Mike Yates plays lasertag. Now, I’m not talking about the kind of game that you might get in on down at the Family Fun Center, amusement park, or around your neighborhood using some toy.
Mike is at the center of a group of hardcore lasertag players who prefer to play their games in the warrens of bunkers below abandoned military bases, using highly modified custom equipment.
Mike has been hacking lasertag gear for a decade or so, and I recently got to take a peek at his latest project, which he calls the Scorpion. The Scorpion is based on Hasbro’s newest Lazer Tag Team Ops platform.
Since Mike moves in this shadowy world of underground tagger developers, he was able to obtain a pre-release prototype circuit board for an upcoming LTTO tagger, called the TMB from it’s developers, Shoot the Moon Productions.
The TMB would be a tagger that fired a foam-tipped IR-emitting “RPG” round. In order to fire the rocket, the player has to hand pump the gun to pressurize a plastic pneumatic tank, which propells the rocket 20-40 feet. Very cool, but not very Yates. Mike had ideas for improvement.
3000 psi multi-rocket delivery
Over the next 10 months, Mike and his pal/fellow laser hacker Duncan, designed and built the ultimate LTTO compatible IR weapons system. The Scorpion is Mil-spec from top to bottom. The most obvious feature is the 4 rocket magazine which attaches to the top of the weapon. 4 Mac pneumatic relay/solonoids control the airflow from the 3000psi air tank to the various rockets through stainless steel plumbing.
The trigger/grip for firing the rockets is from an actual tank and was found on ebay.
In addition to being a rocket launcher, the weapon functions as a high powered LTTO sniper rifle with a 1500 ft range thanks to the big 4″ adjustable focal length lens.
There’s deffinately a big element of one-upsmanship motivating the development of these guns. Everybody knows that when they show up at the annual Tagfest NW meetup, there will be some new show-stopper there. More often than not, Mike is behind it.
You can check out more of Mike and Duncan’s work on their CTDYNE web site.