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.

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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.

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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.