The Cowboys From Hell – an interview with Gray Fox’s GF03
Gray Fox, a team, a collective that perhaps needs little to no introduction. Elder Statesman of the UK’s MilSim in scene, perhaps such a term would belay their youthful years, but equally measures their years of ‘service’ on the field …
But, guess what – great gear aside, titanic battles across the UK MilSim scene, renowned as they are …
They are just like you and me. Affable, approachable and much to my recent surprise more than up for a good fashion ‘scrap’ to quote GF03 on the Sunday Skirmish field.
Undoubtedly, having them on your side is a force multiplier, and the experience and enthusiasm really shone through, but the huge grins I saw from them getting down and dirty whilst slinging ‘Plastic Deth‘ was humbling to say the least …
Now, GF03 has kindly agreed to take time out from an otherwise busy schedule of work and fatherhood to discuss informally the state of UK MilSim, but before we do that, let’s set the scene …
GM75: Hey bro, good to catch up – it’s been too long. We’ve naturally talked online before, as I have with other former and current members of Gray Fox (what up Jimmy) but thanks for taking the time out to come on board …
So, how did you get started, and as a progression how did that segue into becoming Gray Fox ?
GF03: Hey! It was almost 11 years ago, I’d been playing at AWA Herts for not very long but had made some great like minded friends who wanted to mix it up from all the usual stuff that everyone seemed to be using, so we made a conscious effort to become a uniformed themed team, a collective love of various war films and books at the time got us hooked on American kit and that has stayed with the team since, from F01 though to F26 the team continues to evolve and grow and we can’t see us stopping any time soon.
GM75: What’s the underpinning ethos behind Gray Fox, by which I mean it seems to have a very understated casual democratic feel. There’s a variety of load outs and it all looks very natural and organic ?
GF03: We are all friends, we live all over the place but the good times we have shared keep bringing us back to games which is why the team is still going strong 11 years since its beginning, anyone one can put themselves forward to call the shots at the next event we attend, no one member is in charge.
I have big respect for the teams out there that can get a whole load of guys rocking impression worthy unit specific kit (TF Green, HHK and all the Devstix teams for example) it just wouldn’t work for us, too many guys interested in too many different types of kit, our ethos is really to wear kit within a SF’ish spectrum of gear and for the most part we look like a team despite the mish mash of kit on display.
Lucky we are all major gear heads!
GM75: So, MilSim it’s a controversial term, possibly at one point sneered at, and possibly overused as a by word for Airsoft in general – we’ve seen over recent years a decline and subsequent rise in not only the term but events, but organizations running events. What’s your take on it all …
GF03: It’s definitely an over used word, especially on social media and as such doesn’t always come off in a positive light, it seems more acceptable now than when we started to be into high end gear, more realistic play style and scenarios than it used to.
Which is a good thing in my books, keep pushing the game forward, we’re looking forward to the new organisations coming onto the scene offering fresh new ideas to keep us spending our hard earned.
GM75: Stepping away from MilSim, a few months back we bumped into each other, which was a lot of fun – and we spent the majority of the day tearing about having a great ‘scrap’ – is that something that’s still fun to do and blow out the cobwebs?
GF03: Yeah, for sure, it’s a chance to put my kit and myself through a workout, also a good chance to catch up with friends.
Weekend walk-on games are where I started and that’s where the next generation of players will emerge from.
GM75: So, you’ve had a very strong presence across a wide spread of MilSim games spanning the UK. The subsequent content has been fantastic visually, with some great vistas, action shots and video footage – but, what’s it actually like to be there, boots on the ground living it and participating – I only too well know the weeks if not months of preparation involved …
But nothing beats hanging out with your mates for a weekend away from real life, running around some fantastic places that you would never have access to unless you were in the military.
Trouble is they are over all too quick, but then the build up and planning start for the next big weekend away!
GM75: So, a light hearted interlude – a certain event saw some of your number actually storming a two deck trawler off the British Coast, this resulted in a great phot of one of the team which got turned into an action figure, I’m sure that raised a few smiles …
GF03: (laughs) Yeah a couple of the guys attended a Stirling Airsoft game that took place in the Bristol Channel, doing search and seizure scenarios on a trawler, we grabbed a couple of snaps as we normally do and one somehow went viral and ended up on a few mil forums, before we knew it an 1/16th action figure of that picture sprung up on the Internet! F01 now has an action figure of himself and a slightly Inflated ego (laughs) The company that manufactured it actually sent him one after we sent them the original pics.
GM75: Now this year has been pretty quiet for us all, both us recently taking up huge responsibilities both at home with families and at work, but despite squeezing in a few events, and a few surprise ‘snap’ appearances at skirmish sites, I was pleased to see ‘the bands getting back together’ what have your got planned for 2016 ?
GF03: It’s been a quiet year all round I think, the usual teams we tend to hook up with at big games (Cobalt, Diablo, Kraken & the Black Scorpions) we didn’t see much of last year at the usual big games, the team took a knock with a few guys moving on to other things away from Airsoft, but I’m happy to say we are back up to a healthy size with the return of some old members and some interest from new blood, 2016 will be a bigger year for the team with a couple of big 24/36 hour games already booked in with some new companies.
GM75: So, for the uninitiated, taking their first tentative steps into the MilSim world what would advise. What’s the best mindset and ethos to bring to these larger scale and more immersive events ?
GF03: Go with an open mind, talk to people and get stuck in, it’s not going to be non stop 24 hour Plastic Deth slinging, there will be down time, there will be boring tasks, military simulation isn’t your usual Sunday skirmish, you get out what you put in!
This also fits with kit, make sure you have the right kit, speaking from experience sleeping on a plate carrier with an MRE heater stuffed under my jacket sucked! A sleeping bag and roll mat would have ensured I got some needed sleep during down time.
GM75: … on that very same note, I’m always keen to have a sneak peek in people’s kit bags and gear lockers, not literally (laughs) – but virtually what’s the state of play with your load out, what is currently working for you as favorites and any ‘can’t do without’ items or new shiny bits of treasure ?
GF03: My load out doesn’t follow a particular impression as it once had, so I tend to buy what I think looks cool and functions well, my new favorite bits of kit are a S&S Precision’s Plate Frame, very high speed and comfortable, plus totally water repellant which is a nice feature to have with the UK’s damp weather also some new dead bird (Arcteryx) layers as a late Christmas present to myself …
GM75: Before we wrap up, as someone that’s really put their team out there and travelled the lengths and breadths of the country in pursuit of ‘Plastic Deth’ what advice would perhaps impart to fledgling teams or players for that matter ?
GF03: It’s a game, don’t take it too seriously, I’ve been to some fantastic weekenders and some not so good, the thing that always keeps me coming back are the friends I have made in and outside of my team, give new companies a chance, they could be the best games you ever play!
GM75: great stuff, 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 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 ?
GF03: I have always preferred to run mid/low caps instead high caps, probably why I gravitate towards MilSim weekenders more than walk ons these days, I would love to see more people embracing the use of lower capacity magazines, would definitely get me to more Sunday skirmishes!
So, there you have it – a brief but insightful look into Gray Fox, be sure to stop by and say hello if you bump into em’ – but be quick, they don’t hang around as there is usually a firefight nearby that they’ll be running towards …
Catch Gray Fox here …
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