There are a small selection of blogs I read religiously… not many, but a few. Amongst them is a fellow writer whose work I’m sure you’ll all have read at some point.
The Geardo Crow, A former soldier and long standing member of the Airsoft Community, The Geardo Crow offers a unique insight into the world of Airsoft, Soldiering, Gear and all those other little details that make his blog so relevant to a diverse audience.
An all-round nice guy but not so nice that he’s afraid to ruffle feathers (as you’ll see in the interview), let’s see what he thinks about Airsoft, gear and the future of our hobby.
ATRG: First of all, Thank You for taking the time to speak with me and welcome to the blog!
First question, nice and straightforward… When did you start playing Airsoft and what actually got you into it?
TGC: I started playing Airsoft in late 2013 after leaving school and starting work meaning I had, what at the time was “shitloads” of money to burn. I’d been keen to join the Military since I was 12/13 and so naturally had an interest in the sport, and like so many others got into watching Scout the Doggie videos on Youtube.
My favourite videos of his were at the FIBUA villiage Anzio Camp, and after several years of watching them I finally realised that the site was only 20 minutes away from my house. Armed with my drivers license and my trusty, blue, plastic SRC M4 I was off.
ATRG: As someone who served in the Army whilst being an regular playing airsofter, what was the general reaction once people knew that you played pew pew in the woods on weekends?
TGC: The reaction definitely improved on a curve. When I first arrived at my unit as a screaming crow I got hounded relentlessly for it, with the Junior NCO’s seeing an easy pickings topic for some “character building”. It was to be expected although I will admit it was one of the reasons I had a hiatus from Airsoft shortly before starting The Geardo Crow.
As time went on though more and more people were saying they’d like to try it, and no matter how stupid anyone thought the sport was when I brought my guns into the barracks for them to have a play with, every man would end up grinning like a kid.
By the time I left, everyone knew about the page and no one really gave a shit.
ATRG: Airsoft can be a polarising subject to those outside the community, what do you think we can do to put Airsoft in a more positive light?
TGC: I think for me the biggest issue we face is the “airsoft warrior ethos”.
Posts cropping up all over UKAC about how “the difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination” and all of the “til Valhalla” Viking bollocks is what causes those outside the sport to think we’re a bunch of doughnuts. You’re not a “pipe hitter”, you’re not “executing Direct Action missions”, you’re a grown man playing with a toy gun.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with playing and having all the gear, but just be realistic. It’s a game. I think the sooner we go back to seeing it as such then the outward image of the sport will be more appealing.
Oh, and fuck Kicking Mustang and the rest of the pain porn crowd. Get over yourself and play like a gentleman you absolute throbbing brain donor.
ATRG: And the “Milsim Scene”, a recurring thing that pops up in the groups is it’s apparent demise. Any thoughts on this and do you think it’s the fault of the organisers, the players or a bit of both?
TGC: I’m on the fence about Milsim. It’s very good and certainly serves a purpose for those of us who want a little deeper immersion into our weekend fantasies of being Tier 1, but there are a growing number of problems with the sector that are getting harder to ignore. I think the blame lies with everyone on this one.
Training areas like STANTA being written off for use by the MOD because of players wandering outside the boundaries on a live training area is obviously something we need to address, but it is also up to the organiser to prevent this sort of stupidity.
As for the games themselves, I think the UK Milsim scene is falling below the bar because of the lack of back and forth between teams. I know I’ve been to games where the TF (Task Force) side have every tool under the sun and the “Bad Guy” side are pretty powerless to resist. Yes this is a good simulation of asymmetric warfare, but if you want paying customers filling both teams you need to make it fun for both teams.
ATRG: So onto gear… Obviously there’s a whole world of tactical gear out there, any particular favourite purchases and does your Airsoft gear collection hint towards a certain impression or are you more concerned with function before form?
TGC: I’d like to say I’m entirely funtion over form, but unfortunately that’s not entirely true.
I’ve never really been in the impressions game but I do get a lot of my ideas from what guys are using in the real world. The only real time I’ve felt strongly influenced to get something was after a training exercise playing enemy for UKSF. This lead to me immediately boarding the hype train and building an L119A2, along with getting some other smaller bits I’d seen them using.
But as far as my favourite piece of gear? If I had to pick one, it would probably be my Platatac Peacekeeper. I’ve collected a lot of C2R gear in the last few years, and it’s all top notch stuff, but I rarely use my “good guy” stuff anymore, whereas my Peacekeeper is continually coming out and impressing me. It’s the one bit of kit that I really wish I’d been able to use while in the Army and I won’t be getting rid any time soon.
ATRG: Your regular readers will know that you left the military earlier this year, what prompted the change and how has it been adjusting to a civilian way of life?
TGC: My decision to leave the Army was a result of several reasons. Anybody who is currently serving can attest to the dire straits the military finds itself in. Adapting to the social changes of the last 5 years, combined with the lack of warfighting has done no favours to the military. Plummeting numbers has caused a panic amongst the higher ranking staff, but they have given up no ground to reflect this, meaning units are being pushed to perfrorm duties with far lower manning than they were intending.
For me this led to a period of being constantly away on “operations” that didn’t consist of much excitement and didn’t provide many prospects for the future. As a result of this, I, and many of my colleagues, found it hard to justify staying in any longer. As my morale dropped so did my motivation and so I took the opportunity to leave when it arose. Adjusting to civilian life has been easier than expected though. I’m lucky to now be working in the company of like minded people and doing a job that I see a future in.
I’m lucky, I never fired my weapon in anger, and the few distressing scenes I witnessed have been easy to process.
ATRG: And onto yourself, is there room for anything else outside of Airsoft, Writing and Work? What else do you do to relax?
TGC: Always, since getting out I’ve really pushed myself further into photography. It’s something I’m looking to spend more time on in 2020 and improve on.
Rainy days are still spent with the other half and the dog though, with several hours grind on Modern Warfare thrown in.
ATRG: And back to Airsoft, I know 2019 has been a busy year for you. What plans do you have for the next year and where do you see Airsoft heading in the future, if anywhere at all?
TGC: I didn’t manage to do everything I planned for 2019, changing jobs took up a huge amount of my time and so Airsoft took a bit of a back seat. The plan for 2020 is to really commit to trying new places.
I’ve mostly played at the same few sites for the last 2/3 years, and I think this is something that causes people to get bored, myself included. I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into a few more Stirling games and going that little bit further to try different sites, both new and old.
As far as the blog goes, I’ve been lucky to work with several companies this year which has helped me get hands on with the latest toys to come to the industry, and I’m really looking forward to pushing this further. The plan is to continue in the fashion of giving away gear to my followers when the manufacturer is happy to do so!
ATRG: And with games away, themed games in particular… What would you consider important to making a great and memorable “Milsim”?
TGC: Roleplay is always the double-edged sword for me. Going to an event where everyone plays the part and really gets stuck in can make a game great, and as a die hard “bad guy” player it’s always fun to run around in a dish dash laying loud surprises for the Task Force side.
The problem with this is always balance, as some people never know when to stop, which causes arguments and generally makes for a shitty event. It’s also important for me for both sides to be given the freedom of their actions in games. If one team has to follow a script while the other doesn’t, or there are unfair rules in play, the game will be a loss.
Task Force should be out doing patrols, and be able to take the fight to the bad guys, and the bad guys should be being annoying pestilential bastards to the TF and just generally giving them a hard time.
ATRG: Final question, well a matched pair really. What do you like most about Airsoft and what one thing would you change if you could?
TGC: Airsoft brought me together with a group of friends that I wouldn’t have met anywhere else. And I think this speaks volumes about the community as a whole. We’re all a bunch of silly men and women who enjoy playing with toy guns and spending nights in the woods together.
As the airsoft scene in the UK has changed, we’ve all still stuck together and are just as savage to each other today as we were years ago. But the community is also the thing I’d change. Everyone just needs to take it down a notch and remember that it is just a game. Teams boycotting players for going to a certain site, speedsoft versus milsim, one manufacturer arguing with another, it’s all just silly bullshit.
We all came into the sport just to have a laugh, and it’s high time we all went back to that.
Once again, Thank You to The Geardo Crow.
For those of you not already following his excellent blog, make sure you have a look over and drop him a follow on the below platforms if you like what you see.
Instagram – @thegeardocrow
Facebook – The Geardo Crow
Blog Website – The Geardo Crow
Picture Credits – @thegeardocrow