The Ai500 – Operation Lockdown October 22nd and 23rd 2016
The Ai500 is Airsoft International Magazines inaugural bi-annual Airsoft, or as I prefer ‘Plastic Deth‘ event attracting several hundreds of die hard players.
The Ai500 is the brainchild of longstanding publisher, and creator of Airsoft International, Paul Monaf.
If memory serves the original first iterations of the Ai500 where actually held Stateside, before being brought home to the United Kingdom.
Whilst epitomizing the very best of Airsoft, and delivering a no holds barred, high octane large scale scenario based skirmishing style. The Ai500 has generated a huge cult following, appealing to the casual skirmisher, Airsoft novice and veterans alike, die hard MilSim enthusiasts and gear and kit aficionados alike.
From all walks of like, young and old, loyal followers and new attendees it continues to grow leaving a long standing legacy of well remembered events, it is one of the Airsoft calendars biggest games.
… WHERE IT ALL STARTED …
2013, I remember it well, late Christmas Day evening and I received a call from good friend Paul Monaf, naturally exchanging festive pleasantries and well wishes, he had an opportunity to offer, would I like command and lead one of the two teams, specifically, as it was then referred to, The Tan Team.
I was shocked, honored and very flattered that I’d hit the shortlist of candidates, and after a few seconds pause, graciously accepted.
OPERATION NORTHERN STAR
A mere few months later, I attended with over a hundred players at my side, First and Only’s Anzio site, and in the blisteringly frozen tundra of North England waged a two day campaign amongst the eerily deserted buildings and overgrown pathways and streets against our opposition. It was my first Ai500, a truly memorable start, and inexplicably an incredible experience to be part of such a large scale Airsoft Event.
September 2013 saw us again conclude that year at UCAP’s The Sandpit. Now with addition of nearly 10k of disused quarry to circumnavigate, and slew of vehicles present The Ai500 proved to be, again one of Airsoft calendars defining events.
It’s an interestingly tempestuous mistress, never being quite sure of how it will unfold, but always promising an exciting and thrilling adventure – it is guaranteed, however, that it will evidence and showcase the very best Airsoft has to offer.
WAR AND PEACE
2015 saw another successful return to Anzio, despite being held in early spring, we enjoyed exceptionally clement weather, and a new exciting game dynamic of a third faction was added.
The three sided battle front waged again, amongst the sprawling buildings and over grown woodland made for even more compelling and explosive battles.
… EMPIRE STRIKES BACK …
This was rounded off by new and unexplored territory as the series was taken to former MOD site, RAF Kirton.
Whilst controversially critiqued by a minority, this saw our highest attended Ai500 yet. It was however concluded with a nail bitingly climatic battle between both long standing opposing teams. This sequence alone is affectionately revered as the ‘Battle for FOB 88’.
Personally, whilst I have enjoyed every Ai500 thus far, such a large scale event such as this one, in my mind was a truly ambitious venture which ultimately succeeded and proved truly apocalyptically action packed.
THE RETURN, OPERATION TITAN
Opportunity presented itself to return this year to a The Sandpit, with the arrival of more vehicles to UCAP’s already burgeoning fleet, it’s incredible FOB and its unparalleled back drop, made for yet another tenaciously contested battle. However, despite players fiercely vying for dominance and victory this installment saw a well deserved victory to the green team.
So, as we slowly march toward Autumn, the Ai500 is set to take place for 2016’s final installment at former Prison, Blundeston. A sprawling complex set over 100’s of 1000’s of square feet of corridors, cell blocks, administration building and offices with formerly housed staff and inmates alike.
Yet again, I’ll take up arms to lead the beleaguered team, The Vipers. Who knows how this year will conclude, but I do know this, it’ll be an exciting event, replete with all the thrills, spills and excitement the Ai500 is renowned for – S23
BOOKING AND INFORMATION
You can book your place for a The Ai500 at Blundeston Prison, 22nd and 23rd of October here at Airsoft Internationals Ai500 web site: http://ai-500.com/?v=79cba1185463
Find out more on the Ai500 and keep up to date on all Ai500 news here on the Ai500 Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Ai500-148728415210679/