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    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Multiplayer Reveal

    At last, Sledgehammer Games revealed the Multiplayer mode of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare during the Gamescon 2014 that took place in Cologne, Germany early this week. The trailer for the multiplayer mode confirms some of the observations that many had during the releases of the campaign trailer and story early this year. For me, I say is that in redesigning the Call of Duty franchise, the developers seemed to have cherry-picked the best features from rival FPS video games; or is it just coincidence that some of the features look eerily similar to other games?

    The Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare EXO suit reminds us of Crysis, ability to have faster abilities and cloaking features. With the jump packs, it reminds us Titanfall, and with the multiplayer reveal, the tsunami reminds us of a catastrophic scenarios from the multiplayer mode of Battlefield 4. Whilst the story for the game is really good, you might just scratch your head if there is some originality in the design of the new features of the game.

    But with all these features, the multiplayer battles can be described in one word: frenzy. With the new abilities, players will have to move fast or else they will be shooting ducks for those who are always on the move. Thus, in one scene where a player uses the jetpack to do a jumping reverse and be right behind the pursuing player, the latter will have to immediately do some quick lateral movements to avoid being shot to bits. Titanfall players can feel at home immediately playing the multiplayer mode.

    The tsunami scene adds some excitement to the game as players had to watch out not only the opposing team but also avoid being caught in the waves. This scenario requires a lot of jetpack use, but will also expose players from shooters whilst in mid-air.

    Players can pick which type of multiplayer games they want to join: Capture the Flag, Hardpoint, Team Deathmatch, Domination Search and Destroy, Uplink, and Momentum. The last two are two new games included in the multiplayer mode. In Uplink, the teams will have to battle for control of a drone; and in Momentum, it will be a tug-of-war for the teams.

    With just less than three months to go before its release in November, there are high expectations if the reboot of Call of Duty with the Advanced Warfare release will provide a new gaming experience for those who are souring on the gameplay of Call of Duty. Even if the features remind us of rival game titles, have Sledgehammer put something together that one can say, "Yeah, it's really a new Call of Duty game."? We'll find out in November.

    But if you are looking for more information, IGN has put together their first impressions of the game, click here to read all about it and watch their gameplay commentary.


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    Battlefield Hardline

    It's the first time that we have written about Battlefield Hardline here on Popular Airsoft. Well, we have had given the Battlefield franchise a bit of a bad review event if we didn't have problems with the game play at all as we did like it, especially the multiplayer part. It’s mainly more of the bugs and glitches that beset the games, that sometimes we just give up completing games and just move on to other video games.

    Battlefield 4 was much maligned, given that it was released with too many problems even if we loved the multiplayer game as the action was really fantastic. We prefer it over Call of Duty as the latter is getting a bit dated in terms of gaming style that a reboot was decided to make Advanced Warfare.

    Battlefield Hardline is deviation from the warfare theme of the Battlefield Series, and more of  a "cops and robbers" game. It still feels like Battlefield, even the single player campaign, which was unveiled recently as shown in the 12-minute video below:

    Watching the videos and reading more information on Battlefield Hardline, I felt that this game should just have been given another game title rather than Battlefield. Why? With all the increasing criticism that policing in the USA has taken a more militaristic approach, Battlefield Hardline would reinforce that perception. Include the recent riots in Ferguson, Missouri over an armed black teenager killed by the police and in which the police response was more like a military occupying force with all the matching military gear, the more people reacted more against the police.

    If it is a police story, it doesn’t seem like it. It’s still warfare rather than policing even with more options at taking down the enemies and having stealth options in going through the game. For the hardcore FPS gamer, he or she won't be bothered by this as it's more racking up stats, XPs, and frags. But for those who would be expecting something more of a grounded "cops" video game, with still some good old shoot `em darned armed robbers they will still be disappointed as it's more a warfare thing, rather than a video game that can surpass Max Payne.

    Well, with some cities in the U.S.A. turning into something like a warzone in recent years with more mass shootings occuring, perhaps Battlefield Hardline title can be appropriate. Do you agree?


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    The Expendabros

    With the worldwide release of the action star-packed movie"The Expendables 3", we also get news that the movie franchise owned by Sylvester Stallone also teamed up with Broforce to release a promotional video game that is free to download on Steam and it’s called "The Expandabros."

    Developed by Devolver Digital, fans of the "The Expendables", will have access to this game if they have Steam accounts and installed the Steam Client. The free "early access" version of the video game will be available until the end of December 2014. A full version of "Broforce" which you will have to buy will be released by early 2015.

    Whilst the early access version of "The Expendabros" is also a full campaign of version "Broforce", there is a caveat. This is more of a development version which will evolve over time before it's official release. What you see in the early access version will not be exactly the same with the full official version. Your playing the early access will give feedback and input to the game developer for them to improve the gaming experience. If you want to say that it's a Beta version, then you are probably correct.

    The story of "Broforce"is about a powerful and underfunded paramilitary organisation that goes about its missions with excessive force.  The "Bros" will have to eliminate the terrorist forces as they proceed to the different levels in the game. In "The Expendabros" the "Bros" characters will take on the characters of some of the characters from"The Expendables 3"such as Broney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Broc (Wesley Snipes), Bronar Jenson (Dolph Lundgren), Trent Broser (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Bro Christmas (Jason Statham), Bro Caesar (Terry Crews), and Toll Broad (Randy Couture).

    The game reminds us of the old Duke Nuke `Em game in the 1990s though this one's more of a side scrolling run and gun video game. If you like playing games like this that gives you a nostalgia of the old Super NES or MS DOS -based video games, then better download it whilst it's available for free. From there you can evaluate the game for several months until the full release next year, and you get to decide if you want to fork out some money to have get the 2015 release.

    You can download the video game on Steam right now by clicking here.


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    Marine Raiders - MARSOC

    The past has become present again, and the present will indicate what it will be doing in the future. The United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) has been aligned to the Marine Raiders, the name carried by the legendary U.S. Marine Corps units that did a lot of special operations missions in the Pacific Theater during World War II. The Marine Raiders were in fact the first special operations units of the United States.

    Last August 6, 2014, USMC Commandant James Amos announced that all units under MARSOC will be taking in the Marine Raiders Name. For example, the 1st MARSOC Battalion  will be now be called the 1st Marine Raider Battalion, the 2nd MARSOC Battalion, the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, and so forth. MARSOC will still be official overall name of the special operations group of the USMC.

    There were four Marine Raider Battalions which were formed in World War II. These units were tasked to do light amphibious assault missions, often operating behind enemy lines and operated from 1942 to 1944 when they were disbanded and designated as regular Marine infantry units. Fighting from island to island in the Pacific theater, the Marine Raider Battalions earned 700 decorations which included 7 Medals of Honor within those two years of active combat in some of the hard fought campaigns in the Pacific War.

    Before the MARSOC was officially formed in 2006, its precursor, Detachment One, activated in 2003, had its insignia designed paying homage to the Marine Raiders, including the original Marine Raider insignia in the overall design. With MARSOC, the Marine Raiders insignia was not fully incorporated in the unit's insignia design. Only after heavy lobbying by the Marine Raiders Association did Commandant James Amos finally relented and allowed the renaming of the MARSOC Battalions to provide a historical connection between the original Marine Raiders and MARSOC given that these units task of special operations missions. Still the MARSOC has its own history since its inception in 2006 which is independent of the Marine Raiders. But the building of the connection would be important for the renamed battalions as they can lay claim that the special operations history of the United States started with the Marine Corps.

    (MARSOC Operator with the Marine Raiders patch. Photo from the Level Zero Heroes Facebook Page)

    The units are not authorized to use  the original Marine Raider Insignia, which has a constellation of stars around a skull on a blue background though some MARSOC members operating in Afghanistan were seen wearing the insignia unauthorized. The renamed Marine Raider Battalions under MARSOC will still be using the Marine Corps Stiletto surrounded by the Marine Raider Stars to pay to homage to the original Marine Raiders.

    For those doing the MARSOC impression in airsoft, I guess it's time to call their impressions as "Marine Raider" and they need to brush up more on their MARSOC knowledge by incorporating the Marine Raider history to understand more. They can start by clicking here.


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    Gas Can Explosioin Inside Car

    I guess putting "Kaboom" in the title of this story is more of an exaggeration to get your attention. But I sure hope you get the point of the story just by the title. Whilst we talk about airsoft protection in terms of eyewear, joints, teeth, ears, and FPS limits, we tend to rarely discuss other potential dangers to our bodies from airsoft power sources such as batteries and gas.

    In this case, we talk about careful transport and storage of gas. We should always take note that gas expands due to heat, and since it's summer, we should always take double caution with airsoft gas. We have seen some videos before of gas cans exploding due to heat, and just like the PSAs about not leaving children or pets inside cars in hot weather, we should not leave the airsoft gas canisters inside hot cars too.

    Just take the story of our friend from the Filipino Practical Shooters (FPS) based in Thailand, Francesco Navarro.  He shared some photos and his story about his own oversight of leaving airsoft gas canisters inside his car whilst he attended a session for junior shooters (and birthday shooting party too, I think) at the Thailand Airsoft Shooting Association (THASA) range in Bangkok.

    As you can see in the photos, a gas canister got lodged to the car's ceiling in the upper door lining of the backdoor of the car, a result of it being propelled upward as the gas inside expanded due to hot weather, causing it to explode.

    "I forgot to mention that there were two canisters inside a bag filled with several packs of airsoft BBs. The second canister did not explode and nothing happened to the airsoft pellets, but the bag was completely destroyed.

    Damage to the car is about 10,200 THB [around US$320.00 at prevailing exchange rates as of this writing], but we got really lucky there. I will start moving gas canisters in a chilled drink cooler."


    Luckily, no one was inside the car or else there would have been potential injuries. Please do take note that this happens to the best of us and there are lessons learned. Always store gas cans in a cool place, and it's always a good idea to store them in a drink cooler when transporting these to the airsoft field in hot weather. Drink coolers are also built like tanks nowadays that in case a gas can explodes, it can be contained by the cooler's inner walls. That's also added protection for the car and its passengers.

    Also, if you're camping out for a long airsoft weekend event, don't throw empty gas canisters into a camp bonfire, these may still have some gas left inside and can hurt other people as they can turn into projectiles.

    With more and more airsoft gas blowback guns being released in the market these days, there's a demand for more gas propellants. For airsoft players, they should always check the warning labels of the gas cans and airsoft game site owners should always remind their players to take their gas cans out of cars when the weather's hot and store in them in the cool areas in the safe zone.

    Better be safe than sorry.


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    MARSOC Fitness Preparation App

    Ever wanted to be fit enough that you can actually be accepted into the Assessment And Selection Process (A&S) of the MARSOC? Now you can do that with this new mobile app that was released last month by the MARSOC to let Marines prepare in being a Marine Raider, which how MARSOC Operators will be called now following the renaming of MARSOC battalions into Marine Raider Battalions in homage to the Marine Raiders of World War II, the original special forces units of the United States.

    Being a Marine Raider will require the operator to be physically and mentally prepared to "execute missions in the largely unstructured battlefields of today and the future" and that  "Critical skills operators are trained with renewal in mind, focusing on the resilience of the individual, unit, and family."

    The MARSOC Fitness Preparation App is more focused on the physical fitness of the operator. This is an app that will help keep the Marine focused on "improving physical performance through training and nutrition. It provides photographs and descriptions of exercises used by MARSOC, and will help prepare candidates for the physical aspects of the Assessment and Selection process. Upon arriving at A&S, candidates are expected to have completed this 10-week program."

    While this app was primarily developed for the Marine, this app is also freely downloadable via the Apple App Store for iOS devices and Google Play for Android devices (sorry, Windows mobile users, no version available for you yet).  This app was developed around the three pillars of the required physical fitness of the operator, swimming, ruck marching speed over distance (load bearing exercises), and upper body strength.

    Just like the fitness apps that are available together with activity trackers, the MARSOC Fitness Preparation App also allows the user to share workout information among friends which usually spurs the rest to try and do better. But I usually caution anyone who will try to the program to consult a doctor before undergoing the 10-week program since they may have some underlying health conditions that may just worsen if they do this training. If the doc gives the all clear, then by all means, go for it if you think you do it.

    For airsoft Milsimers, this might be an app that they want to try even if they are not applying for the MARSOC A&S. And if you want to go the old school way and would prefer a printed manual of the MARSOC Fitness preparation, you can click here to download and print out.


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    Biohazard Survival Game Field Kawaba

    Previously, we had posted stories about an airsoft shooting bar with the Biohazard Theme in Japan which for fans of Biohazard/Resident Evil game series all over the world would have loved to go to. But this year, it is even more compelling as a fully built-up Kawaba Biohazard/Resident Evil airsoft survival game field is in operation since July 2014 in Gunma Prefecture, which is northwest of Tokyo.

    You better book the ticket to Japan very soon if you intend to play in this field. This is a limited operation until the 31st of October 2014.

    Kawaba is basically a ski park that also has a skating park and airsoft survival game field, in collaboration with CAPCOM, allowed its airsoft survival game field converted into Raccoon City. In the Resident Evil story, Raccoon City is a small industrial city in the U.S. Midwest that was destroyed by T-Virus in 1998. Its Police Department, Raccoon City Police Department, established the Special Tactics And Rescue Service (S.T.A.R.S) which the famous characters of Resident Evil belong to.

    With the anticipation of the Resident Evil Remastered HD that will be released in 2015, this game site will help in keeping interest in the game high whilst fans wait.  CAPCOM staff held a game early this month together with fans and they had real blast whilst at the same time highlighting the Biohazard game that will be released next year.

    As expected, airsoft guns available to rent and for sale are Biohard/Resident Evil -themed ones which are made by Tokyo Marui with the recent releases being the Sentinel 9 and the Jill Valentine M9A1 Samurai Edge Gas Blowback pistols. Still, you can rent or bring other airsoft guns to join in the fun.

    The best way to play in this game facility is to set up scenarios related to the game itself and have everyone dress up in the Biohazard/Resident Evil characters. Inside Games Japan has this story where special scenarios were put into place for that Resident Evil theme.

    With just about two months to go,  better plan your Resident Evil getaway trip. The Kawaba Biohazard awaits you to join the S.T.A.R.S and battle the zombies.

    You can also get updates and more photos at the Kawaba Facebook Page. All photos used here are from the company.


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    NAE 2013

    We're in full force today at the Ground Zero Weekender 2014, also known as the National Airsoft Event. Having arrived early evening yesterday, Master Chief and I are here again to report on the largest airsoft event in the United Kingdom. This is perhaps also the largest airsoft even that will mark the end of the airsoft summer festival. We have been covering the event for 7 straight years now.

    As always, we will be playing with The Others, as we're the happy go lucky bunch who will be happy just creating mayhem as Bravo and Delta battle for supremacy. But two years ago we won for the first time and perhaps we might try again this year.

    Almost 2 thousand players have signed up for this year (and can still grow).

    We'll try to savor the last long weekend here as the next holidays will be during the Christmas season. So expect lots of photos (again) and videos of the event as we bring you our report early next week.

    Enjoy the long weekend everyone!


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    Incentive Designs S.M.G. "Rattle"

    We're still feeling the effects of the hangover, literally and figuratively, of the Ground Zero Weekender National Airsoft Event 2014. It was indeed a great weekend, where players from the United Kingdom and many parts of Europe converged on Ringwood for another weekend of airsoft fun, action and mayhem.

    We're not done yet with our full after action report of the event as we're going over the photos and videos we've taken during the event; plus waiting for additional information that we need to put the story together. But for the meantime, here is something that you, our dear readers, would love to watch and listen in action --- the S.M.G. Rattle from Incentive Designs:

    It was indeed a sound and visual treat for those looking for realism in airsoft. Incentive Designs, a relatively young company which was incorporated in early 2014, are doing a good deal of innovation in terms of putting realism (and more) in airsoft. Whilst other airsoft companies are focused on designing airsoft guns that come with some realistic blowback and recoil, Incentive Designs are innovating on such existing airsoft guns by adding what they lack when the word "realism" is mentioned.

    Incentive Designs broke into the airsoft  scene with the recent introduction of the MFG Venom (Muzzle Flash Generator) which is definitely getting its share of fans. The MFG Venom is a Muzzle device that you can attach to airsoft guns with the negative 14mm thread. With its built-in sensor, it switches LED lights on whenever it detects a BB passing through the MFG, with the LED lights colour made closer to colour of a muzzle flash. The effect is a realistic electronically-generated muzzle flash that many airsoft players who have tried it were determined to own one. It's now being sold not only in the United Kingdom but also in the USA and very soon Hong Kong.

    Based in Wareham, Dorset, Incentive Designs was founded by Jason Cameron, who is the main designer of the products coming out of their workshop. He is supported by Andrew Honeywill who is a company director and handles research; and Peter Honeywill who is a company director as well and handles the business side of things.  You can learn more about the Incentive Designs Team by clicking here.

    Research and design took about three and half years before formally establishing the company when they have deemed they were ready for business with the production of MFG Venom.

    With the MFG Venom taking off, two more products were in the pipeline. According to Jason, whilst MFG Venom is about light, the S.M.G. Rattle is about sound. As you can see in the video, it's a big mounted airsoft weapons system which does more than being a fixed support weapon. Built around an A&K M60 AEG, the  AEG itself has the MFG Venom mounted on the front end. Every time it is fired, the S.M.G. Rattle also emits a machine gun sound really loud enough that can be heard at  a great distance via the speaker system located at the base of the machine gun.

    You can select the sound of the machine gun by pushing a button, and you can also have a sound background like more gunfire/battle noise, or the familiar Huey chopper sound making you feel like a helicopter door gunner. You can customise the sound effects and they can add more features to it like bluetooth so you can connect your smartphone to it. After an airsoft game, you can use the S.M.G. Rattle as a sound booth and play any music you want --- an instant party for players at the safe zone.

    The S.M.G. Rattle is built to order, with a build time and delivery of around 4 weeks, depending on the number of orders place and there are orders now already placed. As for pricing if you’re curious, it's best that you contact the company directly.

    The S.M.G. Rattle was actually used during the Saturday game of Ground Zero Weekender 2014. As we were battling some Deltas trying to raid our base at Firebase Charlie in the afternoon, we heard it fire in anger for the first time from the direction of  we thought was Camp Coursey . It was unfortunate that we were so far that we didn't see it in action. We've learned that someone from the organisers was able to take a video of it being fired during the game so expect it to be online soon. As for taking punishment from an attack, it is armoured enough to handle BBs fired at it.

    Each airsoft player who was able to test fire the S.M.G Rattle had a big smile on his/her face upon hearing the loud machine gun sound and seeing the muzzle flash. For them it was an awesome experience and the closest they can get to firing a real machine gun.

    Airsoft game site owners and event organisers can invest in a S.M.G. Rattle as one of their "come ons" to invite airsoft players to attend their games. If they are not ready to own yet, Incentive Designs can rent one out. If you're from another country, it might be a good idea to invest in one and rent out to airsoft events to recover the investment and profit out of it.

    If you're wondering what's the other product they have, it's the sentry gun that can be remotely operated. Called the Project RED (Remote Engagement Device), it saw action during the Ai-500 at the UCAP Sandpit in Kent.  You might wish it can move autonomously and follow its master, protecting the rear and providing support for the squad when needed. It has the following features:

    • Aluminium laser cut frame
    • Hydro graphics camo\360-degree continuos rotation
    • Near vertical tilt
    • 15 types of cross hairs
    • Manual zoom lens
    • 190-degree adjustable legs
    • Multi-weapon capable
    • Remote triggered
    • Auto pan speed adjustable
    • Soft brake adjustable motion
    • Multi terrain capable including extreme incline
    • Digital calibration of crosshairs
    • and more...

    So far only three products that we have learned from Incentive Designs that are designed to provide light, sound and fear according to its founder. If you want to learn what is in the pipeline, our lips are sealed.


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    Border War MILSIM SpecOps August 2014: The Red Talon

    Special Operations are a new type of event organized by Border War Crew. Compared to traditional Border War MILSIM battle simulations, Operation Red Talon in August 2014 brought the level of player experience into the heat of the Special Forces Operations. This mid-size invite only event challenged participants in small unit operations in very dense vegetation and intensive CQB with participants from 8 countries gathering for this unique event.

    Operation Red Talon offered participants a completely different view on MILSIM gaming compared to traditional large scale award winning Border WAR MILSIM. The focus of the event was on tactical operations of small units where player endurance and experience get heavily challenged.

    The event was attended by selected teams and individuals from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Russia, United States, Italy and Belgium. During the day, the temperature rose up to 34 degrees Celsius in the shade. All participants carried all of their gear on their backs for the duration of the event. Operations included intensive CQB missions during day and night as well as in deep black forests.

    LACS - LaserTag AirSoft Combo System

    During the event. The first prototypes of Border WAR MILSIM anti-vehicle system were tested and used in game. The LACS system was offered as well to participants for testing in CQB and as well in open terrain. Feedback was very positive for the first prototypes.

    SCENARIO

    The Minacuan Government needed to test a new weapons system in practice. For the experiment, one of the Islands south of Bocalan was chosen in order to find out whether the new weapon system is effective. Recently, the MEF forces are undergoing modernisation and few tenders are running in parallel. The main test shall be between the new Mortar type with a Smart Ammo and a well know medium range Silver Javelin Missile system. Traditional rocket artillery can cause massive damage but is less precise and slower to operate. On the other hand the new mortar ammo is not that precise but a bit faster to deploy. Before the tender is closed government demands a live test to be performed.

    ROCTECH Ltd. -  Rocket Technology Ltd .is a global company running and developing various weapon systems as well as space engineering projects. They have  been hired to evaluate the prototype effectiveness of the mortar against the effectiveness of the enhanced rocket artillery. ROCTECH operatives joined the paratroopers and were as well deployed on the island.

    As a test ground a smaller island south of Bocalan in the Red Coral Sea – called Isla De Pisces was chosen.  The island has been for some time terrorized by so-called Freedom Fighters of Battambarang. The Freedom Fighters are followers of the Coral Dragon, one of the local Nuevo Ordenar Leaders. There is a  bright future to all who follow the new order which is a traditional false promise by all such demagogues – a well known story in the Bocalan area. In its current state of emergency in the Bocalan area MEF wouldn’t invade Isla De Pisces, as there are much hotter topics in the region to focus on - but for a weapons test it is just perfect. A company of ANIB (Armada National De La Isla Bocalan) Special Forces have been deployed with few of the new weapon systems on the Island in order to pursue the insurgents and test the system in practice. ROCTECH Operatives shall measure the effects to produce non-biased findings needed for the governmental tender.

    One thing remained hidden from the raiders. There was a hack on the military communications system a few weeks ago and information about this operation leaked out to the weapons technology black market. Freedom Fighters were informed about the action and also they were given a very lucrative offer from a well-protected secret buyer.“1000 new rifles with ammo plus several million Bocalan dollars to the one who will bring an undamaged ROCTECH chip for High Altitude Flights and Aiming an very special recent technology used for navigation of the Silver Javelin Missile.”

    SCENARIO OUTCOME

    ANIB Forces were able to localize all practice targets and successfully managed to test weapons on them. ROCTECH Operatives successfully managed to perform damage assessment checks whilst the Freedom fighters used the momentum to launch counteroffensive in the afternoon in order to push governmental forces away from the area. During raid on an ANIB resupply point, the Freedom Fighters managed to capture one of the Roctech Navigation Chips.

    Rest of the information remains classified.

    More Operation Red Talon can be found at the Border War Facebook Page.


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    Ground Zero Weekender NAE 2014 Report Part 1

    We arrived by almost 2100H Friday after battling the traffic along the M25 for the whole afternoon where we thought that almost every vehicle in England was headed in the direction we were going.  Nevertheless, with whatever sunlight was remaining, we immediately set-up our tents, said hi to the regulars of Ground Zero; and of course, had to do our usual hellos with H and the rest of the staff, without them we wouldn't have a most convenient spot at the Ground Zero Weekender National Airsoft Event 2014.

    It was a good thing that we had our fill of food at one of the services along the M3 and the only thing we needed after all camp setup and courtesies was to grab some beer and discuss the tasks at hand as we cover the event for the 7th straight year. It was really more of having enough beer in our bellies as the our meeting was quick and by 2400H we decided to call it a night.

    Brrrr!!! That was probably the coldest night ever at the Ground Zero Weekender. The temperature dropped below 10 Degrees Celsius and if it went even lower, it would have been cold enough to freeze the balls of a brass monkey. We always remember the Ground Zero Weekender as either very wet and muddy or very dry, but it’s the first time we'll remember it being really cold. Still it was a relatively dry Weekender as compared to the previous years.

    I woke up around 0630h of Saturday and hurriedly got off the tent to do some morning chores before the whole camp woke up, if you know what I mean. Some were already out and about going to the food vans which for this year were a lot more, including a Mexican Taco Double Decker Busy for a change. Since Master Chief, who is also our camp cook, apart from being the designated driver, was asleep, I decided to get coffee from the food van and checked on my emails and Popular Airsoft updates.

    By 0730H almost everyone was already up and there were long queues to the food vans. I think by this time almost 80% of those who showed up to play were already in their gear, with the more grizzled veterans taking their sweet time knowing that the briefing time is still over two hours away.

    We brought one Weekender "virgin" who, despite already an experienced airsoft player overseas, will still have to experience a big event in the UK. For now we can call him "Cheng" until he has appropriated what he thinks is a proper callsign for his use.  He also has to get his gear from the shop at the Big Tent, which unfortunately for him, wasn't open yet by 1000H.

    A bit past 1000H, H gave the order to proceed to the Landing Zone, where he conducts briefings to players each year. Almost 2000 players have confirmed participation, making it the biggest Weekender since it began. And to take photos of such number of players, we have to be at elevated places. I was at the guardhouse/platform where H does his briefings whilst Master Chief rode on the bucket of the crane truck where he had a bird's eye view of the landing zone and all the players in it.

    By 1100H, it was game on and we went to join The Others at Fire Base Charlie, which will be their staging area for Saturday. It's Woody's turn again to be The Others 1C with Spud, who led The Others win in 2012, being the 2IC. It took a bit for the game to really start as we had to wait for the fireworks barrage that would signal the start of the game and for all the players from the various groups --- Bravo, Delta, and The Others to start going for their mission objectives and collect as many points as they can.

    The Others were quick to raise their flags at the Prison Camp, Stag Camp and the OP, which are closest to Fire Base Charlie. The Prison Camp is at the FEBA which meant that the players occupying it will be the first to encounter attacks from the other groups, and it was Bravo sending some troops to get it.

    As we went further down to the area called the ''BB Magnet",  or more officially known as "The Trenches", indeed there was a high concentration of players in the area with Bravo defending the area and having occupied a good portion of the western part of the game area including The Nest, The Village and The Fort. The Deltas were busy gobbling up the northern part of the game area and trying to move to the area of The Others. From there, it's now a matter of taking territory and getting more points from other players and mission objectives as put in the mission packs.

    By 0100H we decided to get back to the Safe Zone to grab some lunch and we tried the tacos from the Mexican Taco Bus. Cheng and I decided to get our kit to join in the game, whilst Master Chief had to stay behind since he his foot was hurting and had to rest. We went to The Others Staging Area by 1430H.

    The first thing that we had to do was help defend Fire Base Charlie as the Deltas were attacking it. We positioned ourselves but I came under attack when a Delta suddenly appeared to take a shot at me. He missed and I fired back, missing him as well as he quicky ducked but one The Others player who was right behind us got him. We cleared our sector and waited for more. Cheng spotted a Delta slowly going towards Fire Base Charlie right behind us. He asked if he could fire at him and my answer was simple, if he is wearing a different colour tag, then shoot him. He fired, got him, and made his first kill for his first Weekender.

    A sniper from Delta was well hidden to our right and was taking out The Others who were moving out to other areas. I almost got hit by the sniper and we were pinned down until some made their way around and got him. From there, we pushed forward towards the Prison Camp area again where Cheng was hit for the first time so off to the regen area for him. We are able to capture it, and moved towards The Village. Bravo were already there, holding it tight, and we were making little or no progress at all. Then we got a call for reinforcements from Fire Base Charlie as it was under attack again. We rushed back to help out, and Cheng got hit again. The area was clear and I headed back to The Village where I got hit. After respawning at Respawn Area 2, I went to Fire Base Charlie where Woody gave a command for a full attack on The Fort and The Village. It was 1600H by this time, and in our attack at The Fort, I got hit by a full barrage of friendly fire.

    I had to go back to the Safe Zone to get my camera gear as I know that by this time, all groups will be converging on The Village before the game ends at 1700H. Last year I was part of the attack which we held The Village but failed to lower the flag so we can raise The Others colour since it was tied tight. Still that experience was really intense as all available players from all groups were thrown into the fight. For this year, we wanted to take photos and videos of this amazing part of the day.

    Indeed, the firefight was heavy as Cheng and I also dodged BBs left and right. Other players were warning us about protecting our lenses and I told Cheng not to mind them and just take videos whilst I take still photos. I even had to protect one player from getting hit further as a lucky shot got him at an area that immobilised him for a minute. I think I got hit by players from all groups with the chaos and confusion that took place in the dying minutes of the game play. Bravo managed to hold the village when the game ended at 1700H. All players trooped back to the Safe Zone to rest for two hours before the announcement of the day's results and the raffle draw.

    By this time, the Boot Sale was on and players checked what unwanted stuff from other players were on display to buy. For us, we decided to check the Incentive Designs display where the SMG Rattle was demonstrated in front of us. We actually heard the SMG Rattle when it was used in the afternoon game, but we were too far to see it fired in anger.

    At 1700H, H was high up in the Crane to announce the results. The organisers have come better prepared, having pre-drawn some of the raffle winners unlike the previous years where they had to draw each number for all the raffle prizes which there were lots.  Bravo were announced to have won for Saturday, having collected 3760 points, with Delta following at 3490 and The Others with a good 3040 points.

    The Raffle Draw was the done quickly, and it took less than an hour this year. Live music entertainment followed until late, and all the camp areas were alive as players talked about their experiences during the day. Others tried some clay shooting with real shotguns, and others shopped for more gear at the Boot Area and Zero One Shop. For us, it was more stories with our friends from the Swiss Invaders, and meeting Valentino Banks, the three-week old baby of Daniel and Wanda Banks from the Swiss Invaders and one of the more popular couples at Ground Zero.

    It was tiring day for us and both Cheng and Master Chief decided to call it a night by 2230H. I still lingered bit as I still had two pints of beer on my hands to finish. I also made sure that I got enough layers on me to keep me warm as I retired for another cold, cold night by 2330H.

    More photos at the Popular Airsoft Facebook Page.


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    The Ground Zero Weekender NAE 2014 Report Part 2

    I must have been really tired when I went to sleep last night. I usually wake up at around 0630H at the Ground Zero Weekender National Airsoft Event, but this time it was at 0700H. Not to worry though since the rest of the Ground Zero camp sites were just beginning to stir up. Both Master Chief and Cheng were still in dreamland which also meant that I have to do the usual morning process of running to the food van to get coffee before the queue got longer.

    I had to do some online updates at the organisers' area as my I ran out of laptop juice. Luckily, there's a free outlet available to allow me to work, and the Ground Zero Weekender crew very much accommodating to my request. With that, I did some work quickly, then off to the food van to get some breakfast.

    With the two already awake, we got to packing up our camp since we planned to leave the area by around 1300H to attend to personal commitments back home.

    Sunday of Ground Zero always starts slow. With people tired from the first day of intense firefights and a night of partying at the camp sites or night games, most will take their time to get up and put on their gear. Still, the willingness to carry on the business for the day was there and by past 1000H, it was game on and back to racking up points and accomplishing mission objectives.

    By 1100H we were almost done packing up and for me it was time to get back to the dead zone, leaving the two finish whatever stuff to put away.  The Bravos were now staging their attacks from Fire Base Charlie with The Others starting from Camp Coursey and Delta from the Landing Zone. I walked towards the forest area that leads into the clearing between the Burrows and The Trenches. For this year, the forest was not as dense as the in the previous years where it was such a treat approaching other objectives almost undetected. Thus, stealth was not an option this time and those crossing this area had to slowly fight their way to The Prison Camp and The Village which were already occupied by Bravo by this time.

    At the clearing area, it was The Others going after Delta at Heartbreak Ridge which is one of the hardest to attack as it has a nice vantage point for the defender and the attacker had a steep incline to worry about. The Deltas were actually comfortable defending the area, but were having a hard time to take The Trenches which The Others occupied with a significant force.

    The fighting at The Trenches, as always was intense with The Others pressed by the Deltas from the South and Bravo from North and Northeast. I lingered far bit longer as there was an onslaught when they were having a Laptop handoff as part of their mission objectives for the day. They were able to repel the forces thrown at them and made sure they controlled this part of the game area.

    Just right behind the Trenches is The Nest, which was very much under the control of the Deltas taking potshots at any unfortunate The Others player who gets near. Not much intense action when I went there so I decided to move on towards The Prison Camp and The Village which always was the final objective at Ground Zero Weekender. There, the Bravo have pretty much occupied both and were frustrating the attempts of both Delta and The Others to dislodge them. On this part, the Battletec group were bringing the fight to the Bravos. But just right down the road past  The Village were the Deltas very much in control of The Fort.

    With such a wide area occupied, the Bravos surely would have some weak points that will exploited the other groups. In this case, both Deltas and The Others were making continuous attacks on Fire Base Charlie that they had to pull back some players to help defend the base. I left Fire Base Charlie at around 1330 and made my way back to the Safe Zone.

    Both Master Chief and Cheng were ready to go, having stashed whatever remains of our camp site into our vehicle. I made sure that I said my good-byes to H and the rest of the Ground Zero staff thanking them for their assistance and praising their handling of the event which was really was superb for this year.

    I reflected as we hit the road on our way back to London, that for all these years, with almost the same storyline and mission objectives, the Ground Zero Weekender is still going strong, when other events have already lost their luster by this time. It even established a new record of attendees for this year, making it still the largest airsoft gathering in the United Kingdom and one of the biggest in the world.

    I always go back to my assessment that Ground Zero Weekender offers something for almost every type of airsoft player attending the event. Milsim players can do special operations by being used as strike forces by group commanders since they have the discipline and skills to achieve mission objectives, regular airsoft teams were sent to defend positions whilst the rest of players who just would love to rock 'n roll were made to do big assaults and reinforce various positions. In a game where there's over a thousand players to shoot at with many objectives to achieve and points to collect, there's no boring moment for the airsoft player at the Ground Zero Weekender.

    The game itself is only half the story. The fellowship amongst airsoft players in the camp areas and the general safe zone is the other half. No matter how noisy the players are in the camps or some would try to play some pranks, overall it was an orderly and lively event.

    I have been to big airsoft events and only few can last longer than five years. The few that are long running have found the formula to cater to the needs and requirements of their target airsoft players and are always trying to improve the formula even more, even if the improvements are incremental. The Ground Zero Weekender is one of those few and should keep on improving to stay in the game.

    Final Scores:

    • Bravo 5820 (This years' winner)
    • Delta 5590
    • Others 5090

    Read the first part of the report here.

    More photos of the Ground Zero Weekender NAE 2014 are available at the Popular Airsoft Facebook Page.


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    3Division's Bunker Hill

    You have to hand it to the Dutch... they have their act together. Airsoft has been legal now for just over a year in their country and already you find organisations and shops all over the place. And I’m not talking about your average-10cent-backalley-type of organisation, no. I’m talking about solid structures, awesome gameplays and terrains that make you – the airsofter – want to return to the scene.

    I’m talking about solid structures, awesome gameplays and terrains that make you – the airsofter – want to return to the scene.

    Now, as a professional pain-in-the-ass airsofter, I’m lucky to be able to play on most of the terrains in and around Europe, the Netherlands included. I have seen my share of awesomeness so it's becoming more and more of a task to get me impressed.

    If you don’t have helicopters and boats, there is a big probability that I already have experienced what you will be offering (no insult intended, it just is).

    But then you have the guys from 3Divsion, located in Daarle.

    Daarle is a small Dutch town, in the northern part of the country, located next to wherethehellarewe-ville and thisisthemiddleofnowhere-town.

    In fact, Daarle is nothing more than a couple of streets, some cosy-cheese-filled-typical-Dutch-houses, a dog, a cat and some people having coffee every Sunday morning. So what would the average airsofter be doing in this forgotten part of the beautiful Dutch countryside ?

    Right.

    Daarle houses a decommissioned military base, that used to serve as a weapons/logistics/storage facility. All of the stuff that goes “boom” was stored in huge bunkers that can be found all over the terrain and just like we can expect of a milspec terrain, the whole thing has been camouflaged with trees, grass, dirt roads and the occasional building left and right.

    When the army decided that they no longer had the need for such a facility, it became available on the market (unfortunately, when the soldiers left the place, they took all of their real-life-toys with them) and the dudes from 3Division, a relatively fresh organisation, jumped at the opportunity.

    Why the term “relatively” new ? Well, the whole crew of 3Division is comprised of people that have gathered years of experience on Belgian and UK airsoft fields (back in the old days when it was still considered being a crime to play airsoft in The Netherlands) so even if they are new to the organising part of the game, they have been around the block when it comes down to shooting our favourite 6mm ammo.

    They took over the military base and baptised it “Bunker Hill” (what’s in a name?)

    Up to this stage, the experience airsofter could ask him/herself the question, “What is so special about these guys? Is it a story similar to a lot of other organisations?”

    Well, the big difference between 3Division and the majority of all other organisations is the way they approached the whole deal.

    Airsoft is a sport, a passion that is distributed via the blood and soul of airsofters around the globe. It's like a virus, once infected, you will go Resident Evil -6mm version in no time and you will try to get as much people hooked as possible. While doing this, the airsofter often forgets that not everybody shares his/her level of passion and new addicts go cold turkey after playing once or twice.

    Unfortunately, this is also the problem with a lot of new skirmish organisers, they have this incredible passion they want to share with the world but they forget that not everybody sees the joy in waking up early to go and crawl through mud and urine-infected grass.

    The people behind 3Division do not look at the airsofters and the new people as “sportsmen” but as “customers”  --  a true shock,  I know. But the idea from there on is very simple. By looking at airsofters as customers, you are no longer your happy-Sunday-airsoft-club, but a genuine business.

    What is every business looking for? Indeed... happy customers! And how do you get happy customers? Second indeed... by going the extra mile and offering Hilton-hotel class level service on the field.

    And this level of service is present from the very first second.

    Parking guides, camping space right across your vehicle, individual and personal litter bins all over the place, and electricity per tent (I’m talking about tents since 3Division offers weekend skirmishes with camping on site) are just some of the things that make your stay there simply pleasant.

    Yes, we all like to be the next airsoft-chuck-norris but you aren’t going to get far when your lipo batteries are completely dry.

    But it just doesn’t stop there.

    The litter bins are emptied every hour, making your trash dissapear even faster than you can produce it.

    Obviously, we are all ultramegaspecops and we all make the expendables look like a bunch of queens on XTC, but we do appreciate a fine and clean meal after a skirm. So when you are done being the new Bruce Lee with BBs, you can take your place at one of the tables of their own “pub”, where you can enjoy a selection of cold and hot drinks that come with a selection of hot snacks that are being cooked right there on the scene.

    While enjoying your meal, you can drop your replica in their fully equiped, full ops airsoft shop that is located on the field. A technician will give your replica a full body massage and you have access to a whole range of HQ parts, spares, accessories, gear.

    Oh yeah! 3Division accepts all major bank cards, how's that for a 2014-feeling on the field? The 3Division shop is also the hotspot for rental replicas that are available on the field. And we are not talking about cheap-ass-entry-level-rental stuff but HQ replicas, full metal and all trimmed to the local laws and regulations.

    Next we have the toilets...

    Ah yes! No matter where I go, I will never hold back on crawling through mountains of dirt and elephant poop as long as there is a place where I can go when the need hits. I absolutely HATE those chemical-never-cleaned-blue-toilet things like you can find on festival grounds. So usually, a roll of toilet paper and a local tree does the trick, BUT! 3Division has this customer-orientated mindset so they provided REAL, GENUINE, ULTRAMEGAAWESOME TOILETS which are cleaned every hour so you can pretty much state that these toilets will smell better than you after a intense weekend of skirmishing.

    Call me old-fashioned but a clean toilet is a total green light for me.

    Last but not least, there is the terrain and the actual skirmishes.

    Let’s be honnest, the terrain is not the new Border War nor is not the next Airsoft Island. It’s not huge, it’s not small. It’s a fair sized and it's just intense enough not to die of 6 cardiac arrests when you run around the place.

    But it is CLEAN! My god, this place is CLEAN! There have been moments when my living room was not as clean as the woods around the bunkers at Bunker Hill.

    Don’t ask me HOW they do it, but there is not 1 piece of garbage to be found on the terrain. This might look like something average for the common man, but for me, it’s of the utmost importance.

    I’m not going to play airsoft just to find myself crawling over leftover MREs of the guys who where there the month before.

    How they manage to keep the place tidy is a secret, but I’m fairly sure it starts with the massive crew that is present on the field. And when I’m talking about massive, I do mean MASSIVE. The marshalls are EVERYWHERE on and off the field. When they are not performing FPS tests (because the FPS test is still a very big thing in our part of the world) they are on the field doing fairplay tests, managing the game to make sure that everybody is moving and when they give the impression of not having enough to do… well, they take a big plastic bag and go around on the camping recycling OUR dirt and trash.

    Running around in their flashy blue outfits, they are clearly recognizable and they have a low talking-treshold

    When you have a question, even a noobish one, just go to one of the guys and they will help you out because  even a noob is a customer and EVERY customer needs to be happy!

    Is it all rainbows and unicorns?

    Absolutely not. As a fair and objective reporter I am forced to point out the bad things as well. And the bad thing here is --- that there is only 1 skirmish being organized per month.

    Only 1 and due to the incredible level of quality, the events are being sold out in a matter of days  and this is such a b**ch. But on the other hand, they are persistent in keeping the quality level this high so the limit is there for a reason.

    All and all my conclusion is straight forward and fair.

    YES, it is a damn shame that it's only once a month. YES, the terrain is just too damn far for any normal human being living in the Belgian outbacks just like me to drive to (its a 4 hour drive for your humble reporter). YES I do believe that I’m far better looking than Dennis (who is part of the 3Division crew) yet I do find myself registering for the event every single month, so they must be doing something very right.

    Call me impressed!

    You can find more info on their website or you can give them a like on Facebook.

    Skirmish on!

    Christophe “Lucid Mind”
    www.lucidmind.be
    www.ultraoperator.com


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    Tokyo Marui Festival 2014

    It just dawned on me that this summer is the busiest summer for Popular Airsoft in terms of reports of airsoft events and happenings from all over the world. Whilst we try as hard as possible to bring to you reports about some of the significant happenings in the airsoft scene, we were surprised to find out that our reportage for this summer was more than above average.  Some reports had to wait since we need some vidoes or photos properly done before we put the stories together so they took longer to be posted.
    Finally, we can now give you our full report  Tokyo Marui Festival.

    The Tokyo Marui Festival is something that other airsoft manufacturers should take note. This is perhaps a celebration of the impact of Tokyo Marui in Japanese culture as the company is an integral part in movies, shows, anime,  manga (Japanese comics), and video games. If you think that the impact of the company is just airsoft per se, you'll be surprised that they are part of  Japanese culture through their tie-ups with other Japanese cultural icons that even have an greater impact outside of Japan (e.g. Resident Evil/Biohazard Series). Even if Tokyo Marui doesn't do much international projection, it's impact outside of Japan is much felt everywhere where airsoft has taken root. It's still the most admired and emulated airsoft company in the world.

    What I also see about the Tokyo Marui Festival is muscle-flexing. What was once one of the players in the airsoft industry in the early years is now the biggest player in the Japanese airsoft/toy gun/gun model industry. In the global airsoft industry, it still holds the Japanese flag high, even with strong competitors beyond it shores, notably Taiwan and Hong Kong (and China to a lesser extent).

    For two days, from the 26th to the 27th of July 2014, the Tokyo Marui Festival was held in Akibahara, the Otaku Center of the world. The weather was hot, as it was the height of summer in Japan, with visitors queuing up to enter at 37 Degrees. Even before the doors were opened, staff and customers were already sweating.

    According to the company, they had to put a strict control on admissions 1 hour after they opened the festival, to avoid heat issues amongst customers due to overcrowding inside the festival venue.  Even if the festival was for fans of airsoft who came in droves, there were lots of visitors who were able to touch airsoft guns  for the first time.

    Being in Akibahara, the company was in its natural environment. It is where games and anime fans go through and since Tokyo Marui does collaborations with video games and anime publishers they also want airsoft guns from the company. They put up posters that these fans are familiar with and boy! we want to collect those posters they have hanging above them.

    Whilst a good number were expecting new products to be unveiled, such as a working prototype of the Tokyo Marui HK417 New Generation AEG which they first revealed before the 53rd Shizuoka Hobby Show, they were a bit disappointed. Nevertheless, fans were able to check 50 kinds of airsoft guns that are in production from the company. They were able to touch and shoot (unloaded of course) and since they can check all the airsoft guns from the company in one place, it's much easier for them to try and find out which of these airsoft guns will be their favourites.

    As to new product announcements, they will have to wait for the 54th All Japan Model Hobby Show that will take place on the 26th to the 28th of September 2014.

    The two new releases --- the S&W M&P Gas Blowback Pistol and M870 Breacher Gas Shotgun, are now available at retailers in and outside of Japan. Some of the visitors to the Festival who weren't actually interested in an airsoft shotgun actually reserved the M870 Breacher before it was released after checking it out at the Festival.

    As expected, the M4 Modula Weapon System (MWS), Tokyo Marui's first full gas blowback rifle offering, has a stronger kick/recoil as compared to the new generation AEGs and they are focused on improving it further before they finally release it, which we hope will be before the Holiday season. It was one of the main attractions as there was a queue to try it.

    Attendees were also able to take photos with the booth babes and fully-kitted out "operator" who was the model for the poster used in the promoting the Festival.

    The Tokyo Marui DEVGRU Custom HK416D NEG was also popular and visitors were able to try and test fire it the shooting range that was setup inside the venue.

    Overall, it was a highly successful Tokyo Marui Festival. With their fans coming to try out all their airsoft guns under one roof, and their target of new users coming in droves due to knowing about the company through their commercial tie-ups in the Japanese cultural industry, they know that they have built up a strong following of airsoft players for years to come.  Now, they just need to further to do the same thing to their loyal customers beyond the shores of the Land of the Rising Sun.

    More photos of the Tokyo Marui Festival at the Popular Airsoft Facebook Page.


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    Governor Brown Veto SB 199

    We got a lot emails from our readers in California and  it's not good. State Senator Kevin De León's SB 199 has passed the State Senate last 28 August with 23 Ayes, 12 Noes and 5 No Votes Recorded (NVR). Despite opposition from the Animal Pest Management Services, Inc., California Association of Firearms Retailers, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc., Outdoors Sportsmen's Coalition of California, Safari Club International, and The California Sportsman's Lobby (where is the Airsoft Safety Foundation in the list of opposition?), the State Senate approved the bill, concurring with the Amendments from the State Assembly.

    As of this writing, the status of the SB 199 is now "engrossing and enrolling". This means that the wordings of the bill are checked, ensuring that the contents are accurate. From there and once authorization is received, the enrolling staff will then transmit it to the Governor Jerry Brown's Office for his signature.

    The Governor has three options with the first two not welcome to airsofters: signing it, which turns it into a law; and not signing but will it let it lapse on his desk which turn the bill into law automatically. The third option is to veto it and remand it back to the Legislature which they will need to override the veto with a two-thirds majority vote. Given the bill's vote history, it will be tough the override it.

    Now, the problem for airsoft community in California is that Governor Brown might sign the bill immediately when it lands on its desk which means there will be no time to appeal to him. But if he prioritizes other bills to consider for signing or veto, then there will be enough time.

    Usually, if Governor Brown doesn’t sign the bill within 12 days, the bill automatically becomes a law. If we are correct that SB 199 will be enrolled and transmitted to his office on or after the 1st of September, which is within the month of the end of the legislative session for the California State Assembly, then he has 30 days.  According to the State Assembly Legislative Deadlines, September 30 is the last day for Governor to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature before Sept. 1 and in the Governor’s possession on or after September 1 (Art. IV, Sec. 10(b)(2)).

    SB 199 will be either signed, vetoed or unsigned and becomes a law on or before the 30th of September. This also means that there is either a very small or big window for those opposing SB 199 to appeal to Governor Brown to veto the bill. Thus, the No On SB 199 Facebook Group, they are appealing to all registered airsoft players in California to call or email the Governor's Office to state their opposition:

    We all, as an airsoft community, need to call the Governor's office and make our voices heard. Make them aware that this bill will do nothing to improve safety, and that it only hurts responsible airsoft owners like us. That coloring air guns only blurs the line even further between what is real and what is fake. Let them know the danger and uncertainty this will put on law enforcement officers. When faced with a firearm, no matter the color, the fraction of a second is a matter of life and death for them.

    Remember, when contacting the governor's office, be polite. Get your point across, but do so in a way that is respectful and educated. Also, if you state your opposition as a vote, you MUST be a California registered voter; do not do so if you are not registered, but you can still call.

    Tomorrow, we stand up for our sport. May common sense prevail.

    - Ranger

    So the fate of airsoft in California as we know it now lies in the hands of Governor Jerry Brown. For the airsoft community in California, make yourself heard, now.


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    Reload Airsoft

    By now, we already know that playing airsoft in The Netherlands has been legal for some time now and we have been visiting the awesome organisations in the country of cheese, windmills, and dams ever since we could. In just a blink of an eye, the NABV – the organisation that provides the airsoft-authorisations – had over 4000 registered airsofters kicking it hardcore on the field.

    One should think that, with this instant boost of players and people that are now legally allowed to have the best airsoft gear in their mancaves, the retail side of things would explode as well.

    It did, but not as fast as I thought it would.

    The Netherlands have a proud reputation when it comes down to “tactical shops”. They always had the coolest shops with the newest gear and even back in the days, us Belgians, took trips of several hours to get our hands on the newest Kydex holster or badass tactical chest rig.

    Obviously, when the Dutch guys needed airsoft replicas, they came to visit us, the Belgians. Up till today, nothing has changed much unfortunately. They still have the raddest tactical shops, but they still come to Belgium (or order online) when it comes down to the hardware.

    For some reason, selling airsoft hardware seems to be less appealing and not a lot of shops bother to regulate their businesses (Yes, in our part of the world, selling airsoft replicas will require some governmental paperwork).

    Don’t get me wrong, the Dutch airsofter has a MASSIVE amount of shops where he can go to get his gear and supplies, such as BBs and so. But for the purchase of replicas the choice is far more reduced.

    You have a couple of traditional gunshops that offer a limited selection of stuff with the general idea that “them kids need them toys” and they usually all sell the same thing. They don’t have the experience in the airsoft industry but they have the right paperwork. (One of those shop owners told me one day that they had the full metal G36, like the real deal, that could shoot metal BBs for competition skirmishes…. true story).

    So up untill the moment that you will have young and dynamic people taking the risk of launching a new shop, the commercial situation will freeze...

    And then, Reload happened.

    In the small, amish-style town of “Wouw”, there was this dude Maurice.

    Maurice had a plan, a awesome plan.

    Maurice wanted to start the very first, 100% dedicated airsoftshop in The Netherlands.

    No guns, no bullets, no limited selection of products that were available everywhere --- a full-blown, genuine Airsoft shop.

    Now, I’ve been following the progress of Reload from the beginning on and the guy had to face the same old nonsense --- paperwork, legal stuff, a community that didn’t really believe that a Dutch guy would be able to pull it off without selling real guns as well.

    After some time, Reload Airsoft opened its doors to the public.

    (Lucid Mind and Maurice of Reload Airsoft)

    The moment you walk throug the front door, you are confronted with a very relaxed vibe. There is no military-wannabe-ultratrooper buzz, but rather a very modern, unique and sporty-like look that is very welcoming for both airsofters and non-airsofters.

    That last part is of the utmost importance for the promotion of airsoft as a SPORT to the public.

    Again, we do not live in gun-loving countries and over here the idea is still that only terrorists walk around with guns. Airsoft is... well... if it looks like a gun and handles like a gun… you get the idea.

    Reload Airsoft can be compared to a trendy boutique for the airsofter, where even the biggest anti-airsoft-douche would be stimulated to have a look at all of the goodies that are on show. The shop isn’t big and doesn’t come even close to superstores such as Evike.com in the U.S.A. but it is a fair comparison since the Netherlands being a small country in terms of land area, the shop is massive.

    Maurice (I could keep on calling him “the boss”,  but Maurice seems less boss-like) chose the quality-card over the quantity. The whole place smells like quality, going from high-grade funiture to high-grade parts and high-grade replicas.

    Even in those segments the selection isn’t massive when I was there since the guy just opened his doors. He didn’t even had the time to unlock the door . But I believe by now, the range of products  he has to offer has doubled in size. And he has is of the highest quality AND unique.

    A selection of odd replicas, a selection of basic outfits and loadouts but especially a NICE range of personal upgrade parts that are being sold as RMA (Reload Modified Arms). Bolts, pistons, triggers, screws and nuts --- all the parts that can break or that need to be upgraded are available in his bricks and mortar shop and webshop.

    All of that is obviously very awesome, but what impressed me the most (besides the fact that they have a coffee corner but not enough coffee in stock to satisfy my need of caffeine) is the fact that they have been developping their own line of replicas!

    Indeed, full replicas that are not only high-end, full ops and extremely limited in numbers (the first model they released was just 25 pieces) but are 100% made in The Netherlands, in the metropolis of Wouw.

    So not only did Maurice take a huge risk of opening the first dedicated airsoftstore in The Netherlands, but he took even a bigger risk by making his own “limited edition” line of replicas. Respect! That is a term that is in place here.

    Talking about Maurice and his dedicated crew of people (Jos, I just know you are reading this when you should be doing something useful… GET YOUR ASS BACK TO WORK! ). They all have a past in playing airsoft but on a professional level they (nearly) all come out of the ICT sector.

    Why do we care you say? Just take a look at the website they have and you will understand.

    2014 is THE year that starting a webshop has become the easiest thing on the planet. There are ample free providers our there that give you the possibility to get your webcommerce up and running in 3-2-1, so that all shops look a like in the end.

    With the ICT experience they have, they managed to make a webshop from scratch, looking fresh and VERY inviting. Its' a blast shopping on there and you can see from the first click that these guys know what airsofters are looking for and especially. HOW they are looking for it.

    Combine this with the image they have created, the professional and yet “cool” attitude they have and the range of products they carry and you just know that Reload Airsoft is here to stay.

    A big thanks and thumbs up to Maurice and his entire crew for being the very first one in The Netherlands to take the leap into the airsoft commercial business.

    I can only hope that they will serve as inspiration for soon-to-open shops, they are – from my point of view – the Dutch reference!

    Visit their website at www.reloadairsoft.nl and you can give them a like on facebook as well www.facebook.com/reloadairsoft.

    Skirmish on!

    Christophe “Lucid Mind”
    www.lucidmind.be
    www.ultraoperator.com


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    AK-12

    Eastern Bloc and Russian military hardware airsoft fans will have something to look forward to. It is actually a good development as we're seeing more variety of Russian-designed guns in airsoft. In just a matter of two years, we're seeing the AS Val, VSS Vintorez, and the OTS-14 (HTS-14 from Hephaestus), rather than something that carries the "AK" designation. But for next year, we're looking at two new AEGs that will be released with the "AK" designations again.

    NPO-AEG, the Russian Airsoft manufacturer of premium Russian Airsoft Guns, will be releasing the AEK-971 and the AK-12 AEGs in 2015 according to their US distributor, ATACKA, via Facebook in early August 2014. If you haven't heard about NPO-AEG and ATACKA, you can find Russian AEGs such as the AS VAL, VSS Vintorez, SR-3M, 9A-91, and the VSK-94 Airsoft Sniper Rifle.

    NPO-AEG products are very expensive, costing around almost a thousand US Dollar to get any of them from ATACKA and thus it's rare for an airsoft store to carry these. But one thing for sure, they use many real steel components for these AEGs. But if you want an airsoft gun based on Russian gun designs to be "authentic Russian" then NPO-AEGs are the way to go.

    The AK-12 (formerly known as the AK-200) is one the latest designs from the AK family, which is mainly based on the AK-74 series but is more versatile in terms of being able to use different calibres due to is interchangeable barrel design. Even in design, the AK-12 is more ergonomic than its predecessors. Intended to replace to the AK-74, the Russian Military passed over the AK-12 after undergoing testing, with the reason that its awash in AK-74 rifles though some sectors say it was due to shortcomings that were discovered during testing.

    The AEK-971, though it’s based on the AK rifle design, is not a rifle manufactured by Izhmash Concern (now Kalashnikov Concern), but was originally made by KMD with by ZID. It is an easier to control rifle with its recoil-balancing mechanism. It has other variants AEK-972 and AEK-973, and improvements were done to give it a 3-round burst as seen in the AK-971S and AK-973S. Similar AKs which have the recoil balance are the AK-107 and AK-108.

    ATACKA are asking which of these AEGs you want to see first. But if you were to ask us, we prefer another Russian Rifle --- the AN-94. We want to see an AN-94 AEG that does a Hyperburst as well (two rounds are released when fired but you'll see it like a single shot), though it would probably be designed as a "two-round burst" AEG since AEGs are designed differently than real rifles internally.


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    Casio EXILIM EX-FR10

    If you haven't been tired of those selfies inundating the interwebs, wait until Casio floods the market with their new action camera that will make taking selfies, whether in still form or in video, even easier. The company announced at the end of August 2014, their new CASIO EXILIM FR10 (EX-FR10), a High Definition Action Camera that is equipped with a 16 megapixel sensor. This camera action camera also offers better options for Airsoft Players to take videos of the airsoft action given its unique features.

    The EX-FR10 is a two-piece camera system, allowing you to split the two pieces to be able to get angle shots that cannot be done with existing action cameras. The two pieces, or units, as we would prefer to call them, are the Camera Unit and the controller unit. You can take photos and videos with the EX-FR10 as one unit, or you can split them.

    You can mount the Camera Unit anywhere you want  within 10 metres of the controller since these are connected via Bluetooth which is not exactly a long wireless technology standard.

    The Controller Unit allows you to view what the Camera Unit sees and thus you can adjust the viewing angle if you are not satisfied. For airsoft players, they can mount the Camera Unit on their helmets or on the shoulder straps of their vests, or even on their backpack so they can have a rear view (which means a new way of checking your six). Lots of possibilities of capturing the airsoft action with the EX-FR10.

    The Camera Unit's lens is a f/2.8 and the screen on the Controller Unit is a 2", 230,400-dot screen. Video footages and still photos can be recorded on MicroSD memory cards or transferred wirelessly via Wi-Fi to smartphones or tablets.

    Whilst other Action Cameras either use smartphones as a playback and controlling units or you will need to purchase a separate LCD unit, or even integrated into the actual action cameras the EX-FR10 Concept brings ease of use further with the split units with three different ways to shoot with the action camera:

    Split-Style - With one of several attachments, users can easily fix the camera anywhere they like and then shoot remotely with the controller. Casio has equipped the camera with an interval shooting function for enabling hands-free shooting of photos or videos. Users can also take shots without the controller by using the shutter button on the camera unit.

    Self-portrait style - Dock the camera unit to take effortless self-portraits with the lens and LCD facing in the same direction and the camera held upright.

    Conventional camera style - Fold the camera unit when taking photos in self-portrait style. This enables photos to be shot like on a conventional camera.

    With such ways of shooting videos and taking photos, selfies would be much easier to do. But there are even  more ways to handle the EX-FR10 as this system looks like it's well thought-out covering as much bases as it can to give you convenience and ease of use at various situations or environments that you're bringing the action camera to:

    Straps and nut - The camera comes with the Neck Strap for comfortably wearing the camera unit or controller around the neck, and the Carabiner Strap for clipping the controller to a convenient place. The Tripod Nut attaches to commercially-available tripods.

    Attachments - The EX-FR10 comes also with several attachments made for a variety of shooting situations. The Multi-angle Clip can be used to attach the camera unit to a backpack or other point and turns 360 degrees. The Multi-angle Belt Set can be used to strap the camera unit to your wrist or head and turns 360 degrees. The Tripod Mounter can be used to attach the camera unit or the controller to a standard adaptor that accepts a tripod screw.

    The Casio EXILIM FR10 will be released in Japan with no date mentioned yet, and the pricing will be at JPY50,000 (around US$480).  It will be available in Orange, White, and for airsofters who are worried about tactical colours, it's also available in Green. We just hope it will be released outside of Japan as there are legions of selfie takers and airsofters who want an all-around action camera that they can use on and off the field. 

    Now, we wait for reviews if video and image quality of the EX-FR10 will give the existing a competition a run for their money.


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    Destiny Live Action Thriller

    Now a bit more of going sci-fi in doing a story on First Person Shooters. Not that they don’t have influence in airsoft players, as they do have an influence like Call of Duty, Ghost Recon, or Battlefield, with a good number of airsoft players playing HALO, and also taking the callsign Masterchief. Some of the designs in such futuristic video games are getting into discussions of loadouts amongst airsoft groups on Facebook.

    Another sci-fi FPS game is about to be released and already has been a topic of discussions. To be officially available on the 9th of September 2014, Destiny aims to provide a more dynamic video game that's going to make it more exciting and unpredictable to play. Before we go further into the finer points of the video game, I'd say that they did a fine good job with their live action trailer. It's a nice combination of Guardians of the Galaxy and music from Led Zepellin in the "Become Legend" trailer:

    The trailer was directed by Joseph Kosinski, who was also behind Oblivion and Tron: Legacy.  Led Zep's"Immigrant" looks like an apt song as the strike team move from planet to planet in the Solar System eliminating those who stood in their way.

    About the game itself, there are new features which its developers, Bungie Games, will introduce. One feature is that the events that will happen in game that were not planned by the developer. It also has some aspects of  a massive multiplayer online game but they would rather call it as a "shared world shooter".  But for its first player campaign, it's about a story of a quest to explore the golden age of humans.  Destiny also offers Competitive Multiplayer, Cooperative Multiplayer, and Explore the areas that you have visited before. It also has the "Tower" mode which one rearms, regroup and form alliances in the home of Guardians.

    As a player you can choose which of the three races your character will be and what role you want it to perform which is mainly offensive, defensive, and buffing with each character having its special ability called "focus" with the best ability being called a "super" that has an upgradeable skills tree.
    We'll find out next week if Destiny will follow in the footsteps of HALO and become one of the best sci-fi first person and multiplayer video games even released. It's just a letdown for us PC gamers since it’s developed for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3,[6] Xbox One, and Xbox 360 game consoles.

    As for those masks, we wonder if the airsoft mask makers in the Philippines such as Takap-Lupa, R-Lux and Cactus Hobbies will be making these. Would you want those replicated for airsoft use? Better tell them.


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    Terminator T800

    We've first written about another Terminator movie that is coming out next year last March. According to reports, the initially titled as "Terminator: Genesis" movie had a slight spelling correction and it's now officially called "Terminator: Genisys" and it is going to be a reboot of the Terminator series. This means that this will be  the first movie of a new Terminator Trilogy, which originally was meant to be started by "Terminator: Salvation."

    In our previous report, the actors and actresses mentioned will remain the same: Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, Jason Clarke as John Connor, Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese, and the Mr. Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Skydance is producing the movie with Paramount Pictures having the distribution rights.  Alan Taylor of "Thor: The Dark World" is directing.

    We're not sure if there have been changes to the story plot as originally reported. But more can be reported with father and son Kyle Reese and John Connor teaming up to save the future by protecting Sarah Connor. They join an aging T-800, which is Schwarzenegger himself, having been created with a skin that actually ages.

    The other famous terminator, the shape shifting T-1000 which first appeared in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, will  be back in the series with Lee Byung-hun, more known as Storm Shadow in the GI Joe movies, playing this role.

    There are a speculations on the name change, with Screen Rant writing that:

    “Genisys” could also refer to an alternate version of Skynet, which shall be introduced in this new movie. It’s heavily rumored that the Terminator: Genisys script – by Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island) and Patrick Lussier (Drive Angry) – pulls some Back to the Future inspired time-travel trickery, so that events in the film’s past setting play out in a different fashion than they did in the original Terminator. This could give rise to re-imagined versions of both the present and future in the Terminator universe – one where there’s a Skynet-like AI entity known as “Genisys”, or maybe a Judgement Day-esque event referred to as “Genisys”.

    … Or maybe Paramount just decided that Terminator: Genisys was a cooler title for a sci-fi movie than Terminator: Genesis. Your guess is as good as ours, for the time being."

    Personally, I am ambivalent with the name change though Genisys is more apt to use for a sci-fi movie. What's more important for me and a good number of fans of the Terminator series is that we need another movie. Paramount Pictures said that they will be giving us three doses for the rest of the decade, starting with Genisys with two more scheduled for 2017 and 2018 respectively.

    "I'll be back" is one of the most famous quotes from the Arnie T-800 and hopefully it will be back not only in Genisys, but in the next two sequels too. Skynet be damned.

    So hasta la vista in 2015, baby.


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