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    Oats Studios "Firebase"

    Oats Studios, the experimental sci-fi film studio founded by Neill Blomkamp, the director behind District 9 and Elysium, wants to go even bigger with their fan-funded film project. Last year, he released the short film set during the Vietnam War called “Firebase” in which a MACV SOG member, Sergeant Hines, goes after a creature called the “River God” who can turn the dead into the zombies.

    As the campaign being waged by Oat Studios puts it:

    We want to build a 21st century studio that is funded directly by fans. The more people online that support us the more content we will put out. We want to create an ecosystem where we are directly fueled by the community. Our goal now is the next FIREBASE film. Help fuel us here. We want to grow and expand, but we need the community’s help. We will create the FIREBASE film tailored to the incoming dollar amount. If we raise $40 dollars we will film a firebase "Cat" video. If we raise $100 million we will shoot a FIREBASE feature trilogy.

    Whilst we think of crowdfunding as those platforms the likes of Kickstarter, Indiegogo and GoFundMe, Neill Blomkamp and Oats Studios would rather go have their fans fund their film projects directly. The crowdfunding appeal goes for 30 days and whatever amount they raise, they will base the production based on it as there is not set funding goal. All the funds pledged by fans will be devoted to production as these are directly given.

    Each backer will get his/her name in the credits as a backer with three “behind the scenes” updates over the duration of the production of the film, Pre production, production and Post. There will be a private link to a members’ portal where they can view the film and downloadable PDF file of all the concept art generated for the film.

    Apart from the getting funding from fans for their films, they are now selling some swag right now to help fund the Canada-based studio. You can grab a shirt, hoodie, or a patch to show your support.

    If you have not watched the first “Firebase” short film before helping fund the sequel, you can now watch it below and have the weekend to decide how much you want to shell out to Oats Studios:


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    H&K HK433 & Haenel MK556

    And there were two. The candidates for the replacement of the System Sturmgewehr Bundeswehr program to replace G36 rifle were just narrowed down to two: the Heckler & Koch HK433 and the C.G. Haenel MK556.

    In a report at the Polish website, Milmag.pl, there were originally five competitors to this program. Sig Sauer, who was offering the MCX, withdrew last November complaining that the specifications were more written to accommodate Heckler & Koch. Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher withdrew their offer, the RS556, stating economic reasons. The other competitor is FN Herstal of Belgium with their SCAR.

    Revealed last year, the Heckler & Koch HK433 is chambered 5.56 mm x 45 and combines the best features of the G36 and the HK416. The barrel length is easily configurable and it is fully ambidextrous in operations. It has a folding and retractable stock and for assembly and disassembly, it is completely tool less. It comes with a 30-round magazine and has a rate of fire of approximately 700 rounds per minute.  It also has a maintenance-free round counter integrated in receiver that requires no energy supply.

    If it gets selected, it will the Bundeswehr will become the first user of the HK433.

    Perhaps many of you are not familiar with the Haenel MK556. It is a fully automatic AR-based rifle that is available in 10.5, 12.5, 14.5 and 16 inch barrel lengths. It is  made of high-quality materials with indirect gas-operating with adjustable gas-off take.It has a 4 NAR STANAG 4694 rail handguards that are emovable without the need for tools.

    C.G. Haenel is a supplier to the Special Forces of the Germany Police and the Bundeswehr. Both use been RS9 rifle which the Bundeswehr has given the designation as the G29 and is a medium range sniper rifle. It is chambered in the .338 Lapua Magnum, has a colour scheme similar to the RAL8000 and has a maximum range of 1,500 metres.

    Some say that the contract will be Heckler & Koch’s to take, but then who knows? Haenel may just have the contract.


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    R. Lee Ermey (Official YouTube Channel)

    Opening my Facebook Page yesterday morning, my feed was full of shared news that Ronald Lee Ermey, most known for his role as the drill instructor in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket”, has passed away due to complications related to pneumonia. He was age 74.

    “Full Metal Jacket”, which is based on Gustav Hasford’s semi autobiographical novel, “The Short Timers”, earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His role in the movie, which is also deemed to be one of the greatest movies of all time, has typecast him as the voice of authority.

    Ermey was a real Marine Drill Instructor. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps at age 17 initially serving in the aviation support field until becoming a drill instructor. He spent 14 months in Vietnam with the Marine Wing Support Group 17 and spent the rest of his service base in Okinawa where he became an E-6 or staff sergeant and was medically discharged in 1972.

    His first gig in a film was when he played as an Air Cavalry pilot and technical advisor to “Apocalypse Now” director Francis Ford Coppola when he was studying at the University of Manila in the Philippines. But it was not in “Full Metal Jacket” where he played the role of Drill Instructor for the first time, it was with Sidney Furie's “The Boys In Company C” in 1978.

    But his role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in “Full Metal Jacket” in 1987 that endeared him to many.  Many airsofters can say his lines from the movie especially during his interactions with Privates Joker and Gomer Pyle. He was initially brought in as a technical consultant but made film his own audition that impressed Kubrick that he got him to play as Gunny Hartman.

    He appeared in about 60 films and also being the voice in some animated blockbusters such as Toy Story. He also appeared on TV as well as in video games as a character or as the voice of a character.

    He mainly also a spokesperson and endorser of companies such as Glock, Tru-Spec, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Coor’s Light. He is an ardent Second Amendment supporter, being a director of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and had his own show called “GunnyTime” on the Outdoor Channel.

    He finally got to be an official “Gunny” when he received his honorary post-service promotion to gunnery sergeant (E-7) from Commandant of the Marine Corps General James L. Jones in 2002 for his support to those in military service.

    He is survived by his wife, Mila, who he married in 1975. They have four children.

     

    Top Photo:R. Lee Ermey (Source: R. Lee Ermey Official YouTube Channel)


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    PNP - COMELEC Checkpoint 2016 (Source: PNP)

    It is election season again in the Philippines with the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (Village and Youth Council) elections are finally proceeding after being postponed twice. And for the duration of the election period, which started last 14 April and will last until the 21 May a gun ban is put into place.

    Election gun bans are in put into place in the Philippines to prevent any bloodshed during the period as the country is known for bloody election-related incidents.

    Whilst airsoft guns are not considered as firearms as of 2013 with the signing of the Republic Act No. 10591, the Philippine Commission on Elections (COMELEC), can include airsoft guns in the election gun ban.  In COMELEC Resolution No. 10197 promulgated last 14 September 2017 covering these elections, it says in the Definition of Terms:

    “o. Firearm, as defined in R. A. No. 10591, refers to any handheld or portable weapon, whether a small arm or light weapon, that expels or is designed to expel a bullet, shot, slug, missile or any projectile, which is discharged by means of expansive force of gases from burning gunpowder or other form of combustion or any similar instrument or implement, wherein the barrel, frame or receiver is considered a firearm. The term shall include airguns, airsoft guns, and replicas/imitations of firearms in whatever form that can cause an ordinary person to believe that they are real, including the parts thereof, as defined under pertinent laws. Imitation firearm, as defined under the same Act and as used herein, refers to a replica of a firearm, or other device that is so substantially similar in coloration and overall appearance to an existing firearm as to lead a reasonable person to believe that such imitation firearm is a real firearm. The term shall include airsoft guns.” (Italics and underline ours)

    That means no airsoft for over a month for airsoft in the Philippines. As the COMELEC is coordinating with the Philippine National Police (PNP), COMELEC checkpoints are put into place in accordance with Resolution No. 10198 that was also promulgated last 14 September 2017, airsoft players caught transporting airsoft guns whilst the gun ban is in effect shall suffer the penalty as provided for in Section 40 of Resolution No. 10197:

    “Any person found guilty of any election offense described in this Resolution shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation. In addition, the guilty party shall be sentenced to suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage. If he is a foreigner, he shall be sentenced to deportation which shall be enforced after the prison term has been served.” (Italics ours)

    Previously, some game sites in the country allow airsoft players to have their airsoft guns and gear stored in order that they do not have to transport their airsoft guns in order to play during the gun ban. Game site owners will have to clarify with their local COMELEC officer if they can do this, but with the gun ban already in effect, it may be too late.

    Airsoft players in the Philippine should take heed of the gun ban or face the consequences. It will be just several weeks so perhaps it’s time for some chairsofting or do other hobbies whilst waiting it out.

     

    Photo source: Philippine National Police Facebook Page.


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    Tactical Athlete Games

    While visiting Recoil Web, I noticed their announcement of their partnership with Tactical Athlete Games (TAG). It is my first time to read or hear of this, and it looks like something that airsofters might want to take a look into. But before we get ahead, let’s learn more about this new combat sport that is about to hold its first event next month:

    The Tactical Athlete Games is the next big step in the shooting sports industry. Crossfit has existed for over 20 years now, and boasts the fittest men and women on earth. Combat has existed for thousands of years, and now, the Tactical Athlete Games is blending the two, fitness with tactics, to create one of the hottest new extreme-sports in the world.

    Many Crossfitters come from the tactical community who value to be always in tip top shape to meet the rigors of their professions, as they are either in military or as first responders. Now with the Tactical Athlete Games, they can combine their Crossfit passion with their shooting proficiencies in a more competitive environment:

    The Tactical Athlete Games is designed to test the skills, readiness, and mental toughness of these athletes. The Tactical Athlete Games fill a huge gap in the shooting world. Existing shooting competitions fail to comprehensively capture the essence of what a tactical athlete is and what he does. For a Tactical Athlete, fitness is a means, not an end. Fitness allows a tactical athlete to get to the fight, perform at a high level, execute the mission, and get back home safely, despite the conditions or terrain. The Tactical Athlete Games will embody this type of challenge, and bring it to the world in a measurable and testable format.

    Thus, participants in the Tactical Athlete Games should expect more difficult conditions that will test their stamina through the various obstacles put in their way and be able to shoot accurately under pressure.

    Is it something that can be adapted to airsoft? Yes, it can be done just like practical shooting and 3-Gun Nation, a “Tactical Airsoft Games” patterned after the Tactical Athlete Games can be organized. It will be basically the same with the exception of airsoft guns being employed instead of real firearms. Pretty sure a good number of airsofters are doing Crossfit and they might just be interested in participating in one.

    As for the first Tactical Athlete Games event, it will be held on the 19th to 20th May 2018 at the King B Ranch - White Feather Shooting Range in Ardmore, Tennessee.


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    L8A5A3 (UK MOD)

    With the L85A3 now rolling out as the new assault rifle of the British Army, the U.K. Ministry of Defense also announced last 11 April 2018 in a news release that they will also start upgrading the existing SA80 A2 Rifle to the A3 Model to ensure that all servicemen will be operating on the same model and the enhancements will make it remain in service until 2025 and beyond.

    The SA80 A2/L85A2 has seen much action ever since it the upgrade was done from A1 in 1998, having been used in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. The upgrade to the A3 model is to be done by Heckler & Koch again which made the A2 upgrade after the A1 performed poorly in First Gulf War, gaining bad reputation from the British soldiers. The A2 had many redesigns, achieving better reliability rates, though the reliability was lower in hot environments. Still the A2 was prone to jamming.

    The A3 upgrade has the following features: a) the upper receiver is modified; b) full length rail system; c) better coating with a “flat dark earth” colour scheme; d) streamlined foregrip; e) 100 grams lighter than  the A2; and f) bracket for low light sight that are smaller, lighter and require fewer batteries. The upgrade from the A2 model will cost £5.4 million and will initially be done with 5,000 weapons with intent to upgrade more in the future.

    In the same MOD news release, Defence Minister Guto Bebb said, “This multi-million-pound upgrade will give our Army a lighter, more hardwearing, better-camouflaged combat rifle so our soldiers can perform on the frontline of some of the most dangerous locations across the world. This investment is also a boost to Nottingham’s highly-skilled gun-makers who proudly support our troops in their task to protect our country in the face of intensifying threats.”

    Director Land Equipment at the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, Major General Colin McClean also said, “The SA80 is a battle proven weapon used by the UK Armed Forces on operations all over the world. The upgrade will build upon the rifle’s state-of-the-art features enhancing accuracy and consistency. The Mid Life Improvement project will ensure that our troops have the right equipment at the right time.”

    The latest reincarnation of the SA80 in the A3 will ensure it will be the primary weapon of the British Army for many years to come. From a lackluster beginning, the bullpup rifle is now one of the more recognizable rifles worldwide.

     

    Top photo:British Army soldier with L85A3 (Source: UK MOD)


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    GunStreamer

    The race is finally on for the website will be dominant video sharing platform for gun related content apart from YouTube. With the YouTube getting strict on content on firearms, some enterprising individuals and companies are launching their own services with GunStreamer being the latest to appear on our radar.

    GunStreamer was launched in March 2018 joining other sites for the attention of gun content developers such as GunVideo.com and Full30.com.  In its press release, GunStreamer describes itself as “a user-generated video sharing site, featuring anything related to guns or weapons for informational and entertainment purposes.”

    The creator of the site, Austin Roberts said that, "Changes in some platform policies are alienating a large population of gun & weapon enthusiasts. These are hobbyists helping other hobbyists and they have no where to go with these greater restrictions. We're hoping to change that."

    With the entry of GunStreamer, there are more options from developers of firearm videos to go choose where their videos will be uploaded if YouTube becomes a hostile place for them. Now it is just a matter of which platform gives them the most benefit.

    While many firearms videos are done by hobbyists who would like to share a thing or two about their knowledge there are those who make making firearm related content such as videos for a living. YouTube’s ad-revenue sharing scheme has been lucrative to those who have a good number of subscribers and high viewing times. So far, this is what these new platforms do not offer and also the question if their existing infrastructure (video hosting) will be able to handle thousands and thousands of videos. YouTube became a scalable behemoth it is right now when it got snapped up by Google in 2006.

    But then, advertisers came in when they see more eyeballs at videos on YouTube when it started racking up millions and millions of viewers. It will take some time for these websites to get that traction unless the firearms industry would move their ad monies and spread them out to these sites. But will revenues be more than enough to bring the more famous ones in?

    Now, which one will dominate after a few years? Place your bets now.


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    SmartShooter SMASH

    Many say that you should always make your shot count when in a firefight. Even better, make the first shot count which is a matter of life and death. Smart Shooter, an Israeli company, promises that their SMASH electro-optical fire control system will give the shooter the first round hit.

    SMASH is a family of fire control systems developed to ensure that first round hit and turning small weapons into 21st century smart firearms. Thus, mounting a SMASH on existing rifle, would make the weapon more advanced and it is a matter of the shooter making the decisive moment of pulling the trigger to shoot an intended target.

    While SMASH looks like a very large Holosight, it consists of the smart sighting module unit and the modified grip. Easily mounted on any rifle that has the M1913 Picatinny rails, the shooter just needs to activate the SMASH unit with the switch. The process is a simple, three-step one: acquire, lock and fire. Once the shooter pulls the trigger, the system does the rest. Even novice shooters can make their first round hits, turning a new army recruit into deadly marksman once given the basics of using the SMASH.

    According to SmartShooter, the main system benefits are:

    • Increases lethality and survivability
    • Counters static and dynamic targets
    • Reduces effects of stress and physical effort
    • Suitable for diverse combat scenarios
    • Reduces collateral damage
    • Drastically shortens time-to-hit
    • Ensures precision hits with minimal training
    • Equalises high-performance skills across platoon
    • Add-on to legacy weapons, firing standard ammunition

    It also has the following additional benefits:

    • Field proven
    • Day and night operation
    • Retains ‘fire-at-will’ capability
    • Short digital zeroing process
    • MIL-STD 810 compliant

    Accordingly, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had done some extensive live testing and has already cleared it for use by the Ground Forces in December 2017. With one of the toughest and advanced military organization in the world happy with using the SMASH, the company has something going with their system.
    The SMASH is not the only system of its kind. We have already written of the Smart system in the U.S. called TrackingPoint, but it is an expensive system and cannot be readily installed on just any rifle. With the SMASH, it provides a more affordable system as it can used on almost any weapons platform these days.

    With many Military and Law Enforcement organizations already equipped with rifles that come with the rail system, it is just a matter of mounting the SMASH system on these.

    It will be hard to go against a shooter equipped with a SMASH, especially a highly trained one.

     

    Photo Source: SmartShooter


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    Delta129 Gun Computer For the F2000 AEG

    Cybergun posted photos from Reddit user “Delta129” showing his creation that should make HALO fans happy --- a Gun Mounted Computer for the FN F2000 AEG. Whilst some of you many just dismiss it as another glorified BB counter, it actually does more than that and should make F2000 AEG owners happy that they can use something to make their already futuristic-looking AEG look even more high-tech.

    It is a work in progress as it goes beyond being an BB/ammo counter. Delta129 is working on it to show weapon battery percentage, time, compass heading and show the ammo count the magazine. According to him it is driven by a custom-made PCB with the same CPU that Arduinos use and housed in a 3D printed enclosure on the top of the gun. Too bad it won’t make coffee for you, but this has more features than the Alien Colonial Marines M41A Pulse Rifle Ammo Counter which also has an airsoft kit.

    We’ll shamelessly post here what Delta129 wrote at the Reddit Airsoft forum on his project and we added the photos that were shared by Cybergun here:

    Hi everyone!

    I recently posted here to share my work-in-progress on a multipurpose gun-mounted computer. Well, I've just finished developing the core part of the system - which is the ammo counter. Here's what it does and how it works:

    WARNING! LONG POST AHEAD! Just click the links if you're lazy

    The title screen displays the amount of ammo you've got left in your magazine. It currently supports counts of up to 999 BBs. It shows the ammo count using both a number, and a visual progress bar (which is much more readable when your eye is focused at a distance). The progress bar and number will change color depending on how much ammo you have left, there are 3 separate colors: Empty->1/3 (Red), 1/3->2/3 (Yellow) and 2/3->Full (Green).


    You can set up up to 6 presets, for various types of magazines with various capacities, and quickly cycle through them using buttons mounted on the side of the enclosure.


    The screen brightness is fully adjustable, so it will always fit any lighting conditions you may encounter in the field, be it day or night.

    I have installed a microswitch into the magwell of my F2000, which detects when you remove and reinsert the magazine. There is also a manual reload button on the body of the gun. Both mechanisms are used to reset the counter back to full after you reload, using a behavior of your choice, varying from using either of the two, using just one, having to use both, or a special "Inverted" mode, which will automatically reset the ammo count on mag removal, but if you first press the button beforehand, it will preserve the ammo count.


    The system is powered by your main gun battery, thanks to this it can measure its voltage, and thus determine how much charge you've got left. This part is still a work in progress and just displays the voltage now. In the end, it will enable you to choose from various types and voltages of airsoft batteries, to get the most accurate reading.

    The magnetic heading and time indicators are just random numbers at this moment, since I haven't yet started working on those modules (I will soon!).

    As a cherry on top, all the colors, including the basic UI, screen background, and all three ammo count colors are fully customize-able through an on-board editor, so you can make the interface better suit your favorite space shooter game.


    Since quite a lot of you stated their interest in buying one of these, should I ever start selling them (for about $50-$100 not more, if you're curious), I've made this google form, which you may fill in with your preferred form of contact, and be reminded when it is available for purchase. I'm not promising anything yet, but I'll try to make that real.

    Oh, and lastly, here's some eye candy for all the Halo fans out there!

    Interested in owning one? Well, first you will have to be an owner of the FN F2000 AEG from Cybergun or the licensed one that G&G Armament has so you can install here. Cybergun might be interested in selling the kit or a fully complete FN F2000 AEG with the gun computer installed.

    But it is nice to see someone use their skills to innovate something for airsoft in their free time.  If you know more of some interesting airsoft projects, just drop just a note here so we can feature them.


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    SiONyx Aurora Action Camera

    We always wish we can take footage of the night ops in airsoft games and milsim events with our action camera. Whilst action cameras nowadays, regardless of price and brand, already provide really good high definition footage of the airsoft gameplay, they are still poor in lowlight conditions, especially in really dark conditions.

    If everything goes according to plan, we might soon have one in the form of the Aurora from SiOnyx LLC.

    What we are especially excited about with Aurora as an action cam is its true night vision capability. With its sensor, it can produce colour night vision which is what we prefer rather than just be satisfied with the green glow of existing night vision devices.

    The sensor is a 1” 720p/60fps with patented Ultra Light Low Light CMOS technology (thought it did not mention the ISO capabilities). This the resolution is a bit of a letdown when what we are looking for in action camera these days is already 4K capabilities which many mainstream action cameras already provide. But some are willing to settle down with the 720p if they can get the true night vision, especially airsofters and outdoors people who would be happy to see in the dark with such an equipment.

    In night vision you can either have monochrome or colour night vision depending on how you prefer it to be.

    Instead of an LCD backscreen just like in today’s action cameras, Aurora has a viewfinder which means that you can use it like a night vision monocular. It is just a matter of finding an NVG mount for it to wear on helmets or a headstrap so you can mount it to your head gear.

    Already sold on with the Night Vision features? There are more features such as GPS, Compass AR Info Overlay, and Accelerometer, Still Image Capture, Stereo Mic, and Timelapse.  It has an IP67 Waterproof rating which means it can be submerged in water up to 3ft deep for 30 minutes. It weighs 8 ounces which is light enough. With its rechargeable 3.6v lithium battery, it can provide continuous capture of up to 2 hours. It has Wifi connectivity so you can connect it your Android or iOS device.

    What we found to be missing in the features is image stabilization which is a must in action cameras these days so smoother video can be achieved.

    Aurora has immediately achieved its funding goals on Kickstarter, having received £115,653 in pledges out of its £35,848 funding goal. So if there are no hiccups in the production timetable, it will soon start shipping to its backers which is estimated to be in July 2018. You can still back the project, which starts at US$479 to be one of the first owners of Aurora, as long as you are in a country prohibited by US ITAR restrictions.

    So if you want one of these, you can pledge funding on Kickstarter, which will allow you to own one at a discounted price. Hopefully, this really becomes an actual consumer product that we can use in airsoft if it does what it claims to do.