Well my those who've been following the Rhodie Project on my Facebook will know that my King Arms midcaps arrived a last! No sooner where they through the door the dremel and silicon spray were out and I was at work. For those not aware the KA G3 mags require the rear upper corner filed off to fit in the magazine housing correctly: a 30 second jobbie with a dremel on each mag and you're laughing.
Out came the Humbrol paint again and I was away, painting happily away making a mess of the place and myself. After experimenting with a few patterns I decided to stick to mainly yellow stripes on the green base bar a couple mags which I did all blotchy for something different. After the paint had dried they looked pretty good...rough and ugly as sin...but they certainly looked the part!
Now when I get new midcaps I do the usual service: remove the spring, spray silicon down the chute, then bomb up with silicon oiled BBs a few times. For this I was using Blaster Devils....then began the rise in blood pressure which has only JUST returned to normal.
After no more than 3 pumps of the speedloader...JAM! hmm....so I power through it and get about 25-30 BBs in the mag before it jams solid. Next to debomb the mag...nothing! So banging the mag I am able to unload the mag only 3-5 BBs at a time having to whack the mag every time. Highly infuriating stuff.
Well this carried on with EVERY...SINGLE....MAG!! I was beginning to lose hope: £37 blown on mags that don't work, I wanted to take a plane to Hong Kong and I quote "Ram these pieces of poo down the throat of the numpty that designed them" next time the Boss visited King Arms. Seriously the rage and cursing coming from my workshop was heard from the house.
Utterly chinstrapped I was about to throw in the towel and do what I really didn't want to do: buy Hicaps. Or hunt down and blow my money on the JG Midcaps which feed flawlessly. However one last try...only this time maybe with different BBs...I wonder?
Filling up the speedloader with *winces* Zero One .25s I started loading up the mags...so far so good; no resistance. In fact I filled a whole mag! In fact all five mags bar one worked flawlessly, the last one being not quite a lemon...a few taps here and there needed but it was workable at least.
So: nice decent BBs were a nono for these mags yet the crappy nasty BBs the KA Mids were gobbling them like a hooer! My rage was finally subsiding.
So I got into the office ready for a long boring day of invoices, telling people to use google when looking for plate carriers and the fortunate highlights of mercilessly taking the ###### out of my boss. But inside I was really excited as I knew the delivery had been and in that delivery would be my G3! Well I got the the office and OH NOES!! No delivery! So there I was cursing the recent snow fall with a raging passion, cursing UPS for being ###### and cursing the cat for mewing at me constantly trying to charm me out of this rage.
Naturally the inner squaddie got a grip and I got an office brew on the go while all the time cursing UPS and snow...but not the cat, the cat had redeemed himself by chasing my shoelaces..when the door went and I pretty much tripped over the cat to get to the door! I looked through the peep hole to see who it could be...no one?! Was it some chav playing silly buggers? Was it a dwarf with a pizza? NO! IT WAS UPS!
Sadly I had to deal with the stock delivery and let clients know their guns, bits and bobs has arrived and then sort out the shipping as well as the inevitable spring change looming while all the while the only thing in my mind was that G3!
So the G3 itself!
Made by Jing Gong it is indeed a Chinese AEG, now I know there is a lot of stigma, ignorance and misconception in the airsoft world about Chinese made guns...well this gun surely does put those nay sayers in their place!
The rifle itself is made from a sturdy polymer, yes it's a plastic gun BUT it doesn't feel cheap and nasty and there's very little if any wobble in it whatsoever. It feels sturdy enough to be thrashed about a bit that's for sure. Because of this it's very light too and rather nimble for a full size battle rifle. Yes I can still hear the queens amongst you shouting "BUT IT'S PLASTIC!"....well so what? It's light, robust and comfortable. Speaking as an infantryman: lightweight is good, no one wants to lug about more then they can get away with.
Ergonomically it's more geared towards the right handed shooter with the selector on the left side, this does not (as people seem to think) make it non-lefty friendly. You can change it with your left hand, it's just a bit awkward to do! And when you do flick your switch (hey ho) you get a very reassuring CLICK each time. I'm certainly liking it so far. The pistol grip does feel a little on the small side in my spade like hands however it is still comfortable and functional, with slight moulding for the shooters hand too it makes for a very nice grip of the weapon.
Magazine release is fully ambidextrous as it's the same as on your standard MP5: one on the right and the one on the trigger guard. The magazines fit into the weapon almost like a FAL or AK by that I mean hooking the front of the magazine into the housing then pulling the rear side back in to lock it place. However with the G3 the action is much more subtle than on an AK or FAL.
Grip with the handguard is very slim indeed which is nice and comfortable as there is no extra weight here. The result is a pretty nicely balanced rifle as once the battery (in my case 8.4 3300 NiMh) is in the stock and you've shouldered it to fire: feels perfect. As some of you are aware I am a fan of the Battle Rifle...a real rifle!1 Well to me this is how a rifle should be: proper round (in the real world) full length barrel and no damned RIS. It was a pure infantryman's rifle.
Performance: after throwing away the BBs, charger, manual and battery that came with it I popped in an 8.4 3300mah NiMh which is a very snug fit and I had to be creative with my wire folding to get the butt pad on again but I managed. I flicked it to semi and gave a few rapid shots: nice response, the response was pretty good so no dramas there...flicking to auto I gave here a quick squeeze...BRRRRAP! VERY nice rate of fire! And I do mean very nice! ROF was nice a fast, around the 800 rounds per minute mark...just like a real steel LMG so I'm very happy with that one as I intend to use mids only once I build up a healthy supply.
Chrono: using .20 Blaster devils out the box it was doing over a course of ten shots we were doing between 348fps and 355.2fps again: very happy with that as a few mags through her will settle that spring in nicely. The hop itself gives decent results and the back yard accuracy is darn good. I'll be taking her out to skirmish on the 24th and we shall see how she does however I'm confident that she'll hold her own.
Overall I am very happy and very impressed with the build quality and performance of the Jing Gong G3A3 and I think the only upgrades for now would simply be a 6.03/6.04 tightbore barrel, I was going to put a Madbull Shark hop rubber in but for now I don't feel the need to.
Now she just awaits painting!
From Mad Badger Airsoft for £144.99
1 - A battle rifle is a full size rifle iring a full size round eg: 7.62x51....not 7.62x39...nor is it a 5.56mm weapon that just has a full size barrel like an M16. Those are an Airsoft misconception that need to be stamped out.
I have my paints and I was ready to get cracking, so after experimenting on a bren pouch I was getting confident but the paint brush was looking rather dead so I decided to do this the old fashioned (and as it turns out: the historically accurate) way....my hands would be the paint brush! Donning the latex gloves as I'd just done my nails I was feeling like a school kid in art class.
As it happens painting the webbing with one's hands is exceptionally effective: you get a very uneven and blotchy finish to the paint which normally my inner perfectionist would be ripping it's hair out and getting ready to commit suicide...but due to the nature of this project my perfectionist was a little apprehensive at the outcome of a couple pieces but generally pleased. The idea was simply to provide a base coat due to the fact canvas tanned in the African sun and only on the parts that would be visible/exposed. It didn't have to look even, it certainly wasn't designed to be pretty like ATACS or DPM...it was designed to do the job.
Just as well as one set of pouches looked luminous to the point where I considered re-doing them. However Mr O'Sullivan assured me and told me to wait out until the yellow had gone on. I'm glad I did as once the yellow went on they looked fabulous! In fact the whole thing looks amazing and I'm not one to compliment anything let alone my own work.
Sadly I have reached the point where it only needs the yoke to be finished with the poncho roll...and I cannae justify opening a new pot of paint just to do that until my G3 arrives in, oh, two days Until then I'll just have to sit and stare longingly at the webbing in pieces until it gets the pouches stitched on the water bottle pouch and kidney pouch
Okay so now I am finally ready to paint, I know the colours I'm after (well kinda) as they are simply known as babysh** yellow and forest green. Hand up fine I wasn't quite ready to paint them so I did some trawling online to find the right colours...success! The Rhodies used Du Pont vehicle paints on just about EVERYTHING! So I had my paint codes, I knew roughly how much I needed so I hit 'DuPont paint' into Google...nothing! I typed a few searches and came up with zip. Ah.
So I went on the DuPont website and emailed them asking where I can pick up their product from as there's no listings online, about an hour later I got sent the link to their list of Distributors. GREAT! I now could get in touch and find a retail outlet! So I type up an email to these guys asking for info about any local retail outlets which stock their product. The next day they had relied and I'm not going to lie: I was excited...seemed I wasted my time as the email simply said "I'm sorry we can not provide details of the clients that we ship that product to".....I was utterly fuming! What kind of idiotic monkey doesn't let people know where people can buy their product?! Naturally they were given the good news and were told exactly what I thought of them and I was back to square one.
So anyway...I later found that Humbrol pretty much ripped off the colours a while back from DuPont and are a very very good match for the original colours...I was in business! Even better was the local art and model shop stocks copious amounts of the stuff and payday was looming. Mr webbing shall be painted at last!
So after doing a lot of research about what webbing the Rhodies used in the bush war I was very pleasantly surprised that Pattern 58 webbing was commonly used (heavily modified of course) along with Pattern 37, Pattern 64, SADF Pattern 70 and locally made copies of the previous. Due to restrictions the troopie used what he could get hold of, and people coming from overseas were often told if they do: bring webbing, more webbing and even more webbing.
As it just so happened I had at my disposal a set of Pattern 58 webbing and a couple Pattern 37 pouches. After talking to my good friend O'Sullivan he gave me some Dutch G3/FAL pouches to use as well. After lusting over O'Sullivan's Patter 70 webbing I decided I could and would do as they did in Rhodesia and simply nick the idea and use whatever was to hand: in this case I had a set of 58 kidney pouches and some G3 pouches....and a tailor down the road. Normally such ideas would be branded as heresy however in the historical context I had found Mecca in canvas form!
In the picture is what I've using for the web kit, before I set to work naturally. As you can see there's more pouches than belt space and not shown is a rather scruffy set of G3 pouches and a pair of 37 pattern brace attachments (in RAF blanco). The webbing construction had now begun and I was keen to do a real mixture of kit as once you are willing to incorporate foreign pouches and non-58 pouches onto Pattern 58 webbing...it's an amazingly versatile and underrated bit of kit. Which is why I never got rid of it: there is a mystical charm where canvas webbing in concerned.
There were three crucial things in the bush: ammo, water, and ammo. So naturally I wanted this to reflect the big three, so to start making space on the belt.
First: I took the kidney pouches and cut them in two so I had two individual pouches (A very common thing to do in the bush and in the UK too). With one mounted on the belt the plan was to stitch a magazine pouch on the lid of the pouch as seen on the Patter 70 set.
Second: I had a waterbottle naturally however in true Rhodie style it would have another G3/FAL pouch sewn onto it to increase ammunition carrying capacity.
Third: I wanted to utilise the Dutch pouches as magazines would not rattle about inside being a set of two single mag pouches. (again in the bush war every effort was made to reduce rattle) That and they are, unlike other ammo pouches, not fiddly to use when under pressure. So far this gives me six magazine plus one in the rifle. Not bad but I'd like more...
Fourth: I took a 37 pattern ammo pouch and cut slits into the back so I could drop mount it on the belt instead of it poking me in the arm pits all day. I hear I can carry either two extra magazines or a speedloader and bag of ammo plus grenades.
Overall the set up is pretty sound as I can swap out the 37 pattern ammo pouch for a second waterbottle pouch with a G3/FAL pouch sewn on the front anyway. Especially as I will be nabbing a repro Fereday & Sons chest rig to up my mag count again for longer patrols. So far so good I feel as it has authenticity, customisation and is pretty versatile for the real world so in airsoft terms I'm sorted as I'll be carrying 110rnd mids and not 20rnd 7.62x51 Ball.
Then we hit the issue of paint and the wonderful frustration that kicked up.
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away...
Okay to be more precise it was actually Essex and was late last year but the initial introduction had a touch more class than "Last year in Essex" but that's not the point. I had been looking at Rhodesian history for a while on and off for a while last year as to be honest it's fascinating stuff both from a political sense and a military sense. However it never really went further than looking at photos and looking on Varusteleka for SADF and Rhodie kit and thinking "Oh if only"
To I left it and went off in all my issued kit for games, still refusing to bow down to the RIS that plagues the modern world, however there was still an emptiness inside, one that kept growing. Having finally grown tired of the wearing the same rubbish every weekend I explored some options: French CCE...no I don;t want to eat cheese and surrender isn't high on my list. Hmm all black maybe? tried it and got bored...it just lacked inspiration and still left room for RIS to creep in slowly. So I set my gaze further back to a time of purity....a time without RIS.
And then I found what I was looking for: weapon purity, no fancy kit and lots of leather...plus the added bonus of being somewhat Un-pc at the same time. It was the 1st Panzer Division, Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler! And of course I opted to go for the Panzer crew look. And that was it I thought I had found it, I thought I had found the one rig for me...but I was wrong.
Over the next few weeks I grew hungry for a new loadout, that hunger grew and grew until one day while browsing the depths of the internet (not looking for porn this time) I stumbled upon a picture of a Rhodie G3 rifle...it was love at first sight! So after some digging looking at various webbing set ups I realised I had most the kit for an Africa mercenary loadout and also for a Rhodie loadout.
At last I had found the loadout for me: it was versatile, it had history, it had a real rifle not some poxy M4 and it had canvas webbing....but most of all....it had NO DAMN RIS!!
And so, Project Rhodie was born.