Monday, January 24, 2005

My second time out with my phantom!

I went to Tombstone yesterday and, (to the astonishment of our listeners) it was even more crowded than it was the week before. I got ready for a full day, and I definately got it!

Some Highlights...

I started in the intermediate group because the advanced group was just finishing up their second round on a field (which would be followed by a 5-10 minute break). I hopped on Jungle and got ready. Off the break I made it to an important bunker on the 40, it was necessary for us to hold down our left side. I really began to focus on posting (almost getting tunnel vision). I was sure to look around every once in a while though I knew the bunker behind the one I was posting on was furthur to the side than the latter, so I wasn't suprised to see full bodies (large targets >:] ) moving up to the bunker I was posting on. The second I saw, I shot, watched the ball arc, and contact the target. I got back in, and looked at the ref (10 ft away) who called him clean.

It was a square shot in the stomach, and it bounced.
The target looked like he had a sweater on... damn

I quickly cursed my paint purchased a little over a week ago, and returned to my position. If my paint wanted to bounce, then I'd have to put it somewhere it couldn't bounce! Goggles... :insert evil grin here: I was starting to get better at aiming. Before I'd been looking straight down the irons, (so to speak) and firing at what was in my sights. This led to a problem, I couldn't see where I was hitting. I looking at my target and not compensating for arc, and blocking my view of under where I was aiming with my marker. I started to angle the phantom up, and line up my targets about half and inch above the sight. I could still aim well, and I could see what I was firing at.

I compensated, looked at the corner my target was just at, and waited for a good shot. I would not fire a slew of balls whenever I saw the tiniest view of goggles, and I think that was what he (she?) was expecting. You could almost taste the hesitancy emitted from the back of that bunker Then, the target popped out at full ready, firing as soon as his barrel cleared (good form, he was pretty tight too). I fired one shot at the edge of the mask I could see, and got back in before the first shots hit my bunker. I heard the ref call him out. My first gog of the day... oh yeah...

There was one other player behind the bunker with me who was covering me to the right. I told him to move up to the next bunker. what? it's not like I can bunker two guys if I see them! He moved up and took a peek behind the bunker, nothing. He sat behind it on our side, and signaled me up. I moved up and took some fire from a bunker beyond the one I was moving to. ^_^;; I wasn't staying low enough... My bunkermate took some shots at him out his side of the bunker, while I bellied to the dirt peeking around my side of the bunker at where I saw him. After bit I rolled onto my side an sat up to scan the jungle area to our right. My bunkermate stood up higher to get a better angle on someone in the jungle and took two to the top of his head courtesy of our old friend ahead of us.

I figured I'd give him a little bit of time to lose interest in my bunker before posting on him. I waited a bit, and then prepaired to drop back to my prone position. I was sitting on my knees, marker angled sideways, about to drop to my elbow, when I saw a the end a silver barrel poking from the corner, a foot from me. I got up and sneaked around the other side of the bunker as quickly and quietly as I could. I put my back to the jungle, which wasn't a good idea, but I just HAD to get this guy I got right behind him and tapped him on the shoulder and said "Hey, player...". He tucked back in and turned his head around to see the business end of a phantom about four inches from his face aimed right between his eyes. I won't soon forget the look of utter confusion on his face. "You're out." Of course, shortly after this happened, I took all kinds of fire from the jungle, and got out, but it didn't matter. =)

Later I racked up 5 kills off one particularly important bunker. There is a row of laydowns on the west side of front hyperball. The row zig-zags from our (north) 30 to their (south) 40. They have cover up to the laydown and can easily crawl to our 30. To make matters worse, they also have a spool with great cover and a killer angle on anyone who thinks they can hold the left side. Unfortunately we lost a few off the break, and soon had nobody holding the left. I was left of center in a standup trained on the laydown when I saw movement at the laydown on the fifty. Damn, they can crawl up the laydowns, and flank us while being covered! I contemplated superman-ing over the waist-high bunker to a kill, and almost certain 30bps doom.

Between the 50 and the 40 laydown there was a small opening where the concrete was broken away and some of the cris-cross rebar was exposed so that you could see through it. This opening was about 8"x3" vertical and usually only served as an early warning that someone was about to obliterate your team. The size and obstruction to the opening made it almost impossible to shoot through... with a semi... For almost the whole round I stayed trained on the laydown, and that tiny opening. Each time I saw some movement I shot straight through the opening, and usually got a kill. If I hit the rebar, it just splattered, and they didn't feel it, and since they were crawling, I had time to pump again, and take another shot. They just kept trying to crawl up, and I just kept shooting them out. From their angle, if they'd have popped out the top of the laydown I would have been totally exposed and had a few paintballs flying my way before mine could make it to my opponent's goggles. But that wasn't the case.

Eventually my team took the field, but not before I fended off 5 flankers.

I remember one shot I didn't seem to break on the target's left side, so I cocked in another, called a paintcheck to be sure, and waited for him to stand up for inspection (refs don't want you to roll the paint off!). The ref was right next to him, and looked for the hit, I could see that the ref couldn't find one, but he looked at me ready to nail him as soon as the word "clean" came into my ears, looked back at the player, and told him he was out.

Actually, now that I think about it, the ref started standing there after I got a few kills there, I would even bet that the ref was telling them to watch out for the little hole, and to try to look through it before passing it (totally fine with me). This would explain a few goggle hits, and one who was actually readied and tried to fire through the hole (which just produced a spraypaint effect). Heh, gotta listen to the refs. They know the fields...

After most of the games I could find at least a few players walking around asking who had the pink paint. Pumps rock.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

More Paintball stuff...

Hokai, so I was always a kind of tinkerer. Um... I mean... I always tinkered with things... shut up. What's kind of odd about paintball is that there's not a lot of amazing innovation going on. This makes it common for you to see someone with a custom marker, or a customized addition to their marker. So to begin with, you have open air for inventors.

And invent they did. Every once in a while you find about someone who knows someone who had a neat idea, some expensive tools at their disposal, and a block of aluminum. Bam! They've got a great idea, a prototype, a patent (hopefully) and a distributer willing to purchase that patent from them!

Yeah, I know it doesn't always work out like that, but just let me have this...

Hence, ideas have been pouring through my mind on how to improve, customize, streamline, etc. any aspect of paintball! My most recent (and hopefully fruitful) idea was what I'm calling the spring top tube.

A cigar tube loader that has a spring loaded top. But, the hinge is between the middle and back of the loader, and has a piece of plastic (about 30 degrees of a circle) extending from the hinge to the end of the tube with a flat circular top at the end. This way the tube could be held closed by being held in the harness, and then by your hand when you remove it. When it's close to the feed tube, you can release pressure on the "arm" and the arm will pop away from the tube, and so will the top attached to it. This will give enough clearance to stick the tube into the feed tube enough to get past the rubber stopper thingy. Then, a little bit of pressure closes it back to a small cigar tube, and it fits right back into the harness. Those stupid cigar tube tops can be annoying to open, to pour, and close and replace to keep dirt out of them while they are in the harness empty.

Cool yes? If not, please don't say anything.

The other idea I had was based on a dream I had a while ago, a few posts back I posted my dream, and as fire... swat... whatever I was, I needed a water gun to put out the fire. We all had what looked like paintball markers that fired water... (to put out the fire) Sigh... Anyways, mine was some kind of phantom-type (no suprise there) that had two vertical air adapters. One where the VSC Phantom would have one, and another in front of that one. Both set with 12 gram adapters (as in the VSC Phantom). Also, it was all chrome, with an annodized green shroud-like thing to cover the sides of the gun. I drew a crude picture of it, maybe I'll post it when I get some free image hosting... And find a scanner.

So this idea (of the double vertical air adapters) made me wonder about how to set up something similar to that... First I wondered if the system would allow two 12 grams to be set on the same line (like a parallel circuit), or if a switch (to select one or the other) would be better. The realization that 12 grams don't function like a normal constant air system kind of rained on the parallel style setup...

12 grams CO2 canisters are like small bottles waiting to give off their gas. The way they are tapped is that they are punctured by a "needle" which causes the gas to push into the system the needle is a part of. The way a parallel style system would work, is that it would be one end of the line going to the power tube, and two ends going to open "needle" ends. It follows that without a way of closing an opening, you can't add the 12 grams one at a time. The best way would be to use valves on both "needle" lines. Insert one or two 12 grams, turn them on, then the other. Got it? If you screw in one 12 gram into one side, since the other side is in the same system, and it's just an open needle, the CO2 would spray out the other needle. You'd have to do them both at exactly the same time, or use valves. I kind of wanted to get away from the use of valves, because they're not particularly attractive. If there was a 12 gram valve that functioned similarly to the constant air systems (pin valve built in), that would work.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


Okay, so the object of my latest obsession is a new paintball marker (above)... Big suprise there... I've been avoiding the idea of spending over $1000 dollars on some kick-ass marker, but it just seemed like a SERIOUS waste of quite a bit of money! Not to mention a serious commitment to that marker!

So I've been kinda torn as to what I should do. I keep going paintballing, which only serves to remind me of the shortcomings of my marker. So I know I need to do something, but I don't know what! I know that if I pay over $1000 for a paintball gun I'd never be able to live with myself! I have enough trouble already convincing myself to go out and spend $50 on paint, $12 on air, etc. Not to mention that the purchase of a new kick-ass marker reqires that I make several other purchases, in addition to the expensive and excessive amount of paint I'll be using...

There didn't seem to be an answer for me besides being doomed to enjoy a sport by shelling out hundreds of dollars to play it.

Until I started researching the phantom...

The reviews on pbreviews are glowing! (which is very hard to find) The lowest rating I could find was an 8/10... PBReviews is the first place I go for gear. I first sort by the best ranked, and then look at the items that have over 50 reviews. (to have a 10/10 rating for 2 reviews is nothing compaired to a 9.8 rating after hundreds of reviews) This is usually a good indicator of what is really good equipment.

While reading the reviews, I saw a few recurring points:
1. This marker is disturbingly accurate
2. This marker is light, reliable, efficient, and has GREAT customer service (service unheard of in the paintball industry)
3. Playing pump will expose all the holes in your game and force you to become a better player.
4. Playing pump will save tons (tons) of money on paint and air.

This sounds like the answer to all my problems. Plus the damn thing costs $200-$380, that's a sweet grand off of what I'd been afraid of buying!

This should be good.

There is a friendly fire coming up on the 15th and (if I don't buy one before then) I'm going to ask my friend if I can use his all day (I think he's got a phantom...)

Geez, for $200 I could impulse buy one!
(our finances are stabilizing! Thank god!)

My dream last night

Had a dream last night, it was rather odd (as most of my dreams are) but one part stood out in my mind (so much so I actually remembered it!)

First I need to set the scene:

Ok, so I'm a member of some sort of firefighting swat team/army thing (don't look at me like that! very few of my dreams make sense!), and we're going to this training place (to put out fires???) and when we get there they set up a mobile command post type thing. Tents, trucks, gear, etc. I arrive late, and forget all my gear, but it's ok because there is extra gear I can use. The gear is spread out on three tables, and I sit at a bench and start undressing. This was not in a tent, apparently we change outside, it's like a co-ed dressing area, but it's no big deal because we don't seem to mind being naked in front of our classmates.

Between the bench I was on, and the tables with gear were a few female classmates who were standing facing eachother and talking. While I was getting undressed I heard one of them say to the others, "So, boxers or briefs?" then they started commenting about what kind of man wears boxers, and what kind of man wears briefs. "briefs; classic, reliable, but kinda tight, and gets dirty easily!" "boxers; loose, fun, but totally immature!" After each girl chimed in with their preference, or something funny, and as they were finishing talking about it I (naked after undressing on the bench) picked up some long-johns (what? I like them!), pretending to ignore their conversation. Some of the girls took notice, and watched me as I walked back to my bench to put them on.

The blonde said to the other girls, but loud enough for me to hear, "...Long-johns???" with a snicker, and two other girls replied, "definately not!" And as they were laughing, and I was putting them on, a short girl with the dark punker-style hair who was looking at me said, "I don't know... not afraid to admit what he likes, doesn't care what other people think... true to himself, aloof... bold... sexy... my kinda guy..." After she said the last part I, standing with one foot on the bench bent forward tying my boot, turned my head to look at her for a second with an emotionless face... Then turned back to my boot and continued getting ready to do my job.

When I woke up after that I was so excited that I was so cool in my dream! X) And while that in-and-of itself is uncool, I don't care. I liked it. ;P

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Paintballing today!

Hokay, so I went paintballing today. Had a lot of fun. Didn't bring a lot of money :\ , but I didn't want go if it was going to require me to spend a lot! I have trouble justifying to myself the cost of going paintballing. It is rather expensive, especially if you enjoy the sport! I had fun playing, and got some good kills, but I must express marginal dissatisfaction with my current marker...

I use a Tippmann 98 Custom with TGP Expansion Chamber, Dye drop forward, 14" thunder pig barrel, blade double trigger, and a Ricochet Apache hopper.

... Don't get me wrong, this is a beginner marker, and was not meant to compete with autocockers, high-end electros, etc., but I could still wield it like a champ. And if it couldn't outshoot faster markers, I'd just have to out-skill the players who owned them. Which, in most cases, was an easy enough task.

I kept finding myself in the position where I could see who I should be shooting at (usually kind of far away), and sometimes even had an angle on them, but after I fire off 10 rounds and they all miss, the opponent repositions and starts supressing me.

I was getting annoyed at the opportunities I was missing because the marker was not accurate enough...

What made matters worse, is that paintball markers are interently inaccurate. They are not made to be super-accurate, and you can't get very accurate firing a .68 caliber imperfectly spherical ball of paint at 290 fps, no matter how hard the designers try.

The way the industry dealt with not being able to make accurate markers, is by making fast markers.

If you want to hit a 6"x6" square, and your gun will hit in a target area of a 24" circle, you will hit that 6" square with one of your shots... eventually. This is why if you can fire 32 (!) balls a second, you are more likely to hit that 6" square more quickly than if you can only fire slowly. Makes sense? Ok.

The problem with this, is that for me, upgrading my marker doesn't make sense unless I'm getting a high-end kick-ass marker. It wouldn't make sense to buy anything less when I can possibly afford the ultimate.
But I don't want to spend over $1000 on a marker that will only make me have to buy three times more paint! Not to mention a new HPA tank, barrels, etc.

But I digress... (don't worry, all that had a point)

I ran out of air (and money) around 1:30, (which was as I planned, I didn't want to withdraw money to play, or play too long (lest I catch all the holiday return traffic). After I was out of air, I watched four rounds of our group and talked to the ref there.

The first thing I noticed was that our team was outnumbered about 3:5. I thought we'd lost some people after the last round, and pointed it out to the ref, who said that the last two rounds were played at about this ratio, and the bands (outnumbered) won anyways. This suprised me because when I looked at our team, two of our players (two out of 11 is actually quite a bit) were pump players, and the whole other team was on semi-autos (electrics and autocockers).

I watched as the round began, and the bands took the no-bands for four more rounds, heavily outnumbered, and rather outgunned.

I listened to the ref as he told me about all the great spots on the field, and the angles the players should be trying to get to. It really reminded me that it was never about how much paint you can pour downfield, a fact that I'd been close to forgetting.

I also watched in amazement as the two pump players caught most of the kills. One from laying down in the dirt popped up over the three foot tall bunker, took a single shot at a player 75 feet away, and nailed him in the side of the head.

I watched the pump players more intenly after that, and saw some amazing shots (for paintball).

Afterwards I talked to one of the guys who was shooting a Phantom or Phoenix or Phalanx something-or-other. He said that he'd been a semi player for a while, but fell in love with the accuracy of his current marker.

Did you hear that? Accuracy. It almost brings a tear to my eye to say it...

When I was leaving I relized that I had a flat (last time I park in the loose gravel area of the lot...) but I strangely didn't seem to mind. I changed to the donut, and drove home.

On the way home I made a call to my paintball buddy to ask him to keep an eye out for a pump marker for me. He said I'd probably only be interested in a Phantom or a Sniper.

I called my dad on the way home to see if he kept the tire repair kit I left there when I moved out, went straight there, and (over the course of 20 minutes) figured out how the damn thing worked, and plugged the hole in my tire. I drove to a gas station, filled the tire with air, it didn't sound like it was leaking (success!), put the donut back in the trunk, went home and started researching the Phantom. Which I am eagerly wanting to get back to after I post this! bye for now!