Thicker Than Water – an Interview with OPFOR’s OF01 and Bravo 46’s BR01
If you walk the boards long enough you’ll not only meet like minded people, but those people with whom you’ve crossed paths with have also inexplicably and serendipitously done the same …
It is with this very philosophy I felt it time that perhaps we took a look a not one but two ‘younger’ teams that are growing at an exponential rate and flying the flag for positive ‘Plastic Deth’ and stand ready, on the precipice to plunge head first into the wider world of MilSim …
Bravo 46’s BR01 and OPFOR’s OF01 have sat down with us to talk about their respective teams, Airsoft and more …
GM75: Welcome aboard, this has been a long time coming, and it was only a matter of time before we got around to this as you’ve been both working hard to build solid reputable names as honest, hit taking and hard working teams. I’ll ask you to set the scene how did you get into ‘Plastic Deth’ ?
OF01: Wow, this is a question that takes me back. The first time I endulged in ‘Plastic Deth’ would have been back in 2005 or 2006. My friend; Sam who is currently OF02, was moving from the paintball scene into Airsoft and asked if I fancied going with him to an Airsoft skirmish. Growing up playing shooting games and the like, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and that was me hooked!
It has been great to see how much the sport and community has evolved from initally slinging plastic in a closed down ceramics factory in Stoke to now.
BR01: I started ‘Plastic Deth’ when I discovered the game early last year whilst working at a militaria fair in Malvern. I was helping my Dad to promote a charity he works for called Pilgrim Bandits (see link below – S23) who help amputee soldiers on their road to recovery. Whilst at the show I noticed a few stalls selling Airsoft guns and just from speaking to the guys I knew it was something I wanted to get into. At the time I was looking for a hobby in which I could constructively put my money into and this sounded like the perfect thing to do. My Dad had also gained some good contacts through the charity by becoming friends with the guys at Redwolf UK. I purchased my first gun from them at the Airsoft Fair at the Mall in Reading and that was when my plastic slinging journey began. I have never looked back since.
GM75: Now, you’ve both started on very strong footings gaining the respect of both new players and long standing scene stalwarts. Whats the history behind how your teams came to be, and what’s your thinking behind how you do things, in as such, that’s earned such well deserved applause ?
OF01: OPFOR started as a conversation between Sam and I . . We had always visited sites in the North West of England and were keen on trying different events. Back in 2014, we saw that a new CQB site, SWAT Fortress, was opening up in Liverpool so we went down to their opening game. I feel comfortable in saying that is where the foundations of the team have been developed. Sam and I bumped into a chap during the game, John C, who shared our passion and enthusiasm for not only the game but playing fair while having an absoulute blast. It was that kind of ‘can do’ attitude that brought us together. CQC/ CQB can be one of the most intense airsoft experiences you can have. Being CQC focused we were happy to storm rooms, take the hit and come out smiling and laughing. That is what I personally think gels the entire team. We have evolved from the three, to almost twenty plastic slingers who have been drawn by this ‘can do’ attitude and enjoyment in the game itself. For those you might not have heard the term OPFOR before, it stands for opposing force. We wanted the name to be simple yet memorable for those who might be on the end of our BB’s.
Predominatly, we have not really recruited guys and girls… we have had people approch us and ask how they can get involved. It sounds quite elitist when I say it like that but it really isn’t. I was actually approched last weekend by a chap who wanted to join us so this point is quite apt. I want people to join the team who play fair and who have a great experience doing so. Airsoft is a game of honesty and it is what you make of it. I think those who approch the ‘Plastic deth’ with that honest outlook, calling hit for example even if they are unsure of a ricochet, and with determination to get stuck in certainly get my vote.
Personally, I think this has been one of the main reasons we have grown so quickly.
BR01: Bravo 46 started back in June 2015. I was trawling through the many different Airsoft Facebook pages to see what I could buy next and to also get to know more about this great community. It was then that I came across a guy named Jack T. Seeing a few of his Facebook posts I clicked on his profile to discover that we both lived in the same town, went to the same school many years ago and knew the same people. After speaking for hours and hours about Airsoft and Jack landing himself a sale with me for a suppressor for my new M4 we both decided we wanted to create a team.
What I get asked a lot is “Why Bravo 46?” The answer is pretty simple, the one thing that brought me and Jack together was the area in which we live. We decided to take our homes postcode (B46) and use that for the name. Hence Bravo 46. It was something original which will get people thinking.
Now we had the name, it was time to get out there and get recruiting and create a band of brothers that we can sling plastic with. What I look for in players when I recruit them is honesty and integrity. If I see a player who always takes their hits without fail and plays the game with a positive attitude then they definitely catch my eye. This has helped me to shape the team and get it such a good reputation in such a short space of time. I think honesty is the biggest thing for me. I want to win but I want to win fair and square. I want the team to go home each game knowing we played to our best potential and whether win or lose, at the end day we have gone home with our reputation intact. I want our team to be great ambassadors of the sport and show the best qualities of being great Airsofters.
GM75: Players mindset, attitude and managing expectations has a huge impact on how either a skirmish or full blown MilSim plays out – what would be your take on positively preparing for either ‘Plastic Deth’ or MilSim ?
OF01: As a team, we are from different walks of life , be it former military, members of the emergancy services, office workers etc and we all have different levels of experience slinging plastic. Therefore, we tend to approach each event with a postive outlook, drawing on our own experiences and channeling that into the team. For example at Ai500, out of our ranks less than half of us had attended such an event before. This meant that those who had the experience under their belt could help the ‘new guys’ by creating kit lists as a basic example. As a result of bouncing ideas off one another we are able to have a fantastic attitude going into each event we encounter, together as one unit.
BR01: Before any game we play I try to bring a positive mentality to the team. We are a small and relatively new squad with a lot to prove if we are going to be up there with some of the best. Take Ai500 for example, we went there with the expectation to be swallowed up by the big names like Reaper Crew and Task Force Neptune etc. I drummed it into the guys heads that we had the skills and dedication to get a name for ourselves. This paid off in the end as we feel we really went above and beyond on this event and was running alongside the big teams and kept up pretty well. Preparing before a big event is vital in my eyes but I believe if you over think things then it can be your downfall. The main aim is to have fun and let the rest follow. Remaining positive in your preparation and working hard will help to relax players on the big MilSim events and will help to bring the best out of each player.
GM75: Now, both of your teams ran at the latest installment of the Ai500 at RAF Kirton. You both distinguished yourselves admirably. What was your thinking which saw both your teams push yourselves to the very tip of the spear – the energy and drive was palpable and inspiring …
OF01: Ai500 at RAF Kirton was a great opportunity for us to not only meet up and sling with some of bigger teams and characters in the community but put into practice what we had rehearsed and trained for. I cannot stress enough that comms are vital for a team. Being able to communicate with your team mates is a must! Not only were we able to try this out on a large scale but we were able to hone our CQC skills.
I must digress slightly off topic and actually thank the members of Bravo 46. Previously I have spoken about how honesty is an integral part of the game and Bravo 46 embodies this. My Comtacs went down late on the Saturday and I left them by my rucksack in the safe zone next to Bravo 46’s kit. One of my guys didn’t recognise my headset and gave it to the Bravo 46 lads to see if it belonged to one of them. As you can imagine when I came back to my ruck i hadn’t a clue where my headet was. My guys told me who it had been handed to. I went over to the Brave 46 lads under their flag dominating the skyline and was presented with my headset. For me, experiences like that make me want to promote the community and game even more as an individual and as a team.
This kind of thing is what drives the sport forwards. Honesty and integrity … I would happily storm a building knowing the guys of Bravo 46 had our backs !
BR01: We new we had to play hard, fast and aggressive to be anywhere near of a chance of being successful at this event. We used the fact we have currently serving soldiers to practice in FIBUA. With hard training in room clearing and battlefield tactics we went into Ai500 full of confidence that we could impress. I feel we achieved this. We were so excited to be at an event as big as this as it was our first of this kind. We just wanted to make the most of the experience. We ensured we had enough equipment and pyro to last us the weekend. We wanted to make a bang and that’s what we did. We wanted to breach rooms being extremely loud so people asked who we were. Our time at the event was all about making a name for ourselves. It was definitely a turning point for the team.
GM75: Switching gears, you are already both fairly well travelled across the UK having played a wide variety of sites. I for one have a few things penciled in and I’m itching to hit up Northern Alliance’s site. What’s in store for 2016 and do you have a particular preference, such as Woodland, CQB …
OF01: The diary already seems full ! We tend to play a lot of CQB/ CQC so we have some events pencilled in like Tac House Spartan for example. In 2016 though we are looking to get to a few more weekend events than last year as they can be so immersive. We are thinking along the lines Sterling Airsoft and the like… some of us want to come back to UCAP The Sandpit as well so we will be seeing you soon GM75 !
BR01: Bravo 46 have a calendar already written out for the whole of 2016. We seen 2015 as a year for the team to gel. Now it’s time to travel across the country and playing at as many sites as possible. We want to venture more and more into the MilSim world and gain more experience in the CQB side of things. We regularly play woodland style games but recently we have been venturing to The Gaol in Oakham to get more experience in CQB. We have plans to attend sites such as Anzio, The Stan, Stanta and The Tunnels very soon. It’s an exciting year ahead of us and we want to keep our momentum going as much as possible.
GM75: Both of your teams already have quite striking identities, visually … OPFOR being real world inspired, and Bravo 46 with a functional, utilitarian aesthetic. Is this a conscious design, or just natural evolution ?
OF01: For OPFOR, our design has been conscious. The main element that we have identified is our love of M81 American Woodland camo!
Aside from that and through trial and error mainly, we have found that running real steel kit not only looks and feels great but it provides us with the functionality and flexabilty on the field. Each member is constantly changing their kit around so it fits in better with their style of play. It will be interesting to look back in a years time to see how we have evolved.
BR01: I have to say that our identity has been a natural evolution. We have a vision in mind for the team of how we want our team to look and the identity of the team but being as though we are relatively new and a lot of our players are new to the game we are currently working on building up our load outs. The team are constantly buying new bits of kit to replace old bits. We are gradually progressing with building the identity of the team. It will take time but we will get to where we want to be with it in the near future.
GM75: Airsoft, or as I’m often heard to prefer ‘Plastic Deth’ is often under the murky inspection of those that would rather see it all gone. As the upcoming new breed of teams, players do you see it a personal responsibility to preserve its otherwise good name and ensure its future by responsible promotion ?
OF01: In the world that we live in with the current climate about anything that even resembles a firearm, it is not only a personal responsibility but also the responsibility of the team to protect the sport. We will be able to still play the sport if we educate those coming to the hobby; as people have previously educated ourselves. By doing that, we can ensure that new players know their responsibiities and protect the ‘plastic deth’ that we all know and love. Moreover, as a community, will be able to perhaps earn the respect of the wider media and audience outside of the sport as a result of our attitude and responsible promotion.
BR01: Definitely! The community as a whole need to work together to give Airsoft a good reputation. New teams like ourselves have a huge responsibility with ensuring this happens. We are the next generation of the game and one day when the big teams have gone it will be down to people like us. It would be sad to see “Plastic Deth” gone as a whole. I don’t know what I would do with my spare time. This is a great game which unfortunately gets bad press coverage. We see it in the news all the time about kids taking BB guns onto the streets and this doesn’t help Airsoft at all but if we keep our attitude of using our guns responsibly and sensibly at all times then I think Airsoft will remain. I hope so anyway.
GM75: So, what’s the defining ethos that builds your teams, that draws you together as a collective and allows you cohesively to work together in game ?
OF01: We thrive on the knowledge that we can go for training sessions and then use what we have learn at events. We bounce of each other in terms of how to approch situations and learn from one another. Everyone enjoys being part of the team and the idenity that comes with it. Personally I feel proud to head up such a cracking team. Each member works hard, plays with intensity and honesty. As such we all focus on the common goal of completing our task, together as a unit, when we turn up and a ready to step off; so to speak. This positive attitude is at the core of each member of the team in my opinion.
BR01: We try to keep a positive mentality at all times. We believe the team has the skills and drills to be successful and this is drummed into the players heads before any big game where we may feel like the underdogs. We thrive on this. We keep things fun and have lots of banter within the team as it brings us a sense of togetherness. We are like one big plastic slinging family. Our mentality in gameplay helps us to work together. We listen to everyone’s ideas to overcome objectives. Everyone has a chance to bring something to the table. We would like to be thought of as great ambassadors of the game so like I said before honesty and integrity is a big part of our game. Each player before being recruited has to take part in a three game trial. Within that trial I look to see how they play and also how they get on with the rest of the team. Each player has been carefully selected to help keep the positive attitude within the team.
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?
OF01: I come from the world of gas blow back so I would love to see the 30 rounds per mag being embraced by the masses !
It would make for some interesting and tense situations plus more players would be selective over their shots.
S23 Golf Mike 75, it has been a pleasure to be able to speak about not only the team but the airsoft community as a whole. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule for us. I look forward to slinging plastic next to you at the next Ai500
BR01: It definitely brings more realism to the game. I for one am a fan of using 30 round mags. I can’t say I do it all the time. I do like in some games to fire lots of rounds but for Milsim events I would happily oblige. It makes the game more real world if you have to do regular mag changes. I’m with you on this one mate.
Thank you for this opportunity. I feel privileged that you took your time to interview me.
OPFOR Can Be Found Here:
Bravo 46 Can Be Found Here:
Pilgrim Bandits Charity Can Be Found Here:
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