Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
New from Vega Force Company (VFC), FN SCAR Heavy. VFC has decided to make SCAR-L STD, which is the most popular with soldiers and civilian, for their first modern class positive electronic air soft rifle product. Receiver was made by Aluminum with high class positive electrode treatment, to unfold closeness and exquisite characters of high technology in 21 century. Critical parts are made by steel, has the same size as real one, which more realistic and unassailable. Internal mechanism has a horizontal gear box design by VFC exclusively, which has adopted on HK416 to prove its reliability already. 7mm bearings, EG1300 high speed motor, high precision steel gears, and anti-friction reinforce piston. Make VFC SCAR can shoot more than ten thousands continually with outstanding performance, and worth to trust.
Rest feartures include:
‧Base on the newest model SCAR-III, reproduce all detail completely.
‧The procedure of disassembly as real one, easy for maintenance.
‧CNC Aluminum one piece upper receiver, high rigidness & light weight.
‧CNC Aluminum bolt set, can be hold in open position for Hop-Up adjustment.
‧Aluminum front sight set + steel rear sight set, material and function as real.
‧Stainless one piece gas cylinder set, high reliability & extreme tough.
‧The buttstock combines foldable, retractable, adjustable cheek piece function as real one.
‧The Hop-Up adjustment tool and barrel detach tool hidden in gas tuner, easy to maintenance.
One of the things I have decided about how I collect airsoft guns is that I am not going to be a 'hoarder' and accumulate an absurdly large collection of many different types of replicas. Instead, I thought it would be cool to concentrate on one 'family' of weapons that complement the loadout theme I'm interested in, and slowly upgrade this small collection continually.
So, for example, with my Russian assault infantry loadout I started cheap with the budget CYMA AK74. This is a terrific 'entry level' AK AEG that I intended to occassionally upgrade - as money allowed - until I reached a particular level of quality (say an upgraded VFC AK74). With this in mind, my initial themed collection is the Kalashnikov family to compliment my interest in Eastern-Bloc loadouts (Soviet, Russian, Romanian, East German, etc).
I have got to the point where I am in a position to be able to afford my first upgrade, and the target of this improvement will be my AK74. My CYMA CM0.31 was my first full-sized AK, it replaced my broken Classic Army SA58 as my initial primary AEG and I couldn't have been happier with it's performance or reliability (particularly because of the disappointing failure of my expensive Classic Army AEG).
Above: My current CYMA CM0.31, a replica of the early AK74 with black polymer furniture. This version has a tough plastic receiver and some metal parts, including the very distinctive '74 flash hider.
So why change? Well, as I have progressed in developing my modern Russian infantry loadout I have started to pay more and more attention to detail and authenticity, slowly replacing early purchases with more correct items. The CYMA was a replica of an early fixed stock AK74, while the current Russian army issue is the modernized AK74M version, with folding solid stock.
However, I am also tempted to change up as there is a new CYMA which has recently come on to the market which appeals to me - the CYMA AK-105 replica (CM0.31D). This is a carbine version of the AK74, and is an improvement - aesthetically - over the original CM0.31 model as it is constructed from metal, rather than being mainly plastic.
So, I have an interest in two different AK versions, the long AK74M infantry rifle or the AK105, a skeleton stocked carbine in use by Russian Special Forces units (replacing the AKS74U sub-assault rifle).
These two models are represented in replica form by two very good Chinese manufacturers; Kalash (D-Boyi) who have a metal AK74M (RK-05), and CYMA who, as mentioned, have created a AK105 (CM0.31D).
Above: The new full metal CYMA CM0.31D - replica of the AK105 carbine. Photo credit: 'Kamikaz3' from the airsoftforum.com (see links at bottom of page)
Both models represent improvements over my initial AK74 model in that they are both 'full metal' replicas, and they both represent completely up-to-date additions to the Russian military arsenal. Additionally, both these models are power improvements over my CM0.31, in fact the Kalash will have to be downgraded to come inline with the UK site limit of 350fps.
Apples and oranges
How to decide on which model I will ultimately purchase (next week) is a difficult decision. I like the look of either replica, although the AK105 probably has the edge in the looks department. But, I have to base my choice on what I really feel I am trying to achieve with my current loadout.
The AK105 suggests a Special Forces loadout, as it's compact and just begging for a Russian Kobra red dot sight and suppressor to be added. The AK74M, on the other hand, is good old Russian 'heavy metal' - it's the bread and butter of Russian foot sloggers, and gives me the opportunity to slap on a Russian GP30 grenade launcher.
So, Spetsnaz or 'grunt' (or whatever the Russian nickname for the ordinary infantryman is)?
Funnily enough, if I had had to make this decision a couple of months ago, when I was still toting my 'Spring' Russian loadout of Bekas in Tiger camo and M23 chest rig I would have probably - without hesitation - gone for the AK105, as my Tiger get-up is reminiscent of a Spetsnaz trooper. But, I recently updated my uniform for the summer season with a Flecktar-D camo set, influenced by some reference photos I have of a line reconnaissance infantry unit.
As things stand, however, I find myself flicking from one review to another of either AEG, admiring the excellent features of both guns. It will be a hard decision, and in the end I fancy having both in my collection eventually...
Cometh Tuesday, cometh a decision!
I will be doing a full report on this AEG in due course, but I just have to mention what a fantastic service I got from Land Warrior (UK). I ordered this AEG late yesterday afternoon - plus requested a downgrade - and it arrived on my doorstep at 8.45am this morning!
I particularly enjoyed the nice touch of the handwritten remark made by the Land Warrior engineer on my receipt, which read: "345fps! Happy days!" - You got that right, mate. Excellent work.
Kalash AK74M (RK-05) top - CYMA AK74 (CM0.31) bottom:-
One thing we airsofters should be very glad about is that we don’t have to carry body armour. But while the hard core ‘Milsimmer’ might like to load himself down with that Osprey vest or Warrior rig, the rest of us will probably opt for practicality over authenticity as the summer finally arrives.
I know some airsofters that are happy with the poor-man’s webbing – pockets! – but for those like myself who enjoy ‘Milsim lite’ and use mid-caps, there just aren’t enough pockets capacious enough to deal with all our bits and pieces. So, is there a compromise that will give you plenty of load carrying capability but won’t be adding what amounts to an extra layer of clothing to your loadout?
‘Light order’ – belt based rigs
The belt based webbing system has been with soldiers since the beginning of time, and while it has evolved from makeshift belts and hung satchels it eventually standardized itself into a system that became pretty universal by the 19th century – the yoke and belt harness.
The problem was, the more heavy stuff you wanted to add to a soldier’s belt, the more gravity wanted to see that belt drop down to the soldier’s ankles! So a yoke and straps arrangement was added to the belt – in a similar way to braces – to hold up the belt, allowing more and more pouches to be attached.
Left: Typical belt webbing light order. This is British Army issue, the design of which served through the First World War and the early part of WWII. This style of 'belt and braces' order was replicated around the world in canvas webbing and leather.
While today the MOLLE chest and vest load-carrying systems are all the rage, these items are also primarily designed as a means to carry ballistic plates. They provide protection to the torso by covering the upper body, as much as they can, with plate pockets on the chest, stomach, back and sometimes the sides and neck as well. So, in effect, you are wearing a ‘coat of armour’ which also has a load-carrying capability.
No grunt in the frontline would want to be out and about without this protective bulk, and where it’s a matter of life and death these guys look at the discomfort and extra sweating that these rigs can bring as being a price worthwhile paying.
Lighten up, man!But for the airsofter – unless an obsessive ‘Geardo’ – plate carrying is a hindrance to the fast manoeuvring play, and in the summer heat it can be a downright ball ache!
LO provides plenty of ventilation to the players upper body, and with its straps ensures you can load that belt up with all the pouches you can without having to be constantly hitching up your belt as it tries to go visit your boots!
Left: Three variations of the 'battle belt', these are the most basic load carrying systems and can either have integrated pouches or a MOLLE system allowing the user to add their own combination of pouches as desired. From top to bottom; the Viper MOLLE VMS (Viper modular system), the Bulle MOLLE KABP (kit and ammo belt pack) and Arktis M110 Allen belt kit. To compensate for increasing loads, you can add a set of harness straps - braces - to these belts to assist thier load carrying capabilities.
But even within light order there are varying levels of sophistication, from just a simple belt and a couple of pouches – which aren’t heavy enough to need a harness – to a full-blown ‘belt and braces’ with extra padding at the shoulders and deep cummerbund to maximize the load carrying real estate.
Whichever you decide to go with all depends on your style of play and just how much you normally carry – for example, whether you hi-cap or mid-cap. But however little or however much you find yourself carrying onto the field, the Light Order system is the ideal way to accommodate your knick-knacks in the least stressful, and most ventilated, manner on a hot summer’s day.
Incidentally, while the general trend in the armed forces is to ‘bulk up’, the Light Order systems – like the British Army’s famous Northern Ireland rig – are still very popular with troops, particularly those that don’t need or want to restrict their movements by adding extra body armour. Lighter ballistic vests can be worn under the LO harness if required, but the less restricting LO harness is particularly popular with special forces.
Right: Half way between the basic belt system and full-blown yoke rigs is the harness accessory, which can be attached to any duty belt or MOLLE battle belt. These braces come in a variety of thicknesses and complexity, from a very simple 'H' or 'Y' shaped set of straps to a heavy duty padded set, like the example shown here; the Blackhawk Special Operations H-Gear shoulder harness.
Above: Harness based light order systems. These rigs have wider padded harness yokes to make load carrying a lot more comfortable, but still offer increased ventilation over vest and chest rigs. From left to right; The Bulle MOLLE MLE (multi-level load equipment) Harness, the Tactical Taylor MAV (modular assault vest) 2-piece vest with X Harness and finally the Blackhawk S.T.R.I.K.E. MOLLEE LBE Harness.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
The grenades have an amount of citric acid powder in the bottom, which you mix with water. Then in the detonator section, you place some bicarbonate and put a small cap over it, when you press the plunger, these mix and the reaction begins, but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here…
The AG-01 Grenades
Unfortunately explosive grenades can’t be purchased in the Republic of Ireland due to restrictions on fireworks and I liked the idea of these hand grenades compared to the expensive gas versions. For a pack of 6 grenades, it’s just €24, which is alot cheaper than the gas versions.
I placed an order on their website and was told I would receive a shipping quote the next day. I did not. It was a full seven days later that I received my shipping quote, I decided to forgive them for this and figured maybe they have never shipped to Ireland before and had to do some research on shipping costs. I paid the full amount straight away via paypal, shipping was €12 by the way, bringing the total to €36.
In the shipping quote, I was told I would receive a tracking number within 24 hours. I did not. After two days, I decided to email them and find out what was going on with the order, at this stage I wasn’t too bothered, but I didn’t even receive anything to say they had received my payment and so I thought maybe my payment had gone missing.
There was no reply to that email and another two days later, I emailed again asking what was the status of my order. Again, there was no reply.
The weekend passed and on Monday I decided I would atttempt to contact them once more before getting onto Paypal or my credit card company to cancel the payment. This time I decided to use the contact form on their website, I politely informed them I would like a tracking number in 24 hours or I will have to contact Paypal. The next day I finally received a reply, oh what humble apologies and excuses lie within?
Hello, this is the reference number: xxxxxxxxxxxx www.ups.es
I was not impressed, at the very least some form of excuse would have been nice. Thankfully I had the intelligence to work out that I should visit the ups.es website and input the given reference number to find out where my package was .It still hadn’t left for Ireland. A day or two later, the ups website updated and the order was scheduled for delivery on the 24th, woohoo, finally!
The 24th came…. and went, checked the tracking website that night and apparently
“The Package Was Missed At The UPS Facility”
Silly UPS, oh well, they’ll deliver it tomorrow…or maybe not, the next day it was:
“The Receiver Is Not Listed On The Building Directory.”
I’d like to know exactly what building directory they expect to see at a residential address? So this was Friday and I was
pissed, mildly annoyed that I wouldnt have them for Saturday’s skirmish in HRTA. No big deal, can always use them next week. So Monday came along and I checked the tracking again around lunch time to see if my package would be delivered, apparently they managed to leave it at the UPS facility again, my poor package must be getting lonely, at this stage I was quite annoyed at UPS and decided I would go collect the bloody thing myself. Arranged to go and collect it at their depot (on the opposite side of the city) and did so this morning, Tuesday 29th, a full 22 days after I placed my order online, if the package was coming by ground from some obscurely named city in Russia, I might expect this kind of delivery period, but Madrid?
So granted the mix up with UPS when the package left Madrid was not the fault of airsofthandgrenades.com and I realise this, but even before it was shipped, their service up to that point was terrible, no replies to emails, promising things in 24 hours and then taking a week to do them. It’s just not a sign of a good retailer, but alas.. they may be redeemed yet if the product lives up to the hype on their website.
I’m sorry to say it does not, the downhill slope of this review just continues from here.
So I picked up the package on my way to work this morning, when I got into work I opened it up and had a look, 6 grenades body’s, 6 little bags containing the components for the detonator, 6 small bags of bicarbonate and 2 Power Boost tubes (more on these later). The box is nicely presented, made of recycled brown cardboard and has some various images of the AHG-01 on the outside. There are also some instructions in English and Spanish which explain how to put the whole thing together and some diagrams to go with it. I put one together and left it on my desk for the day, unfortunately I dont think exploding grenades go down so well in an office environment, although I was very tempted :).
What mystical treasure lies within?
The grenades in their packaging.
Got home and tested them out, first you pour some water into the bottom of the grenade body and mix it with the citric acid, once you have the detonator assembly put together, pour in some bicarbonate and put the cap on, when it’s all put together, the grenade looks quite nice.
The assembled grenade.
So here we go, camera ready and recording, pull the pin out, give it a shake and throw it onto the patio outside. And hiss… splutter… gurgle… not quite the boom I expected. Turns out the detanoter wasn’t screwed tight enough and the CO2 was just escaping through the top. Their is an o-ring to seal it too, but obviously this wasn’t working.
Take 2: The detonators are re-usable so I cleaned it out and put some more bicarbonate in. Got a fresh grenade body and added some water. Here we go again, being sure to tighten the cap as tight as possible this time. Pull out the safety pin, press the detonator, shake, throw and………………..nothing. No boom, no hissing air escaping either. I waited a minute to see if the pressure would build and then maybe it might blow, it didn’t. I hesitantly approached the grenade and unscrewed the top, only to let out a gust of CO2. Whoops…
Take 2.5: At this stage I was getting worried I would run out of citric acid and decided to try using vinegar instead, this didn’t go so well either and I just ended up with more hissing and gurgling, only this time it smelled like vinegar too.
Take 3: Ok, this time it’ll work, this time it better work. Same procedure as above, shake it, throw it and…… nothing again! WTF?!?!? God Dammit, I walked away for a minute and wondered would it blow as I turned my back, no such luck. I walked over and picked it up, it was pretty solid with the pressure built up inside, but no boom, so I stepped back and threw it on the ground….. BOOM!!!!!! Finally!! Woohoo!
There’s actually quite a nice bang of these, especially for something that is just a very basic chemical reaction. The entire body of the grenade was blown to pieces and spread out over about a 10ft diameter, definitely not re-usable, add a few bb’s into the body and you could definately use these for room clearing.
But I still wasn’t happy, the video on the AHG website shows a AHG-01 being placed on the ground and it detonates seconds later, no throwing it hard against the ground, just wait and boom. I wanted to replicate this. I decided to try again.
Take 4: Guess what? It didn’t work again, the seal wasn’t tight enough, so I thought maybe the detonator had been damaged and decided to try yet again.
Take 5: Built a fresh detonator this time around, but yet again, I got plenty of white foam and hissing and gurgling, but no boom.
I decided I had wasted enough for today and put the grenades away. I now have 1 grenade body left with citric acid still in it, 4 body’s with no citric acid, 4 unassembled detonators, 1 broken detonator and 1 working detonator.
The one time they worked, I was actually quite surprised by the noise of the grenade going off and would have definately gotten a few kills had I put bb’s in and used them in a skirmish. The second time I tried it, when I released all the gas by mistake, it would have actually blown up had I thrown it on the ground, but like I said earlier, this does not replicate how they are shown in use, having to throw them against a hard surface may not work in the middle of a skirmish.
Unfortunately, I dont think the AHG-01 is going to revolutionize the airsoft grenade industry the way it’s creators envisioned. It’s a great idea in theory, and when it works it’s impressive, but the hit and miss nature of the product coupled with their rather bad customer service has left me rather dismayed. I really would have liked to see this product work since gas grenades are so expensive and explosives cannot be used in Ireland, but I think I’ll be putting my money into a gas grenade now instead.