A wind of change blows across the face of paintball
Every now and then, rarely in fact, a wind of change blows across the face of paintball and we are witness to a new horizon, now is just such a time.
Richmond Italia has once again cranked the wheels of evolution around one more time, and focused his attention on one of our sport's prevailing problems.
He knew a lot of players were being deterred from continuing in our sport because of the cost, and more importantly, the life-blood of our sport, new tournament players migrating from the rec-ball and scenario scenes, were not even beginning to play for the same reason.
The enduring expense for all players is paint; it's a consumable, and its prolific use means we have a prolific requirement as players, and this expense was becoming a real problem for our sport.
Richmond soon realized his next evolution was going to have to tick not only the expected boxes of innovation but he also needed to tick the box of cheaper paintball... and that is exactly what he has achieved... engineered a cheaper paintball.
But it's a bit more sophisticated than just charging less for paintballs; he has engineered a new paintball with an improved flight trajectory that means they fly farther and more accurately.
The historic problem with 50 caliber paintballs was getting them to break consistently; Richmond was obviously aware of this problem and set about engineering a ball that not only broke convention but also broke consistently.
How did he do this?
He headed up a think tank that's brief was, Engineer a paintball that's inexpensive, accurate, flies further and breaks on contact. His team spent many months tackling their brief and after extensive testing and prototyping, they have produced a ball that finally satisfied the entire spectrum of Richmonds vision. The results are an evolutionary step forward; A new 50 caliber paintball has been born, and that paintball is now being shot right into the heart of our sport.
Richmond has long since believed you need the right people around you to succeed in anything and if there's one thing he excels at, it's recognising intelligent and motivated people.
Joanne Wheeler has long since been a believer, her loyalty and hard working ethos has already served Richmond well over the years and she was the first to be recruited.
In the past he has worked closely with Billy and Adam Gardner at Smart Parts and within a few short hours of explaining his new vision to them, they were signed up and had agreed to adapt a selected range of their own markers to be engineered so they can fire this new caliber ball.
After all, this is the first time the paintball was dictating how the markers should be designed instead of the other way around.
It was imperative Richmond aligned himself with marker manufacturers who could do the job and who better than the people who bought us the Shocker and Ion and so many more of our sport's great markers, Billy and Adam Gardner of Smart Parts stepped up to the 50 caliber plate with no hesitation whatsoever.
With those guys on board, Richmond then turned his attention to headhunting a few people who he could trust and would help his cause, Robbo and Chris LaSoya were approached, and as soon as they understood what Richmond was trying to do, they jumped on board faster than a jack-rabbit with its !!! on fire.
Chris LaSoya has already worked extensively for Richmond and has always been an Italia man; Robbo however hasn't really been anybody's man other than his own but when asked to comment on Richmond's request to join the team, he said, 'Richmond made me an offer I just couldn't refuse, my acceptance had nothing to do with money and everything to do with what he was trying to do; Richmond is one of our sport's true visionaries, I'd have been a mug to turn this opportunity down of working with him and I ain't no mug'.
The new era of 50 calibre paintball means cheaper paint for the paintballer, it means hundreds more paintballs in the loader, it means thousands more balls in your pots, it means a more accurate flight path, it means it shoots further and all this with the same marking characteristics as the original 68 caliber balls.
Never before in the history of our sport have so many of its problems been so positively affected; after all, you ask any baller what he wants and they would answer, 'I want a cheaper and a more accurate paintball', it seems in one fell swoop Richmond has revolutionized our sport once again.
He did it with XBall, and he's done it again with his new 50 caliber ball.
The wind of change is upon us all and will sweep right across the face of paintball, ignore it at your peril!
More news will become available as time goes by but rest assured people, this revolution is here to stay, and it's here to play.
Pete "Robbo" Robinson