On the opening weekend of The Foundry CQB in Leeds I was invited by Leeds Airsoft to head over with some friends to review their newest Airsoft CQB site. The Foundry CQB is located in Stourton, Leeds just off the M1. It was a really easy drive from my home in the East Midlands, just hop on the A42 onto the M1 and follow it all the way up, the site is at the very end of Haigh Park Road and is signposted so it is easy to find. On arrival there was ample car parking space in the car park and around the venue itself. The drive in total took me an hour and 40 minutes, which isn’t unusual for me to travel to get to a game day. When I arrived I was warmly greeted by Stuart and his team of marshals who were very welcoming.

The site itself was previously used for industrial purposes and definitely has that raw, industrial vibe throughout the site. When you walk into the safe zone, it is a relatively small room but there are plenty of tables/stations and chairs for players to organise and set up their kit for the day. The site has a small on site shop that sells BBs, gas, pyro, a variety of RIFs and other gubbins that you would need during the day, it also sells a variety of snacks including drinks. We can definitely expect to see more stock rolling into the shop during the coming months. Unfortunately lunch isn’t included in the walk on fee so it is advisable to bring food with you but as the site is pretty close to the centre there are plenty of places nearby to get lunch including good ol’ maccies, KFC and supermarkets if you’d prefer to grab a meal deal sarnie. In regards to toilet facilities, there is a portaloo on site.

The walk on fees for The Foundry I feel are really reasonable, £20 for 4 hours and £25 for 8 hours with members enjoying rates of £15 for 4 hours and £20 for 8 hours, these are cheaper than a lot of other CQB sites up and down the country. They also supply rental packages for £10 for 4 hours and £15 for all 8 hours. They are open for private hire between 10am-5pm Monday to Friday and 6pm-10pm for night games if you wanted to enjoy a skirmish with your mates mid-week. On the weekends they are open 10-5pm both days for play.

The Foundry’s FPS limits are in line with other sites, at 350 FPS and single shot only. They also allow the use of pyrotechnics up to 9mm which is pretty standard and although players aren’t allowed to deploy smoke in game, the marshals do deploy smoke during certain games to add a curveball into play. It definitely adds to the feel of the site. The site has a mixture of close dark spaces, light filled mazes and also open areas to fight through. My favourite aspects of the site are the bar room (which has a red sofa and animal print throw Austin Powers vibe going on), the almost pitch black ‘street’ area which requires torches and pyro to gain access to and also the maze at the far end of the site which is the perfect place to use pistols and BFGs to get the drop on people. The site has loads of interesting props scattered around the site to make it as unique as possible.

We played a variety of game modes during the day, from an all-out team death match to start the day and get everyone familiar with the site to 2 vs 2 elimination games where 2 players from each team went head to head over the whole site. My favourite games that we played were definitely the attack and defend game where one team dug in and the enemy team cleared them out of the site and the bomb placement game where each team started with a fake explosive and had to get it to the enemies control point and destroy it. I think the games worked well, especially the team death match/elimination games but there were a few issues on site which I feel are to be expected for a brand spanking new site. There was a couple of incidences of none hit taking, and blind firing which were addressed by the staff in a swift manner. Overshooting was an issue during the day but as the site is so close it is bound to happen especially when dead players are returning to spawn when players are rushing out to get back into the game.

The staff on site were very friendly and welcoming yet fair, my only criticism is that one of the marshals shouted at players a fair bit, which is isn’t really necessary for a skirmish day in my honest opinion – if I wanted to be shouted at like a recruit I would have joined the military. I think that is best saved for MilSim ops rather than skirmish days but I appreciate that the marshal was only trying to make the day run smoothly.

For their opening weekend, Leeds Airsoft also had a special guest in attendance – Big Phil Campion, former 22 SAS. Phil was there on the day handing out patches from his brand Born Fearless and answering any questions players have about what life is like as Special Forces. He gave a brief talk on his career and talking about his new Airsoft training that he will be running at The Foundry. I was lucky enough to sit down with him for half an hour and interview him about his career and experiences of 22 SAS so be sure to keep an eye out for that in Airsoft Action!

Would I make any improvements? Well when Stuart took me on a tour of the rest of the building during lunch he explained to me that they will be opening up other, larger rooms in the site to give players more play options in regards to flanking and attacking – this will transform it into a truly awesome site. My only other improvement would be to put a limit on the number of players on site up until the site is expanded, as it is a fairly small space having too many players makes it difficult to move around the site without stale mates or getting bottle necked.

I spoke to some other players on the day and here’s what they said:

Adam Fletcher: ‘Starting off it surprised me how close the site actually is, we were on top of each other straight out of spawn. Although there was still plenty of avenues to flank and get around, it is definitely at the moment a limited number site. Having 10 vs 10 would be close to what I’d max the players at to allow games to flow smoothly, until they open up the other rooms on site to make the site larger. If you are a well-co-ordinated team you can really dominate key parts of the site and make it difficult for the enemy team to move. Overall, I had a good day and enjoyed the face paced close action. I would definitely head back once the whole site is opened up!’

Chris Tibbott: ‘I’m quite a fan of the layout of the Foundry, there’s plenty of room to move without being locked into a stalemate with the opposition, but due to its infancy there are a couple of places that create an unfair advantage for one team. Things like long unobstructed corridors down to regen allow for one team to be trapped at one end of said corridor. With age though, barriers could be placed which will minimise this aspect of the site. There’s plenty of variation amongst the Foundry’s cover, something I like to see with room to room, killhouse style sites is just a room with a door, or maybe a window if you’re lucky. With the Foundry you have obstacles within rooms such as large boxes and even a bar. What I like about this is that you can’t just frag any room you get to and expect it to be clear as there’s a large chance that someone else could be hiding in cover through there’

Jay Fitzpatrick: ‘My overall experience of the Foundry was positive. The site itself is extremely small as it stands which makes it perfect for small team action. On the day it was approximately 11 v 11 which I thought was slightly too many players – however upon expansion that should change. The Foundry is extremely close quarters and very chaotic due to the angles you can fire and receive fire from. The marshals were loud, precise and offered no sympathy towards players who believe bang bang kills have a place there. Upon meeting Stuart you can tell he is extremely enthusiastic about building his site and constantly asked myself and teammates for feedback on if we were enjoying the day. I look forward to seeing what they do with available space in the future’

Overall, I had a really good day at The Foundry and will definitely be back when the whole site is in play. The day was full of intense, close and fast paced CQB carnage which is exactly how I like my CQB games but there were a few issues on the day in regards to none hit taking/blind firing - this isn’t the sites fault, unfortunately these issues occur at most sites. I was impressed with the level of effort that had gone into the building of the site, it has some really interesting features and the games played were enjoyable! For £25 walk on fee, you can’t grumble!

Site Details:
Vulcan Foundry
Haigh Park Road
LS10 1RX

Hardwick, K. (2017). The Foundry CQB. Airsoft Action. 77 (August), 26-29.

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