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Bite The Bullet

Desktop Skirmishing (2000-04-26)

Our deepest apologies to loyal readers of this column. Yes its been a while since I've written a column and akin to "my dog ate my homework", I must resort to "well we had computer problems". And with that aside, you must be asking who this fellow is that warrants a Bite-the-Bullet column. Decked out in full combat gear and sporting an MP5SD6, this is not your average weekend skirmishing buddy. The gas mask alone says how serious an opponent we have on our hands. But wait again, this soldier is only about a foot tall - and darn fun to play with. Introducing the latest fad in airsoft related goodies - none shooting and non-skirmish friendly but definitely desktop friendly. Not to be confused with time-honored GI-Joes, these action figures are finely crafted with extremely realistic gear that would make you and I envious! Don't believe me? The MP5SD6 has a working retractable stock. The dual magazine clips are held together by a functional dual magazine clamp - and if you pull the magazine out from the gun, you'll even see a bullet in the magazine! The 3 point sling is also functional. As for his sidearm, we have a Browning pistol holstered into his thigh holster bound to his leg via working buckles! Yep - they snap together and release just like the real thing (only that they're about 1/10th the size of your index fingernail). The gas mask has fully adjustable straps to ensure a nice snug fit and the 12 gauge shotgun shells hanging from his vest are individually removable. His SWAT vest is nothing short on realism and all pouches are functional, as are ALL the adjustment straps. There's even a place on the back of the vest to hold an optional shotgun (sold separately). There's a radio pouch on the back through which a radio antennae protrudes from and you'll notice that it connects all the way to an ear piece (along with throat mike). To round his gear off, attached to his functional (and removable) utility belt are a mag-lite torch and a dagger. Need I go on???

These action figures also sport extremely flexible limbs and can be formed into any combat position you desire. Apart from the fairly tactical posture that I've formed here, you can also have him stand completely upright toting his rifle (or his Browning sidearm if you prefer).

But wait, the fun doesn't stop here. After a while, you might get bored with his "look" and want to upgrade his gear or his weapons. Much like the real airsoft world, there are masses of add-on gear and parts that you can add. Heck you can even switch his head to get a different look. Aftermarket gun sets offer even more astounding detail (as covered in the May issue of Combat Magazine). You can get the full M4A1 set with grenade launcher (that actually has a working racking foregrip) and removable upper receiver (and the stock is extendable of course). Want detail on the handgun? How about one that has a cocking hammer, sliding slide, and removable magazine? Oh and don't forget a detachable rail-mounted flashlight! All this in a pistol the size of your thumbnail too! Want some heavier firepower instead? M60's and tripod mounted rocket launchers are all available. In terms of clothing, you name it - it's out there (from US jungle camouflage to desert to German green).

Still not enough?! You can even get helicopters, dune buggies, jeeps, Hummers, and speedboats to carry your friend! Yes we know it's crazy and you wonder who would splurge on this stuff. Well let me just say that Wildgoose himself has enough of these little fellas to start his own soccer team. In fact, the popularity of these "replica figures" has skyrocketed in the past several months and is taking Japan and Hong Kong by storm.

We're not sure if this is one fad that will make it across the Pacific but I myself have written it off as plain "silly" until I finally got one to see what the madness was about (after some persuasion from Wildgoose) - and I must say that I'm slightly hooked. It's not so much the action figure itself that's fun but more that this little fella will probably have access to more gear than I personally could ever have and you can get to experiment with different gear at a much more affordable price!

Curious? Ask us if you're interested and we'll post more information.