FG42: Part one

Battle Rifles, Custom builds, FG42, Products, Weapons, WWII

For those of you who have seen the intro piece and follow the Facebook page, you will know that an FG42 is in the process of being developed. We’re nowhere near finished yet, but I thought I would share a bit of progress with you!

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Last month I took delivery of the largest load of laser cuttings yet, among which are many of the parts for the FG42.

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A few days later, 3m of steel tube arrived, which had to be cut to size in order to even fit in the workshop!
_DSF5455The first job was to build the receiver. As with the original, everything attaches around this piece. Lessons learned from previous projects were applied here: chiefly that access is king! The whole right side of the receiver comes off to access the hop unit and gearbox space.

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The outer barrel and gas port fit into the holes at the front of the receiver, this photograph is from before they were welded in place. In future models these may be bolted in for packing down easily but this hasn’t been finalised yet.

_DSF5462The two lugs you will have seen in the photos above take the pistol grip and trigger assembly, quite authentic to the real thing! This unit strips down from the side so that all parts can be accessed while in situ. This unit will be lightened for production as it is currently quite a lump!

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The magazine well next. The FG42 has a very distinctive magazine well: not only because of its location on the side of the gun but also its shape. The box magazine was also quite large and there isn’t a readily available direct airsoft substitute. The solution I came up with was to use a reversed M14 magazine which is slightly smaller and keep the original mag well size. An extension can be added to this magazine for aesthetic purposes but these magazines can be used ‘naked’ until enough extensions can be bought.
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In situ on the gun, the picture shows the bottom half of the magazine welded in place but before the top cover is attached. On the left side you will see the magazine catch and the partially compressed spring that operates it.

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The top is clamped in place ready to be welded. In this photograph you can see the screw that runs up from the bottom of the well, this holds the protrusion on the back of the magazine (now reversed to be the front).

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The buttstock was a challenge, I got tired of cutting the shape (see top photo) by hand so after the first two butts I bought a bandsaw which I had been after for a while anyway. The third piece came together MUCH faster funnily enough!

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The third piece, a complex shape. One side has to open in order to allow easy access to the back of the gearbox.

_DSF5496The buttstock in place on the gun. Add the back and this part isn’t far off completion. it will have to be rebated for the rear sling swivel and a nose cap put on to hold the front snug and closed, no big deal as this cap is true to the original.

_DSF5492In spite of not having my lathe working at the moment, I decided to have a crack at the rear sight unit as well. Although this will look much the same as the original it is much simpler to make. Although I could possibly make these like the originals it would cost a LOT to do so and an extra £50-odd per gun for a sight feels like a push.

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The brass barrel is secured in place with a screw that ports into the pivoting unit in the sight base. Elevation is adjusted through turning the top section which is independent of the brass barrel, a screw thread moves it up and down. This needs a bit more work, once the lathe is working again I can complete the shaping and a bottoming tap will allow for a far greater range of elevation adjustment. It does of course fold down like the original.

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I must have forgotten to take pictures of the foresight unit in construction, apologies! The bracket for the front swivel is made of 2mm steel cold formed in a vice. For this prototype I have only made it fit around the barrel and have a slot for the karibiner that takes the sling. I need to work out how to make this strong enough to also take the bayonet.

Welded on top of this bracket is the foresight unit which like the original folds down out of the way. Windage is adjusted by loosening the screw at the front and moving the ghost ring from left to right by hand.

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Other points of interest: the cocking handle is stationary at the moment, I do have plans to spring-load this however in V0.2. You can also see the scope rail on top in this shot, at present it has an 11mm scope rail though I will be offering 11mm and 22mm. Anyone using a scope with this will need a set of VERY high mounts! I may even make a set of correct-looking mounts if I can find a suitable scope to base it around.

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So, that brings us about up to date! It is starting to look like an FG42 now, once the bipod is cut and welded to shape it’ll be pretty well complete externally.

Internally, although I have made a temporary hop unit out of polymorph I am getting a permanent one 3D printed. I also need to source a mosfet and make a semi/safe/auto switch.

If you are interested in this project or have an idea of your own, do drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com. Also, ‘Like’ our Facebook page to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles on unusual or interesting weapons and bits of history!

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MG08/15: Bipod and woodwork

Custom builds, Machine-Guns, MG08/15, Weapons, WWI, WWII

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So, this is what the MG08/15 looks like now! As you can see there are a few changes. The main development of importance as far as I am concerned is the addition of the bipod. This gun finally stands up on its own!

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A close-up of the bipod mount in progress. A series of disks keeps friction to a minimum. I was thinking of using 6mm bearings but it runs smoothly as-is. Given the gun will be used in (very dusty) South Africa I reckoned on simpler being better.

_DSF5434The bipod itself is folded 2mm steel sheet. Designed in CAD and laser cut, I folded it by hand. I’ve never been so hot in the workshop! This was then welded to the bottom of the pivot mechanism.

_DSF5425Woodwork is the other obvious development. Took delivery of some lovely Trend router bits that I have had my eye on for some time and set to work on the buttstock (rough cut above).  Using the convex curve of a Roman Ogee bit I rounded off the faces other than the front and back.

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Curved faces and Roman Ogee bit in the router.

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Another treat in the delivery: These rubber sanding drums fit in a standard drill chuck. A left hand thread puts pressure on the rubber to hold the sanding cylinders in place. Once you get used to setting them up, these are really effective for sanding large curved faces and even small flat faces.

_DSF5329Now I just need to get the finished buttstock to match the staining job on the pistol grip covers!

Still to go: I need to fix up the feed mechanism. All the components exist, they just need fettling to get them all working together smoothly. Then attach the ports (in and ejection). With that it will be painting and testing!

 

If this has inspired you to want a gun of your own, let me know! Drop me a line on: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com, I’d love to hear from you!

M72 LAW outer shell

Anti-Tank, Cold War, Custom builds, LAW, Weapons

For those of you with excellent memories, you will remember the LAW M72 project I had going on. It was at a stage where it looked a bit like this:

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Since then, progress has been made, the trigger mechanism housing (above) is now mounted on the pipes that make up the main launcher. A healthy dose of poly-cement tacked it in place so it would stay still for the permanent fixture.

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A close-up of the trigger and rear sight. The sight units are laser cut and the trigger made from Polymorph.

_DSF5390The whole unit after poly-cement. Looks a bit rough, but I have a solution to that!

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Fibreglass. Vile stuff but very useful for lightweight constructions like this. For the uninitiated, fibreglass is extremely fine strands of glass formed into sheets. These sheets are bound together with epoxy resin (the really nasty part) to form a stiff, strong structure. Carbon Fibre is the same idea.

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To get the sheets into all the detail areas I had to cut the coarse mat into strips before applying the first covering of epoxy. Epoxy underneath, apply the mat, apply more epoxy. Don’t use your nice paint brushes for this folks, they ain’t coming out of it alive!
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After the first couple of layers, I left it to dry for a bit so I could flip it over and do the bottom.

No pics for that, much the same process as the top! Once dry, I applied more resin and a finer sheet of fibreglass mat. The coarse grade is seriously uncomfortable to hold so this will provide a smoother finish.

The last coat is now drying, results next time!

If this has interested you at all, do drop us a line! We will be developing further anti-tank airsoft guns, if you have one you would like email us at: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com!

MP28 Part One

Custom builds, MP28, Sub Machine-guns, Weapons, WWI, WWII

It has been a while since I posted my introduction to the MP28 and quite a lot has happened since then!

Most of the parts needed are in now and components progress is going well. There are lots of photos of this project so you can see it progressing nicely.

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I had the magwell cut with the last batch of laser cuttings and welded it quite a while ago. As you can see, it fits snugly against the tube used for the outer shell of the gun.

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The fore-end of the MP28 is heavily perforated for cooling. This required a very precise set of measurements and I decided it would be easiest to draw out a 2D representation in Qcad. I then printed this out and taped it to the tube in the right place. A centre punch in the dead centre of the circles allowed for accurate drilling.

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I drilled small 4mm pilot holes first, then holes to the full size. In the photo above you can see the second drilling in progress.

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Drilling finished!

_DSF5391A bit of work on the stock next. Having marked out the template on the wood, I cut the straight lines with a circular saw. The more complex area around the pistol grip I cut freehand with the router. This did however leave me with a little excess wood still holding the whole unit together.

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Drilling through weakened the area considerably. Only a little work with the chisel was needed to free the piece.

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Separated. Once the excess was cleaned off I could start shaping in earnest.

First shape was done with the electric plane, a favourite tool of mine. Finer detail and smoothing was achieved with a hand plane. Working in and around the pistol grip, the half-round file did a fine job.

_DSF5397Finally, where the stock is at now. I’ve inhaled most of the wood removed today so it’s time to take a break! A bit more work with the mini sander and this will be as smooth as a baby’s bottom. That will have to wait until the action is fitted though as it is likely to sustain some bumps by then.

It is only when you have all the components together that you realise how big this gun is. When most people think of a sub-machine-gun it is a compact firearm for close quarters. This is nearly 90cm (three feet) long. I guess they had to start somewhere to be fair though!

More to come soon on this! If you have any questions email me (Dom) on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com or leave a note in comments.