinated by the Galac-Tac Tactical Suit made by artist Ryan Flowers. At first glance, you will think it is a Boba Fett costume, but it is more of a combat suit inspired by the Mandalorian armour worn by Boba Fett from Star Wars, and with the helmet made to look like it can be for present day use . Indeed, some designs by tactical gear makers, especially for the head protection system being requested by the U.S. Army, really come close to the Boba Fett helmet.

    It's an impressive suit and it would just be what some military organizations in the near future,  especially the helmet where it has rail systems and an NVG mount for more tactical accessories. But it does not have any tactical value as it's more of a concept art rather than protective armor research concept.

    Many have been asking Ryan Flowers if the Galac-Tac Tactical Suit would be put on sale and can be used for Cosplays. Finally, their wish has been answered as he has put them up available for sale. You can purchase them as individual components, with the Base Helmet costing at US$325 and is comprised of the Main Body Helmet, Interior Padding, Chin Strap Rig, Arch Rails, and Forward Night Vision Mount. The other individual components are the Chest/Shoulder Armor, Gauntlets, Cod Piece, and Jet/Jump Pack.

    If interested, you can also order custom paint job for the Galac-Tac, choosing Olive Drab, Tan, or even Flat Black.  Additional accessories will also be made to order.

    Ryan flowers are taking pre-orders of the Galac-Tac, taking 50% deposits before the actual work commences. We don't know if he'll take orders from resellers, such airsoft retailers who want to sell these to airsoft players. But if you want to have one of these and want to don the set on while you line-up for the premiere showing of Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens in December, better place your orders now as this as each will be made by hand, and that will take time to finish.

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    DSTS Missouri National Guard

    Doing some patrol drills and room clearing for the U.S. Army and National Guard Units these days don't actually need for them to go outside to practice patrolling or go to a kill house for some live fire room clearing exercise. With Virtual Reality (VR), they can do all of these with minimum risks of injuries that are inherent in military training exercises.

    Early this month, the Missouri National Guard tried the VR technology called the Dismounted Soldier Training System (DSTS) at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. First introduced at Fort Bragg in 2012, the DSTS allows leaders to maintain the proficiency of their squad members to their assigned tasks, even with the introduction of new squad members, integrating them even faster.

    They can repeat the drills frequently with lesser "reset" times, which consumes more time to repeat the drill if done with the DSTS. The other thing about using VR is that it actions can be recorded and soldiers can watch and do critique in After Action Reports as the drill is played back to them. This will include shots fired and radio communications between squad members. From there, they can improve coordination, movement, communications, and shooting.

    What's more, with the use of VR, it's easier to introduce different types of training environments into the  squad members' VR headsets, adding some elements that would require some specific reaction from the soldiers at the push of a button. It is easier to recreate an AO using computer without the need for physical infrastructure that, again, will take time to be designed and setup.

    The DSTS is not designed to replace existing training exercises, but rather to enhance them. While VR is a good tool, there will still be the need of some real live exercises that will require more units and coordination. The DSTS of course, will have prepared the soldiers for these types of exercises, and can be easily setup when there is no time for such.

    Such technology, if available to some civilian tactical training sites, can also be used in having airsoft players do squad training, especially in preparing them for milsim events. Airsoft teams can avail of such VR trainers and enhance their members' proficiency at squad level and different types of scenarios without actually going out to the field. Just imagine seeing airsoft teams doing proper movement to objective just like trained soldiers in milsim events.

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    Megabots vs Kuratas

    One is American, the other Japanese. The American one fires  paintballs, the Japanese one fires airsoft BBs. The owners of the American one want to put up a Fighting League, the owners of the Japanese one are selling it on Amazon for US$1 million. But they have one thing in common, they are both giant robots.

    If all things fall into place, we might see one epic battle of the Titans. We're sure you'll want to watch this battle of the big Mechs. This is not a made for Hollywood movie that would be directed by Michael Bay, it is a real one on one battle of full metal warriors.

    The makers of the MegaBots, have issued a challenge to Suidobashi Heavy Industries, the creators of the 12-foot high Kuratas, to a robot duel. The 15-foot MegaBot MK. II is armed with a paintball cannon whilst the Kuratas is armed with the Craft Apple Works (CAW) Airsoft Miniguns and A Water Bottler Missile Launcher with the pilot using a heads-up display for targeting. Even if not really armed with real deal cannons and missiles (I would love to see them equipped with Hellfire missiles and real Vulcan miniguns), seeing two massive human-piloted robots battle it out would be interesting. It's what sci-fi, mecha, and movie writers have been making for the entertainment industry, but now we'll get to see in real life battle that even military people would be interested to watch.

    If the Japanese accept the challenge, then that’s where the real work begins as the challengers want it to happen in a year's time. There are logistical concerns for this duel since they need to be both transported when a fight arena gets picked. Furthermore, since both have different types of armaments, they will have to agree if they would use paintball or airsoft (or something better, like Hellfire missiles!) as their armament and how point system would be. For the makers of MegaBots, this would perhaps be the spark they need for their Robot Fighting League.

    So, which you pick  to win the fight? Would you want the Japanese Kuratas where the pilot has to smile in order to fire its weapons? Or would you pick the brass American MegaBot MK. II, the bigger challenger with even bigger guns? Don’t place your bets yet, the challenge hasn’t been accepted yet. 

    Now, as we pray that the Japanese accept the challenge to make this happen, watch the videos below to start making your decisions on what robot to bet on:

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    Beacon Box

    It's Summer and for many airsoft players, it means more weekends in the outdoors as they attend airsoft and milsim events far and wide. In a way, they get to go to places where amenities are sparse, just the bare minimum to setup camp and carry airsoft guns and tactical gear. These are also places that electricity won't be available too and thus, they have to make sure that most of the electronic gear batteries they bring are fully charged, including mobile phones.

    Mobile phones are indispensable and we need to be always have their batteries carry their charge wherever, including airsoft events. We need to be in touch with families and friends while at the AO and having a mobile phone run out of juice is something that we do not welcome. Hence, we bring powerbanks with us nowadays, so we can charge our mobile devices and other electronic gadgets without looking for an electrical outlet.

    The makers of Beacon Box, are determined to bring you a powerbank that does more than charging your devices. Realizing that the going to the outdoors is not just having a powerbank, they designed the Beacon Box to not just charge your devices, but also protect them while in the process of being charged. It is a waterproof and crushproof phone case too so you don't have to worry about your phone being at the mercy of the elements. It will float as well that when it falls off a creek, you can easily retrieve it.

    Apart from those features, it is also solar-powered, keeping the batteries charged and to continuously charge devices while on the go.  It  also comes with high intensity white LED lights that you can use as an emergency beacon or to just light up your camp and low intensity yellow LED lights for you to see in the dark without ruining your night vision.

    Here is the list of features of the Beacon Box:

    • 6 3/4 inches long,4.5 inches wide, 2 inches thick
    • 16 ounces weight
    • Fully waterproof and floating—even with a device
    • Top has 12 White High intensity LED lights. (TESTED visibility at ¾ mile in blinking mode)
    • Top also has 8 yellow low intensity LED light  (To retain night vision)
    • Polymer lithium Ion rechargeable battery fully-recharged in 36 hours via solar panel
    • Three USB charging ports for phones and tablets. 2 ports 5v 1.0A and 1 port 5v 2.1A
    • Battery power life indicator (25% 50% 75% 100%)
    • The Beacon uses a Polymer Lithium Ion battery to operate the lights and to charge electronic devices and has a 15,000 mAh rating
    • Updated QI charging in the lid
    • Updated heavy duty latching system

    But before you open up your wallets or head-up to Amazon, or any electronic device seller, thinking that you might be able to bring it to the next 48 hour milsim event, the Beacon Box is still a work in progress. Right now, it is on Indiegogo to raise funds in order to bring it to full production. It has a target of US$25,000 with 38% of it already achieved as of this writing, it still has over a month to go to reach its required funding goal.

    If you help it achieve the funding goal by pledging at least US$82 to get one of the first Beacon Boxes, then you'll have something reliable to use for charging your devices when you plan for your next airsoft event, or traveling to the far places of the world.

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    Bomber & Company Bomber Survival Gear

    From the company behind the Bomber Barrel, a duffel bag that was highly successful on Kickstarter, comes another Kickstarter project designed to accompany the Bomber Barrel Duffel Bag --- The Bomber & Company Bomber Survival Gear. It is one of the fastest funded projects of Kickstarter, as it has achieved way more than its initial funding goal of US$10,000 in less than a week, having raised over US$120,000 as of this writin with more than 40 days to spare.

    The whole Bomber Survival Gear is comprised of the Firestarter Paracord Bracelet, Paracord Keychain, and Duffle Bag Survival Gear though the focus of this Kickstarter project is more on the Bracelet and Keychain. The Duffel Bag is already a more familiar product for those who have been pledging at Kickstarter projects.

    Both the Bomber Paracord Bracelet and Keychain were designed to accompany the Bomber Barrel Duffel Bag whether you are in an urban area, or in the outdoors. The worse case is that a sudden national or worldwide catastrophe happens and you have to bug out without being able to get home to get the essentials for you to survive.

    Most airsofters are familiar with the usefulness of paracords as we always have paracords in our gear that are necessary tools in case of emergencies. These are very convenient and reliable cords that they have been transformed into bracelets that other airsofters tend to wear every day. These are the type of customers that the Bomber Survival Gear is aimed at, including the growing community of survivalists and preppers around the world.

    The main difference of the Paracord Keychain from the Paracord Bracelet is of course the key chain and the military-grade clip that can be used to hook or secure the Bomber Duffel Bag and or secure the Paracord to a Belt or a MOLLE loop, or whatever stuff you want it clipped to.  Both are 550 paracords, meaning they can carry weights up to 550 pounds. The Bracelet uses 3 meters of emergency paracord while the Keychain uses 3 meters.

    Both come with the firestarter tool comprised of the flint/steel that are woven into the design. You know the how drill, but if not, there is always an instructional video that you can watch to learn how:

    The Kickstarter crowdfunding project allows you to own each of these Bomber Paracords, own both, or own the full Bomber Survival Gear, including the Bomber Barrel Duffel Bag and pouch. Each Bomber Paracord are at US$15 but for the full set, you get to pay US$89.00 which is cheaper as these are early bird prices as the prices will go up once they go full retail. Deliveries will start by October 2015 to all backers worldwide.

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    AO Dave Baks Vlog: Is Airsoft a Sport or Hobby?

    One of the most often asked questions about airsoft  is, is it a sport or it is a hobby? We are guilty here at Popular Airsoft as we haven't even agreed on what airsoft really is and we interchange "sport" and "hobby" in our posts. We are back to this question again with Dave Baks of Airsoft Obsessed giving his answer to this question, defining airsoft as a hobby from his perspective and experience as a sports coach:

    Interesting points he raised. However, his reasoning can still define airsoft as a sport since airsoft practical shooting (called as "Action Air" by the IPSC) has clear and standardized rules and equipment with strong followings in Europe and Asia. Airsoft 3-gun can also be defined as a sport since it's based on the actual 3-Gun sport.

    Perhaps, he is defining airsoft mainly in terms of force-on-force which really, no airsoft force-on-force sport format has been widely accepted amongst airsoft organisers around the world. In Southeast Asia, especially in the Philippines, the airsoft force-on-force they have is the "Speedball" which is similar to the Paintball format but it is a most tedious format, with lots of cheating accusations and marshaling can be almost a 1:1 thing (1 marshal to 1 player) plus the risk of marshals being caught in the crossfire most of the time.

    Dave is right that there are many ways to enjoy airsoft, but we tend to qualify this enjoyment as a hobby and as a sport, depending on what type of airsoft game you are playing. It is only the more well-known segment of airsoft, which are the skirmishes (and milsim events) that happen at any indoor or outdoor airsoft facility anywhere in the world, that there are different rules to which game site owners and organisers adopt. The only one set of rules that are abided to by all types of airsoft game formats are the gun safety rules, and there is no debate about that.

    I do digress about the third part about standardized field or play area as an important criteria to define an activity as a sport. Shooting sports, especially real steel and airsoft, do not have clearly standardised field sizes as game organisers setup different types of courses for shooters to go through. Many racing sports do not have standardised fields, they have different types of routes, race tracks, distances, terrain, and time trials. Still, these are widely accepted to be sports activities.

    Thus, it is hard to generalise airsoft to be a hobby or call it a sport and the debate may continue on such a question. But for us, we are very much open minded to how airsofters would try different ways to enjoy airsoft. After all, airsoft actually started as something to have fun with guns minus the dangers and there was no discussion of it being a sport after all. But then, bows and arrows were designed mainly as weapons of war before they also evolved into the sport of archery.

    So what do you think? Is airsoft a hobby or a sport?

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    U.S. Army MAXFAS Exoskeleton

    What use is an army if its soldiers don't know how to shoot? Even if they know how to shoot, can they shoot faster, steadier, and more accurately? The U.S. Army, while it trains its troops hard to shoot better than the enemy, is working on an exoskeleton that will help the troops to do even better and at faster rate of learning.

    In a report at, U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) researcher Dan Baechele has developed a prototype mechatronic arm exoskeleton called MAXFAS or the Mobile Arm eXoskeleton for Firearm Aim Stabilization. By its name itself, it helps the soldiers develop shooting proficiency with better stabilized aims, just like the stabilization features in video and still cameras, with which one can shoot an image handheld steadily without the aid of a tripod. It cancels out tremors in the arms while aiming, helping the arms develop "muscle memory" for better and steady aiming even under the stress of battle.

    The MAXFAS is a series of cables and sensors that is strapped to the soldiers arms. These sense the movement of the arm and pull the arm accordingly like a puppet on a string. There are gyroscopes and accelerometers detecting the movement and sending the information to the microchip which then will distinguish voluntary or involuntary motions.

    Once MAXFAS has determined the frequency of the soldier's arm motions and tremors when aiming the cables are then activated to hold the arm still to help develop the steady aiming. With the help of airsoft pistols that weigh the same as the real firearm and with a mounted laser, the soldier than does some aiming at a cardboard target with the MAXFAS until the tremors affecting arm shake during aiming is reduced and accuracy improves. Test subjects who wore the MAXFAS were able to shoot better than test subjects who didn't wear the contraption, even with the MAXFAS removed from their arms.

    For now the MAXFAS is still a prototype with plans to have it in a backpack to help soldiers develop better aiming while on training on the field. This would be even better if such an exoskeleton can be made more lightweight that it's worn like a sleeve by a soldier on an actual battlefield. Such technology can surely help soldiers still aim good even if fatigue has set in.

    Application of the MAXFAS goes beyond soldier training. Airsoft players and practical/sport shooters, including Olympic shooters can benefit greatly from MAXFAS. For shooting clubs, investing in the MAXFAS, if becomes available for commercial use, can help their shooters develop an advantage over the competition in shooting tournaments.

    Read more about the MAXFAS in this interview with lead researcher Dan Baechle.

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    Kuratas Challenge Accepted

    In what will become history's first giant robot battle, the Japanese makers of the giant airsoft robot, Kuratas, have accepted the challenge issued by the builders of the American Megabots. For a week, we waited in anticipation and hope that the Japanese would put their country's reputation of being the centre of world robotics on the line and battle for robot supremacy against the brash Americans.

    Perhaps too there is another agenda by the Japanese: to avenge the loss of their women's football team to the USA at the Women's World Cup Finals 2015, in Vancouver, Canada last Sunday.

    In a video issued by Suidobashi founder Kogoro Kurata, the maker of the Kuratas, he is accepting the challenge as"We can't let another country win this. Giant robots are Japanese culture."

    Accepting the challenge from the Megabots is the easy part. The hard part now comes as both teams will need to thresh out details on how the fight should take place such as who shall host the fight? Shall it be on American or Japanese soil, or a neutral third country? Will there be sponsors? Will there be an arena for spectators? Will it be televised? When will it be?

    Furthermore, since the weaponry of both mechs are different (Kuratas uses Airsoft whilst the Megabots MK II uses Paintball), they should agree how weapons shall be mounted and installed. Will there be points to achieve to come out with a clear cut winner or will there be judges and umpires?

    But, what is interesting is the wish of Kogoro Kurata for the fight to be a melee combat, "But you know, we really need... MELEE COMBAT! If we're gonna win this, I want them to punch them to scrap and knock them down them down to do it." That's an even interesting battle, as it ups the stakes of the fight; one will emerge clearly a winner with the loser lying down as a heap of disfigured metal. Perhaps, that's pushing too far as there's a need to address the safety of the human pilots of both mechanical warriors when they come to blows.

    If you'll ask me, anything goes, as long they make sure both robots have Hellfire missiles mounted on  them.

    Now, we wait for the fight details. Watch below the acceptance video from Suidobashi Heavy Industries:

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    GoPro Hero 4 Session

    When going to an airsoft event, just preparing the gear and guns needed to fit the theme and type of event is always an exercise in proper decision making. As much as possible, we carry enough of the gear we need, but many of us usually carry more or less than what is necessary, and we err on the side of carrying more.  This means that we bring heavier loads to the airsoft field which is not always a wise way of going to an event.

    At Popular Airsoft, Optimus Prime always says that we need to play light and fast. But there will always be a balance of gear to fit the game and we sometimes compromise unnecessarily. Thus, we always think hard of what we can shed off to lighten our load.

    Good thing that many gear makers are working on that, such as Blue Force Gear with their Helium Whisper. For those who want to record their airsoft games, GoPro has made it easier for them with a smaller and lighter HD action camera they ever released --- the GoPro Hero 4 Session.

    I actually dig the color choice for the Hero 4 Session as it’s all black and stealthy, just the way we want it with our gear. It’s more of a cube as compared to the other Hero Actionn Cams, just 1.5 inches on each side. It records shoots 1440p video at 30fps (frames per second), 1080p up to 60fps, and 720p up to 100fps so you can have a option of doing some slow motion when editing the footage you've taken. You can also take 8MP still photos, do burst photos at 10 frames per second and do time lapse photography with which you set it at intervals from 0.5 to 60 seconds.

    Operating the Hero 4 Session is a simple thing to do. Just press the big red button on top of the camera to start recording and press it once again to stop. Press the button for 3 seconds and it will go into a time lapse mode. The other button is for the Wifi feature where you can connect to your GoPro app on your mobile phone and with the GoPro remote which is sold separately.

    It is also wateproof without the need of a separate housing and can also be used with the existing GoPro mounts, but with it, a small profile for is achieved and won't ruin your loadout look. It has most of the features of its bigger siblings, albeit it does not record 4k, which seems to be latest thing that new generation of action cameras are capable of recording.

    What I find cool are the two new features seen in a GoPro action camera. The first one is the Auto Image Rotation that automatically reorients the image to the right side up when the camera is mounted upside down, so no need to reorient it when editing it unless you want it intentionally upside down. The second one is the Dual Mic System where mics have been placed in front and at the back and will automatically adjust for optimal audio capture especially in windy conditions or high speed motor racing.

    The Hero 4 Session comes with a built-in battery that can give you two hours of continuous recording and with the simple operation, you can make the battery last longer by simply stopping the camera from recording.

    Simple, smaller, lighter, waterproof, low profile, and durable, the GoPro Hero 4 Session can fit nicely in our airsoft loadout. It is not bulky, it’s not heavy, it's something that we can always carry with us to the field.

    The GoPro Hero 4 Session will be available on the 12th of July 2015 with an initial price of US$399.99 or £329.

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    Tetris is one of the most addictive video games of all time. My family was obsessed with it, with my parents and siblings getting their own portable game consoles just to play this game and we tried to beat each other's high scores. Over time, the novelty wore off, but the game never left us. We all have a Tetris game app installed in our smartphones to keep us occupied when not checking Facebook, taking selfies, or playing Angry Birds. A Soviet designed video game, it still is a much played video game, in one form or another.

    Now, apart from keeping us occupied for hours, Tetris may help those who are getting flashbacks of traumatic events, such as those who have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), block those memories. For individuals who are involved in helping those with PTSD cope with such syndrome, airsofters and veterans alike, this development is a welcome thing.

    In an article on New Scientist, in 2009, a team of researchers from the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, led by Emily Holmes, showed that playing Tetris that playing the game within four hours after a traumatic event reduced the number of traumatic flashbacks. The drawback is that not always possible that the video game can be put into the hands of the trauma victim within that time frame. The worry is that the memory of the event gets fixed into the brain as the victim sleeps over it.

    The same team decided to continue with the research if the game can still have an effect of blocking those memories even if the memories have already been lodged in the brain. They conducted an experiment wherein 56 volunteers were shown some Public Safety Announcements (PSAs) as these are videos produced with distressing scenes intentionally done to stay in the memories of those who watched these. The following day, the volunteers were shown still images from the videos to reactivate their memories, bringing these to a state in the brain where they can be modified. They then had half of the participants play Tetris for 12 minutes with the other half doing nothing.

    Over the following week, those who had played Tetris experienced 51% fewer intrusive memories than those who did not. They also scored lower when they answered a questionnaire that contains a section on intrusive memories used to diagnose PTSD. 

    According to Emily Holmes, other visually engaging video games such as Candy Crush combined with other visual tasks may help too.  Perhaps, airsoft can be classified as such as there are reports of airsoft being helpful to veterans coping with PTSD.

    The problem with airsoft, if proven to really help by further research, is that it cannot be taken up anytime by those with PTSD since it requires more equipment and going to an actual airsoft field just to play. In between airsoft games, video game apps such as Tetris and Candy Crush, can help even further as they are very much portable as these are installed in smartphones. Encouraging veterans to play Tetris and Candy Crush during their idle times can help block those memories and eventually reducing flashbacks, enabling them to interact better with the world, especially their family and friends. It is also a more cost-effective way of helping them out as they cost free or just less than a dollar to install in mobile phones.

    It's time to collect all those iTunes and Google Play gift cards to give to veterans and other people with PTSD so they can purchase such types of video games. What's even better is also playing with them, trying to beat each other's high scores, just to give it a more social component to it.

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    Micro Drone 3.0

    It looks like our theme about new product features this week is "small is beautiful". We featured two days ago the new GoPro Hero 4 Session, the smallest HD action camera from GoPro and today we are featuring the Micro Drone 3.0, a small HD camera drone that is on Indiegogo, raising funds to get funding for its production.

    As you have noticed on YouTube, a growing number of airsoft videos are now taken with civilian camera drones from the likes of DJI Phantom and Parrot. Having camera drones provide enthusiast videographers to capture the airsoft action, especially massive airsoft and milsim events at angles that were not easily done before unless they spend a lot of money.

    But most of these of videos are taken outdoors where the popular camera drones are big enough. Some videographers want to take footage of the airsoft action indoors, but the drones are too big to exactly go through most of the doors and windows at CQB sites. Furthermore, they can easily get in the way of airsoft players as they go through stairways, corridors and rooms.

    The Micro Drone 3.0 is the answer to that.  While it can do aerial video footages outdoors with ease, this drone can work best indoors due to its small size, as it can fit the size of an adult palm. It has the world's smallest Gimbal for stabilization of the video camera that takes 720p High Definition Video at 30fps. This video footage is then streamed to a smartphone via wifi and can work with livestreaming services such as Periscope and Meerkat. With Google's Cardboard VR, you can do first FPV flying with the Micro Drone 3.0. Of course, you can also store the video on board the Micro Drone 3.0 by using a micro SD card.

    Since it’s  also modular, it can allow third party developers to design and create modules that can be snapped to the Micro Drone 3.0, as long as it can easily carry the weight of such modules.  It has intelligent motion sensors so it can fly and hover at level and straight lines without deviating from its fixed axis.

    For airsoft videographers who use drones to cover airsoft events, there are no one size fits all drones and if they intend to do cover indoor games, then the Micro Drone 3.0 is the perfect drone to use, as long as the lighting conditions allow. It is not as expensive as the popular drones in the market as it will cost US$150 for the early bird supporters on Indiegogo. With 7 days left, the developers of Micro Drone 3.0 have already released over US$1.1 million in funding pledges, and it is way beyond their original funding goal of US$75,000.

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    Call of Duty: Black Ops III Zombie Mode

    This reveal trailer of the Call of Duty: Black Ops III Zombie Mode "Shadows of Evil" actually caught me by surprise. The story of the Call of Duty: Black Ops III is set into the future with more high tech weaponry and super humans, but "Shadows of Evil" went back in time, to the 1940s film-noir inspired horror story, with different weaponry, upgrades, and also has a story line..

    Revealed at the San Diego Comic-Con, "Shadows of Evil" have are four characters in this mode: the Boxer, the Femme Fatale, the Magician, and the Cop. They all wake up in a metropolis (Morg City) where the living dead have overwhelmed almost every human, and these troubled individuals will need to work together in order to survive. They will have to piece together their memories, as they have their bouts with amnesia, to find out what brought them to this god-forsaken world.

    As it is set in the 1940s, players are then to use vintage era weapons, but there are some other weapons that they can use such as rocket-powered riot shield which was shown in the video used to smash zombies to create an escape path. A gum-ball machine is in the game where players can purchase upgrades to help them survive the zombie hordes. But they have to be careful with the monsters that will appear in the game, such as three-headed and tentacled monster also shown in the video.

    The troubled characters in the game are voiced by actors Jeff Goldbum (Magician), Heather Graham (Femme Fatale), Neil McDonough (Cop), and Ron Perlman (Boxer). Robert Picardo, who has appeard in the older versions of Call of Duty, will be the Shadow Man who offers to help them but what his offer may not exactly help them.

    Treyarch are also making downloadable maps from previous Zombie Modes, such as a remake of the Der Riese map, to be made available for Black Ops III.

    If you want to be a zombie in the game, you have the opportunity to join by supporting Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit organisation started by Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick to help other nonprofits involved in helping veterans find good jobs after leaving military service. Activision will match every dollar donated up to US$1 million. The charity drive runs up to the 31st of August.

    Call of Duty: Black Ops III will be released on 6th November 2015 on PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.

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    Gun Grip iPhone Case

    In the past days, we have been seeing news and social media posts warning of dangers posed by gun-shaped phone cases. While these are totally harmless phone cases on their own, they can be dangerous to their owners if mistaken by police and other gun-toting individuals to be a real thing. Just pulling out such cases can alarm the public or elicit a more instinctive reaction from law enforcement that can be injurious or fatal to the owner.

    Police departments in the United States have been issuing advisories about these phone cases and politicians are calling for a ban on selling these. and have already stopped selling the cases and have removed listings from their websites.

    While there have been no reports of incidents yet, many are calling this to be "a disaster waiting to happen." Just like our advisory to airsoft gun owners of not to display their airsoft guns in public, we'd rather not have people using these on their mobile phones. In the U.S. there have been incidents of people being shot for carrying airsoft guns in public, and even those who are carrying lighters can even get shot by responding police.

    The makers of these phone cases have been marketing these are cool to use, and you can use these with the Russian Roulette mobile app. Now, there are efforts to brand these as uncool and dangerous to owners. The public can just refuse buying these and they'll go away. But that's not so easy to do as there still are people who will be gullible enough to buy these cases thinking it's a hip thing to have.

    The right call will be to ban these phone cases outright and have mobile phone accessories sellers remove these from their displays before something that everyone will regret happens. Sometimes these supposed to be cool phone accessories can do more harm than good.

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    Sphericam 2

    For airsofters with their YouTube channels showing the gameplay videos from the latest milsim event, being able to capture the action around them at 360º is finally at hand. Presently, airsoft players would need to bring at least two separate action cameras to give different views of the action. But with the Sphericam 2 which is now on Kickstarter, all they need to bring is just one camera to capture the action all around.

    What's even better is that the Sphericam 2 does this in 4K at 60fps and the footage can be VR (Virtual Reality) ready.

    Why 4K rather than stick to 1080p HD video? According to the developers, 4K is the resolution needed for ideal performance in VR, especially with Oculus Rift and Google VR.

    The Sphericam 2, which looks like a golf ball designed by a mad scientist, is comprised of 6 lenses and image sensors that are fully synchronized. The creators stated that "Every pixel in the sphere is captured at the same moment. There is no other spherical video camera in existence that can do this." Which should be as all cameras should be capturing at the speed with a maximum of 60 frames per second and a bitrate of 1GB per second. Failure of just one camera can result into uneven stitching and mismatched white balance.

    It also comes with Wifi so the video can be shared with the mobile phone or the computer. But for actual livestreaming, it will need the USB to ethernet adapter that will send 6 unstitched videos or a 1 stitched panoramic video at 100mbps bitrate. Storage is via the use of 6 microSD cards.

    Now, the problem is that mounting this on your helmet would make you look like a dork but if you have tens or hundreds of thousands of YouTube fans waiting for your next awesome airsoft gameplay footage, that's a small sacrifice to make.

    It's not cheap since the regular non-early bird price on the Kickstarter Page is $1,499, but then you get a Sphericam 2 that comes with 6 image sensors, 6 lenses, WiFi button, On/Off button, Micro USB port, 8 Tripod Mounts, 4 Microphones, and 6 Micro SD Card Slots. To make it easy on the mind, just imagine that you bought 6 4K video cameras at bargain basement price (I hope that helps).

    The fundraising project on Kickstarter is due to end on a few days' time and it looks like the Sphericam 2 will go into production having raised over US$212,000 which is more than the goal of US$150,000. If you want to become one of the first owners of the Sphericam 2, you still have time to make your funding pledge.

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    Chinese Military Exoskeleton

    Exoskeletons are here and are meant to provide us super human strength, allowing us to do tasks that were before impossible and wish we are all like the Incredible Hulk. Whether in popular culture as shown in recent Hollywood movies such as Edge of Tomorrow and Elysium, or in FPS video games that we now see in the Call of Duty Franchise, there are actual exoskeleton projects that are being spearheaded by military research institutes around the world. Foremost is U.S. Military with the Lockheed HULC project.

    The Chinese are now far behind as they also are heavily into the development into Exoskeletons. At the Zhuhai Air Show in 2014, the 202 Institute of the China North Industries Group Corporation or more known as NORINCO unveiled an exoskeleton that gives 80% coefficient in weight, allowing the user feel that a 100kg object will weigh 20kg and is flexible enough to do lateral movements. They also mentioned that they will implement further improvements before introducing for full use into the PLA in the future.

    Now over a half a year since the 2014 Zhuhai Air Show, they unveiled an improved version that shows a more substantial exoskeleton. According to Popular Science, it has upgrades in terms of  battery packs, hip mounted pneumatic/hydraulic pumps that are more powerful to support leg movements. The upgrades allows it to carry over 100lbs in load and with the battery at full charge, can allow the soldier to walk 20 kilometres at a good pace of 4.5km per hour with a 100lb. load that is similar to the Lockheed HULC.  Other capabilities include improved lateral movement and crawling showing that it is agile enough to use in the heat of battle.

    The exoskeleton is seen to be deployed to PLA troops in the future, though it still remains to be seen. But given the efforts of the U.S. Army to have their own exoskeleton-equipped troops in the future, the Chinese surely would not want to be left behind.

    Photo source:

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    Suicide Squad Comic Con 2015 Trailer

    It's another slow week in airsoft and the tactical world as there's not much to really write about in terms of new product announcements that will keep the chattering masses called airsoft players to keep their excitement up. We know for one thing is that many have high hopes on the Tokyo Marui AA-12 AES, which will be the most groundbreaking airsoft project that was revealed this year. It may not be the fanciest airsoft gun to be released for this year, but it sure is the most interesting to have as it has "Innovation" written all over it.

    For now, I'll write about a movie which I'm pretty sure many of you are excited to see in the big screen next Summer.

    In all honesty, I am not yet convinced if Batman versus Superman is the movie based on comic book characters that I would want to watch in Summer 2016. Frankly, I just don’t get it. But with the news about a film project based on the baddest boys and girls of the comic book universe, I am hooked. With all the movies about the super heroes that have brought big bucks to Hollywood producers, a movie about the super villains should be fascinating to watch.

    "Suicide Squad", which I previously wrote about since it was announced last May, has its trailer shown at the San Diego Comic Con 2015 and it is just perfect. In what is an eerie rendition of the Bee Gee's "I Started A Joke" song in the background, the trailer starts with Dr. Amanda Waller, the chief of A.R.G.U.S., talking about her project of using some of the world's deadliest criminals to do something good. They will be perfect for missions that would just be messy for the government to do, and if they fail trying, there is plausible deniability on its part. Apart from that, making these villains do something against their best interests is what Dr. Waller says she does.

    That sets the introduction for the Suicide Squad, with the cast of super villains comprised of Will Smith Smith as Deadshot, Jared Leto as The Joker, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn,, Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, and Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg. Viola Davis as Dr. Waller, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, Adam Beach as Slipknot, Karen Fukuhara as Katana, and Jay Hernandez as El Diablo.

    The trailer shows Dead Shot telling the crew that they are some kind of a suicide squad formed to do the bidding of the government. Eventually, they relent and go on to save the world with some quick shots of their missions in the movie. The Joker making an appearance at the end of the trailer in what looks like he is about to torture someone to extract some information.

    Better watch it the trailer, some got freaked out by it. I didn't and I'm looking forward to watching this in August 2016. I am hoping that it will not disappoint.

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    Flite Test  Airsoft Gunship - The Kraken

    I was checking a video on the Flite Test YouTube Channel, the channel for those who build remote control planes and helicopters for a hobby. One, I like the channel since they have hand build cool drones; and two, I wanted to watch again the Kraken, the stable and big flying wing the Flite Test guys built and actually became famous amongst their subscribers. They also released the plans on how to build one.  But I was more interested in the Kraken with the mod they did it to it --- they turned it into an airsoft gunship.

    In the video, you can watch the Kraken Airsoft Gunship that goes up and try to shoot another, albeit unarmed Kraken. With the use of FPV (First Person View), two operated the gunship, one for flying the drone, the other for operating the airsoft gun turret mounted on it. The FPV is an important tool for such as you can operate a drone with real time video, and seeing what the drone actually sees in front. The airsoft gun turret has its own FPV, so the gunner can swing the turret, allowing it to shoot at the other Kraken at different angles.

    There are airsoft drone prototypes that you can find on YouTube and they're interesting enough that if airsoft event organisers allow their use, then it opens up a whole new way of playing airsoft. Not only will you be ducking from the opposing team's fire, they may just have drones flying overhead to lay covering fire or dig you out from whatever you're hiding in. You'll find comfort if your own team can have its own airsoft drone to take it out and bring the battle to the enemy.

    Sounds fun, isn't it? Well, we need first the ground (eerr… air?) rules on airsoft drones in actual airsoft games, milsim included. Surely, you wouldn't want your investment in such a drone, which can be expensive, just go down in pieces after being peppered with BBs. The best really is to hit a mounted paper target that when shredded by airsoft gunfire means that it is off the game. But I'm open to better suggestions.  Also, care should be needed to protect the expensive cameras used for FPV and video recording on the drone.

    But if you don't care about the investment and willing to do some serious battle with other drones, then prepare for some aerial combat.  We've watched robot wars where their makers make them ready to pummel other robots into scrap metal, then why not bring in the aerial drone wars? With all talks of drone pilots being the future aces in the air, then these hobbyist airsoft drone wars sure can lay the foundations for the future protectors of the country's air space.

    The rule is simple, shoot the other drone down with your drone being able to land safely even if already heavily damaged from airsoft BBs.  Whilst the rule is simple, preparing a drone to take heavy damage and even stay up in the air longer requires a lot of engineering skills. Thus, the investment will go up and will probably cost more than the off-the-shelf civilian drones in the market as you will need a custom drone.

    Will it happen? Who knows, with a growing number of civilian drone enthusiasts around the world, it may just evolve to that as it's going to be a battle of flying skills and engineering ingenuity. If I were to get into this hobby, I'd call my drone the "Sopwith Camel".

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    DesertFox Airsoft MSW Road To Rostov Part

    If you have been monitoring milsim events in the USA, you'll notice one prominent event organiser, Milsim West, has been using blank firing guns in their events. This were first noticed in the Road To Rostov event and many wondered why blank firing guns are used in an airsoft milsim event. The answer is pretty obvious --- they use blank firing guns for effect in their milsim events to give a dose of realism.

    Just imagine an AO where the action is always penetrated by staccato burst of gunfire amidst the smoke generated by smoke grenades thrown by the players. If milsim players want the closest feeling to an actual real world battle, surely such use of blank firing guns can help in giving that feel. So far, Milsim West has been succeeding.

    With that, a debate ensued as there are those are bothered by the presence of real steel weapons, and the possibility of injuries with blank firing guns. If not handled properly, the wad of blank cartridges can cause bruising and the muzzle blast can also cause severe injury to those up close, especially to the eyes due to the high velocity of the gas expelled.  There are even more serious accidents that can be caused by blank firing guns. Such a concern is really valid and to dispel such concerns, Darkhorse of One Grunt's Opinion has this to say:

    The blank fire weapons in AIRSOFT debate has everyone all hot and bothered today.

    Here's my short version opinion on this topic:

    A milsim op is very different from a local pickup game at your home field. So you can't just say yes it's okay everywhere. It has already been used for years safely by op producers. You are all just now noticing it because it's becoming more common. Proof that it can be done and done safely is well established.

    If a local field starts allowing it then you should ask the op producers doing it already how they best implement it. Those guys pioneered it and know the best practices.

    It's not for everyone to just jump on and do. Safety and your customer base should be considered before using. Blank firing weapons aren't the only way to make noise anyways.

    I just say don't turn an element of theatricality designed for immersion into some kind of boogie man.

    Reenactors and the military have used them for decades, it's not some unstable or unproven technology.

    Javier "Darkhorse"

    Darkhorse says it plainly that it's not for everyone. If you plan on using blank firing guns for your own airsoft event, it is best that this should be handled by firearms professionals or those with experience using it in airsoft events who are to be embedded amongst the teams. Even if airsoft players are proficient with their airsoft guns and treat them like real firearms, a real firearm, even if it uses blank cartridges is another thing; and not all airsoft players can say that they are experienced firearms users.

    But even before you start using blank firing guns as special effects in your event, there are still questions that you will have to consider. Will your AO be far from a populated area? Will the local authorities allow it? You must not alarm the local population and that local authorities are aware and have given the permission for you to use blank firing guns for your event. So just don't go in there and start firing bursts of blank gunfire, you may just invite a heavily armed response from law enforcement organisations. Always check laws, local and national.

    As Darkhorse says, blank firing weapons are not the only way to generate some realistic gun noise. In countries where real firearms are not allowed or heavily regulated, there are alternatives to create the gun sound effect without the need for blank firing guns.

    One is the Ballistic Ordnance Sound System or BOSS from B.L.Tech in New Zealand. It’s a unique gun sound technology for airsoft and so far it is the most realistic gun sound system that it is being used in airsoft events. You can watch the video below to listen to the sound:

    If you are able to bring the BOSS to your AO, you will still need to check if such noise it generates will alarm the local population where the AO is located. Some local authorities will be strict about noise, and you might not be allowed to use the BOSS, especially if it's going to be a night event. So far, we don’t know if B.L. Tech will be able to export the BOSS outside of New Zealand. That’s something we'll have to be envious about the Kiwis.

    Another is the Incentive Designs RATTLE that blasts out a machine gun sound when fired and with the MFG (Muzzle Flash Generator) Venom, surely looks to be a formidable system that can be brought to use in a milsim event. Take the MFG Venom and combine it with the B.L.Tech BOSS then you create something that is close to a blank firing weapon, much safer to use and they still fire BBs rather than blanks.

    To each his own in terms of approach in creating realism in an airsoft milsim event, whether they use blank firing guns or some of the latest airsoft innovations that try to replicate real gun sound and muzzle flash. Organisers will need to remember that safety will always be paramount in considering which tool to use coupled that the tool will not violate any local or national laws.

    Honestly, it is not really a debate at all. It's more about using common sense.

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