Disco Sucks, F**k Everything – an Intetview with TF Hotel Sierra’s HS02
Every so often, much like my beloved hardcore scene, a new and exciting band explodes into the scene.
Whilst apparently often out of nowhere, they’ve been toiling behind the scenes, perfecting their craft and building a groundswell of support cheering them on.
So, hyperbole aside, I’m pleased to welcome Task Force Hotel Sierra, hailing from Switzerland, to sit down for an interview.
S23: Welcome aboard, thanks for sitting down with us for the interview. To get the show started, where did it all start ?
HS02: Well where should I start. To be completely honest with you, I started off as a “normal” Airsofter with my repro gear and “cheap” AEG, probably around mid-2013. Since the beginning of my Airsoft career I had the luck to have an awesome battle-buddy, Rogue aka HS03. After the first two Sunday skirmishes probably we started talking about reenacting and real steel gear and the whole purpose of it. Especially the big guys from the north like TF-Green or TF-Valkyrie really inspired us. We then started off with buying relatively cheap real steel gear instead of china replica gear. Like 5.11 Tactical or Warrior Assault Systems for example. Another big part was a dude who was somewhat of a legend at that time. He has been in the Airsoft and especially the SEAL reenacting scene with the guys from DT6 Group X (Switzerland) for quite some time. We met him at the local Airsoft store one day where he used to help the shop owner and he was really amazed that such young fellas wanted to spend their money on –at that time- expensive real steel gear. You probably know him under the name ‘Bad Grandpa’ aka HS14.
We started hanging out with him and went to a few Sunday skirmishes which resulted in him forming a new team with HS03, HS04 and me back then. This did all happen quite fast, probably within 6-8 months. After that the first Systema PTW’s were bought by HS03, HS04 and me and it all kicked off …
S23: I’ve been trawling through the teams incredible collection of photographs, and the affiliated team members collections too. Incredible stuff, what struck me whilst these are heavily accurate and realistic, I was pleased to see natural and organic interpretations of those gears. Was this a conscious decision or just a natural evolution ?
HS02: I guess in the beginning it was all about the usability and durability of the kits for the members of our team. Many of us -except HS14– didn’t had the financial abilities to even purchase for example a Crye Precision CPC or even a real Crye JPC. So in the beginning it was more about getting affordable but good real steel gear. It evolved from Warrior Assault Systems and 5.11 to better looking Brands like Semapo or some good Replica Brands as ToySoldier.
I personally then got into a pursuit doing a super accurate kit and tried to get as close a reference picture as possible. This lasted for about one and a half years after that I got to realize that “true” kits are cool but mostly not that useable on the Airsoft field for my personal use. Which led to where we are now. It’s a mix of using the correct plate carriers, pouches and accessories but use them in a way I like them and can actually use it. So concluding I guess you could say it was a natural evolution through using the kit and then changing it to my needs.
S23: We normally defer to my good friend over at The Reptile House to cross examine interviewees on blasters, but whilst he’s on a temporary sabbatical we thought it only fair to give your teams blasters, space here too …
… What are your preferred platforms of choice, and what’s the ethos behind there set up ?
HS02: Other then most reenacting teams or MilSim squads we’re solely running PTWs in our Team. Most of the members prefer to use Systemas –so do I, apart from HS13, he’s the only one who runs an FCC. After many different setups we basically all got stuck with the 416. First off we used self-made upper receivers made from GBB 416 uppers –except for HS14 he got the very first FCC 416, but swapped the internals for Systema ones-and eventually swapped them out for either HAO 416D or EagleEye body kits. The optics used are mainly L3 EoTech. In the beginning it was for the looks but after borrowing real ones from friends or just checking on it from HS14 –he was always the guy with the coolest kit and always ahead of us.
We all got stuck with real L3 EoTechs. The range goes from a 511 to 553s SU-231, XPS3-0 EXPS3-0s SU-231. So basically a bit of a cag-inspired gun build for the most part. Flashlight wise we all run some sort of a SureFireLLC M600-Type. Differences go from M600C, U to the V variant, which basically comes from personal preference and availability in Europe –I’m referring to high prices and ITAR-.
S23: Scene wise, what’s the current state of Swiss ‘Plastic Deth’ – do you either regularly skirmish, or prefer to train in anticipation of more larger MilSim/RealSim events ?
HS02: Sadly the Milsim/RealSim scene in Switzerland isn’t really that big. Most of the time we attend one day skirmishes except for 2-4 times a year we attend bigger Operations which are mostly held outside of Switzerland. MilSims like the Pandion Games for example in Sweden though really sound interesting to some of our members and we’re thinking about hitting one up in the not too far future.
S23: Back to gears, its often a laboriously exhaustive task completing a load out, often an ongoing evolution of upgrades or even replacement and repairs. But, what the process for researching and developing any project ?
HS02: Well that’s a hard topic to be honest with you. Most of the time I find myself looking at pictures I find somewhere in the deep cyberspace and think to myself ”well that looks cool, I wonder what that is” and from that point on I guess you could say, that I’m chased by the kit or item I like or want to have. So I then spend most of my free time –sometimes also worktime- (laughs), to find a way to get the wanted product.
Most of the time then I ask HS03 or HS14 about their opinions on the item and whether it would be worth the money and expenses to get it. So it’s not like your typical reenacting guy who solely sticks to the 110% trueness of his kit it’s more of a “what appeals to me” and “what seems right to me” decision and process of acquiring new gear and accessories. To sum it up I believe that you could say that the process to get new stuff is mostly a long journey of being pushed towards buying and being pulled away from buying items. But most of the time the final decision falls really quick and I find myself spending way too much money per month –as always- (laughs).
S23: We recently asked one of our interviewees, only a few weeks back, about a growing trend to only play in warmer months, probably much like the UK you get your fair share of inclement weather, what’s your take on it, here we just pack the appropriate gears regardless, unless it’s gale force winds (laughs) …
HS02: The weather conditions in Switzerland aren’t probably as bad as the UK weather as far as I know. In summer it gets quite warm easily 30° and above and in winter we get a lot of snow in the higher located areas and fields, around 10cm-30cm of snow I guess. So basically it’s just as you mentioned above, pack the appropriate gear you will need. Whether it is a Lvl.6 Jacket and thick winter gloves for really cold weather or if it is a sleeve-mod combat shirt and some combat pants. It’s funny you ask this question because at the last LARP we attended it got really hot and as the objectives required us to protect certain areas or just be the guards of a special AO, some of us started wearing shorts instead of their Crye combat pants.
Which got me thinking that I’ll need some cut up combat pants or either some tacticool” shorts for the next summer season! So the boys and I aren’t just warm-weather players, the conditions don’t really matter to us, it’s all about the right gear.
S23: We spoke earlier offline, regarding social media, often its dismissed as a vanity project. But you made an exceptionally astute observation it’s important to document our endeavors. It’s visual aspect is undeniable, after all we all love cool kit. Is this sublime aspect overlooked perhaps ?
HS02: Although I believe that one shouldn’t generalize and put all kind of people in the same basket. There’s always people that think differently and some of them like to think of their kit as an endeavor as you said but I guess that some just do it to in order to fulfill their desires for vanity. In some way we all seek recognition for the things we do, whether it is the videos I edit and the pictures I shoot, or be it the blogs you write. I although think that there are different ways to let others know about your success or better said share your success and approach your fans correctly. I –and so does the rest of my team- try to communicate a general atmosphere of helpfulness and willingness to help other to achieve their dream kit and answer their questions concerning different pieces of kit and gear. The main aim is it to show fellow airsoft players how cool a Real Steel Gear or even just a slight reenactment kit with good replica gear can be and motivate more players to engage in the MilSim and Real Steel Gear scene here in Switzerland as it’s a really small scene. To quote Ghandi: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”. Be cool, stay open minded- and –hearted, and encourage others to participate in our awesome movement!
S23: So, before we close out with our trademark question, what have you got planned for the near future, new gears, events or projects in the works ?
HS02: Projects that are in the works are video reviews about Night Vision, like different kinds of Night Vision Devices, doing a comparison with different devices and their features. Maybe we’ll start with some Gear reviews as well, that I don’t know yet. Night vison gameplay footage thanks to my Swedish bro “Sandycam”. HS03 and I are planning to participate in the real-steel shooting scene, so maybe we’ll even upload some footage of that as well. New gears aren’t planned for the moment as we are all pretty happy with our Multicam kit we got running currently, although improvement and the evolution is ever on-going and a never ending story.Maybe will spice things up with some different camos just to have more options at OPs for different factions and also different AOs, but that’s really far away in the future at the moment and not yet definitive what sort of Camo we’ll potentially acquire.
S23: 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 ?
HS02: I personally like the idea of using less shots to score a hit during a skirmish, overshooting is never good in my opinion. -I usually double tap the opponent-. Although the limitation of 30 rounds per mag would probably require me to change my kit from my fast direct action kit so I would be able carry more mags, I suppose that it would help to fresh up the game play. Less spraying, as the magazine capacity is limited, which demands a more clever and thoughtful style of play and using your resources intelligent. It would be more about clean shots, clean and calm movement with a more structured style of play and not just “spray’n’pray”. As one of my best mates HS14 always quotes: “slow is smooth, smooth is fast”.
To sum it all up from our and my side, I’d really like to thank you for giving us and also me the opportunity to tell you about us and where we came from, showing off different aspects from our squad. Some background information about us:
Kits are often based on 1st SFOD-D pictures but are rarely 100% true or if you would like to say so “incorrect”. We changed over to a more player focused kit instead of a “nice to look at” kit. As we’re still players and not just mannequins. The team was originally planned with 10 members, which due to different mindsets or just private reasons decided to take a different path. We now ended up with six guys. So at the highest frequency we were HS01 –HS06 and HS12–HS15, and now ended up with HS02 (me), HS03, HS12, HS13, HS14, HS15.