Berget 13 – The Siege of Krasnovo

For the past five years, our airsoft group has traveled to Berget for some international airsoft action. Being one of the largest airsoft events in Europe, with people all over the world coming to play for a little over three days. With over a thousand players every year, Berget is something that cannot be described; it has to be experienced. For some, it is not what they want. For others like us, it is something we look forward to every year. It is a place where we meet old friends and make new ones, all over the world!

This year’s story was different from the last two Berget games. The self-appointed president Rico was captured last year, and this year the event focused on the country of Fadjikestan. The below caption has been taken from the Berget Events website (http://berget-events.com):
“Berget 13 will take place one year after the conflicts inside Lerando/Guyana and will unfold around the town of Krasnovo in the country of Fadjikestan. A military coup, funded by a so far unknown terrorist organization, has turned the country to chaos. GCT forces will be tasked for a spearhead operation into the country, in a swift attempt to liberate the people from its oppressors and freeing the international journalists being held as hostages.”

Our group played as reconnaissance troops in the Ikaros Corporation, in the Cerberus Recon and Sabotage unit. Our mission descriptions before the game was reconnaissance and sabotage of enemy logistics and troops concentrations. We succeeded in the missions and also got to do some resupply missions for our fellow comrades in the same unit, who stayed at close proximity of the enemy base for the duration of the game. Hats off to these guys!

Our faction had nationalities from various different countries, who all embrace the same thought; love for airsoft. Same is true for our rival faction, the GCT. Some friendly bickering could be seen on the forums leading up to the game, which is natural for building up the hype before we all meet on the large battlefield that Berget Events provided for us.

Härnösand was the location for Berget 9 and Berget 10 before this year’s game. The area is pitted with high hills and going around the game area can be quite demanding at times. Adrenaline keeps you going, naturally, and seeing the rest of your friends walking that extra kilometer keeps you right there with them until the end. Of course, if you at any point should feel that you cannot go any further, no one will look differently on you. After all, we are all there to have fun and have a good time, and it is a game after all!

For the past two years, we have been bodyguards for Rico, which had us doing close protection duties for the whole event. This year we wanted to do something different and go back to basics. In Berget 9 and 10 we were part of NAF 3rd Rangers and we spent most of the game time in the field. This year we did the same and it felt good to be back in the mix. I personally waited for something in particular this year. I bought a real LAW tube a while back, and ever since I got it I wanted to use it in Berget in a real capacity, more than just a prop to carry on my back. With some help from friends, they got the LAW to actually work with the BAVS system that Berget has. Better yet, it functions like the real thing. Reloading is done by putting it back into transportation form and then opening it up again. Working safety and everything! I happily carried the LAW on my back on every mission, just in case there were any enemy vehicles that needed some power from “The Lawmaker”.

Aside from the recon missions, we did some resupplying to friendly units behind enemy lines and also attacks across the border to the GCT base. For this attack, we left in the morning from our base so that we would be ready at the gates when the bases were allowed to be attacked once more (in Berget, main bases are off-game during 3am until 9am). We had three contacts on our hike to the base, but we managed to get behind the border without the enemy knowing we were there. We did not take any huge casualties, but the first chance contact was an interesting one. We were ambushed near the city of Krasnovo by an unknown GCT force. Few of our guys were hit but everyone got back up with the help of our medics and we continued our mission. We did not pursue any of the contacts we had. The ambush in question, we later learned, was a GCT Ranger unit which was tasked to debrief and extract a civilian spy, who was gathering intelligence on Ikaros forces operating inside and in the vicinity of the city. The contact we had was their rear security, who fled the contact area once we began to flank them. As said before, we did not pursue but broke contact after our wounded were back up. It was interesting to learn this after the game.

On the final day, as it is custom at Berget, there is a large battle for a few hours between the two opposing forces. This year it was in the city of Krasnovo, which was the old city of Janco from Berget 9 and 10, with even more buildings added to it. It was quite the city! During the game, there were less fighting inside the city to give the civilian players a chance to LARP, which in my opinion is a good move from Berget. There has to be civilians in the game to make it interesting not only for the LARPing players, but for the military factions as well. No one is forces to LARP, but it does give that extra spice to the game to see a LARP scene developing in the city. It makes the game feel real and like a real conflict, where the civilians are a part of it all.

This year Berget also introduced their now BAPS grenades (Berget Anti Personnel System), which players could pre-order before the game and purchase on-site when they arrived. They could keep the grenades after the game. The concept was excellent, but since the grenades were a bit bulky, it was difficult to carry them and there were some cases where hit taking from the grenades was not clear to all the players. Nevertheless, it is a good system and with some tweaking an excellent addition to the game! It really made clearing the buildings and rooms in the city quite interesting.

Another new addition was the area control system. There were different control points around the game area that you could claim for your side. With the push of a button, you could in 30 minutes claim the area to yourself. You could then respawn at that control point, if it was still under your control. There was also a system at every headquarters at main bases where you could see the current situation of the control points. More missions for the players aside the Berget given missions, very cool and it worked quite well!

Overall this year was probably the best Berget I have personally been to so far. It was a nice change from the close protection duties we had last year and it felt good to be back in the field. We already have some good plans for next year as well, along the same lines as this year with something extra added to it. More on that later for sure. And before I start posting a few pictures, I’d like to say a few words on future posts. I will be making a post about the gear I used at Berget, since the post I made earlier about my kit did not actually come true. From lessons learned from the reconnaissance training we had before Berget, I changed my kit and it changed again after the first night we were at Berget. More on that in the later post. Since I did not take any pictures this year, I am using pictures that others took. Credit given to everyone where due, of course. Thank you all for an awesome game and I will see you next year!

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Hjot Mjeal!
(C) The Reverend

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“You know I’m all about your base, about your base…”
(C) S5 Airsoft

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In the Swedish jungle, behind the border. Featuring The Lawmaker!
(C) The Reverend

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Cerberus Recon & Sabotage, 1st Platoon + Cerberus 1IC and 2IC
(C) Lisa Janssen

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(C) Lisa Janssen

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(C) Lisa Janssen

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Specna Arms SA-B02 Carbine Review

This is something that I have not done in a while for the blog, but decided to go along with it anyway. I bought a Specna Arms “CQB­R” last winter to be used as a loaner gun and also in winter games. Neither of those two options came true and I have mostly been using the gun myself. I had no idea about the brand and decided to look into them a bit more. They are a Hong Kong based company and their aim is to make quality airsoft replicas at a decent price. Sound familiar? It does, doesn’t it. Nevertheless, this company has done something better than the rest who offer the same. In my books, they have combined the best of both worlds and then a little bit more. Read through to see what I mean.

First off, I would like to point out that this is not the average review you find on the internet. My aim is to keep things interesting and if this goes well, these reviews will keep coming. No unboxing reviews or reviews 10 minutes after receiving the gun. I will use the product for a while and test it to see how it performs and where it falls short, and then write an honest review. I’m not an airsoft tech, and probably never will be. I do maintenance to my replicas but if it is something more grandeur than lubricating the gears or changing the piston, I give it to someone else. Usually the tech guy in our airsoft group. I’ve added a few of his ideas in this review as well, when he opened the gun in question here in this review. He knows his gearboxes, and he is rarely wrong.

 

The Gun

All external parts are made of “metal”, as far as the real deal weapons go. Plastic/polymer grip and stock, with the rest being what feels like very sturdy aluminum. The pins seem to be metal. The stock can house a crane type part 9.6v battery or a 7.4/11.1v lipo battery, depending on their style (nunchuck style works well naturally). Personally I run a 7.4v LiPo battery on mine and it runs smooth. I did some internal work on the gearbox after I bought it but more on that later on in the review. My AEG came with mini­-tamiya connectors, which were promptly replaced with Deans connectors as that is what I use in all my replicas and batteries.

Being a “CQB­R” replica, the length is ideal for close quarters battles. I used this gun for a weekend CQB game we did with our team and it performed extremely well. The length is ideal for storming small rooms and covering corners and the RAS system at the front makes placing attachments easy. We all love our tactical accessories, right? I ran a SureFire LED light and a laser on mine, which made it a bit front heavy. Nevertheless, I found that these two were useful in the game area and playstyle we had. Without them, the gun is very well balanced. It is still front heavy as you would expect, but it is not bad.

There is some play between the upper and lower receivers, the stock and just a little bit with the front rails, but nothing earth shattering. It is better than what you would expect from a replica inside this price range. There are some laser engraved trademarks on the gun, including the usual safe, semi and auto markings on the fire selector and “Marine Env M4” text with a USMC style logo and “556mm NATO” marking and serial number below it. The other side of the replica also has the selector switch marking and “Specna Arms Industries” text just next to the magazine release.

Overall the external quality of the replica is average to above average for this price. I see nothing breaking in normal airsoft use. You cannot abuse these replicas as you could real firearms anyway.

 

Deeper Look

Specna Arms have, in some of their models, a quick spring change system that they have branded “Enter & Convert”. My replica has a spring change feature but it is not the same as their enter and convert system. According to the Specna Arms webpage, spring change should take around 30 seconds and can be done by minimal dismantle of the replica. I have to disassemble most of the weapon to change the spring. I like the feature to remove and change the spring, of course, but it is a bit tedious. Apparently the feature for a quicker spring change is not for all of their models. I recommend contacting the shop you are getting yours from and asking before purchasing if it is something that you are looking for as a feature. Nevertheless, the option to remove the spring is very handy when it comes to opening the gearbox. What makes it even better, is that this replica comes with a 90ms spring as well as the stronger spring that is already pre­installed into the weapon. Very cool in my books.

Something that I usually find lacking in most replicas I buy is the hop up rubber. As it was the case, I changed the original from this replica as well to another one. The original was not bad but I knew it could be better with the right one. Since I changed the stronger spring to the weaker one I also wanted to change the hop up rubber to a softer one which would work better with the less powerful spring. This would be my CQB weapon after all. Changing the hop up was no different from the usual replicas that you can find.

The gearbox. This left the tech guy I was talking about a bit puzzled. For the price of the gun, these are his words, the gearbox was not half bad. It had metal bearings (nice addition!) and the air tightness of the nozzle/cylinder/piston was not bad either. I cannot speak for all of their model range as I have only owned one, but it was better than we expected. Shimming was something that the tech in question had to redo, but he is a bit like that. He always, _always_, re­shims his replicas. Not necessarily a bad option, but for me, if it works, I won’t open it until it breaks! He also changed the AoE for the piston and sector gear (this was done by adding sorbothane to the cylinder head) and filed the gearbox at the front of the cylinder to prevent cracks. Not that they would be that big of a problem for a low powered replica, but these are something to consider. You also need to consider the fact that if you do the mentioned modifications, you loose your warranty on the replica. Bear this in mind before opening your replica. I recommend asking the shop if they can do these modifications. If not, everything is at your own risk. After the magic was done to the gearbox (very much grease on the gears, had to redo that as well) the running sound changed to the better and it was ready.

 

Conclusions and field report

As I wrote before, I never write reviews until I am satisfied that I have tested the replica as much as possible in order to write a good review. I have owned this replica for about 7 months now and it has seen quite a few games. I am happy at how it performs. I use regular 90 capacity metal magazines from various brands and every one of them has worked in this replica so far.Some are a bit more loose than the others but every one of them holds and do not fall without releasing them.

I have ran about 10 000 BB’s through the replica without problems. No sign of anything breaking or anything towards that end. I did do some changes to the gearbox but no parts were changed, they are all original. They were just modified (AoE, sorbothane, filing to prevent cracks, shimjob, grease). These are something that are recommended by many airsoft techs for players, if they want their replicas to last. Naturally, if you have no idea what you are doing, get someone else to do it for you. And also keep in mind that you loose your warranty for the replica. Some replicas even have these done to them at the factory, but this is rare and is usually only found on higher end replicas.

Final thoughts? I can recommend this gun. For the price that it carries, it is very well built. It can perform well right out of the box and with some small fine tuning, it can perform even better and will last you a long time. If these guys come out with some interesting “old school” models, I would be more than willing to give them a try as well. If you’re on a budget, take a look at Specna Arms. It could be the one you are looking for!

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Berget 13 kit

Decided to do something different this time around. Last post was  way too long ago and the blog needed an update. I have another idea for a photoshoot but I want everything to get a bit greener before I go ahead with that. Instead, I am doing a post about my kit which I will use at Berget 13 this year. Our airsoft team does the trip to Berget every year and we have had some very interesting roles there so far. We’ve been reconnaissance troops for NAF 3rd Rangers, bodyguards for a ruthless war lord Rico and this year, we will return to reconnaissance, enlisted with the Cerberus faction.

My kit is built around the kit that you have seen in the past posts, with some small modifications. I have acquired a few more LBV’s (now ranging from LBV-88 to LBV-E, along with some ALICE Load Bearing Harness’) and I have built one of them for Berget. Been spending most of my effort on that particular LBV and I love it. Always being a fan of that particular piece of kit, the choice was a no brainier when deciding for a base vest for Berget.

In the pics you might notice that my rucksack is missing. This was intentional, as it is basically the same (Medium ALICE) that you have seen in the past pictures. It will definitely be on my back if we do some longer recon missions that require longer stays in the boonies. On other occasions, my LBV is more than capable of sustaining me for longer missions as well. The buttpack holds two MRE’s, some spare clothing and other essential items (batteries, snivel gear etc…) plus my poncho and poncho liner rolled and attached to the bottom. I am not planning on using a Camelbak, since I have a straw system for my canteens that I will be using. Noise from the canteens? So far I have not had this problem in such an extent that it has proven to be a problem. I have about two liters of water on me plus I can add a third 1Qt canteen to the buttpack or go larger with a 2Qt canteen. An ideal solution would be to source a 5qt water bladder and store it in the buttpack or rucksack. I do not own one, though. Not yet, anyway.

My weapon is the G&P M653 with a G&P M203 Long Type grenade launcher. According to my research, this is the correct “old school” launcher for the gun, as used by, for example, by Army Delta’s during the first Gulf War. Not as heavy as I anticipated, and it certainly adds that cool factor for the gun. Though the grenades used in airsoft as not as effective as their real life counterparts, this launcher will be useful during Berget with their BAVS grenades. Taking out enemy vehicles will be fun! My sidearm is my Co2 powered KWC M1911, which has proven to be reliable as hell. My KJW M9 and WE P226 are both still in action as well, but the newly installed wood grips on the 1911 make it my current sidearm choice.

In addition to all this gear, I will have a two piece ghillie with me. Going with just the boonie with ghillie material added to it (with some AO natural vegetation) is also and option as it breaks the form, but using them both is always better. They go over my rucksack and cover it well and the bottom half is open from the front so reaching my magazines is not a problem, and neither is going prone. They are not present in these pictures since they were drying up after the weathering process I gave to them earlier.

Now that summer is coming along, I will do (I will try at least!) better with posting new content for the blog.

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1980’s – 1990’s US Army

Keeping it old-school again with this new setup. Winter is coming and the weather is getting colder, so I need to get some warmer stuff. Here are a couple of images that I took during the weekend while testing the stuff in a non-airsoft environment. Hence the lack of eye protection. I have a PASGT helmet in the mail to replace the MICH2000. The LBV is the same as I had on the previous post and the BDU has been switched for a “winter version” without ripstop. Gloves are nomex pilot gloves and my sidearm has been changed to an M9, thanks to someone special for getting it for my for my birthday. Boots are all-leather Finnish Army M05 boots. Have not found USGI ICW (Intermediate Cold/Wet) boots in my sizes since I have a wide foot. These boots are a compromise which in my opinion works well. Main armament is M16A2.

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Gear list for “1990ish Recon, Colombia, Clear and Present Danger”

I’ve had a few requests asking for a gear list of the previous post on the blog, the 1990ish recon kit. Took a while for which I apologize, but here it is. I’ve added a few bits to it after the pics were taken and they will also be listed here. I am still missing some stuff for it, as it is still a work in progress. I do not have a clear reference picture for it. I’ve been looking at a lot of images from that timeline and I have combined what I see fits my style of gaming and what I see as practical. Some may disagree with some of the choices that I have made, but hey, that’s cool! I took some liberties here and there, deal with it.

First, images!

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Alright, lets begin. My BDU is a regular US Army issue summer weight (rip-stop) BDU, complete with a patrol cap and a boonie. Under my boonie I had an OD bandanna. The BDU needs some usage for it to fade, but that is a work in progress. Boots are Jungle boots. They are actually German issue, which means they are not correct. I have not yet found a good alternative for them and these have been walked on so they fit my feet and are comfortable. No noticeable differences to the US Army ones, except the fabric used here is cordura and the soles are different as well. Gloves are regular US Aviator gloves. Absolutely love them!

Rucksack is a Medium ALICE rucksack with the frame removed. It carries all the essentials I need for a weekend game or a longer game. I use a poncho liner on the inside as cushion for my back since I do not have a frame for it. If you need to know the contents, there’s a green towel, shaving kit, medkit, gas for my sidearm, spare BB’s, cooking kit, more water, food for three days (I use either MRE’s or the British equivalent), some spare socks, t-shirt etc etc. I customize the contents depending on the game I am going to.

On one of my canteens I have a “straw kit” which is a good alternative for a Camelback, if you do not want to use one. It’s basically a cork that replaces the original.  You can make one of these yourself I am sure, but I bought mine from ebay. As you may notice, I do not have a cover for the 2qt canteen in the picture. I usually keep that in my rucksack. Still need to get a 5qt bladder…

Moving on to the LBV… The model is LBV-88. At some point I hope to replace it with an Adventure Specialist LBV, as seen on the Delta’s during Panama, for example. As you can see, I have modded the right side mag pouches with black elastic bands to hold two chemlights. I also have some of the elastic band on my left side, for routing comm wires. On the back straps I have two bicycle tire inner tubes. I use this to route the straw kit and other stuff that needs to be kept in order. Saves the trouble of taping and it is loose enough to allow free movement.

On the belt (which is an LC-1 pistol belt), working from left to right, I have two US issue M16 ammo pouches. The first one is used for 3 magazines (I have 9 mags on me, which may seem like a lot but I love to have some ammo with me) and the other one is used for my radio. I have a Puxing 888 radio which fits perfectly inside the pouch. I have a small hole for the antenna cut on the top flap and some elastic band on the inside (taken from my modified night camo parka) to keep it in place. This leaves room for items such as candy, pencils, notebook etc. Very handy. Both pouches have the grenade pouches removed from either side.

Moving on, I have two 1qt canteen covers on the belt. There’s room in the middle for a buttpack, which I have yet to buy. On the other cover I have sewn a first aid pouch, for extra carry capacity. Never know when you might need it.

Next up is my Bianchi holster for my M1911. Can’t go wrong with a Bianchi in my oppinion. I have two, OD and Black.

My primary weapon is a M653 with a regular US Army carry strap. I have removed the metal parts and replaced them with Paracord so it makes less noise. My sidearm is, as stated before, Colt M1911, Co2 powered. I also have a P226 that I can use if needed. The sling that I have for my M653 is just a regular US army carry sling. I modified it so that I removed the metal fasteners from either end and replaced them with Paracord. Makes it silent and gives me more room to adjust the sling how I want it. I currently run the sling a bit different than it is on the picture, but all in all it is the same still.

What is missing? Well, I would really like to purchase a buttpack for this setup. That or I will place the 2qt canteen on the belt once I get a cover for it. I would also love to have some Heavy Duty gloves and a few carabiners for the loadout to make it look ‘cool’. A STROBE light is a must as well, a working one if possible. I also need a mag pouch for my extra sidearm magazine, which I was planning on sewing on one of the M16 pouches I have on the belt. Ranger beads is also a must, plus a compass. These just from the top of my head; surely there are more that need to be bought that I will notice later on. Anyways, I hope this satisfies your curiosity about the kit, at least a bit!

1990’s oriented recon mission in Colombia

Did some recon in “Colombia” the other day. A break from the British kit that I have been posting lately. The attempt was to test my new M81 woodland loadout that is progressing rather well and get some “Clear and Present Danger” -style pics up for the blog. Most of these have already been spammed on various social networks but here they are once again and let them be seen once more! I will do a kitlist later with better pics of the kit that I used.

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WE P226 – Thoughts

This next post is not a review per-se, but more of a ‘personal opinion’ of the GBB in questions. The WE P226 has been on the marker for a while now and it has been getting some really good reviews around the internet forums. The price is really good and it seems to be made of good quality materials. I have had mine for a little over a year now and I feel that I have enough experience with the weapon to be able to write something about it.

A good British airsoft set requires a P226, if going for a more modern setup, or a Browning. I like the looks of both of these pistols but since I was aiming for a more modern setup I wanted to get a P226. After reading and doing some research about the possible models out there, I went for the WE. To me, it was getting good reviews and the price range was within my budget at the time. I also ordered an extra magazine (should have got two of them buggers, but oh well…) for the weapon from ebairsoft.com (always had a good experience with them though some people seem to have not been so lucky with them) and it was shipped through customs. The price was good (I will not list it here as it was such a long time ago and they have changed) and I was happy with my purchase. Since the weapon uses Green Gas magazines, and it was winter in Finland (December 2012) I had to wait for warmer times to really put the weapon to test in the field.

Lets begin with the magazines. As noted before, the pistol runs with Green Gas or HFC134a Duster gas or Top / Green / Propane gas, whatever you want to call it. It is not CO2. For us living in colder climates this can cause a bit of a problem, since our summers are short as one night stands. We usually need to get sidearms that are CO2 compatible, but I did not in this case. WE has not rolled out any magazines of the CO2 variant for their P226 but rumors have it that there are some in the making. This rumor was heard through a local retailer when I asked after them a while back. I have one spare magazine which I orders when I got the gun and I have had zero leaking problems with it. I use silicone after every use on the gun and the weapons and I clean the weapon every other time I use it. This has serviced me well so far with this gun and the gas guns that I have had in the past. I also leave a little bit of gas inside the magazine after every use, which also helps preventing the magazines leaking. Some might advice against this, but for me it has worked very well. Naturally, the sealing will deteriorate after time and you might need to replace some air seal parts. These “tools” are utility articles and do not last forever even with the best use.

The performance of the gun in the field is acceptable, though I found the hop-up on mine to be a small disappointment. I can hit targets on the range that I usually use the weapon for but it could perform better. Currently I am on the lookout for a better and it seems that A+ make some new hop-up rubbers for this and I need to take a look at them and see if they work better than the old one. Nevertheless, it works. The hop “problems” that I have with it could also have to do with the fact that I use 0.28g BB’s on the gun. They are the same weight I use for me AEG’s and could be a bit on the heavy side for sidearms. Still, I find them to be good and it also means that I do not need to carry two weights of BB’s around.

The finish of the gun is excellent in my opinion. There are plenty of aftermarket parts available for the weapon if you wish to upgrade but I have not found the need for these so far. It performs well out of the box and replacements have not yet been needed. For those interested, I have used this for two or three longer events and many weekend games. The gun has cycled through about 2000 rounds so far and I have not had any problems with it, if you don’t count the hop-up issues I mentioned earlier. The paint wears off though, but mine has not lost all of its paint. The edges that rub on my Blackhawk SERPA have lost some and also some transportation damage is visible but nothing major. I have to note that if you use a SERPA, be prepared to either file the holster or do some major repetition in holstering and drawing the weapon. It is a bit tight but once it loosens/wears off, it works very well and will not fall off. I also use a Bianchi leg holster for it and it is also a bit tight on my black version but not as much on the green version. Go figure, but leaving it in the holster for a few days loosens the holster up and it works well. It is rock solid and drawing the weapon is easy when it comes down to it.