Dogs of War – Mercenaries and Contractors – Pt2

A good while back I started this series with the introduction of mercenary kits and everything related to that. On this part, I will continue with the same general theme but concentrate more on the “civilian” side of these kits. These are more aimed towards LARP situations and games, but no one is saying they cannot be used in more general types of Airsoft games. As before, I will draw from the kit that we use with our team, when we act as The Firm, in events we attend.

Inspiration – Where to look

Like with anything else, inspiration and ideas are taken from somewhere. While some of our guys look into books and read history, some are more towards the mainstream media (movies, series…) and look for inspiration and ideas from there. Nevertheless, we share these ideas and combine everything into a cohesive structure. Having everyone on the same page and with the same mindset is essential to looking the part.

If your aim is not to pull off a specific portrayal, inspiration can be drawn from anywhere. One where we looked was old images from the Gulf War in the early 1990s and especially the security detail by 1st SFOD-D for General Norman Schwarzkopf.

Original image credit to owner.

The inspiration for the “shoot me first vests” were taken from these images and others where they are seen in use. Why do we use them? One is for the “cool” (really, they are) factor and they are actually awesome pieces of kit. We have several of these from Banana Republic and other manufacturers as well. They are excellent for carrying essential kit like radios, magazines (both pistol and long gun) and other items that are deemed necessary. They are also baggy enough to go over body armor. Some of us carry real armor or weights and some opt for the foam plates. We do not judge and everyone does their own thing on that department.

Ingame image from TSTOS 19. Credit to Lauri Heinonen.

In addition to the Gulf War images, we also used images from the late 1990s. Same unit, but in Bosnia. These images served for excellent inspiration as well. The main idea with the images is the same: civilian look. Taking from these images we built our own style with everyone adding their own personal touches. We received some very positive feedback on the overall look of our group during and after TSTOS19.

Orignal image credit to owner.

It has to be noted, that while these images were used extensively in the first outing of this kit in Berget a few years back, things have changed. The idea behind this private security contractor concept that we are running has grown into a more complex thing since then. We have people in the group who have been reading deep into the history of these kinds of groups and especially into their involvement during different conflicts in Africa. This ties to the fictional country of Zembala that our fictional firm is located at. But, we started from here. Now that we have talked a little bit about the inspiration, lets have a few words about the actual kits.

The kits in use

So with every idea there is some kind of a conclusion, which of course evolves during times when you notice that you need something. We started with the simple things, the shoot me first vests were mandatory, but as I said in the previous article, some kind of uniformity is needed. We opted for the pants, which we chose to be Coyote/Khaki, when we need to stand out from the crowd. This can be changed depending on needs, naturally. Upper clothing is always the choice of the individual, but a Khaki/Coyote cap is needed from everyone. Again, uniformity. As you can see from the image below, while we are wearing some of the same items, we still look like individuals.

For regular Airsoft skirmish games these kinds of kits are not necessarily the best choice. And those kind of games are not the reason we made these kits. These kits are more towards the LARP/Milsim games, where interaction with other players is key to some missions that different factions are doing. Naturally, these kits allow the use and carry of longer rifles as well, but for those “shoot-n-scoot” kind of games I would run something different. We did have a few missions during TSTOS 19 (none of which required us to use our weapons) where few of us carried long rifles. While we did not use them, the kit allowed the carry of a few extra magazines and easy use of the rifle. So in theory, running this kit in weekend games can be done. Just remember that with the colors we are using here you might stand out like a sore thumb, depending on the environment.

While this post was rather short, shorter than I previously imagined, my hope is that it gave some kind of an idea about these kits we have. So many things have changed with them over the past year, that it is hard to keep track. These posts could be updated in the future and maybe something more visual will be made of these as well. Not able to say for sure at this point though. I will leave you with a few extra images at this time, though.

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