As you may have determined from the heading of this article, we have had the fortune of doing an interview with a member of Development Team Six Group XV in the United Arab Emirates. Just to recap, the Development Team 6 teams are airsoft milsim enthusiasts who dedicate themselves to reenacting US NSW units across the world. This reenactment spans across the Tier 1 and Tier 2 operators of DEVGRU and Seal Teams. You can find out more by checking out the Development Team Six website.
Napoleon is here with us from DevtSix Group XV who reenact milsim events all over UAE, including Dubai and other parts of the world wherever the opportunity presents itself. It has been a very long process for Airsoft in the UAE but 10 years onwards and the airsoft community in the UAE has flourished thanks to people like Napoleon.
Napoleon, you have been playing Airsoft for well over 10 years now. What was it like playing airsoft for the first time in comparison to how you play airsoft and reenact milsim to this day?
Well the first time was hard because back in 2007 gear and all Airsoft related equipments are scarce here in Dubai and UAE in general. Most of the players have no choice but to go to hunting shops and use hunting gear for their Airsoft games. Some players order online and others brought in gear from their country when in vacation. The only shops selling AEG was in china town. Brands and types are very limited. Seeing the demand, Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club one of the gamesite here opened it’s shop selling gear, AEG, accessories and parts. Making gear and AEG acquisition more easier to everyone. Hopefully more shops will open in the future.
Your first team (Team F.E.A.R.) was an all Filipino Airsoft team who not only started Airsoft in UAE but also won first place in the first ever Airsoft event of the UAE back in 2008. What was it like to win such an event and what made it such an important event considering over 30 different teams took part in this event?
Yes, Team F.E.A.R. was one of the pioneer team that started Airsoft here in UAE. We’ve been playing Airsoft here since 2007. Other groups that are there from the beginning and helped Airsoft grow in UAE are 2454 Airsoft group and Firebase Alpha. Team F.E.A.R. was one of the active group that time with the biggest number of members. 42 members in total that time. Our love to the sport also lead us in winning the first ever Airsoft Tournament in UAE. It was an awesome event given the fact that there were more than 30 teams that compete that day. We took home $3,000 cash prize as Champions! That event marked as one of the milestone of Airsoft in this part of the world and the rest is history.
We’re going to branch off Airsoft for a second and get to know you a bit more. Other than Airsoft and Dev Team 6. What other hobbies or interests do you have?
I’m a family man and have 2 beautiful daughters and a loving wife. When not playing Airsoft and not reenacting with my Devtsix team, most of the time I spent with my family. Occasionally having a beer or two with friends Playing my electric guitar is also a past time.
I’m sure quite a few of our readers would also like to know what it is like playing Airsoft in the UAE. It can be quite different in different parts of the world. I understand there are now to branches of airsoft, Milsim and Speedsofting?
Playing Airsoft here in UAE is a bit different compared to other countries. Here it is more strict and controlled. But we are thankful that the government and authorities are allowing us to play our sport. There are two types of Airsofters here. MILSIM players and SpeedSofters. My team are adopting the MILSIM system in our games by preparing scenarios in our games and incorporating low cap mags, semi only games etc. to simulate a real time milsim scenario. My team, Team F.E.A.R./Devtsix Group XV, 2454 Airsoft and Firebase Alpha are the advocate of MILSIM Airsoft here while the group Zombie Killers are players who adopted the Speedball system. Even though we play differently and have some differences and preferences in Airsoft, we still get along and harmoniously play together without any problem.
Another personal question for you. What would you say is your favourite music?
Know Your Enemy by Rage Against The Machine
Dev Team 6 is a very high profile milsim organization, what was the process like for you to get your team to be recognized as an integral part of this organization? What has the past two years been like for you since you joined Dev Team 6 as group XV?
In 2014 I decided to form TF 2-94. A team of gear collectors and NSW/DG reenactors poised to join the famous Development Team Six Organization (Devtsix). The Devtsix screening process was so difficult it took us almost a year before they finally approved our application. It was a very difficult process and most of us almost gave up. Completing the gear needed down to the smallest details and accuracy was a pain! Adding to the level of difficulty is the fact that NSW/DG gear are almost impossible to acquire in this part of the world! But with perseverance and some ingenuity we manage to qualify and met the requirements needed. And on November 2014 we became part of the Devtsix family and became Development Team Six Group XV. Currently we are one of the most active Group in Devtsix with 10K plus followers in our Facebook page and Instagram. We also have partnership and sponsorship with big names in the Airsoft industries such as SEMAPO Gear, Toysoldier Workshop, Spartan Airsoft, Vulcan Gear Company and JK Army to name the few. We get a chance to test their prototypes and existing gear before it hits the market. Free gear is always fun!
Devtsix Group XV are all Filipino crew with the exemption of one Greek member. We mainly reenact DEVGRU Teams but we also experiment and do some vanilla teams as well. Joining Devtsix opened a lot of opportunity for my group. With the help of other pioneer DT6 teams we matured and gradually achieved what we are right now. We are still growing everyday and there are a lot of things to learn. We research continuously to retain the bar high in NSW/DG reenactment that Devtsix has set to the community.
We also had the chance to attend international Airsoft event like BorderWar in Prague, Czech Republic. Which would have been impossible without the help of our fellow Devtsix Group VIII from Germany. Group VIII’s ChrisBravo and his crew facilitated everything for us to make it possible! It is the brotherhood of Devtsix family that really connect us from our fellow Devtsix Groups around the world. These guys are connected like family even though they are thousand of miles away from each other!
Outside of Dev Team 6, you were also an integral part of increasing the airsoft community’s support in the UAE. What was it like, trying to grow a community such as this? What struggles did you come across in the lead up to the progress of the community today?
As of today Airsoft here in Dubai and the UAE is growing slowly but surely. There are ups and downs but for sure it’s progressing positively. We just hope that one day big Airsoft events will be held here for every one from around the world could visit and play. But until then we are optimistic and moving forward in promoting our sport in this part of the world.
There are quite a few players who focus in getting to where you are now in the milsim community. Do you have any advice you could offer them which could help them improve in the milsim community?
It’s a difficult path and just like any other hobby or sport you need to invest time, money and effort to succeed. With other priorities in the way like family and job it adds difficulty to get where you want in the reenactment and MILSIM world. I advise those who want to take the same path to carefully select the people to do it with. Because a lot of them will want to join for bunch of different reasons. One should share your passion for gear collecting and reenactment. This includes the initiative to do research and have the talent in acquiring needed gear by themselves. They should also have the eye for details and knowledge of collecting gear and categorizing them on it’s timeframes for accuracy. that way everything will be easy.
A fair few game sites have opened since the start of the Airsoft community in the UAE. Which would you say have been the most significant in the community and why?
An awesome game site just opened in Dubai and Abu Dhabi border area. The name is “BATTLE PARK UAE” it is currently the biggest gamesite in UAE and the Middle East. With half a million square foot area! They have 8 huge game fields with different scenarios such as Vietnam bunkers, Favellas, Junkyard, Graveyard, Gulf War Camp and Tunnels. Good thing about this gamesite is that it is in close proximity to Dubai and Abu Dhabi making it ideal to players living in both states. They have cool facilities including restaurant and an upcoming Pro Shop which will be a one stop shop for all Airsoft players here in UAE. It is currently the home base of Development Team Six Group XV and Team F.E.A.R.
It was a pleasure speaking with Napoleon and we’d like to thank him for his time and patience with this interview. We wish Dev Team 6 Group XV the very best with the community in the UAE and hope to hear more news of success and growth within the near future.