Games

Battlefield 4 Key Art kit

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A few years ago I was approached by the game developer DICE, short for Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment. They are located here in Stockholm and requested some input and advice regarding the characters equipment for their upcoming game. I was of course happy to give my input as best I could. In short; we played dress-up with models such as the one on the cover of Battlefield 4.

Without going into detail about the specific process and technical aspects of developing the characters, I hope this will give a few readers a chance to get to know some bits of kit in the game.

I will walk you through the key art character, the one on the cover of the game.

Firstly, the G3 Combat Uniform is made by Crye Precision, it is a sweet uniform with build in knee pads and moisture wicking material where you carry your body armor . In his leg pockets we find a SERE kit and First Aid.
On his shoulders the character wears a IR reflective US flag, Advanced Warfighter Solutions callsign patch, Calico Jack pirate flag patch and a light stick holder made by Explosive Ops Gear, in which there are a few 4” light sticks.
His pants stay up with the help of a London Bridge Trading rigger belt, from which a personal retention lanyard from Yates Gear hangs. He also carries an ITW Tac-Lock carabiner with a roll of electric tape and an Eagle Industries frag grenade pouch attached to the belt. On top of the rigger belt the operator wears a Tactical Tailor 40mm belt with a bunch of 40mm grenades for his m320a1.

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On his left fore-arm he wears a Diamondback Tactical Commander Arm Panel as well as a Suunto Core All Black. He wears Outdoor Research/Massif Overlord gloves and a pair of Lowa Zephyr Desert boots.

The holster used both on the chest and in the belt is a Safariland 6378USN in Multicam, attached either to a MOLLE attachment or a low-ride Universal Belt Loop.

The plate carrier is a London Bridge Trading LBT-6094B. The Magpul PMAG magazines are carried in a kangaroo insert and a ITW Fast Mag Gen 2, allowing the operator to quickly change magazines in the heat of battle. When he isn’t mounting the Safariland pistol holster at his chest, he chooses an Eagle Industries admin pouch with a Velcro attached 5×3” American flag. A Leatherman MUT EOD is barely visible attached next to the admin pouch on his chest. On the front of the kangaroo puch he also attaches ASP tri-fold restraints and a Tier One Quality Solutions MET Gen 2 (Military Emergency Tourniquet. Under his right arm you may spot a M320a1 grenade launcher holstered in a S&S Precision mount and there is also a Cammenga Tritium Wrist Compass attached to his right shoulder strap.

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The push to talk button for the radio is made by Tactical Command Industries, and he wears a pair of Peltor ComTac II over his Arc’teryx LEAF ball cap in one picture. The radio antenna is located at the operator back with the help of a TCI M.A.S.T kit. Also at the back is a London Bridge Trading 100oz MOLLE hydration pouch, a Diamondback Tactical HABD Pouch with a HABD air system inside, an Omega carabiner as well as two tri-fold restraints and two flash bang grenades, easily accessible for other team members.

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The helmet is a Ops-Core FAST Ballistic helmet with a First Spear  helmet cover, ACR MS-2000 Strobe, Explosive Ops Gear  counter  weight pouch, Princeton Tec MPLS light, Smith Optics  Elite Boogie Regulator goggles and a Norotos AKA-2 night vision  arm.

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About 90% of the equipment is real although I might be forgetting brands and models since it’s been a while now. The few things that aren’t authentic is hard to get a hold off or are unsuitable for untrained models to handle, like live firearms.

As you may notice there are a lot of different models and brands, the reason is simple: There are so many awesome gear manufacturers out there and none of them offers a complete package for everyone. Still there are a lot of brands and models I would like to get to know, but untill then I will only stick to those brands I am familiar with.
Since a few of my favs didn’t get mentioned in the article, here is a shout out: Eye Safety Systems, Wiley-X, Mechanix, Surefire, Vertx, Tactical Assault Gear, High Spear Gear Ind, S.O Tech.

Want to know more about the weapons? Stay tuned…

Any questions or comments? Send it: dave (at) therepublicofdave (dot) se

The Division Computer Game – The art of survival

So I read an article in The Division blog called ‘Art of survival – The “Bug Out” Bag’. I have a few thoughts of my own. I will base this text on real world scenarios and things might differ from computer game mechanics.

Gray Man
Being able to stay under the radar, blending in and looking like regular Joe may be the key to survival, I call this “covert”. It might not be ideal all the time, sometimes you may need to arm yourself with a rifle or wear armor which would identify you as a high level threat or someone to ask for help, I call this “overt”.  Although it has some drawbacks, it also allows you more freedom to carry offensive and defensive equipment.

In a WROL (Without Rule of Law) scenario you will need to be flexible in all aspect, transitioning from covert to overt and back to covert again. You will need to blend in to an ever changing environment; streets, woods or  the local population such as refugees. Camouflage are rarely your friend in these situations, try instead to use discreet solid colors and civilian looking garments. You can always strap body armor over your hoodie (or preferably underneath). Try to wear clothing that is able to hide any equipment that might identify you as a survivalist, such as armor.

First of all we will need to distinguish between a few different kits.

Every Day Carry – EDC
The basic kit is my EDC, and I always carry the following on my person:

Folding knife – This is mainly a tool used in accidents and random day to day activities but could function as a weapon if you know how to use it. There are many good ones out there, but I carry my Emerson CQC-8 or Extrema Ratio BF2

Flashlight – A flashlight may be used as a defensive tool or impact weapon. If you ever find yourself in a subway cart and the powers goes out you will love your little light. I carry one that uses a single AA battery, easy to find and replace, cheap to buy. The model in this case is the Fenix LD10 with 100 lumen maximum output and strobe as well as SOS Morse function.

Field dressing – Basic stuff, any will do.

Watch w/ compass
– A Suunto Core. It also has weather warning and most common functions.

BIC lighter – Cheap as dirt, buy a pack of them and stash them on your person, in your pack, car, bags and around the house. They are a blessing.

Smartphone – GPS, maps, guides, instructions, communications and more all in one, invaluable as long as the it has power and you have service.

Paracord 550 survival bracelet – A few meters of cord that will hold to 550lbs of pull that can be used for making shelter, makeshift stretchers, trauma first aid, pulling a kid out of a hole or restrain an assailant.

Some people would carry firearms as well, I don’t

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Get Home Bag – GHB
I use a discreet black backpack, a Kelty MAP 3500. It was developed for and with US Navy SEALs but it is still a civilian looking pack without MOLLE attachment. MOLLE (or PALs webbing) is a sure way to identify yourself as military, law enforcement or a tactical geek.
This is what I need to get home safely in case of an emergency. In this I carry:
Meal replacement bar – Keeps your motivation and morale up.

Military emergency tourniquet – If someone suffers from an arterial bleeding seconds count, keep it close and know how to apply the tourniquet, whatever model you choose.

More first aid – Combat gauze with clotting agent, SAM Splint, nitrile gloves, pocket mask and so on.

Medication – Imodium, Codein, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen and puritabs.

Clothing – Spare gloves, Beanie and shemagh

Solar power charger, external battery and phone charger – Used in conjunction this will keep your smartphone and other electrical equipment going. I use a Powermonkey Extreme.

Leatherman multitool –
the most crucial tools in one item, make sure you get one with Bits. It also has a spare knife.

Spare batteries – For flashlight

Lighsticks – For marking, signaling or navigation. I don’t use IR lightsticks in my GHB.

Waterbottle – Remember to drink.

Stay alert gums – Keeps you up and going.

Sunglasses – Make sure they are approved eye protection as well. I use Smith Optics Elite, ESS and Wiley-X

Notebook and pen – I use Rite in the Rain and a Fischer Space Pen, but any will do.

 

 

Bug Out Bag – BOB
This is where it gets interesting. First of all; will you “bug in” or “bug out”? The first option requires a lot of food and clean water where you are staying. You need to be self-sufficient or have a plan to acquire sustenance, looting stores is a bad option since everyone not prepared will be there, and they will be desperate.
Bugging out would most likely mean that you leave the city, if that is where you live. Leaving means a helluva lot more than getting your BOB and heading out the door. How will you extract? On foot? In a motor vehicle? Is it prepared for this kind of emergency? What route will you take? What is your secondary route? Tertiary? How will you identify obstacles before you get stuck in a jam or are attacked by desperate sheeple? Do you have allies that will escape with you? Where will you meet up? Get maps of your surroundings, plan your route in advance, make sure you know all your options. If your phone still has service, use apps such as Waze to identify traffic jams and what routes to avoid, if not you may need eyes on recon from your intended route. Maybe scout ahead on a bike, it doesn’t use up gas and it is silent.

The BOB should keep you alive and safe for 72 hours. More than that and we are looking at an INCH. More on the INCH in a bit.

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Warmth
Keeping warm and dry is a good way of keeping alive. I use a Swedish Fire Steel for making fires, when I have to… That means ‘when I don’t have a BIC lighter somewhere’. After collecting hundreds of small fir branches in a dark, rainy forest I fail to find no pleasure fiddling with fire steel.  I’m just not that hardcore. After finding out that my BCB Strike Anywhere Matches didn’t ignite the hard way, I’ll never use them again.

 

Kitlist:
Swedish fire steel
BIC Lighter
Fastfire™ tinder – this is excellent when starting fires when it is wet outside. Possibly also an arsonists delight.
1 pair of spare socks and underwear
Beanie
Shemagh
Grid fleece under garment set (PCU lvl 2 clothing)
JetBoil – Warm fluids are great for keeping warm and keeping morale up.
Chopping knife – In order to make shelter

 

Hydration
Water purifier – Keep your drinking water clean
Oral rehydration salts
Puritabs – just in case
3L hydration bladder
1L Nalgene bottle

knife

Protection
In a WROL-scenario this is quite a large part of a kit. You will need protection against the elements and perhaps making shelter but also against aggression and violence.

Kistlist:

Emergency space blanket – This will allow you to keep warm for a while or you can use it as foundation for a shelter.

Helmet – This is certainly an ‘overt’ part of your kit. If you wear a helmet your automatically look like military or law enforcement. It protects against pistol ammunition, shrapnel and bumps. It is also the best way to wear and use your night vision. I’ve chosen an Ops-Core FAST Ballistic helmet, but cheaper helmets like the ACH TC-2000 is almost as good for less than half the money.

IR markers – Much like the author of the ‘The Division’ article I always carry a few IR lightstick in order to mark targets for myself or others using night optics. I always carry my Adventure Lights VIP Strobe with both green and IR lights, as well as MS-2000 strobes on my helmet.

Body Armor – In The Division you will be facing opponents in combat, in a real world scenario like the game you wouldn’t be facing artillery, mortars or grenades to any larger extent. A level IV plate will stop hits to your central nervous system, heart, lungs and parts of your abdomen. It will stop 7.62x63mm (.30-06) armor piercing rounds, not to mention 7.62x54R fired from a Draganouv SVD or PKP Pecheneg or a .308 from a Remington 700 or Mk17mod0. I wear my plates in a solid color (MAS Grey) LBT-6094 Slick, keeping it low-profile enough to wear underneath my jacket.
I would NOT use anything large and bulky, and if O need to carry magazines or other gear I prefer strapping a chest rig on top of my plate carrier.

Gas Mask – Get one that is CBRN-approved, which means that they are full face and will help against tear gas and other less-lethal agents.

Eyeprotection – You only got two eyes, keep them protected from debris and things that may poke you. If you fear facing powerful lasers, like we’ve seen in civilian uprisings such as Syria and Ukraine or that the military are using, get laser protective lenses, they are more expensive but it if you don’t want an IR-laser to cause permanent damage to your vision it’s worth it.

Earprotection – Preferably combined with communications. There are low profile systems out there from Nacre, Invisio and Silynx. Get any, and get a good radio too – communication is the key to success in combat.

This is a small part of a complete kit, one that I could get into great detail regarding. The most important part is to realize that you will need to maximize both your overt and covert ability and flexibility in transitioning between offense, defense and disguise.