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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Stay Cool Texas!

(c) Blastersmiths UK Ltd
"How do you even Nerf in 30C heat?!" - Mike Harratt, BSUK
"Like a BOSS." - Owen Atkin, CBAS
Those that follow us know that we are fans of Blastersmiths UK, to the extent that they are our go-to people for custom tactical gear.  The collaborations and feedback cycle means we exchange a lot of emails.  Imagine my surprise when, during discussion of the most recent Modular Dart System prototype, Mike alerts me that new gear previews are imminent!

The first new piece of gear to be shown is the new MkI MOLLE Cuirass, covered front and rear in PALS webbing.  The new vest features a shorter length than previous models in the BSUK lineup, terminating at the bottom of the rib cage as opposed to going fully down to the waist line like most models.  The shorter length should allow greater range of motion and ventilation, particularly to the kidney area which is particularly important to staying cool.

(c) Blastersmiths UK Ltd
Cooling is especially important here in southern Texas, where during the summer months temperatures are usually in the 70's F before anyone is even thinking of getting out of bed and into the upper 80's by the time game time rolls around.  That's 26C+ for our Metric readers.  I stuff my personal chest rig's map pouches with ice-packs, and pack a couple more in with the hydration bladder in the back to keep that water nice and cold, which of course helps keep me cool as well.

BSUK will be offering this new smaller rig in their new black breathable 500D Cordura, which lacks the MILSPEC anti-fray coatings and should allow more cool air to your skin, to allow you to more evaporate your sweat, and let you stay cooler.  Additionally the inner face of the cuirass gets a 3mm mesh lining to let air flow around underneath the vest as well.

I'm the not-skinny guy.
Of course the real secret to staying cool is to man up and sweat.  No, really.  Sweating is one of the methods the body uses to regulate temperature, via evaporative cooling.  The sweat evaporates water vapor into the air surrounding your body, which cools the air a bit and allows your skin to radiate its heat into the cooler air.   Blood flowing through the skin is cooled which then flows through out your body.  Methods like my insertion of ice-packs into my map pouches use the same mechanism, without depleting my body's water supply.  Instead of transferring heat to the air, heat is transferred to the packs, which will of course slowly melt, leaving you with a bag of body temperature slush to carry around.  Luckily my rig is open enough to let me fall back on the old fashioned way.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Gearing Up!: CBAS/BSUK Modular Dart System

Panel and pouch mounted to PALS
panel, which mounts to my belt
A few months ago I started putting together specs for a custom piece of Nerf tactical gear, to commission from a cottage gear maker.  After a couple emails and a month of silence I ditched that maker and went to BlasterSmiths UK, to discuss and finalize my specs.  The result of that time is the Modular Dart System.

The aim of the project is simple:
System comes with five panels.
I cut one up to test revisions.
Better ammo management for non mag-fed blasters, like one would use as a sidearm.  The new system should enable the carriage of more than twice that offered by the BSUK belt mounted dart panel, without cluttering the player's "workspace".  The system should not be more complicated to reload from than the existing dart panel.  We (CBAS and BSUK) accomplished this with a multi-part system.  

The pouch I use holds three reload
strips quite handily.
  1. A PALS mounted panel to mount in the player's "workspace" on their rig, making mounted ammo easy to use.  This panel fills the same PALS space as a single N-Strike mag pouch, to make it easy to integrate into loadouts.
  2. Modular panels that go onto the PALS panel, that the player can tear off and replace with a loaded panel when depleted.  These panels are the business end of the whole system, making reloading your blaster easy.  A tab at the top makes removing them from the PALS mounting panel quick and easy.
  3. A pouch for storing loaded modular panels, where ever the player feels comfortable having them.  This allows the player to mount their extra modular panels right next to the mounting panel, or somewhere else out of the way.  This pouch is still in the works, but for now a Condor MA2 Ammo/Dump pouch does a pretty good job.
  4. Optional:  A player might use a dump pouch to put their empty modular panels in, rather than dumping them on the ground.

As with any product made by BSUK, or for that matter designed by CBAS, the pattern is in a continual cycle of revision, to make it even better.  For instance swapping the hook and loop side of the connection between the panels, to get rid of snagging has been put on the table.  Or new stiffening materials to allow the modular panel to be narrowed enough to fit in mag pouches.

Special Thanks

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