Plastic Deth … an Interview with Zero Positive
The rewards of doing this, the blog are not materialistic, nor are they to seek glory, fame or fortune …
There is some irony in that its inception goes right back to where I started, perhaps more aptly already covered in my article featured a few issues back in the venerable pages of Airsoft International and also on here, where NNA took over the interview chair and ran through a few questions with me a while back.
Ultimately, its main purpose, drive and ambition is in part to restore some of the altruism and community the scene has perhaps lost sight of in recent years, in the explosion of its popularity.
It’s been mentioned here, a few times, and more recently when interviewing Echo Charlie from The Cage, but we again go back to The Wannabe Forums.
It was a time, much like any counter culture, where you stood upon the precipice of something new and exciting. I recently drew the allegory that it was not unlike ‘Pantera’s’ Cowboys from Hell, you just knew it had come of age, it was exciting, new and nothing would be the same again …
The Wannabe forums, set many precedents, like any pop culture it popularized the terms ‘Blasters and Gear Whores’ and even defined a few of its own such as ‘Plastic Deth’ …
But, it was so much more, it defined an etiquette and built a community around those that had a real die hard passion for gear, tactical kit, history and an unbridled enthusiasm for authenticity and ever perfection seeking realism. A side that perhaps has dwindled and all but disappeared amongst today’s new wave of ‘Plastic Deth’ dealers …
I return to my opening gambit, rewards and aims. The aim of the blog was to propagate positivity amongst the scene and as such was inspired by The Wannabe Forums. Rewards, well, recently none other than Zero Positive recently got in touch, the blog garnering sufficient attention that it encouraged him to dust off his keyboard and open up the archives and discuss a golden age in Airsoft and MilSim that was nearly over a decade ago …
GM75: Zero Positive, thanks for coming on board, and for getting in touch. Great to see another luminary of the forums come out of retirement and take part in one of these. We’ll jump right in and set the scene. When did all start for you, with Airsoft, or rather, as we prefer ‘Plastic Deth’ ?
ZP: I always have had an interest in military things since childhood and saw Airsofting aka Plastic Deth as a fun/active hobby, all the excitement of being in battle, but we don’t get killed in our Plastic Deth sessions. Having family in Hong Kong meant I could pick things up and had direct access to all the tools a Plastic Deth dealer needed.
GM75: Before we digress much further into some of the subjects we discussed over the phone, the phrase that brought the blog, in part to your attention. Was a phrase I carried over as a hold over from the forums, ‘Plastic Deth’ now, you are widely credited as its originator, tell us about how that came about ?
ZP: Wannabe aka W1 wanted the Wannabe forums to be all about the Gear. W1 hated the word Airsoft on the forum so I proposed I set it up so if anyone use the word we don’t speak of, Plastic Death would appear instead. He and tinkle60 liked the idea so I enacted it, I do love the fact it is still being used, it means some part of the Wannabe forum lives on.
GM75: In deference to the term Airsoft, which confuses some or those who demean the community, often bringing derision or ridicule from some quarters. Do you think ‘Plastic Deth’ gave it perhaps it’s more deserving definition, an insiders way of laughing back at those who decried or didn’t understand Airsoft ?
ZP: I wouldn’t say personally to demean, the Wannabe forum was a place for Geardoism expand and grow. So the term was devised to focus that attention on the gear.
GM75: So, having undertaken your first foray into Plastic Deth, do you remember a specific moment in time where you decided to start building load outs, to research and collect pouch perfect iterations of real steel military units. Was this also a conscious drive to further the suspension of disbelief or an effort to combine a mutual love of researching the history and form of modern war fighters and marry it with the physical actuality of playing ‘Plastic Deth’ ?
ZP: I actually started in historic re-enactment and really enjoyed the living history elements to it. When I came across Wannabe I could relate to it, W-1 did some amazing impressions on his website. I wanted to be part of that, we would pave the way with modern impressions and have loads of fun along the way. I feel dressing the part helps set ones mind set into going out and playing. For example what makes Call of Duty so successful is that you see all the little details in the game which bring it to life. When I wore my gear it made playing as close to being in the real thing as possible, it added to the realism which made playing so much more fun and intense.
GM75: The forums contained pages and pages of threads, dedicated to NSW, 75th, MARSOC, DELTA (CAG) UKSF, Gun Porn, Plate Carriers, the list is endless … I recall many fantastic impressions, yourself, Drax, Lord Sex, Ox (SBS Gears), Titlelist (75th), Christ The Second, Certa Cito and many more …
We discussed the gear lists, photo shoots, the rules, the etiquette, the encouragement and even the disastrous early attempts by me on the forums with early incarnations of infantry gears (laughs) but, behind that what was its ethos and what did it mean to you ?
ZP: I guess it was a deep respect to the actual real steel operators out there and we wanted to be just like them but out of respect we made sure no rank, insignia, anything inaccurate to our loadouts/impressions as it was out of respect to the actual men we were basing the look on. We actually had real deal operators give mostly positive comments, they were humbled that so many people supported them overseas and looked on them in such a positive light. Yes a few felt it was a bit weird, but they later came around as they told me they wanted us to look the part to not mess it up in some half assed impression.
I always thanked them and even got the random sticker or patch in return for my numerous correspondences. I found most of these operators to be great guys doing an extremely challenging job, yet most had a cracking sense of humour.
Certa Cito who served in the Army told me: ‘How do I tell people at work I dress in a different Armies uniforms, just to go shoot kids.’ (laughs)
GM75: Now, a lot of the reference material used here is from, what was at the time one of the earliest photo shoots, which went to inspire many ‘gear whores’ on The Wannabe Forums of the potential to pursue even more realistic impressions. Was you aware, for example, that this would be one of the keystones instrumental in starting a movement ?
ZP: It was W-1 who started this and it attracted the right type of people who like myself have a serious interest in the Military. I saw the potential and over my time as admin on the forums was pleased to see that so many other players wanted to also look the part. It is an evolution of a geardo, they think I have a primary weapon what next, they look at units out there and can find the information on Wannabe, where to get the Gear or uniforms etc, etc. Advice, tips and feedback was given after the first try and normally people worked out what was needed for a kickass impression.
GM75: Now, the attention to detail, the research, time and money invested in such gears was personally rewarding. I like many have since moved away from screen accurate load outs in favor of self selected gear, more prudently valid in the AO’s we attend events at. Do you think the venerable load out of old is dead, a sadly bygone era abandoned in favor of current trends ?
ZP: Team Wannabe was a team of guys who were passionate about the gear. Yes we really worked hard for certain impressions, but that was us and I can’t imagine most players wanting to spend and search for equipment like we did at times. As long as players have a better understanding what a certain pouch does or why it is on a certain part of their plate carrier we have succeeded in passing on that knowledge.
Loadouts need to be practical as well. Not everyone will have the dedication we had and I can understand people just want to play plastic death (sic) only at the end of the day. That’s what set Wannabe forum members apart from the rest.
GM75: Before we wrap up with out penultimate question, The Wannabe Forums had its own identity, and etiquette, and was for the better part democratically governed to ensure everyone was included and encourage in the pursuit of excellence. It’s this mindset, which inspired me to start the blog and propagate that ethos. Do you think it’s sadly overlooked by new generations of key board warriors and the explosion of social media ?
ZP: haven’t been playing in years now and I am not as in touch as I used to be. Sometimes less is more, when you are part of the few such as wannabe.uk.com (sadly now defunct) forums it showed you wanted to above the cut of the average player. We wanted good people on our forum, we would tolerate people to a certain degree but if told to stop behaving poorly, people would get banned and it made the forums filled with like minded people. Some people accused us of being snobs, but I see it as we made the effort so should you, if you can’t then Wannabe wasn’t the place for you … I met some amazing people along the way, after all these years I still see and keep in touch with ex members of the Wannabe forums. It shows a testament of the quality of people who visited the forums
GM75: Now, I know your semi retired, or on an extended hiatus from Plastic Deth, but, in the truest of traditions, 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 ?
ZP: We attended MilSim sites that required low caps, I liked that it kept it real and there wasn’t this hail of plastic ball bearings raining down on your position this is how I came up with “plastic death.” (sic)
I do miss the funny things I read on people’s signatures or posts. For example Johno W-18 wrote “I only need to kill 16 people before I am W-1.” (laughs)
Or OikOik mentioning how some ‘sex wee’ came out when he got his new gear always still makes me chuckle.
Venom a German player Did some amazing Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions that made Oik laugh so much. Oik wasn’t even in the room and I told Venom to wait for Oik, but I could hear laughter and Oik had heard Venom outside, Oik was laughing so hard he couldn’t come in.
Getting to meet SAS legend John McAleese was amazing experience, a real nice guy, everything he said ending with an ‘ish’ at the end, “goodish, okayish, rightish.”
It was a great part of my life, the searching, collecting, sorting out my impression, meeting the team and having so much fun in person. The forums were addictive I was always checking it for new impressions and I always tried to give positive feedback to encourage members to keep up the good work.
Thank you Gearmonkey for the interview I hope to get back into plastic deathdealing. Zeroing out. W-12.
… Well, there you have it, this has been a privilege and an honor to go back and talk through days gone by, with one of the forums original founding members. To reminisce and scratch the surface of long lost content, hopefully goes some way to give the forum a posthumous fitting tribute and to all who were apart of it, cheers – S23
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