Airsoft at War & peace
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- Last updated: 15/12/2016
Well the time has come; yes it’s the show that I quite literally wait all year for, the War & Peace show at Beltring in Kent. A re-enactors dream this show is jam packed full of militaria, clothing, kit, deacts and of course, airsoft.
Beltring is traditionally a complete dustbowl or mud-wallow - but does it really matter if you are in a tank/jeep/APC? Nevertheless, having some minor qualms about the weather I pulled on my trusty Magnums and had a quick wander around.
The first thing any newcomer notices is that this show is HUGE!! A few days are needed to see everything that Beltring has to offer and unfortunately, as ever, I am limited on time and column space so I have condensed it down to my absolute airsoft highlights of this year’s show.
Beware Tactical Badgers
First off the enormous selection of rifles brought in by Badgertac and Badgertac 2 was seriously impressive; I saw several people walk through the entrance to their stand and just stop and stare. With their trademark Hawaiian get up, Ratty and the staff were highly visible and easily answered any prospective buyers questions such as “I have been after one of those for years is it for sale?”, answered by a resounding, “Hell. Yeah!”...
I personally fell in love with a baby Tokyo Marui Hi-Capa which is the only airsoft pistol that I know of that is not actually based on a real gun (well it is sort of a modified 1911-ish), but real or not it looked the biz, and with the TM name attached you know there will be no skimping on quality. Unfortunately for me, duty called and as I wandered to another stand yet again it was sold out from under me – when will I learn!
The World’s Going Soft
Moving over to Airsoft World I was instantly struck by a Russian FPG which came complete with the original iron sights – so, so cool! This was very hard to miss to be honest as it was hanging right by yet another huge display of AEG’s - apparently the biggest selection that they have ever brought to Beltring. But what really stood out for me was a brand new range of anodized two-tone pistols. You see I have never done the two-tone route, I went straight from renting a gun for my first three games to buying one outright, and quite frankly I have always disliked the necessity of having a bright blue or orange weapon. Well how wrong was I, as these things are GORGEOUS, with full anodized metal the colors are not at all offensive and the red “zombie killer” from Resident Evil had pride of place - I had some major rethinking to do.
These guys really did go all out with both stands having Airsoft ranges where newcomers could either test out the guns they had purchased or merely blast away at targets with an AK47. One of my colleagues stepped up to the mark and laid hand on a gun for the first time ever – I’m convinced her cries of ‘Woo-hoo!’ could be heard all over the site, and the look on her face when she was presented with her obliterated target was a complete joy, so yet another convert then!
Obviously there were a lot of clothing specific stands around but for me the ones who really stood out airsoft wise were soldier of fortune whose reasonably priced tactical clothing had me reaching for my wallet, and Platoon who are Beltring regulars and have a very hefty amount of both brand new and second hand ex-British army kit for sale.
Have a Go
There were several stands focusing exclusively on two-tone weapons on the cheaper end of the scale, and I saw several children excitedly dragging their parents over to the stands especially the ranges and begging for a go, luckily many of the parents obliged and so we can expect a whole new wave of future airsofters coming to a site near you in a couple of years.
One other stand that deserves a mention is The Shop at The Grange who had yet again a massive variety of ATACS and ATACS FG (Foliage Green) camo for sale. This pattern has been taking the Airsoft world by storm and whilst not quite the new black, it is definitely the new multi-cam! As I mentioned it is now available in Foliage Green so now even in our dour British rainy woods you can arrange some hellish ambushes (or fall foul of them – sore subject).
All in all this year’s show, despite the horrible weather earlier on during the week, was a resounding success and as always turned into a dustbowl in the end! I really enjoy the fact that more and more re-enactors are getting involved with the airsoft side of things – their de-acts are very expensive so now they are turning to the replica market for guns which look the same and essentially do the same thing. Wonderful!