Every airsofter and his dog has guns that are modern, military, tactical, etc., etc. The problem starts when you need something… different. “Futuristic” is not a problem: G36, P90, MP7, USP, Tavor, you’re set. #The Ugly Stick works too (after all, for SeaQuest, the original Total Recall and Starship Troopers it did). But when you need post-nuke, steampunk, Wild West or just the Roaring Twenties, you’ve got a problem.
My airsoft wishlist is a mile long. And some of the stuff is going to serve as a base for conversions anyway (for example, a Skorpion AEP turned into a StA-18 pistol from Killzone, or a Broomhandle Mauser-based steampunk handcannon). So, with the Film Noir photoshoot just around the corner, the wishlist order got a bit shuffled. Sure, I bought a RPD foregrip on Fleabay last week, because it cost me bubkes and actually was there (they show up pretty rarely, especially not as a set with the stock that I don’t need at all) in order to build a Chinese Assault Rifle from Fallout 3, but a tommygun has priority. First, I want a tommygun anyway, because of its humongous grin factor (I mean, how awesome it is to fire a long burst from the thing, especially when you quote gangster movies while doing it?), second, there’s just an opportunity to use it. A Fallout 3 rifle would have to wait for an appropriate photoshoot, as we did the #Zombie Apocalypse two weeks ago and it’s too cold for a post-nuke themed one anyway. And, as a quick survey among the #PRF members revealed, nobody has a tommygun - not an airsoft one, not a Denix, nothing. So, as an armorer, I think I have to source one. If I can afford it, and I want it, I’ll just buy it and call it a day.
Airsofting is fun. Even if you run out of batteries, green gas and BBs, you can still walt around posing for photos (and remember, mud on your Weesatch makes the photos grittier and more "real"!). Sometimes even folks who don't airsoft want to walt around with your guns.
For example, there's a local photography hobby group consisting of photographers, models and make-up artists, who organize weekly themed photoshoots - for example "Zombie Apocalypse", "Carnivale", "Weddings", "Alice in Wonderland", "The Witcher", "Shadowrun", etc. Considering I'm a Shadowrun fan, when I heard about the photoshoot two weeks earlier, I suggested I can bring some airsoft guns if anyone needs them. Turned out, they did. So I put my urban pixel pants on, grabbed a knockoff Eagle PT armor, my kneepads, a katana for that "Street Samurai" vibe and pretty much every gun I had, dumped it in a duffel bag and off to the photoshoot I went.
We were shooting downtown. In the streets. Of course someone was kind enough to hit the nearest cop shop in advance and notify them there'll be weirdos wandering around with guns, so we had no problems with that. There were also other airsofters who brought a couple more toys, but as far as sheer amount goes, I got more than all of them combined. And my collection isn't even as big as those of, for example, FireKnife or Lord_Sex.
Also, most of the models were girls. And here's the funniest bit: imagine a skinny, 5'0" blonde with latex elf ears, wearing a catsuit and more belts than Lulu from Final Fantasy 8, with my Wingun 703 8" handcannon (with an Aimpoint M2 slapped on top). Slightly comical. Others were less extravagant: dual M9s, dual 1911s, PPK, silenced USP. I decided to run around with the Ugly Stick, for that '80s futuristic feel.
Of course I advertised on the group's forum that if need be, I have guns I can borrow so they don't have to bother any shops for it (the earlier "Zombie Apocalypse" photoshoot relied on guns provided by one of the shops), and so people already borrowed my handcannon (twice) and I'm already preparing for a cyberpunk-themed photoshoot in October (people from CD-Projekt RED studio, responsible for the Cyberpunk 2020 video game, are interested - hell, maybe I'll wind up in the promo materials...). I guess I'll have to expand my collection soon.
Like I said, after flipping a coin three times and getting tails three times, I decided to roll with a Muzzelite 10/22 sniper rifle build. I dubbed it "Project Uglystick" (due to its... questionable aesthetics). I divided it into four phases:
Phase One: purchasing the carbine and internal upgrades (new hop-up, new barrel)
Phase Two: purchasing a Muzzelite stock
Phase Three: purchasing a compact scope (2-6x28 or 2-6x32) and mount (M16 carry handle rail)
Phase Four: assembly and testing
Phase One is 50% complete: all parts have been ordered, paid for and shipped. They just have to arrive here. Due to the fact that first version of the KJW 10/22 got really damn scarce, I had to check all the Hong Kong shops I knew, from AirsoftGlobal to TokyoModel - it turned out that only JK Army had it in stock at a sensible price ($200). JK Army apparently has some good reputation, but what they did blew my mind: I placed an order on Sunday, Monday morning (CET) I already received a confirmation and tracking number that worked. Now these guys are FAST. Sourcing a barrel was less of a problem - even with Falcon extended barrel kit out of stock, I found a 509mm barrel for a KJW M4 that looked remarkably similar (and considering that both guns were designed by Tanio Kobayashi, I guessed it will fit anyway) at EHobbyAsia. And here's where EHobby screwed up: sure, they said they've shipped the thing, but apparently forgot to give me a tracking number. So now it's a mail race between the Ruger and the barrel, and my money's on the Ruger.
Phase Two was more of a challenge. First, the guy who I originally asked to get me the stock claimed he could send it for $12, plus 10% of the item's value as a commission fee, but then I actually checked the shipping cost via USPS and discovered there's no way to go below $48 due to the stock being REALLY FRIGGIN' HUGE. So what it weighs two pounds? It's two feet long and postage for things that large is... substantial. So I turned my attention to Ebay. Advance Manufacturing first declined to send the stock overseas, but considering they do ship other things to Europe, I convinced them to try and send me the stock. Groovy. But due to them selling some gun accessories (probably), they had some problems with those retarded monkeys at Paypal and switched to a more Australian payment processor, Paymate. Here's the problem with Paymate: it takes them FIVE *fruitcage* DAYS to process a payment for American clients. I kid you not. Also, they send you no receipt whatsoever if you pay someone, so you don't know how much exactly you paid and what was the exchange rate (hint: it's usually retarded, making Paymate no different than Paypal in this regard). However, the order was placed, the payment was made, now I just have to wait.
Phase Three is put on hold until I get everything else. I already have a humongous silencer (to cover the longer inner barrel) and my flatmate told me he has a M16 carry handle rail he doesn't need, so all I need now is a compact scope - preferably with 2-6x magnification. Those usually come with 28mm or 32mm lenses, which should be enough. Now, the problem with calibrating it is the fact that it seems to sit pretty high in relation to the barrel. If I got it right, it will shoot low at distances shorter than the one I set the scope at and high at longer ones (which isn't that much of a problem if I set it far enough to make the difference noticeable only at ranges too short to fire the gun safely (gotta love the Polish airsoft laws, you can crank your gun to insane output velocities and all you're risking is infamy in the airsoft circles).
I'm also tempted to build a Predator-style laser pointer barrel extension, with three cheap red lasers from RSOV set around the barrel, but I guess it'd be overkill. The reactions of people seeing three familiar dots on them, on the other hand...? Priceless!
So, I finally got some extra cash, after all the sources for cheap Muzzelite stocks and all but one source for a cheap 10/22 dried up. And then, during the search for cheap Muzzelites, Google started actively scaring me with all those real-steel forums and people repeating multiple variants of "awful trigger pull". So today, I decided that I have to choose: "buy me now or forever stay your hand". Let's flip a coin, I thought, and got out a quarter-dollar coin I carry in my wallet.
"All right. Heads, I wait. Tails, I go for it."
And then, I flipped the coin. Like a spaz. Failed to catch it and it fell on the floor. Tails up. That doesn't count, I thought and flipped it again.
I did it like a spaz again. It landed on the floor, tails up. Apparently the universe is trying to tell me something. I flipped it for the third time.
This time I caught it. Tails again. SHOPPING TIME!
I placed orders at the online shops and e-mailed the guy who could source a Muzzelite for me with sane shipping costs. I only held out on the scope as I think I'll be able to get one a little cheaper here. Once spring comes, I'll have the thing up and running. Super light, super compact semi-automatic sniper rifle with enough power to fling the BBs over 200 feet away. And it'll look cool on photos.
It turned out that AirsoftGlobal has custom-built Muzzelite 10/22 for sale - of course, it's stupidly overpriced and lacking some upgrades, but at least I have a clue how the replica really looks fitted with the Muzzelite stock. First thing: the barrel is shorter than on the real deal, and only the thread sticks out - good for me, I can go with any barrel extension to cover up the Falcon 509 mm one. For example, the 240x40 King Arms can I got from my flatmate. Second, the Muzzelite stock isn't much more expensive than normal RS 10/22 stocks - normal ones go for $80 roughly and the Muzzelite is $110. The only problem with Muzzelite is that trigger needs some work - it's not as terrible as, let's say, JLS F2000, but I'm sure I'll be needing a lighter return spring for the trigger bar.
Why Muzzelite, though? Well, for starters, I wanted a futuristic-looking gun. Sure, it looked futuristic in the 80s, just ask propmakers that worked on Total Recall and SeaQuest. After slapping a longer barrel and a Falcon hop-up, it goes Section 5-hot and remains pretty accurate at 150-200 feet. Finally, as AirsoftGlobal claims, it's only a bit over 2 feet long and weighs two kilograms. TWO KILOGRAMS! That's two full-metal Berettas, which means I won't break my back carrying it around for a whole day (as opposed to the Warrior 1 I owned a while back). Damn good choice for a mobile marksman.
I'm only $200 short for the whole project - if I wanted, I could already order the 10/22, barrel and hop-up, but considering it's -10 C outside, and I need 200 feet of open space for testing, I have to postpone it until Spring. When I get a $400-$500 bonus.
Or, How To Be Trendy In The Milsim Crowd
As I mentioned a couple of times earlier, Western airsoft is mainly about being up to date and up to style while posing for photos on which you look like you're on an assignment, fighting terrorists from the sinister Qaboom at-Turban organization somewhere in southeastern Turbanistan. Of course, if you feel even more milsim , you're going to black your face out of the photo, because, well, that's what real operators do. Or you look like a dope, one or the other. But the photo is only the final effect of being up to style - it's preceded by long and expensive preparations.
First and most important matter is the gun. Chinese clones are right out - you need absolutely the best and most real replica, for instance - Systema PTW. Why, yes, I do know it ain't worth *suitcase*, has shot consistency close to null and is horridly overpriced, but you're not going to actually shoot this thing, right? Oh, wait, you do. So, you want a G&P replica - heavy, with real markings, metal body, and things, and stuff. And, regardless of the manufacturer, it needs a shitload of sticklebrick. RIS rails, that is. What you also need is a nightvision aiming device, like the one actually used by the military - I doubt you're ever going to use it, unless you're ready to get mud on your Weesatch and spend the Saturday night patrolling some God-forgotten woods instead of getting a good night's sleep or partying, but it's your two grand (I doubt you're gonna spend much less on that one). Also, a *fruitcage*-off huge tactical light, the more mil-spec, the better. And a laser. Yes, laser is essential, especially if the dumb law in your country doesn't treat it as a verboten item (figure out WHOSE dumb law I have in mind, you have three guesses). Of course you're not going to use it, but it's cool to freak people out with a green dot (because red ones are demode ), it also looks awesome on the photos in dusty places (sorry, you HAVE to get some dirt on your Weesatch to be trendy!). Vertical foregrip is also very important - no matter how you hold your weapon, it's ALWAYS better (read: more milsim ) with a vertical grip. Also, you need a three-point sling, milspec one if possible. Two-point ones just aren't milsim enough. If you decided on a sidearm (why, of course, go for Western Arms, the fact that they're expensive should only assure you that they're reliable! And don't forget a metal body kit for it!), you need a holster, too. Get a milspec one, don't settle for less. Yes, of course I know there are knockoffs, but forget them - you don't want your gun badly scratched or jammed in that knockoff, right?
Next up, is the gear. Don't accept any substitutes - go for well-known brand names that supply the military. Original Crye Multicam uniforms are undoubtedly the paramount of milsim fashion, followed by issue ACU. If you decided to go as a PMC, 5.11 clothes are A MUST. Of course, you need to watch out for counterfeit items available for a suspiciously low price from shady EBay sellers - better to pay more and get the absolutely best than pay less and have it split in half over your *albatross* during a photo op. Don't save on MOLLE vests either - why get a cheap, off-color knockoff sewn in some smelly garage in China, when you can get the real deal? They aren't illegal to own. They're just expensive, but remember - you pay for QUALITY! Also, communications gear - same rule applies here, don't buy knockoffs. They're cheap, and nasty, and definitely not milsim . And, also, cheap. If you know where to look, you can also get various little things real operators usually have on themselves - like, for example, plastic zip-cuffs. Of course you're not going to use them (or are you?), but they boost your cred. Considerably.
And finally, patches. It's a contested issue between two camps: the "Why, yes, of course, they're a part of MILITARY SIMULATION too!" camp, who are absolutely right, and "No way, kid, EARN those badges first!" crowd who are just jealous that you have all the fun while they have been kicked around by a psychopath in a Smokey Bear hat to get them. So, patches, to the max. You also need to know how to call them like the real operators would. The Special Forces emblem is an "Electric Butterknife". The 101st Airborne bird is a "Chokin' Chicken" or "Puking Buzzard". And the double "A" on 82nd Airborne stands for "Alcoholics Anonymous". Reading the list of real Army expressions should help you master the soldier-speak.
There. You know everything you need to be the quintessential milsimmer. Of course everyone will treat you like a pompous *albatross*, and rightly so, but you shouldn't care and walk tall. Hooah!
OK, so I'm going to be $700 richer in the coming days. Want to try and persuade me into not starting any mildly-crazy-to-batshit-insane airsoft projects?
1. Mildly crazy: Magpul-kitted SR25. JG based, fitted with a G&G hop-up, nozzle and standard V2 gearbox, with MOE foregrip and PRS stock.
Won't cost a fortune, considering that I can get a decent discount at the local airsoft store and knockoff Magpul parts aren't really that hard to get.
2. Nuts: The Space Blaster. Stark S18C GBB with Guarder threaded barrel, AABB KPOS kit, a Docter or C-More red dot and the can I use on my USP.
KPOS kit can't be bought without some digging and asking, and the Stark brand is relatively unknown. A couple of long mags should turn this thing into an useful CQB weapon that looks cool on photos.
3. Flap-Eared Royal Fruitcake: Assassin Rifle. KJW M700 Takedown with Tanaka 30-rd mag, silencer adapter and the humongous can I got off my friend.
Simple but costly and useful only for photo ops. Would be nice if I found some way to detach the stock as well and an inexpensive case to keep it in. Good that I have friends in indie movie business and the local airsoft shop sometimes lends replicas for photo ops, and not for free at that.
4. Batshit Insane: Longsword SS-AP5 Rifle, Redneck Edition. A KJW KC-02 with extended mag release, Well MB05 stock, Falcon 510mm barrel encased in a rectangular aluminium profile and some other assorted gubbins.
This is going to require a fully stocked workshop ("Oh, hi dad... I want to build a science-fiction sniper rifle." - "OK, no problem, apart from the fact that you're completely crazy."), won't look EXACTLY like the sniper rifle from DXHR and will be just barely more practical than the M700.
We all know how rabbits are. Breeding like mad. Let's hope that upcoming Year of the Metal Rabbit (starting this Thursday) means that we'll finally have some new airsoft guns from at least China, if not Taiwan as well. Last three years had their share of ups and downs, mostly downs (2008 Olympics, then 60th Anniversary of CPC, then Pan-Asian games) and only recently some new stuff appeared - the clone of Maruzen PPK, Bell's and Tercel's Broomhandles and Snow Wolf Barrett M99. Let's see what's already reported as coming:
WE decided to go GBB ga-ga. We already got the G36, the P90 is pretty much done and going through licensing process (hey, it's not like they gave it away to Cybergun, they're gonna still profit from it!) and revamped SCAR and M16 platform, not to mention an all-new AK and L85, are incoming. As for handguns, the clone of Tanaka Browning HP is already out in a variant used by the Chinese Army during World War 2 and we may get other versions soon.
SRC announced a big-*albatross* GBB fest a while ago but didn't deliver much yet. Of all the stuff (and the list goes on and on), the G36 GBB is first to be released. What's next? We already heard about the TT, the Five-Seven, Colts, Berettas and some other things, including GBB MP5s (maybe ones that will finally work), but we haven't seen anything.
KWA decided to pick up the production of a TT GBB as well after Hudson went under due to its founder's death, and also decided to go for other exotic replicas. Kel-Tec PMR, Sphinx pistols, Kriss SMG and a special Totally-Not-A-Glock-But-Sure-Feels-Like-One pistol for the American market - I can only guess all those were designed by KSC and just licensed to KWA for worldwide release, as usual.
And now, G&G. I sense great RUINAYSHUN of airsofters' wallets - the announcement of WA2000 (and apparently a GBB at last), K98K and the reveal of P90 fitted with a laser sight means that a lot of people are going to fork their hard-earned cash for at least one of those beasties. But sorry guys, new laptop is higher on my priority list, and it'll take you some time to put a working WA2000 GBB together.
Mainland China ain't no slouch either. Real Sword finally got their asses in gear and managed to show a QBU-88 sniper rifle they promised LONG ago, JG admitted that the FN FAL I announced long ago is their work, there's some weird CO2 SVD coming up and DBoys decided to return to their WWII line with a wood&metal M1 Garand that is NOT a Marushin clone (cloning Marushin usually doesn't get you far - see the long-discontinued M500, the discontinued Winchester rifle and the discontinued DBoys K98K).
...man, I seriously need a raise.
Considering that it's almost Christmas and the customs officers are very dickish this time of year, I was afraid that the gun would be stuck at customs, which would set me back almost Ł30. But, surprise surprise, the package went through customs without getting opened - they weren't even bothered by "Gift - TOYS - US 145" on the customs declaration sticker. So the Cow Buster is lying on my desk right now (sadly, without CO2 as I couldn't be arsed to stock up) and I can give you a quick introductory review.
First, it's HUGE for a pistol. At over a foot long it looks almost comical. Also, sadly, it ain't the most beautiful thing in the world: for starters, the outer barrel is made out of two noticeable halves with two visible screws on the right side. Second, the shells clatter around the cylinder - they're pretty loose and there's nothing you can do, well, maybe apart from wrapping them in a layer of electrician's tape. Third, the trigger feels a bit weird - due to lack of CO2 I can't tell when does it engage, but it's pretty mushy and acts weird in single action. Oh, and that rail they give? I have no effin' clue how to put it on without removing the rear sight.
I scoured the webshops in search of the silver Wingun 703 and found three of them: UNCo, Armed Forces Co. and Cobra Airsoft. However, I subconsciously dislike UNCo, AFC's webshop is *fruitcage*ed (the "Proceed to checkout" button doesn't appear) and Cobra officially doesn't ship to Poland. So I got ###### off and some folks got angry letters, resulting in AFC and Cobra giving me offers. I went with Cobra, of course screwing up like a last dolt and sending them more money than needed, then asking for refund, which ended up with part of my funds getting stuck between Paypal and my bank for three days. However, I got them to send the revolver via Air Mail after explaining that airsoft is perfectly legal here, even with the use of cowbusters like the 703. And now I'm waiting.
Apart from that, I'm considering slapping some optics on this thing. Either the Aimpoint I was asked to source from HK (and the guy never turned up to get it from me), or some sort of compact 2x-3x scope (Ebairsoft has a nice one on sale, too bad it's pretty expensive).
My habits... well, they die hard. Once I get used to a certain webshop, I stick around. I don't mind the negative comments, I may drop a couple myself (but at least they're not as vitriolic), let's just say that with long-time service I get used to what those folks do and how to fix things if they go South. But sometimes, my usual suppliers simply don't have what I need (especially when it's some rare or odd item) and I have to take the plunge.
For instance, my Tanaka SAA. I planned to get it from EHobbyAsia, but then some things went hairy and I had to find a shop where it wasn't out of stock yet. Enter TMC (Tokyo Model Co.) - a company I haven't dealt with before, some Engrish here and there, confusing layout, all the signs pointing to "it's not gonna be easy". Of course "buyers' opinions" ain't worth *suitcase* these times as every used car salesman can prop up an army of strawmen and crank out enough BS to make him look like the next best thing since powdered milk and it takes a bit of skill to filter out the buzz, but as long as you don't find tens of reasonably worded warnings (with the stress on "reasonably worded") you can at least expect that what you ordered will arrive and most probably in one piece. So there I went with TMC - and on their part, everything went smooth. The only problem was the local postal service, who screwed up even worse than usual.
But that wasn't the first time I had to jump through hoops to get what I wanted. Earlier, I wanted an USP Tactical, and the only one was the KJW, out of stock almost everywhere. I found it at Sun Arms Airsoft (which, BTW, looks like they sold out all of their replicas and deal exclusively in gear now), made sure that it was in stock and a week and a half later I had it. And it still works!
Now it's the third time for me to get a gun from a shop I don't know. I pondered a couple of possibilities (I basically wanted something cool, but not necessarily practical): first, the Well MP5K GBB, but a) it's out of stock everywhere and VFC plans to make something more solid than the old and not-so-reliable Maruzen design; second, the Well M11 GBB, but a) it's out of stock almost everywhere and I had a HFC M11 before and I know how those things behave in the presence of dust. KWC P99 was almost a contender, but I decided that one futuristic-looking pistol is enough and I don't plan any Cyberpunk photoshoots anytime soon. And then, as I was listening to the Magnum Force theme, it hit me: maybe a S&W M29? Tanaka makes great revolvers, no doubt about it, but I finally thought that all in all, if I want a wheelgun, I could grab something more "practical" instead. And then I revived my plans of getting a silver Wingun 703, or "that eight-incher cow-buster in pimp chrome looking like the goddamn Ambadassor from Team Fortress 2". Now all I need is the December paycheck with Christmas bonus - keep your fingers crossed.