Keepin’ It Real – Spotlight and Review on Scott Country’s Cannae Pro Gear Pt I ‘The Phalanx Two Day Pack’

Keepin’ It Real – Spotlight and Review on Scott Country’s Cannae Pro Gear Pt I ‘The Phalanx Two Day Pack’

The good people over at Scott Country reached out to us and spoke to us about having a good look at some of their Cannae Pro Gear Range.

Naturally, an exciting prospect, and a venture we were only too happy to undertake – as in fact we’d been already following their product range with no end of considerable insterest.

Cannae Pro Gear has an interesting and  cool history, and whilst I’ll save their modesty and blushes as I understand it, this is born from a renowned and since much longed for and lamented industry leader in gear manufacturing, who back in the early days where one of the leading innovators in modern gear and equipment.
Subsequently reborn, under the auspices of Scott Country, Cannae Pro Gear has been subsequently unleashed upon the discerning tactical gear world. That should perhaps, despite being somewhat vague give you, the reader a baseline from which to approach this review and the pedigree from which Scott Country’s Cannae Pro Gear is originates from.

Scott Country sent several pieces they thought would interest us the most, and more importantly you the reader. So much so, I’ve decided to give each one it’s own individual review.

This review, is the first of three and we’ll endeavor to give each one a detailed inspective insight into what each product is capable of.
The first piece of Cannae Pro Gear will look at is the Phalanx Full Size Two Day Pack w/ Helmet Carry

The Phalanx Features and Details

It’s significant to note, each bag comes with a label, this is well worth keeping as it gives you the end user not only a brief but succinct over of the bags features and details but includes the code for registering your product under their life time warranty policy.
Further more the card supplied gives a brief overview – ‘detail’ of the bags capabilities and functions.

• Comfortable Yoke Strap

• MOLLE Webbing along both shoulder straps

• Sternum Buckle (which also features an emergency whistle function)

• EVA Foam Air Circulated Back

• Removable Waist Belt

• Concealed Hydration Compartment

• Eye Protection Hard Pouch

• Patch Field

• Helmet Carry

• Quick Access Open Pocket

• Bottom Compression Straps

• 9 x 6″ Zipper Mag Pouch

• MOLLE throughout
All of this is supported by Duraflex Buckles, Hard Wear and Furniture including D-Rings and Clips, as well as YKK zippers with super grip pull tabs, and as you’d expect 500D Invista Cordura throughout.

… in Cordura we trust …
It dimensions are as follows:
• Capacity: 21 Litres

• Dimensions: 19.5″ in height x 11.5″

in width and a depth of 6″ (59.5 (H) x 29.2 (W) x 15.2 (D) cm)

• Weight: 2.9 Ibs/1.3 Kgs

Phalanx Review 
Literally, straight out of the packet or proverbial box if you will, The Phalanx screams function over form. That’s by no means to describe it as ugly or unbecoming in appearance, but perhaps in deference to other ‘prettier’ packs – The Phalanx is quite clearly here to do work and has some very specific tasks in mind.
It’s that no thrills honesty, that immediately draws an element of ‘old school’ admiration and respect.
Initial inspection clearly evidenced that this in the first instance has been ‘built’ with hard use – and abuse in mind.
Don’t let it’s broadly ambiguous appearance fool you or dissuade you against more aesthetically appealing products which may well lack some of the operability of Cannae’s Phalanx.

Phalanx Full Size Two Day Pack w/ Helmet Carry

The stitching is solid and consistent throughout, with many of the external pockets and the packs main ‘bucket’ being reinforced with additional ‘Cordura‘ panels, to protect not only contents, but the actual exterior from abrasive wear and tear and ensure longevity and prevent dreaded failure ‘in the field’ …

… hydration bladder is housed in the concealed pocket behind the EVA backer and has pocket to feed the bladders drinking tube through. Look closely and you’ll the emergency whistle on the chest straps clasp …
I was personally thrilled to see all retention straps are looped and stitched at the end, and feature a double side male and female Velcro ‘tidy’. This is ideal for cinching off the straps to size and not only storing them safely out of the way from snagging on branches or doors of vehicles or cargo holds but assists with keeping them locked at their desired setting. As you’d expect some of these straps are for assisting with expanding or compressing the pack, ultimately preventing contents needless rolling around and either interfering with ‘noise discipline’ or becoming unnecessarily jumbled about.

… fully loaded with primary, secondary, clothing and even a HSP D3 CR …

My initial overview and review here, was essentially an attempt to play with the bag and see just how much I’d could fill up its interior, what applications could I use it’s interior pockets and compartments for, and could I carry most if not all  of the equipment, gear and clothing I take out for longer extended events.

The answer to that quite simply is yes, but perhaps understanding the limitations of the bags volume, which is generous – but you the end user need to understand and decide on priority of packing, more critically what you intended to to immediately use, and what can be carried and drawn from the Phalanx as required.

… spare gear and clothing for inclement weather …

I’ll explain further. The Phalanx is broadly quite capable in the first instance of carrying my blaster when both the receiver and lower are disassembled, my secondary blaster, a jacket, such as soft shel shirt or light weight PCU and even at push, a spare set of pants and shirt. Additionally spare magazines, perhaps your primary load for both your rifle and secondary as seen here. As well your helmet utilizing the the exterior ‘kangaroo’ pouch as I’ve aptly nicknamed it.

… easily secures this Ops Core Maritime when on patrol …

The helmet storage –  functionality at it finest, however – and by no means fault of the Phalanx, but in my attempt to ‘pressure test’ just how exhaustive the pack could be carrying all of my immediate gear it proved to be a tight fit. However, as I mentioned earlier, it’s about managing your, or in this case my expectations. Here in this instance, once some of the equipment  has been deployed, such blasters, there’s a little more give and depth given back to the pack. As such using the retention straps and bungee paracord fasteners the ‘kangaroo pouch’ can be adjusted to accommodate your head PPE. Simply then drawing the straps tight your helmet is now secure, of course not forgetting to tidy those straps away with the supplied Velcro closures.

I’ve also here dropped in one of my Source hydration bladders, which sits inside the quilted and micro fleeced pocket, which zippered behind the back, which unlike many other packs has ‘concealed channel for feeding out onto the left shoulder strap, a nice touch often overlooked on other packs I’ve owned, and is perhaps indicative of the packs design and innovative thought that’s been applied throughout.

Sticking with my brief of seeing just how much I could get inside the Phalanx opening the main primary cargo pocket shows Cannae have used every inch of space to offering functionality. The main pockets opening aperture forms a zippered and pocketed tray. This has allowed me to store batteries, pens and markers, Cymalume’s, torch, watch cap and face wrap.

… main cargo tray features two mesh pockets for contents visibility and two partitioned lower pockets with a singular master zippered closure …

Inside the main cargo pocket you can see, I’ve got clothing, weaponry, magazines, gloves, headwear and much more. All of the interior is padded and quilted and alongside the walls of the main cargo area are again covered with micro fleeced lining to prevent wear and tear against the interiors contents when being moved around in vehicles, storage or during use. There’s two adjustable elasticated straps, my initial thoughts were to use these to retain my rifle when stored, but alternative they too can be used to compress larger items of clothing.

… secure …

The main cargo pocket also has an additional sleeve, with Velcro retention flap, again I intend to store in the first instance, shirt and pants here, but concur it’s of comparable size for either armor plates or even a laptop.

More importantly, the pack when fully loaded is an easy wear. Holding here, just short of 30 Ilbs it’s comfortable and the EVA padded back, in conjunction with the generously padded shoulders makes easy work of heavy loads.

This channels heat away from the body, using the meshed interiors of the straps to allow air to ventilate and EVA pads keep the pack off the back as much as possible again to promote good gear management.

Cannae Pro haven’t stopped there, it’s with good examination you’ll find lots of details and additional features such the external admin pocket.

The Padded Eye Pro pocket and patch field, which with its merrowed border which decreases wear and fatigue of the Velcro. Are just some of the many additional features that really make this pack a true contender for your attention.

Or the packs external right side pocket ideal for additional magazines – the possibilities are endless, limited only by your imagination.

I’m proud to welcome this to the gear locker, and keen to put it through its paces at Airsoft International’s Ai500 at the end of September.

It is The Phalanx’s shining strength, its versatility to switch between load bearing carriage option and quickly changing gears to be used as mission specific pack. Alternatively, using the compression straps it would easily be at home used as an every day carry pack be on outdoor adventures, to work or to and from training – S23

You can check out more from Scott Country and view all their products including Cannae Pro Gear at the links below:

Scott Country Web:

Scott Country Facebook:

Scott Country Instagram:

Cannae Pro Gear Web:

Cannae Pro Gear Facebook:

Cannae Pro Gear Instagram:

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S23 is proudly sponsored by ToySoldier:
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Spotlight review on WarCry’s HexCam Face Wraps

Spotlight review on WarCry’s HexCam Face Wraps

Lets start at the beginning. HexCam is a veteran owned and designed revolutionary honeycomb camouflage based on naturally occurring patterns found in several animal species. It’s versatile design has already been proven to perform well in a multitude of environments against some of leading designs in the industry.
We received two patterns, in the form of War Cry Apparel’s Face Wraps, from our good friends over at Allied Risk Equipment. Selecting two patterns that we felt best suited environments and topography that we most commonly found ourselves in.

… options – Allied’s Arid vs HexCam’s Spectre and Wasteland. All three are going in the kit bag, ‘one is none’ …
Before we discuss these further, War Cry CEO Gerry Searfoss had this to say, and puts this suite of camouflage into perspective – ‘Hexcam USA is a camouflage line under WarCry Apparel. As an American disabled veteran company it was our goal to bring a quality and functional pattern to the hunting, tactical and recreational community. The Hex is nature’s strongest shape, when combined with other hexagons it forms solid shapes within the pattern. With our patented shading and color techniques we have been able to create an illusion of three dimensional depth.’

It’s that very quote which for me is pivotal to this review, and whilst I’m no authoritative expert on camouflage other than what I’ve used for perhaps the best part of decade –  a multitude of patterns with a varying degrees of success.
This success or effectiveness has in part been based on utilizing the right camouflage for the right environments. 
More often than not, most modern camouflage, ideally is perhaps employed in low light, and as I’ve often found using the wrong camouflage whilst operating in the pursuit of ‘fun’ can result in hilarious consequences – I can only imagine that in the real world, the consequences are dangerous and quite possibly fatal.
However, something the really intrigued me with HexCam, and it has been attempted both successfully and unsuccessfully by individual patterns and other suites of patterns is to create the illusion or the appearance of depth, shadow and ultimately disrupting form and shape which the human eye and brain instinctively and unconsciously pick up on.
Whilst almost virtually essay worthy in itself, most modern infantry, particularly those who are employed as snipers are trained to further utilize this concept and natural instinctive behavior to not only further conceal themselves but to spot and identify targets too.


As stated above in the reviews opening introduction, HexCam have sought to provide a suite of patterns which emulate naturally occurring shapes and patterns amongst animals, plants, fauna and environments and use a series of naturally based algorithms to generate a series of shaded hexagonal patterns – which, in layman’s terms disrupt the perception of depth as perceived by the human eye.

Spectre vs Wasteland – just two of six patterns available, giving the option to choose a pattern best suited to the environment and specific light and topographical conditions …

I’d further describe this, as I can best example, it’s not entirely dissimilar to gazing into a heavily leafed tree. It’s almost three dimensional appearance creates an illusion of depth and distance, which is arguably counters, going some way, to preventing the human eye from naturally detecting shapes and form instinctively otherwise recognized.

… camouflage to suit your AO …
More over, HexCam have identified that perhaps no one pattern truly works in anyone AO. These variants include patterns such as Wasteland, Spectre (the two I selected to review) and additionally Makalu, Attica, Adirondack and 5-Echo.
These patterns obviously have some specific applications, however I chose Spectre and Wasteland specifically for several reasons. Both tonally used a series of color ways which I felt really best reflected the UK’s foliage and forestry and really resonated with my perception of colors, shape and form as seen and observed in low light, such as dusk or very early dawn. 

Specifically as we enter a time of year when the colors and shades of the UK really start to mix and change, these seemed ideal options as we enter Autumn.

HexCam Review

… blend in …

So, as supplied from Allied Risk Equipment, the Spectre and Wasteland patterns – where chosen by us. It’s certainly a visually challenging pattern, and whilst I really, really find it aesthetically appealing. It certainly could be argued, it won’t win any fashion accolades for being ‘pretty’.

It’s that very principle, that it clearly adopts the muted tones and shapes of environments at particular times of the year, specifically the Autumn – those muted washed grey greens and pale limes, combined with the dark browns, coppers and oranges which made me snap up Spectre and Wasteland variants.

Some of the tones are certainly evocative of palettes used by famous artists and illustrators in their landscapes – who using a select palette of tones, particularly to capture visually a particular time of day, or season for that matter. I in fact wondered if art had either consciously or subconsciously influenced HexCam’s design, or perhaps their study of nature had serendipitously arrived at the same conclusion.

Choosing between either two as a favorite is no easy task, as is deciding which is more effective – as such I’d argue that it’s perhaps akin to choosing a ‘favorite child’.

… Wasteland Pattern …

That however, is inconsequentially irrelevant is that ‘Wasteland‘ is my preferred option for day light use and ‘Spectre‘ will undoubtedly be employed during the low light of dusk and dawn as well as the gloom and shadow of the night. I’ve got an event coming up where I be employing both specifically in those very conditions.

… Spectre Pattern …

As exampled, I found that Wasteland proves to be a complimentary accompanying pattern to pre existing pattern amongst my collection, serving well alongside Multicam.

And the darker tones effectively alongside the venerable but ever popular M81 ‘Woodland’ pattern.

However, I would offer in countenance, true effective pattern disruption would best achieved utilizing either BDU’s or Technical Apparel in HexCam’s patterns, possibly even using several patterns at once. I for one will be seriously looking at Spectre patterns for pants and Wasteland for Shirt color ways and again combing with either a Spectre or Wasteland face wrap. 

So, to summarize, I’m highly impressed, in fact smitten with the two patterns issued here, and will putting these in the gear bag or day sack permanently f’sure – if only as its good to have alternatives and options, and these will sit perfectly alongside my MOE.Gun’s Allied Risk Equipment’s face wrap which we reviewed earlier this year, which is perhaps better suited for either the summer or more muted tones of winter.

… both patterns compliment and work with pre existing suites of patterns with ease …

Like Allied’s wrap – these wraps are constructed from 92% polyester and 8% spandex – which makes for a lightweight and breathable wear. Better yet, they’re tapered at either end and crocodile stitched along the ‘spine’ of the wrap which helps it sit more comfortably around the face and not otherwise gathering around the neck.

… Spectre – ideal for low light, dusk, dawn or the dead of night …
I’m aware, that these subsequently may be produced in a lighter and ventilated variant, needless to say retaining the pattern and colors seen here, but most possibly done so for use in warmer or more historically humid climes.

… perfectly suited to the UK’s, North Europe and North American foliage and fauna …

That said, in part why I’ve specifically chosen to look at the camouflage and its effectiveness as a pattern – its impressive, if only for the initial fact it’s broken my traditional perceptions of what a camouflage can do or what we should expect from other current patterns in use today – I’d go as far to call it ‘intelligent’ and look forward to seeing where, who and what’s it’s employed for – S23


At Allied Risk Equipment has a very limited number of wraps and ball caps in stock, and as I understand it are the only current UK stockist, you can take a look or better yet pick them up here:

You can keep updated with HexCam here:

And of course check out projects, products and equipment from WarCry Apparel:


S23 is proud to collaborate with Project Delta Whiskey:

S23 is proudly sponsored by ToySoldier:
**Project Delta Whiskey & S23FAMILIA PTW Collaboration T-Shirt ‘Fortune Favors The Brave’ Now Availble** Available now in S, M, L, XL, and 2XL in Black or Grey:
Don’t forget you can read our articles exclusive to Airsoft International each and every month:
s23 is proudly sponsored by Emperion:

Balance The  Odds Pt.III – and interview with Arquebus Control Group

Balance The  Odds Pt.III – and interview with Arquebus Control Group

The name Arquebus comes from a renowned Norwegian WW2 Radio Operator, and aptly has been adopted by Task Force Exorbitance‘ Communications Section – Arquebus Control  Group.

In the third part of our serialization we sit down ARQ01 who talks us through the teams comm’s role, its importance and immersion it brings, their CCT and TACP inspired gears, blasters and much, more

S23: Welcome aboard bro, a huge thank you for taking time out to sit down with us. In preparation for this I decided to re read The Reptile House‘ piece you did a few years back. Arquebus‘ inception is quite unique, in fact it’s unique in its ethos to bring something different to TF Exorbitantance, has bringing your communications expertise and equipment added to not only the experience, but broadened the capabilities of the group ?

: Hello, thanks for taking an interest in us! Well communications have always been something the Airsoft community in Norway has struggled to get right. It’s always been a last priority for most people, and when they finally get a hold of some radios it’s usually some cheap PMR446 from a toy store or some such similar option. 

I’ve been a part of the Norwegian Airsoft community for almost fifteen years now, and I’ve seen a lot of change during that time when it comes to communication. After the toy walkie-talkie era we saw a big shift as most teams changed over to the PRC343, or H4855 if you will, to get more of a military look. That obviously had some implications when it came to range and this was offset by the Norwegian Airsoft Association when they acquired a license to use the 68Mhz frequency and we got what we’ve dubbed “The NASF radio”. 

That meant that teams could use the PRC343 for shortrange (500 meters) communication and the Zodiac radios to reach the higher ups so to speak. But the Zodiac radio is basically a hunting radio and thus is not compatible with a whole lot of military looking aftermarket accessories. Another big problem with this approach was the prohibitive cost. 

The Zodiac is really quite expensive, and you have to be a member of NASF (Norwegian Airsoft Association) to get one. The PRC343 is also expensive. So the community has circled back to the PMR446 as standard, but this time it was helped along by the Chinese electronics industry. 

Baofeng and Puxing radios are super cheap, offer a lot of accessories and perform well in most situations. The Zodiac 68Mhz radio is still used, but more and more people have made the switch to China made radios as they offer more compatibility when traveling to other countries to engage in Airsoft events. What these cheap China radios lack however is that military look and feel. 

Enter to – their PRC152 and PRC148 replicas has really made a huge difference when it comes to building good impressions while not sacrificing good comms. 

But back to the actual question; I wouldn’t say it has made the group more capable but it has sort of outsourced the nuisance of getting a hold of other elements in the field or the HQ. By letting Arquebus handle the comms from within the Task Force and out, the rest of the group can focus more on their respective tasks and specialisms. In some scenarios, Arquebus team-members might join an element of the Task Force, or we can set up a relay-station/OP somewhere central in the AO to make sure communication traffic flows smooth from all corners and up to the HQ. As more and more people in the community invests in good radios, it’s no longer about us having the best equipment, it’s about how we make us of said equipment. 


: Has your day to day career and expertise given you added advantage in setting up your comm’s net ?

: Yes and no. Since I work with telecommunications for a large US oil company I obviously have some extra baggage that helps. I work with radiolinks, satphones, UHF/VHF and IP networks all the time but there is a lot I don’t know. I’m a licensed VHF operator but I’m really no radio expert. We don’t fix anything anymore. If it’s broke, we chuck it and buy a new one. Those guys that are true radio amateurs, those are the guys with the real know-how and knowledge. And there’s quite a few of them in the community. I’ve recently gotten in touch with Tactical Associates UK, and their knowledge on comms and TRI radios is a massive help! Great guys who really know their way around a radioset.

As for setting up a network that we use in the field I mainly rely on my experience as a Lieutenant in the Norwegian Civil Defense. The effort there is mainly on fire and rescue, but the principal of communication and setting up a comms net is the same if it’s a simulated Airsoft battlefield or an actual forest fire.

ARQ02 is a NCO in the same unit so we see things from the same perspective and that always help.     

: Having the ability to seamlessly communicate and manage and troubleshoot comm’s in the field must open up endlessly possibilities on how to approach taskings and objectives, particularly when combined with other assets you employ such as mapping and the use of live drone feed ?

:  If more teams took the time to plan ahead of a game and get a hold of topographical maps and GPS and combined that with good communication a lot of the “battlefield chaos” would disappear and make the commanders job a whole lot easier. When we’re at an event we regularly check in with coordinates to make sure we know where we are and perhaps more importantly, the HQ knows where we are. Pre-event planning is also essential. We can spend weeks or months ahead of an event to get maps, plan OPs, set up communication diagrams and such. It’s really part of the fun! 

: You’ve spoken previously of initially starting CCT inspired gears, subsequently evolving through to TACP driven Load Outs, has this improved, streamlined and assisted with your role and performance within the TF ?

: It was supposed to be CCT from the start, but a lack of understanding between the difference of CCT, TACP, SOF TACP and a JTAC qualified soldiers, meant we headed for trouble right at the start. Over time the loadouts have ended up as more of a mix between CCT and SOF TACP and we’re quite happy with that. The impression part might be kick started it all, but this has since evolved more into a “works for me but is still plausible and/or picture perfect” kind of thing. 

We still mainly use pictures of AFSOC CCTs for reference, but if myself or any of the other two members want to use something that’s only been seen on SOF TACPs we’ll go ahead and do it anyway. The Task Force has evolved a lot over the years and most teams within it are now more relaxed about the picture perfect impression standard and approach it with a bit more common sense now.

: Blasters, now these have some slightly unique variances, being Air Force inspired. Was researching and sourcing alternative parts difficult ?

: No not really. Of all the special forces branches in the US, AFSOC has perhaps the smallest budget. They still use top notch gear, but it might be a few years behind CAG for instance. The two most common rifles seen with AFSOC STS (Special Tactics Teams) are the M4a1 CQBr Block II/Mk18Mod1 and the M4a1 Block II. They also use the Mk17 and even had the Mk16 for a while. 

The biggest difference between Army and Air Force is volume of fire. You simply seldom see any squad automatic weapons in an STS unless they’re mounted to a UTV or such.

We in Arquebus, like the rest of Task Force Exorbitance, use the Tokyo Marui Next Gen series as our base. That little bit or recoil coupled with the durability really makes it a joy to run. And the fact that a fresh mag is never far away is a real bonus for the door kickers as they obviously do most of the actual shooting. Currently we all run CQBRs with 10.3″ barrels and DD rails as our main platform. ARQ02 has also built a sweet M4 Block II rifle with 14.5″ barrel that he uses for recon events. I’ve recently acquired a Mk12Mod0 SPR for the same purpose. Our newest member ARQ04 has yet to build a recce rifle, but I guess he might land on a M4 Block II as well.

: You’d previously talked through with Rich over at the Reptile House, having been involved in the hobby for some twelve years plus, and running a broad selection of gears and load outs. Has that experience proved beneficial in your current incarnation. That experience surely makes building and researching such a project a little easier ?

: Oh absolutely! We’ve all been there. You’ve just been introduced to the hobby of Airsoft and you want everything. You say that in this movie, and this in that movie. Your friend has this and that, and that guy on YouTube endorsed those.

What you end up with is good enough to play with, and for some that’s enough. But if you want to take it to the next level and try to replicate an actual unit, you have got to do our research! It’s better to spend an extra three months researching and saving up a few bucks and get it correct the first time, then to buy everything twice! 

Even though I’ve been in the impression scene for a long time I didn’t do good enough research, which caused the beforementioned mix-up at the very beginning. That has proven to be quite expensive. So the best advice to anyone starting to build any kit: read up before you pay up.

That being said, the whole process of collection reference pictures and reading up on subject matter was known to me. That made it easier to get off to a flying start. Just make sure you google any abbreviations you don’t understand, and make sure you’re not getting things mixed up. We made that mistake, so now you don’t have to.

When we started we focused on the 2014 timeframe and went with LBT6094s. These are some great platecarriers but have become a bit outdated over the past few years. In this latest version of our kits we’re all running Crye JPCs for a more streamlined function. The AVS was an option as well, but we found it to be more than we actually needed.

: You spoke freely and openly about HHK’s open, welcoming attitude to building such a collective, it’s rare to see such a large gathering of likeminded enthusiasts – has it proved to be beyond your expectations, it’s certainly attracted its fans and the adoration of the community the globe over ?

: Far beyond what I thought possible to be honest. But it just goes to show what can be accomplished with a little elbow grease. It was extremely important for everyone in TFE to avoid the pitfalls that had demolished so many impression groups in Norway before. The number one reason has always been the perception that hardcore impression groups are “elitists”. We wanted to change that. We wanted everyone to know that even though we spend thousands and thousands of dollars on gear we’re not BB proof. We’re not unbeatable. If we attend a Sunday skirmish we don’t mind having the newbie with jeans, sneakers and a G36 with a Hi-Cap join us. It’s supposed to be fun for everyone. He might learn something and it might spark an interest to pursue the impression line? And who knows? That new kid with the jeans and G36 might be a really cool guy and then you go out for a drink the following weekend and before you know it he’s part of the crew. That’s how a few of the TFE members became part of the group. So it just goes to show that if you treat people well and lift them up instead of putting them down, everyone gains something. 

What’s important is that you treat a Sunday skirmish as what it’s supposed to be. A good time for everyone. An invite only event with hardcore impression teams only is a different thing all together. Then it’s all business. And if you choose to travel around the country, or neighboring countries, it’s important to keep in mind what kind of event you’re going to. Is it mainly an opportunity to be social or is it something else? We try to do both every year. Strive for excellence, but get back to the roots every now and then and just have fun.


S23: In the field it must be certainly rewarding managing comm’s and being a vital component helping move all of Exorbitantance’s components into place, directing HHK onto target, Trident to clear and breach obstructions and Hermes to get them back in the fight all the whilst taking real time intelligence, observations and field reports from Sky One from afar …

ARQ01: For me personally there is nothing that beat the feeling of good comms chatter. Being perched at a good vantage point of the AO and watching each element move into position is magical! But it’s also really exciting to get up close and join a team and be part of the execution of the plan. Over time the way Task Force Exorbitantance communicates via radio had evolved and it’s now getting very efficient. “In house training” with radios has made the different teams more comms capable. That might mean less work for Arquebus, but it makes the whole task force that much more effective.

S23: Now, naturally Plastic Deth (Airsoft) is many things to many different people. But do you think the openness of TF Exo to work together, and explore the endless possibilities of what RealSim can be, and what experiences to be had are by many are a missed opportunity – could perhaps more positive attitudes from us all to collaborate achieve something truly spectacular ?

ARQ01:  : I would say so. A RealSim event offers a real chance to really work as a team in ways a skirmish on a paintball field cannot. If you’re an outdoorsman and an airsofter a RealSim event is something you should definitely try. The feeling of walking for hours, not knowing how many are out there or maybe even where they might be, is extremely thrilling. The last few years I’ve measured an events success in the amount of BBs fired. The ones where none were fired during the entire 24/48 hour event are the best in my experience! But then again, I’m all about the comms. (laughs)

That might mean less work for Arquebus, but it makes the whole task force that much more effective.
S23: Now, we recently quizzed Trident about Op Garden Centre but saw that you also participated in Op Rudna, what can you tell us about Arquebus‘ time deployed in the field during that event ? 

ARQ01: Op Rudna was the first event where we really got our comms working properly. At that time we were only two members so we split up and followed a recce element of HHK each. Due to the rugged terrain of the Op Rudna area comms was a big problem with the tiny antennas on the Baofengs and Puxings. Our TRI 152s with whip antennas however had the range needed to keep the elements in touch with each other and the HQ. The AO was quite large so we spent a few hours trekking through dense forest and across steep canyons to reach a vantage point from where we could see the objective. Just outside target area we linked up with the other element of HHK with ARQ02 attached and then came under fire from anenemy patrol. We called in the contact to HQ who then deployed the QRF. When the recon portion was done, we linked up with Trident that had established an overwatchposition at the edge of the AO. Here we had a perfect view of the entire target area as the QRF rolled in. That was a magical evening in the snow.


The last few years I’ve measured an events success in the amount of BBs fired. The ones where none were fired during the entire 24/48 hour event are the best in my experience! But then again, I’m all about the comms. (laughs)

S23: … Really appreciate you taking the time out to talk, obligatory last question I always like to ask (kind of a trademark), I’m a fan of RS mag counts – 30 Rounds per mag, what’s your thoughts on this – could you see this perhaps bringing something new and fresh to game play if embraced by the masses? 

ARQ01: For practical reasons and to offset the fact that airsoft rifles have shorter range than real rifles low cap mags with 60-80 rounds seems to work best. If everyone used 30rds mags however fire exchange would be more dynamic as everyone actually would have to make their shots count and reloads would be more frequent. SAWs and MGs would also be more important for volume of fire. Sadly the range and accuracy of airsoft rifles are so poor that the increased capacity of the mags is a necessary evil I guess. But I must admit that all my mags are set to 30rds, but I don’t use it as much as the others so it really does not matter. But at least it gives me the opportunity to do a mag change once in a while.


On behalf of myself, ARQ02 and ARQ04, I would like to thank you for showing interest in what we do and we hope this is informative and interesting for the readers and maybe inspires someone to look at comms and what it can do a little differently.

We try to answer questions about comms and AFSOC on our page as best we can, but if we can’t the online community is big and has a lot of great people eager to help out. 

Check out the TRI/TCA radio group on Facebook and of course our friends at Tactical Associates UK.

Huge thanks to ARQ02 and Arquebus Control Team, as I’m sure you’ll agree he’s put a great turn in the interview chair, you can keep up to date with all their exploits at the links below – S23

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Balance The Odds Pt. II – an interview with T03 from Norway’s Trident EOD

Balance The Odds Pt. II – an interview with T03 from Norway’s Trident EOD

Hot off the heels of Hestehovkompaniets H87’s interview we are back with another interview fro Task Force Exorbitance, this time with T03 from Trident EOD.

Trident like  HHK are key components of the bigger picture, the support, community and established frame work has allowed to what many would consider and ambitious undertaking. However, alongside Hermes, Sky and Arquebus they’ve formed TF Exo subsequently bringing not only unlimited options to the table, but a new unbridled level of immersion and suspension of disbelief to RealSim scene.

Read here how Tridents unique transformation saw rapid ascent to the ranks Exo, which they now form part of the group and the vital role they play supporting the rest of the Task Force.

S23: Welcome aboard, thanks for reaching out to us, and secondly kindly agreeing to an interview, it’s our intention to round out this series with members from Sky, Hermes and Arquebus. But this serves as superb follow to H87’s interview from Hestehovkompaniet. So, how did you get started with Plastic Deth (Airsoft) ? 
T03: No problem, it’s my pleasure. Well, about four years ago I got back in touch with an old buddy of mine who had just started out with Airsoft. At the point I didn’t even know there was a community in Norway. So I bought myself a G36C (I thought that was the coolest rifle at the time) and a s***y Multicam uniform and went speed balling with the rest of the guys. Since it’s a very small community where I live, it was not more than very small Sunday games at best with a maximum of ten or so people, but sadly the interest in the club died shortly after. 

Then we were down to five people still wanting to play and started looking for bigger events. We got the taste of MilSim very quickly and after that, things have escalated in rocket-speed. Two more fell away and the remaining three of us suddenly stumbled our way into the ranks of Task Force Exorbitance 
 S23: Now, impressions – you’ve focused on gears with Trident EOD emulating the United States 28th Army EOD, what was inspiration for such specific gears ? 
T03: I think it was catching the MilSim bug, that was one of the key factors, we wanted to do something more than just run around in the woods playing team death match. Combined with the urge to make a good reputation for ourselves to get the attention of Task Force Exorbitance

Tridents EOD gears

We wanted to do something no one else had done before us. And I think it was, in part, inspired by one of the Hermes guys who wrote in a post in the Norwegian Airsoft group  that someone should do an EOD impression. After that I think we had really made up our minds on EOD after four minutes of discussion. (laughs)

… breach !!!

Then we had to find someone with the looks and from a branch that actually could fit in with the rest of EXO, so when we stumbled upon 28th Army EOD the choice was easy (plus they had a sh**t ton of photographs for reference material)

S23: Was researching quite a specific and unique unit difficult, are there kits and gears you still need to get or find to finish the project, or is it always an ongoing evolution ?
TO3: As not all of the pictures are high resolution, it’s sometimes really hard to pinpoint what the make or type of pouches, slings and smaller accessories are.  

Since this is gear for hobby use and the most of us have houses, cars and familys to maintain, there is always something that needs to be bought. Building a correct stitch perfect impression kit is always an ongoing process, and actually it’s where some of joy of doing it comes from. 
 S23: Now, I’d imagine you naturally fulfil a unique role in Task Force Exorbitantance, clearing ordinance, destroying enemy assets and of course breaching and clearing obstructions – but, that aside I take you otherwise fulfil a combat role too – what can you tell us about Tridents remit and responsibilities with the Task Force?
 T03: Since not every game requires EOD personnel, we simply work as a regular DA element with the rest of the team, or conduct and support Recce work if necessary. 

The ethos of the Task Force is that we can step in and cover most of the aspects of the others specialisms and solve any mission thrown our way.

 S23: Now, I recently saw some great photography come out of Operation Garden Centre, care to talk us through your participation and involvement during that expedition? 
T03: That was a great game, hosted by some great guys from Sweden! (Credit to Airsoft Adventures)

We really got put to the test on that expedition, we did everything from recce-missions, stand-by QRF and even a hot insertion by car followed up by Exfil of captured HVT’s, as well as some interrogation and demolition work. 

Trident, alongside team mates from Hermes on a joint InFil with members of Devt6group5

We co-operated with the guys from Devt6group5 (Gray Group) and some members from Task Force Hotel Sierra (shout out to Seb, Lee-Roy and Philipp). This also included extended patrols onto target, gathering intelligence and using that to plan and carry out strikes and escape routes and everything inbetween.

with Hermes and TF Hotel Sierra

We are really looking forward to the next event hosted by those guys!

S23: Now, you and the rest of Trident run some very specific gears and kits bespoke to your role, can you talk us through the alterations and modifications you’ve made to your gears as EOD personnel? 

Trident and Sky One on Maritime duties …

T03:It wasn’t too easy finding out exactly what gear the EOD personnel carry around. We came down to a mix of what we think they use, what’s natural for them to use and pick out the things we actually can use and might have need for since, after this is Airsoft.

So, the basics all three of us carry around are wire-strippers, cutting-pliers, small screwdrivers, mirrors and such. 

Beyond that we have explosives, detonators, an inspection-camera, drill and a metal-detector. Oh, and we bought a dedicated ‘Airsoft’ EOD vehicle (laughs)  and with that gear we just kick back and wait for our jam to come on. 

Tridents EOD Truck

For Those interested, there is a video on our Facebook page, showing us blowing up the SAM site from that very event, OP Garden Centre this summer.

 S23: … and course, it’s always great to talk blasters, I assume you also run the Marui NGRS series, recently completing a finished build to your usual high standards? 

T03: That’s correct, mine is currently a WIP – but during the winter I think It’s going to finally take form. We base and build the MK18 Block II on the Marui M4 CQB-R.

Blasters !!!

As H87 said, the recoil puts a little more fun in to it, and the working bolt catch is also a nice detail.

The reliability of the Marui is outstanding, it’s like an old Volvo. It runs forever as long as you don’t open it and do stupid sh*t to it!

S23: I can assume, as H87 explained running the same platforms and munitions across the Task Force only serves to better interoperability amongst team members?
 T03: As a team that big, we can’t have room for too much mix and match, if you run out of ammo, you can’t be crawling around asking for bob who has mags that fit your rifle, and like H87 said: you can grab your buddies rifle and still get back in fight.

S23: … Really appreciate you taking the time out to talk, obligatory last question I always like to ask (kind of a trademark), I’m a fan of RS mag counts – 30 Rounds per mag, what’s your thoughts on this – could you see this perhaps bringing something new and fresh to game play if embraced by the masses?
T03: The pleasure is mine, thank you for showing the interest in us. I would love to see more using RS mag counts, at 90% of MilSim events I run through two maybe a maximum of three magazines. With less ammo you would be forced to be smarter in the field and really make your shots count. Also, I could change magazines more often, like you would in a real situation – T03

A huge thank you to T03 from Trident EOD especially as he knocked this interview around in double time, you can keep up with their exploits at the links below – S23

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Balance The Odds – an interview with Hestehovkompaniet’ (HHK) H87

Balance The Odds – an interview with Hestehovkompaniet’ (HHK) H87

I remember when Rich over at the Reptile House Blog published his series on Task Force Exorbitantance I simply exclaimed ‘f**k, when are we moving to Norway‘ – I’d long been a fan of HHK (Hestehovkompaniet) but the Reptile House’ series covering HHK and the rest of the Task Force was truly compelling stuff. Including not only HHK, but Hermes, Trident, Sky and Arquebus was not only comprehensive but delved deep into the immersive world of RealSim and what it can truly be when its potential is realized.

Well, opportunity fatefully shined on us when H87 from HHK kindly permitted us an interview to get a more personable insight behind the scenes of one of Norways finest – read on …

S23: Welcome aboard and thank you, I’ve been long awaiting an opportunity to do something on the blog, as a long time admirer of you and the teams work, and subsequently the Task Force. I was thrilled with the series which featured a while back on The Reptile House blog – so hopefully in some respects this will serve well in part as a sequel and an accompanying ongoing series. Anyhow, on to business, lets wind it right back to the beginning how’d you get started with Plastic Deth (Airsoft)
H87: I originally started looking into Airsoft Guns when I was in my early teens. Back then, video cameras were getting cheaper, and we, like most kids our age, were making short movies simply for our own entertainment. As I’m sure we all can agree, most good movies include plenty of guns, and so we started buying the cheapest replicas we could find. 

After a while, the replicas got more and more expensive, until I stopped using s***y movies as an excuse to make movies and just started buying guns because I love guns.

Soon after that, I found out that there was a whole new hobby to be explored, and here we are.

S23: Subsequently, how did your earliest adventures with Plastic Deth drive you to explore more accurate, researched and developed kits and blasters ?
H87: My first few years weren’t all that accurate, to be fair. I just mixed whatever I thought looked good! In hindsight – it didn’t!

H87’s blaster top and HHK team mate, H51 below

After a while, a more seasoned player started an SAS-ish themed team, and I got aboard. That was probably my first taste of impressions – not all serious, and lots were just done because we wanted to do it, but at least there were a few reference photos one could look at and see a resemblance to what we did.

HHK pop smoke as they guide in the teams drone …

S23: Can you talk us through your current load out, whilst I know you spend and incredible amount of time researching material to inform your load outs assembly, how much of it based on personal preference based on what does or doesn’t work ?
H87: My current loadout is built as a mix between HSLD and comfortable solutions, and somewhere inbetween realistic, plausible and “I do what I want!”

We used to do hours and hours of research into what real operators would use, and there’s still quite a bit of excitement whenever new photos of CAG is released, but as the guys on the team have grown older, we’ve laxed our rigorous standards quite a lot. It’s more important to us that we all enjoy the games and get together than how 1:1 we are.

Still, we try to maintain a certain standard, we want to look cohesive and be believeable as a deltaunit – there won’t be G36’s and K98sniper rifles  anytime soon (laughs)
S23: There’s been a drift away from detailed and accurate load outs, and perhaps in part it’s the path of least resistance but participants in both MilSim and RealSim extrapolate their own interpretations of gears based on particular units. Is this departure a loss to the historical side of gear collecting or perhaps a healthy sign that players are becoming perhaps more ‘self aware’ when assembling gears ?
H87: I actually think it’s a good thing to think a bit outside the box, at least to some extent.

While I love to see people post picture perfect impressions, all the way down to out of production pouches and the correct chemlights, there’s just too many reasons to customize your kit to your own preference. A full blown direct action kit would look out of place on a recon mission in the forest, but with slight adjustments, you could make it functional. 

Ditch your helmet, beltgear and extra pouches, and don a backpack instead, and maybe your kit works like a charm in a recon-role.

The historical side of it is probably well preserved as well, as most of the guys with the knowledge and experience to customize their kits probably have done lots and lots of research to get to where they feel comfortable enough to think outside the box. Also, real operators obviously make changes to make them more efficient, so why shouldn’t we?

S23: Talk us through your current blasters, what’s the mindset behind their set up, I understand you all use the same proprietary platform to allow interchangeability of magazines ?
H87: We’ve been running the Marui 416 since it was released. It’s just a great platform for us, shoots great out of the box, and lasts “forever” if you’re not doing stupid s**t to it.

The slight recoil in it is also funny. All the teams in Task Force Exorbitance use it, and most of us run .25 BBs to allow perfect magazine interchangeability.
I remember once during Berget 15, we were hanging off the back of one of our cars, returning to base after a mission. 

For some reason, both me and Joe had our guns in the back of the car, and not on us. Suddenly, we took contact from the front! The car stopped, we both dismounted, and the guys in the back tossed us our rifles. I got Joes, and he got mine. 

We didn’t hesitate, and both started running the others gun. The contact lasted, and we got separated, but since we both ran the same mags and BBs, and had dialed our optics, there were no worries. It was a nice change – I got an hour with a short barrel and a T1, he got the long barrel and an EXPS3.

On the rifles, all of us run an unmagnified optic, some of us also run magnifiers behind them, just to observe further if needed.

We all have Surefire M600 Ultras, to truly show our opposition what they mean when they talk about the bright light at the end of the tunnel. 

There’s also PEQ15’s, which by law have to have the laser removed. If the laser were somehow operational, however, there would probably be a mix of modified replica infrared lasers for use with NOD’s, along with a few real steel IR ones. 

S23: Quite possibly, in part due to Norway’s climate, how much training and preparation do you, and the team put in advance of events ?
H87: We used to do quite a lot! We had regular drills during the week, and access to both buildings and makeshift “killhouses”, which we’d use as often as possible.

We studied close quarter shooting techniques, read a lot, discussed a lot, and drilled a lot. 

After a while, we got quite competent at urban scenarios, and relaxed our training regime somewhat, focusing instead on how to perform well in reconnaisance and effective communication in outdoor settings.

Nowadays, we’re getting older, and mostly trying to maintain what we know. We’re also trying our best to stay somewhat fit, to be able to catch up to all the younger guys joining Task Force Exorbitance! Still, none of the guys in HHK or TF Exo are ever the first to complain if the terrain gets steep or we have to carry heavy shit, so I guess we’re not lazy speedballers just yet.

S23: To operate and participate both safely and effectively, what’s essential in the kit bag, and mandatory in the gear locker at such events ? 
H87: Our Oakley M-frames is the obvious answer, but maybe it’s too obvious?

Communications is also important, both in regards to safety and efficiency. A team using radios will always be more efficient, and have plenty more options available in their toolbox. Also, should s**t hit the fan and you somehow end up alone in a ditch with a broken leg, radio communications will be key!

If you expect a lot of downtime, and have the ability to pack it, both a poncho and the poncholiner, woobie, is great to have.

When it starts to rain or snow, you’ll be pretty stoked you have that poncho, and when you’re stuck under a tree observing the enemy camp for eight hours, you will regret not bringing the woobie.

S23: Has your prior service with the Norwegian Military provided a good foundation to build not only your own pastime on, but the teams as well ?

H87: Yes, most definitely! 

Most of us have served in the Norwegian army, and things we’ve understood foreign teams might struggle with is pretty much second nature to many norwegians, due to having spent a year learning thing like maps, comms and movement, as well as spending lots of time in nature and on the mountains.

H77 – Moons Out …

S23: What’s your specific role with HHK ?
H87: I used to be both team leader and medic, until we got H70 aboard, who really is a fantastic natural leader.

Then I was the medic for a few years, until we founded Task Force Exorbitance and Hermes Medical Team started joining us.

I’m still the team medic in case Hermes ain’t around, but when they are, I try to boost the team by running a Mk46.

Suppressive fire is my jam – I have poor eyesight and often forget my lenses, so firing in the general direction of opposition suits me just fine! (laughs)

S23: I take you all have the ability to interchange roles, be it due to absence or as workload dictates at an event ?
H87: Yes; we have a hierarchy in place should anybody not be able to come to an event, or need to respawn or whatever.

We all use each others guns pretty freely as well, so I could give swap my Mk46 with somebodys HK416 and start doing the ol’ medic-routine should need be.

Should I fall, I fully expect somebody to pick up the MG and keep suppressing the opposition.

Special thanks and photo credit to Roar Stene

S23: Now, I’ve observed a fantastic and growing collection of footage, photographs and documenting the teams adventures so far, often attending events in less than hospitable conditions, does it sometimes prove to be frustrating that Norway’s climate dictates to a degree your load outs ?

H87: YES! So much yes!

We see people Stateside pack for a 48hr wintertime milsim in tiny backpacks, which frustrates the f**k out of us!

If we want to go to a winter MilSim and expect to sleep outside, we have to pack a giant -20C (-4f) sleeping bag, wool underwear, extra wool socks, mitts, you name it.

It feels as if we need giant expedition packs if we want to stay utside for more than a few hours! We definately envy the American “winter” on occasion.

H42 snow bound …

however, you don’t get the sweet icecold snowy as f**k winter MilSim’s though. They’re actually kinda cool, no pun intended.

S23: That aside, after all these years, what’s still enjoyable and rewarding assembling kits and gears ?
H87: Rare pieces are still awesome, and new and innovative stuff is always cool.

Older gear is also getting more and more cool – I guess we all miss the gear that was hot and expensive when we first started playing!

Nowadays, the most rewarding thing is actually helping new guys along – breeding the next generation of geardos!

There’s a lot of guys out there showing a lot of promise, so let’s see what new teams suddenly joins Task Force Exorbitance!

S23: So, what next for you and HHK – any new developments to your current kit lists, training work ups for upcoming events ?
H87: We have something special planned for an upcoming game, it’s not a complete game changer, but it’ll definitely look quite different than we do right now.

But no spoilers! There might also be new teams joining TF Exo, so stay tuned! 

S23: What essential advice would you offer to those starting out to develop more immersive gears and kits, and perhaps items that you’d consider invaluable or a priority for more immersive and demanding events ?
H87: Actively seek out the advice of people you know have built kits like the ones you’re looking at building. Find a friend that also wants the same as you, and help eachother grow. At events, think “is this what they would’ve done?”, and if it isn’t, don’t do it! Don’t do the things that’d give you a one way ticket to heaven in real life.

Don’t just seek out the action, do your mission in an effective way, and people will notice. That way, you’ll get cooler missions, and cooler friends.
And for the love of god, invest in a decent backpack for those sweet MilSim, don’t be the guy with the s***y ranger green Maxpedition replica!

S23: Before we part out, HHK has been built on a longstanding ability to coexist and the interoperability of team members, what’s the secret to success and the teams cohesion and longevity?
H87: Our not-so-secret secret is that we’re not just Airsofter’s that shoot BBs together. We’re friends first and foremost, and that’s what makes it hard to join our team – you have to join our awesome bunch of friends first! We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which makes us stronger in the field. We know when the others will break, and we know where they will excel, and we can plan accordingly.
And there’s been lots and lot’s of s***y liquors, which has probably helped everything a lot. (laughs)

S23: From an insiders perspective what’s life like within such a close knit team of friends ?
H87: It’s honestly pretty great.

We’ve made friends for life, and we’ve all learned a great deal about each other.

Any disputes we may have, we air out pretty quickly, so they never get to grow out of proportion.

Again, the s***y liquor has probably helped. (more laughs)

S23: You’ve recently expanded the team, forming the collective, much to global admiration to include under Task Force Exorbitantance – such elements as Reconnaissance (Sky) EOD (Trident) Medics (Hermes) and Communications/TACP (Arquebus) how has this expanded the teams ability, options now at your disposal and approach to events – the possibilities must be endless ?
H87: The Task Force has really opened up a lot of new possibilities.

While we’re all able to do a bit of everything, we’ve all been able to specialize in our respective fields, knowing full well that there’s another team there to take up the slack. I don’t need to be a master of comms, because everything outside of my own team is handled by Arquebus. We don’t need to take guys off of door kicking duty to recon the area – Sky One have our backs! 

And when shit hits the fan, and all of HHKs medics get shot to pieces while breaching through the door that Trident blew up, we know that Hermes is right behind us ready to patch us back up.

It’s easier to split up our groups, as we can still get a complete and functional unit with all of our capabilities, we don’t have to send the medic this way and our “engineer” the other way, there are plenty of personnel to go round, and we’re able to attack an objective in more creative ways because of it.

S23: … Really appreciate you taking the time out to talk, obligatory last question I always like to ask (kind of a trademark), I’m a fan of RS mag counts – 30 Rounds per mag, what’s your thoughts on this – could you see this perhaps bringing something new and fresh to game play if embraced by the masses? 

H87: In TF Exo and HHK, we strive for realism. We prefer to fire on semi auto, and would love it if our opposition did the same. RealCap’s is a great way to make sure everybody is making their shots count. I’m all for it!
… huge thanks to H87 for the incredible interview, as I’m sure you want to you can keep up with all their exploits right here at the links below – S23 

HHK Facebook:

HHK Instagram:

HHK YouTube:

Task Force Exorbitantance Facebook:


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Play Big – an Interview with Dr. Tiquestar

Play Big – an Interview with Dr. Tiquestar

As fortune would have it, good friend and reader of our blog Brandon, picked one of our patches via Instagram

Purely out of curiosity I perused his account, seeing what other patches he had – and was blown away at the patches and art he’d showcased from Tiquestar

Tiquestar is the brainchild of Maurice R. and quite frankly, for me personally has blown my mind of what can or can’t be a patch. But wait there’s more, not only amassing a legion of fans collecting his limited patch runs, he is an accomplished designer having completed projects for Nike, Heineken, Carhartt, Marlboro and much, much more …

Thanks to Brandon, who frequently speaks with Maurice, we’ve secured an incredible opportunity to talk to to man behind the art – Maurice AKA Tiquestar.

S23: Welcome aboard, and thank you for taking time out for an interview – in really pleased to this one as I’ve recently become an unashamedly huge fan of your work (thanks Brandon) – now, introductions, what’s can you tell us about your illustrative origins ?

Dr T: Thanks for interviewing me, Well, as a kid I discovered I could draw pretty good, according to the reactions I got from my friends. But my break in making art was not until I was 16 or 17. I used to go to Economics school and my Drawing teacher came to me and returned a drawing we had to make for homework. He returned it to me and said: I never gave an A+ before! But now I have to! Don’t you actually want to do anything with your skills? I never thought of drawing as an opportunity to make a living, so, for me, that wasn’t any option. He arranged a call with a colleague at the Graphic School Amsterdam, and the next year I went to Graphic School. There I learned how to use perspective, how to use colours, human anatomy, digital skills, photographic skills, how to look at images and how to construct and deconstruct them.
S23: We are of a similar age, therefore, ergo undoubtedly share similar artistic interests and influences, however do you feel these perhaps chain and restrict your ideas and your design process. Or do you perhaps bravely eschew the past and explore more contemporary influences and popular contemporary ideas ?
Dr T: Growing up in the late ‘70s,’80’s and ’90’s in Amsterdam and being part of the Skate, Punk, and Graffiti scene has had a influence on me. 

Back in ’96 I started my course at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht (School of the Arts Academy, Utrecht). Being from a graffiti background, it was difficult, in the beginning, to adapt to the status quo the concept of art had on the Academy.  

But having done the Graphic School first, I had a big skill-set to pick from.That helped me a lot in ‘solving’ situations.

After a while you start to understand that there is more to art than fill-ins and outlines. I learned how to develop concepts and how to adapt to certain situations. Some puzzles just needed to be solved different. By seeing and understanding that a whole world opened up for me. Now you could look at an image you didn’t like on first sight … and now you could ‘read’ the image and see what the artist meant by making it. That is gold! So, yeah … I definitely look at all kinds of stuff. Old and new. That doesn’t matter to me. Good art is good art!

S23: Obviously exploring art, design and illustration when young, at which point did perhaps consider it a legitimate endeavor, in perhaps as much you saw this as a professional pursuit to pursue, altruistically and as a career ?
Dr T: Being in the last year of the Academy, I already worked for myself as an illustrator. I had an agent, who scouted me in the 3rd year, and I could maintain a steady income from it, even when I still was doing a study. That said, unfortunately, not much students where able to do that. I guess I just had luck.

S23: Who would count as contemporaries or rather those you admire, and … 
Dr T: I hate the word ‘contemporary’. Just like ‘street-art’… It’s art – or not art. 

And it can be something you like or some you don’t like.

Banksy is an artist and Rembrandt too. They where all contemporary at one time …

You just have artists and non-artists. And they can be good or bad … but ‘contemporary’? That means jack. Hahahaha! Can you tell I’m triggered? (laughs)

But some artists I like are Thom Puckey, Merijn Hos, Ashley Wood, Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt.

S23: … and of course influences ?
Dr T: I have had a lot of influences…But in my teenager years, I would say Frank Frazetta, Don Lawrence, Jean Giraud (Moebius), Mode 2 CTK, Simon Bisley, Peter Pontiac and Dick Matena where, and are my heroes. Those guys inspired and influenced me a lot with their work.
S23: Often overlooked by the consuming masses, music often has influenced my art, or even my approach to life, and both professional and personal endeavors – whilst often subtle, tone, ethos and view point, when visually realized have been shaped or formed by music and music that has moved me.
Is music an influence on you and more specifically your art ?
Dr T: Sound is often very underestimated. And music is a great influencer. It can make or break the entire vibe in a room. Through music you can travel without moving. 

I love music – that is why I have an occasional radioshow on Just records I like to listen to.

You can listen to the old shows here:

S23: My entry to the patch world, was almost directly born from the combined interests and exploration of Militaria and Plastic Deth (Airsoft) – of course I’m cognitive of the fact other areas of life and sub cultures are now overlapping into this form of art – where and when did you extrapolate your ideas as potentially being best employed in this medium, patches ?

Dr T: My love for patches probably came from the era of Punk. Everybody had Punk- Rock Band patches on their jackets and sew-on stuff was very big in the early 80’s. You could show who you were by rocking patches or buttons.

S23: Now, patches are not the only work you do or undertake – but I was particularly enamored by the ‘Scout Trooper’ who’s visage had been ‘wrapped’ with a certain ‘energy drinks’ likeness – whilst highly likely there’s a simpler explanation to this, it reminded me of a lot of manga and anime where artists had snuck in or incorporated ‘popular culture’ onto characters, robots (or rather mecha) or vehicles – this was something I later saw both Bisley (Dredd, Lobo) and Sienkiewickz (Daredevil, Electra) incorporate into their art, albeit often using mixed media. Or is a little more simple than that ?

Dr T: I have done it a lot. Sometimes it adds something extra, other times I wish I didn’t do it. In this case I needed something Dutch and something fast. So a Max Verstappen helmet seemed in place.

S23: Now, I’ve been incredibly amazed at the detail and resolution in cloth and stitching with with you produces pieces, sometimes do you work on a preparatory piece and think this is just not going to translate or work in that medium ?
Dr T: Hahaha!! You don’t want to know! I kill a lot of darlings in the process! 

But at a 120+ patch designs, you’ll get the hang of it. I literally know which line will translate and which don’t – I just do. (laughs)

S23: Last but least, before we part out – naturally you’ve produced work for Nike, Heineken, Carhartt, Marlboro and much, much more – and Star Wars inspired patch pieces – but I wanted to ask you about your pieces ‘these’ are captivating and really reminded of doodles I’ve experimented with, such a radical departure from the normal – but no less captivating ?

Dr T: I wanted to create a platform for myself to put any scenery possible in. And in which you could see as much sides of any subject possible. 

The best would be a full 3D image, The Pieces were the closest possible. I really enjoy making them.

S23: Dr T, thanks for taking time out to sit down with us, you deserve a hot coffee for sure. Before we go, a huge thank you for taking time out to speak with us. Anyone you wish give a shout out to or any advice for budding artists, designers and illustrators out there reading this ?

Dr T: A big Shout Out to all the TiqueStar Fans, – collectors and – enthousiasts and of course the originators and members of The Cult of TiqueStar Group (Y’all know who you are!) My peeps Mich, Ben, Dan, The Wang Bros

Props to the FB groups and members of Team TiqueStar, Morale Patch Europe, Patches Rehab Anonymous and all the other patch groups I’m in. I got mad velcro-Love for you all! Without your steady support I couldn’t do this!! 

If you are not familiar or a member of these groups, You Beter Hook Up! (See what I did there? laughs)

Yours truly,
Cult Leader Dr.TiqueStar Illuminat Rex:

S23 proudly supports Legion Airsoft Events – fined out more here:
S23 is proudly sponsored by ToySoldier:
S23 is proud to collaborate with Project Delta Whiskey:
Don’t forget you can read our articles exclusive to Airsoft International each and every month:
s23 is proudly sponsored by Emperion:
**Project Delta Whiskey & S23 ‘Beer Mat’ PTW Collaboration T-Shirt ‘Fortune Favors The Brave’ Now Available** Available now in S, M, L, XL, and 2XL in Black or Grey:

Project Delta Whiskey & S23FAMILIA PTW Collaboration T-Shirt ‘Fortune Favors The Brave’

Project Delta Whiskey & S23FAMILIA PTW Collaboration T-Shirt ‘Fortune Favors The Brave’


We’ll start at the beginning and do a little history revision …

Over nearly ten years ago I took up Plastic Deth, and almost immediately set upon assembling the then current United States Infantry Load Out.

Initially as the months turned into years, in just under 36 months my gears had almost reached, minus a few minor details and alterations based on function over form – a satisfactory level of perfection.
However, in those heady days of pursuing a screen accurate Load Out – the performance and expectation towards performance of my Blasters (a mix of AEG’s, GBBR’s) had been sorely neglected and up until Tokyo Marui released their first NGRS/EBBR platform – which as fate would have was a SOPMOD – I’d to a lesser degree found myself outgunned – naturally Marui’s NGRS for the most part leveled the field and put in fair fighting position.

But, arriving on the scene where – highly tuned, engineered and perfected PTW’s by none other than renowned ‘Gun-Smith’ Anthony G, otherwise affectionately known as ‘Tackleberry‘.

Now, for not for one second get me wrong, I still stand by the incredibly viable evolutionary platform Marui brought out, which to this day proves popular and dominants gaming fields the globe over – but these ‘PTW’s‘ where, out ranging, consistently and accurately everything else on the field – even giving a few high sniper platforms a run for their money …

Fate would have it, good friend Chris M was leaving the past time behind for fantastic employment opportunities in sunnier climes – and offered up his PTW – as built by Tackleberry himself.
Nearly ten years, later – and virtually in stock form, aside from a few cosmetic upgrades and accessories – it’s become synonymous with the blog as it has with my exploits across the United Kingdom.

It’s seen no less than seven Ai500’s – performing solidly in rain swept forests, frozen tundra, dusty disused quarries and searing heat consistently reaching out to targets at an exceptionally generous range – averaging from shot to shot on good quality BB – 315 FPS …

Whilst fastidiously maintained, regularly cleaned – it’s picked up from years of hard use, scuffs, scrapes and patina that just can’t be replicated other than from just simply getting out there and ‘doing it live’ …

So, aside from being a trademark and oft sighted blaster serving me for nearly over ten years of Plastic Deth – my PTW has been, in its iconic SOPMOD configuration, now immortalized as the back print of the first official S23 FAMILIABeer Mat‘ shirt …

Such imagery – for me personally represents much of the ethos behind the blog, our community and what Plastic Deth has come to mean to not just me, but you the all important readers, the S23FAMILIA.
Borrowing aesthetically the as then qpopularized ‘Creepster’ font and ‘slime green’ from the late great Dimebag Darrell of my much beloved Pantera – I initially came up with what was to be the initial rough designs for a shirt …

Sadly, my amateurish and frankly lacking availability of proper technology to bring the design up a professional standard saw this project stumble at the very first hurdle !!!

Upon immediate initial release I was contacted by the original shirt web store that sadly – imagery supplied was just not up to standard to produce a printable product of any real quality – I may just yet get one printed up for posterity, just see what the ‘MOD 0’ variant would look like …

Fate would have, just before the post releasing the shirt was taken down – very good friend Dan W from Project Delta Whiskey, who we’d already formed a collaborative partnership with – offered to not only pick up the project, but better yet rework the X-Ray art from the original photograph and host the shirt through the PDW web store.
I was hardly going to refuse such fortuitous good luck, and agreed in a heartbeat.

Mere days later Dan had been toiling hard, utilizing his considerable design and illustrative skills to deliver something far truer and closer to form – quite frankly beyond my wildest expectations.

It got better, Dan always being one step ahead of the game to offer not only the original ‘Slime Green’ Plastic Deth variant – but the more striking and crisp aesthetics in white and subtly a charcoal grey variant with white/ash print too !!!

Dan worked endlessly using the reference material and photographs supplied to capture much of the detail, patina and little nuances that are synonymous with this blaster. Often painstakingly reworking them to capture them in a printable high resolution format to work alongside today’s advances in printing technology.

It’s Surefire M951 w/IR filter, LA5, Wilcox mounted Aimpoint, and CTR stock are amongst many other details have all been superbly captured and rendered here without missing a beat. 

The choice is yours, now you can show your #ogpunkrockhardcoreplasticdeth pride, and proudly sport one of three ‘official’ S23FAMILIA shirts.
Printed on high quality and durable regular fit shirts, this unique ‘beer mat’ crest short sleeve t-shirt design features our original logo on the left side of the chest. This t-shirt is available in three different color ways, and features the S23 ‘Blaster’ back print. 

Featuring PDW’s trademark skull and interior collar instructions this is a stunning collaboration I’m proud to share with you all – S23

Project Delta Whiskey & S23FAMILIA PTW Collaboration T-Shirt ‘Fortune Favors The Brave’ Get Em’ here:

**Project Delta Whiskey & S23FAMILIA PTW Collaboration T-Shirt ‘Fortune Favors The Brave’ Now Availble**

Available now in S, M, L, XL, and 2XL in Black or Grey:

Exclusively available through Project Delta Whiskey – we are proud to collaborate with S23 Golf Mike to bring out the official S23Familia tee feature the ‘beer mat’ and ’08 PTW shirt synonymous with the blog.

Based on his Block I blaster this shirt captures the ethos behind his community based readership that has collectively united the DIY hardcore ethos behind the very best of ‘Plastic Deth‘ the globe over. 

Printed on a high quality blend of 65% Ringspun Cotton and 35% Elastane, this tailored fit tee is well fitted on the arms, stopping short just above half-way of the elbow, and slightly longer in length than our other tee’s available. Premium quality deserves premium care … but don’t feel the need to wash with care. These still maintain the rough and ready desires from the user that our products have obtained over our lifetime. Less than 10% shrinkage on tumble-dried activities, these t-shirts are here to stay.

If you’re looking for a visually striking piece of apparel that will have you standing out in the crowd no matter where you go, the S23/PDW Fortune Favours the Brave T-Shirt is for you. Intentionally distressed for that vintage look, this hardcore punk -inspired shirt is a proud addition to your gear locker that proudly carries the S23Familia and PDW ethos.

 This is the second in the Project Delta Whiskey vintage collection in collaboration with S23 Golf Mike 75. The shirt features a Lycra and cotton ribbed crew neck for your comfort and is available in a number of sizes and colors to suit any build and personality.

S23 proudly supports Legion Airsoft Events – fined out more here:
Don’t forget you can read our articles exclusive to Airsoft International each and every month:
s23 is proudly sponsored by Emperion:
S23 is proudly sponsored by ToySoldier:
S23 is proud to collaborate with Project Delta Whiskey: