Undefeated !!! MEMORIAM Live at The Underworld, Camden, London 01st February 2020

Undefeated !!! MEMORIAM Live at The Underworld, Camden, London 01st February 2020

Words Andy S23

Photography and Footage Danny S

Definition: hyperbole

/hʌɪˈpəːbəli/

Learn to pronounce

noun

exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.

… and that’s my opening statement, such was this momentous performance, much of what I’m about to regale you with will be undoubtedly prone to ‘hyperbole’ – however, I can say with absolute assurance, it’s all justifiably deserved !!!

Treat Your Self !!!

So, some background – late last year Memoriam announced the first of many shows for 2020 and I immediately booked tickets for I and my very, very good friend Danny.

I’ve know Danny for a good few years, working alongside each other on a daily basis, he’s the kind of guy you can trust to have your back, moreover, we enjoy a common love of films, comics and music all accompanied with our unique brand of humor and culture that many outside of our small circle will understand !!!

Man Day 101 !!!

The had stars aligned, we both had the day off, wives, kids, cats and dogs where all respectively packed off and taken care of – as such we inaugurated what hopefully will become an annual affair – Man Day !!!

Memoriam, take heed, feel free to play the first Saturday of every February – Ha !!!

It was our intention to have somewhat of a more ‘explosive day’ but Danny was nursing his head from his previous night out watching Megadeth, and I nursing a stinking cold, bad mood as well as marching into the sublime mediocrity of middle age didn’t present the most dynamic of duos …

Still, opening up with a cold beer, we perused a slew of comic book shops, including Orbital, Gosh! and Forbidden Planet. Danny picked up some missing numbers from Silver Surfer and The Punisher I opted for stuff from Adam Hughes, Jocks Green Arrow and an issue of Wolverine by Alan Davis !!!

As the sun set we marched onwards to Camden as showtime loomed over the horizon – alas Mega City Comics had already closed, we settled amongst the throng in The Worlds End for the first of many more beers !!!

On entry to The Underworld, suitably refreshed we bumped into Frank Healy, Memoriam’s bassist. Gregarious, unassumingly charming and genuinely pleased to see us – we briefly spoke about the drive down to London, plans for dinner, he was looking forward to a hearty kebab post show – and his thundering bass tone, which wryly quipped was due to his dwindling hearing – top man.

Naturally, first port of call, after grabbing some more ice cold beers, was the merch table – some great shirts, and regrettably I wish I’d picked up the show exclusive shirt, hopefully they’ll make their way on line over at their Big Cartel store …

But, I did pick up one of these, a coffee mug, resplendent with their demo’s artwork – this got put to good use as soon as I was through the front door …

Whilst at the table, drummer Andy Whale happily chatted to us, gave some incredible insight to the bands plans and future, I’ll keep quiet here, but seriously keep an eye out – Memoriam will be as busy as ever. Andy also spoke about one of his other bandsDarkened, and we energetically enthused over its style and tone. We also chatted about Memoriam’s unique DIY ethic, which allows them to tour on weekends, days off, and yet still remain committed to work, family and other endeavors – we both agreed it’s a model many bands should explore, keeping it fresh, exciting and vital.

We did also bumped into Karl, however, my inital greeting of ‘I love Saxon, and I’ve always wanted to meet Biff Byford’ was perhaps not the best opening gambit, but he heartily shook my hand nonetheless before disappearing into the depths of The Underworld …

MEMORIAM

As the opening bars of the instrumental ‘Memoriam’ faded the band quite literally exploded onto the stage, Memoriam ripped open with Undefeated – the sound, tone and pitch was perfect. Wether this style or genre either is or isn’t your thing – this was a masterclass in sonic assault and I’d urge other bands to seriously pay heed.

The stripped down, lean and taught approach really lent itself to the live setting, and whilst this track, on the album is a firm favorite, here it took a life of its own and sounded more venomous, vicious and vitriolic than ever. As aforementioned Franks bass, rumbled with a groove and warmth, and an assured confidence and prowess that clearly cemented why as one of the scenes elder statesman he’s a legend and consummate professional. He prowled and worked the stage relentlessly, putting many younger contemporaries to shame.

Karl too, exploded with a power, an unbridled fury that literally gripped and captivated the audiences attention from the off and throughout …

The passion and integrity, and thinly veiled vitriol and disdain of the current socio-political state was palpable and delivered with integrity, yet as any good showman and frontman does, this was ably delivered with aplomb and a wry smile, extolling that perhaps we all shouldn’t take our selves too seriously …

That aside, clad in black combat boot and cargo pants, and an intriguingly sleeveless ‘Singularity Sauce’ tee, his long mane of ice blond hair made for an iconically striking visual performance and decades of touring has not dulled his edge, I’d wager his vocals have never sound more ferocious, powerful or confident.

Andy was clearly at home and in a happy place on drums, working what appeared to be a stripped down ensemble, almost a jazz like set up, was an absolute pleasure to observe and clearly was having no end of fun holding it all together. Taught, tight, precision drumming, an absolute wall of pummeling beats alongside Franks bass gives this blend of ‘Old School Death Metal’ real groove, swing and a warmth and a texture many other bands live are simply devoid of. He’s clearly the heart of the beast, and imbues it with life, really making it a living, breathing monster !!!

Last but by no means least, Scott Fairfax the crypt keeper of riffs, the undisputed king of rhythm and lead, flawlessly switching between either with verve, style and panache – Ive long since seen such a player so confidently happy and at ease live – and as the all the band collectively did, his crunch and attack added more spite and vengeful sonic assault to these tracks !!!

Live, is clearly a very comfortable place for Memoriam and they don’t hide the fun with which they approach the stage – which, incidentally they owned !!!

Whilst a slightly shorter set than expected, they pulled out what I’d regard a fan favorite set of classics from their growing back catalogue.

Undefeated was hotly followed by Dronestrike, originally appearing in demo form on their 2nd 7” and subsequently on their sophomore effort as a bonus track in revised form. If I had to choose which version is my favorite, whilst both recorded versions are truly stellar, trust me, when I say live is the ultimate version !!!

No known Grave and As Bridges Burn powered along and the break and beat downs of both had the crowd not only captivated but now on the move …

Karl rallied the partisan crowd with a rallying cry for unity over the divisive referendum, and as such the attending crowd from all over the globe warmly cheered him on – the incisive Austerity Kills was a timely reminder of what the general public have endured and enshrined Memoriam’s relevance forevermore.

Showcasing material from the bands latest LP Requiem for Mankind led the final charge as they subsequently went on to power through Resistance, Shellshock and as I prefer to nickname it ‘Fix Bayonets’ – this was all brought to an apocalyptic conclusion with the devastatingly heavy Flatline

Opening with a faded heartbeat which transcends into a failing life support alarm – many of tonight’s songs were further embellished with small sound bites and soundscapes which really added to the songs color live, a really creatively cool touch which certainly wasn’t lost on me.

Sadly, no cover of Sacrileges The Captive and I was dismayed not to hear Surrounded by Death amongst the set, but it was truly taught, power driven, old school death Metal show at its finest and that in itself gave the whole ensemble a magical life of its own – a greatest hits if you will, and would make an arguably perfect playlist for any true fan …

I hope to see them play again very soon, easily one of my top ten gigs of all time – S23

You can catch Memoriam live next this March in Copenhagen !!!

Power Metal – Doomtrodon New Demo Track

Power Metal – Doomtrodon New Demo Track

We take a quick detour from our usual fare of ‘Plastic Deth’ to introduce something, we at the S23 HQ have been quietly waiting for a for a while now – the first track from Doomtrodon’s upcoming ’68 Demo’ …

If your not up to date on the current ‘Metal Zeitgeist’ then let’s bring you screaming up to speed …

Doomtrodon is a new band based out of west England and are on guitar ‘Geezer’ drummer ‘Gav’ newly acquired vocalist ‘Matt’ and on bass, the inimitable ‘Biz’ !!!

Sound familiar – well, as I posted elsewhere this evening …

… check out Doomtrodon’s demo track Vampyre Ratt from there ‘68 Demo’ – that driving bass line, alongside those tortured vocals, pummeling drums and gravel rough buzz saw guitars is by none other than artist extraordinaire Simon Bisley …

Simon ‘Biz’ Bisley is famed for his incredible illustrative body of work, including Dredd vs Batman one shot ‘Judgement on Gotham’ – cover art for Doom Patrol, his groundbreaking Slaine, ABC Warriors for 2000ad and much much more …

Whilst not his first foray into music, his art has also graced Danzig’s EP ‘Thrall Demon Sweat Live’ as well as working with the Misfits vocalist extensively on his own comic line.

You Can hear the new track by hitting the link below

New Demo Track ‘Vampyre Ratt’ from Doomtrodon’s ’68 Demo’

This is a powerful and promising start, Geezers solid guitar work with riff heavy hooks oozes confidence.

You can also give another track, ’68’ from Doomtrodon a listen here !!!

Gav’s precision drumming pins it all down, and with extra greasy groove domination from the Biz’s incredible bass line, quite possibly motivated by his underlying skill at the drums, it’s great to see him switch instruments here.

All ably led by the tortured growls and screams of newly added Matt, that’s not to say there’s no lack of melody to what he’s delivered here, but it has its own nightmarishly tortured charm.

Doomtrodon to me personally sound like a really much needed and refreshing take on British Grind and Doomcore with a healthy nod to influences such as Sabbath and Motörhead – without sounding plaid or routine, I’ve quietly observed rumblings and movements over the past few months on their FB page and it’s been impressive to see what has slowly unfurled and evolved, it clearly is genuinely passionate and genuinely professional going concern, more importantly a labor of love which has finally come to fruition.

Whilst no genuine music hack, more over, just a die hard enthusiast- as I’m sure many of you are aware I’ve long been a fan of the many heavy genres of music, including Metal, Hardcore and Punk – of late much has left to be desired of new music in general, and after several plays Doomtrodon’s new track has left me exceptionally excited for what’s to come …

I’ll certainly not dare to pigeon hole them into a genre or cast too many similarities to their own brand of swaggering heavy groove laden doom – but any fans of Crowbar, EyeHateGod, Bolt Thrower or even the Obsessed would happily see this band stand proudly alongside them as contemporaries – high praise, maybe but they’ve surely got the punch and heart to put British Heavy Music back on track …

If your local they are due to take the stage this Saturday, May 12th at Oxfords O2 – someone pick me up a shirt !!!

Supporting Death Remains – you can pick up tickets here !!!

Again the underground has delivered, and it’s this original and fresh take on the genre that’s certainly reinvigorated my faith in new music – anyhow, enough from me – tune down, turn up and sab out – S23

Keep up to date with more from Doomtrodon here on there FB page: https://m.facebookn.com/doomtrodon/

NEW DESIGN – S23 ‘Plastic Deth’ Skull Tee

In NSW ‘Navy Blue’ with the classic ‘Beer Mat’ on the front and custom ‘Plastic Deth’ Skull Art sporting the now infamous ‘Ranger’ diamond on the rear, by S23 himself – you can now sport you OG S23Familia Pride on or off the field – S23

Available in Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XXL-Large and XXX- Large here: http://s23familia.bigcartel.com/product/s23-plastic-deth-skull-tee

Living Through Me … Spotlight on Pantera’s 20th Anniversary Edtn. The Great Southern Trendkill & Joe Giron’s photography – Vulgar Display of Pantera

Living Through Me … Spotlight on Pantera’s 20th Anniversary Edtn. The Great Southern Trendkill & Joe Giron’s photography – Vulgar Display of Pantera

Pantera
Let that name sink in for a while, wether you know them, or not, undoubtedly I’m sure you’ve heard of them if not heard them. But, it’s a name synonymous with heavy music, and more importantly an attitude and know how to deliver the sound of the underground and all it’s brutal sound, hardcore swagger to the masses.

To perhaps get inside my head, possibly understand my own thought process, my very raison d’etre would be to explore the very music that sonically has not only influenced me in my formative years, but guided me through adult life …


Pantera, are not only one, if not the one, of my all time favorite bands. So contextually if you were to interpret their work ethic, outlook and loosely study their message lyrically you’d have a far greater understanding of this, my blogs mission and perspective …
So, it’s that very reason, we ‘jump the shark’ and hijack this platform once again and away from our usual fare to review not one, but two recent offerings from the undisputed Kings of underground Heavy Metal.
First up is Pantera’s 20th Anniversary edition of The Great Southern Trendkill.
Originally pressed and released in the early summer of 1996 saw them follow up their number one charting Far Beyond Driven with this, their most abrasively caustic, and viscerally discordant, thematically, then, to date. Trust me, and that’s a good thing.
I shall avoid here, dissecting track by track as has already been capably done upon its original release and the subsequent two decades we’ve lived with it our music collections worldwide. I will proffer this however, it is my personal favorite, not are only is Pantera at their most vicious and spitefully rebellious. But, for all its heavy attack and bludgeoning brutal, it is sonically their most textured, layered and there is abundance of melody. It is here that they perhaps best illustrated their brand of power groove as initially debuted on Cowboys From Hell

However, I digress – aside from its plush digi pak format, with additional band photography and liner notes from, presumably a notable journalist, I was intrigued to see many of the original engineers and unofficial ‘fifth’ members of Pantera had been involved in the remastering process and assembly of this edition.
The real treat here, intriguingly this often generates somewhat a love/hate reaction from music fans is the sets second disc, aptly titled ‘The Great Southern Outtakes‘.
This mirrors track for track the original long play set, but is instead comprised from a collection of curios, albeit either in live, demo, instrumental or early mix form.

The live versions are incredible, and I have a bootleg of the entire show these where recorded. One of Pantera’s few forays into Europe on the Trendkill tour, recorded in 1998 at the Dynamo Festival, Eindhoven. These live versions of the studio cuts really show, at this point what a finely tuned monster Pantera had become. Whilst even some of musics greats, and for that matter even Heavy Metal’s longstanding greats saw declining album and ticket sales, Pantera belligerently walked the earth undisputed much like Tyrannosaurus Rex did …

Hyperbole, sure – but to the initiated these tracks are most likely a terrifying introduction to their brand of against the grain American thrash metal.
In between these live cuts, the original album cuts, demo and early mixes bristle with technicality and proficiency that many bands struggle to attain to this day.

Maybe it’s just my love affair with that ‘Hardcore’ sound, but with Rex’s bass ever present in the mix, and the very forward presence of Anselmo’s vocals leaves these versions as an even more contemporary alternative to the original.
Again, such tracks prove to be controversially decisive, as some prefer to remember the originally finished versions, I’ve always enjoyed get to see behinds the scenes stuff, or sketch books – and these tracks are a compelling example of that. In particular, this early mix of Floods, contains a version of Dimebag’s renowned outro solo, that was later replaced at mixing stage in New York.
 So, ambiguously perhaps a vague reflection on my part, but those either curious or a die hard fan, I’ll you pick this up and decide for yourselves. It is, however, a proud addition to sit alongside the anniversary editions of the Cowboys From Hell, Vulgar Display of Power and Far Beyond Driven. I’m awaiting eagerly awaiting to see what they bring out to mark the anniversary of 1997’s live album.



Disc 1

01. The Great Southern Trendkill
02. War Nerve

03. Drag The Waters

04. 10 s

05. 13 Steps To Nowhere

06. Suicide Note Pt. I

07. Suicide Note Pt. II

08. Living Through Me (Hell’s Wrath)

09. Floods

10. The Underground In America

11. (Reprise) Sandblasted Skin

Disc 2

01. The Great Southern Trendkill (2016 Mix)
02. War Nerve (Live 98)

03. Drag The Waters (Early Mix)

04. 10 s (Early Mix)

05. 13 Steps To Nowhere (Instrumental Version)

06. Suicide Note Pt. I (Intro) *

07. Suicide Note Pt. I (Early Mix) *

08. Suicide Note Pt. II (Live 98)

09. Living Through Me (Hell’s Wrath) (Instrumental Version)

10. Floods (Early Mix)

11. The Underground In America (Early Mix)

12. Sandblasted Skin (Live 98)



… Suicide Note Pt. II – Joe Giron’s Photography – A Vulgar Display of Pantera


Whilst eagerly awaiting in anticipation of the anniversary edition of Trendkill, I was thrilled to hear, photographer extraordinaire and long standing chronicler of Pantera’s exploits, on and off stage, Joe Giron was to release an oversized hardback book.

Published by Lesser Gods this sees Pantera’s first fully authorized photographical collection, as gathered from Giron’s extensive catalogue of photography from his vaults documenting Pantera’s entire career.



Joe Giron’s professional career began in 1983 as a staff photographer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in Texas. A chance assignment to shoot an up-and-coming local band led to a lasting friendship with one of hard rock’s most revered bands, Pantera. That, in turn, led to shooting many other artists, including AC/DC, David Bowie, Gwen Stefani, Van Halen, and U2, just to name a handful, for many of the world’s leading rock magazines.


 

Today, his niche is in the gaming industry as the photographer for the World Poker Tour and head of the official photography team at the World Series of Poker.

Weighing in at 384 pages and measuring a gargantuan 23.4 x 29.5″ this really sets the standard, naturally deserving for a band such as Pantera, for any such collection.

To set the story right, Joe Giron, was not just any photographer but a friend of the band right from the outset. As he set out to hone his craft, and the band too, started out playing clubs and bars on the Dallas, Texas circuit, where they went he went.

This hefty tome, chronologically follows the band from their early hairspray Van Halen inspired early beginnings, through to their transformation in to their better known incarnation. Subsequent albums and beyond right up until the bands unofficial conclusion with their final album and tour, Reinventing The Steel.


This, along with previously published, never before seen, and behind the scenes photographs truly gives a visual historical account of Heavy Metals most revered and respected accounts.


With a foreword from Pantera Bass Player Rex Brown, and introduction from Joe himself, the book is heavily peppered with both humorous and candid accounts of life on the road, in the studio and personally detailing some of more sublime and lesser known facts and stories behind the band.


This alone, actually makes for a compelling case for this to be a must have amongst any Pantera fan or afficiando’s collection.

I’d further argue, this serves as great companion to previously released Anniversary editions and subsequent futures releases of Pantera’s catalogue and naturally, Rex Browns own biographical turn, which he recounts his time in Pantera.


Essentially broken down across several chapters including their early formative years this makes for an interesting read as it chronologically captures the band visually both in the studio and subsequent tours. It serves as nostalgic time capsule capturing through its several active decades as they ascended to become the kings of modern heavy metal.

The production value on this is superb, and screams a luxurious quality that really is ‘Far Beyond Driven’.

I can only criticize one aspect, is that some of the splash size photos are lost with the natural pages end within the spine. I’d imagine, an oversight with the publishers when designing the layout, these photos surely looked fine in their original proof format. A minor oversight, but I’d of gladly paid a higher mark up on price for some of these larger photos to be of a fold out format. A minor niggle that doesn’t overly detract from the books enjoyment.

I’m overall really astounded at the overwhelming wealth of material here, and will be treasuring and enjoying this whilst playing the bands back catalogue for many, many years to come – S23

You can keep up to date with Pantera here:

Website: http://pantera.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Pantera/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/panteraofficial


… and stop by to check out more of Joe Giron’s work here: http://www.joegironphotography.com/

Swamp Thing – An Interview with G.S.R.’s G01

Swamp Thing – An Interview with G.S.R.’s G01 

Florida’s G.S.R. (Group Strategic Response)

 

I had been aware of G.S.R. MilSim (Group Strategic Response) for some time, in part due to their prolific, and quite rightly, well deserved, strong presence on Social Media, specifically Instagram.
Recent connections made with Kable and his group, RED Team, combined with G.S.R.’s hard drive to promote, support and encourage positive Airsoft, MilSim and community attitudes in general really put them on my radar.

 

Disruptive Enviroments

When any individual or group for that matter displays such unbridled altruism, not just in their home state, nationally but internationally I felt it only fair to give them a turn in the spotlight.
This time out we sit down with Kratos, G.S.R.’s G01, to get the inside on this hardworking and passionate unit.

… just as at home in urban enviroments …


GM75: Welcome aboard Jay, been too long in the making, as you’ve been on the radar for some time. I’ve been a long time admirer of your teams prolific presence online, by virtue of how many games, events and all the training you undertake. I’ll jump straight in, so where’d it all start ?

G01
: First and foremost on behalf of the team I’d like to give a huge thanks for selecting us to be a included in your blog. We’re deeply honored to be a part of something so proactive in the international MilSim community. It is extremely humbling for us.

Now on to the nitty gritty, for us it all started about four years ago as an Airsoft team, back then MilSim had not yet evolved to the level its at now, it was sort of like a legendary folk tale to me. It had not caught much traction here in the States, though I kept on hearing about it though I never really had any connection to it.

After months of noticing the same common routine of aggravating and frustrating days of lousy games with zombies (laughs) at our local skirmishing venues, we came to the conclusion that Airsofting locally was something we would no longer miss one bit. We needed something else, something that would fulfill us with a sense of accomplishment. Consequently, we decided to locate and participate in our very first MilSim. After a couple days of research I managed to narrow it down to a couple events.

While at these smaller regional MilSim events, we quickly experienced that feeling of “accomplishment” we longed for. We instantly began to make friends with like minded teams and individuals that were drawn to us and our operating style. Slowly but surely we earned our respect due to the hustle and tenacity we bring to the table every single time we put in work. I can honeslty say, its been eyes foward no looking back ever since.

 

… in Florida’s eerie everglades G.S.R. put the darker tones of M81 camouflague to good use …

 

GM75
: So, you’ve got a real drive for more themed events, MilSim if you will. What’s the defining point, that for you separates MilSim from regular field skirmishes. I enjoy both, particular as regular ‘walk on days’ allow to polish muscle memory in lieu of regular training …

G01
:  I enjoy longer, well structured, very complex games with multiple objectives and FRAGOS (Orders) set by a chain of command. Field skirmishes generally do not offer that. Label me a “tactician” if you like, but effectively moving my shooters around like chess pieces to meet objectives gives me my thrills. (Laughs)

Although I must concur when you stated that field skirmishes are necessary from a training standpoint. We ourselves use it as a training tool. My guys and I skirmish at minimum once a week to stay on point and keep our reflexes and muscle memory as sharp as a katana. Reacting to live fire (Plastic Deth) while a dose of adrenaline is flowing through one’s veins is very difficult to replicate during movement training. Paper targets simply do not shoot back. Everything must be in balance. Skirmishing also provides the remedy for that so called “itch” we MilSim addicts suffer from during those time gaps in between events.

 

… riverine patrol …

GM75: Your team has a pretty distinctive look and feel, I’d argue you are flying the flag for the ‘iconic’ and much loved M81 camouflage pattern. Was this a conscious decision design, or born out of necessity as it works very well in the ‘swampy’ undergrowth of your native state, Florida

G01
: To answer your question accurately, I must say this was a concious decision on my part. I’ve  always had an attraction and a special affinity with M81, it just so happens to be pure coincidence that it blends so effectively with our native vegitation. We ran ATACS FG in the beginning days, but during mid 2014, I made the decision against every member on the team to slowly phase out ATACS and start implementing the classic M81. There’s just something about the combination of M81 with Multicam gear that looks so incredibly sexy !

Just to add, we have tan faction capabilities as well. We can show up at a MilSim in M81, then next go around go dripping down in Multicam. Thats what we refer to as the #MulticamNinja look, it means having every piece of gear and accessories Multicam. Having options is a great benefit that allows us to rejuvenate social media with contrast and a bit of diversity. All of us on G.S.R. share the same mutual infatuation for both our green and tan kits.



GM75: So, with your regular training and prolific presence out ‘in the field’, how has such heavy rotation influenced how and why you’ve developed your load out. I’d imagine, you have it pretty much squared away with regards to what works and what doesn’t ?

G01
:  Pretty much I have learned through out the years , my gear will never really be fully “squared away”. Its always a work in progress, a constant trial and error battle. With new gear andaccessories  persistently hitting the market, just means constant updating and add ons, which in turn leads to field testing during training and skirmishes before actually receiving my final approval. I’m extremely finicky when it comes to my gear and loadout. Many times a plan I thought was great, doesnt quite come together as I hoped. As of late, I have been trimming the fat off my loadouts, been focusing more on streamlined direct action based kits. Keep in mind our upcoming mission dictates whether I’ll be donning the heavier assaulters kit or running a high speed low drag set up. My Ferro Concepts FCPC and my Semapo 6094a are the two favorites basically because of the style of cut, they both allow me to shoulder and manipulate my primary very naturally . The FCPC is my direct action kit while the 6094a is my heavier assualters kit. For outdoor field/jungle ops Id ussually run my LBX 1961a style chest rig in ranger green with an assault pack.

Might I add, currently at the moment I own four fully completely assembled kits in Black, Coyote, Ranger Green, and Multicam. Thats four different plate carriers, battle belts, brain buckets. Each set up and arranged in the same identical fashion. Theres no denying I’m a “gearwhore” and I’m damn proud of it! Like a great friend once told me, its all about options.

… jungle warfare …


GM75
: We’ve seen in recent years a huge increase in interest overall in the game, attracting exponentially more players than ever before. However, we’ve also seen an increase in less than gentlemanly behavior, detracting from the positive community ethos which has been built over many, many years – if not decades. What would say represents the very best of attitudes in players and behavior vital to grow the sport and allow it to grow and flourish ?

… at American MilSim’s Faded Giant 4 …


G01
: My take on this is as follows, we as a whole really need to stop drawing negative attention to ourselves, its a game of honor. So lets have some! Anyone deciding to pick up an Airsoft gun must remember that although they are 1:1 replicas of their real steel counterparts they are just high end toy guns. As much as we may try to mimick and play the part of real world operators during our war games, we’re all just grown men playing with BB blasters.

The younger players coming into the game need guidance and the more experienced guys should definitely be that guidance. If you witness someone doing something stupid or incorrectly call them out on it, then show them the correct way. We cant expect the young ones coming into the game to teach themselves.

One more thing I’d like to add, getting into arguments, which in some cases have lead to full blown fist fights, has no justification whatsoever, its Airsoft. Toy guns people ! The quicker we all come to terms and realize this, the better it will be for the Airsoft community. Our hobby relies on an honor system, many times there will be dishonest players, theres nothing anyone can do about it. Thats just the way it is. Being the bigger man and walking away is what I would suggest to anyone ever confronted with some sort of heated argument or disagreement.

Here in the U.S. legislators in certain states are pushing the envelope trying to ban Airsoft/MilSim at an alarming rate. With all these “avoidable” incidents that keep occuring its just a matter of time before they succeed. So with that in mind, its very simple, lets all use common sense to avoid giving anymore ammunition to those who want to view Airsoft/MilSim in a negative manner.

… behind every blade of grass …

 

GM75: So, as we already march onwards into the new year, what’s in store for the team. Do you have more training scheduled in preparation for any large events you’ve got pinned on the calendar?

GO1
: Glad you asked, our training schedule is very routine. We continue training all year round. I would say at minimum we train maybe 45 weeks a year. We really dont have to “schedule” training anymore per say. We all know what day, time and the rally point to meet up at to go through the motions. I have them very disciplined when it comes to training.

The next MilSim we will be going on is Op IronHorse hosted by American MilSim. This takes place on the last weekend of February. The AMS guys do a great job at putting on a great show. This AO (Area of Operation) is amazing, it’s one of the nations premier government disaster training facility’s.

Shortly after that, on the first weeknd of April we have Op Overwatch , This event is a huge milestone in its own right. It will be Florida’s very first national level/sanctioned event, the venue happens to be a decommissioned maximum security prison deep in the middle of the Florida Everglades. We participated in the two Beta tests that were conducted to fine tune all the details for this main event and let me tell you, this is one interesting place to sling plastic at.

Finishing off 2016 strong and with momentum going into 2017 , we will be attending Operations Ironclad 3 and Faded Giant 5. Those two will be later on in the year in September and November. As you can see we try to keep real busy.

GM75
: Now I’m aware your not only good friends with RED Team, and Kable, but regular train together and deploy to events, recently both teams saw action at American MilSim’s Faded Giant 4, whereupon you both gave good accounts of yourselves. Let’s rewind and get an after action report on what’s globally known as one of the more prestigious events …

G01
: Yes that is correct, Kable and I go back quite some time now. He’s an awesome human being. I gained a loyal brother and a great friend through our mutual passion for MilSim, I can honestly say he played a huge part in the developmental stage of G.S.R. He instilled in us the basics and fundamentals of buddy, squad, and team movement in both Field and CQC environments. To this day we use all his teachings as the foundation and basis of our training. No team can operate effectively without somewhat being familar with the basics.

RED Team and G.S.R. make up part of the Bravo Hard Hitters. Bravo Hard Hitters is an alliance comprised of the four top teams in South Florida. High Risk Operators (HRO) and Special Operations Group (SOG) make up the other half. We are definitely a “force multiplier” for whatever faction we choose to fight with at any MilSim, not just because of the platoon size element we assemble as, but also for the talent and experience that we possess.

The AAR for Faded Giant 4 is as follows, the weather was at suck level both days. First day was was extremely hot and humid , second day was cold and raining. Luckily for us we train in hard and very extreme conditions on a regular basis, it was pretty much another day at the office for us. At any American MilSim event BHH always rolls with the UFS faction (Tan). Throughout the duration of the MilSim we kept a steady pace meeting objectives and completing FRAGOS. We also captured and controlled critical control points. Overall I can proudly say we did a great job. OPFOR will never have an easy day clashing against a platoon of like minded individuals, who consistently joint train together, Bravo Hard Hitters FTW !

GM75: Last but not least, this is a trademark question, real steel ammo counts – something I’m a fan of but has really struggled to take off due to Airsoft’s limited range and accuracy – is there a place for this or do you think it’s not feasible ?

G01
: This is something that Ive actually hoped caught some momentum here but never has. I fancy the idea of real steel ammo counts. Airsofts limited range and accuracy has mainly a lot to do with it not being so popular. We run real ammo counts while we  train, it puts us at a huge disadvantage but gets us to reload more often under pressure and teaches us patience by being more concious of each shot taken.

Low cap mags bring a whole different level of “tactical” into games , where as just by laying down some cover fire for a buddy to bound foward , will cost you almost a whole mag with a quick reload after reload. Moving around is much easier as well because the air is not so thick with BB’s with people just spraying and praying. All in all, I really hope real ammo count catches more traction and takes off. It would definitely be only for hardcore MilSimmers.

… G.S.R. Blasters …

 

Huge thanks to Kratos, for taking the time out to talk through with us. Find out more about the team and their exploits here – S23

G.S.R. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialGSRMilsim/

G.S.R. Instagram: http://instagram.com/officialgsrmilsim

S23 is Proudly Sponsored by ToySoldier


http://www.toysoldier.com.hk/

 

Last few Mk II Patches here: http://www.ebay.co.uk/ulk/itm/322129031131 once there gone, there gone …


S23 FAMILIA SHIRTS – 2 NEW DESIGNS AVAILABLE HERE

… in light of the overwhelming demand for patches (which have now gone) what was a limited crew served shirt has been made available online (NOW SOLD OUT!!!) – two new designs printed on heavy weight Gildan shirts in charcoal gray (available S,M,L,XL worldwide here) – S23

**S23 Gun Ho 1st Anniversary Interview Collaboration Shirt **

Available now sizes Sm, M, L, XL


https://www.tshirtstudio.com/marketplace/s23-golf-mike-75/s23-gun-ho-anniversary-shirt

S23 ToySoldier ‘Beer Mat’ Shirt

https://www.tshirtstudio.com/marketplace/s23-golf-mike-75/buy-s23-toysoldier-collaboration-shirt

 

Coming Soon …

Coming Soon – Our 1st Year Anniversary Interview 

… in less than a months time, the blog celebrates its first anniversary on the 15th February … 
Over the last year we’ve interviewed players, teams, sites and organizers including TF Green, OPFOR, The Cage, Team Diablo, UCAP Airsoft, Combat Airsoft Group, Gray Fox, Dan FooFighter, Airborne-airsoft, Task Force Voodoo, Red Team and many more besides, but to celebrate we go back to the beginning to interview Gun Ho’s GH05 & GH07 …
… see you here on the 15th at s23gearmonkey75 | Airsoft and MilSim reviews and interviews

https://s23gearmonkey75.wordpress.com/

S23 is Proudly Sponsored by ToySoldier

http://www.toysoldier.com.hk/

  
S23 FAMILIA SHIRTS – 3 NEW DESIGNS AVAILABLE HERE

… in light of the overwhelming demand for patches (which have now gone) what was a limited crew served shirt has been made available online (NOW SOLD OUT!!!) – three new designs printed on heavy weight Gildan shirts in charcoal gray (available S,M,L,XL worldwide here) – S23

  
 https://www.tshirtstudio.com/marketplace/s23-golf-mike-75/buy-s23-toysoldier

  
https://www.tshirtstudio.com/marketplace/s23-golf-mike-75/buy-s23-sua-sponte-shirt

  
https://www.tshirtstudio.com/marketplace/s23-golf-mike-75/buy-s23-teufelhund-shirt

Behind These Walls – UCAP ‘The Wing’ Site Report by Tim M

Behind These Walls – UCAP ‘The Wing’ Site Report by Tim M



It’s no surprise that like many others, UCAP’s brand of Airsoft, MilSim and even BattleSim, is a personal favorite of mine.

So, like the rest of the UCAP faithful, when a buzz began to grow surrounding plans for yet another site to be added to their already impressive portfolio, I too waited with nail biting anticipation to see what was in store …

So, when The Wing was announced, located at HM Shepton Mallet Prison – we had to get the inside scoop …
However, to perhaps give a more objective based review we sent out one of our plucky readers, Tim M from Unit 13 to investigate and report back, albeit his brief tenure in incarceration, what its all about … S23

  
Here’s what Tim M had to say …

TM: The opening of the new UCAP’s site “The Wing” has been generating a lot of interest on the various Airsoft forums since proprietor Andy Stevens announced they were opening a new venue a few months back. After the closure of “The Virus” and local opposition to prevent use the former hospital site of HMS Haslar, Stevens and his team struck upon HMP Shepton Mallet as their new site (history – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HM_Prison_Shepton_Mallet). After a frustrating “guess where we will be” campaign online (which included some shocking acting with Andy and Russ from Combat South reproducing a scene from Total Recall), the venue was announced and the buzz intensified. 

  
So it was with excited in-trepidation that I set out towards the wilds of Somerset, effectively trying to get into a prison that once held the Kray Twins. I left the rubber shiv, picture of Raquel Welch and soap on a rope at home, hoping they wouldn’t be needed.

  
UCAP have secured D Wing. I thought the venue would be a little bit more ‘Hollywood’ vis Alcatraz/Shawshank/The Walking Dead locations (The Rock anyone? s23), but this wasn’t to be. You certainly would know it was a former prison though. 15 metre fences topped with razor wire, thick glass windows and bars on numerous doorways visually remind you of that, but obvious prison cells, there are not. The wing is a four floor block, the bulk of which presumably formed part of the stores, education and rehabilitation section of the prison. 

  
You arrive into a spacious safe zone, complete with the usual amenities, free tea and coffee with ammo and cold drinks for sale. No disposable pyro though – this site doesn’t allow it, due to issues with smoke, however, solid state ‘grenades’ are allowed and UCAP will let you rent an OshiBoom for £10 complete with 20 primers, so at 50p a bang, it’s an absolute bargain. Get in there early as there are only 10 available, and in a place like this pyro is a must.

  
Safety brief was pretty much spot on 10am and Andy kept it short, concise and humorous before we headed out for the first game. Unlike other UCAP sites, which don’t require booking, Andy has presently capped this at 60 as, with it being the first day, he didn’t want to overload it. What his plans are for the future, I’m not sure. However, I would say that number is about right – a lot of the action took place of narrow stairwells and corridors which quickly get busy.  

  
The building itself is a mix of areas. You can move from large, open plan areas into ablution blocks, offices, workshops, stores, stairwells and corridors. Whilst the majority of the old furniture has been cleared, things like shelving and racking have been left in some to improve game play, and UCAP have added barricades, pillars and other obstacles to aid game play. 

  
All floors are interconnected with 2 stairwells, which were the scenes of some extremely fierce fighting.  

The game play was based on the fairly traditional attack/defend, secure targets type scenarios. I was particularly impressed with how reactive the UCAP team were to problems. For example, the pre lunch game developed a frustrating stalemate as neither team could progress. Over lunch the boys went out and made a few changes to improve game play. The game was repeated after lunch, problem solved. The game flowed much better.

It’s always a gamble being on the guinea pig game at the opening of a new site. You have to go with an open mind that it may not work as planned and problems may arise, but, as Andy told us at the brief, they are an established company, they know the game, they have run tests and there shouldn’t be problems that they can’t deal with and I think that was the case.  

Cobalt, Diablo and friends at The Wing …

The day finally drew to a close around 1700 hrs, but if you want to leave early, you can’t, the car park was rammed and the large entrance gate was shut for the duration so just enjoy the day.  

  
UCAP have got themselves a unique and interesting site. Speaking to Andy after, he knows that the site is on the developer’s hit list and that it is only a matter of time before it gets turned into flats. Indeed, he even talked about how they were going to develop it. But I didn’t ask how long they have. I thought it doesn’t matter, we all know it’s a risk with all CQB sites. We need to enjoy it whilst it’s there, and after yesterday, I can see this site is going to be big hit.  

  
So to paraphrase that great prison movie, did the game and the site feel like we were “crawling to freedom through five hundred yards of s**t smelling foulness I can’t even imagine” or we were Ray Winstone coming away from the day feeling like we were the “Daddy round here” or living the like of the Good Fellas in prison? Definitely the latter. 

  
UCAP have got a great site on their hands here. Yes it’s a bit of a trek for some people but if you want a unique venue, owned by an experienced company I can see this place is going to be big hit this year.

  

… further to this on site field report, local media, The Shepton Mallet Journal, spoke with proprietor Andy UCAP to get an objective insight into what it takes to secure, set up and deliver a standard setting Airsoft Site, read it here …

  
http://m.sheptonmalletjournal.co.uk/airsoft-game-held-Shepton-Mallet-prison-happened/story-28515577-detail/story.html

Games are running every two weeks and, due to size limitations to ensure all round game play – pre booking prior to attendance is required.

http://ucap.co.uk/ucap-airsoft-venues/ucap-wing/

Last few Mk II Patches here: http://www.ebay.co.uk/ulk/itm/322129031131 once there gone, there gone …

S23 Is Proudly Sponsored By ToySoldier

http://www.toysoldier.com.hk/

  

THANK YOU FOR ALL THE SUPPORT, ENCOURAGEMENT & LIKES 

THANK YOU FOR ALL THE SUPPORT, ENCOURAGEMENT & LIKES 
  
The ambition and objectives of the blog have been a simple one from the start. To showcase via interviews the very best of Airsoft and MilSim. Further to that end, it’s a simple ethos to promote posititivity and grow the community exemplifies my passion for not just what I do but you. It’s often overlooked, but players, companies, sites and their owners and game organizers work tirelessly to bring the very best every year. 

I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface, and our publication rate has been intermittent to say the least. But, you have steadfastly supported the blog and I have received no end of messages of enjoyment, praise and enthusiam.

To this end we have a new interview already under way and further two to be released in January.

To the 30k readers – thank you, and special thanks to ToySoldier and the sponsorship of the blog.

  
Here’s a complete bibliography of everyone we’ve interviewed, and the interviews as well as their respective pages …
So as the year draws to a close we’ve had a fantastic run of interviews from 

@shouldbemiller and @moolegh from Gun Ho (https://www.facebook.com/GunHoTeam/)

  
Two blisteringly great turns from Seraph and Dutch from TF Green. The guys gave us the run down on MilSim and their equipment and gears.(https://www.facebook.com/TaskForceGreen/)

  
Dan FooFighter from Reaper Crew (https://www.facebook.com/Reapercrew-Airsoft-628008817298005/) dropped by, giving the inside scoop on how he started out …

  
As did Airborne Airsoft (https://www.facebook.com/airborneairsoft1/) – giving a full and frank appraisal of their take on their BattleSim events …

  
and Combat Airsoft Group too … (https://www.facebook.com/Combat-Airsoft-Group-717746401640179/)

… Alex gave great insight into one of the newest and innovative MilSim organizations on the scene today.

  
We caught up with Team Diablo (https://www.facebook.com/DiabloAirsoft/) and Cobalt (https://www.facebook.com/CobaltAirsoft/). 

  
Stateside Kable from Red Team (https://www.facebook.com/redteammilsim/) put pen to paper. Positive MilSim players from Florida.

  
We got to talk with Kevin from Toy Soldier, proponent of some of the most realistic replica gear and equipment.

(https://www.facebook.com/Toysoldier-Workshop-FB-Store-290914640939201/)

  
And not forgetting Alex C’s SPR interview (http://wp.me/p5Hyma-57)

  
 or the inimitable Andy UCAP’s insight on the UK Airsoft scene (https://www.facebook.com/UCAP-Airsoft-300904156666476/)

  

We even managed to squeeze in one more with Rob C from Task Force Voodoo (https://www.facebook.com/TFVmilsim/)

  
Read em all here – S23

@MOOLEGH05’s Loadout ‘Debrief’ Interview http://wp.me/p5Hyma-z via @wordpressdotcom

@ShouldbeMiller’s Tokyo Marui Recce EBBR Interview http://wp.me/p5Hyma-H via @wordpressdotcom

‘Modern MilSim Man’ an Interview with C07 from Team Cobalt http://wp.me/p5Hyma-W via @wordpressdotcom

‘Far Beyond Driven an interview with Seraph from TF Green’ http://wp.me/p5Hyma-2a via @wordpressdotcom

Where Next To Conquer Alex C’s Mk12 Mod 0 SPR http://wp.me/p5Hyma-57 via @wordpressdotcom

We Are The Pilgrims, We Shall Go – An Interview With UCAP’s Andy S http://wp.me/p5Hyma-5R via @wordpressdotcom

Team Diablo in detail – an anatomy of a gunfight (an interview with Team Diablo) http://wp.me/p5Hyma-5I via @wordpressdotcom

The Color and The Shape, an interview with Dan FooFighter http://wp.me/p5Hyma-6S via @wordpressdotcom

Strength Beyond Strength – an interview with Dutch from Task Force Green http://wp.me/p5Hyma-7l via @wordpressdotcom

Return To Strength – An Interview with Combat Airsoft Group (CAG) http://wp.me/p5Hyma-7E via @wordpressdotcom

Tales From The Hardside – An Interview with Airborne Airsoft http://wp.me/p5Hyma-7V via @wordpressdotcom

The Inner Circle, an interview with Kable R01 from Red Team http://wp.me/p5Hyma-8V via @wordpressdotcom

Built to Last – an interview with Kevin from ToySoldier http://wp.me/p5Hyma-9u via @wordpressdotcom
All of which has been supported and encouraged by my brothers over at Airsoft International, and for providing the opportunity to put pen to paper in the magazine too – https://www.facebook.com/airsoftint/

 Still Voodoo After All These Years – an interview with Rob C from Task Force Voodoo https://s23gearmonkey75.wordpress.com/

  
 

 

Thank you all for your support, encouragement – S23

S23 Golf Mike 75 is proudly sponsored by ToySoldier 
http://www.toysoldier.com.hk/ 

 
S23 FAMILIA SHIRTS AVAILABLE HERE

… in light of the overwhelming demand for patches (which have now gone) what was originally a limited crew served shirt has been made available online – printed on heavy weight Gildan shirts in charcoal gray (available S,M,L,XL worldwide here) – S23

https://www.tshirtstudio.com/marketplace/s23-golf-mike-75/buy-s23-teufelhund-shirt

  

Built to Last – an interview with Kevin from ToySoldier

Built to Last – an interview with Kevin from ToySoldier  
ToySoldier needs little to no introduction. But for the uninitiated, ToySoldier are a Hong Kong based collective, an art house and design group who, almost single handedly make and design that elusive piece of equipment that is almost unobtainable elsewhere.
This can be exampled by everything from dummy training ballistic plates, to high end custom clothing in a wide variety of patterns and materials to detailed replicas of patches that otherwise do not exist outside of the real world units.
It’s this attention to detail, quality of materials and painstakingly hard craftsmanship put in to their products that’s actually seen their equipment used by real steel operators. From the French Police (Plate Carrier) to MARSOC (CP Style M81 Pants).

  
I’ve been using ToySoldier for years, ironically when they opened their web store, I was in fact their first online customer purchasing one of the first MBITR ANPCR 148’s – which is still in my ‘locker room’ to this day …
Nearly every week a new and exclusive product is released, and as such to celebrate the release of their full Cordura MBAV we took the time out to speak with Kevin ToySoldier.

  

GM75
: Hey bro, thanks for coming on board to do the interview, I know how busy you guys are. So, let’s get started – when did ToySoldier start, and what was the original idea behind it all, had you had problems getting gear and equipment and decided to make your own ?

KTS
: We made 1/6 figures since 1998. And as we were doing very well in the 1/6 market. The original idea was to make some gears for my private use (Airsoft). From the beginning, we setup a brand called “Tactical Workshop” for custom gears and private ordering. And when the demand increased, we started to have our own product for sale. The biggest problem is about materials, we try to use best materials for the products. 

GM75
: Did you ever dream ToySoldier would become this popular and successful ?

  

KTS: Never… I just wanted to make some gears for myself when getting start. I don’t say think we are successful.. I am still poor (laughs). But yes.. I am happy to be popular. Business is business. But I am happy to make friends from the worldwide. 

  

GM75
: I take it you identified there was a gap in the market for high end replica equipment, although the stuff you make is as good as the real thing, sometimes even better ?

KTS
: I appreciate customers giving good positive feedback comments for my vests and combat suits. I don’t dare to say my products is better than “real” things. But we try to make the best quality. 

  

GM75
: What can you tell us about the process of designing and producing some of your products, I know you do a lot of research historically and photographically. But can you tell us about the process that leads up to delivering the finished product.

  

KTS
: two ways. The first is to make my own design gears. From the experience in the game, then make what I need. Then drawing some simple graphic and give it to the tailor. Then he will make a first sample and test, then production. 
Replica gears is similar. If we have the original then will be more easy. We will find the same/similar materials. Then make sample and start production. 

  

GM75: Now, I’ve seen your gear turn up in some pretty strange places, even used by real world Law Enforcement and Military – that must be pretty cool to see, what can you tell us about that ?

  

KTS
: That is really a surprise to me … you know our brand is called “Toysoldier”. Still some customer think we making 1/6 gears now. Sometime they will ask.. oh it is for toy figure or real man ? (laughs)
I think those Military guys don’t care what is the brand it is. They just want something they need for work … so they search the internet and found us. Or sometimes they play Airsoft too! so they know ToySoldier and want to try ToySoldier in the real situation. 

GM75
: So, you’ve made hundreds if not thousands of different products, clothing, armor, patches – is there one your particularly proud of ?

  

KTS
: The newest items I’m proud of is the MBAV. I think it is a good replica. And also my combat suit, they have tested by some operators in real situation. And they are happy with it. 

GM75: What sort of things make ToySoldier product that extra special, what are you looking to achieve when producing a product that meets ToySoldiers high standard.

KTS
: I think we go faster than the others. And we welcome from customers ideas too. We still make custom gears for customers. 

  

GM75
: Now, I know how busy you are – but do you still get a chance to get out and play Airsoft, do you prefer CQB or Woodland, MilSim or regular Skirmishes …

KTS
: I don’t play Milsim now…only when taking pics. I will wear what I love to. I think a good teammate is more important. If you have a good teammate different terrains is not a problem …

GM75
: What is the one piece of kit you can’t do without when out on the field ?

KTS
: dump pouch. GBB mags is expensive (laughs)

GM75
: Now, I know your a big fan of real world gear and collect all sorts of cool and rare gear, any favorites or particularly special pieces you’ve collected or you really like ?

KTS
: 90’s gears! ABA (American Body Armor), LBT (old gen), Vietnam war. I really love LBT 1195 style harness . Especially 1195K for gunners …

  

GM75
: Last but not least, this is a trademark question, real steel ammo counts – something I’m a fan of but has really struggled to take off due to Airsoft’s limited range and accuracy – is there a place for this or do you think it’s not feasible ?

KTS
: In Hong Kong, we don’t have chance to be an army. So … Airsoft is a good 

sport for people here who want to experience the real military world. During the game, make more new friends and gathering with brothers, why be so serious (laughs)
Go to ToySoldier here –
http://www.toysoldier.com.hk/
… and find them and all their updates and news and product releases here on FaceBook 
https://www.facebook.com/Toysoldier-Workshop-FB-Store-290914640939201/

  

S23 Golf Mike 75 is proudly sponsored by ToySoldier
 
http://www.toysoldier.com.hk/

  

Last few Mk II Patches here: http://www.ebay.co.uk/ulk/itm/322129031131 once there gone, there gone …

S23 FAMILIA SHIRTS AVAILABLE HERE

… in light of the overwhelming demand for patches (which have now gone) what was originally a limited crew served shirt has been made available online – printed on heavy weight Gildan shirts in charcoal gray (available S,M,L,XL worldwide here) – S23
https://www.tshirtstudio.com/marketplace/s23-golf-mike-75/buy-s23-teufelhund-shirt

  

  

Crye CAGE CPC Overview

A good few months back I published a brief ‘essay’ on Crye’s Jumpable Plate Carrier (JPC). 
That particular piece of equipment, or rather plate carrier in it’s current incarnation has served me well, and aside from dirt and a few scuffs is going as strong as the day I received it. I had found however, its ability to significantly load carry over considerably longer ‘games’ was somewhat lacking, and often found my self having a day sack along, left at a ‘laying up’ point to reload and replenish items expended in the field.

  
To be fair, it was never intended to be used as such, and it’s original brief was to increase my mobility and lower my profile on ‘Direct Action’ (DA) games.
Well, whilst idle I started to extrapolate possible solutions which would help increase ‘load bearing capability’ yet give me the punch required when changing gears into DA segments.

  
I immediately started taking a long hard look the CAGE Plate Carrier (CAGE – Crye Assault GEar). This is somewhat streamlined version of the original CAGE Armor Chassis offering a slightly lower profile and weight reduction.
I’ll firstly talk a little about the CPC. It essentially is built around an internal suspension system which can be adjusted to fit the users shape and size and is offset for comfort with eight varying sized pads all of which can moved or removed to the users preferred fit and form.

  
This is overlaid by to modular plate bags which hold solid state armor and soft armor backing. All of which is secured by a dual cummerbund which can additionally take soft armor and plates. These also feature two pockets for either radios and or magazines. The front plate like the rear is covered with a generous amount of MOLLE for attaching additional pouches, but also features a kangaroo pouch to take three 5.56 magazines and an admin pouch in the top of the bag for quick access to either pens, chem lights, note books and so on and so forth …
I was exceptionally impressed with its fit and form, found it very easy to adjust and modify to make for a very comfortable wear and instantly felt familiar and intuitive to use.

  
Initially as I started to position additional pouches and accessories, as pretty much everything I use gets placed to my left ‘weak’ side – I started to feel it become cluttered and overloaded. After discussing at length with a very ‘reputable’ and knowledgable source I reorganized my belt load bearing equipment (LBE) to drive forward the more streamlined ‘function over form’ ethos.
Whilst not completely in a state where I’d call it complete, I’ve started to get nearer to a more usable and functional position that’s practical and intuitive to use. 

 

Kit List

Most of the stuff on the Plate Carrier has been moved on to the belt. 

Essentially as follows:
Holster

2 x Grenade Pouches

Dump Pouch

Gerber Multitool

2 x 2 BFG 5.56 (4 x Mags 30 Rnds) 

1 x BFG 9mm 
On the PC
On the rear:


1 x IFAK SOFLCS (fully stocked/qualified First Aid Trained) 

1 x 100 Rnd Saw SOFLCS Pouch (used for admin items, spares etc)

3 x 5.56 in the Kangaroo pouch

2 x BFG Smoke Pouches

2 x 9mm CP style pouches

ATS 40mm FB pouch (two be replaced with two CP style 40mm FB pouches)

HGG MBTIR pouch

1L Source Hydration Pouch inside the Type C rear MOLLE panel
I worked around this conundrum by starting move pouches around and working out best placement in order of priority. Slowly but a little more ‘brutal’ in minimizing what I was prepared to carry.

  
I really put a lot of thought into how much I needed in the field, and what could be left behind or acquired slow time when appropriate.
It’s laughable, but at one point I was really pushing for between four and six secondary magazines across the board. Despite whatever justifications I sought to keep these it just didn’t work and pushed ahead with streamlining down to two, with an admin load on the belt.
Moving onward, the rear plate bag has been complimented with a ‘Type C’ back panel, allowing for the carry of a hydration bladder, and overlaid with an IFAK, Admin Pouch and two Smoke Pouches for team mates.

   
 
This can all be very quickly unzipped and removed for reduction of weight or load bearing, perhaps when using a day sack or simply for purposes of storage. 
Well, after several long weeks of sitting in storage awaiting completion the CPC finally got an out over two extended days at a large urban event.

  

Even better it was unseasonably clement, so I was intrigued to find out how hot it’d be whilst worn and how it would play out fully loaded …
In a word, I was amazed – the suspension system and pads distribute the weight, or rather off set it evenly across the shoulders and torso. It’s segmented interior and the channels sitting between the rear plate allow for air to flow through and further dissipate heat.
In summary an easy light weight wear. Configuration wise, a few pouches perhaps need to be either moved for more intuitive access or swapped over to my belt load but again, it was functional with no real fumble or confusion.

  
An addition I had made was High Ground Gears MBITR ’tilt pouch’ – which I had stowed on the rear left of the cummerbund. This was great for reducing profile, but meant absolutely no access to the radio to switch channels. An annoyance to say the least as in this instance I’d programmed the radio to speak with the other eight call signs in attendance. 
In any other instance, perhaps when operating in smaller numbers and using the BDR function to communicate across two frequencies this position is not a problem. However, here I’d fallen foul from form over function. That said, perhaps aside from Tyr Tacticals radio pouch this is an outstanding pouch. It allows for battery access and replacement via a zip at bottom. Has plenty of loops for tidying cables, and when correctly positioned allows the user to access the radio without removal by simply pulling away from the body.
Back to the CPC, well over two days of high impact urban DA style play, it easily endured the rigors of crashing through disused buildings, climbing obstacles and has returned with little to no signs of wear or tear.
It’s in my estimation a great value high plate carrier, with an incredible scope for modularity and load bearing and when faced with ‘higher threat’ levels in DA style games this proves an above adequate solution.
In comparison, for days when I really need to be flight on my feet I can see the JPC still being brought out on occasion. Particular where vehicles are being used, if only that the CPC increases you profile to the point, when seated in a vehicle you’ll take up a lot of room …
To summarize a great plate carrier, user friendly, instantly usable out of the box and highly customizable – I’d be hard pushed to imagine how Crye could really improve on this innovative design.

CPC was purchased from LEAF Gear

http://www.leafgear.com/en/

S23 Golf Mike 75 is proudly sponsored by ToySoldier 
http://www.toysoldier.com.hk/

  

S23 FAMILIA SHIRTS AVAILABLE HERE

… in light of the overwhelming demand for patches (which have now gone) what was originally a limited crew served shirt has been made available online – printed on heavy weight Gildan shirts in charcoal gray (available S,M,L,XL worldwide here) – S23

https://www.tshirtstudio.com/marketplace/s23-golf-mike-75/s23-teufelhund-shirt

  

The Color and The Shape, an interview with Dan FooFighter

The Color and The Shape, an interview with Dan FooFighter

Celebrity or notoriety you decide, but this time around we took the opportunity to get an inside to social media Titan Dan FooFighter.
Here we separate the man from the myth and get a sneak peek on the busy working father, who’s altruism for building a better community and unity within the game was only all too apparent.
  
So, without delay read on, part one …
GM75: So as an introduction, how long have you been playing Airsoft, how did it all come about and what made you take the plunge into ‘Plastic Deth’ ?
DFF: Right, I’ve been playing Airsoft for just coming up for around three years now, so not as long as alot of the other guys I know. Some are like ten year plus veterans. I was introduced to it when by chance my best friend rocked into work one Monday morning and said, “bro i think I’ve just found something your gonna love.” He wouldn’t  say anymore until that lunch break we jumped on the train to Camden, where he took me into Wolf Armouries, from the minute I walked into the shop I knew my bank account was gonna get hammered. We bought a couple of g36’s and that weekend headed down to Bunker 51, where I had my first experience of Airsoft.
I didnt know what the hell was going on, I was just running around in the dark getting shot to pieces by everyone, smashed my leg, had welts all over me and came out with a massive grin. The following day I was online buying up desert DPM & that weekend we were back down Wolf buying pistols, and anything else we could afford and that hasnt changed since, I’m pretty sure that every ‘Gear Whore’ can tell this same story.
  
Like I said it was simply by chance that RC-01 stumbled across airsoft and I’m just gutted it wasn’t 10 years earlier, I’ve got a military based family, my grandad fought in WW2 and my dad was Royal Navy so i have always been into the military and after having survived a serious motorcycle accident that nearly left me unable to walk and on crutches for almost three years, learning how to walk again and with knees like Robocop, any chance of joining up went right out the window. So during Airsoft days you’ll usually find me with my knees strapped up popping painkillers like a boss. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. Its an awesome way to still be able to enjoy military style tactics and kit but also remind me of how lucky I am to be able to even walk.
GM75:  So, I was rather surprised to hear you’ve only recently arrived on the seen, considering your humble beginnings with the G36 at Bunker 51, you’ve become a rather popular face within the community, undoubtedly due to your exceptionally friendly approachable online presence, conversely in its current configuration you’ve also developed quite an iconic high speed low drag appearance on the field, what’s your take on all of this ?
  
DFF:  The whole thing is kind of a whirlwind to be honest, even being asked to do this interview in the first place is weird as hell. (laughs)
The whole Instagram thing has blown my mind, I’ve been sent patches, t-shirts and even drawings of myself, which is crazy and truly humbling. I do try to answer all the questions that I can, 
I have made some awesome friends worldwide via the Instagram /Facebook Airsoft community and I’ve learnt so much from these genuinely selfless honest guys, some actually still in the forces, some who are vets and all who realize that it is a honourable sport, that teaches you tactics, teamwork, and is tons of fun young or old, but ultimately nothing more than big boy’s running around with toy guns having a great time. The second you associate it with anything else other than that and start thinking its real and that you actually are in SEAL Team Six its  probably a good time to quit. I think false valour is one of the worst things you could ever do. 
I try to post pictures that are actually cool and interesting rather than a barrage of photos of my dinner ect and even though my Airsoft load outs may not be the most expensive or Gucci out there. I mean I’ve seen guys with real steel ptt radios & headsets that cost the same amount of money as ten of my loadouts its how you put stuff together, as the saying goes you can’t buy style, I think as long as your having fun it makes no difference if you are wearing jeans and baseball cap or fully kitted out, its all down to personal preference. As I’ve got more into it I’ve been gradually replacing my repro kit with the more high end brands, Crye Precision ect, this isn’t because I think it makes me any better than others. its just that if you are seriously into any kind of sports or hobby a quality product is usually much more hard-wearing and built for purpose rather than a cheap copy thats made just to look similar & in the end you’re gonna end up spending more money replacing it so buy what you can afford at the time.
   

 

GM75: So perhaps your ‘everyman’ approach has captured the hearts of enthusiasts globally, do think perhaps people should take a step back and just embrace the fun and exhilarating side of the game ?
DFF: (laughs) maybe I guess, I really have no idea but like I said I do try to assist anyone who asks me questions, by answering them or by pointing them in the right direction, as there are far more knowledgeable guys in the sport out there than me, yourself included. With the array of gear available its good to know that you can ask someone for help without being made to feel like a dick. Follower numbers on the social networks in the scheme of things mean nothing if you think you are to badass to reply or help people. I would rather have fifty followers who were actually interested in my content over thousands just making up numbers & to quote one of the awesome @radrockin ‘s favorite hashtags #growthesport 
In the short time I’ve been in this I can honestly say that I have made some amazing friends world wide who I am honored to be able to call brother’s. 
I don’t think people need to take a step back and enjoy the fun factor of the sport but I certainly think that they should keep in the gaming styles best suited to them or their team. i.e if hardcore milsim is your thing then stick to the events organised that will have other like minded, experienced guys there, after all turning up at a regular weekend skirmish sites and kicking off because the other team aren’t taking their hits because you and your pals are SEAL Team Six will result in headaches all round. Horses for courses and all that jazz.
 I do play Mil-Sims but I enjoy the actual action sections of it over the other stuff which is why I’ve lately been getting into the new Battle-Sim events.
Part two coming soon …
In the meantime check out Reaper Crew Airsoft here
Dan FooFighters phots here
Dan and Reaper Crew are proudly sponsored by BritKitUSA
more articles here 
s23gearmonkey75
 
 
S23 FAMILIA SHIRTS AVAILABLE HERE
… in light of the overwhelming demand for patches (which have now gone) what was originally a limited crew served shirt has been made available online – printed on heavy weight Gildan shirts in charcoal gray (available S,M,L,XL worldwide here) – S23