Lanchester MkI*: Complete

Complete builds, Custom builds, Lanchester, Products, Sub Machine-guns, Weapons, WWII

So, the Lanchester is finished! And I am in love, though I say so myself.

_DSF9334

Details, the new magazine well closely resembles the original and is an improvement on the Sten original. I have brazed the mag catch head so that when it wears it looks brassy.

_DSF9335

The foresight and bayonet lug. This should take a rubber SMLE bayonet if the owner decides to do so!

_DSF9336

The trigger is set back, the pull is a little unusual but not bad.

_DSF9337

The buttplate, steel, though a brass SMLE buttplate could be substituted in here.

_DSF9338

The rear locking lug is just for looks on this. A hinge is quite hard to do but may be doable in the future. For now you can remove the lock and back cap to replace the battery. Unfortunately the wrist of this stock is too slim to drill through to a larger battery compartment in the buttstock.

_DSF9339

 

You can check out the build process for this gun here.

 

If you like this build, you may like to take a look at where it came from, the MP18 and its extended family.

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog or join us on Facebook for more! You can buy some of our ready-made products on Etsy. You can also email to enquire about custom or special builds on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com.

 

P.S.: If anyone wants a Lanchester with this awesome period tac-light please DO get in touch. 

Fighting_in_the_Dark._2_January_1943,_Liverpool,_the_Navy's_Lanchester_Gun_Fitted_With_Illumination_Attachment_For_Night_Operation._A13831

FG42: First production model: In pictures

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

Airsoft replica of the WWII German battle rifle used by Paratroop units. The Fallshirmjägergewehr 42 was designed to give paratroops more firepower than their the standard rifles and SMGs as well as giving them a small enough package to jump with rather than having to drop them separately in a canister.

_DSC5984

This airsoft version is based on a later pattern, with only full automatic functionality. Semi-automatic functionality may be achieved with the addition of a mosfet or rate of fire control unit. 

_DSC5990

The bipod locks up and down solidly with knurled thumbscrews, as does the foresight unit. 

_DSC5993

This will come with a rubber bayonet, modified from a MAS36 but which maintains the look of the original.

_DSC5994

This replica takes standard TM/CYMA M14 magazines for ease of procurement, inserted in reverse. The version customers will receive will also have a false fire selector that is missing in this picture.

_DSC6004

The charging handle can move, the current design is not sprung but I hope to fix this in future versions.

_DSC6005

I have been asked a few times if I will be producing an early pattern FG42. Within a few months I will be producing a conversion kit with additional parts to make it into an early pattern for those who want it.

 

You can see the build process for this here and order the FG42 and many of our other items through Etsy.*

For large items like this, payments in instalments are welcome. Please get in touch to arrange.

*At present Etsy are being awkward about selling replica firearms. Please get in touch directly on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to place your order

FG42: First production model: Improvements

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

First things first, a locking system for the bipod. It flopped around a lot on the pre-production version so I have added locking lugs. This should hold it in both deployed and carry positions.

The new receiver and trigger group. The shape has been changed significantly, losing the fore-end entirely which allows for a much stronger wood fore-stock. The back has been extended to fill out the buttstock and support it fully.

The pistol grip has also changed to fit the new grips I am making.

I bought in some repro grips from the US and modified them with polymorph to fill in the air gap and make them really solid.

I then made rubber moulds of these modified grips and poured copies.

The new magazine well is a big improvement. It locks up very tightly on the magazine.

I have modified the Sten barrel to fit an extension. The gas port is welded directly onto the receiver.

The new foregrip in place. This is much more solid than the first version and will have a correct-looking curve across the top.

I sanded down the woodwork and stained it. Finishing it with hardwax oil.

I then cut a slot matching that in the receiver up into the gas tube for the operating handle in order to allow it to move.

Some of the new parts having their first coat of paint. I’m looking into 3D printed versions of some of these, but need to test out the strength of the parts.

_DSF8940

In position on the gun. 

20170328_200027

The bipod locked down, so far, so good!

20170328_200210

The new gas tube cover.

20170328_200228

There are a few other small changes, but this article covers the vast majority. I hope to have the first  production model completed this week!

 

If this build is of interest to you, please get in touch at: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com or join us on our Facebook page. Don’t forget you can buy our complete products via Etsy.

The Webley review

Customer Reviews, Imperial Era, pistol, Weapons, webley, WWI, WWII

I thought it was about time that I took a look at the new Well Webley. Having owned a Wingun for some time and having seen the incredibly low price point of the Well I had to see what it was like.

_dsf8560

First impressions:

Side by side, these two guns look very similar in shape. It’s clear that the Well is a plain clone of the Wingun, differing in a few small details, other than the obvious differing finish. Although the Wingun is available in a black finish, I’ve never had one to compare to this.

_dsf8563

The Well finish is thick, when you first get it it needs breaking in a bit to make the action smooth both in the hammer, trigger and break-action.

The Well lacks the detail of trademarks, but in use these are not things you will realistically notice. It does however have some seamlines which would need filing off for the optimal aesthetics.

Weight-wise they are very similar, with similar heft and balance. On the scales, there is only 10g between them. It is quite clear that the Well is a direct clone on the basis of this. Aside from the finish and trades, the only clear identifier of the Well is the screw that controls the cylinder lock. This is a Phillips head rather than a flat head. I have no idea why they chose to do this as they use flat head screws elsewhere.

 

The shells appear to be interchangeable (however see below for more detail on this), I can drop Wingun and Well shells into each revolver with both cycling absolutely fine. The Wingun shells are better fitted and finished, with the heads of the Well shells being a little more rough and a little softer. The Wingun shells also have ‘Webley .455’ written on the back, which may seem to make them more authentic at first glance, this is disregarding the diameter of the shells being .38.

_dsf8512 _dsf8511

In terms of feel, both are pretty much identical. The Wingun is perhaps a little smoother, but to be fair it has seen heavy use ever since I bought it, meaning any rough edges have long since worn off. The break action is slightly easier on the Wingun, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. I have had this revolver open on me in the field: resulting in either spilt shells or a delay while I close it in order to fire. The Well appears to have a little nodule on the action lock which gives a slightly more positive lock-up.

The Well, on first opening the revolver, had a very loose fitting cylinder. The cylinder lock does not work like the original (which is very well replicated on the Wingun), but appears to be entirely reliant on the two screws that hold the locking piece itself. These were initially far too loose, meaning that the locking piece did not grip the cylinder. On tightening, the cylinder no longer fell out, however it became unreliable to cycle in double action. Loosening the cylinder lock slightly allowed the cylinder to remain locked in place and cycle fairly reliably.

The auto eject works well on both guns. The Well is perhaps a little heavier, but again this could be due to wear on the older Wingun. The barrels, on all airsoft revolvers I have experience of, move forwards and backwards with an attachment that interfaces with the cylinder to provide a seal and reduce gas loss. On the Wingun, this is aluminium. On the Well it is some kind of rubber. I’m yet to see if it actually makes any difference in wear over time but it does seem to make single action use slightly heavier for the Well. Not so much that you would notice in anything other than a precision shooting environment, which these replicas are really not designed for.

On the note of precision, the Well has a feature the Wingun is seriously lacking. The Well comes with a fixed hop pre-installed in the barrel. Although it is not a majorly difficult feat to install a fixed hop using either the o-ring method or a flat hop, it is nice to be saved a job, especially given it would not have been a difficult thing for the original manufacturers to do.

Testing

Conditions of testing:

Chronoing and accuracy testing will be with .25g BBs. The Wingun is not in stock configuration, it has had an o-ring hop added. The temperature outside hovered around 1 degree Centigrade. It was probably colder in the workshop.

 

Time for the fun bit. Firstly, I loaded a new CO2 cartridge into each gun, fired off 12 shots from each to take the edge off (good practice when you are shooting at people!) and loaded the shells. I started with the manufacturer provided shells, then shot some of the Vintage Airsoft single and shot shells

The results were… interesting and somewhat unexpected. To the point where I will probably retest at a later date. It was VERY cold in the workshop which will account for some of the results but not the inconsistency.

screen-shot-2017-01-22-at-16-42-42

After firing off a couple of batches of shells it felt like the Well was low on power, so I put it aside to run the same tests on the Wingun. When I finished two Wingun tests, I picked the Well up to continue testing and it was back up to strength. Interestingly it seems like the Well suffered from cooldown much more than the Wingun, which considering their build is near-identical is surprising.

Accuracy:


Accuracy tested at 5m, obviously you will generally be further than this. I may come back and do further testing on this at a later date.

On these Huns head targets, the bull is 30mm, the second ring is 70mm.

The Well:

well

The Wingun:

wingun

In this test, the Wingun produced a significantly smaller group. In fact the first Well group was largely not on the paper. Further testing is definitely required.

Notes on use:

The extractor of the Wingun is a a bit more positive. The Well sometimes fits the shells and sometimes does not. It seems random as to when it does or does not, I presume this is due to cylinder movement as described in the first part of this review.
It is hard to see the spacing issue with the VA shells due to their being white, in the picture below you can see that the rims sit proud of the cylinder. It’s no more than a millimetre but it prevents rotation and even lockup.

_dsf8539

How it should look:

_dsf8542

Also, when loading the CO2, the Well grip panel did not click back into place easily. I had to bend the spring clip a few times to try and get the correct angle for it to fit into the lock and hold the grip in place properly.

Another issue I had with the Well was that it did not always cycle reliably, the hand would push the cylinder but not push it all the way around somehow.

 

After using the Well for a bit, this happened:

_dsf8545

The extractor snapped. Hence having to come back later.

Summary

In summary… if these revolver were the same price, from my experience of these two samples, I would say the Wingun edges it. It is more consistently reliable and hasn’t broken in my extensive use of it whereas the Well example I have broke in the testing phase.

The Well does have a more positive lockup, which is nice. Also the ready-fitted hop is a good thing, though when firing the shot shells it appeared to have very similarly tight groupings to the Wingun with its o-ring hop.

So the difficult bit is that they are not the same price point. The Well is, at the time of writing, 1/3rd of the price of the Wingun (on a good day). It is hard to say that you should spend so much more even when out of the box reliability is such an issue.

 

I am sure that the Well could be made reliable, but it will require time and effort. The Wingun is a pick up and play gun with minimal maintenance required to keep it going.

 

If this content interests you, subscribe to the blog or join us on Facebook. Don’t forget you can buy some of our ready-made products on Etsy, including our own Webley shells.

Revolvers, giving you hop. Colt Single Action Army stripping.

Imperial Era, pistol, Weapons

Our willing volunteer to have a hop added is this gorgeous blued Colt Single Action Army.

_dsf8383

First step, remove the side plate.

_dsf8385

Then take out the spring and the hand (the part which pushes the cylinder round).

_dsf8386

You can then pull out the centre pin and the drum.

_dsf8387

There is a pin at the top of the barrel in the frame, push this out with a punch and a second pin that holds the ejector unit in place.

_dsf8388

With both of these removed you can take the barrel off.

_dsf8389

You can then slide the inner barrel out. At this point get out the o-ring and round needle file. The o-ring should be 1-2mm thick.

_dsf8391

Then, start working on the barrel. Keep the channel the file produces on one side, by the time you work through to the inside you want about 3-4mm of the circumference removed from the inside. You may wish to give yourself a little extra space on the outside to hold the o-ring. Use a very sharp knife to cut the rubber roughly to size.

_dsf8392

Once in situ, use the knife again to chamfer the edges of the o-ring so that it sits fairly flat against the barrel. There should be minimal space between the rubber and the barrel to preserve the gas seal. Through the barrel you should see just a flat, small line of rubber across the top. It doesn’t need to be much, just enough to catch the BB as it passes. If you can’t see it, file away a little more but go slowly, you can’t add material back on.

_dsf8393

Use the collar at the back of the barrel to hold the o-ring in place. Check inside the barrel to make sure the o-ring hasn’t slipped in. It should be firmly wedged in place by the collar, depending on the pistol you may wish to seal it with electrical tape or PTFE.

Some pistols have a locating lug on this collar, which keeps the barrel oriented in a specific way. This gun does not, but if yours does then make sure the hop window is oriented correctly to the top.

_dsf8394

Put it back in place, make sure the hop window is at the top.

_dsf8395

Re-assemble the gun, there aren’t really any specific tips to put the SAA back together. While you have it open however, oil the moving parts with a little light oil (3-in-1 is perfect) and if you haven’t a CO2 cartridge in, put silicone oil into the cartridge pin and on the seal. Revolvers don’t need a lot of maintenance, but a bit of oil every now and then keeps them going nicely.

 

If you are so inclined, you could use a flat file and install a flat hop instead, though this fixed hop is quite adequate. 

 

If you found this article of interest, consider subscribing to the blog, or join us on Facebook. Don’t forget you can buy some of our ready-made products on Etsy.

FG42 Pre-production prototype complete

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

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

_dsc5936

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.

_dsc5946

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!)

_dsc5947

_dsc5951

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)

_dsc5957

_dsc5958

 

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!

_dsf8189

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.

_dsf8219

And folded away! This should really look the part when painted up and the furniture is in place.
_dsf8221

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.

_dsf8236

_dsf8237

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.

_dsf8268

I oil backed the rear sight for a really wear-resistant finish. As with previous versions, this adjusts just like the original.
_dsf8239

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.

_dsf8241

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

_dsf8271

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.

_dsf8272

 

_dsf8273

 

_dsf8275

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

_dsf8286

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.

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.

_dsf7989

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.

_dsf7979

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

_dsf7988

The foresight mounting block, which incorporates the bayonet mount, barrel lug and front sling mount.
_dsf7995

Roughly cleaned up, this will get some attention from the scotch brite pads before finishing.

_dsf8041

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.

_dsf8042

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

_dsf8126

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.

_dsf8128

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.

_dsf8135

_dsf8136 _dsf8137

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.

FG42: Part 4

Battle Rifles, Custom builds, FG42, Weapons, WWII

The next important step In making the FG42 was the furniture. The prototype served its purpose but it was time to get something that was a better shape. I took the outside shape and created a series of layered profiles that could be glued together. These were then laser cut in plywood.

_DSF7892

I put two pilot holes in the backs to line them up, using M4 screws. Then put each layer down in order with a thin coat of wood glue and clamped it.

_DSF7894

The two halves could then be glued together. Here’s a picture of the new next to the old, as you can see the shape is much improved and the sling swivel mount is present in the new version.

_DSF7896

 

20160812_193453

For the fore-end, much the same procedure was followed, I’m concerned about the strength of this part as there are some very thin joints so this may have to change for production. Nevertheless, the original was fragile so maybe this is authentic!

_DSF7905

I took the worst of the edges off with the draw knife, but it was quite difficult due to the perpendicular grain.

_DSF7969

In the end, I switched to the drill mounted sanding drums, which dealt with the cross grain far better and gave a relatively smooth finish. A quick going over with sandpaper by hand will clean this up nicely.

_DSF7970 _DSF7973 _DSF7972

Not looking too shabby though I say so myself! A bit of wood stain and some kind of epoxy outer should finish this off nicely when it is sanded down. The next step is to make the new magwell and create the bipod!

 

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 3

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

The FG42 is finally coming together and starting to look like an FG42. The rough woodwork is together, this will be upgraded to birch ply on the production version, with a few adjustments to improve authenticity such as vents in the foregrip, the buttstock will be one piece including the back (left open on this test part).

_DSF7645

The foresight, folding like the rear sight. The original was locked into place with a spring and detent, this one uses a screw that holds it solidly in position. Below it is the mounting that attaches to the barrel, below that is the bayonet lug.

_DSF7647 _DSF7648

 

This is now at the stage where I can build the first production model as soon as I have a willing client to fund it! This will obviously be far more detailed, with better shaping for the timber and with much better consideration for ease of use in the field.

_DSF7651

 

The bipod is on the way and if I have enough money left over for development this month I will order the new woodwork.

 

Very much looking forward to getting this finished!

 

If you would like to be involved in the development of this gun, do drop me a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or follow us on Facebook.

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