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The Book of the Howlings of Ming, Seeker After Arcane and Esoteric Truths
Chap with yellow armband, five rounds rapid! 
12th-Mar-2007 10:43 am
Fire select
Fun airsofting weekend.

Simon arrived friday mid-morning, dropped off gear and headed to meet Kate at the Imperial War Museum. Alas, I had/have a convergent services value proposition document to work on. Sigh.

Met up with them in the evening for beers and to nominally discuss plans for Beltring but I'm not sure too much concrete got settled. Main observation: it is kind of scary how far/long we had to walk to find a pub with a free table so we could get some food (and beer). We did find a blues bar that serves Murphy's though.

Got up annoyingly early Saturday morning and drove down in convoy to Ealing to collect Kate and then on to Elite Urban Epsom (the underground bunker) where we met up with mrmrsmith. Quickly realised I'd left my pistol bag at home, not to mention headgear, bar the UNIT beret. Doh.

Ah well, still, had a generally fun day's play although I failed to actually find the enemy in a game or two... The last couple of Resident Evil-inspired Zombie games were especially entertaining - all bar four players are unarmed zombies, the four have to rescue a scientist and are armed but only with lo-cap magazines, loaded with random amounts of ammunition by a marshal so they're never quite sure how much ammo they have left. Unless you have an AUG with transparent magazines, that is. Not that that saved this hapless UNIT soldier...

It was also quite interesting looking at the airsofts on sale. It's scary how cheap the Chinese AEGs have got e.g. £120 apiece for AUGs or M-14s (the latter would be a nice addition to my Vietnam-themed kit collection) and which are now reputed to be as good as the Marui equivalents. At this rate, never mind looking for springers to tag up, an AEG is damn near cheap enough. I did end up getting myself an electric Glock 18c to match my gas one, thanks to a top-up loan from Kate (I'd also omiited to raid an ATM before heading down - disorganised much?) who was also kind enough to lend me her Tac Master for the next day.

So, after packing up, Shaun and I said bye to Kate and Simon and headed on to Portsmouth to Flinn and Heather's for beer, takeaways and geeky discussion (usual suspects of airsoft, SF, RPGs, re-enactment, history etc). Hadn't seen Flinn in ages and was especially keen to catch up with him as he'd been one of those prodding me to try Civil War re-enactment.

Fortunately, they live very close to Fort Widley so we were able to get up at a reasonably civilised hour. As it turned out, it was just Shaun, Flinn and myself from the DoG/Sheep world heading in.

One very sobering thing: a guy injured himself very seriously, apparently he slipped at the bottom of a flight of steps and broke his ankle. It was quite horrific hearing him screaming as the rest of us were cleared out while he was sorted out but, fortunately the site organisers include a Doctor and Nurse.

I therefore feel somewhat guilty for saying that that was the best day's skirmishing I've had in a very long time, mainly because we got there to discover they'd instituted a no hi-cap magazines rule. There was an initial panic as, like most 'softers, we primarily had hi-caps (ie ~300 rounds per mag as opposed to 70-90) but between us, we managed to cobble together or borrow enough lo-caps and speedloaders to cope. It certainly made a big difference when people couldn't simply spray 'n' pray at everything in sight. That "Oh crap!" feeling as a magazine runs dry also added enormously to the fun.

The highlight for me were the hostage rescue games - divided into three groups and cycled through each of the three roles of prisoners, guards and assault team. I was especially proud of shooting a guard crouching between a wall and prisoner without hitting the latter, using Kate's Tac Master. When doing the guard role, I was also amused that the assault team seemed to get carried away with shooting hostages rather than us, despite the Hi-Vis vests the hostages were wearing, which did not help their score in the slightest!

All-in-all, an excellent site with well-designed games and rules and very friendly bunch of people. The site also leaps straight to the top of my list of favourite sites because it has, yes, indoor flushing toilets and running water! I also got invited by one of the site organisers to join a MACV/Vietnam-themed group - seems an ARVN Ranger would be a most welcome addition!

Some impressively kitted out people too, including a handful of German and British WWII re-enactors and a guy in a Space: Above And Beyond flightsuit. With that last one and Shaun in his BSG nintendoflage, I had to wear the UNIT beret (and shouting things like "Chaps in yellow armbands, five rounds rapid!"). Turns out one of the other guys had considered turning up in a Darth Vader outfit. Now that would have been impressive! There's going to be a black theme day in 4 weeks and Shaun immediately thought of BSG Marines. Sounds good to me! :-)

Think I need to buy some more lo-cap mags though, at least a couple each for the P-90 and M-16/SA-80 (which Flinn used and seemed pretty impressed with), that and more BBs. Shaun was using the new electric Glock and it seems to be fine in semi-auto mode but intermittent in auto: it sometimes fires one shot and then no more. Need to play around with this a bit more and possibly call the Elite Airsoft guys...

I'm also thinking that the weather's getting good enough to think about a return to Urban Assault but I think I'd also like to try one of their milsim (ie no hi-caps) days to see how that compares with Fort Widley.

The main thing is that, fun as the UNIT Planetfall game was the weekend before, it still doesn't beat BBs flying thick and fast for getting the adrenalin pumping!

One other thing which came up over the weekend: a suggestion that I should do my own airsoft calendar. My initial reaction that I didn't think I had enough weapons for a full 12 months was met with doubt. OK, I probably do but I definitely do not have enough models!

The only real downside of the weekend is that, starting on Friday evening, my right knee started intermittently flaring up, especially if I tried kneeling or then standing up. I guess this is what I get for being so smug about Thursday evening... Just hope it's better by Saturday at the latest for the Invicta (Wednesday or Thursday for fencing would be better yet..). Well, that and the usual post-airsoft slightly achey feeling
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