Legacy – an Interview with Kevin T aka Kevgru
Hot off the heels of our anniversary interview with Gun Ho, which to celebrate the 1st birthday of the blog we ran a competition. Here upon was an opportunity to win the very last Mk I ‘beer mat’ S23 Familia patch, an anniversary ‘First Blood’ T-shirt, poster and few other items of treasure …
Well the lucky winning participant was none other than Kevin T, aka otherwise known as Kevgru from sunny New Mexico. So, this got me thinking why not get him in the interview chair, shine the light in his face and grill him for Intel on the New Mexico Plastic Deth and MilSim scene …
GM75: Welcome aboard bro, congratulations on winning the competition and thanks for coming on board to rattle through a few questions.
Plus, huge thank you from us, as you’ve been an ardent supporter of the blog.
Right, onto business, so where’d it all start with you with regards to ‘Plastic Deth‘ ?
KT: I’d like to start this off by saying how much I appreciate this opportunity. I’ve been a huge fan of your work for quite awhile now and never thought I’d be in a position to help contribute to this wonderful blog. Now lets start this off shall we?
I first started participating in “Plastic Deth” about six years ago. At the time I only participated in few local skirmishes with a few buddies who also enjoyed shooting each other. We mostly set up small games and basically did our own version of the classic Team Deathmatch game mode. Since there wasn’t any real cohesion or anything spectacular about those games I never completely bought into the whole “Plastic Deth” scene. After about two years of the occasional weekend game I came across MilSim games. Still being relatively new to “Plastic Deth” I did some research on what MilSim was and instantly got hooked with what they had to offer. Shortly after I was able to attend my first real MilSim event – which is what sold me on actually committing to this hobby and investing time and effort into it.
GM75: Now, I’ve been pestering you for months for more photos to go up on line, as I personally think you run a great set of gears. What intrigues me is you’ve selected gears, and devised something whilst is functionally aesthetically pleasing but screams practicality and operability. Was this something you’ve organically arrived at over time or did you have a clear vision with where you wanted to go with it ?
KT: First of all thank you for the kind words. I never really thought my kit was anything special – just a hodge podge of stuff thrown together to suit my needs.
But back to the original question. I knew what I wanted when I first started this endeavor – which was a low-profile setup designed to maximize speed and mobility while still being able to sustain me in the field. The first step to that was choosing the right plate carrier to fulfill that role. The answer was the Crye Precision JPC – a small profile plate carrier with the ability to carry a significant amount of gear without causing any problems to its user. At first I toyed with a setup based on past experience and some reference photos but ended up with something that was more focused on form over function. So I did what anyone in my position would do – I started over with more emphasis on function rather than form and after a lot of trial and error I was able to arrive at the current setup I have now (which is still being improved on in an endless quest to perfect my gear).
GM75: When we recently interviewed Gun Ho, specifically GH05 made the observation that ‘MilSim‘ is a regularly overused phrase, particularly a lot of players Stateside, have adopted that phrase, innocently, as a less embarrassing term for Airsoft (I prefer Plastic Deth). Whilst no inference was drawn, in generalization it raised a few eyebrows amongst American readers. Now, I know you, as do many other MilSim purists (what up NY Joe J) as do the guys over at MSW (MilSim West) really embrace the ethos. Discussing the above what’s your take on it all ?
KT: For me personally, I do not think that MilSim is an overused term. Sure you see it almost everywhere in the states in regards to it being associated with Airsoft but it is simply the genre of the game. Much like there are different tiered sports teams there are different tiered genres of gameplay, such as speedball, woodsball, MilSim, etc. MilSim is nothing more than Airsoft with a few more standards geared to Military situations. Now I think that there are terms associated with MilSim like “Operator” which are becoming abused and overused, but that’s a topic for another day.
GM75: We recently spoke about a particularly stunning patch you had mounted on your JPC, MilSim Media’s ‘ERSB’ morale patch. Now, that aptly mentions ‘honor, integrity, hit taking’. How important is it that, not only long standing players adhere to those values, but new players too, understand and embrace the values by which the game lives and is built on ?
KT: This sport is built around the core foundations of honor and integrity. It is very important that all players understand that. Without those core values we are left with a byproduct that isn’t fun for anyone expect for those violating those values. While it’s important for all players to adhere to those values, its imperative that the long standing players live to this standard constantly. In most cases new players look towards the long standing more experienced players in the community for guidance, and thus the more experienced players tend to take on the role of the “mentor.” That means that they have a responsibility to lead by example, and show the new players how to play this sport correctly by adhering to the core values mentioned earlier. Allowing the sport/ hobby to be enjoyed by everyone.
GM75: We’ve not asked one of our interviewees this one for a while, but any tales of ‘derring do’ or action that really stands out as memorable moment, or even funny incidents ?
KT: My most memorable moment would be at American Milsim’s Operation: Rebel Yell III back in October of 2015. The event took place at a MOUT site in Oklahoma, and consisted of about 20+ buildings in a small localized city. About three hours into the event I found myself back at our faction’s FOB with my battle buddy reloading spent magazines and taking a quick breather when one of our commanders approached the FOB and asked everyone present if they wanted to participate in “a potentially stupid and suicidal mission.”
Immediately after asking that question, our commander zeroed in on my buddy and I and essentially “voluntold” us to go help him out. Turns out that “potentially stupid and suicidal mission” involved us climbing into a building being held by enemy forces and neutralizing any threats we came upon. This building was vital in securing the rest of the city and in order for friendly forces to make any progress within the city, thus it was imperative that we recaptured it as soon as possible.
When we got to our objective the first thing I noticed was how tall the windows (our access points) were from the ground. Now this is where things got interesting, the plan was for my buddy and I to climb onto someone’s back and use him as a sort of human ladder to scurry up into the window, since all the doors were barricaded and guarded, the window was the only available access point to us. Immediately after climbing up onto our human ladder’s back, I took contact from within the building, but quickly neutralized the threat after a short exchange of fire. We ended up clearing the entire building after having to climb up unto the roof in order to access other parts of the enemy controlled building. The entire exchange took almost half and hour with only three of us clearing 12 rooms, split up onto two different levels with almost a dozen bad guys occupying the building. Now the firefight itself wasn’t anything extravagant, just your basic “kill the bad guys” type of scenario, but it was during this time that I earned the coveted Milsim Media ESRB “Honor” patch (something I’m very proud of) that made this as memorable as it was.
GM75: Now, whilst I’ve seen the stunning vistas of New Mexico in the few phot’s you’ve posted (you need to share more). These could easily stand in for two more notorious ‘sandboxes’ and in fact Lone Survivor was filmed on location there, but what’s the ‘Plastic Deth‘ scene like in your home state ?
KT: Unfortunately the “Plastic Deth” scene here isn’t that substantial. We have a great community of dedicated players, but we don’t have very many official fields in the local area. This limits us to only a few possible areas that we can play at legally. The amazing thing is that regardless of the limited amount of fields the community still rallies together and does their best to host as many games as possible – both skirmishes and larger MilSim styled events. So while we don’t have many fields, there is still plenty of options available for those who want to indulge in the art of “Plastic Deth.” Although the games are mainly hosted in large wooded areas there has been a push during the last few months to establish more areas that incorporate CQB into gameplay as well.
While there isn’t an official field that has CQB elements (minus a paintball field that the community occasionally uses as an airsoft field) we have been able to play at more exotic places like junkyards, abandoned schools, and even shut down prisons!
GM75: Recently I authored a piece for Airsoft International Magazine, for my regular editorial spot. It was centrally around the theme of ‘what makes a great game’ and if you will was a love letter to the community. What for you makes a great game ?
KT: For me a great game has to be fun. That’s a very cliché answer, but it’s the honest one. The whole reason I do this is to have fun. It’s a chance for me (and many other people) to leave the hassles of daily life behind, go out with friends and just spend an entire weekend having fun and creating some memorable experiences. There doesn’t have to be a lot of “action moments.” Heck, I’ve been on top of a hill for 8+ hours just observing enemy movement yet it was one of the best games I’ve experienced because I was able to spend that time with friends and just enjoying the moment.
GM75: In the truest tradition, it wouldn’t be complete without asking the old favorite, 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 ?
KT: I personally like the idea of 30rd mags being implemented into games. Having limited ammo count really gives a player incentive to player smarter and choose their fights accordingly in order to take down the bad guys – instead of just standing off in the distances and trading rounds with each “just because they can.” This provides for more unique and challenging gameplay that if executed correctly could be used as a powerful training tool whilst providing a fresh style of gameplay. Of course there are some negatives to 30rd mags, but if used in a control environment, such as a MOUT site or other CQB environment then you could mitigate some of the negative factors associated with 30rd mags, like wind, distance/ range, foliage, etc. With that being said, I think games that implemented 30rd mags wouldn’t necessarily be embraced by the masses at first. Primarily because a lot of Airsofters are not interested in that style of gameplay. This would have to be geared more towards those who embrace the “MilSim” ethos in order to pick up a lot of traction.
… so there you have it, an insight and the thoughts of an upcoming player, who prides himself on accountability, honest game play and sportsmanship – I expect to see big things from this guy in the near future – S23
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