FG42 Pre-production prototype complete

Battle Rifles, Custom builds, FG42, Weapons, WWII

Long-awaited by many, the pre-production FG42 is now finished!

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This airsoft model was designed with a number of considerations in mind:

  1. It should be relatively affordable. Obviously work like this is expensive but the price should be kept as low as possible.
  2. It should use standardised airsoft parts as far as possible to allow for upgrade and tech work to be carried out with relative simplicity if/when it must be carried out.
  3. It should use standard magazines. Airsoft guns with dedicated mags for a relatively niche audience become unusable if the magazine malfunctions or breaks.
  4. It should have features as authentic as possible to the original.

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After several years of work, this prototype which roughly shows what the end product will be like. This is NOT the finished product, there are a number of design and manufacture differences that will be implemented in future models:

  • The pistol grips will be replaced with a design that is both easier to make and more authentic
  • Gas port detailing will be improved
  • The forestock will be re-designed: So that the operating handle will move and the shape of the woodwork will be improved
  • Bipod: locking mechanism to improve stability when in use
  • Add turf spike to bipod
  • Improve case deflector
  • Improve aesthetic of rear sight
  • Improve access to hop adjustment
  • I hope to produce a bayonet for it in time (such use as it may be!)

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There are a number of positive features of this design which I shall be retaining however:

  • The base gun is an AEG airsoft Sten, taking upgrades for this model and having its excellent hop-up
  • The magazines are standard, unmodified M14 midcaps
  • Both fore and rear sight fold down for transport
  • The rear sight adjusts for elevation just like the original, you can see a video of a prototype here
  • The construction is, as far as possible, steel. The woodwork is laminate, like the originals (so far as I can gather)

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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.

 

You can also buy many of our finished products in our Etsy store.

FG42: Part 6

Battle Rifles, FG42, Weapons, WWII

Through all this section I am working in the background on the furniture, staining and varnishing it for use. This is literally watching paint try so I will just give you an intermediate shot of the process rather than bore you with a step-by-step!

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There aren’t any good photos of the bipod in progress, each fold was handmade in the vise with a few different hammers and other tools until each was at the right angle. For a production version, these will probably be made with a press if I find a supplier who can do this.

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And folded away! This should really look the part when painted up and the furniture is in place.
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Next, shaping the grips. I used polymorph plastic coloured with acrylic paint as a base colour. These are just a rough first pass, they will be re-shaped with a heat gun to get a smoother finish.

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After a bit of work with the heat gun and some tools, the finish is now quite smooth, providing a good base for etching in the chequering.

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I oil backed the rear sight for a really wear-resistant finish. As with previous versions, this adjusts just like the original.
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On the lathe, I turned the muzzle brake in plastic. When this is finished I shall produce a mould to cast more from as it is quite a complex piece.

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I made a mould and took a casting from it. This has been painted up to look like metal!

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And this slots onto the gun! Oh yes, I have now oil finished the foresight unit and bipod, which should resist the wear and tear that will inevitably affect these parts better than paint.

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Pretty much all there at last! Just a few last details to finish off…

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Completed pictures to follow.

 

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.

 

You can also buy many of our finished products in our Etsy store.

GaSMLE: Finished

Cold War, Custom builds, GaSMLE, Imperial Era, Lee-Enfield, Rifles, SMLE, Weapons, WWI, WWII

Some pictures of the finished Gas SMLE!  In future I may add a charging bridge and a cut out for stripper clips in the receiver but for now I’ll keep it as-is.

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i have left the inner barrel protruding for now as it makes it easier to chrono! I may change this in future.

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Real steel rear sight, with the rear hand guard made to fit the receiver.

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If you are like 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.

You can also buy many of our finished products in our Etsy store.

Spring SMLE: Part 1

Cold War, Custom builds, Lee-Enfield, Rifles, SMLE, VSR SMLE, Weapons, WWI, WWII

So, a few people have seen my GaSMLE project but don’t know I’ve also been working on a spring SMLE as well! If you’re not familiar with the story of the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield check out the introduction I did on this series of rifles HERE.

 

In the meantime, here is a bit of the build so far on the spring version:

 

The first item on the agenda was to modify the bolt-action. I used a VSR as the base gun as it has many options for upgrades available and isn’t dreadful to start with.

I made this extension on the lathe, turned to the diameter of the bolt so that it fitted into the action. In this I cut a slot at the front so that the out of battery safety can be operated when the bolt is turned. As you can see I have also made a backstop to prevent this extension from pulling back over the securing bolt.

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Then I cut a piece of steel bar and bent it to shape. I produced a rough ball on the lathe with a hole through the centre and hammered it onto the steel bar to a friction fit. This unit was then welded onto the extension.

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I had already designed the magwell unit to screw straight onto an unmodified VSR action. I have seen airsoft Enfields which just have a wooden magwell and found these tend to swell and shrink with moisture and temperature, gripping the magazine and making it difficult or impossible to remove during a firefight.

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Finished and in place on the action. The big spring locks the magazine in.

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Getting the action to fit the stock took quite a lot of work due to the shapes involved, so I shall skip to the stage where it is fitted. I am making this stock from scratch rather than trying to lever the VSR into a real SMLE stock as a real forestock is expensive and frankly a bit small to take this action very well. It can be done but it leaves the wood paper-thin at some points. This is walnut so is ideal for gunstocks and can be tailored for this action.

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Initially, this is cut a little deep but this is fixed later on.

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I planed it down a little and roughly fitted the nose cap into place-rounding off the fore-end a bit.

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Once planed down to size it is much easier to reach the magazine! I also started to fit the trigger guard at this stage, this will have the rear band attachment for the buttstock attached.

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A side view, so you can see where the band will be going now.

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OK, I confess, I forgot to photograph the band being made! It’s all coming together now, shaping the wood stock being the main priority, then making the rear sight, foresight and top guard.

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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.

You can also buy many of our finished products in our Etsy store.

GaSMLE: Build

Cold War, Custom builds, GaSMLE, Lee-Enfield, Rifles, SMLE, Weapons, WWI, WWII

The Gas SMLE has been a very long project in the making. It is actually one of my first attempts to build a custom airsoft gun but kept getting put back by problem after problem.

This was originally going to be spring powered, but I was offered a gas G&G G96 and couldn’t say no. This is a clone of the KJW M700 and is essentially made up of all of G&G’s upgrade parts for the same.

 

My first priority was to make the rear band, which in the original is a part of the receiver. My initial thought to replicate this complex shape was to cast it in aluminium. I used a deactivated Lee-Enfield to form the mould.

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I built my furnace from a bucket, gas torch, a load of cement and a few other bits!

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This allowed me to make quite a few castings. Each one improved on the last until I reached my pinnacle!

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The rough castings could be filed into shape, initially just to fit the (original SMLE) woodwork but then to it the receiver of the donor rifle.

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However as aluminium and steel have such different melting points fitting the band to the trigger guard proved troublesome, especially given the level of accuracy I could achieve with the casting process.

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Eventually I gave up on this and went with a more conventional way of building an airsoft Enfield. I wrapped a piece of steel around the attachment end of a buttstock and welded it in place. Then filed it down so the M700 receiver could fit.

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I then put an endcap over the front, to which I could attach a nut when the time came.

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The trigger guard was cleaned off at the back and bevelled in order to achieve a really deep, solid weld.

_dsf7656At this point, the action sat well enough in the receiver. By the taking of the next photograph I had also welded in the nut into which the bolt that holds the buttstock in place is screwed.

 

You can also see the new trigger, during the attempt to combine the original trigger and an Enfield trigger the original was all but useless. However this replacement is all-steel and a much better shape. It will need a little modification for comfortable use but it’s a good start and definitely an improvement on the donor!
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The magwell needed modification to take the M700 type magazine. With gas you need to be very precise: Not only does the BB feed need to line up (and this type of rifle is very picky about that) but the gas release valve on the magazine must line up with the trigger mechanism AND the gas port must line up with the bolt. In the end I decided to cut the magwell over-size and fill the gap with polymorph plastic. This has the added benefit of not being affected by moisture so it won’t swell and grip the magazine as I have seen some rifles do.

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I then needed to re-fit the barrel, having made a new hop-rubber for it. The donor has a weird R-hop style hop unit as standard, I may change it to a more typical AEG hop at some point. The rear sight is secured by polymorph at the moment, with a tiny trace of glue to stop it spinning. This will be replaced before use with a screw into the woodwork.

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At the muzzle end the barrel is secured with a piece of steel turned to the correct size to fit the nose cap. It also holds the foresight in place by friction. As you can see in the next picture the inner barrel pokes out.

Eventually this will be trimmed down to size and re-crowned but for now it is difficult enough to chrono it already without making it harder to line up!

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Aside from the bits mentioned above, there’s only a little to do.

Next I have to finish the hop-up adjustment unit, make a new top rear hand guard as the original doesn’t fit the gas receiver. It will then be usable, subject to gas control and a couple of Enfield parts.

The new top rear hand guard in place, before finishing.

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And another view, showing the receiver. Over the front of the receiver is a steel plate. The rear screw holds it in place, using one of the threaded holes that holds the scope rail on the original rifle. The front screw is the hop adjustment. I will have to replace these with some better-looking screws before use!

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The top guard is sanded and oiled to finish it and protect it during use.

Some last bits of finishing to do to make it usable and I’ll get some photos up in the next week or so! For now I’ll just be happy to have a usable rifle, but in the longer run I plan to make some modifications to the receiver to make it look more authentic such as cutting out a charging slot for the thumb and mounting a charging bridge at the back. That or make this receiver into a Lee-Metford prior to the CLLE upgrades!

 

If you would like an airsoft rifle of your own, do drop me a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or follow VA on Facebook!

You can also buy many of our finished products in our Etsy store.

FG42: Part 5

Battle Rifles, Custom builds, FG42, Weapons, WWII

Since the last post, I have attached the new magazine well, it’s not looking pretty yet but is feeding from the magazine! At this stage function> appearance, though it’s not long before it looks right and actually works.

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My second model bipod legs, these are much thinner and lighter than the first attempt but are the same basic shape. However on completion I found that they interfered with the barrel. Not a problem though, a new design is due from the laser cutters any day now.

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The bipod mounting unit and foresight unit is going to be one part.

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The foresight mounting block, which incorporates the bayonet mount, barrel lug and front sling mount.
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Roughly cleaned up, this will get some attention from the scotch brite pads before finishing.

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And in place on the barrel, the foresight can be folded down for transport. The screw will be replaced with a knurled head screw to lock it in place.

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Next, I secured the buttstock in place. A piece of polymorph prevents the wobble of this piece, I plan to make a front cover to hide the gaps. On the production version I will tweak the design to sit closer to the receiver naturally.2

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At the front end, the fore-stock has been screwed into position around the cocking handle. This one has been welded into position, in time I hope to produce a version that has a moving cocking handle but at present this is where the battery goes.

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So finally we can now see the overall format of the FG42! The sling is from Zib-Militaria, it is effectively identical to an MG34 sling. The metal parts look as though they have been painted while still rusty so I won’t be providing these to customers.

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Not far off now!

  • Details like the selector switch, pistol grips
  • Stain and varnish the woodwork
  • Flash suppressor
  • Gas tube/battery compartment cover

And of course overall paintwork etc…!

All that to come in the next instalment.

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.

You can also buy many of our finished products in our Etsy store.