Home History Kevin Donaldson, of the Master Blasters on the Termite

Kevin Donaldson, of the Master Blasters on the Termite

At CPX’s Living Legends 5 I did a two part interview with Kevin Donaldson, captain of the New York Master Blasters and owner of Action Sports Outfitters.

High winds made this footage difficult to stabilize but I did my best and tried to clean up the audio as well.

This is also the first of 4 videos on Rob “Termite” Smith and his Termite Gun. Subscribe on youtube to see other videos here and see daily “Old News” on facebook here.

The first part of Kevin’s interview focuses on Rob “Termite” Smith’s Termite Gun and the thrown together team of the Widowmakers from the August 20th-22nd, 1988 tournament Poconos Skirmish in Jim Thorpe , PA.

Click here to read Jessica Sparks’ article on the PBGA tournament from the January 1989 issue of Action Pursuit Games (large pdf, 3 mbs).

left side 1st gen annihilatorCarter Machine’s Widowmakers, PBGA Tournament, August 20th-22nd, 1988 at Pocono Skirmish Paintball, Jim Thorpe, PA
Photo from Earon Carter’s shop
Back row right to left: Dave ”Youngblood” Dehaan, Jim ”Howdy” McGuffog, Rob “Termite” Smith, Dave Arnold, Danny Wiesel, Jim Lively, John Platt, Earon Carter
Middle row: Ray McDaniel  (the PMI Piranha’s), Jerry Braun, Jessica Sparks, Sam Caldwell, Robert ”Rosie” Rose
Front row: Marty Tripes
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Ad for the PBGA tournament which the Widowmakers competed in. Scanned from the August 1988 issue of APG.

In this video Kevin discuses the main variations between the different models of the Termite Gun but warns that it’s hard to separate generations of Termites because each paintgun is custom made.

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left side 1st gen annihilatorKevin Donaldson’s early Termite Gun. The Master Blasters received their Termites after the PBGA tournament so likely c. late 1988. Pictures courtesy Kevin Donaldson and the Master Blasters’ facebook page.

Although after the second generation Earon Carter machined nearly the entire gun and the Termite became more compatible with Earon’s Buzzard. So these later versions are easier to separate from earlier guns.

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Jessica Sparks proudly holders her early 1st generation Termite gun on the cover of the June 1989 issue of Action Pursuit Games.

left side 1st gen annihilatorSparks’ Termite Gun features a nelson grip frame and a standard nelson specification valve body. Also, the stock is highlighted. This Termite Gun was likely made in 1988 and could have been made even earlier.

The earliest generation of Termite Guns were likely built in late 1987 to mid 1988. The earliest of these are very similar to Frank Postle’s Frank Gun but featured an Aluminum barrel. These early Termites had nelson grips frames, aluminum or delrin pumps, and most parts were nelson specification.

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Jim Lively’s early Termite Gun. Pump handle is delrin, feed block is ambidexterous. Photo courtesy of Jim Lively.

The next batch of Termites were also built in very limited quantity and were also likely thrown together with various part that Termite Smith sourced from various southern California airsmiths.

As the Early NW and Carter grip frames became available Termite utilized these frames but some of these second generation guns still featured nelson 007 grip frames.

It is important to note that Kevin’s Termite, pictured in the video and above has a nelson grip frame but it was likely built after Jim Lively’s Termite.

Termite may have used a nelson grips frame because that is what was available for building the Master Blasters’ pumps or these bodies could have basically been upgrade kits. Looking at Kevin’s gun the pump handle looks like a polished WGP commando pump handle.

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Grips were made by Tim Stone. Spring is likely retained/hidden beneath the pump arm. Sight rail and asa valve body are likely lapco. Photo courtesy of Jim Lively.

Some second variation of Termites featured Delrin pump handles similar to the handle found on Jim Lively’s Termite, shown above.

Jim wrote the follow to me about his Termite:

“Rob built it for me I think in 1988. It has custom rosewood left handed grips that Rob made as well. Still looks new.”

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Picture of Jim “Howdy” McGuffog, scanned from the December 1989 issue of Paintball Sports International (Magazine).
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Master Blaster team picture c. 1989. Courtesy Kevin Donaldson and the Master Blasters’ facebook page.
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Master Blaster team picture in Nashville c. 1989. Far left is Bob “Flex Hone” Fowlie, and second from the left is Rob “Termite” Smith. Dave Arnold is top row 3rd from the right, Kevin Donaldson is far right top row and Kenneth Hefferle is second from the left on the middle row. Courtesy Kenneth Hefferle and the Master Blasters’ facebook page. Photographer unknown.

I believe Jim had this gun at the PBGA Skirmish Poconos Tournament in August 1988, shortly before Kevin and the Master Blasters received their guns.

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A nelson specification Termite likely made in later 1988. Delrin pump guides under the pump handle, NW grip frame, lapco asa and sight rail, the gap between the sightrail and the feed leaves room for an ambidexterous feed.

Later 1988 Termites likely had aluminum pump handles and looked similar to the second generation Termite that follows the pictures of Jim’s Termite in the video.

The second generation of Termite still used standard nelson specification parts (back bottle valve bodies) and some lapco parts such as delrin pump rings and lapco sight rails.

The feeds on these Termites were either ambidexterous or there was a gap between the sight rail and the feed block.

Earlier Termites (before generation 3/1989) typically have one center screw to secure the collar onto the pump instead of two.

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This Termite was likely created around the same time as the bodies for the Master Blasters’ Termites in 1988.

It was between the second and third generations of Termites that Earon began selling his version of the collared dual pump nelson which he sold as the Buzzard, named after friend and “Who are Those Guys and That Gal, Mercenary Service” player, Jay “The Buzzard” Jackson.

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The Buzzard Gun as pictures in the publication “Paintball”, Spring 1989. Main difference is that pump handle has no noticeable screws for attachment. View the full advertisement here.

The third generation of Termites were likely completely built by Earon Carter with help from Termite and would likely be late 1988 to 1989. When talking to Earon he told me several different between his Termites and Termite’s earlier pumps.

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left side 1st gen annihilatorOne of Dana Mennerich’s Termites. Likely built by Termite and Earon in 1989. Dana removed the sight rails. Pumps arms look welded but could be covered with tape. Solid trigger, not aluminum. Removable muzzle break (removed). View enlarged crops of left and right side. Photos courtesy of Dana Mennerich.
left side 1st gen annihilatorJohn “Lil John” Roehm’s Carter “Dragoon” Buzzard, early 90s.

Non ambidexterous feed and 5 concave holes on either side of sight rail.

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Earon told me that his guns:

*There was no longer a gap between the feed and the sight rail. The sight rails had Earon’s five Convex milled circles and butted up against the feed block.
*The valve bodies were similar to Earon’s comps, and were a smaller outer diameter allowing them to slide inside the body of the gun.
*The guns were still all custom made but there was less variation.
*The bodies started to change into a stainless barrel rather than a unisized (or unitized).
* Earon also mentioned that his early Buzzards featured welded on pump arms but as can be seen in the video, one of the Termites that Dana Mennerich owns has the welded on arms.

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left side 1st gen annihilatorDana Mennerich’s later Termite, likely late 1989-90. View enlarged crop of left and right sides. Photos courtesy of Dana Mennerich.
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Additional milling on end of barrel.

One difference Kevin Donaldson told me between Third Generation Termites and Buzzards of the same time was who the guns were sold by.

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Action Sports Outfitters ad from the December 1991 issue of Paintball Sports International (Magazine).
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Kevin Donaldson’s Action Sports Outfitters patch, retailer of Rob “Termite” Smith’s Termite Gun on the East Coast. From the collection of Paul “Lucky Duck” Schreck.
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ABC Paintball Supplies, retailer of Earon Carter’s Buzzard on the East Coast

If Earon sold them to ABC paintball in New Jersey they were Buzzards (and likely featured internals made by Earon). If the pumps were sold to Kevin’s store in New York, Action Sports Outfitters and used Jim “Howdy” McGuffog’s bolt and hammer, the Howdy Bolt, then they were likely sold by ASO labeled as a Termite.

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Later version of Jim “Howdy” McGuffog’s Howdy Bolt and Hammer. This set came out of Bob “Flex Hone” Fowlie’s tool box.

Regarding the Howdy Bolt, Kevin Donaldson wrote, ”We made these bolts originally for the Bushmasters we were shooting just prior to the Termites, [but it] was not too soon after we finished the bolts [that] we started shooting Termites. At that time all Termites sold by A.S.O. had Howdy Bolts installed by us and Carter Machine was putting his version in all Carter guns.”

Kevin went on to write, ”The first bolts we made did not work as well as we liked and made several changes along the way. One of the last changes we made was to add a 3rdscrew hole for the under cocker pumps(Carter Comps).”

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One batch of Termites/Buzzards incorporated highlighting.
This Buzzard was made for a Southern California Team Captain. This style Termite/Buzzard was identical aside from the bolts (Carter vs Howdy). This pump features highlighting and a stainless removable barrel body.
Likely 1990-1991? From the collection of Paul “Lucky Duck” Schreck.
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A Termite / Buzzard sold on ebay around eight to ten years ago. This pump sold for around 400-500.
Features include a stainless body, highlighting, and the collar looks to have round edges. Photographer unknown.
c. 1990-1991?
Paintgun ended up in Sugarstumps collection and was sold to the Spec Ops collection (I think it’s on their poster).

Highlighted Termites/Buzzards began at the end of the third generation with aluminum one piece bodies.

The third generation would end around 1990 and the bodies moved to threaded stainless and no longer used a one piece aluminum barrel/body or as Earon calls it a “unisized” barrel.

After the third generation of Termite Guns there would be little to no difference between Termites and Buzzards other than the retailer/internal components.

The highlighted guns were present into probably 1990 and later highlighted Termite/Buzzards used stainless body.

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A solid color Termite/Buzzard. For this generation the main difference would be the internals being the component that separates a Termite and a Buzzard.
Features include a stainless body, solid red anodizing, and the collar looks to have round edges. Photographer unknown.
c. 1991-1992?
Picture from ebay probably 10 years ago. Photographer unknown. Gun ended up in the Spec Ops collection.

The completely colored Termites/Buzzards followed these highlighted paintguns and were probably sold until 1991 or 1992 (as is shown in the ASO ad).

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Action Sports Outfitters ad 2 page spread from the February 1992 issue of Paintball Sport International (Magazine). Stainless body Termite shown with black and solid/or raw parts. This shows that in late 1991 or early 1992 Termites were still being offered through ASO.
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Two Termites from the EMR Museum Collection. Photo from trip to EMR in 2008.
Top Termite is likely 1991 because of the stainless body and milled out trigger.

Lower Termite is likely the same generation as Dana Mennerich’s second Termite, 1989-1990. Picture is deceiving since it looks like a standard nelson spec body but reflections of the barrels trick your eyes and the body is actually Carter spec.

Thanks on this project to Kevin Donaldson, Dana Mennerich, Jim Lively, Kenneth Hefferle, Dave Arnold, Jerry Braun, Paul “Luck Duck” Schreck, Adam Coker, Bob “Flex Hone” Fowlie, and Earon Carter.

Check out the Master Blaster on facebook here

Check out Carter Machine here


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Written material and pictures copyright Daniel Bacci
baccipaintball.com and other owners (Kevin Donaldson, Dana Mennerich, Kenneth Hefferle, Jim Lively).

Scans from magazines copyright their respective owners 2013.

For permission to repost please ask.

email for any reason at dan@baccipaintball.com

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  1. I am the person in the Carter Machine’s Widowmakers, PBGA Tournament, August 20th-22nd, 1988 at Pocono Skirmish Paintball photo…..Caleb Strong let me play with them since I was a back up on the PMI Piranha’s……I had a great time and everyone was super nice.


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