Friday, 29 April 2011

Hobo Stove Part Two: If It's Going to be Hobo, It's Got to be Strongbow

Here we have my first attempt at a hobo spirit burner. Made in about half an hour with the help of a Mora knife, drill and scissors. I dar say, with a good knife and something pointy to make the holes, one of these could be knocked up in the wild without to much adoo, not that it's hard to find empty cans lying around. I'd recommend a decent pair of gloves though, 'cos the edges of cut cans are bloody sharp.

Once build, I ran this for about five minutes on three fills of methylated spirits (one fill being enough to fill the depression in the top of the can). It was a bit tricky to get it lit as it was pretty windy and the burner could probably do with being a bit smaller so that the meths heats and pressurises quicker, but with the help of a little more meths in the bottom of an old tuna can and about 20 matches, the burner was soon going strong. When it's a little less windy, I'll get the rest of the stove out and try rustling up a cup of tea. Cheers!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

The World's First Zombie-Proof House

This is so awesome, I can hardly find the words to describe it, so I'll just drop a link to this, the world's first zombie-proof house.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

More Bolt-On Crap You Don't Need

I've just seen this in the Airsoft International Facebook feed. It's a product made by LaRue Tactical which has already been cloned by the Chinese and is up for sale at ebAirsoft. It's called the POD (Prone Optimization Device) and apparently 'Converts your Magpul CTR into a precision-rifle stock'. Really? Surely it's just another piece of bolt on crap that people will buy to make their rifle look cooler. I know that's where it'll hit the airsoft market, definitely. For US$89 for the original and US$15.48 for the Chinese repro version, plus the cost of the Magpul CTR stock you'll have to have to fit it, will it make a significant improvement?

A couple of years ago, someone said to me that I had too much tech bolted on my rifle. I couldn't agree more now. Since then, all but one of my airsoft guns have undergone a pairing back process where I am slowly removing all un-necessary bolted on tat. My M14, even though it only had a scope rail has had that removed. My L119A1 has been rear-wired, removing the necessity for a PEQ box to put the battery in. Only the 10" CQB M4 still has a whole mess of tat attached, hopefully, I can do something about that in the near future too.

I get the whole accessorisation thing. It appeals to the geek in me. More stuff on your gun = cool gun? Not necessarily. There's a fine line between having loads of cool stuff on your gun and having loads of crap bolted onto your gun that you don't need. The POD is a prime example of this. Many moons ago when I rode and lived for BMX, the bike company GT produced a whole range of freestyle accessories and marketed them under the tagline 'bolt-on is better'. I fell for this hook, line and sinker much to the chagrin of my mates who renamed this marketing ploy 'bolt-on is bigger'. The same can definitely be said of much of the airsoft and active/tactical shooter market at the moment.

Ray Mears Extreme Survival: Military Survival

I've seen most of Ray Mears' TV shows but this one must've slipped past me somehow. I found this whilst browsing the wonderfully informative and beautifully named bushcraft blog.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Hobo Stove

Having been reading about these on the internet for a while now on places like Zombie Squad and Practical Survivor, I decided to have a go at making one myself. One of the best examples I've seen so far is the one in the video below.

I wanted something a bit bigger than that so my hobo stove consists of a baby milk can and a sugar tin with lid. I have a small half litre kettle (currently in the loft so I have yet to see if my theory pans out) that should also sit neatly on the top of the milk can.

I started by marking a length of tape with 8 marks 1.5 inches apart for the large half inch ventilation holes around the bottom, this tape was wrapped around the bottom of the can. I then marked up four strips of tape with marks one inch apart for the smaller holes. These were placed vertically on the can with the bottom mark overlaying every other large hole mark so that the strips were a couple of inches apart. I then drilled a pilot hole in each mark before drilling half inch and quarter inch holes.

Having drilled these holes, I gave each one a few tap with a hammer to flatten the burrs out and cut the rectangular hole in the front with a Dremel (this was done over the course of two days, but like the iPhone advert, steps have been removed to shorten the sequence).

The pot rest is made from a couple of lengths of wire coat hanger which I will replace with a couple of old tent pegs when I can get to the camping gear in the loft. The wire coat hanger sections are okay but not very sturdy. On top of them, I've used a PC fan grill that was lying around. You can get these off eBay for about £2.50. I had to cut the screw holes off so it would fit in the milk can, but then it fitted perfectly.

Two holes were drilled in the sugar can to allow the attachment of the wire coat hanger handle as well as a hole in the lid for the knob. The only things missing are a small bag for tinder and firelighting gear, a tin for some hexi blocks and perhaps a steel mug with a folding handle to nest inside and a meths burner to give it a true multi-fuel capability. Oh, and a pouch (preferably suede or leather) to keep it in. All in all, this probably took me about two hours once I had all the parts together. Job done.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Eotech 552 (Chinese Knockoff)

This just arrived from China in 7 days. How does this happen when Royal Mail/Parcel Force often struggle to deliver in that time, anyhoo...

Cheap 552 replica from KHMountain. Looks the part but the buttons don't do what the instructions say they do and the reticle is blurred, good job it's only airsoft. Let's see how I get on with the 552 and I'll maybe think about buying a decent one, can't complain too much for just over £30.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

The L119A1 Project: Yet Another Rebuild

Yeah, you heard. Another rebuild of the albatross of a gun that is my L119A1. All that is left of the original Tokyo Marui M4RIS is the motor base plate, stock tube and stock. The rest has been completely replaaced with custom parts that I have spent hours hunting over the last five years or so. Can't believe I've spent that long and that amount of money on a gun which is yet to prove useful but them's the breaks. Here's the latest set of pictures showing the installation of the MadBull tight barrel, G&P 8mm Bearing Gearbox and G&P M120 motor. As you can see, I got the whole thing together before realising I'd forgot to install the forward assist. Oh how I laughed.

Knowing my luck, it will now be over the limit at every site I play at, that would be sod's law, but I'll have to wait and see.

All that is left now is to fit the stock magazine pouch and dummy magazine a tidily finish off the rear wiring. Wish me luck.

Monday, 11 April 2011

MiliDroid: Tactical Apps for Android Phones

Screw you Apple, why should you have all the fun. Here's a tactical information site for Android phone featuring tactical phone applications such as a ballistics calculator and a range estimation calculator. There is also some snacky multicam wallpaper for all you multicam fags out there. Check out MiliDroid for more.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Helikon Tactical Gear

Being six foot two with a 34 inch inside leg, it gets pretty tricky to find combat trousers long enough without having to import them from the US. Most UK retailers I've tried seem to think that 31 1/2 inch inside leg is normal, I disagree. When I discovered Helikon Tactical gear, I was very pleased to see that they tailor for people like me as well as folks with regular and short legs and don't charge a premium price for it.

The first Helikon item I bought was from Military 1st who have a huge range of Helikon gear in all shapes, sizes and colours (well, OD, coyote and black, if you want to be specific). The Classic Army Fleece in olive arrived in no time - Military 1st's delivery times are among the best I've encountered, both times I've used them, the item has arrived the following day - and I was far from disappointed. The material is a good quality, as is the stitching. There are three pockets, a hip pocket on either side and a chest pocket, all with zips. The shoulders and elbows are reinforced with a windproof material giving the garment a bit of extra weatherproofing. The cuffs have an adjustable velcro fastening and the collar and waist benefit from an adjustable shock cord to keep the weather out that little bit more. The description on the website reads as follows:

Comfortable and warm Classic Army fleece made of quality and strong polyester. It fastens with a sturdy two-way zipper and features high collar which can be fastened to the neck, two side pockets and one chest pocket, all with zippers, reinforced elbows and shoulders as well as adjustable waist with drawstring and adjustable wrists.

* Front zipper
* High collar
* 2 side pockets
* Chest pocket
* Reinforced elbows and shoulders
* Adjustable waist with drawstring
* Adjustable wrists with Velcro
* Material: 100% Polyester
* Manufacturer: Helikon

I've worn the item quite regularly over the last month or so and have found it to be very comfortable. My only gripe would be the sizing. On the Military 1st website, the XXL is recommended for a chest size of 44-47 inches. I'm about a 45 chest, and being six foot two have pretty long monkey arms, so I went for the bigger size. It fits nicely, but is a touch on the big size, which is fine for everday use but if I was going to wear this for airsoft games when it's a bit chilly or as a mid layer under a jacket, I would want a smaller size. I tried it on under a Tactical Tailor two-piece MAV and there is a lot of excess fabric sticking out. I'd like to try an XL and may well get another of these fleeces in black, at £32.99, it's not out of the price range of most people who take their outdoor gear seriously, and it certainly compares and performs favourably against similar North Face gear I own. I have no experience of similar garments on the market that this item is directly competing with, such as 5.11 and Blackhawk as well as the classic US issued Peckham fleece (which the design is very similar to), but the price alone should make it a competitor. For anybody wanting more 'big-boy' features, the next model up in the range, the Liberty model, benefits from double-layered fabric, armpit zips, sleeve pockets and cordura shoulder and elbow reinforcements, all for a very tidy £44.99.

The Helikon SFU Trousers NyCo Ripstop trousers are a similarly nice quality, roomy and long in the leg (if you buy the long leg length, obviously) with sizeable and plentiful pockets, reinforced seat and reinforced knees with a double layer closed with velcro to allow the use of some sort of kneepad, although I could not find any such thing on the Military 1st website. Cutting some rollmat to fit would more than suffice. The official description reads thus:

These quality, heavy wearing and comfortable Special Forces Uniform (SFU) cargo trousers features 9 pockets, double layer on the knee and on the backside as well as pockets with Velcro closure on each knee for padding. Suitable for general forces personnel and cadets. Ideal for airsoft and paintball enthusiasts or fishing and hunting.

* Button fly
* Two regular front hand pockets
* Two rear pockets with Velcro
* Two roomy cargo style pockets with Velcro flaps
* Two smaller pockets at the front
* Small knife pocket with Velcro on the right leg
* Reinforced seat for longer wear
* Knee patch reinforcements
* Two Velcro slots for knee pads
* Side waist adjusters
* Internal drawstring tie bottoms
* Belt loops
* Material: NyCo Ripstop (50% nylon, 50% cotton)
* Manufacturer: Helikon
* Brand new

As you'd expect of any combat-type trouser, there are two hip pockets, two back pockets and two big thigh pockets. In addition, there is a calf pocket with a two-column row of elastic and a two-column row of PALS webbing stitched on three sides to afford a place to keep items like cyalume sticks or similar without fear of them falling out. The calf pocket itself is about the size of a STANAG magazine, probably designed for a field dressing or two. The other extra pockets sit over the hip pockets and again, are around the size of a STANAG rifle magazine, although putting one in this pocket, it sticks out the top of the pocket about an inch or so and would probably be at risk of falling out when in a crouching position, but it gives you an idea of the size, these pockets are probably better suited for soft objects to avoid the contents digging in. The rear and thigh pockets have velcro closure rather than buttons, which is a bit of a shame as I would have preferred buttons, but each to their own, it is a minor personal preference. Whilst browsing the Military 1st website, I did notice that the Helikon BDU trousers have button pockets and their M65 trousers have popper fasteners rather than velcro so there is plenty of choice if, like me, you find velcro pockets a but unwieldy. At £25.99 a pair, I can't really moan too much though.

Check out the full range of Helikon gear at Military 1st.