The Sten MkV kit in action

Add-on kits, Customer Reviews, Products, Sten, Sub Machine-guns, Weapons, WWII

Many of VA’s followers are also on the UK WW2 Airsoft forum and will know regular contributor Ken by his handle ‘Kendo’. Ken was one of the first people to buy one of my ready-designed kits and has been using it heavily for well over a year now. I caught up with him recently to get some feedback:

“I was first made aware of Vintage Airsoft’s MkV Sten kit through the WW2 Airsoft forums, perhaps better known to some as ‘Comrades in Arms’. Dom had posted his prototype MkV build, and was looking to put together some more kits for those of us stuck with the perhaps not-entirely-accurate MkII Sten, especially for the many folks like me that portray the iconic late-war British paratroopers!
The idea was inspired: a hand-built, wooden stock, comprising a mounting bracket and pistol grip, that slotted directly onto the receiver of the AGM Sten, replacing the standard T-stock; the kit would be complete with a wooden foregrip that bolted to the Sten barrel shroud, and topped off with a metal front sight that slipped over the outer barrel. As if that wasn’t enough, the wooden stock was hollowed out and wired, meaning the Sten was no longer bound to tiny batteries. All of that for a fraction of the price of a full custom gun, and you could swap back to the old MkII components without any permanent modifications.

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I jumped at the chance, and I’m pleased to say after a solid year of near constant use in all weather, the kit has held up admirably. It’s been dropped, fell on, submerged in nasty bog water, and survived me crashing through foliage in full combat kit, with the only appreciable outcome being a slight looseness at the stock mounting (which was subsequently fixed with the liberal application of B&Q’s finest super glue). I’ve found it to be a very comfortable weapon to hold – a far cry from the plumber’s nightmare that was the MkII – and the battery compartment in the stock is truly a godsend; battery switches can be done in a flicker of the time, and without dismantling the gun to boot.

Now, being a drop-in kit, as it were, all of the pieces are obviously made to be easily installed or removed without modifications to the base gun, and there are some drawbacks to this. The front sight, for example, was initially held on by friction, meaning that knocks and bumps to the gun would frequently misalign it with the rear sight. I also found that the paintwork of the metal band that fits around the barrel shroud would wear away very easily, due to the steel fitting of the sling rubbing against it with use. The nature of the kit also means that certain aspects of the real MkV cannot be replicated – the rear pistol grip sits further back, most tellingly, although this is a small price to pay in my opinion.

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The front sight issue can be easily solved: boring and tapping a small hole through the underside, then using a pointed screw to tighten it against the outer barrel of the Sten would help immensely. Indeed, the user could go one step further and drill a shallow hole into the outer barrel itself for the tip of the screw, which would eliminate the front sight shifting altogether, and with minimal modification to the base gun.
The barrel band, meanwhile, I would most certainly improve by chemical or oil blacking, rather than painting. This will allow it to resist the worst of the wearing the sling attachment subjects it to, and means I won’t have to keep repainting the bloody thing!

I have been let down by certain individuals in this line of work in the past – sometimes criminally so. I am very pleased to report that my experience with both individual and product in this case has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s safe to say I have put the MkV kit through its paces from day one, and it has rarely let me down, with Dom always on hand with troubleshooting should I need it.
Truly though, in a hobby dominated by yet more M4 derivatives and Multicam FAST helmets, nothing beats attacking an objective in full British airborne kit with a proper MkV Sten in your hands. I have Vintage Airsoft to thank for that that one.”

 

I have reproduced Kendo’s full review here, unedited for full disclosure! Feedback like this is really appreciated and we’ll be improving our product accordingly by oil blacking the foregrip band and tapping the foresight mounting. This sort of feedback can only be gained after the sort of heavy use Kendo has subjected it to!

 

You can buy our Sten MkV kit and many other items from our Etsy store.

 

A big thanks to Syfer Airsoft Photography for use of their fantastic photographs. Check out their page for great kit and action photos.

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Sten MkI/MkI* : Complete

Add-on kits, Complete builds, Products, Sten, Sub Machine-guns, Weapons, WWII

Some images of the completed Sten MkI and MkI*. Firstly a picture of AN original for comparison. I should point out that you can find differences between nearly every surviving example so this isn’t definitive:

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The main issue with this replica is that the safety catch is at the top of the operating handle slot (as this is based on the AGM Sten MkII). The only way to adequately redo this is to make a whole new receiver unit. Maybe a project for the future…

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A close up of the receiver. The new operating handle and bolt also feature the Sten safety switch kit. You can also just make out the Sten MkI stampings on the magazine housing.

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The foresight on this is very comfortable to acquire, at least in the confines of the workshop where I have tested it so far! This will be going out in the field at the weekend.

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The stock is very comfortable compared to the MkII T-stock. That said clutching a thistle is an improvement over the T-stock… But in all seriousness this is a great alternative and is fast becoming a personal favourite.

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One final feature worth noting is the battery compartment. Accessible from the rear, it can just about fit the standard stick battery in it, though a stick lipo would be a far easier fit.

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And in the Sten MkI* configuration, once it had been optimised by the Singer company for serial production:

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This kit will be for sale on our Etsy page HERE in due course. If you like the look of this gun and would like a build of your own that we don’t currently offer please do get in touch! Email us on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com or get in touch via our Facebook page.

The Sten MkI/MkI*

Add-on kits, History, Sten, Sub Machine-guns, Weapons, WWII

History

After the swift and brutal defeat of the British Expeditionary Force and their allies in the Battle of France and the retreat from Dunkirk across the channel, Britain was desperate for equipment and armament. All heavy weapons, vehicles and most small arms were left behind.

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As a result there was a huge push to re-arm as quickly as possible. As well as all of Britain’s manufacturing being turned to the war effort, the War Office bought every Thompson sub-machine gun the USA could build. The US couldn’t keep up with demand however and with losses to U-boats in the Atlantic Britain needed to produce their own sub-machine gun.

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The result of this was the Sten Machine Carbine. The prototype was a complex piece of engineering, requiring a multitude of machining actions to produce. When handed over to the Singer company to produce, a host of improvements were made to make the gun suitable for mass production.

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I wanted to develop a kit to temporarily modify the AGM Sten MkII to a MkI/MkI* for early war impressions and, frankly, for an interesting regular game gun.

The build

Step one was to build the flash hider/muzzle rise compensator. This large scoop is formed from a piece of steel cut to shape and beaten on a former.

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This could then be welded shut and a short piece of tube welded on the back to mount it. The sling loop is a piece of thick wire, welded shut. I turned a piece of nylon bar to size to fit round the mounting tube and inside the heat sleeve.

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This can then be slid into the heat sleeve. The photograph below shows the front sight mounted. This is mild steel, laser cut to shape and bent by hand.

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To create the buttstock, I needed to bend steel tube to shape. As I don’t have a tube bending jig and a spring bending system would produce too shallow a bend. Cutting out a section like this, bending to shape and welding closed makes for a neat, controlled bend.

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This could be welded onto the backplate and buttplate. The top tube also functions as the battery tube and the plan is to have the battery accessed from the back.

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At this point, this is pretty well what the MkI* looked like (as far as one can tell, photographic evidence is limited) as it has all the woodwork removed for simpler manufacture.

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Woodwork is needed to complete the MkI of course, the foregrip being an important part of the design that was sadly deleted on later models until the introduction of the MkV.

I made this woodwork right back at the beginning on Vintage Airsoft at the end of 2014, it has been sitting waiting for me to finish this project all this time!

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There are a few last bits to finish, namely removing the MkII fore-sight and stamping the magazine well with the correct information. The only major inaccuracy will be the safety catch location. On the MkI Sten this was actually below the operating handle slot but was moved to the top on all later models.

More photographs to follow with the completion of the build!

Like the look of this build? Why not email us on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to find out more. While you’re in a gun mood, check out our Etsy page where we have ready-made kits and accessories.

P.S.: I am looking for any original images of the Sten MkI or MkI* in use by soldiers. These seem to be almost non-existent so if any readers have such images please do send them in.

P.P.S.: For more information on the development of the Sten Machine Carbine and some beautiful pictures of an original Sten MkI, see here.

Sten upgrade: Replacement nut

Add-on kits, Cold War, Sten, Sub Machine-guns, Weapons, WWII

The AGM Sten comes with a hex head screw to attach the stock, which also contains the battery compartment.

This has three disadvantages:

  1. It looks appalling
  2. You require a tool to remove the stock/change the battery
  3. It really looks diabolical

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That’s right, it looks so bad it is worth mentioning twice. Fortunately this is easily fixed! The fix Vintage Airsoft offers also means that you can change the battery without any tools at all.

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This piece is all-steel in construction. The edges are knurled for grip, meaning that the replacement screw can be fitted very tightly with just finger strength.

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The corners are taken off for comfort of use.

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The whole piece is oil blacked, which means it has an extremely wear-resistant finish that nicely matches the original painted surface of the gun.

 

You can buy this very handy piece on the Vintage Airsoft Etsy page For a very reasonable price.

If you like this idea, find us on Facebook for more related content. If you have an idea of your own you would like to see made, do drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss.

ASG Sten-Safety catch

Add-on kits, Products, Sten, Sub Machine-guns, WWII

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First things first, the new operating handle. Although the one provided with the ASG Sten is close enough to correct, I preferred the small, rounded operating knob as it is less likely to catch on clothing. For this build it is perfectly possible to use the original handle.

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In order to make the gun ‘safe’, the operating handle is pulled a little further back than the regular ‘cocked’ position. It is then pushed up into the lug above the channel where it usually runs when firing. On the real steel Sten, this simply stops the bolt from being able to reciprocate and therefore ‘safe’. In reality this was a far from perfect system and these guns still had a reputation for going off when dropped.

As this is an AEG, this safety mechanism uses a microswitch to control current flow.

SAFE:

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The operating handle will be oil blacked for use, but it wouldn’t have shown up for the photos here to demonstrate so I left it unfinished.

 

If you liked the look of this, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or find us on Facebook. Don’t forget you can follow the blog and get updates straight to your email inbox!

Sten pistol grip

Add-on kits, Products, Sten, Sub Machine-guns, WWII

At some point in the Sten’s history, someone must have thought: “This thing is too long, and too easy to handle. Let’s make it shorter and really hard to handle!”

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So they stuck a pistol grip where the buttstock should go and created the iconic shape of the gun (apparently) used by Commandos and Resistance fighters all over Europe.

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So of course I had to make a replica for the Airsoft ASG Sten. This piece is custom-made for Airsoft Stens. It does require the use of LiPo batteries in the receiver as there is no space to hide it in the grip itself.

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The unit is steel and is forged and welded. The piece shown has been oil finished but it can be left plain or painted.

The price is £40, posted within the UK.

Want one? Drop us a line at enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com. Also, have a look at our new PRODUCTS page to see more finished products.

Sten suppressor model for Sten MkIIs or MkVs

Add-on kits, Products, Sten, Sub Machine-guns, Suppressed, WWII

A chap on the British WWII airsoft forum asked if anyone had made a suppressor for their Sten, so I obliged to do a post on my prototype silencer!

As with all my Sten kits (released and in development), I wanted to make this a temporary attachment that could be removed when not wanted.

So, how did I make this?

One piece of 40mm OD (Outside Diameter) mild steel pipe makes up the body of the suppressor, nothing fancy about this at all! Inside this prototype there are two square pieces of plywood with holes through the centre.

These slide over the outer barrel of the Sten and fit very snugly indeed. This makes for a very solid silencer as it has all of the strength of the inner barrel to support it.

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The end cap is a piece of ash, cut to rough shape. I heated a spare section of 40mm tube and used it to cauterise the rough cut cap into shape. Now I have the lathe of course I’d just turn it on that! A little epoxy will secure it in place.

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As the weight of the suppressor is taken by the outer barrel, all that is needed to keep it in place is a retaining screw. I used the screw hole that the heat guard uses on the standard ASG Sten.

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A small piece of brass flat bar bridges the gap, obviously this could also be steel.

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Once the canvas heat cover is on, it camouflages this admittedly unsightly joint!

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On this prototype I’ve just stitched the buttonholes roughly, I’ll be putting in some brass eyelets when I have bought a punching kit!

One thing to bear in mind with this conversion, it is aesthetic ONLY. In no way will this quieten your AEG down as most of the sound is created in the motor and doesn’t really travel down the barrel.

The finish is a combination of enamel paint and matte lacquer so that the metal and wood parts match up.

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The production version of this will differ in a few ways:

1. The end cap will be entirely turned on a lathe for shaping

2. The barrel supports will either be plastic or turned round so that they fill the entirety of the barrel

3. The heat shield will have brass eyelets instead of sewn ones

Production versions will be around £50, a post will be forthcoming on completion of the first model! If you fancy a version of this, do drop us a line on: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com!

Sten loop stock prototype

Add-on kits, Products, Sten, Sub Machine-guns, Weapons, WWII

I got a chance to test my loop stock prototype at the WWII game at Combat South this month, I needed something a bit more comfortable than the T-stock (and frankly better looking!). I took some photos before I had chance to clean the gun after use.

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This prototype is made of flat bar mild steel, I’m working on a way to source and bend some C/U section steel but if it isn’t possible the flat steel doesn’t look bad and is easily stiff enough for use.

As ever, skirmishability comes tied with authenticity on the priority scale. I have provided a plastic brown clip to take the standard stick battery which is concealed in a canvas ‘sock’.

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Although painting the connectors black makes the battery arrangement less visible, I plan to conceal the wires/connectors a bit better in a production version as they are a little unsightly. The problem is that the battery wires are actually a little too long but I will find a solution!

For production I will probably leave the canvas sock plain and allow people to colour them to match webbing or uniform as desired.

As ever, if this post has given you an idea for a project do drop me (Dom) a line on the usual email address: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com.

Introducing the Sten MkV

Add-on kits, Products, Sten, Sub Machine-guns, WWII

I am pleased to present the Sten MkV conversion kit, designed to be used on the ASG/AGM Sten MKII. Shown in this video is the prototype, the production version will feature some minor variations.

This kit allows the user to have a Sten MkV when it suits them, while allowing for them to swap back to the more widespread MKII for games where this kit would not be suitable (such as certain WWII games). Bearing this in mind, this kit allows for use of the same type of stick batteries used in the T-stocks that come as standard, meaning that there is no need to buy an entirely new battery setup in order to run the LiPos that most purpose-made MkVs require. The battery compartment is also easily accessible from the rear unlike on most airsoft Stens, allowing for a quick and simple battery change in the field.

Metal parts of this are steel, except for the fore-grip band, which is copper. Metal finishes are a mixture of black enamel/metal lacquer and oil blacking. This guarantees a finish that closely resembles the standard finish on the rest of the Sten where the surfaces are next to one-another. Oil blacking is used on surfaces that are subject to high tolerances and high levels of contact, such as the buttplate which would otherwise be rubbed shiny in no time at all.

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Price as of December 2014 is £120.

Kits are made to order, so there will be a slight delay between order and dispatch, which you will be advised of upon ordering. If you have any specific requests/alternative finishes please do let us know. All products are Made in England.

For orders and questions:

enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com