Keepin’ It Real – Spotlight and Review Pt II on Scott Country’s Cannae Pro Gear ‘The Centurion 1/2 Zip Pullover

Keepin’ It Real – Spotlight and Review Pt II on Scott Country’s Cannae Pro Gear  ‘The Centurion 1/2 Zip Pullover

Back to Business, Temporarily …

As some of you may already gathered, or even read on the S23 Facebook page, I’m taking a break, and as such putting all of this on a much needed hiatus.
Sure at some point, I’ll be back, when I’m ready and put the whole show back on the road.
But, in the interim – as I wrap up for the year I’ve a few more pieces that require my attention, and I’ll work through these at a pace and tempo that’s desirable to me.

Cannae’s ‘The Centurion 1/2 Zip Pullover

So, onto business in hand, and I’m here to review Cannae Pro Gears ‘The Centurion’ 1/2 Zip Performance Pullover.

We’d recently enjoyed reviewing and giving Cannae’s ‘The Phalanx’ a thorough overview and as such now turn our attention to this piece, from their extensively growing range of apparel.
Essentially, in its most basic interpretation it’s an iteration of the venerable soft shell. Whilst not quite designed or expected to perform perhaps in general terms of other jackets specifically with the brief as outlined, or rather coined by the designation ‘soft shell’ it does offer many similar qualities, performance and even a few little positive differences which actually in some respects should afford The Centurion it’s own designation.


What does that mean in layman’s terms ?
Well, whilst it affords reasonable protection against the elements, such as wind, frost and even considerable precipitation – it’s fabricated from materials traditionally not used by more traditional ‘soft shell’ jackets.
Ergo, they’ve opted here for a more contemporary and technical suite of materials which when combined, not only offer protection from the elements, but dry faster when it truly does become saturated, and you’d be surprised just how heavy the rain has to be before The Centurion accepts defeat. 

But, the breathable fabric expels moisture actively and thusly drys quicker and reverts instantly back to its repellency …
It’s lower torso is also lined and as such traps warmth and is a superb performer for assisting in keeping you comfortable when temperatures drop.

Good Lookin’ Out


But, before we discuss these in further detail, initial impressions on appearance, cut, fit and form.
Without a stitch or seam out of place, The Centurion surely looks the part, and its inimitable black non reflective subdued colorway looks sublimely menacing, sleek and aggressively athletic in cut and form.
However, in complete contrast, as eye pleasingly cool as it looks to me, a long time fan boy and aficionado of tactical gear and apparel, it truly and equally is at home on the street or office space as it is on the ‘proverbial’ battle field.
It in a word looks smart, comprehensive and devoid of needless accessories is a subtly essential addition to any enthusiasts gear locker without needlessly drawing attention to yourself.
Even Cannae’s logo, whilst proudly taking pole position on the upper right corner of the shells torso is subdued.
As such, I’ve utilized this in a myriad of conditions, and more importantly over broad variety tasks.
Everything from duty at work, late night in game to more spells at work at height and plunging temperatures.
It’s also seen everyday wear to and from the store, frosty early morning runs to casually relaxing out in the autumnal ‘patrols’ with my youngest …

The end result has been the same, even taking a few scuffs and knocks along the way from some fairly abusive wear, it has retained its fit, form and function admirably.
It’s attracted admiring respect on immediate appearance in the office, but overt enough it’s not attracted unwanted attention when worn elsewhere as ‘unauthorized non issue kit’.

The arms, shoulders and chest material is made from a durable wind-resistant poly soft shell to absorb the tough contact while the body is made of a super soft breathable poly micro-fiber. Plus, a bit of flexible spandex is added throughout for tactical maneuverability with everyday comfort.

It’s non reflective exterior has, perhaps more decisively won my admiration as it’s effectively aided concealment and camouflage when out at a recent ‘Night Game’ – and whilst by no means IR defeating, it certainly offered considerable additional concealment when coupled with my favored ‘low light’ camouflage, my ‘Woodland’ M81 G3 patterned pants …

… micro fleeced lining …


Features 
As simple and streamlined as the Centurion is, you’d nary expect or immediately spot or even be aware of some of its features.
I’m 6ft tall, a 42″ chest and if memory serves a 16″ collar, which inordinately long arms, I often have to scale up to an XL cut, as I’m often left wanting at the cuff, particularly when I extend my arms. 


Here, Cannae have actually put in considerable homework and R&D’d a set of dimensions which happily straddle both an atheistically athletic performance cut and style, whilst not not comprising on an all round generous fit and form.
It’s either serendipity or ingenious development but this goes a long way to assisting when combining this with other outer layers, as it sleek profile gives a good space between the outer layer to trap warmth – conversely it’s loose enough to accommodate with ease either a base layer, or even a tee and a shirt with out building up excessive heat …



Construction



Extreme situations call for high performance technical apparel gear. Engineered for maneuverability and flexibility, The Centurion Performance Pullover provides the active operator an ideal alternative for any scenario. 


It’s essentially of a two part construction, using a power stretch zippered upper across the top of the chest, shoulders and arms, which offers a slightly more resistive posture against any LBE, Armor or Packs you may use, more over its this portion which truly offers shelter from rain and the wind.
The lower portion, a far more softer twill, with a very giving elasticity is lined with a breathable micro fleece inner, which offers great control for trapping warmth and maintain core temperature.
It’s collar is structured and fitted cut, zippered to allowing don and doffing with ease, and when the wind picks up secures closely up and around just below the chin and high around the back of the neck to keep out the cold.
It’s worth noting the YKK zips are rubberized with an affixed cap, and the feature a small overlapping cuff when fully closed to house the zip out securely of the way.

 Features include easy-entry left arm zipper pocket, elbow patches for additional durability, generous patch fields on both arms to customize your identification. Spandex binding at cuffs helps keep the heat in and the cold out.

Features
 
Shoulders, Arms, and Chest made of Durable wind-resistant Soft Shell

Body is a breathable micro-fiber poly

Left Arm Zipper Pocket

Patch Fields on Both Arms

Spandex Trim at Cuffs

Overview
 
I’m a fan, and whilst I don’t give marks out of ten this is a worthy contender for your hard earned cash. It’s can be sought out for a little as $49.95 (£38.15 at the time of going to print) if you know where to look on line, hint just type in ‘Cannae The Centurion‘ into your browser …

As such, it’s been proudly added to the gear locker, and has rarely been a day without use since it landed on my desk.
If I had any criticisms, they’d be either moderately driven towards the aesthetic – the inner collars sweat panel, where the size and washing instructions are housed are on a rather gaudy grey urban camouflage print, think how amazing it’d be to have an M81 or Multicam panel, hell, even UCP would really killer …
The only over criticism I’d offer is the spandex trim on the cuffs, whilst superb and has without compromise held its stitching, for assurance and perhaps longevity should be double stitched, but it’s a minor quibble and has not failed yet.
To push it out on a high note, and I’d argue others should take heed, the Velcro fields on both arms have ‘merrowed’ borders. This prevents wear and tear, secures the Velcro field and is far more covert and professional in fit and finish. Right, I’m off to get a coffee, and yes you guessed it, I’m taking The Centurion with me – S23



You can check out more from Scott Country and view all their products including Cannae Pro Gear at the links below:


Scott Country Web
: https://www.scottcountry.co.uk/

Scott Country Facebook
: https://www.facebook.com/ScottCountry/

Scott Country Instagram
: http://instagram.com/scott_country



Cannae Pro Gear Web: https://cannaeprogear.com/

Cannae Pro Gear Facebook
: https://www.facebook.com/CannaeProGearUK/

Cannae Pro Gear Instagram
: http://instagram.com/cannaeprogear

**LAST FEW S23 Mk II ‘VOLTRON’ BEER MATS & Mk III ’23 Diamonds’ – GET EM’ BEFORE THEY’RE GONE** 


Made by none other than BritKitUSA for us, head on over to and gear up at http://s23familia.bigcartel.com


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Balance The Odds Pt. V – an interview with Hermes Medical

Balance The Odds Pt. V – an interview with Hermes Medical

So, we’ve interviewed HHK (Hestehovkompaniet) Trident EOD, Arquebus Control Team and of course Sky One from Norway’s stunning RealSim collective Task Force Exorbitance

We round the series with Hermes Medical, by no means last and definitely not least, Hermes are pivotal in keeping the rest of the TF in the fight.
Here we’ll talk through their kits, gears and blasters and these impressionistas Medic and PJ (ParaJump Rescue) inspired load outs, and more importantly their quintessential role within Exorbitance.



S23: Welcome aboard, last but not least it great to round out what’s been an astounding series of interviews with Hermes
Dialing it right back to the beginning, how long have you been playing ‘Plastic Deth‘ (Airsoft) and how did it all start ?
M03: Like most of us, I and my friends in our early teens bought some springer pistols at this local shop that didn’t really care about age, rules and such. We had ‘BB Warz‘ in our backyards, of course this was not accepted by our parents but ever since, I’ve always thought that Airsoft had so much potential, little did I then know what I had in store. 

… the early days …
When I found a local, organized club in early 2013.
I found a few likeminded guys and we went all in with Russian gear, I think it took three months before I went from casual gamer to impressionist.

‘Leeroy Jenkins !!!’ (Now)
I joined ‘Spetsgruppa K‘ and from there I got to know some really cool guys, including HHK.



S23: What was you first taste of the Norwegian RealSim scene, what sort of impact did that have on where you wanted to go ?
M03: I didnt really get into RealSim before I had already gone from Spetsgruppa K and joined TF Exo, what really drove me into this extreme niche was the dedication the other guys had, the constant drive to be better, make the experience better for others and the friendship within the Task Force.


S23: Possibly one of the more eclectic, possibly even difficult load outs to develop and evolve – what inspired the PJ and Medic load outs of Hermes ?
M03: Hermes wanted to fit in with TF Exo, so we started out with the guys from ‘Inside Combat Rescue‘ (National Geographic PJ documentary) and the last year we have been moving towards modern STS (Special Tactics Squadron) just to get our hands on some better gear and follow the timeline with the rest of TF Exo.



S23: How much painstakingly excruciating research did you have to put in ?
M03: Oh my god, you have no idea! I went from Russian gearwhore to AFSOC PJ in like, five months, I had literally no clue on western gear, I hardly knew what a LBT 6094 was. 


Fortunately I had a lot of help from the rest of the Task Force, and they knew that I didn’t know that much on western gear. Asgeir, the founder of Hermes already had a basic kitlist but like the rest of the Task Force, I like to customize my loadout a bit more than the basic kitlist, and make it more effective for our missions. The last year, when we have been moving towards STS, the new guys, M04 and M06 have really made an effort in identifying kit, finding pictures and guiding Hermes the right way, I couldn’t have done it without them.

M03 with a member of Grey Group

Special Tactics Squadrons consist of Special Tactics Officers, Combat Controllers, Combat Rescue Officers, Pararescuemen, Air Force Special Operations Weather Technicians, Air Liaison Officers, Tactical Air Control Party operators, and a number of combat support airmen which comprise 58 Air Force specialties.
S23: Now, for the most part, I’d imagine much of your medical expertise and its application is simulated and undoubtedly brings a very new dynamic to RealSim events – is this immersion possibly something that more events should explore. I’d imagine it adds no end of tone and tempo to the proceedings?
M03: Most definitely! Strict medic rules changes the whole dynamic to the event! 


Everyone should be afraid to get hit, and getting hit should have consequences for the rest of the team, even the mission, and having dedicated medics should be rewarded. When TF Exo participate in events with simple medic rules, we play with RealSim rules just to heighten our own experience, and possibly guys around us also …
S23: … and how much of your ‘in game medical care’ is counterpointed by real world first aid and medical care, I’d imagine any knowledge, even routine basic first aid would prove to be invaluable for the environments you often find yourselves in ?
M03: The average Airsoft player is not in always average shape, lets face it, and when an average player runs sround in the woods, injuries are bound to happend, so yeah, some basic first aid training comes in handy.


 Asgeir serves in the Norwegian military, I myself was a medic in the military and those of us who have got no training or experience in first aid, we teach. 

The pack is a TSSI M9, there are several producers of the same pack, but mine is from Tacops. Its a great pack, slim and low profile – you can carry all the essentials, but not much more. When I served I had a much bigger pack with alot more equipment, but then I did not walk all the time, so it was no big deal. What I really like about the pack is how you can customize it to your needs. You got padded shoulderstraps, but if you dont like them and they get in the way of your weapon, you got these really slim straps attatched to the pack. You got three different inner panels, and you can change every pocket, even rip them out.

We are also a good resource for others around us who may be more skilled than us, since our backpacks are filled with real, relevant first aid supplies.

S23: … it surely must be quite exhilarating, patching up a ‘fallen comrade’ and getting your buddy up and running again all the whilst drawing fire – do you utilize tactics to concentrate on the task in hand while the rest of the team give cover and pull security?

M03
: Yeah, its kind of ‘own safety first’ – Hermes falls, Exo is f****d, so we get some guys to help us get our fallen back behind the line of fire, or we move the line of fire forward so we can reach our guys. In extreme cases where nothing else is possible, we just run as fast as we can towards the fallen. The adrenaline and kick you get when you are reviving a fallen team mate and people are shooting at you or the guys beside you are really something to experience.
S23: Talk us through you personal load out, what modifications and adjustments have you made to improve functionality at events, Skirmishes and RealSim‘ ?



M03: The key factor is weight and access to medical kit, so I have TQ’s in my shoulder pads for quick application, scissors between the kangaroopouch and vest, carabiner hook on the stock to hang the rifle up and away if we are treating someone in a vehicle, my backpack is almost the exact setup as I had in the military so i know every pocket, content e.t.c. for easy, smooth use. Since we dont roll in Blackhawks we pretty much carry everything with us, including litters, IV’s and such so our loadouts are pretty clean, nothing is unnecessary, everything is put to use.

Hermes and other elements of TF Exo

S23: And of course, your blaster – I take it you still use the Marui M4 NGRS as a base platform ?
M03: Yes, we are still using the Marui M4 as our standard platform but as our gear have transitioned to the modern STS PJ Era, so have our rifles. Most of our guys are currently running M4 CQBR with 9.5″ Daniel Defense rails and 10.3″ barrels with up to date accessories. Other than our standard M4’s we have started our reconnaissance loadouts where we’ll be utilizing an M110, SR-25 and M14 EBRS.


S23: … 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 ? 

M03: definitely, like strict medicrules, lowcaps change the hole dynamic, you have to think before every shot, count rounds, even better, before the event you have had to zero your sights to make every round count – M03


Keep up to date with Hermes right here on  Hermes Medical Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Hermes-Medical-Team-350589008479296/

Huge thanks to M03, and of course to all of Task Force Exorbitance who’ve made this series of interviews such a resounding success. Don’t forget, of course you can catch up with the other four parts right here, and see what role HHK, Trident, Arquebus and Sky One play in TF EXOS23


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S23 is proud to collaborate with Project Delta Whiskey: http://projectdeltawhiskey.co.uk/
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Balance The Odds Pt. IV – an interview with Sky One

Balance The Odds Pt. IV – an interview with Sky One

Sky One, possibly the least visible online and more importantly, or relevantly in game – are Task Force Exorbitance‘ two man ‘Reconnaissance’ element. Often found deep beyond friendly positions, deep behind enemy lines and far in advance of the TF’s other elements, HHK (Hestehovkompaniet) Hermes (Medics), Trident (EOD) and Arquebus (Communications).
Providing real time intelligence visually and over the TF’s communications net as well as providing long range overwatch utilizing their specialized and custom blasters. 
As the fourth part of our series, with TF Exorbitance we sit down with one of their elusive members to get the insiders perspective of being a ‘Recce’ patrol group.

S23
: Welcome aboard and thank you for being apart of this series. Rather than the obligatory ‘Plastic Deth‘ (Airsoft) history – we’ll jump straight in with this opening gambit, what exactly does the ‘Reconnaissance’ role you and your counterpart play as part of TF Exorbitance ?

SK01
: Thank you for letting us be a part of the series. Yeah, the reconnaissence part is actually really basic. We are the guys in the front, scouting the area and observing the enemy, and the occasional “sniper” missions too. We are only two guys at the moment, so our team is light and fast. That is one of the key parts. 

S23
: Whilst I’m aware, in part from a rare photo of you guys taking part in a VBSS training exercise – you have access to more ‘commonly seen’ gears and blasters as sported by the remainder of the group. How does the specialist gears, kits, equipment and blasters differ from everyone else, specifically with application to your ‘Recce’ role ?

SK01
: Well our equipment is more long range oriented. Heavy upgraded rifles with long range optics, concealment gear, a good spotter scope, and basically stuff that will make us survive three day or more. Big ass rucksacks and long range communication is also very important. 



S23
: Often working far in advance from the rest of the TF, often in less than hospitable conditions and seasoned veterans of Norway’s RealSim community, your experience in the field must be really put to the test on regular occasion. What have you learned, and what additional or specialist equipment do you utilize to make your time in the AO a little easier and bearable ?

SK01
: Most of what I have learned is from my time in the military, but this gets put on test from time to time because there is no one around to guide us and the environment can easily kill you if you are not smart. Warm and dry clothes is crucial to make it easy. 

Knowing when to take it off and when to put it on. No actual special equipment other than standard (Norwegian standard that is) winter survival gear. But the best equipment I can point to is the Eagle Industries hand warmer, Salomon Quest 4D boots and Outdoor Research Gaiters.

S23: Gunngir recently commented that comm’s are put to good use amongst your TF, I’ve used over the last few years similar if not identical systems to not only keep good communication with team mates but larger elements to good effect, he furthered that comm’s and the benefits of investing in such equipment is key to making teams not only more effective but opening up new tactics and options possibly otherwise not afforded to those who overlook this facet of RealSim, what’s your experience with using a good command net and how does it benefit your role and the rest of the TF ?

SK01
: For us it’s absolute bread and butter. We can’t go out and recon the area without good and stable comms. We can’t pass information to the rest of the team, and without us they often has to go in “blind”. 

We need to know where the enemy is and their strength. And It’s good to know where HVT’s are and where patrol units go. 

If we have good comms and a good spotting position, we can guide the DA teams pretty close without being seen. This lessen the risk for large casualties and mission failures …

S23
: You both often employ some specifically unique blasters, which really give you some real long range capabilities – talk us through these ?

SK01
: We have two SR25 DMR’s, which is what we usually use for our primary blasters.

One M40A3 which is for when we are going on sniper missions to take out MG positions, HVT’s or counter sniper missions. This goes on one of our backpacks usually and one is always a spotter and radio man. 

We also have basic Tokyo Mario NGRS 416’s. One is a bit more longrange oriented with shortdot and long Geiselle rail. 

And ofcourse our custom Salient Arms Glocks

S23: As such, most modern militaries boast in some shape or form, a ‘Recce’ capability – however, rarely heard of, shrouded in OpSec or rarely seen in the wild, has this made researching your gears difficult ?

SK01
: Yes it has, but we have some basic guide lines …



S23
: What was the primary influence or inspiration for your Recce builds, as research material is scarce to say the least ?

SK01
: It’s a role we both enjoy so after trying it out a bit here and there, we decided to make a proper kit for it and we also got a tip from H-47 that they needed a recon team in Exo, so a lot of the inspiration comes from there …

Not much is known about CAG recce units, so we use some aspects from DA such as certain brands they have been seen with and use our imagination for the rest, this allows for some freedom, but we thought through very thoroughly when building our kits. 

S23: Now, whilst HHK are storming compounds and putting squeeze on the OpFor, Trident busy breaching and clearing positions or taking care of disposal of enemy ordnance, Arquebus coordinating it all over a tightly maintained command net and Hermes keeping everyone in the fight, what is often your perspective of the action, or even overall an event – is somewhat slightly more sedate and a game of patience or do you still get to participate in at least some of the action ?

SK01
: Most of the time we spend we’re taking shifts in looking through a spotting scope, taking notes and reporting, but if we are needed, we will ditch our backpacks and all the gear we don’t find necessary and join in on the action.

It’s a game of patience, but when we have set up the gear and we’re high up on the side of a mountain you can see all that the enemy are doing, It’s actually really fun and exiting, especially when we are stalking someone. Like when you are hunting for large game.

S23: … and, if you get ‘bumped’ – what’s your escape and evasion plan ?

SK01
:  When s*** hits the fan, we pack fast and run like hell and let the rest of the team know that we are compromised or we hide nearby, leaving the “camp” behind and either wait or ambush them unless its a large group. 



S23
: Immersion, realism and attention to detail amongst the entire TF have brought admiration and applause from the globe over. Despite this, you’ve a passion for Airsoft, gears, kits and blasters that is refreshingly pleasing to see such longstanding passion – what do you have planned next for Sky One ?

SK01
: Next plan is perhaps a new long-range bolt rifle and upgrading our DMR’s. Also work on our sneaking/infiltration game and camouflage. 



S23
: Before we part out, with our trademark question, could briefly talk us through your personal ‘Recce’ load out, what LBE (Load Bearing Equipment) Boots, Clothing etc you are currently using ?

SK01
: We are both running Blue Force GearRack Minus‘ with a combo of Crye and TYR pouches. 

Crye combat/field and our signature LEAF Jacket and Boonie. Boots are Salomon Q4D. Outdoor Research Gaiters. TRI and TCA PRC 152. S-04 is running a Arc’teryx Khyber 80, and S-10 is running a Mystery Ranch SATL assault pack. 



S23
: … 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 ? 

SK01
: We really like the idea of ‘real cap’ in CQB and MilSim events. It would make people think a bit more before they pull the trigger. We don’t shoot much anyways so we wouldn’t notice any difference in it.


Huge thanks to René from  Sky One for an awesome interview. Stay tuned for part five coming soon. Don’t forget to catch up with parts one, two and three of our Task Force Exorbitance series featuring Hestehovkompaniet, Arquebus and Trident too – S23

Keep up to date with Sky One here on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sky-One-1773428876279168/


**BACK IN STOCK – GET EM’ BEFORE THEY’RE GONE**

Mk III S23 ‘Ranger Diamond’ Patches in burnt orange – show your OG S23Familia pride …

Get em’ here: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/322835423018

**Project Delta Whiskey & S23FAMILIA PTW Collaboration T-Shirt ‘Fortune Favors The Brave’ Now Availble** Available now in S, M, L, XL, and 2XL in Black or Grey: https://projectdeltawhiskey.co.uk/shop/pdw-s23-beer-mat-tailored-fit-tee 


S23 is proudly sponsored by ToySoldier: http://www.toysoldier.com.hk/


S23 is proud to collaborate with Project Delta Whiskey: http://projectdeltawhiskey.co.uk/

Don’t forget you can read our articles exclusive to Airsoft International each and every month:http://www.ai-mag.com/

s23 is proudly sponsored by Emperion: http://emperionstore.com/


S23 proudly supports Legion Airsoft Events – fined out more here: http://legionairsoftevents.com/

The Great ‘Plastic Deth’ Trendkill – The Ai500 ‘Unfinished Business’

The Great ‘Plastic Deth’ Trendkill – The Ai500 ‘Unfinished Business’


This weekend just gone, 22nd through to the 24th of September, I again for the eighth time had the pleasure and honor to lead once again Task Force Viper, and face our formidable foes (friends) Team Mongoose.

Held for the second time this year, again using the eerily abandoned and apocalyptically derelict theme park located amongst the leafy confines of Cleethorpes in the North East of England.


Over 350 players assembled to partake in over two days of ‘Plastic Deth‘ and bring this years storyline of ‘post civil war’ power play to its earth shattering and explosive conclusion …


Airsoft International‘ – The Ai500Unfinished Business‘ is clearly still a relevant, popular draw amongst players not just here in the United Kingdom, but globally drawing players from all over the world from Belgium, The States, New Zealand, Denmark, Holland, Greece and of course not forgetting ‘The Isle of Man‘.

… Isle of Man’s Colin C – photo courtesy of JVis & MvE photography
Not only hosting possibly one of the largest fixed battle large scale Airsoft events, it also gives opportunity to celebrate the very best of the Airsoft Community – it’s profoundly unique in inception and large scale in vision.

Friday



Upon arrival, it was ideal opportunity to meet old and new friends alike, and take opportunity to not only set up gear, kit and blasters in preparation for the two days ahead, but also to take the opportunity to relax and unwind after a long hard week at work. This actually, whilst not always possible at any and every event always goes a long way to getting into the mindset and mood perhaps best intentioned to fully enjoy and embrace the event.

… kits, gears and blasters …
Present to not only offer a wide variety of accessories, consumables and erstwhile last minute forgotten purchases – but HR4K had an abundance of Rogue American apparel and Black Rifle Coffee on sale, Enola Gaye with their pyro, smoke and of course new their new FUG gloves. Scott Country alongside their new optics, NVG’s and thermal imaging had much to offer with their new Cannae Pro Gear range including two new jackets in their subdued color ways. Viper also on hand to cover any last minute clothing or load bearing issues. Of course ASG and ICS where presents with a complete range of demonstration models to try and stock to purchase. All of which was rounded out by Pilgrim Bandits veteran charity as well as Airsoft Internationals stand, here you could meet the team and editorial and pick up that missing copy of Ai
Saturday



After Friday’s intermittent rain, after some good food, a few beers and even better yet hot coffee – the assembled teams gathered to wage war once again, fortunately to an otherwise fresh and bright Saturday morning.
It always never fails to impress, the lengths people go to travel to not only events like the Ai500, but it’s staggering to see the effort and logistics you, the players put in to get yourselves here safely, with all your kit, gears and blasters – and all the supporting ephemera to sleep, feed and get your selves through the event.
Whilst by no means a parade or a fashion show both teams look truly formidable, resplendent in their respective load outs. Vipers opting for the arid brushed tones of Multicam, Digital Desert patterns and Team Mongoose using a solid mix of Blacks and Greens, DPM and M81 Woodland. It’s a truly simple, yet effective way of not only giving both teams a unique identity, but offers both teams equal footing to camouflage themselves amongst the autumnal foliage without giving either an advantage over the other or detracting from the suspension of disbelief …

‘Honary’ 2IC Jon A ‘The Pirate Raccoon’
After Ai’s Editor and event lead, Ben W’s succinctly perfunctory but no less compellingly comprehensive safety brief, the greens departed for their Forward Base of Operations, leaving us The Vipers to brief out our first objectives at the old disused ‘mono rail’ station – its elevated platform gave me a superb view of the site and allowed me to plot movement of our call signs with ease …


The action started furiously, with our first objective underway, to rescue a team of downed special forces, superbly played by our guest from the Isle of Man, the Manx Airsoft Club – the remainder of Viper went in to extract them …
If I recall, whilst not entirely successful – this did set the tone, tempo and action for not only the remainder of the day – hard, fast and relentless – whilst always in good spirits, it was clearly evident this was to be a hotly contested event, violent in action with every inch of ground fought for by both sides almost quite literally nose to nose …

Charlie Coy’s Sub Commander Neil W
This time around, the lower left corner of the sight, just on the south eastern corner of the lake had been annexed – this gave the green a rotationally clockwise path of egress towards the remains areas of the AO – either alongside the lakes rail track or up through the old farm infrastructure which whilst providing cover, was more serpentine to navigate and perhaps somewhat slowed their advance. We alternately had a straight run up the main drag, and this gave us two points of entry on the north eastern corner of the lake, the rail track and open brush land ahead of the old farm housing.

… green deth …

This proved to be a hotly contested area, and it was here the majority of both forces dug in a quite literally spent the majority of the day locked fierce firefights throughout the afternoon as the attempted to brake the stranglehold on this vital area of access.

… smokes out !!!

I imagine it’s as frustrating for the opposition as it is for players on Viper, whilst on the front lines, amidst the schism and chaos to objectively see the battle unfold, or even objectively comprehend what I the commander is seeking to achieve.

S23’s ’08 PTW vs Jake L’s ASG CZ EVO
However, this ultimately saw us utilize the time this main push had purchase to send out smaller teams to enact many of day myriad of objectives. 

… sunset on day one …

Overall, wracking up considerable points from both ‘time’ and recovered ordnance – it was for me, another impressive turn from Viper.

… defending our HQ and ‘coffee station’ …
Naturally, a tip of the hat has be given to Team Mongoose, who made us pay a high price for our success in blood, sweat and tears.
Rivalries aside, after EndEx on day one, after some brief admin, and fresh coffee I gathered with the attendees in their entirety for not only the traditional prize draw ‘raffle’ but the opportunity to enjoy a cold beer.

Photo courtesy of JVis & MvE photography

Sadly, an absent attending player had recently lost his very young son to illness, such grave news was not lost on our community – and without encouragement the players attending here dug deep into their pockets to help staggeringly raise over £1000 pounds to help meet funeral costs. It’s endeavors like these, which truly display the very best of our community, which you’ve all helped build and establish – I for one, alongside the event organizers am truly proud of your selflessness and generosity.
Sunday

Photo courtesy of JVis & MvE photography


This saw more of the good weather we enjoyed the day before, waking early Sunday morning – and whilst enjoying a hot coffee as the sun rose, over the tranquility of the still lake I smiled to myself knowing that in less than a few hours, the otherwise serene tree lined and overgrown amusements would be once again be torn asunder with chaos and explosive action as previously witnessed the day before – it’s shame that before we knew it’d be over …
We stepped out, having swapped command posts – and almost instantaneously grasped control over a large aware of the site, gambling the entire task force and sending them straight up the rail tracks to annex the top end of the AO.

Terry A – my comm’s guy and advisor
This allowed me to slow time send reinforcements up through the tracks of the old farm to reinforce this position and again send our smaller teams on ‘reconnaissance’ to achieve our objectives without being impeded by enemy forces.
Sure, the bulk of Viper had to bear the brunt of the heavy fighting. But, their can do attitude and enthusiasm whilst approaching all the ‘heavy lifting’ against an all but almost unbreakable foe saw us rack up such stunning statistics points wise.

Photo courtesy of JVis & MvE photography
However, screaming for vengeance, the Team Mongoose really put the squeeze on, and saw them push down the rail track tallying incredible attrition on our forces. This too, saw our hold on the farm courtyard nearly broken but, fortunately and to our advantage a temporary ceasefire was called to reorganize, feed ourselves and rearm before recommencing operations.

Photo courtesy of JVis & MvE photography

The latter part of day two, saw us defend to vital parts of infrastructure – to complete our mission we had to hold, defend and prevent both rail bridges from being destroyed with timed explosives. Last time our, saw this scenario reversed – but we managed to blow at least one of the bridges, this time out saw us defend both bridges leaving them successfully intact, an achievement I’m proud of – and even saw me out of the HQ at one point, assisting my mortar team drop no end of mortar rounds on advancing enemy forces …
Photo courtesy of JVis & MvE photography
It all saw us head on mass to the north east corner for one final climatic battle, smoke covered the sight in an almost eerie green mist and was illuminated by more mortar rounds, grenades and flash bangs. Despite being held back Team Mongoose proved to be as relentless as ever, and continuously crashed into our defensive positions.
Photo courtesy of JVis & MvE photography

It was epic stuff, truly beyond imagination and expectation. A fitting conclusion to yet another epic weekend and another classic Ai500 committed to the history books.



Thanks

It was an honor, and always a pleasure to lead Task Force Viper and face off against our formidable foes Team Mongoose led by Tim Van de Cavey – thanks to you, the players who truly make this all the more worthwhile.
Huge thanks to Paul and Sharon Monaf, Ben Webb and Ben Dickie (there in spirit) and of course Richard M and Tim Criddle and all the event staff. Not forgetting Paul Wignell, Jake L and the ASG team, Scott Country and Cannae Pro Gear UK – and not forgetting, the top men over at HR4K.
Special thanks to Mark from Task Force Voodoo, and Alpha Coy, Terry and Mike Arnett and Bravo Coy, Neil W and Charlie Coy and Carlo T and Delta Coy and of course Dave Porter and Team Centurions & Manx Airsoft Club.
Special thank to Jon A (our honorary 2IC) James Spearing and JVis & MvE Photography – cheers S23



**Project Delta Whiskey & S23FAMILIA PTW Collaboration T-Shirt ‘Fortune Favors The Brave’ Now Availble** Available now in S, M, L, XL, and 2XL in Black or Grey: https://projectdeltawhiskey.co.uk/shop/pdw-s23-beer-mat-tailored-fit-tee 
S23 is proudly sponsored by ToySoldier: http://www.toysoldier.com.hk/

S23 is proud to collaborate with Project Delta Whiskey: http://projectdeltawhiskey.co.uk/


Don’t forget you can read our articles exclusive to Airsoft International each and every month:http://www.ai-mag.com/

s23 is proudly sponsored by Emperion: http://emperionstore.com/


S23 proudly supports Legion Airsoft Events – fined out more here: http://legionairsoftevents.com/

Keepin’ It Real – Spotlight and Review on Scott Country’s Cannae Pro Gear Pt I ‘The Phalanx Two Day Pack’

Keepin’ It Real – Spotlight and Review on Scott Country’s Cannae Pro Gear Pt I ‘The Phalanx Two Day Pack’

The good people over at Scott Country reached out to us and spoke to us about having a good look at some of their Cannae Pro Gear Range.

Naturally, an exciting prospect, and a venture we were only too happy to undertake – as in fact we’d been already following their product range with no end of considerable insterest.

Cannae Pro Gear has an interesting and  cool history, and whilst I’ll save their modesty and blushes as I understand it, this is born from a renowned and since much longed for and lamented industry leader in gear manufacturing, who back in the early days where one of the leading innovators in modern gear and equipment.
Subsequently reborn, under the auspices of Scott Country, Cannae Pro Gear has been subsequently unleashed upon the discerning tactical gear world. That should perhaps, despite being somewhat vague give you, the reader a baseline from which to approach this review and the pedigree from which Scott Country’s Cannae Pro Gear is originates from.

Scott Country sent several pieces they thought would interest us the most, and more importantly you the reader. So much so, I’ve decided to give each one it’s own individual review.

This review, is the first of three and we’ll endeavor to give each one a detailed inspective insight into what each product is capable of.
The first piece of Cannae Pro Gear will look at is the Phalanx Full Size Two Day Pack w/ Helmet Carry



The Phalanx Features and Details

It’s significant to note, each bag comes with a label, this is well worth keeping as it gives you the end user not only a brief but succinct over of the bags features and details but includes the code for registering your product under their life time warranty policy.
Further more the card supplied gives a brief overview – ‘detail’ of the bags capabilities and functions.

• Comfortable Yoke Strap

• MOLLE Webbing along both shoulder straps

• Sternum Buckle (which also features an emergency whistle function)

• EVA Foam Air Circulated Back

• Removable Waist Belt

• Concealed Hydration Compartment

• Eye Protection Hard Pouch

• Patch Field

• Helmet Carry

• Quick Access Open Pocket

• Bottom Compression Straps

• 9 x 6″ Zipper Mag Pouch

• MOLLE throughout
All of this is supported by Duraflex Buckles, Hard Wear and Furniture including D-Rings and Clips, as well as YKK zippers with super grip pull tabs, and as you’d expect 500D Invista Cordura throughout.

… in Cordura we trust …
It dimensions are as follows:
• Capacity: 21 Litres

• Dimensions: 19.5″ in height x 11.5″

in width and a depth of 6″ (59.5 (H) x 29.2 (W) x 15.2 (D) cm)

• Weight: 2.9 Ibs/1.3 Kgs

Phalanx Review 
Literally, straight out of the packet or proverbial box if you will, The Phalanx screams function over form. That’s by no means to describe it as ugly or unbecoming in appearance, but perhaps in deference to other ‘prettier’ packs – The Phalanx is quite clearly here to do work and has some very specific tasks in mind.
It’s that no thrills honesty, that immediately draws an element of ‘old school’ admiration and respect.
Initial inspection clearly evidenced that this in the first instance has been ‘built’ with hard use – and abuse in mind.
Don’t let it’s broadly ambiguous appearance fool you or dissuade you against more aesthetically appealing products which may well lack some of the operability of Cannae’s Phalanx.

Phalanx Full Size Two Day Pack w/ Helmet Carry

The stitching is solid and consistent throughout, with many of the external pockets and the packs main ‘bucket’ being reinforced with additional ‘Cordura‘ panels, to protect not only contents, but the actual exterior from abrasive wear and tear and ensure longevity and prevent dreaded failure ‘in the field’ …

… hydration bladder is housed in the concealed pocket behind the EVA backer and has pocket to feed the bladders drinking tube through. Look closely and you’ll the emergency whistle on the chest straps clasp …
I was personally thrilled to see all retention straps are looped and stitched at the end, and feature a double side male and female Velcro ‘tidy’. This is ideal for cinching off the straps to size and not only storing them safely out of the way from snagging on branches or doors of vehicles or cargo holds but assists with keeping them locked at their desired setting. As you’d expect some of these straps are for assisting with expanding or compressing the pack, ultimately preventing contents needless rolling around and either interfering with ‘noise discipline’ or becoming unnecessarily jumbled about.

… fully loaded with primary, secondary, clothing and even a HSP D3 CR …

My initial overview and review here, was essentially an attempt to play with the bag and see just how much I’d could fill up its interior, what applications could I use it’s interior pockets and compartments for, and could I carry most if not all  of the equipment, gear and clothing I take out for longer extended events.

The answer to that quite simply is yes, but perhaps understanding the limitations of the bags volume, which is generous – but you the end user need to understand and decide on priority of packing, more critically what you intended to to immediately use, and what can be carried and drawn from the Phalanx as required.

… spare gear and clothing for inclement weather …

I’ll explain further. The Phalanx is broadly quite capable in the first instance of carrying my blaster when both the receiver and lower are disassembled, my secondary blaster, a jacket, such as soft shel shirt or light weight PCU and even at push, a spare set of pants and shirt. Additionally spare magazines, perhaps your primary load for both your rifle and secondary as seen here. As well your helmet utilizing the the exterior ‘kangaroo’ pouch as I’ve aptly nicknamed it.

… easily secures this Ops Core Maritime when on patrol …

The helmet storage –  functionality at it finest, however – and by no means fault of the Phalanx, but in my attempt to ‘pressure test’ just how exhaustive the pack could be carrying all of my immediate gear it proved to be a tight fit. However, as I mentioned earlier, it’s about managing your, or in this case my expectations. Here in this instance, once some of the equipment  has been deployed, such blasters, there’s a little more give and depth given back to the pack. As such using the retention straps and bungee paracord fasteners the ‘kangaroo pouch’ can be adjusted to accommodate your head PPE. Simply then drawing the straps tight your helmet is now secure, of course not forgetting to tidy those straps away with the supplied Velcro closures.


I’ve also here dropped in one of my Source hydration bladders, which sits inside the quilted and micro fleeced pocket, which zippered behind the back, which unlike many other packs has ‘concealed channel for feeding out onto the left shoulder strap, a nice touch often overlooked on other packs I’ve owned, and is perhaps indicative of the packs design and innovative thought that’s been applied throughout.


Sticking with my brief of seeing just how much I could get inside the Phalanx opening the main primary cargo pocket shows Cannae have used every inch of space to offering functionality. The main pockets opening aperture forms a zippered and pocketed tray. This has allowed me to store batteries, pens and markers, Cymalume’s, torch, watch cap and face wrap.

… main cargo tray features two mesh pockets for contents visibility and two partitioned lower pockets with a singular master zippered closure …

Inside the main cargo pocket you can see, I’ve got clothing, weaponry, magazines, gloves, headwear and much more. All of the interior is padded and quilted and alongside the walls of the main cargo area are again covered with micro fleeced lining to prevent wear and tear against the interiors contents when being moved around in vehicles, storage or during use. There’s two adjustable elasticated straps, my initial thoughts were to use these to retain my rifle when stored, but alternative they too can be used to compress larger items of clothing.

… secure …

The main cargo pocket also has an additional sleeve, with Velcro retention flap, again I intend to store in the first instance, shirt and pants here, but concur it’s of comparable size for either armor plates or even a laptop.


More importantly, the pack when fully loaded is an easy wear. Holding here, just short of 30 Ilbs it’s comfortable and the EVA padded back, in conjunction with the generously padded shoulders makes easy work of heavy loads.


This channels heat away from the body, using the meshed interiors of the straps to allow air to ventilate and EVA pads keep the pack off the back as much as possible again to promote good gear management.

Cannae Pro haven’t stopped there, it’s with good examination you’ll find lots of details and additional features such the external admin pocket.


The Padded Eye Pro pocket and patch field, which with its merrowed border which decreases wear and fatigue of the Velcro. Are just some of the many additional features that really make this pack a true contender for your attention.

Or the packs external right side pocket ideal for additional magazines – the possibilities are endless, limited only by your imagination.

I’m proud to welcome this to the gear locker, and keen to put it through its paces at Airsoft International’s Ai500 at the end of September.

It is The Phalanx’s shining strength, its versatility to switch between load bearing carriage option and quickly changing gears to be used as mission specific pack. Alternatively, using the compression straps it would easily be at home used as an every day carry pack be on outdoor adventures, to work or to and from training – S23

You can check out more from Scott Country and view all their products including Cannae Pro Gear at the links below:


Scott Country Web: https://www.scottcountry.co.uk/

Scott Country Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ScottCountry/

Scott Country Instagram: http://instagram.com/scott_country


Cannae Pro Gear Web: https://cannaeprogear.com/

Cannae Pro Gear Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CannaeProGearUK/

Cannae Pro Gear Instagram: http://instagram.com/cannaeprogear

**STICKERZ, PATCHES & GEAR** Head on over to and gear up at http://s23familia.bigcartel.com/ (link is also in my IG bio) and show your #ogpunkrockhardcoreplasticdeth #s23familia pride …

S23 is proud to collaborate with Project Delta Whiskey: http://projectdeltawhiskey.co.uk/
S23 is proudly sponsored by ToySoldier: http://www.toysoldier.com.hk/
Don’t forget you can read our articles exclusive to Airsoft International each and every month:http://www.ai-mag.com/
s23 is proudly sponsored by Emperion: http://emperionstore.com/
**Project Delta Whiskey & S23FAMILIA PTW Collaboration T-Shirt ‘Fortune Favors The Brave’ Now Availble** Available now in S, M, L, XL, and 2XL in Black or Grey: https://projectdeltawhiskey.co.uk/shop/pdw-s23-beer-mat-tailored-fit-tee

Spotlight review on WarCry’s HexCam Face Wraps

Spotlight review on WarCry’s HexCam Face Wraps

Lets start at the beginning. HexCam is a veteran owned and designed revolutionary honeycomb camouflage based on naturally occurring patterns found in several animal species. It’s versatile design has already been proven to perform well in a multitude of environments against some of leading designs in the industry.
We received two patterns, in the form of War Cry Apparel’s Face Wraps, from our good friends over at Allied Risk Equipment. Selecting two patterns that we felt best suited environments and topography that we most commonly found ourselves in.

… options – Allied’s Arid vs HexCam’s Spectre and Wasteland. All three are going in the kit bag, ‘one is none’ …
Before we discuss these further, War Cry CEO Gerry Searfoss had this to say, and puts this suite of camouflage into perspective – ‘Hexcam USA is a camouflage line under WarCry Apparel. As an American disabled veteran company it was our goal to bring a quality and functional pattern to the hunting, tactical and recreational community. The Hex is nature’s strongest shape, when combined with other hexagons it forms solid shapes within the pattern. With our patented shading and color techniques we have been able to create an illusion of three dimensional depth.’


Camouflage 
It’s that very quote which for me is pivotal to this review, and whilst I’m no authoritative expert on camouflage other than what I’ve used for perhaps the best part of decade –  a multitude of patterns with a varying degrees of success.
This success or effectiveness has in part been based on utilizing the right camouflage for the right environments. 
More often than not, most modern camouflage, ideally is perhaps employed in low light, and as I’ve often found using the wrong camouflage whilst operating in the pursuit of ‘fun’ can result in hilarious consequences – I can only imagine that in the real world, the consequences are dangerous and quite possibly fatal.
However, something the really intrigued me with HexCam, and it has been attempted both successfully and unsuccessfully by individual patterns and other suites of patterns is to create the illusion or the appearance of depth, shadow and ultimately disrupting form and shape which the human eye and brain instinctively and unconsciously pick up on.
Whilst almost virtually essay worthy in itself, most modern infantry, particularly those who are employed as snipers are trained to further utilize this concept and natural instinctive behavior to not only further conceal themselves but to spot and identify targets too.

HexCam

As stated above in the reviews opening introduction, HexCam have sought to provide a suite of patterns which emulate naturally occurring shapes and patterns amongst animals, plants, fauna and environments and use a series of naturally based algorithms to generate a series of shaded hexagonal patterns – which, in layman’s terms disrupt the perception of depth as perceived by the human eye.

Spectre vs Wasteland – just two of six patterns available, giving the option to choose a pattern best suited to the environment and specific light and topographical conditions …

I’d further describe this, as I can best example, it’s not entirely dissimilar to gazing into a heavily leafed tree. It’s almost three dimensional appearance creates an illusion of depth and distance, which is arguably counters, going some way, to preventing the human eye from naturally detecting shapes and form instinctively otherwise recognized.

… camouflage to suit your AO …
More over, HexCam have identified that perhaps no one pattern truly works in anyone AO. These variants include patterns such as Wasteland, Spectre (the two I selected to review) and additionally Makalu, Attica, Adirondack and 5-Echo.
These patterns obviously have some specific applications, however I chose Spectre and Wasteland specifically for several reasons. Both tonally used a series of color ways which I felt really best reflected the UK’s foliage and forestry and really resonated with my perception of colors, shape and form as seen and observed in low light, such as dusk or very early dawn. 

Specifically as we enter a time of year when the colors and shades of the UK really start to mix and change, these seemed ideal options as we enter Autumn.


HexCam Review

… blend in …


So, as supplied from Allied Risk Equipment, the Spectre and Wasteland patterns – where chosen by us. It’s certainly a visually challenging pattern, and whilst I really, really find it aesthetically appealing. It certainly could be argued, it won’t win any fashion accolades for being ‘pretty’.


It’s that very principle, that it clearly adopts the muted tones and shapes of environments at particular times of the year, specifically the Autumn – those muted washed grey greens and pale limes, combined with the dark browns, coppers and oranges which made me snap up Spectre and Wasteland variants.

Some of the tones are certainly evocative of palettes used by famous artists and illustrators in their landscapes – who using a select palette of tones, particularly to capture visually a particular time of day, or season for that matter. I in fact wondered if art had either consciously or subconsciously influenced HexCam’s design, or perhaps their study of nature had serendipitously arrived at the same conclusion.


Choosing between either two as a favorite is no easy task, as is deciding which is more effective – as such I’d argue that it’s perhaps akin to choosing a ‘favorite child’.

… Wasteland Pattern …

That however, is inconsequentially irrelevant is that ‘Wasteland‘ is my preferred option for day light use and ‘Spectre‘ will undoubtedly be employed during the low light of dusk and dawn as well as the gloom and shadow of the night. I’ve got an event coming up where I be employing both specifically in those very conditions.

… Spectre Pattern …

As exampled, I found that Wasteland proves to be a complimentary accompanying pattern to pre existing pattern amongst my collection, serving well alongside Multicam.


And the darker tones effectively alongside the venerable but ever popular M81 ‘Woodland’ pattern.


However, I would offer in countenance, true effective pattern disruption would best achieved utilizing either BDU’s or Technical Apparel in HexCam’s patterns, possibly even using several patterns at once. I for one will be seriously looking at Spectre patterns for pants and Wasteland for Shirt color ways and again combing with either a Spectre or Wasteland face wrap. 


So, to summarize, I’m highly impressed, in fact smitten with the two patterns issued here, and will putting these in the gear bag or day sack permanently f’sure – if only as its good to have alternatives and options, and these will sit perfectly alongside my MOE.Gun’s Allied Risk Equipment’s face wrap which we reviewed earlier this year, which is perhaps better suited for either the summer or more muted tones of winter.

… both patterns compliment and work with pre existing suites of patterns with ease …

Like Allied’s wrap – these wraps are constructed from 92% polyester and 8% spandex – which makes for a lightweight and breathable wear. Better yet, they’re tapered at either end and crocodile stitched along the ‘spine’ of the wrap which helps it sit more comfortably around the face and not otherwise gathering around the neck.

… Spectre – ideal for low light, dusk, dawn or the dead of night …
I’m aware, that these subsequently may be produced in a lighter and ventilated variant, needless to say retaining the pattern and colors seen here, but most possibly done so for use in warmer or more historically humid climes.

… perfectly suited to the UK’s, North Europe and North American foliage and fauna …

That said, in part why I’ve specifically chosen to look at the camouflage and its effectiveness as a pattern – its impressive, if only for the initial fact it’s broken my traditional perceptions of what a camouflage can do or what we should expect from other current patterns in use today – I’d go as far to call it ‘intelligent’ and look forward to seeing where, who and what’s it’s employed for – S23

**GO GIVE ALLIED RISK EQUIPMENT, HEXCAM & WARCRY A LIKE USING THE LINKS BELOW**


At Allied Risk Equipment has a very limited number of wraps and ball caps in stock, and as I understand it are the only current UK stockist, you can take a look or better yet pick them up here: https://www.facebook.com/alliedriskequipment/


You can keep updated with HexCam here: https://www.facebook.com/hexcamusa/


And of course check out projects, products and equipment from WarCry Apparel: https://www.facebook.com/warcryapparelco/

**BE SURE TO STOP BY THESE GOOD GUYS TOO**

S23 is proud to collaborate with Project Delta Whiskey: http://projectdeltawhiskey.co.uk/

S23 is proudly sponsored by ToySoldier: http://www.toysoldier.com.hk/
**Project Delta Whiskey & S23FAMILIA PTW Collaboration T-Shirt ‘Fortune Favors The Brave’ Now Availble** Available now in S, M, L, XL, and 2XL in Black or Grey: https://projectdeltawhiskey.co.uk/shop/pdw-s23-beer-mat-tailored-fit-tee
Don’t forget you can read our articles exclusive to Airsoft International each and every month:http://www.ai-mag.com/
s23 is proudly sponsored by Emperion: http://emperionstore.com/

Balance The  Odds Pt.III – and interview with Arquebus Control Group

Balance The  Odds Pt.III – and interview with Arquebus Control Group

The name Arquebus comes from a renowned Norwegian WW2 Radio Operator, and aptly has been adopted by Task Force Exorbitance‘ Communications Section – Arquebus Control  Group.


In the third part of our serialization we sit down ARQ01 who talks us through the teams comm’s role, its importance and immersion it brings, their CCT and TACP inspired gears, blasters and much, more

S23: Welcome aboard bro, a huge thank you for taking time out to sit down with us. In preparation for this I decided to re read The Reptile House‘ piece you did a few years back. Arquebus‘ inception is quite unique, in fact it’s unique in its ethos to bring something different to TF Exorbitantance, has bringing your communications expertise and equipment added to not only the experience, but broadened the capabilities of the group ?

ARQ01
: Hello, thanks for taking an interest in us! Well communications have always been something the Airsoft community in Norway has struggled to get right. It’s always been a last priority for most people, and when they finally get a hold of some radios it’s usually some cheap PMR446 from a toy store or some such similar option. 


I’ve been a part of the Norwegian Airsoft community for almost fifteen years now, and I’ve seen a lot of change during that time when it comes to communication. After the toy walkie-talkie era we saw a big shift as most teams changed over to the PRC343, or H4855 if you will, to get more of a military look. That obviously had some implications when it came to range and this was offset by the Norwegian Airsoft Association when they acquired a license to use the 68Mhz frequency and we got what we’ve dubbed “The NASF radio”. 


That meant that teams could use the PRC343 for shortrange (500 meters) communication and the Zodiac radios to reach the higher ups so to speak. But the Zodiac radio is basically a hunting radio and thus is not compatible with a whole lot of military looking aftermarket accessories. Another big problem with this approach was the prohibitive cost. 


The Zodiac is really quite expensive, and you have to be a member of NASF (Norwegian Airsoft Association) to get one. The PRC343 is also expensive. So the community has circled back to the PMR446 as standard, but this time it was helped along by the Chinese electronics industry. 

Baofeng and Puxing radios are super cheap, offer a lot of accessories and perform well in most situations. The Zodiac 68Mhz radio is still used, but more and more people have made the switch to China made radios as they offer more compatibility when traveling to other countries to engage in Airsoft events. What these cheap China radios lack however is that military look and feel. 


Enter to – their PRC152 and PRC148 replicas has really made a huge difference when it comes to building good impressions while not sacrificing good comms. 

But back to the actual question; I wouldn’t say it has made the group more capable but it has sort of outsourced the nuisance of getting a hold of other elements in the field or the HQ. By letting Arquebus handle the comms from within the Task Force and out, the rest of the group can focus more on their respective tasks and specialisms. In some scenarios, Arquebus team-members might join an element of the Task Force, or we can set up a relay-station/OP somewhere central in the AO to make sure communication traffic flows smooth from all corners and up to the HQ. As more and more people in the community invests in good radios, it’s no longer about us having the best equipment, it’s about how we make us of said equipment. 

 

S23
: Has your day to day career and expertise given you added advantage in setting up your comm’s net ?

ARQ01
: Yes and no. Since I work with telecommunications for a large US oil company I obviously have some extra baggage that helps. I work with radiolinks, satphones, UHF/VHF and IP networks all the time but there is a lot I don’t know. I’m a licensed VHF operator but I’m really no radio expert. We don’t fix anything anymore. If it’s broke, we chuck it and buy a new one. Those guys that are true radio amateurs, those are the guys with the real know-how and knowledge. And there’s quite a few of them in the community. I’ve recently gotten in touch with Tactical Associates UK, and their knowledge on comms and TRI radios is a massive help! Great guys who really know their way around a radioset.

As for setting up a network that we use in the field I mainly rely on my experience as a Lieutenant in the Norwegian Civil Defense. The effort there is mainly on fire and rescue, but the principal of communication and setting up a comms net is the same if it’s a simulated Airsoft battlefield or an actual forest fire.


ARQ02 is a NCO in the same unit so we see things from the same perspective and that always help.     

 
S23
: Having the ability to seamlessly communicate and manage and troubleshoot comm’s in the field must open up endlessly possibilities on how to approach taskings and objectives, particularly when combined with other assets you employ such as mapping and the use of live drone feed ?

ARQ01
:  If more teams took the time to plan ahead of a game and get a hold of topographical maps and GPS and combined that with good communication a lot of the “battlefield chaos” would disappear and make the commanders job a whole lot easier. When we’re at an event we regularly check in with coordinates to make sure we know where we are and perhaps more importantly, the HQ knows where we are. Pre-event planning is also essential. We can spend weeks or months ahead of an event to get maps, plan OPs, set up communication diagrams and such. It’s really part of the fun! 



S23
: You’ve spoken previously of initially starting CCT inspired gears, subsequently evolving through to TACP driven Load Outs, has this improved, streamlined and assisted with your role and performance within the TF ?

ARQ01
: It was supposed to be CCT from the start, but a lack of understanding between the difference of CCT, TACP, SOF TACP and a JTAC qualified soldiers, meant we headed for trouble right at the start. Over time the loadouts have ended up as more of a mix between CCT and SOF TACP and we’re quite happy with that. The impression part might be kick started it all, but this has since evolved more into a “works for me but is still plausible and/or picture perfect” kind of thing. 

We still mainly use pictures of AFSOC CCTs for reference, but if myself or any of the other two members want to use something that’s only been seen on SOF TACPs we’ll go ahead and do it anyway. The Task Force has evolved a lot over the years and most teams within it are now more relaxed about the picture perfect impression standard and approach it with a bit more common sense now.



S23
: Blasters, now these have some slightly unique variances, being Air Force inspired. Was researching and sourcing alternative parts difficult ?

ARQ01
: No not really. Of all the special forces branches in the US, AFSOC has perhaps the smallest budget. They still use top notch gear, but it might be a few years behind CAG for instance. The two most common rifles seen with AFSOC STS (Special Tactics Teams) are the M4a1 CQBr Block II/Mk18Mod1 and the M4a1 Block II. They also use the Mk17 and even had the Mk16 for a while. 


The biggest difference between Army and Air Force is volume of fire. You simply seldom see any squad automatic weapons in an STS unless they’re mounted to a UTV or such.

We in Arquebus, like the rest of Task Force Exorbitance, use the Tokyo Marui Next Gen series as our base. That little bit or recoil coupled with the durability really makes it a joy to run. And the fact that a fresh mag is never far away is a real bonus for the door kickers as they obviously do most of the actual shooting. Currently we all run CQBRs with 10.3″ barrels and DD rails as our main platform. ARQ02 has also built a sweet M4 Block II rifle with 14.5″ barrel that he uses for recon events. I’ve recently acquired a Mk12Mod0 SPR for the same purpose. Our newest member ARQ04 has yet to build a recce rifle, but I guess he might land on a M4 Block II as well.


S23
: You’d previously talked through with Rich over at the Reptile House, having been involved in the hobby for some twelve years plus, and running a broad selection of gears and load outs. Has that experience proved beneficial in your current incarnation. That experience surely makes building and researching such a project a little easier ?

ARQ01
: Oh absolutely! We’ve all been there. You’ve just been introduced to the hobby of Airsoft and you want everything. You say that in this movie, and this in that movie. Your friend has this and that, and that guy on YouTube endorsed those.

What you end up with is good enough to play with, and for some that’s enough. But if you want to take it to the next level and try to replicate an actual unit, you have got to do our research! It’s better to spend an extra three months researching and saving up a few bucks and get it correct the first time, then to buy everything twice! 


Even though I’ve been in the impression scene for a long time I didn’t do good enough research, which caused the beforementioned mix-up at the very beginning. That has proven to be quite expensive. So the best advice to anyone starting to build any kit: read up before you pay up.

That being said, the whole process of collection reference pictures and reading up on subject matter was known to me. That made it easier to get off to a flying start. Just make sure you google any abbreviations you don’t understand, and make sure you’re not getting things mixed up. We made that mistake, so now you don’t have to.


When we started we focused on the 2014 timeframe and went with LBT6094s. These are some great platecarriers but have become a bit outdated over the past few years. In this latest version of our kits we’re all running Crye JPCs for a more streamlined function. The AVS was an option as well, but we found it to be more than we actually needed.

S23
: You spoke freely and openly about HHK’s open, welcoming attitude to building such a collective, it’s rare to see such a large gathering of likeminded enthusiasts – has it proved to be beyond your expectations, it’s certainly attracted its fans and the adoration of the community the globe over ?

ARQ01
: Far beyond what I thought possible to be honest. But it just goes to show what can be accomplished with a little elbow grease. It was extremely important for everyone in TFE to avoid the pitfalls that had demolished so many impression groups in Norway before. The number one reason has always been the perception that hardcore impression groups are “elitists”. We wanted to change that. We wanted everyone to know that even though we spend thousands and thousands of dollars on gear we’re not BB proof. We’re not unbeatable. If we attend a Sunday skirmish we don’t mind having the newbie with jeans, sneakers and a G36 with a Hi-Cap join us. It’s supposed to be fun for everyone. He might learn something and it might spark an interest to pursue the impression line? And who knows? That new kid with the jeans and G36 might be a really cool guy and then you go out for a drink the following weekend and before you know it he’s part of the crew. That’s how a few of the TFE members became part of the group. So it just goes to show that if you treat people well and lift them up instead of putting them down, everyone gains something. 


What’s important is that you treat a Sunday skirmish as what it’s supposed to be. A good time for everyone. An invite only event with hardcore impression teams only is a different thing all together. Then it’s all business. And if you choose to travel around the country, or neighboring countries, it’s important to keep in mind what kind of event you’re going to. Is it mainly an opportunity to be social or is it something else? We try to do both every year. Strive for excellence, but get back to the roots every now and then and just have fun.

 


S23: In the field it must be certainly rewarding managing comm’s and being a vital component helping move all of Exorbitantance’s components into place, directing HHK onto target, Trident to clear and breach obstructions and Hermes to get them back in the fight all the whilst taking real time intelligence, observations and field reports from Sky One from afar …

ARQ01: For me personally there is nothing that beat the feeling of good comms chatter. Being perched at a good vantage point of the AO and watching each element move into position is magical! But it’s also really exciting to get up close and join a team and be part of the execution of the plan. Over time the way Task Force Exorbitantance communicates via radio had evolved and it’s now getting very efficient. “In house training” with radios has made the different teams more comms capable. That might mean less work for Arquebus, but it makes the whole task force that much more effective.


S23: Now, naturally Plastic Deth (Airsoft) is many things to many different people. But do you think the openness of TF Exo to work together, and explore the endless possibilities of what RealSim can be, and what experiences to be had are by many are a missed opportunity – could perhaps more positive attitudes from us all to collaborate achieve something truly spectacular ?

ARQ01:  : I would say so. A RealSim event offers a real chance to really work as a team in ways a skirmish on a paintball field cannot. If you’re an outdoorsman and an airsofter a RealSim event is something you should definitely try. The feeling of walking for hours, not knowing how many are out there or maybe even where they might be, is extremely thrilling. The last few years I’ve measured an events success in the amount of BBs fired. The ones where none were fired during the entire 24/48 hour event are the best in my experience! But then again, I’m all about the comms. (laughs)


That might mean less work for Arquebus, but it makes the whole task force that much more effective.
S23: Now, we recently quizzed Trident about Op Garden Centre but saw that you also participated in Op Rudna, what can you tell us about Arquebus‘ time deployed in the field during that event ? 

ARQ01: Op Rudna was the first event where we really got our comms working properly. At that time we were only two members so we split up and followed a recce element of HHK each. Due to the rugged terrain of the Op Rudna area comms was a big problem with the tiny antennas on the Baofengs and Puxings. Our TRI 152s with whip antennas however had the range needed to keep the elements in touch with each other and the HQ. The AO was quite large so we spent a few hours trekking through dense forest and across steep canyons to reach a vantage point from where we could see the objective. Just outside target area we linked up with the other element of HHK with ARQ02 attached and then came under fire from anenemy patrol. We called in the contact to HQ who then deployed the QRF. When the recon portion was done, we linked up with Trident that had established an overwatchposition at the edge of the AO. Here we had a perfect view of the entire target area as the QRF rolled in. That was a magical evening in the snow.

 


The last few years I’ve measured an events success in the amount of BBs fired. The ones where none were fired during the entire 24/48 hour event are the best in my experience! But then again, I’m all about the comms. (laughs)

S23: … 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 RS mag counts – 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? 

ARQ01: For practical reasons and to offset the fact that airsoft rifles have shorter range than real rifles low cap mags with 60-80 rounds seems to work best. If everyone used 30rds mags however fire exchange would be more dynamic as everyone actually would have to make their shots count and reloads would be more frequent. SAWs and MGs would also be more important for volume of fire. Sadly the range and accuracy of airsoft rifles are so poor that the increased capacity of the mags is a necessary evil I guess. But I must admit that all my mags are set to 30rds, but I don’t use it as much as the others so it really does not matter. But at least it gives me the opportunity to do a mag change once in a while.

 

On behalf of myself, ARQ02 and ARQ04, I would like to thank you for showing interest in what we do and we hope this is informative and interesting for the readers and maybe inspires someone to look at comms and what it can do a little differently.

We try to answer questions about comms and AFSOC on our page as best we can, but if we can’t the online community is big and has a lot of great people eager to help out. 

Check out the TRI/TCA radio group on Facebook and of course our friends at Tactical Associates UK.

Huge thanks to ARQ02 and Arquebus Control Team, as I’m sure you’ll agree he’s put a great turn in the interview chair, you can keep up to date with all their exploits at the links below – S23

Arquebus Control Team Instagram: http://instagram.com/arquebus_control_team

Arquebus Control Team Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/arquebus.control.team/

Task Force Exorbitance Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TaskforceExorbitance/


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