Enfield No.4 Rubber Spike Bayonet

Cold War, Complete builds, Edged Weapons, Lee-Enfield, No. 4 L-E, No.4 Spike bayonet, Weapons, WWII

With a VSR No.4 Enfield in the works, I got ahead of the game by making a bayonet for it. I initially started making this for an RWA No.4, but we all know how those went down (if you don’t know, they went badly).

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The bayonet is composite plastic and rubber, to make the most of the complimentary properties of the materials. As you can see, I’ve kept the markings on the socket.

The best thing is that it locks onto the rifle, so as well as being less likely to drop off the gun, you get to enjoy fixing bayonets with that distinctive twist and click of the socket.

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And of course it fits in an original scabbard.

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If you fancy a spike bayonet of your own, you can buy it here on Etsy. You can see the build posts for my VSR No.4 Enfield here when they are posted.

 

If you have like this project or have an idea of your own, drop me a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ the Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

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LS26: Build 1

Custom builds, Inter-War (1918-1939), LS26 LMG, Machine-Guns, Weapons, WWII

This build will be another based on the ever trusty AGM Sten! The first step is to strip off the unneeded bits, grind down the unwanted protrusions etc…

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Then I could start tack welding the cradle together to form the receiver. Once all the parts are in place and squared up I’ll weld them in place permanently.

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Next up, I’m assembling the bipod. With builds like this it’s good to reduce the number of floating parts as quickly as possible, otherwise things have a habit of vanishing into the ether.

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The top part of the bipod pivots forward and folds back under the barrel shroud. The legs spread only as far as the limiter allows. At the bottom of each leg is the distinctive  ski-pole depth limiter. A spiked bipod is great for a solid mounting on soft ground, but once it gets too soft they tend to dig in so these will stop it from going in so far that you’d have to be King Arthur to remove it.

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The top cover is to be 3D printed. This allows me to get some of the awkward shapes and dimensions.

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Once printed, some small tinkering to make it fit nicely but not much.

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The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation, with the windage leaf dovetailed in. The elevation adjustment uses a variant of my usual system with teeth locking it in place securely using spring pressure.

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The magazine in the magwell. This part is all 3D printed, I’ll be joining it up to the Sten using a spring much like an LMG magazine for an M249 or similar.

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I’ve been putting off making the barrel heat guard as I knew I’d soon have access to my Mill, which would be a much tidier and faster way of making this part. I started by drilling four holes at 90º to one another around the circumference of the tube, then went in with my end mill and cut the first four slots.
 
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I could then skip the left material, plunge into the next slot, then rinse and repeat until the line was done. Then rotate the workpiece 90º and do the same.

The end result is both accurate and tidy, much better than if I had done it the way I used to have to (with a drill and a grinder)_DSF0059

 

There’s still a good bit of work to do on this, but that’s for another post.

 

If you would like to see the other posts for this build, you can do so here.

If you want to check out a similarly obscure Light Machine-Gun, you can see the LMG25 articles here.

If you enjoyed this content join us over on Facebook and check out our Etsy store. If you have an idea for a custom build of your own get in touch on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com.

LS26: Introduction

Custom builds, History, LS26 LMG, Machine-Guns, Weapons, WWII

There isn’t a great deal written in English that I can find on the LS26 light machine gun, but let me share a general outline here and any Finnish fans can come in and correct  all the stuff I get wrong…
Winter_shooting
In 1925/26 the Finns ran trials for a light machine-gun and the LS26 won. Production began the next year and they were produced for both the Finns and the Chinese, though very few made it to China due to the Japanese putting pressure on Finland not to deliver them.
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In the West, it served in the Finnish actions against the Soviets during WWII, and against the Nazis in 1944/45. It had a mixed reputation, with some gunners liking its accuracy and others despising it for its unreliability during its early days of service.

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When posed against the Soviet DP-28, you can see why some Finns swapped for the Soviet gun. With a 20 round box vs a 47 round pan magazine, the DP has a significant advantage for suppressive fire. It is also simpler to strip and with wider tolerances it was more reliable in field conditions. Weight is mentioned as an issue with the LS, but given the DP is around the same weight I suspect this is more a case of weight vs capability making soldiers prefer their Russian captures.
Ls26 R trigger ass

If you want to see some footage of an LS26 and DP-28 being fired as a comparison to one another you can do so in this short video from Forgotten Weapons.

Vintage Airsoft is currently working on an LS26 for a customer, being an AEG this one should be quite nice to fire in comparison!

 

If you want to see something completely different, check out my side by side stopping rifle build here. If you have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

 

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

 

Sten Suppressor MkII

Cold War, Complete builds, Sten, Sten Suppressor, Sub Machine-guns, Suppressed, Weapons, WWII

I realised the other day that I hadn’t updated my Sten Suppressor pictures in about two years, in spite of making this much nicer model for some time.

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This replica can be used correctly on the MkII and Mk5 Stens, the latter format would make it a Mk6 if you were so inclined.

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I’m using a thicker canvas for the cover than before and a thick cotton cord, ready laced up in the correct format (straight laced, like British Army boots).

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A securing screw locks it into place on the barrel.

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The front cap is made from cast rubber.

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If you want a suppressor of your own, you can buy it here.

Don’t forget you can buy many of our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here

 

If you have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

Stopping Rifle: Build 3

Imperial Era, Sporting Arms, Stopping Rifle, Weapons, WWI

The forestock fitted in place is a little bit longer than the original but is fastened in the same way.

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This definitely improves the overall shape of the rifle.

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With the woodwork shaped and the buttplate fitted I applied a few layers of finish, leaving it to dry.

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In the metalwork department, I stripped the original paintwork from it. Underneath is aluminium of some kind, though some parts are an odd coppery colour.

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I applied Birchwood and Casey’s aluminium black. A couple of coats later and I have a nice dappled finish across the surface.

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The buttplate, being steel, is brushed smooth (though with a swirling pattern of sorts left on for some semblance of grip) and heated to a dull red before being quenched in oil. This leaves a rather pleasing mixed-colour finish varying from straw to light blue.

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The screws are blacked to fit in.

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The last bit is to mark up the rifle appropriately. On the bottom plate I’m marking the gun with my details and the ‘calibre’. Though it’s not technically .700 NE, the shells are actually very close.

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The first step is a quick going over of the script to give a shallow etch to follow. One can then lift the paper to check the etch is deep enough in a few places before removing the whole lot.

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With the paper removed, I add depth and boldness to the capitals and detailing in the few places I have the skill to add it.

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Once all the text is to depth, I used Birchwood Casey’s aluminium black as per the rest of the gun. In the picture below you can see where the back of the foregrip assembly had an argument with my planer, which was a sad event. That being said, I hope to make a replacement in the near future.

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I’m pretty pleased with how the script came out. This is only my second attempt at engraving work and I feel it is quite an improvement over the first. I’m not 100% happy with the calibre, but the script typeface isn’t too bad.

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This is basically finished now, so photographs of the complete item to follow!

 

If you are interested in this project you can see the rest of the project here. If you have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

 

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

Stopping Rifle: Complete

Complete builds, Custom builds, Imperial Era, Products, Sporting Arms, Stopping Rifle, Weapons, WWI

At long last, the Stopping Rifle is done. So anyone planning on bringing an elephant or tiger to a site near me had better watch out!

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This break action is very satisfying to carry broken over the arm and practice your swift mountings in the bedroom mirror.

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The buttplate, lightly oil finished. I’m yet to take a picture that does this justice, but that gorgeous selection of colours fading from one to another is very satisfying.

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The straight-wrist stock is a classic English side-by-side design. I’ll probably make other styles of stock in future versions.

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The shells are roughly based on .700 Nitro-Express. These are quite nice for extraction and pocketing, a nice handful in every pair.

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The Express sights deserve comment. Given the nature of express cartridges, heavy and slow, they have a somewhat rainbow trajectory. This style of sight allows the shooter to quickly select their range and fire without having to finely adjust a wheel or tangent.

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At the front, I’ve taken a leaf out of the French book of rifle design, a chunky front post (already there) for fast shooting and a finer notch in the middle for more precise shots, just in case I ever want to make them!

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Broken open, the shells look pretty good! APS cartridges are the heart of this system, though I may make some custom shells in the future.

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Finally, the etching. I felt that this was the sort of detail that really needed doing. At some point, I’d like to come back to this and redo it with more extravagant etchings, some scrollwork or an elephant or something. Maybe when I’ve had a bit more practice…

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If you are interested in this project you can see the rest of the project here. If you have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

 

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

MAS 36: Introduction

Cold War, History, MAS 36, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

During the 1920s and 30s, the French Military undertook an extensive project of re-organising and updating their small arms. Although this seems rather contrary to the Treaty of Versailles, the French had a real hodge-podge of weapons after WWI.

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The Infantry rifle program had three tiers: Firstly to convert all of their existing rifles to a new cartridge 7.5mm rimless, a semi-auto rifle for frontline combat troops to follow up on the largely successful experience of the RSC1917 during the Great War and finally, when these developments took longer than expected, a new bolt-action in the new cartridge.

This bolt-action was designed to be a simple, cheap second line rifle to equip those not needing a semi-auto.

In spite of development starting in the 20s, the new rifle was adopted, as the name suggests, in 1936.

This rifle is an integral magazine, stripper clip fed rifle of epic simplicity, with 65 parts only. This was designed to have minimal user-operable and modifiable parts (what today may be called ‘soldier proof’), with most of these being the bolt and its components for cleaning.

The sights were armourer adjustable, with a simple elevation adjustment for range for use by the soldier. These were a rear mounted aperture and chunky front post protected by wings. Later versions had a fully encircled foresight.

sights

The bolt handle is bent forward  to be above the trigger for faster cycling, reminiscent of the Metford and Lee Speed series of rifles.

The locking lugs are at the back of the bolt, in the hope that they would be less prone to mud fouling and the bolt itself could be removed and stripped without tools.

An interesting feature carried over from previous French small arms: the MAS36 lacked a manual safety. The French taught soldiers to carry the rifle with an empty chamber, full magazine, so a manual safety was unnecessary.

MAS40

The MAS40, France’s intended frontline rifle.

French rifle manufacture accelerated in the lead up to the German invasion in 1939/40, and a good number of MAS 36s were in solder’s hands by this time. The MAS 40 semi automatic being just ready for adoption but not for production, the MAS 36 was the most modern rifle available.

French WW2
With the capitulation of France, the MAS 36’s future looked bleak. The Vichy French kept theirs, Germany captured some and some made their way out of Dunkirk. A handful even ended up with the Resistance.

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In use with Axis forces, here Latvian SS.

They saw service in some remaining French Colonies and some very limited use by the Germans. Postwar, the French picked up production again very quickly, producing the standard rifle, paratroop version as well as versions to fire French 50mm or 22mm NATO standard rifle grenades. The ’36 was sent out to Indochina from 1946 with French forces where it was used against Viet-Minh forces effectively until their war aid from the Soviets improved from bolt-actions to SKS self-loading rifles and AK47s. The ’36 was passed over to local forces and captured in reasonably large numbers by Viet-Minh.

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The paratroop version, shortened, lightened and with a folding aluminium buttstock.

The French were not finished with the rifle however. In Algeria and Morocco, it saw extensive use with French forces throughout the conflict even after the self loading MAS 49/56 started to be made available. It still took until the 1970s before this prewar rifle was relegated to its proper (and originally intended) place in the reserves.

49.56

A MAS49/56, the replacement

The penultimate version of the ’36 was developed by the Navy for line throwing, these were still in use during Desert Storm and are likely still in storage, with the last being a .22 conversion for training.

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Senegalese soldiers with US Officer Cadets on exercise, 2009.

The MAS 36 ended up being distributed to and used by former French colonies in the main, with the highly unstable Central African Republic being the last to use it as a frontline combat rifle officially. It still serves in a number of countries as a second line or unofficial arm for militia units.

 

Or it did, until the Syrian Civil War. It was still in use as late as 2015 there with use only tapering off due to ammunition sourcing issues.
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I am of course working on an airsoft MAS-36. It is VSR based and will use the MkII magwell, 3D printed parts and original woodwork.

I would very much like to recommend these articles 1 and 2 if you want to read more about MAS 36 use.

You will be able to follow the build progress here as it is published.

If you are interested in this project or have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

MAS 36: Build

Cold War, MAS 36, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

The first step was to fit the woodwork as far as possible. Due to the split woodwork I have to estimate it to some extent as I’ll have to fill the gap with a receiver.

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I’m using the MkII magwell, a much easier design to fit than the previous version.

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Rough fitted, I can design the receiver.

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Three days and many cups of tea later…

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This has been done in two parts, the trigger guard tang is being done separately, which gives me a bit more flexibility if a dimension is out slightly.

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And on the other side, markings. I’ve really got into doing these lately, they are satisfying to reproduce and add an air of authenticity to the replica.

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The rear sight is the early pattern one to go with the rest of the gun. Finding photographs of this variant to work from was very tricky, but the end result works just like the originals.
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The receiver, now printed, arrives!

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And amazingly, this fits first time. As does the rear sight unit.

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The underside looks a bit rough now, but a bit of filing down will smooth it off nicely.

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The rear sight is adjusted by pushing the leaf down and adjusting the slider forwards and back, a pretty unusual system.

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Once I’d cleaned out the peep hole it’s quite a nice light sight.

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The top hand guard was a bit of a puzzle. The wood of the original stock was a mystery, certainly not like anything I’ve worked on before, it has the appearance of beech but is much easier to work. I’ve decided it must be something tropical, given the French had Colonies in Africa and the Far East it’s not beyond the pail to think they may have shipped in some durable, rot-resistant timber that would be perfect for gunstocks.

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The timber I have used is also a mystery wood. Given to me by a friend its previous life was as some window frames, but this use is much better. Nothing else matched the original wood quite as well in grain structure and once stained or oiled to match it should blend in nicely.

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Unfortunately due to having to house the VSR I couldn’t be completely true to the original shape of the rifle. Once the middle band is in position it should break up that slight slope quite nicely though.

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And the nose cap or, as the French call it: Mouthpiece. This is the late type as the early type (when they are available) are about £50 at the time of writing. Understandable as they were only used on the first two/three batches of guns or so compared to the six or seven runs that came later. I’ll be modifying it to look correct for this early model.

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The next step was the bolt handle, as I was making a batch of Enfield bolts already I added this to the parts list. The main shank was turned on the lathe, left just a smidgen longer than an Enfield bolt. The haft is 8mm steel bar bent to the correct shape.

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This was a really tricky one to do, most bent bolt handles  have one bend in them and are then straight down or slanted back. This one is not only slanted forward, but has a kink outwards from the rifle as well, this with bolt operating speed in mind as the rifle was designed at a time where the replacement of bolt actions with self-loading rifles was imminent.

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From this angle you can see the outwards kink. I feel I’ve got this pretty darn close to the original though I say so myself.

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The back cap made, I’m going to have to add some detailing to this to make it look right.

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The new middle band/sling swivel arrangement. This had to be 3D printed as there were absolutely none to be found.

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The mouthpiece and front sight guard has finally been modified. I cut the top of the hood off, straightened the steel and added the lips to the wings with the MIG welder.

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The back cap details added, I put the straight lines in with the hacksaw, the letters with stamps. If I did this again I’d probably soften the metal before doing these as it turned out to be a little harder than expected resulting in stampings that weren’t as deep as I’d like.

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Fitting the trigger guard permanently in place. You may also notice I’ve done the first paint coat on the receiver, oil finished the bolt and added a finish to the top guard.

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This is pretty much the job done. There are a few bits of detailing and last touches to complete the rifle but I’ll let you enjoy the overall effect of the finished item.

 

If you want to see the finished item, you can see it here when it’s posted.

Don’t forget you can buy many of our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here

If you have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

The DeLisle Commando Carbine: Introduction

Cold War, Delisle, History, Rifles, Suppressed, Weapons, WWII

The DeLisle carbine was born of a need, usually by special forces units, to dispatch enemy soldiers quietly. This came from the rise of raiding tactics used by British forces against Fortress Europe, the only way that precision strikes could be made against German targets.

Although large-scale raids did occur, many were smaller scale and undertaken by the newly formed Commandos and Parachute units. Taking out one or two sentries discretely before moving up to the target would allow soldiers to get much closer to their objective before the main, noisy assault. 3-1

The carbine itself was the lovechild of an SMLE, (receiver and furniture) a 1911 (magazine) and a Maxim style suppressor. The reason for its near legendary status as one of the quietest arms ever made is that every aspect of it was either chosen for its quietness or modified to achieve it:

  1. The ammunition: .45ACP is a subsonic cartridge. This means that, never breaking the sound barrier, it does not have a sonic ‘crack’. A quiet ‘whizz’ is easily drowned out by ambient noise.
  2. The SMLE has very few ‘clicky’ parts already. The safety is already silent, the cock on close action means there is a fairly quiet slide into battery. The bolt was baffled so that when opened it would not make a loud clack. For when it was being closed the bolt handle had a baffle so it wouldn’t clack against the receiver band.
  3. The suppressor is huge. Much, much bigger than you could reasonably carry on a pistol. It also proved very effective at catching and slowing gasses down before getting rid of them at a low enough pressure to reduce the noise massively.

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It is known that the DeLisle was issued to and tested by Combined Operations (who ran the Commando type raids) in the field, but finding solid accounts of their use during WWII in Europe is pretty tricky. The only account I have found so far is one by a Jedburgh Commander who says that one was used to successfully dispatch two German officers (1944). D1-4

Other more substantial accounts outlining more specific details of their use have been recorded in the Far East against the Japanese and during the Malayan Emergency. They point to it being used very much as a psychological weapon, taking out individuals during ambushes at night or on roads during the day, killing one or two men in a lorry. Being almost silent, the Japanese involved struggled to know they had been fired upon and even more-so where from.

 http://ww2db.com/

Similarly it was deployed against bandits and terrorists in Malaya, allegedly by plantation operators. One man caught out alone in the fields had a significant advantage when he could fire on a group of hostile enemy without giving his position away. Just a couple of men so armed would have a significant force multiplying effect. 

 

Just before I wrap up, the folding stock ‘Para’ version does deserve a mention. Originally, these were supposed to make up 50 items of the order, but it looks as though they were left until last. As a result, when the order was cancelled there was only this sample produced as far as we know.

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And in case you are not familiar with the Vintage Airsoft format by now… I will be building a De Lisle carbine! This build will be VSR based, using my new MkII magwell and almost certainly making use of my lovely ‘new’ mill (more to follow on that when it arrives!).

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You will be able to follow the build progress here as it is published.

If you are interested in this project or have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

 

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

Preparing 3D prints

Advice columns, Tools

As I use quite a few 3D printed parts in my builds now and have started to sell 3D printed parts kits, I reckoned it was time to share with you how I prepare my 3D printed parts for use.

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You need:

  • A set of small files, ideally of the 3″ kind, second and fine cut
    • as a minimum, one half round, one round, but it helps to have a flat and a square
  • Wet and dry paper: 800 grit and 1200 grit. You can go finer if you want to see your face in it but I personally find that overkill for my purposes
  • Acryllic model paints: I use Revell Aquacolor
  • Baking powder, the fine type rather than the coarse type
  • Paintbrushes, a mixing surface, paper towels and water
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For those not familiar with files, from left to right: Flat, half round, round and square.

Some people use coarse grit wet and dry to get started. I personally don’t bother, it’s messy and slow, so use files to take off the highest points and work out which areas need filling.

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Once I’ve established a smooth top surface, I work up to wet and dry until the overall impression of the surface is smooth except for the inevitable low points that come with 3D printing.

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Low points can’t be eradicated entirely without risking cutting through the outer skin of the part or wrecking the tolerances. I fill these by mixing my acrylic paint with baking powder or fine plastic dust saved from the previous steps. I dip my brush in the paint, dip it in a container of the powder so that the paint is covered and mix it together either on a mixing surface or on the part itself if suitable. A flat brush is better for this purpose as you can apply a fairly smooth finish straight off the bat.

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If using this technique, you may wish to cover the majority of the model part in a thin layer of the paint/powder mix. This is so that when you’ve finished filling, you can take your finer grades of wet and dry and give the part a last wet run over to get a smooth and consistent finish.

 

You can now paint up the model in your finishing colour if the filler coat was not of that type. You may also want to consider a varnish to give it a suitable finish in gloss, matte or satin and add a bit more durability to the finish.

 

If you have an idea for a project of your own, drop us a line on: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. If you found this article helpful, why not ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles?

 

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.