As readers of Tim Gows blog will no doubt be aware, a vaguely wargaming related hobby I've been involved for five years now is Airsoft. This is somewhat similar to paintball, but using airsoft weapons firing little plastic 0.2g balls rather than great big painful plastic balls full paint. It is primarily an excuse to dress up in military uniforms and run around the woods playing with toy guns, something I use to enjoy doing when I was a kid. As a 'sport' it is surprisingly popular, there are dozens of Airsoft sites all around the country and thousands of players. Perhaps it meets the modern need for experience based leisure activities, or something.
I have mainly been drawn towards equipment and uniforms from the Cold War, perhaps because it loomed so large in my childhood and early adult years. I've got various sets uniforms and webbing (or loadouts in Airsloft parlance) including a number of different British Army ones, both modern temperate and desert as well as 1970s/80s era, along with West and East German (Bundeswehr and National Volksarmee). In the eighteen months I've taken an increasing interest in WW2 Airsoft, which is something of a crossover activity between re-enactment and conventional airsoft and I have WW2 British, Soviet and German uniforms. Taking part in this hobby is in no way to condone particular political systems or ideologies, for me it is more like collecting Action Man outfits in 1:1 scale.
|1970s/80s British. DPM, 58 pattern webbing and SLR.|
|1980s Bundeswehr. Flecktarn and G3|
|Cold War National Volksarmee. Strichtarn and AK47s, also looking a bit like Dads Army in this one....|
|WW2 German, in this case Luftwaffe Field Division uniform plus MP40 on a
rather snowy day in Nottinghamshire in a classic 'Airfix figure' pose.|
|British Tommy. Battle Dress and Lee Enfield No. 4 with a distinctly un-lethal rubber bayonet.|
Along with wargaming posts I'll be posting airsoft stuff too as it seems to absorbed a lot more of my time and energy recently than tabletop wargaming.