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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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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.