Until Next Time

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Finally reached the point of being about as close to 100% in The Witcher 3 as I’ll ever get. All main quest lines finished of course, every notice board mission, every random encounter I can find online and every question mark visited, as well as a lot of other wondering about.

I don’t know how other people feel about this style of huge open game with such a long play time, but I do get pretty attached to them after playing for such long periods of time. I did a similar thing with this title as I did with Skyrim – played it for a long time, moved to something else, came back, repeated that cycle a couple of times over the period of about 18+ months until eventually everything is done.

Given you can now pick up the GOTY edition with all of the DLC for a fiver or less if you look around (platform dependant), this probably represents the best value for money in a game there is right now taking in to account cost vs game time/quantity and quality as well.

If I were to review this game personally, I’d honestly give it a 98% score. As my steam account attests (and that just covers the last 11 years or so) I’ve played a few games in my time and this is easily one of the very best. The books help a lot of course in character development and plot, but in my opinion CD PROJEKT RED smashed it out of the park in every department that counts. The sheer amount of detail spread through the whole game world beats even Skyrim. Amazing music, solid and sensibly challenging gameplay, huge amounts of quests and a massive variety of monsters to fight and kill. I could go on for ages on different aspects but, as shallow as it is, the graphical aspect of the game really shines out for me any time I play it. Once I’d done all the quests and was left with just ? points to examine, I stopped using fast travel and Roach and simply jogged around the place. The beauty of the natural environment that has been crafted quite genuinely astounds me, I can run from one corner of the map to another and not once feel like I’m seeing repeats of the same landscape, vegetation or structures; not something I’ve ever been able to say about any other game. The weather effects, lighting, noises of the wildlife, everything just combines perfectly. I’m planning on doing a bit of reading in to what sort of procedural generation was used (or not used) to create each plant and tree and how the whole environment was modelled.

I took this screencap just before heading to finish up the very last couple of question marks. In the northern area of the DLC zone Toussaint I stopped by a river to read some of the Bestiary as the sun was setting, the combination of that with the mountain and statue in the background seemed a solid opportunity to capture the quality of the graphics. Problem is of course you can’t appreciate it in a still cap. Usually developers use all sorts of trickery to make every game screenshot look far better than the game when running, but Witcher 3 actually works the other way around.

Rhodesian – Pt. 2

Obviously I wasn’t going to just leave you all hanging with the upper half. Now when all the action happens below the waist.

Of course I had to commission a set because how else will I get those likes on my loadout pics on Insta? So I did something similar to the shirt with the combat trousers and simplified them a touch. Personally I find I never use any of the features on Cryes below the knee pad pockets, so I had the velcro adjustment for the pads, the ankles pockets and the ankle cuffs all deleted from this pair. In future I’m intending to go further and remove a couple of other things from the CP design that I also never use but I’m fairly happy with this setup.

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Although the weight saving is almost nothing in the scheme of things, in relation to a percentage of the overall weight of the garment there’s a reasonable chunk knocked out and the lower leg area just feels freed up slightly in terms of movement. Again, extremely minor gains but when you have the opportunity to clear out something you don’t want or need it’s worth taking. What I feel are the crucial parts of the G3 cut like the 3 stretch panels, the cargo pockets, knee pad pockets etc have of course been kept fully intact.

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Rhodesian – Pt.1

Generally I post gear pics in the order I take them, but I’m 1 year and 11 months behind on that and I decided to just be a crazy rebel and jump the queue this evening.

The shirt is for the most part G3 cut, but G3 split velcro is shite at actually retaining patches so I opted for full fields of loop. Also opted to delete the pen holder and eye pro slot that Crye sew in, because I never use those and I’m all about accumulation of small gains.

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The torso fabric is basically the exact same as a Crye shirt, but the blend of the camo fabric I don’t know. In this pattern you have to take what you can get.

The pattern itself isn’t actually Rhodesian despite what people generally think. Thanks to Passive Shooter for highlighting to me that after the state of Rhodesia ‘changed’ in to Zimbabwe, they re-adopted what is essentially the old Rhodesian pattern with the exception of the dark brown running on top of the green, whereas the original stuff is the other way around (last pic is a reference for comparison, look it up on Camopedia if you’re interested).

Roman Kurmaz is the man to speak to for custom Crye-style combat sets via the ‘Replica Linderhof-Taktik’ group here on facebook. The sewing work is very good indeed, nipping at the heels of the real stuff.

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GBLS Competitor

I had other sutff I was planning on posting, but for you airsofters (or AR shooters who want a safe trainer that’s super cheap to feed) this is something PRETTY DAMN interesting from American Airsoft Factory via Booligan Airsoft and Shooting Sports.

Amongst the line-up of high end electric guns out there, this one has by far piqued my interest the most, both as a potential purchase and in general with the design. Highly recommend checking out the AAF website because they have some extremely smart product options and a lot of open and honest technical data on the guns that’s rare to see.

TIA

It takes some time to setup these ‘mail call’ shots to fit in to the frame nicely, but personally I am a fan of the end result I have to say.  I generally don’t mix and match such a variety of gear and patterns in any other area so I enjoy the aesthetic of these layouts.

I’ve definitely gotten lucky in the past few months with regard tracking down some rare/no longer produced items that I think add nicely to the collection.  They’ll allow for some interesting topics to write about here in future (which is the key thing for me).  If, like me, you like to play the gear ID game, I think you’ll enjoy this image too.

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FirstSpear Head-Protector Protector

While the concept of covers for lids seems to have died a bit of a death in some circles, one thing I see everywhere these days is people just running around with their mega shiny helmets out and I think “bloody hell, cover that up will ya”.

Honestly though, non-ballistic brain buckets tend to be super shiny and look kind of ridiculous to my mind when not using a cover. If they’ve got a hydro dip then doubly so, because the varnishes they put over those dippings are always shiny as hell.

If you’d like to treat your dome guard to a real fancy cover then the FirstSpear offering will of course serve you very well. If you’re purely after aesthetics and having the highest quality doesn’t matter for you all that much, there are cheaper options out there and I fully get that, you have to spend what makes sense for YOU. But for my readers out who can’t compromise and need gear built for what they’re doing, I’d recommend the FS cover for various reasons I’ve detailed in this video.

Clear Out Required

Currently sat waiting to show the MoD yet another time there’s no drugs in me. My camelbak routine is causing delays right now, so in the mean time here’s a shot of *some* of my excess/not my size CP shiz. I’m moving on up to medium shirts in my old age, so if you’re a Sm/R combat shirt (or 32R lowers) I’m your man.

Part of the Process

If you’re enjoying the content you’re seeing, I hope you stay tuned because I have got SO much more gear to showcase and talk about.

The ‘storm’ we had in parts of the UK during Saturday meant it was a tad blustery, sadly no good for photography of light, fabric stuff like camo clothing and nylon gear. A lot of the reason I struggle to get more stuff on YouTube is down to the fact I can only ever photograph or film on weekends or leave, and since I have nowhere indoor that’s any good for that, it all gets done outside so I’m entirely at the mercy of the lighting conditions and weather in general to actually get anything ‘on to film’. Too much wind and I can’t record or shoot, stuff will just blow around and audio won’t come out. Cold kills the camera batteries, but I’ll crack on in any temperature as long as the wind isn’t howling, otherwise what’s the point in owning all these tactical jackets?

The wind was still going some today, but with the arrival of a big ol’ box of kit this past week I simply wasn’t coming back to work empty handed. Got out there just before 10, got a little help from Passive Shooter to get the Mail Call overall shot in the can (I think you lot will enjoy this one), stopped briefly for lunch then stayed out til 5 with my trusty Canon. Drove back to base this evening with over 200 pictures of 25 different bits of gear from all sorts of brands and places. Overall very chuffed with that, got a TON of sorting and uploading to do but if I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t spend so much of my spare time doing it.

Also remember that facebook are wankers, so check over at remftacticool.com at least once a week or so to see all the content herr Zuckerberg has hidden from you or look me up on Instagram by the same name (it’s still ok over there just about.. for now).

Magpul Every Day

Previously I’ve taken a look over the Magpul Industries Corp. DAKA Essential Wallet after carrying it daily for a few weeks and that was nice, but it lacked a little something. I had a word with a buddy of mine over at Magpul and they mentioned that a version was already in the works that featured exactly that little something I was after – a transparency for ID cards. So now I’ve been fortunate enough to have been provided a DAKA Everyday Wallet to review and unlike most types of military gear, this is an item of non-issued kit I can easily get days and weeks worth of carrying and use on before providing my thoughts.

Original manufacturer page here for reference:
https://www.magpul.com/products/magpul-daka-everyday-wallet

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Fortunately, making the change from the Magpul Essential to the new Everyday design was a lot easier than when I originally went from my old conventional wallet (which did also have a transparency) to the Magpul Essential. My initial thought was along the lines of “how the hell will I manage day to day with so little storage capacity” and all things considered I think Magpul do go a little too spartan with the original Essential; as we can probably surmise with the changes put in to the Everyday. Putting that concern aside however I did want to try out the concept of maybe slimming down my pocket book and not carrying around things I knew I hadn’t used for years and years, so I started using the Essential on a daily basis and ended up not going back to my old wallet. The biggest change is, as you might imagine, only having something that feels comparatively tiny in your pocket and when you sit in a car, hop on your bike or sit down to eat that is a genuine revelation that prompted me to forget about any capacity shortcomings of these types of designs. There are disadvantages but the size advantage alone has been entirely worth the swap in my mind.

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There are 3 key changes that have been made with the Everyday which are all highly beneficial in my opinion.

1 – It’s 10% larger overall compared to the Essential, meaning you’ve got room for any card, ID or currency note that is slightly larger than the norm. It’s also more difficult to lose this one out of your jacket pocket, which is exactly what I did with my Essential.

2 – The addition of a transparency is exactly what I personally needed for showing my ID to the gate guards 4-6+ times per day vs having to fiddle around actually removing my ID card each and every time for inspection. Anyone in the service will welcome this and I’m sure there’s other jobs out there which necessitate similar regular checks – especially in the public/security sector where we’re often still using humans instead of automated doors and check points. Just don’t ask me who that bloke is pictured on my MOD 90, not met him in over a decade.

3 – An extra storage slot has been created right in the middle with the goal of providing a better stash point for notes, rather than having to wedge your cash in to a credit card slot. Crucially this one addition provides a proportionally very large % increase in carrying capacity vs the older model while not falling back in the trap of making you carry tons of shit you don’t need and never use. For me this made the Everyday a truly perfect fit for exactly the cards and cash I wanted to carry every single day wherever I go.

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At this point I’ll mention the one failing point I have with any sort of slimline/essentials-only wallet and that’s carrying coins, it’s pretty much not an option. If you’re the sort to jam cash in a pocket you’ll be fine, but I’m not a fan of that myself and the one thing I miss is the coin pouch every other normal wallet that I’ve ever owned before featured. This design being made of a smooth plastic will lose metal coins, especially when they’re sandwiched against even smoother plastic cards. If you live in normal modern society I’d imagine your need for coins has pretty much been eliminated in 2017, parking meters and the like tend to advertise ways to pay on your phone even in some fairly rural places that I’ve come across. Maybe you work somewhere with an ancient vending machine but those are dying out or their contents being replaced with ‘Protein+’ versions of whatever snacks were in there before and I like to think nobody reading this page is blind enough to fall for that over-priced bullshit. In my job I do sometimes need coins to buy the odd snickers from the t-bar or bacon roll on a friday morning, because we still do some old school shiz like that, but if you live in a country with 1-unit notes or work for a company that’s not still kinda stuck in the 80s I reckon you’ll mostly be fine. I’d say even the need for any sort of cash including notes has been very much diminished at this point and potentially if you live in the centre of a large city you’d only carry notes in an ’emergency’ case of that one very unlikely occasion where folding money might be needed, but your contactless cards will be the go-to 99.9%.

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In terms of general capacity in the Everyday, I myself have 2 different debit cards that I regularly use, my military ID, driving licence in the middle and a couple of notes and that’s all I’ve ever needed in the past couple of months of carrying the thing. I’ve never felt the desire for any more capacity with the exception of pieces of pirate silver as mentioned above. There is room for plenty more credit/debit cards or any sort of membership or loyalty card if you want to put them in there and on the occasion you need to chuck in a business card or any other thin item that comes in to your possession the fabric will grow to accommodate. There is also just about room for 1 item of contraception, and I’m sure we all want to be grown up and responsible in that area. I never need such things because I write a tactical blog, but I know a few of you folks are more tanned and lift more weight than I do.

Construction wise I don’t have a name of the exact fabric used, but if you’ve got any gear that uses Hypalon you’ll have a rough idea. Essentially this is a fabric in the sense that it looks to be ‘weaved’ from strands at some point in its’ creation, rather than just being liquid plastic that’s cooled in to a solid sheet and cut. Fortunately it is proving to be infinitely more abrasion resistant than Hypalon, it also turns away sweat and oils from your skin like a champ. There are 5 layers of this fabric (which is incredibly thin I should add) and they’re all welded together at the edges which Magpul claim are both permanent and impenetrable. I’ve seen nothing so far to suggest those claims aren’t true. Also much like a really well made magazine pouch, the fabric does grip the smooth plastic of any ID/money card well during carry, yet relinquishes that grip when you begin to pull out a card and break the friction bond.

The rounded corners make it fast and snag-free going in out and out of bags and pockets which is something I’ve certainly found I appreciate on a daily basis. It also keeps everything inside cinched tightly together and that means it’s nearly impossible for anyone else to see which pocket your wallet is in, a very big change from your old type wallet that’s got 2 years of receipts and a Blockbuster member card collecting lint inside.

The Everyday comes in the same colour options as most of Magpul’s plastic firearms parts and accessories and it’s actually made in the US, whereas most of the EDC-culture gear you’ll find out there which isn’t firearm related will most likely come from the same country as most of everything else. At $25 the Everyday is a bit of a price hike vs the $17 Essential when you look at the percentage, but based on carrying this fabric around for a few months now I’m confident in saying you’ll get many years use out of one of these. In fact I’d say it’ll last a lot longer than it takes any leather wallet to reach that point where the external smooth hide surface of said leather has gotten ratty and chipped and exposed the grey suede underneath.

What I’d do myself is keep a leather wallet in a drawer ready for any type of ‘going out’ that might involve a touch of class or just generally wanting to come across as not being any type of prepper or EDC/CCW type (for any reason you may personally happen to have). What I do myself for example is have a horrendously bight Magpul phone case that provides protection and easy spotting to use every day, then a slim, plain black phone case to take to nice bars and restaurants and the like where I might be wearing chinos or a suit and want to trick normal people in to thinking I’m a standard adult human. Same kind of story with my wallet and watch.

I’m really glad I took the figurative leap of faith over to this style of wallet and I’m going to continue to keep the Magpul Everyday as my primary day-to-day until it either breaks or I find something better. However at this current moment it quite literally carries exactly what I need it to carry and nothing more so unless the cards/cash I need to carry change then my wallet isn’t going to.