Back in 2011, a Youtube Channel known as EpicAirsoftHD started making videos by reviewing different Airsoft replicas. The first video was merely the first of what would be many well known Airsoft reviews on Youtube. It didn’t take long before this channel’s videos started to be one of the most popular Airsoft channels in the UK.
EpicAirsoftHD was well known for doing one thing that others did not do with their reviews. Airsoft replicas would be secured in a vice to help counter any human error when doing accuracy tests. This and the smooth presentation of both the replica and the presenter allowed these videos to gain their popularity among the UK Airsoft community. Unfortunately the airsoft channel stopped pubilshing videos back in late 2013. We were fortunate enough to get in touch with Jai Fraser who was the presenter of the show to find out how his channel came to be and what he’s been up to since.
What was it that brought you to become an enthusiast of Airsoft?
I’ve had a love of all things ballistic since I can remember. I’ve always enjoyed the physics of projectiles, aerodynamics and the energy of impacts. There’s just a passion there that I can’t really quiet understand. From bullets to fast cars and space rockets… I love it all. The other major thing is video games. From the original Rainbow Six, Flashpoint and CS 1.6 to the modern day Siege, ARMA 3 and CS:GO I’m an addict. Combining these two elements with the fact I can shoot my friends and have them shoot me back is just spectacular. What’s not to be enthused about? My curiosity about Airsoft really spawned from Scoutthedoggie. His earlier videos really appealed to me. A series of events both fortunate and tragic brought me to The Fort Fife when I had my first experience clad in my hunting gear and a pair of wellington boots. I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s poetic that the site I first attended is now regularly ran by myself under the employ of Airsoft World.
What was it that made you want to start creating review videos on YouTube?
The whole thing all started from watching YouTube reviewers drone on and on about things that weren’t important to me as a Skirmisher. I was quite well off at the time and had a lot of disposable income so YouTube was my go-to guide for what was next on my shopping list. After over 50 purchases, I couldn’t see the trend in what guns were good performers and what ones were complete lemons. It was frustrating to watch someone on the internet talk so highly of something but when in reality, it was crap. I mean, we all know even to this day… there is a lot of expensive crap in Airsoft.
The real turn of events for starting EpicAirsoftHD came from me having to sell up my collection in order to afford to live. I went back to my old engineering job. That’s where people see where EAHD was shot. In my spare time, I used to put my air weapons and firearms in a vice to sight in the optics/irons. So, naturally I did this with the Airsoft guns too. The advantage of Airsoft guns is that they don’t punch holes through walls, so I could do this indoors and not on a range. So, the idea came about at first to photograph the results and post them on a forum. Then a man came along…
The man behind EAHD is Graeme Hutton. To most, he’s a myth… but to me he’s the machine behind it all. This dude spends most of his time working for Scotland’s leading games developer, I mean crazy hours. Then he comes along to the workshop just about every weekend and spends up to 10 hours with me filming the show. He then sits down for countless more hours editing and rendering. The guy’s an unspoken legend. Although he doesn’t have any interest in Airsoft, he was bashing out an episode a week and helped me rig all the stuff up as we went along.
Graeme and I put an absolute s#%t tone of hours into the show. We’ve been friends since high school, we shared a love for rock ‘n’ roll, fast cars, video games and got wasted at a lot of parties in our early teens. We even worked together as games testers for a couple of years. I guess what I’m getting at here is that we always had this friendship, so the show was always something for us to do together and enjoy. That’s why we stuck it out so long.
So, to summaries the question, I wanted to put an end to the monotonous crap on YouTube and really put the guns to the test but enjoy what we did at the same time. Graeme is a perfectionist and a damn good one too. We just had the recipe to make it what we did.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen you on YouTube, what have you been up to?
Well, I started a job at Airsoft World. I spoke to Steve Madley – The Managing Director – about starting a job there to kick off the media side. The initial plan was to start doing video presentations of the new stock that came in and use EpicAirsoftHD to do what it was best at doing… honest reviews and accuracy tests. I supposed things didn’t go as planned initially. I ended up in the warehouse packing orders and eventually found myself spraying all the VRCA compliant two-tones.
However, the real perk of the job comes with the Airsoft Sites themselves. Steve has run The Fort Fife for well over 10 years. The site in Cluny sort of became my new passion and I like to think we’re been growing it into one of – if not the most – friendliest sites in the World. Of course, we have moved our Airsoft World Warehouse to what we have temporarily called The Fortress Fife too.
Airsoft World new runs two sites, indoor and one outdoor. This is where the roots are… you can’t have Airsoft without a place to play and you can’t have a place to play without an outstanding community to play with. Our players are fantastic. This is the real joy in working with Airsoft World. This is the main reason there hasn’t been much content. Growing the sites here and developing them have taken priority.
Is there any chance you will be returning to YouTube to present more Airsoft videos?
The short answer is yes. I’ve already been building a studio. This is something that’s being adapted so that we can save a lot of the time we’d normally have invested in moving around the machine shop. More time, means more videos!
I made a lot of promises in the past that we’re returning and something has always stepped in the way. I’m not superstitious but I know there are a small minority of people I’d disappoint if I’d made any more and not managed to live up to it.
I guess we’ll just have to see what happens.
You’ve had many favourite Airsoft guns, which one is your favourite right now?
My favourite gun right now has to be my Tokyo Marui Desert Eagle in Chrome. Honestly, there’s no more satisfying feeling than the real life “Onedeag” from 30-40 meters away. I loved it so much, I got a second. It’s strange; I’ve never really liked the Desert Eagle. As an Airsoft GBB though, it makes a lot of sense. The magazine is huge and holds a lot of gas and there isn’t a lot of material on the slide to move. The efficiency and practicality of it is paralleled only by the Hi-Capa.
What equipment did you use to record all your videos?
We had 2 Canon 550D SLR cameras, a Roland R-05 Recorder and some cheap Chinese studio lights. All of the magic was worked by Graeme.
What would you say makes a good burrito? If nothing goes, then what other food do you favour?
I love a wee clean shaven burrito. A big hairy burrito is just gross.
Other than Airsoft, what have you been up to recently?
Video Games and Cinema. I love a good story and a decent shooter. We have a good gaming community that spawned from EpicAirsoftHD called Oddbawz. It’s where I can escape to with dozens of friends and go to have fun.
If you’re interested in OddbawZ, you can find out more by clicking on the image below:
Is there anything you’d recommend someone who’s starting out on YouTube should do?
Be original. Honestly, there is no better advice. No one likes boring content. You have to make your stuff exciting. I look back at our own videos and I can’t even stand watching them… don’t be dulcet toned and don’t try to be PewDiePie. Hit a middle ground of exciting but not be ADHD personified.
– Have good lighting.
– Have good sound.
If either of these is crap. You are doomed to fail.
Do you have an all time favourite movie (other than Mad Max Fury Road)? Are you looking forward to anything coming out in cinemas?
Mad Max Fury Road and Star Wars The Force Awakens are about as much movie as I could want. I have a mix of oldies and new releases I adore such as Leon (The Professional), Twelve Monkeys, Fury, Interstellar and Wall-E. It’s too hard to pick. I must have at least 100 films on the tip of my fingers when I read that question.
Is there an upcoming airsoft product that you are looking forward to?
The Tokyo Marui AA12 is next on my shopping list. As soon as they hit the shelves, I’ll be rocking one!
Other than your own channel, are there any other YouTube channels you recommend people to watch? Do you have any favourites?
I’m honestly really out of touch when it comes to YouTube Channels and Airsoft. There’s so many sponsorship driven self-promoting fan-folks out there it’s a boring place to be. There are some I watch to see previews of what’s to come but so few I could genuinely list as having good reviews. I’ll shortlist some as:
– REMF Tacticool
– Maple Leaf
They might not have fancy set ups or crazy intros, but their content is real.
What is your favourite type of music?
These non-airsoft related questions are brutal! I don’t have a specific genre, so I’ll list a few:
– Movie Scores
– System of a Down
– Feed Me
– The M Machine
Have you ever thought about collaborating with other YouTube channels to make new content?
Hell, yes! I was working with YouTube/Google to set us up with SlowMoGuys and ColinFurze. This is not unrealistic… so keep an eye out!
Are you planning anything new as a project in the future?
Yes, I’m always doing new things. We’re currently working on expanding our Airsoft/Gaming hub “Oddbawz”. Hopefully when running, we’ll manage to get a centre for Airsofters and Gamers that can provide good genuinely wholesome content.
It was a pleasure talking to Jai about EpicAirsoftHD. Hopefully we’ll see more from him in the Airsoft community as I’m sure quite a few viewers have missed his presenting at the least. If you have any suggestions for questions to ask Jai from EpicAirsoftHD, please comment below and we will try to ask him in a future interview.