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    Anthropomorphic Platform Number 1 "Ivan The Terminator"

    As militaries are building up their capabilities these days to confront regular and irregular armies, they are relying more and more on robots to perform more missions. The Americans and their allies are developing more advanced drones that can bring the fight to the enemy rather than just do surveillance or target individual targets. Now with Artificial Intelligence, getting more developed, they are slowly being implemented into robots, much to objections of those who think that when we might not be able to control AI machines in the future.

    For the Russians, they are not far behind. Even if they do not have drones as advanced as Western militaries, they are working hard to catch-up in this field. Just recently, scientists from the Russian Foundation for Advanced Studies revealed what they have been working on this time, a robot soldier which the media called “Ivan the Terminator.”

    Inspired by the “Iron Man” movie, Ivan is a humanoid robot, which basically has hands and feet as compared to the military robots of the U.S. which use tracked wheels or more animal-like four legs. According to the report of Russian daily, Komsomolskaya Pravda, building a specialized robot for the Russian military is one the priorities and for Ivan, it will be deployed in areas where there is the highest risk for human soldiers, such as risk of explosions, high background radiation, or other conditions where humans cannot survive long enough.With its built-in AI, Ivan can drive cars and scan the roads, deciding which road to take.  If the road is blocked, it simply stops the vehicle.

    Ivan can also be controlled by a human operator. Using a specialized sensor suit, the operator can control the robot remotely up to several miles. The robot will be able to mimic the movements of the operator and the operator can see what Ivan sees and senses with the cameras and sensors.

    The robot will be subjected to “maturity” tests  in which it will be programmed to take specialized tasks. It is in the experimental stage for now and NATO can rest a bit easy as it is not likely to be deployed in conflict areas where Russia is involved such as in Ukraine and Syria.

    Apart from Ivan The Terminator, Russian is also working on other autonomous vehicles such as planes and armoured vehicles. They still have a lot of catching up to do, but any incremental development in this area will give them more capabilities that the NATO can be worried about.

    The revelation of Ivan, the humanoid soldier, can be unsettling. Calling it “Ivan the Terminator” is even more unsettling as indeed it reminds of the robots that are bent in extinguishing the human race in the “Terminator” movie and television series. The future of warfare will indeed involve the use of robots.


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    Sig Sauer ECHO1 Digital Thermal Imaging Reflex Sight

    First shown at the SHOT Show 2016 early this year, the Sig Sauer ECHO1 Thermal Imaging Reflex Sight is now available for civilian use. Primarily marketed for hunting, it is based on the newest thermal imaging sensors and can also be used for law enforcement, military, SAR, and home defense. And being a reflex sight, it also means it has been designed for quick target acquisition similar to red dot reflex sights, and is more compact than many existing thermal sights.

    With a 206×156 uncooled VOx microbolometer array which is used as the detector in thermal cameras, the Echo1 has thermal radiation detection range of 1,000 yards with target range measurements of up to 300 yards.  It can be used for day and night predator hunting and like a conventional reflex sight, the shooter can acquire targets with both eyes for even better situational awareness.

    The ECHO1 has five reticles the shooter can choose from and there is an option to design and upload the reticles to the sight, which should be interesting as shooters may have different ideas for reticles. As for zoom capabilities, it has 1x/2x magnification. It also has 4 levels brightness.

    When using the thermal sights, the ECHO1 offers 8 different display modes such as “white hot”, “black hot”, green, red, blue, and others to provide a clear image and the contrast against the background. The thermal sight can also take images in single shots and bursts, no video recording capabilities mentioned though. The color LCD display is standard on each sight for day or night direct-view targeting. It also features a top-mount peep sight and ROMEO1 adapter plate for backup sights which should make those who want backup sights as insurance feel at ease. With two CR123 batteries, it has a runtime of total of 8 hours.

    Whilst, it can be used for airsoft for those who want to a have dedicated thermal sight is also a reflex sight, it is an expensive piece of equipment even if it is also marketed for civilian use. It has an MSRP: $3,124.99 that only airsoft players who can use it for other purposes apart from airsoft games such as hunting would be able to recoup what they have invested. If that is expensive for you as an airsoft player you can have options to use some thermal devices that are cheap enough and can be used with your smartphone.


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    Ubisoft Tom Clancy's The Division

    Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s The Division, for all the glitches that it’s almost 10 million players are encountering, is such a big success that there are plans to expand the franchise. This time, they want to hit the big screen by having a movie version of the video game, and they plan to bring an A-list actor in the form of Jake Gyllenhaal.

    Tom Clancy’s The Division is set in a dystopian New York after a smallpox pandemic. The US Homeland Division has agents in the city to help restore their operations and go against criminal activities happening in the area. With US$339 million in sales in just 5 days, The Division is Ubisoft’s fastest selling game title to date yet. Even its merchandise has been a hit with airsoft players putting together their loadout inspired by the video game.

    Photo: Jake Gyllenhaal at WonderCon 2010

    According to Variety which broke the story, Jake Gyllenhaal is also attached as a producer apart from being the lead star in the movie. Now they just need a writer to start writing the script before production can start.

    We don’t know if this will be filmed the way how the Agent Origin Live action series were done. These were on YouTube and were made by various independent digital film making studios were done,  but watching them below should give you an idea how the movie can look like:

    The big question is if The Division would be able to bring the same success to studio since video games turned into movies have turned out into disappointments. This will be Gyllenhaal’s second movie based on a video game. The first movie was the Prince of Persia which was directed by Mike Newell and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Whilst it did gross well, having a worldwide gross of US$335,154,643, making it the biggest grossing movie based on a video game, it was not successful in the USA where it failed to recover its production budget.

    This is not the first movie from Ubisoft’s video game titles, there is the “Assassin’s Creed” starring Michael Fassbender that will be released ahead and also “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell” starring Tom Hardy.

    Everything’s up in the air yet as they have not pulled a production team together yet given that there is no script written yet. Just hope there will be no weird game glitches in the movie just like in the actual video game.


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    Alex "Bandit" Cruz

    Alex “Bandit” Cruz, has gone a long way. From a hyperactive airsoft player who made her transition to airsoft practical shooting and then to real steel shooting, she also launched Bandit Airsoft, now known as Bandit Tactical, which is her business selling gear to both airsoft and real steel shooters.

    Now, she has set her sights into organizing events and really set it high, organising the Bandit Tactical Cup, a PSMOC (Philippine Shooters & Match Officers Confederation  Airsoft Sports Level 3 International Match. It is an airsoft event with 12 stages for pistol, 12 stages for rifle, and 3 stages for 3-Gun Classifier.Participants can join in the different divisions and types provided they are able to finish all the stages which is set on the 2nd to the 3rd of July 2016 with the 1st of July as Debugging of Stages and also is the Organizers, Sponsors & MO Match.

    The venue will be at the Armscor Shooting Ranges in Marikina, Metro Manila, Philippines, a famous place for real steel shooters in Southeast Asia. Airsoft shooters from Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong are expected to join in the event where they will test their skills against some of the best airsoft practical shooters in the world, who are mainly from the region.

    According to Bandit, over 80 trophies will be given away and most shooters will have an award apart from their certificates of participation.

    Prior to event, Bandit has been busy shuttling all over the region and around the Philippines, getting sponsors and joined the PSMOC in conducting seminars for those who want to join and want to learn more about practical shooting.

    Local and international sponsors will be on site with raffle prizes and items they have for sale. This means that shooters can check gear and other stuff they need to buy on site. There will also be an airsoft bazaar that even non-shooters can attend. Facebook has disabled or suspended Philippine airsoft buy and sell groups so Bandit has included this as a service to airsoft players in the Philippines.

    For local and shooters who will be transporting their airsoft guns via air, their Permits To Transport (PTTs) are being processed so that they will not encounter problems at the airports when they arrive.

    A part of the cash proceeds will be given to their project they call “Giving Back To The Community” to assist poor students and schools catering to impoverished areas.

    Interested shooters will need to register as soon as they can, with the deadline for pre-registration on the 19th of June 2016. To learn more and get your registration forms, you can go to the Bandit Tactical Cup Facebook Group.


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    Casio G-Shock Mudmaster GG-1000

    I love my Casio G-Shock Mudmaster. What I have is the GWG-1000 edition that was released last year. Tough as nails, no batteries needed, feature packed, and glove friendly, it is now my go to watch whenever I go to the airsoft field, outdoors, or when traveling. It is large but it is light, and it is a premium watch.

    It costs around £500 in the United Kingdom (though you can get it for less in East Asia) which is the usually the starting price for the high-end G-Shock MT-G series which I also have one of their rare models. Whilst there are cheaper MT-Gs that go below 500 quid, there are models that cost over a thousand pounds. That price has made some airsoft players balk, as many are used to some of the more affordable but still rugged G-Shocks but not as feature-packed as the Mudmaster GWG-1000. 

    But for those who are still keen in owning a Mudmaster but do not have the budget for a GWG-1000, Casio has released a more affordable Mudmaster for 2016, the G-Shock Mudmaster GG-1000 though Casio has done some compromises to make it more affordable.

    First released in Japan in April 2016 then followed by Europe in early May 2016 it comes in three band colours: GG-1000-1A (black band), GG-1000-1A3 (army green band), and GG-1000-1A5 (desert tan khaki band). For those who want a tactical looking watch from Casio then the Mudmaster is the top of the line model that you can get from the Japanese company.

    Curious on why this is a more affordable than the 2015 model (GWG-1000)? For starters, the GG-1000 is smaller and lighter than the GWG-1000. The display uses a mineral glass display rather than Sapphire Crystal which the GWG-1000 uses and is the standard in the more premium G-Shock models that collectors go after. At first glance, the GG-1000 looks almost like the GWG-1000 as the bezel has a similar design but what you will miss is the front-facing backlight button which you can easily press even when wearing gloves. Also, the GG-1000 is battery powered whilst the GWG-1000 uses Tough Solar, not needing batteries. But no need to worry, G-Shock batteries usually last a few years before you need to change them.

    Those are the compromises that Casio have decided to make it within easier reach for the more budget-conscious G-Shock fans. But just like the GWG-1000 it is shock resistant, mud resistant, and water resistant up to 200 metres. It has twin sensors showing direction for its compass function and accurate temperature readings (Fahrenheit and Celcius). It has a countdown timer, stop watch, and 31 time zones (48 cities + coordinated universal time) with option for daylight savings time on or off. What it does not have that the GWG-1000 has are altitude and barometric pressure.

    The Casio G-Shock Mudmaster GG-1000 can be ordered from any reputable watch store online or offline. List price is £280 in the United Kingdom and US$320 in the USA.


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    TCAPS

    The U.S. Army has been slowly implementing a new ear plug designed to preserve the hearing abilities of soldiers who are in the frontlines.  According to the NPR, the Tactical Communication and Protective System (TCAPS) protects the ears from loud noises such as explosions at the same time still give them enhanced hearing of whispers and be aware of the noises in their immediate environment. This means that situational awareness gets improved while protecting hearing.

    Hearing problems are always a problem in the military as soldiers handle equipment that can be loud such as artillery and firearms, or be in an environment of deafening sounds such as explosions and aircraft flying overhead. The NPR report also says that Defense Department statistics show that more than half of the troops who have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq have some sort of damage to their ears.

    The TCAPS is the equipment procured to answer this problem. Made by Invisio of Sweden and supplied by their U.S. partner, TEA Headsets, around SEK40 million worth of orders has been placed in October 2013. The earplug supplied is said to provide crystal clear communications under extreme conditions with around 20,000 units deployed so far.

    It is indeed a smart system that protects the soldier, lowering the volume as the sound gets louder such as explosions or guns being fired to prevent hearing damage while at the same time able to enhance soft sounds such as twigs breaking when stepped upon or a door being opened. Some of these TCAPS units can be integrated with communication equipment that can also enhance listening to radio messages.

    You may ask why there are only 20,000 units in the field rather than more given that there are more troops in the U.S. Army. It is a matter of costs as it each unit costs US$2,000 so not all soldiers will be equipped with it unless the costs are kept down by the manufacturer that more can be ordered.

    The implementation is taking time as it soldiers will need to get used to a new way of hearing while in the field. As what they are used to hearing as really loud gets soft while those they are used to as soft noise will be louder so they need to be trained since they may under react or over react to certain suppressed or enhanced sounds.

    With a price point of US$2,000 (it might be more costly if there is one for the civilian market), it is not something meant for airsoft players unless they have money to burn. But it’s cool to have something that will alert you to certain noises while in the AO during a milsim event as someone creeping up to your position may have a hard time going stealthy as you can hear the faint noise he makes, keeping you alert.

    Now soldiers have something to use in the battlefield that will insure that they have don’t get hearing impairment hearing when they RTB. Perhaps next time they get a technology that gives them super hearing abilities like Superman.


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    Lumigon T3

    If you have not heard about Lumigon, we do not blame you as the Danish company rarely comes up in the news as compared to the smartphone giants such as Apple and Samsung. But for those who know the company, they appreciate how the company introduces features to their smartphone that makes it different from the others. The T2 Android Smartphone, released in 2014, can also be used as a universal remote to control appliances in the house that have IR ports. Their release for 2016,the Lumigon T3, takes the same features but has another feature that airsoft players might want to have on their smartphones --- a night vision camera.

    At first glance, the Lumigon T3 is something that you will think won’t be up to some rough and tumble.  The design is elegant and may look out of place in the airsoft field. But it is a tough phone with the marine-grade 316 stainless steel and the Corning Gorilla Glass 4. It is also water and dust resistant though it is not waterproof as compared to the Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge.

    Now, let’s get to its main attraction, the night vision camera. It is actually a 4 megapixel Night Vision Camera with Dual IR flash allowing you to take photos and videos in the dark. As to how clear it is, you will have to evaluate yourself by checking the video below:

    More on the cameras, the Lumigon T3 has a 13MP rear camera with dual tone flash, PDAF (phase detection autofocus) and 5MP front camera for all those important selfies that everyone takes nowadays. The camera can record in 4K and even has a slow motion feature with at 120 frames per second. And if you are about keeping nice appearances then you can use the illuminated mirror to check yourself before you go and party.

    The smartphone is no slouch as it uses the Helio X10 - 64-bit 2.2 Ghz Octa-core processor and 3GB RAM. It comes with 128GB internal storage, which is more than other competitors’ products that usually start at 32GB. For those who are used to using phablets (smartphones with screens starting at 5.1” and above), they might be disappointed with the 4.8” screen but it is a HD Super AMOLED Diamond pixel display.

    It is also a dual-SIM phone as standard, allowing you to load 2 nano-SIMs using the side tray to hot swap SIMs without the need to shutdown your phone or open it up. OptimusPrime would love to have this as he prefers dual-SIM phones, though he would like it to be with a bigger screen.

    Other features are a 360° 3D fingerprint reader, Accelerometer, Compass & Gyro, GPS with GLONASS/BEIDOU/ANT+ , Temperature/height sensor, and Light and Hand-wave sensors. So it is very much suited for the outdoors as well as in the high street.

    If you intend to get one and use it as a night vision device for night games, then you might need to have someone build a mount for it to use on your rifle or a NVG mount for it. But make sure the mount also offers protection to its nicely finished body and screen no matter how tough it is.

    The Lumigon T3 can be purchased right now at a price of US$740/EUR645/EUR806 with VAT at basic colours. Pricing can go up if you want a more luxurious version such as the Black Gold, White Diamond, Black Black, and White Gold. But if you want a night vision device that you can use after an airsoft game, the Lumigon T3 might be a good investment since it is also a nicely crafted smartphone loaded with features.


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    Cabot Gun Big Bang Pistols

    Chicken feed! Let me whip out my checkbook, or can they take ultra-platinum black diamond credit cards? Joking aside, my eyes almost popped out upon learning the price of the“Big Bang Pistol Set” done by Cabot Gun as the price is set at US$4.5 million. First announced in December 2015, this set of left and right pistols are made from a meteorite. That's right! Made of rock that came from outer space!

    Cabot Gun forged, if that is the proper word for this project, this pair of 1911 pistols out of a chunk of the Gibeon Meteorite and that means the main material of the set is over 4 billion years old as that was around that time the Gibeon Meteor collided with Planet Earth, hitting an area in Africa what is now known as Namibia. In ancient times people from the area used the ore from the meteorite for implements and weapons and Western explorers learned about it in the 19th Century.

    Prized by jewelers for its Widmanstätten pattern, the ore that was used for the Cabot Gun is project 85 percent iron with trace quantities of nickel, cobalt and other metals. In a press release from the company, the explained how they made the set:

    Cabot Guns used X-ray photography, 3-D modeling, CAD-CAM design, aerospace construction techniques, electron-beam technology, and endless hours of careful craftsmanship to create two matching (left and right handed) out-of-this-world specimens based on John Moses Browning’s legendary 1911-style pistol design.

    Each component was laboriously planned, tested and painstakingly cut to incorporate both the exterior bark (regmaglypts) and interior of the meteorite as design elements.

    The aesthetic finish of the pistols is Cabots’ homage to the various states that can be drawn from this rarest of material. The Widmanstatten pattern was developed by the very slow cooling of the planetesimal core at a rate of a few degrees per million years. “Drawing out the Widmanstatten from the material through acid etching is an art itself,” say Cabot COO and lead engineer, Michael Hebor. “It has a will of it’s own.”

    The result is an aesthetic tour-de-force -- from the prized Widmanstetten pattern adorning both major and minor surfaces to the high-polish grips and judicious use of the meteor’s “bark” on the trigger face and grips. And yes, the guns work.

    With a price of US$4.5 million, this makes it the most expensive gun set in history. We assume that when this gets bought and test fired by the new owner, this won’t see a firing range again and will be displayed amongst the expensive of collections the owner has at home (or museum).

    So fancy an airsoft gun made by a Meteorite? If Clarence Lai, aka the “Airsoft Surgeon” learns about this, he might stop using Swarovski crystals for his expensive custom guns and try to get a chunk of Gibeon meteorite for his own custom projects. That is, if someone who collects exquisite airsoft guns can also afford a custom airsoft gun made from the same ore as the Cabot Gun Big Bang Pistol Set. That means millions of dollars.


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    Cero Tactical Signal Morale Case

    In one of the few occasions that we see airsoft players going to Kickstarter to raise funds for their product designs, it is even rarer to see them designing that can be used by non-airsoft players. In this case, a group of airsoft players from Cero Tactical have announced that they are raising funds for the Signal Morale Case (SMC) on Kickstarter designed to be part of your Every Day Carry (EDC).

    The first thing that will come to your mind is what’s special with the Signal Moral Case when there are already phone cases designed to protect mobile phones that are rugged enough to be carried into the battlefield. The Cero Tactical Signal Morale Case does a little bit more than protecting your mobile case. It can also be used for emergency and communications purposes and can display your favourite morale patch.

    Nick Moore of Cero Tactical, got in touch with us to explain more about the product:

    As passionate pewpew people we as a group of friends wanted to create tacticool and airsoft gear that is designed by player for players.  It hasn’t been too long since Cero Tactical went from brainchild to real life, but that short window has been packed with product design, prototyping, and testing. We’re really pumped to announce our new product. We wanted to contribute to anyone’s everyday carry (EDC) by releasing something that would be really easy to carry, but also offers some unique attributes to your daily loadout. So, we redesigned a product that is already in your pocket all the time.

    The Signal Morale Case (SMC) is a protective case for your smartphone. The case itself is made from Thermo Plastic Rubber (TPR), making it sturdy, tear resistant, and shock absorbent. On the inside, the back of our case is lined with a lightweight, flexible signal mirror.  Signal mirrors are a valuable  but rare addition to any EDC, and in the SMC, we will use a flexible, shatterproof plexiglass composite so you won't have to worry about having a piece of brittle glass in your pocket or your bag.

    On the outside of our case, the back is lined with mil spec hook and loop fastener. We know that there is a lot of great tactical gear out there that has places to put all your favorite morale patches, but we don’t find tons of EDC options to display patches. We designed the back of our phone case to run any of your favorite morale patches, any time. This hook and loop fastener can also be used for securing your phone in important places, as well as mounting accessories to your phone.

    Indeed, the Signal Morale Phone Case can be an essential gear to attach to your smartphone and include in your EDC bag. A simple and practical idea which can be used not only by airsofters but also outdoors people, preppers, and even those who go out in real missions who may need a signaling mirror.

    The first SMCs are the iPhone 6, 6s, 6Plus, and 6SPlus, which means sorry for those who use Android mobile phones for the meantime. Perhaps, if they get successful in raising funds for the initial product can they turn their attention to designing versions for Android phones.

    Cero Tactical has set a goal of US$13,000 with over 30 days to go. If they raise that amount, they intend to go into production in August 2016 with to start shipping to backers in December 2016.


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    Power Ops

    So how does an airsoft business celebrate another year in business? I’m pretty sure you have an idea of some anniversary sale, raffle prizes, drinks, and BBQ for customers that drop by and join in the celebrations. But sometimes, they can think of ways to make it different. In this case, Airsoft Atlanta decided to go big and expand by opening an airsoft field of their own to celebrate their 16th year in business.

    Airsoft Atlanta’s Eric Barnes said the plan to open a new field came up with the realization that Atlanta needs a new airsoft field. The planned field was not just an ordinary airsoft field that can be found in the heart of Atlanta, it was planned to be an expansive playing field that is actually comprised of two fields with different themes. You want a tropical setup? Then there is a Vietnamese jungle field that has a Tiki village, crashed airplanes, hills, bridges, bunkers, and of course some foliage to hide behind. How about some urban setting in the desert? Then they have put up a realistic CQB Iraqi cityscape. You can play in either or in both.

    Barnes says, “This is the field that you dream of.  One that's perfect.  One that's expansively large [and] has multiple CQB fields. No lame rules, and advanced gameplay made specifically for adults.”

    The result? Power Ops --- a field that offers 100,000 square feet of playing space that is designed and hand built by professionals from the Hollywood film industry. Power Ops will have its grand opening on the 25th of June 2016 and Airsoft Atlanta will be celebrating their 16th Anniversary at the airsoft field and you are invited.

    Located about a mile south of Turner Field, just south of downtown Atlanta, off the I-75 exit University Ave.  Power Ops, according to Barnes, “is the greatest airsoft field to kickoff in Georgia.”  He further adds that, “It was designed as a field that the staff of Airsoft Atlanta wanted to play at themselves.  It was built as a southeast destination for adult players.”


    Photos: Power Ops Vietnam-style jungle battlefield

    Playing days will be on Saturday and Sunday, from 10am to 6pm with plans for night games and it is strictly an adult playing field with people from age 14 and above allowed to play.  Kids are not actually totally left out as those ages 10-13 will be allowed to play on the condition that a parent will be playing alongside them and no auto-firing allowed. You can learn more about Power Ops’ house rules here.

    Here are what to expect when Power Ops opens next weekend:

    • Realistic CQB Iraqi cityscape
    • Vietnamese jungle battlefield
    • Numerous 2 story buildings w/stairs
    • Roads, vehicles, airplanes, bridge, hills, bunkers
    • Authentic Connex military base with shipping containers (sniper perches on top)
    • Modular killhouse for police training with breachable doors
    • 200+ metal drums
    • Over 100,000 sq/ft of playable fields
    • Large indoor staging area
    • HPA air tank refills (complimentary)
    • Concessions, clean bathrooms, tables, etc
    • Bring a pop-up tent for your team, camping chairs to relax on between games
    • Ample parking
    • Small shop for ammo, gas, safety gear
    • AEG gun rentals available
    • HPA gun rentals available
    • Future build: 9,000 sq/foot indoor office building for pistol and shotgun only games.

    But the Power Ops is not only for airsoft players, as Barnes explains that is also a facility for law enforcement and security training, “A unique feature of Power Ops is the MOUT style facility for police, tactical trainers, and other government agencies to use.  One of the neat additions to this is a fully modular 'kill house' building with doors that can be breached and reset after being kicked-in, while the interior walls quickly adjust for new setups after each run.”


    Photos: Power Ops Iraqi CQB City Field being prepared for the grand opening on June 25, 2016

    All of these sounds like fun for the lucky airsoft players in Atlanta as it is rare to have big airsoft fields in cities. If you have no other plans come next weekend and you are in Atlanta and the surrounding areas, why not join in Airsoft Atlanta’s anniversary celebrations? You get to partake in the fun shooting it out with other airsoft players on what is soon to be a place that airsoft players would be going to in the South.

    You can follow Power Ops on Facebook for game dates and announcements.


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    USMC Jungle Training

    Looks like the U.S. Marines are looking for a fresh pair of jungle boots. This summer, according to Military.com, the Marine Corps will testing out 4 different prototypes of jungle boots at the Jungle Warfare Training Center in Okinawa, Japan.

    The U.S. Marines solicited from manufacturers in December 2015 for a new jungle boots and awarded last May contracts to Original Footwear, Bates Footwear, Belleville Boot Company, and Rocky Boots to design and develop boots that will be accepted for testing. 400 marines from the 3rd Marine Regiment based in Hawaii will be testing the boots for a two-to-three week jungle training period.

    Furtheron to the Military.com report, a pair must weigh less than 2.3 pounds, preferably less than 1.7 pounds; have to be six to nine inches high and should maintain ankle stability. Colors can be in "coyote" or "olive mojave".

    With that number of Marines, each manufacturer accepted for testing will be submitting 100 pairs of boots. All pairs will go through rigorous testing in the jungle. Criteria that the boots will follow are mud retention, sole self-cleaning, ankle support, foot support, fast drying, durability, traction, and mobility.

    The jungle would always be tough on footwear as it is not always even terrain with lots of ways to wear and tear boots. At the same time, with rain and wet locations encountered in jungles such as rivers, feet can be prone to Trench Foot or Jungle Rot (also known as tropical ulcer). This medical condition happens with feet getting prolonged exposure to wet, damp, and unsanitary conditions.  If left untreated, gangrene can settle in and may lead to amputation.

    Soldiers in the tropics are always reminded to always look after their feet to avoid Jungle rot. One way to prevent such condition to develop is to always have footwear dry, and fast drying is an important feature to look into in choosing footwear. Of course, clean socks are highly recommended but sometimes there is no time to put on one if you’re in the midst of a firefight in the middle of the jungle. If possible you can use polypropylene sock liners to draw moisture away from the feet.

    After the jungle test, the soldiers will fill up a survey form that will then be sent back to Marine Corps Systems Command (SYCOM) where they will then be observed wear and tear and durability. The results from observations and feedback will then result into a list of specifications that footwear manufacturers can follow and compete for contracts apart from the four manufacturers chosen for the tests.

    The Marines are looking into the list of specifications released in the first quarter of 2017 with boots produced based on the specifications being made available in the second quarter.


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    Kit Harrington Call of Duty Infinite Warfare

    Now we know something. For fans of both Game of Thrones and Call of Duty, now they can find something in common between these two --- Kit Harrington. Kit Harrington plays Jon Snow in Game Thrones, who as of Season 6, was brought back from the dead by Melisandre and has left Castle Black to help Sansa Stark take back Winterfell.

    According to Activision, Kit Harrington will be playing a villain in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.  He will be the main face of the organization that wants to destroy planet earth --- the Self Defense Front.

    "Kit is an amazing talent, and the consummate pro," said Taylor Kurosaki the Narrative Director for Infinity Ward, the lead developer for Infinite Warfare in a press release. "Our story is about an epic showdown of opposing forces, and Kit immersed himself into the role and truly became the embodiment of the enemy, the Settlement Defense Front. We can't wait for fans to see Kit play an entirely different kind of character."

    At the official Facebook Page of Call of Duty, Activision posted a video of Jon Snow in his motion capture suit. Since we cannot embed Facebook videos here, it is fortunate that someone else has posted the same video on YouTube which we can embed:

    This is not Harrington’s first foray into video games, as he voiced his Jon Snow character in the Game of Thrones video game that was developed by Telltale Games. Though not exactly a video game, as it was a film adaptation of Silent Hill 3, he played as Vincent Cooper in Silent Hill: Revelation, which is a 3D horror film.

    To direct Harrington’s scenes in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is filmmaker Guy Ritchie who also directed the Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 “Surprise” trailer.

    Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is set to be released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on November 4 this year.


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    Suunto Spartan Ultra

    Among the watches I’ve seen on airsoft players, Suunto is one with more wearers on the field and is sought after by those who can afford a feature-packed watch if they find their Casio G-Shocks as meh or their Luminox watches as too basic. Suunto has many users in both the sports, outdoors, and tactical communities for the features of its watches that they find indispensable.

    With the Suunto Spartan Ultra, the Finnish company wants to introduce a watch that will track much everything with its GPS, barometric altitude readings and digital compass FusedAlti, FusedSpeed, and accelerometer. And as option, you can have a heart monitor with it if you’re used to having the HR monitors seen in activity trackers such as the FitBit or smartwatches such as the Moto 360, but it will cost you extra.

    The watch is tough with its glass fibre reinforced polymide casing, and a sapphire glass colour display seen in tough watches, and grade 5 titanium or stainless steel bezel options. The Suunta Spartan Ultra does mean business and it can go down with you underwater up to 100 metres.

    With all these features the watch can track any activity that you do whether you are doing trail running, cycling, swimming, racing, or even be on a tactical mission. The sensors will record the activity giving feedback to the user like training load, recovery status and even daily step and calorie counting. Apart from the wearer, records can be studied by medical professionals or fitness trainers to determine progress and tailor fit training and diet plans. All these data is recorded on the MovesCount app that is available for iOS and Android devices.

    The company also says they are updating their Movescount website adding sports-specific heatmaps which is accessible to Suunto users.

    Suffice to say, it’s the watch that is meant to be with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Too bad it can’t be that way since you will need to recharge the batteries which the company says has a “competitive battery life.”

    The Suunto Spartan Ultra are to be released in August 2016 and will be have three styles available: Suunto Spartan Ultra All Black Titanium, Suunto Spartan Ultra Stealth Titanium, Suunto Spartan Ultra White and Suunto Spartan Ultra Black.


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    Titanfall2 Single Player

    The Titanfall video game, a breakout first person shooter video game in 2014, will soon have its second version released. Titanfall was launched as a multiplayer game in that year due to a low budget, given that it was developed by a small studio, Respawn Entertainment, which is comprised of former developers of the Call of Duty video game franchise.

    The Titanfall video game was unique in concept as it is a pilot and “Titan” mechsuit combination with lots of options on how to play as a pilot alone, in a Titan, or shooting it out with the Titan on overwatch. Thus, it is like controlling one or two characters (the second characted is the Titan) in the video game at the same time and mastering such can give the player distinct advantages over others.

    Now, having been a success (though no actual sales figures were released by Electronic Arts), it looks like Respawn Entertainment like has a bigger budget to come up with a well formed campaign for Titanfall 2 as it was criticized for a thin campaign and disappointing artificial intelligence. Furthermore, it will be developing a single player campaign which allows players to play the game offline if they don’t want to “drop” into a multiplayer map. What should be a point of interest in the single player campaign is about the relationships between the pilots and the Titans:

    Pilot and Titan unite as never before in Respawn Entertainment’s highly anticipated Titanfall 2. Featuring a crafted single player campaign that explores the unique bond between man and machine, players will step on to The Frontier as a Militia rifleman with aspirations of becoming a Pilot. Stranded behind IMC enemy lines, and against overwhelming odds, you must team up with a veteran Vanguard-class Titan and uphold a mission you were never meant to carry out.

    For those wanting to find out what the multiplayer mode of the game has to offer, Respawn will be adding 6 more Titans, new pilot abilities, more customization options, new maps, and makes it easier in teaming up in networks:

    In multiplayer, Titanfall 2 delivers best-in-class shooter gameplay backed by more depth and variety including new Titans – each with their own unique abilities, a deeper set of Pilot abilities, an expanded arsenal of weapons, more customization options, and a robust progression system.

    Titanfall 2 is set for release on the 28th of October 2016. It will be available for the PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One.


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    Op: LC-XV, Memorial Day Weekend 2016

    An internet meme has been circulating in social media that mocks Lion Claws, which as of recent months, has been under severe criticism by competitors and other airsofters. The military simulations outfit organizes events all over the U.S. to cater to airsoft players in their own regions. It has been accused of underhanded tactics to block competitors from using facilities for their own events, such as the case of the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Indiana.

    And this internet meme is “hard to ignore” as far as Lion Claws is concerned since there are personalities who work with Lion Claws who have actually served their country. The internet meme undermines the contributions of these individuals since in trying to paint airsofters as not “heroes” with a broad brushstroke has brought disrespect to these individuals who are considered to be truly heroes in real life.

    Here it is for you to assess if it was done in bad taste:

    Their Public Relations Division got in touch with us to send this statement about the meme. Since we have posted statements from their competitors here, we will also be posting them here for our readers to know:

    It has come to our attention that the attacks against our organization have started once again. We chose to ignore the propaganda in the recent past rather than feed into it, but unfortunately the attacks made against us earlier in the week in the form of a photoshopped meme was done in poor taste, and was something that we could not simply ignore. We pride ourselves in honoring our nation’s heroes of the armed forces, and do as much as we can to support them through our charitable donations generated from our events.

    Although our organization is blessed to have men like Col. (RET) Danny McKnight, Ranger Hall of Fame inductee MSG. (RET) Howard "Mad Max” Mullen, Delta Force Command Sergeant Major (RET) Mark Collazos & many other staff members who are actual heroes of this great nation, we would never grant that title to airsofters who have never earned it, let alone create a meme saying that playing airsoft makes them heroes.

    The worst part of this recent attack is that just three weeks ago, our nation observed Memorial Day, a day that we remember our fallen men and women of the armed forces who are real heroes. The parties involved in creating this meme, and started circulating it should be ashamed of their actions, and should be condemned for their disrespect to our service members.

    We do not condone this type of behavior and apologize that our name and logo was used to create this tasteless image, but we assure everyone that our organization had absolutely nothing to do with it, other than being the focus of the attacks.

    We would like to thank our supporters and sponsors for recognizing what is fact, and what is not. We will continue doing all we can to help our service members, while hosting some of the nation’s best airsoft events.

    Keep airsoft positive.

    Things can get vicious in the internet, and we just hope that when there are conflicts in terms of conducting business in airsoft, things are kept civil. We always announce proudly to the world that airsoft is a very honourable sport/hobby, let's keep it that way always even in the aspect of business to provide services to airsoft players, wherever they are.

    Photo used here was taken during Op: LC-XV, Memorial Day Weekend 2016:

    (Left to right) Delta Force Command Sergeant Major(RET) Mark Collazos, US Army Ranger Sean Menches, Col.(RET) Danny McKnight & Ranger Hall of Hame inductee MSG(RET) Howard "Mad Max" Mullen.


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    US Army Women

    Last June 14, 2016, the U.S. Senate approved a bill that would require women to register for draft when they turn 18 which male citizens already do since the Civil War. This is not yet law as it will have to be signed by President Obama, but this can be the last restriction to be lifted for women to have full participation in the U.S. military ever since the Pentagon opened combat roles to women earlier this year.

    If this becomes a law, the U.S. will be the 10th country that will require women to be drafted. Other countries are China, Eritrea, Israel, North Korea, Libya, Malaysia, Norway, Peru, and Taiwan. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed in the Senate that will see women to start signing up by the start of 2018.

    The House of Representatives have passed their version of the NDAA last spring, but they omitted a similar provision for drafting women. This means that both houses of Congress will have to thresh out further details to reconcile their bills and whether the final approved bill that will be sent to the White House will contain the female draft provision. Conservative politicians have opposed this register for draft by women in the military but this time, the provision has bipartisan support in the Senate.

    You might wonder why the U.S. Military, which has been an all-volunteer force since the draft was abolished in 1973, still requires men ages 18-25 to register for draft.  This is maintained so information is available when military conscription will be required in case the country will have to resort to forced conscription. This is maintained by the Selective Service System, a government agency, and men will need to register within 30 days once they turn 18 and inform the agency within 10 days if there are changes in the information they submitted such as a change of address. Failure to do so could lead to penalties such as losing federal grants for higher education.

    Even if the both houses of Congress reconcile their bills and keep the provision on women, it is not guaranteed to become law as President Obama has threatened to veto the proposed NDAA. It is not because of the provision on women that he is opposed to but it is due the requirement that the Guantanamo prison remains open, which he promised to close down when he became the President of the United States of America.


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    Airsoft Showcase 2016 AAR

    I woke a bit early than usual last Saturday. There is always one reason why I need to wake up early on Saturday as compared to the rest of the world --- there is an airsoft event taking place. I know that most of your attention is about the UK referendum to stay or leave the EU (with the campaign of both sides suspended with the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox by someone who is said to have far right connections), or the EUFA Euro 2016 which is probably the third most watched spectator sport in the world after the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics. But since it is the Airsoft Showcase 2016, there is nothing that can keep me from attending unless it is the end of the world.

    For this year, I had to travel two hours by car since the Airsoft Showcase moved to Gloucester with StrikeForce CQB being the venue. Last year, it was held at The Mall in Reading which is about half an hour away from me. Good thing Master Chief was driving this time, since I only had a few hours of sleep.

    It was my second time to be at StrikeForce CQB, the first time was last year during the Airsoft Surgeon Practical Shooting European Championship 2015. Just like The Mall, it is a very accessible venue as it is near the City Centre, which for those who don’t drive, is a good thing as they can just walk or take a bus to the venue.

    Arriving at StrikeForce CQB, we were first greeted by Clare Barker, our constant co-player at the Ground Zero Weekender over the years, who immediately took care of our bands and ushered us in. Getting inside the exhibit area where Chris Kong, RedWolf Airsoft UK's main man who insisted on us having breakfast so off to the burger corner for some minutes before we really started going around the exhibit floor of the Airsoft Showcase 2016.  Nigel of Airsoft Action Magazine was there to join us and slowly, we saw some of the more prominent airsoft bloggers arriving such as Kelly Louise Hardwick of Femme Fatale Airsoft and Aryan Alipour, now an editor of the Airsoft & MilSim News Blog.

    The morning started slowly as visitors slowly trickled in, which also gave us more time to be able to talk to the exhibitors. Whilst Master Chief was going around with his wife to take some videos, I dropped by the booth of Gunfire with Patryk and Mateusz who are participating for the first time at the Airsoft Showcase. As expected, they have in display some of the brands that Gunfire is known to be carrying such as Specna Arms, E&L Airsoft, Claw Gear, Black Mountain Gear, and PPS. They were there not to sell, but more of displaying their products that potential resellers and business partners can be interested in.

    Up next was to check the Incentive Designs as they always have something innovative on display. They have been busy working on the Tippmann HPA airsoft technology, developing upgrades to improve performance and shooting experience. On display were two fabricated .50 Cal machine guns which they the installed the Tippmann engine into these. Oh boy! The custom M4 SBR they made with the Tippmann produces an awesome kick with their heavy bolt which they call the High Speed Superbolt.

    iWholesales were at the far-end corner of the floor, and for those looking for Ares, A&K, Bolt Airsoft, and APS products, this was the booth to go to. Herman  and Rishy were there to answer queries by airsoft players and businesses interested in having these brands’ products on their shelves. Just right behind them was a 3-Gun airsoft course put up by Tim Wyborn of X-Site Airsoft and interested players had a go to try 3-Gun after quick instructions.

    The United Kingdom Airsoft Players Union (UKAPU) was there as well, ready to take new members with free sign-ups for those who appreciate their aims of having a organization that will put the interests of airsoft players first. The UKAPU are heavily involved to ensure the exemptions for airsoft players stay with the proposed Policing and Crime Bill by the Home Office.

    Valken Tactical Europe have their products such as tactical gear accessories and airsoft consumables on display as well as their line of airsoft guns, whether AEGs or those equipped with the Valken V12 HPA engine. This is also their first time to show up at the Airsoft Showcase as they seek new business partners in the UK. Master Chief was given some of their products, as taken care of by Janek, and these will be reviewed for Popular Airsoft.

    By noontime, we see even more airsoft players checking out the various products on display. The list of exhibitors is long this year --- apart from those that have already been mentioned, the other exhibitors were Surplus Store, West Midlands Airsoft, Ammo Drop, Stitch Me Up, South Coast CQB, Pro Airsoft Supplies, Airsoft Great Britain, 6mm Ammo, Swindon Airsoft, Spartan AirsoftBadger Tac, Dave's Custom Airsoft,Ghost Tec, Army Surplus & Toys, Pilgrim Bandits, HTIS, Calibre Shooting, Airsoft Machine Shop, Fubar Bundy, Cloud 9 Combat, ASG, and Bomb-Up Airsoft.

    Besides the X-Site 3-Gun course, Double Tap also have a small airsoft practical pistol shooting course for those who want to dip their toes in this discipline. At just 1 quid, anybody can have a go and try to get their best time at shooting the poppers and paper targets, or just have fun shooting in this corner of the venue.

    At the Action Sport Games (ASG) booth, Paul Wignell was busy explaining the various airsoft guns they had display, with the flag ship product, the EVO 3 A1 AEG (which will be joined by an HPA version in a partnership with Wolverine Airsoft) was there fully kitted up with suppressors and optics.  Beside it was the much anticipated CZ 805 Bren AEG which, according to Paul, will be finally released this summer. For those who are interested in the 805, it is time to save up.

    By around 1430H, it was time for us to leave, since we did have other personal commitments on the same day. But it leaving was hard, taking us around 30 minutes just to say goodbyes with the awesome folks from the hosts and those at booths. We took time talking with Cloud 9 Airsoft as we needed samples as the samples we needed for a review were lost in an unfortunate mishap. But they have a new airsoft grenade, a big frag grenade that is already filled with some soft clay pellets as the frags. For those like throwing a pineapple-style airsoft grenade, then this is one they should look into. Also, Master Chief got a good deal with his new plate carrier from Ratty of BadgerTac Airsoft.

    We have been through several airsoft trade fairs over the years in the UK, starting with the Airsoft Arms Fair which was open air, the British Airsoft Show where fewer and fewer airsoft vendors have been showing up, and now with the Airsoft Showcase. StrikeForce CQB is a good venue to hold such since it is an indoor site it is more suitable to hold a trade fair. The Mall in Reading was an indoor site as well though it is just too dark for a trade fair as compared to StrikeForce CQB which has ample natural light.

    Our thanks to the excellent hosts, RedWolf Airsoft UK led by Chris Kong and StrikeForce CQB. Airsoft players can contact StrikeForce CQB for their game dates and as for us, we will back to this venue in the South West in August for the Airsoft Surgeon Practical Shooting European Championships 2016.

    Photos of the event posted at the Popular Airsoft Facebook Page.


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    Pip-Boy: Deluxe Bluetooth Edition

    Remember the Fallout 4 Pip-Boy made for the real world last year? The demand was so high that Bethesda can’t produce enough to satisfy customers. While it looks cool, it was really more a glorified smartphone case where the screen is your smartphone that you drop into the wrist-mounted casing which of course is a bit awkward to use when you need to use your smartphone for other purposes such as actually making calls with it.

    For those who are not familiar with this device, the RobCo Pip-Boy (Personal Information Processor-Boy) is a wrist worn computer seen in the Fallout video game and used as an app for battle management, inventory, as well as displaying player statistics.

    This year, they are rolling out a much better real world Pip-Boy and you do not need to drop into smartphone into it just to use it. The Pip-Boy: Deluxe Bluetooth Edition works almost the same as the smartwatches in the market out there and that means it has its own electronics display separate from your phone. Just like the smartwatches, you will just need to pair this Pip-Boy to your smartphone via Bluetooth.

    So what can you do with it? Pretty much like with a smartwatch once it’s paired with a smartphone --- make and receive calls, access contacts, receive text messages, manage audio files. Most of the knobs and dials on the device actually work and there’s foam lining to make it comfortable on your wrist.  It also weighs 2lbs. which should be light enough to make you not notice it’s on your wrist. Even if not paired with your phone, you can use it as an alarm clock or a cosplay prop with the screen able to display Status, Special, and Perks screens from the game.

    This Pip-Boy Edition can be charged via the genuine RobCo Industries stand that doubles as a charging base and also serves as powerful speaker if the Pip-Boy is placed on the stand. This stand comes with the package and charging the device is done via USB.

    With estimated shipping date of November 11, 2016, the Pip-Boy: Deluxe Bluetooth Edition is priced at US$350.00. For interested customers, they can are limited to purchasing two units as only 5,000 units will be produced.


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    Bundeswehr Soldier With G36 Rifle

    The saga of the Heckler & Koch G36 Rifle continues. Since last year, the mainstay rifle in the Bundeswehr has been under attack for not being accurate when used in hot weather. In test reports, the G36 the accuracy becomes suspect after sustained automatic fire heating up the barrel. The report has resulted into the Bundeswehr looking into other alternative to replace last year.

    But Heckler & Koch won’t give it up its case, suing the German government. According to Deustch Welle, the hearing of the case first took place in a court early this June in Koblenz, in Southern Germany where the army's procurement office is located.

    More bad news for the company where it matters most --- the soldiers who are using the G36 rifle, and whose lives depend on it so it should be performing as expected.

    In late 2015, as reported by Bild, a poll was undertaken by the German Army Research Centre during Trident Junction 2015 amongst Bundeswehr soldiers and the results were not good for the H&K G36. 43% of the respondents said their weapons were "rather not reliable" or "not reliable at all."  About 30% of the respondents say that their weapons are partly unreliable.

    Though the G36 is not alone in the trust issue amongst German soldiers, 36% did not trust their heavy weapons such as machine guns, crew-served weapons, and anti-tank missiles. Germany’s spending on defence is 1.2% of the GDP, which is below the NATO recommendation of 2% of the GDP for member countries.

    Even with the ongoing lawsuit, the German Defence Ministry are set to replace their G36 in 2019. As to what the rifle will be, it is still up in the air.


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    Mark Rober with his Nerf Gun

    A former NASA engineer who perhaps may have too much time in his hands, has just built the largest Nerf Gun in the world. And if you want to get in a Nerf gunfight with him, better think twice, since when we say large, it can fire a bigger Nerf dart at you that would totally ruin your day, or your window. The Nerf dart that it uses is fashioned out of toilet plungers.

    Mark Rober, the engineer who built it  says he did it so he won’t be at the losing of end of Nerf battles that always take place in his office as his officemates were always picking on him. With his massive Nerf Gun, I guess no one’s picking on him lately.

    The Nerf Gun is powered by a paintball canister that can fire at 3,000 pounds per square inch. That’s a powerful one and it can fire 20 of his plungers when it is limited to 80psi shots at 40mph, errr… Nerf darts before refilling and can since it is revolver-type Nerf gun, it can fire five shots before needing to reload.

    His homemade Nerf darts can break a glass pane when the full power of 3,000psi is used as shown in the video. But it’s not fastest as the Nerf Rival Khaos fires a 68mph, and is something that you can buy from any reputable Nerf gun vendor. As for its range, it can reach up to 400 feet so it can easily cross a football field.

    I hope that Rober did not start mad race to build the biggest and baddest Nerf Gun in the world, but it would surely be interesting to find out if somebody tries to beat his build.

    You may wonder if there is someone who has built the biggest airsoft gun in the world. Last 1st April, Hyperdouraku reported about the Tokyo Nurui M4A1 LWS (Large Weapon System). Unfortunately it was an April fool’s prank and that means we await for a real one to be built by somebody crazy enough to do it.


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