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    Swedish Soldier in Afghanistan

    Sweden is taking steps to prepare its people for conflict or crisis and it is sending out pamphlets entitled “Om krisen eller kriget kommer” (If crisis or war comes) to all 4.8 million homes.  Apart from being steeled for war, the information also comes with how to deal with terrorist attacks, cyber attacks, and the spreading of “fake news.”

    Whilst Sweden is involved in multinational operations such as those sanctioned by the UN, the last time that it was involved in a war was in 1814, during Fälttåget mot Norge that resulted in the union of Sweden and Norway (Convention of Moss). It is a neutral country though is cooperates with NATO and most of its equipment are compatible with NATO standards.

    The last time it issued it issued such material was in 1961 during the Cold War.

    The latest one is issued by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), it starts with this preface:

    This brochure is being sent to all households in Sweden at the behest of the Swedish Government. The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) is responsible for its content. The purpose of the brochure is to help us become better prepared for everything from serious accidents, extreme weather and IT attacks, to military conflicts.

    Many people may feel a sense of anxiety when faced with an uncertain world. Although Sweden is safer than many other countries, there are still threats to our security and independence. Peace, freedom and democracy are values that we must protect and reinforce on a daily basis.

    Public authorities, county councils and regions, municipalities, companies and organisations are responsible for ensuring that society functions. However, everyone who lives in Sweden shares a collective responsibility for our country's security and safety. When we are under threat, our willingness to help each other is one of our most important assets.

    If you are prepared, you are contributing to improving the ability of the country as a whole to cope with a major strain.

    KEEP THIS BROCHURE!

    As to why the Swedish government issued this 20-page pamphlet, MSB Director General tells Sveriges Radio the reasons why, “The first is that the government has commissioned us to conduct an information campaign. The second is that society is more vulnerable to digitization, globalization and climate change. So we need to prepare ourselves as individuals and as residents in this country. The third is that there is a thirst for information, we have listened to many focus groups and found that there is an information deficit on solid advice and we try to provide it in this brochure.”

    Sweden, other Scandinavian countries and Baltic States have been on their toes with an aggressive Russia. This started when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and they have protested violations of their air space. Sweden has ramped up defense spending and is active involved in joint exercises with allies and NATO and there is debate if the country will join NATO. The country recently announced that they have plans with Denmark to counter cyber attacks and propaganda from Russia.

    Sweden ended conscription in 2010 but in March 2017 the government reintroduced it and conscripts will serve for a total of 12 months that began last 1 January 2018 and it is gender neutral. During the Cold War, 85% of men were conscripted.

    If any country tries to invade or attack Sweden, it will encounter a very hostile population that it will just be too costly, as the pamphlet says, "If Sweden is attacked by another country, we will never give up. All information to the effect that resistance is to cease is fake."

     

    Top photo: Swedish Soldier in Afghanistan (Photo by: Brindefalk via Wikimedia)


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    Fortnite Battle Royale Poster

    It is Battle Royale year! Game developers are hooked with the multiplayer Battle Royale concept such as Player Unknown Battlegrounds (PUBG) and Fortnite. Even Activision is getting into the act, announcing the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will have its own Battle Royal Mode when it gets released in October.

    But Fortnite wants to be the king of online Battle Royale, announcing that it will be putting up a total of US$100 million dollars prize pool for its Battle Royale eSports competitions:

    Fortnite Competitors!

    Grab your gear, drop in and start training. Since the launch of Fortnite Battle Royale we’ve watched the passion for community competition grow and can’t wait to empower you to battle with the best.

    In the 2018 - 2019 season, Epic Games will provide $100,000,000 to fund prize pools for Fortnite competitions. We’re getting behind competitive play in a big way, but our approach will be different - we plan to be more inclusive, and focused on the joy of playing and watching the game.

    Stay tuned for more details about competitive structures and eligible platforms in the weeks ahead!

    Not much details on how this pans out if it is going to be one big tournament or a series of competitions around the world. But with the announcement of the prize pool, Fortnite just became one of the top eSports that will be attracting some of the top gamers who look at it to be lucrative. Dota 2 from Valve still rules the roost as it has already awarded over US$140 million over the years.

    Ever since Epic Games released the Fortnite Battle Royale in September 2017, the game experienced exponential growth gaining 10 million players within two weeks after it got released. As of March 2018, it has at least 45 million players and has already overtaken PUBG in revenues and number of players.
    For such a young game, many are wondering if Epic Games can afford the prize pool. Not to worry, according to a report in Forbes, Fortnite is earning over US$1 million a day and is expected to earn US$ 500 million this year if the trend is sustained. That’s a lot of moolah and should make Epic Games comfortable as long as it keeps players happy.

    Next month, Epic Games will be holding a competition that will feature athletes, entertainers and the top Fortnite Battle Royale players for a Party Royale Celebrity Pro-Am at the E3 next month in Los Angeles. They will be pairing to battle it for the US$3 million prize that will be donated to the winning pair’s chosen charity.


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    Paintball Player

    In what probably is a misguided way of avoiding gun violence, gangs in U.S. cities are resorting to paintball markers. According to Vice News, the #PaintballsUpGunsDown movement started in April of this year in Detroit in which gangs are asked to use paintball markers rather than guns. The hashtag began spreading in social media and has caught on to other cities such as Atlanta.

    In the Vice News report, the founder of the movement, Quinton Kisor, said, “Everywhere you go you would see a gun, but now when we started paintballing, everywhere we went we’d see a paintball.” He further adds that, “I’d rather get hit with a paintball than a bullet.”

    In a way, it is a good development as gangs set aside their guns and other dangerous paraphernalia to wage gang wars and pick up paintball markers which are less dangerous to use. In the video shown in the report, the two gangs mentioned forgot the beef they had in the past and they just have paintball wars to have fun. These paintball wars happen in city streets sometimes involving 50 shooters which are actually big for a paintball street fight.

    Whilst the effort is laudable, the police are concerned as some of the paintball markers can be mistaken for firearms and since these paintball wars take place in streets rather at paintball fields, police may just shoot someone who is holding a paintball gun. In airsoft, this actually happens as there have been cases in which young people get killed carrying airsoft guns in public, the most prominent was the Tamir Rice case. Another is damage to property as paintball will splatter walls with paint or even break windows with thin glasses. Gang members still risk injuring themselves as they do not wear eye protection as shown in the video. What is also worrying is that bystanders and pedestrians will get caught in the crossfire when a paintball battle takes place in the street that they can be hit with paintballs too.

    Authorities would prefer that gang members do their paintball wars in proper paintball fields. But if these paintball wars would help bring the murder rate in their cities down then they might just turn a blind eye. Now, they can only hope that they tire of paintball and move to another an even more competitive activity such as basketball.

    Police in Detroit have started arresting gang members for destruction of property. But the paintball wars would continue on as they would rather clean up paint rather dragging dead bodies. Airsofters may just hope that gangs stick to paintball rather than pick up airsoft as airsoft looks like the real thing as compared to paintball markers. That could lead to big trouble to police if they start using airsoft guns for the “safe” gang wars.


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    Battlefield V Reveal

    Bucking the trend of new first person shooter games and bringing the battle to Call of Duty with a World War II themed game, the Battlefield Vannouncement last 23 May reveal that there will be no Battle Royale; there will be a single player campaign; and an emphasis in squad-based team play.

    With the World War II theme, Battlefield V will be back where it began, as World War II first person shooter.

    Fortnite and PUBG may be lording it now on Battle Royale Games to make Activision take notice and announce its own Battle Royale mode for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, but Battlefield V will forge on its own, tweaking the formula that it did with Battlefield I which was very much well-received by gamers. War Stories will be back to focus on the lesser known stories of World War II.

    As always, there will be weapons and vehicles for players to handle and be proficient in. But in Battlefield V there will be a new progression system that covers not only the player, but also weapons, vehicles, class, and chapter. The introduction of Tides of War, where different World War II story is dropped every few months for players to experience war from a historical perspective even if they play for a different side.

    Combined Ops which is the cop-op game which up to four can play together in which they are group of paratroopers dropped behind enemy lines and they will need to evade the enemy on their way to the objective. It is important to play as a team as resources will be limited including ammo in order to accomplish the mission. Also, in order to gain full health, a medic is needed so player roles in a squad should always be thought about well.

    With the Tides of War, there will be no more Premium Passes. The players are taken through the phases of World War II starting with the Fall of Europe, and there will be campaigns in Norway, France North, Africa, and Germany to the last moments of World War II.

    Now, you will need to be ready for Grand Operations, and it is a 4-day multiplayer operation. How the performance of player in each day of the operation will affect the next day such as how many players, vehicles, and resources that will be available.  Day four will be very interesting as the player will only have one life and one rifle to use with limited ammo. Players who have gone through all the days will probably need play smartly to avoid dying in trying to accomplish the objective.

    It looks like Battlefield V will stand out amongst other games that have gone the Battle Royale route this year, sticking with what it already offers since Battlefield 1 and improving on them. Will it be able to attract players from the Battle Royal arena? We’ll find out when it gets released in 9 October.

    Battlefield V will be playable on Xbox One One, PlayStation 4, and PC upon release.


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    Star Wars Boba Fett

    By this time, it is obvious to many fans of Star Wars that Disney and Lucasfilm, which is now owned by Disney, are expanding the Star Wars Universe, just like the Marvel Universe and DC Universe are being developed ---- more films covering the various characters which also means more ticket sale through the years. These universes are bringing in billions of dollars to the studios so they might as well push more of the same formula.

    For Star Wars franchise, there are spin-off stories which started by Rogue One to bridge the prequel to the original trilogy and Solo the origin story of one of the favourite characters in the franchise, Han Solo. Now, what looks like to be another origin story is about Star Wars villain that needs no further introduction, Boba Fett the bounty hunter.

    The last time we heard that a Boba Fett origin story is in the works was three years ago with Josh Trank, who directed Fantastic Four, but has left the project due to his erratic behavior when Fantastic Four was being filmed. But good news to all those waiting for updates on the Boba Fett movie, Logan Director James Mangold has taken the helm for the project, both as the writer and director. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Mangold will be writing the story with Simon Kinberg, as they collaborated on the success of Logan last year.

    Boba Fett was introduced in the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special and then became a familiar character in The Empire Strikes Back and got killed in Return of the Jedi. The last time that the space faring bounty hunter was seen in a Star Wars movie was in the Attack of the Clones, where he saw his father Jango Fett, get beheaded by Mace Windu. Boba Fett is actually a clone of Jango Fett. He was able to retrieved the helmet which he used together with his Mandalorian armour to make a reputation of himself as a skilled bounty hunter that Darth Vader himself was a client.

    As for further details of the Boba Fett movie, Disney is keeping a tight ship for now. Other rumours of standalone or origin movies in the Star Wars Universe, is about the mentor of the Skywalkers, Obi Wan Kenobi.

    Whislt we wait as production of the Boba Fett movie revs up, here is a fan-made trailer of a Boba Fett movie just to get your excitement up.

    Also, there is a Mandalorian-style helmet that is in the market for airsoft and real steel use.


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    K9 Helmet Trident K9 Tactical Helmet

    At the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) 2018 last week in Tampa Florida, various military gear and hardware were on display by various vendors. Many were interesting, but one thing that’s getting attention is an upcoming head protection for K9s from K9 Helm.

    K9s play an important role in warfare and law enforcement as they are usually used to hunt down fugitives or enemy troops as trackers or they can be used for sentry and scout duties.  They are also used for communications and logistics.

    They have become valuable that investment in training military and police dogs has become expensive. Also more equipment are being put on K9s that apart from leashes, they also now have their own MOLLE vests which are bulletproof or stab proof. Soon, they can have head protection gear that before was only available to their handlers and soldiers.

    As for the offering of K9 Helm, the head protection gear, called the Trident K9 Tactical Helmet, is still undergoing development and testing. But when it becomes available, it is anticipated that it will be retailed at US$600.00 and it has the following features as posted at their website:

    A. The main shell is a single piece of super-tough, 3D printed nylon. It features complex curves and details that are finely tuned for performance and durability.

    B. ANSI rated, UV400 eye protection is easy to install and remove, yet stays firmly in place. Independent, spherical lenses are canted to each side to maximize the dog’s peripheral vision.

    C. Left and right side retention plates squeeze inward with strap tension, providing cushy-yet-firm clamping force.

    D. Thick rubber strap is reversible for use by right or left handed humans.

    E. 2-position rail can be used to mount a variety of devices, or it can be removed altogether in favor of cameras like the MOHOC, which may be attached directly to the helmet surface.

    F. Flexible rear brace meets the neck and terminates in a flared beaver tail, stabilizing the helmet during sudden changes to head and neck angles.

    G. Secured with Velcro, the multi-panel foam padding is easily replaced and made in 3 sizes to achieve the best possible fit.

    H. Captive strap guides and shielded button stud provide a secure closure that’s fast and easy to operate.

    I. Removable fasteners facilitate easy disassembly. Replaceable parts allow for many rebuilds — extending the unit’s service life.

    Apart from providing protection for the K9, the rail mount can be useful as cameras and other devices can also be mounted on the dog such as communications devices to be used with the handler. Looking at the design, the K9 actually looks very “operator” as airsoft geardos will always say.

    The initial design will fit German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois which are the sought after K9s for military and law enforcement use. No information yet on release date.

     

    Top photo:K9 Helm Trident K9 Tactical Helmet at SOFIC 2018 (Photo source: K9 Helm Facebook Page)


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    Spartan117gw Jurassic World: Asset Containment Unit

    Three years ago, Gregory Wong, more known as Spartan117gw in the airsoft community, put together the "Jurassic World: Asset Containment Unit"which was his first fan film based on one of his favourite movie flicks, the Jurassic Park movie franchise. In our interview with him, he said that he plans on making more fan films in the future, including those that have a big following in the airsoft community.

    With the release of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”, he is now working hard to raise funds for his next Jurassic Park fan film project. He has set his sights on filming on the Hawaiian islands. At his GoFundMe Page, he mentions that he, “a group of veterans and movie car goers are shooting a fan film on the island of Hawaii.”  He adds that, “Think 13 Hours meets Jurassic Park.”

    With that hint, we think of this movie as perhaps Spartan117gw leading another group from the Asset Containment Unit but will be defending themselves whilst under siege, surrounded by Jurassic predators.

    The project is bigger this time, and some names that are familiar in both tactical and airsoft communities, Travis Haley of Haley Strategic Partners and Garand Thumb, will be participating in this project. Haley will be sending kit from his company to be used in the film as well as show up on location for principal photography. Garand Thumb will play an important role in the project with his survival skills. The Jurassic Park Motor pool will be lending their vehicles as well to support the project.

    Do you want to help the project? So far Spartan117gw has already raised over US$2,000 which just about near the halfway point of his target amount of US$5,000 to start filming location. As he writes on his GoFundMe Page, Spartan117gw lays out how the funds will be used, “Most of the funds go directly to locations, props, and especially VFX for the dinosaurs. We have an amazing team of VFX guys that can make dinos that look as good as what is seen in the movies but we need your help to make that happen!”

    His last update was that they have finished some initial filming in Arizona. Now, if he can meet his funding goals, then they can proceed to shooting in Hawaii. Better help him make it happen.


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    PUBG vs Fortnite

    The “Battle Royale” to be the king of the Battle Royale mode in the video games industry just took another road, a road that will leads to a courthouse. The recently dethroned King of Battle Role, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), has its developers suing Epic Games for copyright infringement with its Fornite Battle Royale, which for now, wears the Battle Royale crown in terms of concurrent players.

    In a news report by The Korea Times, PUBG has filed an injunction with the Seoul Central District Court against Epic Games Korea. It alleges that Epic Games copied “Battlegrounds" items and user interface (UI). Fortnite did not start out as Battle Royale video game, compared to PUBG which is Battle Royale game since its inception as a Steam early access beta program in March 2017. Fornite introduced its own Battle Royale mode in September 2017.

    Bluehole, which owns the PUBG subsidiary, has been said to be planning in September 2017 to respond to the claims of similarities between PUBG and Fortnite Battle Royale.

    Whilst there are similarities between the games, there are also differences such as graphics and that Fortnite allows you to construct walls based on its “Save the World” game concept which it is what it started with. With PUBG, it is just straightforward compact, where players get to pick weapons to use in the game and an ever shrinking safe zone, which are two features in the Fortnite Battle Royale Mode.

    Over 40 million copies of PUBG have been sold but Fortnite holds the concurrent player numbers at 3.4 million versus 3.3 million for PUBG in February 2018 as reported by Engadget.

    PUBG uses the Unreal Engine which is owned by Epic Games, which will make their technical relationship uncomfortable. Also, the Battle Royale mode is a not a unique concept that started with PUBG, H1Z1 is a Battle Royale mode video game from the Daybreak Game Company which started its life as an early access title in January 2015, just like how PUBG started its life.


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    The Farm51 World War 3

    There are still more announcements in the video gaming front. For airsofters and gamers looking forward to another shooter multiplayer game apart from the established franchises, they are in luck. The Farm 51, the game development studio behind Get Even and Painkiller: Hell & Damnation, just announced World War 3 which will have Battlefield-style components.

    The Farm 51 announced that they will be releasing the game via Steam Early Access this year:

    We are proud to unveil our new modern military FPS titled World War 3, releasing on Steam Early Access in 2018.

    World War 3’s Warzone game mode features large-scale combined arms battles with infantry, armored vehicles and drones; its Recon mode features a fresh approach to the battle royale genre. Strong teamplay, national armed forces, real locations, full body awareness, and a versatile customization system all contribute to the authenticity of the modern combat experience enhanced by other essential elements such as a robust ballistic system, advanced armors and life-like weapons. Produced in cooperation with military R&D centers and consultants, World War 3 shows the consequences of every battle in the context of a global war campaign on a strategic war map.

    Apart from the Battlefield-style components such as vehicles, which will be land and air vehicles, the announcement also revealed that the game will be joining in the Battle Royale fray which is called “Recon Mode” in which PUBG and Fortnite are already slugging it out, with the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 joining in October. More choices now for players as to what game they want to do some Battle Royale gaming.

    World War 3 looks like it is set in 21st Century Europe as the locations revealed are Moscow, Berlin, and Warsaw, three of the most ravaged capitals during World War II. But what it touts as its strength is the squad-based team work in both Warzone and Recon modes. As always, there will be customization of weapons, uniforms, and skins.

    When it gets released this year, World War 3 will work exclusively on Windows PCs, giving PC gamers something to put over console players.


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    Fallout: 76 Teaser Trailer

    As respectable game developers and studios are preparing for the E3 in two weeks’ time, some are already announcing what is in store for players ahead of the event. We have posted here the revelations of Call of Duty, Battlefield, Fortnite, and more. The latest to make an announcement and which many airsoft players have shared on social media is Bethesda announcing what Fallout 76 will be this year.

    In its official teaser video, it is rather a cryptic one and does not show even a gameplay scene though many reports say Bethesda hints at Fallout 76 being a Survival Role Playing Game (RPG). Jason Schreier of Kotaku reports that sources familiar with the project say that it is inspired by DayZ and Rust. Furthermore, the gaming news website says it will be something completely new and completely different.

    Schreier makes the case that Bethesda is known for RPGs such as Skyrim and will also feature base building. He also says that Fallout: 76 takes place before Fallouts 3 and 4 which means that Vault 76 was meant to be opened 20 years after the nuclear war whilst the first two titles were full settlements many years into the future, as the trailer says, “When the fighting stopped, and the fallout has settled, you must rebuild.”

    The speculation is that Vault 76 is located in West Virginia, as the teaser opens with “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, a song by John Denver. Though the teaser did not put a confirmation that it is West Virginia for many familiar with the song, the name West Virginia will be recalled in their minds. Vault 76 gets revealed in the trailer and the remains of a party in preparation of “Reclamation Day” lay scattered around. But as many Fallout players know, it’s going to be really different world that they will try to reclaim.

    Pre-orders are now up for Falloout 76 and will be available on the PC, PS4, and Xbox One. As for the release date, the trailer shows a PIP-Boy showing a date October 27, 2012. That can probably the actual release date of the game.


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    MCM Comic Con London 2018 May

    Airsoft as an activity is like an animal that cannot be decribed clearly like the Big Foot apart from the fact that it is about replica firearms that fire plastic balls. It can be different things at the same time --- as a hobby, as a sport, as a LARP (Live Action Role Playing), a Milsim (Military Simulation), and as a Cosplay (Costume Playing).

    Airsoft players love dressing up, spending money to get an impression right, be it a Navy SEAL, a Russian Spetsnaz, or as part of Umbrella Corporation (Biohazard game). Depending on how an airsoft event is organised, airsoft players will bring the gear and clothing that the scenario calls for. For those airsofters who really love the dressing up part of airsoft usually bring that love from the airsoft field to convention centres, attending Cosplay events such as Comic Con.

    In Asia we see airsofters as an integral part of the Cosplay community, attending Cosplay events either representing historical military characters or as characters in shooter video games such as the airsoft community in the Philippines being active in H-Con that is hosted by the History Channel. In the U.S. whilst it is not much discussed, some airsoft players do attend such events as well.

    So we attended the MCM Comic Con London 2018. This event takes place twice a year in London, with the next one scheduled in October at the Excel London. We went there on Saturday, the 26th of May, which we expected to be the day with the most number of people and Cosplayers as it is a 3-day event that started on a Friday. We were not disappointed as the DLR trains have been disgorging people left and right, many in costumes and even many more not in costumes excited to check out what is on display such as collectibles and video games. Others were there to watch the presentations and stars of movies and TV series as well as have some autograph signing. Whist we gawked at what was on display, especially at the Nintendo area where they had some tournaments on the Nintendo Switch.

    As for the Cosplayers, there were lots of them ready to pose in front of cameras as it is one thing that we love Cosplayers for and it would be a shame not to capture them in their costumes which they have painstakingly put together. Too bad that we are not fully versed with all the characters and we’re mainly more familiar with comic book and shooter video game characters being airsofters, so we saw Wonder Woman, Ghost of Call of Duty, Master Chief of Halo, and an Umbrella Corporation soldier. Some confirmed that they are airsofters, though most are mainly video gamers.  We saw many Star Wars Imperial Storm Troopers but what we thought to be the most popular characters are Sailor Moon, Mario Bros, Poison Ivy, Deadpool and Harley Quin from the Suicide Squad.
    In terms of booth displays, I was wishing that I would find an airsoft company present but I was disappointed that there was none, but there was a booth setup by the International Paintball Group.

    Overall, even if there were few airsoft players encountered there, we thoroughly enjoyed the Comic Con. We wish to see more airsoft players attend with their gear and airsoft guns as they can do actually help promote airsoft in public without worrying about showing their guns. The organizers allow airsoft guns with removable coloured muzzles so you can remove the muzzle and place the appropriate colour for photo ops and we recommend that they have no batteries or propellant and the magazines empty. As always, transporting airsoft guns and tactical gear, we recommend that they be in bags and taken out at the venue. Organisers usually provide lockers for Cosplayers.

    Airsoft companies such as retailers, distributors and manufacturers can look into showing up at Cosplay event such as the Comic Con. Tokyo Marui does this in Japan and Evike.com is always an exhibitor at the Anime Expo in the U.S.  The demographics of the Cosplayers is good for airsoft, they are young and are willing to spend on their costumes. All they need is to be orientated into airsoft via the presence of the airsoft community in such events.

    We’ll be covering more Cosplay events such as Comic Con, as well as video gaming events as they also are interests of airsoft players. If you and your team are attending such, feel free to drop us a note and you can send us photos and event report that we can post at the site.

    Photos of the MCM Comic London May 2018 at the Popular Airsoft Facebook Page.


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    U.S. Army "Third Arm" (U.S. Army Photo)

    We have been following the progress of the “Third Arm” project being developed by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL). This project aims to augment the capabilities of the soldier by adding a “Third Arm” to the equipment used by the soldier in the field, which allows for muscle fatigue to be minimized as as it takes some of the weight off from the arms of the soldier when carrying a weapon as well as free an arm to more equipment.

    Not needing a battery, the “Third Arm” is lightweight at less than 4 pounds and distributes its weight and the weapon evenly. In an update at the Army.mil website, Mechanical engineer Dan Baechle said that, "We've actually tested it with the M249 and M240B machines guns. The M240B weighs 27 pounds, and we were able to show that you can take the weight of that weapon completely off of the Soldiers' arms.”

    Initial versions of the “Third Army” did not allow the soldiers to handle their weapons when lying prone. But with the latest version, they can now do it without any issue. Recent test at show a soldier sprinting with an M4 rifle then going prone, with the augmentation device providing better stabilization allowing for improved marksmanship. The video below shows that handling has improved and can allow the soldier to switch from right handed to left handed operation to allow them to minimize their profiles when shooting from corner or obstacle.

    What was shown in the video is not yet the final device that might be used by soldiers if it gets a go signal from the higher ups as Baechle said, “What we have right now is a very specific device, but we can learn from that device. I hope in the future what we'll end up with is something that will help the Soldier. Whether or not it's in the form you see today, that's less important. Helping the Soldier is what I really hope for. I think this year is really going to be a good one and an important one in showing what this device can do."

    Steadicam operators may want to share their experience how their extended arm vest systems for heavy cameras with the U.S. Army. They are way ahead in the game as they have doing this for years.

     

    Top photo: Army Sgt. Michael Zamora uses a prototype "Third Arm"( U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson)


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    U.S. Army Soldier Firing M4 (US Army Photo)

    The U.S. Army and & Marines are working round the clock to check the M4s and M16s for a big problem that can be a danger to soldiers and marines. The issue here is a malfunctioning fire selector switch that can cause the rifle to be fired without the trigger being pulled.

    According to a report by Task & Purpose, the incident happened last March 29 at Fort Knox in Kentucky when a soldier’s M4 accidentally went off when it was being checked for problems. The fire selector switch was between semi and auto detents when it was tested and failed to fire. But when it was put back into its place the rifle fired. The M4 in question was part of the series of M4 rifles converted through the Product Improvement Program (PIP).

    Military.com also reports of this incident, citing a safety message issued out by the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM), "The operator pulled the trigger with the selector switch between the semi and auto detents (outside of detent). The weapon did not fire when the operator pulled the trigger and instead fired when the selector was moved further."

    Photo:U.S. Army M4 and Magazines (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jacob Boyer)

    Task & Purpose also says in the same article that the TACOM has found that 6% of the 52,000 rifles tested has the problem and they are will be testing a total 903,000 rifles and they expect repairs of affected rifles would take 12 to 18 months. It also mentions that the U.S. Marine Corps has issued their own safety message to check M16A4 rifles and M4A1 and M4 carbines though there have been no reports of the same malfunction happening amongst the rifles in use in the Marine Corps and that they are taking precautions.

    There are the additional actions for the PIP-converted rifles being taken by TACOM as well as an Action Drill in case the weapon does not fire. You can read these via Miltary.com report.

     

    Top photo: M4 during live-fire training in Afghanistan in 2015 (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Charlie Emmons)


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    GunArena Arcade Game

    We always like how companies attempt to merge two interests our readers, that is airsoft and video games. It is not a new story as there have been video game arcade products that use airsoft guns as the actual guns to use at shooting digital targets in an arcade game. Airsoft guns look real and they also operate like the real thing, especially gas blowbacks so they are cool to use in an arcade as long as they are legal to use in your area.

    Many of you might not remember Taito in terms of video game as nowadays and as it is a subsidiary of Square Enix since 2006. Square Enix is of course famous for the Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts video games. But for those who started video gaming in the 1970s and 1980s in arcade parlours, Taito is a legend, as it is the company behind Space Invaders, Bubble Bobble, and Arkanoid. For those who frequent arcade parlours these days rather than playing at home with game consoles Taito’s name can still be seen as it still active in developing arcade machines.

    Now, in cooperation with Natsumeatari is a Pachinko outfit that specializes in the development of pinball games and slot machines and airsoft  manufacturer Tokyo Marui, Taito will start testing its GunArena Airsoft Arcade this month. GunArena is comprised of different game modes in which the player will shoot different targets to rack up scores using an airsoft gun.

    In this case, the best selling AEP, the Tokyo Marui Glock 18C AEP, is the main airsoft gun used in Gun Arena. It is a specially built airsoft gun that it can only be fired during gameplay with the use of a sensor that is attached to the under rail of the AEP. The screen is a 55-inch display that is BB-proof, and in since this is in Japan, it is able to withstand 0.98 joules of BB impact. Airsoft players can bring their airsoft guns as long as they are at least 18 years of age.

    To play, players are issued a membership card upon agreeing to the terms and conditions. A QR code is printed to the card and this will be scanned before they are able to play. They cannot play if they do not have the membership card with the QR code is it is required. There are several game modes apart from the training mode such as taking turns, target practice, police training mode, and darts-style.

    If you are in Japan and want to try the GunArena once it gets rolled out for testing, remember the following schedules:

    First Phase (06 to 17 June 2018):

    • L-AMUSE (Katsushika Ward, Tokyo)
    • La'malama Kannai store (Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture)
    • ASOBIBA Akihabara field (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)
    • Bee Shibuya (Shibuya-ku, Tokyo)

    Second Phase (22 June – 01 July 2018)

    • GROVE Kanda store (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)
    • AKIBA ☆ BASE (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)
    • Link Nishikawaguchi store (Saitama prefecture Kawaguchi city)
    • Link Wako shop (Saitama prefecture Wako city)

    Will these be shipped out of Japan to arcade parlours around the world? It depends on the testing outcome and if there will be a demand outside of the country. This  will require an attendant who will replace the batteries and refill the AEP magazines for those who want to use the specially made Tokyo Marui Glock 18C AEP. Perhaps airsoft game sites such as Buffalo Battleground and airsoft stores who want their customers have more fun when they test their airsoft guns might be interested in this.


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    U.S. Army MRE Pizza (U.S. Army Photo)

    As announced before and now it’s finally confirmed, the much requested Pizza MRE should be on its way to soldiers soon. Long clamored to be part of the MRE menu since the 1980s, the big challenge in making one is one that can last for three years without getting soggy and maintaining its flavour. Futhermore, it can be eaten either cold or heated. Previous attempts at making one proved that it was hard to make one using traditional pizza ingredients.

    The Combat Feeding Directorate (CFD) at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center used a combination of technologies involving water activity, pH levels and innovative packaging to a pizza that is shelf stable. With the help CFD problems of mass producing the Pizza MRE was also resolved.

    According to Stephen Moody, the director of the CFD, the Pizza MRE should be available at some locations by the end of the year and the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support say it will be available to most troops within 18 months.  In a report by Matthew Wilcox of Military.com, the Pizza MRE includes the following:

    • Pepperoni Pizza
    • Cherry blueberry cobbler
    • Cheese spread with cheddar and jalapeno cheese
    • Italian bread sticks
    • Cookies
    • Chocolate protein drink powder

    Photo: MRE Pepperoni Pizza (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by David Kamm, NSRDEC)

    Wilcox quotes Jeremy Whitsitt, deputy director of the Defense Department's Combat Feeding Directorate who said that, "You know, for a pizza that has to last for at least three years ... it's pretty stinking good. Whenever we have sampled it with people, the primary comment that comes back is, 'Hey, it tastes like the pizza I had last night that I put in the fridge."

    Whilst the priority is to make the MRE available to servicemen and women in the following months, we look forward to the day when civilians will be able to have access to the Pizza MRE. It’s something we want in our backpacks for the next Mealsim, errr… Milsim event.

     

    Top photo: Soldiers try the Pizza MRE in 2014. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by David Kamm, NSRDEC)


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    SWORD Smartphone Case

    Smartphones are powerful devices that people can do a lot things with apps and add-ons. Apart from the usual stuff of making calls, taking messages, browsing the internet, finding dates, taking photos and videos, connecting via social media, and doing online shopping, one can control house heating, security cameras, and even use it as a thermal camera.

    Now, there is another add-on that can make the smartphone turn into an indispensable security device: as a scanner for detecting weapons and explosives.

    A Los Angeles-based startup Royal Holdings Technologies Corporation, announced the SWORD Smartphone Case, the world’s first mobile 3D-imaging device. Made for the iPhone 8 Plus and the Google Pixel 2 XL smartphones, it can scan for weapons and explosives from a distance up to 40 feet using the app that comes with it by simply pointing the smartphone at a person of interest.

    According to the company the SWORD can do much more such as includes facial recognition, real-time actionable intelligence alerts, and location tracking. With the app that is used with the SWORD case, it uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to cross check and verify weapons by accessing a cloud-based database. SWORD operates globally and features real time location sharing and generates real time alerts in the event of a mass shooting, terror threat, or terror attack.

    Barry Oberholzer, CEO and co-founder of Royal Holdings  said in a press release that, “The advent of SWORD marks a paradigm shift in the safety and security sector. One portable and smart device effectively addresses the four main challenges that have been plaguing the industry in this age of mass shootings and bomb threats: portability of scanning devices; non-invasively determining if someone is concealing weapons or explosives, and if so, what type; and immediate and accurate recognition and verification of a person of interest.”

    It will work with the iPhone 8 Plus and Google Pixel 2 XL because of their size and the camera position of the Samsung S9 Plus makes it difficult to make it a version for it.

    Now, before you whip out your wallets, thinking that it is a device you might want to carry with your smartphone at all times, the costs might make you think twice, or thrice. It costs US$1,250 with a pre-order price of US$950 with a monthly subscription US$30 and institutional clients are the target customers for this product. There are already interests from security companies and casino as well as one large school which may need such device due to schools being magnets for mass shootings in the U.S.

    If it is cheaper and it is more about weapons detection, then some us might want to have one of these cases to make our minds at ease knowing if a strange who is approaching us  is carrying a weapon or not, or make us more paranoid.


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    Battle Royale IRL

    With the Battle Royale shooter game now getting to be all the rage, even airsoft players are doing the same in the game field, organising airsoft battle royale games. Whilst they can pick up weapons pre-positioned in the game field, they do have one feature missing --- the shrinking Zone of Death game map which in PUBG is called the Blue Zone.

    The Zone of Death shrinks as the game progresses, and this forces players to be bunched closer together to ensure that they get to find each other and try to finish the game with only one player left standing being the winner. In Airsoft Battle Royale, there is no shrinking death zone to make the game more thrilling and fast paced.

    But that problem of lack of shrinking death zone may soon be solved with the mobile app that can be used for Airsoft Battle Royale games. Called the Battle Royale In Real Life (BRIRL), this app takes its inspiration from the likes of PUBG and Fortnite as its developer, Josh Kocaurek, loves playing Battle Royale games.

    “While those games are fun to play on a screen, I always wondered how it would feel to experience a last man standing situation in real life,” explained Kocaurek.

    Airsoft players will need to download the BRIRL in order to start playing the game.  Players can invite other players in the game field. Paintbal, Nerf, and Water gun players can use the app just the same. The designated field can be a private airsoft and paintball game (which should be), or any backyard or wooded area in case you use water guns.

    Kocaurek says the game mechanics is simple, “When the game begins, the app will randomly generate the shrinking ‘death zone’ circle for all players. If a player stays outside of this circle for too long, they are removed from the game.  Alternatively, if a player is shot, they can remove themselves from the game as well. Last man standing wins!”

    The Death Zone can either be a Circle or Rectangle.

    BRIRL is not yet available to download to your phone just yet but you can request an early access at the BRIRL website. When released, BRIRL will be available for iOS and Android smartphones.

    You can add more realism if you want to parachute into the game area just like PUBG and Fortnite. But that's going to be expensive,


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    Brownells YouTube Termination

    Firearms websites and video channels all lit up this weekend with the news that YouTube Channel of Brownells, one of the biggest firearms and firearms retailers in the world. According to the official Facbeook page of Brownells, their YouTube channel was closed down without any warning:

    So when you visit their channel, you will be greeted with this message “This account has been terminated for violating YouTube's Community Guidelines.”

    We assume here that Brownells may have violated the YouTube Policies on content featuring firearms, since they are a retail company, with this particular provision:

    • Intends to sell firearms or certain firearms accessories through direct sales (e.g. private sales by individuals) or links to sites that sell these items. These accessories include, but may not be limited to, accessories that enable a firearm to simulate automatic fire or convert a firearm to automatic fire (e.g. bump stocks, gatling triggers, drop-in auto sears, conversion kits), and high-capacity magazines (i.e. magazines or belts carrying more than 30 rounds).
    • Provides instructions on manufacturing a firearm, ammunition, high-capacity magazine, homemade silencers/suppressors or certain firearms accessories such as those listed above. This also includes instructions on how to convert a firearm to automatic, or simulated automatic, firing capabilities.
    • Shows users how to install the above-mentioned accessories or modifications.

    Since the Brownells YouTube Channel cannot be reached when you visit YouTube, we cannot identify which particular video(s) they have uploaded that may have caused the action. In a report at Recoil Web, the company intends to appeal the decision:

    We discovered Brownells’ YouTube channel had been terminated early Saturday morning, June 9. We received no warning and no reason for its termination.

    We appreciate the outpouring of support we’ve received from channel subscribers and Brownells customers.

    We do plan to appeal. Any help the gun community can provide is greatly appreciated.

    Will NRA pressure the video-sharing website? Pete Brownell the CEO of Brownells, just stepped down as the president of NRA, replaced by Oliver North, the man known for the Iran-Contra affair.Brownells are enjoining supporters to contact Google and YouTube to pressure them to restore their channel.

    Will YouTube relent? Sometimes appealing something to YouTube is like banging your head against the wall especially if your audience is small. But if your channel has many followers, it can be possible since channels which have large numbers of followers are usually favored content creators.

    Stay tuned.


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    Fallout 76 Reveal Trailer

    The E3 starts today so be prepared for more first person shooter and RPG games stories from us instead of airsoft and firearms this week. With many airsoft players also avid video game aficionados, E3 provides us an insight on some of the games that airsoft players will look forward to playing when it gets cold outside to play airsoft later this year. We start with the Bethesda’s Fallout 76 Reveal.

    Bethesda announced Sunday night that Fallout 76 will be an online role playing survival game. 25 years after the nuclear war, Reclamation Day begins as the Vault 76  dwellers emerge into the outside world to see a post-nuclear America. Players can play solo or work in groups in order to survive in this online game. This also means that the players will embark on being the first ones on rebuilding society in a ravaged landscape.

    As what the teaser video of Fallout 76 hinted, where John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, the game takes place in West Virginia. The game will be huge in terms of expanse and Bethesda says it is four times bigger than Fallout 4 with six regions for the players to explore. It is a “shared world” like Destiny. Players will form temporary alliances to survive and they will have to watch their backs, allies can quickly become enemies as they want to gain territory to build bases.

    In Fallout 76, just like Fallout 4, building settlements is part and parcel of the game. Using the resources found in the game, players can build whatever type of base they want and they’ll be able to defend it as well with weapons. With the Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform, or C.A.M.P., they will be able to build their settlements and put defensive weapons fast.

    Now, even in the aftermath of a nuclear war, players will be able to find nuclear facilities in the game to find nuclear codes. Now, players will decide if they want to launch nuclear missiles against other player’s bases. But they will also have to take note that other players may have their own launch codes to nuke back.

    Fallout 76 with include mutated beasts that players will need to watch out for, one of these is called a Scorchbeast which looks like a massive bat that fires sonic blasts.

    If you want to be one of the first to emerge from Vault 76 and immediately play the game, there is a "Break it Early Test Application" or BETA for short, when you pre-order. Fallout 76 will be available to play in 14 November 2018. Be ready to build your bases and watch for nukes when it gets released.


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    Tom Clancy's The Division 2

    Things get worse for the future of the United States. With Washington D.C. on the verge of collapse, all active Division agents are being called to the capital city as lawlessness and instability are threatening society and with rumours of a coup in the offing. They will need to take action before it’s too late to save the country from descending into total chaos.

    That is the story of The Division 2, the sequel of Tom Clancy’s shooter RPG, The Division. With the capital in crisis, the player, taking the role of a Division agent, an elite group of civilian agents who are the last line of defense , will need all the gear and utilize skills to defeat the threats and save the country. The Division will be up against various factions that intend to take control of the capital, exploiting the crisis.

    The players will be playing in a world in which Washington D.C. is a 1:1 representation of the real thing. That goes a long way as the setting is more authentic and for those familiar with the city, they will have a lot to look forward to see the details if it is really what the game developers claim. Players will have coop and player versus player mode as well as clans. After a player finishes the campaign and reach level 30 specializations will be unlocked such as Sharpshooter, Demolitionist, and Survivalist. Over time, the player’s character will unlock more tools as well as increase in power.

    At the E3 the audience roared in approval when Ubisoft announced the 8-player raids which is an improvement on the Incursions in the original The Division, it was only up to 4 players. The Raids will have two four-man teams though not much detail was given you but expect more in the coming weeks about the Raids.

    The Division 2 will have free expansions in the first year, perhaps as a peace offering to players who were put off by the season pass. For interested players who want to test the game, Ubisoft is now allowing for sign-ups of beta testers.

    The Division 2 will launch on March 15, 2019. It will be playable on the PC, PS4, and Xbox One.


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