Sten MkIV: Introduction

Sten MkIV, Sub Machine-guns, Weapons, WWII

The Sten MkIV has very little written on it, so this introduction will be rather short.

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It was an experimental design to make Britain’s Sub machine gun more compact. This has several possible reasons, but the most likely seeming to my eye (lacking access to original documents) is the Airborne theory. A more compact sub-machine gun than the standard Sten MkII and MkII would make sense for airborne troops and this definitely meets that requirement.

This was ultimately met by the Mk5, which could have its buttstock removed and replaced with a blank backplate.

There were two versions of the MkIV, the ‘A’ which had a hand guard style trigger guard (some say to accommodate arctic mittens) and the ‘B’ which has the trigger and pistol grip advanced to halfway down the receiver. This was apparently an improvement but not enough it would seem!

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The reason the MkIV was rejected during trials was that it was ‘uncomfortable to fire’. This does seem a little bit ironic seeing it was designed to replace the ergonomics-violating MkII and MkIIIs, but judging by what was eventually adopted the general effort was towards a significantly better gun comfort wise rather than a slight improvement.

 

The other possibility is that, being much smaller in the body than a ‘normal’ Sten (especially in the barrel) the recoil, muzzle blast or ejection may have been pretty bad. It’s pretty much impossible to say without access to trials reports or getting to fire the (so far as I can tell) only remaining piece at the Royal Armouries. I suspect it will grow legs and walk out before I am allowed to do that however!

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I’ll be making a MkIVa replica based on the example in the Royal Armouries, as a bit of  change of scene from the bolt actions and machine guns I’ve been building a lot lately!

You can see the build and completed item here. You can see more Sten projects here.

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.

P.S.: Bonus photo of a suppressed MkIVa apparently in the NFC, Leeds.

Suppressed Mk 4A(S)Sten - National Firearms Centre, Leeds, UK (Photo by Frank Iannamico)

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State of the Vintage Airsoft 2017 1 of 2

Complete builds, Custom builds

So, the New Year has come round once again. It’s time to look back at the last year’s work and forward to what’s coming in 2018!

 

2017’s top projects

The MG08/15 is FINALLY FINISHED! Hurrah! This thing has been the bane of my life for three years. If something could go wrong, it did go wrong. Several times.

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The Sten MkIV. I’ve not shared the build for this yet as it was a quick side project. This is very fun to use and the ability to make it compact very quickly is a really nice feature.

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The G43 (MkII version!). I know there is some excitement around this, although it’s not a world first by any means, I am very pleased with the end result.

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The Webley snubnose was another side project, starting out life as a Well Webley this is now a useful little sidearm to tuck into my battledress for emergencies!

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The Lee-Enfield No.5 Mk1 ‘Jungle Carbine’. A personal build, quite a few people have asked for them but no-one has committed, so I decided to make one anyway! This is my up close and personal sneaky rifle, with a custom piston and cylinder head to keep noise to a minimum. In that respect rather unlike the original…

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The Pritchard-Greener bayonet has proven very popular. Its novelty value and iconic design is so appealing and I’m sure it will prove popular in Great War Airsoft circles. You can find it on the Etsy store here.

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The K98k VSR conversion is a beauty (though I say so myself). This gun was for a friend of mine, I can see these being a great first conversion job for a rookie airsoft gun builder and I’ll be offering kits to help people do this.

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This LMG25 is I believe a unique airsoft piece. Taking AK magazines, this was built for a contingent of Swiss Border re-enactors so you may see it on the UK show circuit this year.

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I’ve done a few infantry portable artillery bits this year. I did a light version of the SMBL 2″ mortar, ideal for mid-late WWII units, this is one of the more practical mortar designs for regular skirmishing.

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A more sophisticated light mortar was the M2 60mm mortar, this has full elevation and windage control to allow for very precise targeting of enemy positions.

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I converted the D-Boys G98 conversion to VSR, I now use this myself with a Mancraft kit.

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The FG42, probably the second most popular project, only beaten to the top spot by the G43. A lot goes into this build, the details of the folding and adjustable sights, trigger unit and bipod, not to mention the intricate hollow furniture makes this an involved process but with a very satisfying result.

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The Lanchester was probably my favourite customer SMG this year, I’ve been wanting to do one for ages, and would love to see it paired with a Royal Navy Commando load out.

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I’ve also expanded the range of rubber knives this year, including this NR-40, for Russian re-enactors and airsofters.

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Stuff I’ve done that isn’t building guns (directly)

One of my major advances this year is building a furnace in which I can melt aluminium. The next step is to build an oven so that I can heat up and dry out my investment moulds more effectively to get production quality castings.

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I got chance to play American Civil War Airsoft in the latter half of 2017, muzzle loading guns and blatting off three shots per minute is so much more fun than it sounds. I sincerely hope to see more of this in 2018.

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I also jumped forward in time from my usual WWII-era equipment to something a bit more modern. My mid-1970s impressions are developing slowly, with the next major step being to sort a helmet. Then I’ll be covered for most of my Cold War impressions.

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And I finally lost my rag trying to balance my webbing on normal coat hangers. I made a heavy duty, straight backed hanger so that the webbing would stay on it in the wardrobe. 20 minutes well spent preserving my sanity.

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Upcoming in 2018

2018 already has some exciting projects for me. I’ve already got another unusual LMG underway, a couple of rifle builds in the works and I’m hoping to finally have the Welrod done.

I’m also hoping to have a Vintage Airsoft meet up event, once I’ve secured a site I’ll be sharing details here and over at the Facebook page.

 

Wishing you all a happy and interesting 2018,

Dom

 

Sten MkIV: Complete

Complete builds, Products, Sten, Sten MkIV, Sub Machine-guns, Weapons, WWII

The completed Sten MkIV. Perhaps not a looker, but definitely one of the most practical SMGs I have built to date. When folded, this easily fits in a backpack making it a much more portable choice than my usual long rifles.

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The large trigger guard makes it ideal for use with gloves in cold conditions.

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The buttstock when folded also makes a handy foregrip. In CQB this is very practical for when poking round corners.

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When  you want a little more shooting precision, just grab the inner tongue and pull it towards the buttstock.

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You can then unfold the stock and lock it into position at the back.

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This is pretty comfortable in this layout, though I am not sure if recoil would be easy to control. I can see how the flat steel would be uncomfortable for prolonged periods of shooting, but no more so than many of the previous models of Sten gun. Frankly compared to the prolific T-stock this would still be a huge improvement so I don’t understand how this was rejected due to being uncomfortable while shooting.

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If you missed it, you can see the build post for this project here.

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.

Webley MkVI Snubnose revolver

Complete builds, Custom builds, Inter-War (1918-1939), pistol, Weapons, webley, WWI

As this build was a pretty quick one I didn’t take many pictures. It all started with a spare Webley revolver that wasn’t perfect (being the Well model) but I wanted to do something interesting with. So, I marked  a line on the barrel and…

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Chopped it off. Now, there was a bit more to the job than that.

I had to make a new foresight, held in place by two screws. There is a new muzzle, which supports the inner barrel and keeps the barrel return spring in place. The inner barrel had to be shortened and recrowned on the lathe, as well as having the barrel return spring guide cut into it.

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The eagle eyed will also spot that the rear sight/locking bridge has been shortened to make it easier to draw from a concealed holster. Due to the paint finish being damaged in the process of chopping the barrel off, I decided to take it all off. It looks good in silver.

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But it looks better blacked. This is my first attempt with Birchwood Casey’s Aluminium black. It’s pretty good, better than I expected for sure. It was improved massively by a thin coat of silicone oil rubbed into the surface with a dry cloth, bringing it up to a dull shine rather than just a drab finish.

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As you can see, there are a few spots around the muzzle where it hasn’t reacted properly for some reason, but I can touch it up later if I feel the need. To be honest I think it helps give it a bit of a worn look, a snubnose shouldn’t look pristine, they’re a working gun.

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I left the foresight silver. Being steel, I’d need to apply a different finish (oil finishing if I were inclined to do so). However the big silver wedge in my sight picture gives me a nice aiming point even on such a small gun.

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Just some last pics from a couple more angles…

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I’m very much looking forward to using this. I may need a 1920s Gangster or Communist load out for it to look the part. Or just tuck it into my BD jacket for if I get captured.

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If you have enjoyed 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.

To see more Webley related builds such as the carbine conversion, shotgun shells and Pritchard Bayonet take a look here.

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

 

 

Enfield No.5 Mk 1: Complete

Cold War, Complete builds, Custom builds, Lee-Enfield, No. 5 Enfield, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

Well, the No.5 Enfield is complete! And she ain’t a bad looker though I say so myself. Not to mention as far as I know the world’s first Airsoft Enfield No.5.

Let’s talk through her from back to front.

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The buttpad is hard rubber, in an ABS 3D printed cage re-enforced with Polymorph.

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The 3D printed receiver covers the VSR internals for the most part. The trigger is a little square, I’ll probably round it off more for a comfort.

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The rear sight. A bit of tinkering and I may even make it so that I can use the ladder sight for longer range use. For my purposes at present however (a 1 Joule rifle for close, quiet use) the battle sight is just what I need.

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When testing, the windage adjustment in the foresight was very useful. I’ll have to add some elevation adjustment as well as that would come in handy.

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The hop adjustment the most discrete I’ve done on an Enfield yet. That little hole in the top guard is the TDC hop adjustment.

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The magazine well is my standard VSR quick-load magwell. Ideal for the close work I intend to use it for.

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Last but not least, the rear sling bracket. Distinct and unique to the No.5 carbine, this makes an odd pairing with the conventional forward sling swivel. That said I have found it quite comfortable in use, with the gun swinging around less than with conventional swivels.

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If you have enjoyed 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 see the build for this rifle here.

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

 

Enfield No.5 Mk 1 Build: Part 2

Cold War, Custom builds, No. 5 Enfield, Weapons, WWII

Part two starts with the receiver which has been 3D printed. I’m very pleased with the way the markings have come out on this, especially after painting up.

_DSC7433 The rear sight fits in quite well, just needing a little filing down in the mountings for a snug fit.

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Fitted in the stock, the receiver sits in a cutout on the left, the right is concealed in the stock itself.

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It took a little tinkering to get the top guard to fit, but it is now secured under the front of the receiver and at the front by the front band.

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Once I checked all the parts fitted well, I stripped the wood away. I applied my red-brown stain blend that I use for my Sten Mk5 kits. 

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Once this had settled in, I applied a coat of slightly thinned hardwax oil, for a fairly hardwearing semi-gloss finish. 

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Finally, the resin faux magazine is expoxied into place. Once set, I’ll paint it up and she’ll basically be done!

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Pics of the completed rifle to follow soon.

 

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.

 

Enfield No.5 Mk 1, the ‘Jungle Carbine’: Introduction

Cold War, Lee-Enfield, No. 5 Enfield, Weapons, WWII

Mention the No.5 Lee-Enfield rifle and you will always get a reaction. It is one of the most controversial British small arms, beaten only by the SA80 system and the EM-2.

 

 

The idea of the No.5 was to create a shorter, handier and lighter version of the British service rifle, the Enfield No.4. This had already seen some upgrades from its predecessor the No.1 MkIII. Contrary to popular belief, this effort to lighten and shorten the Enfield design was not specifically to aid in jungle fighting (though this was clearly on the Empire’s radar) it was, in fact to provide Airborne troops with a rifle less awkward to carry in the confines of an aircraft.

PARATROOP TRAINING AT NETHERAVON,WILTSHIRE, NOVEMBER 1942

Climbing into a Hotspur glider during training. Although glider design improved on this compact format you can see where the desire for a handier weapon came from.

 

This it certainly achieved, it is around 2lbs (0.9kg) lighter and nearly 5″ (125mm) shorter. Most of this saving was achieved by shortening the barrel, though also through lightening cuts around the receiver to remove excess material and lightened versions of certain components (such as the bolt handle and trigger guard/magwell).

 

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As a result of this shortened barrel, a flash hider was added. The length of the standard rifles meant that most of the .303 cartridge load was effectively used and produced only a (relatively) usable muzzle flash. The No.5 however has a significant muzzle flash, which could be blinding to the shooter in low-light conditions. The flash hider is not actually there to hide the flash from the enemy, it’s to hide it from the user.

 

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As a result of the lightening, perceived recoil is also greater. To counteract this, the designers added a rubber butt-pad in place of the traditional brass or steel plate. A good idea, except that they made it very small, a bulging pad missing out a lot of the butt’s surface area. So that increased perceived recoil was forced into an even smaller part of the shoulder. Thank goodness it was comfy, soft rubber right? Err, well concerns around durability meant that a pretty hard rubber compound was used. Not great at the time and 70 years on they have only grown harder.

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The controversy was that these rifles allegedly suffered from a ‘wondering zero’. This means that once sighted in, the rifle would not hit the same aimed point consistently. This was the reason the War Office gave for discontinuation of No.5 production in 1947, only three years after is was introduced. This makes it one of the only military service rifles to be outlived by its predecessor.

Several aspects of the rifle design have been suggested as causes including:

-The lightening cuts causing the receiver to flex when fired. This could cause headspace issues or inconsistency between shots over time

-The flash hider if fitted incorrectly or damaged may cause gas imbalances around the projectile, allowing shots to wonder of their typical course

 

Modern No.5 MkI owners have been unable to reproduce this wondering zero effect, which makes it look likely that this was only given as an excuse to shift bolt-actions to the rear echelons and give them in aid to allies to speed up introduction of the self-loading rifle that every other major power was adopting or had already.

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Nevertheless, the No.5 saw limited service in Northern Europe, notably during the liberation of Norway, but most of its service life was post WWII, in Korea and Malaya, where they were not only used by British troops but also local forces.

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For an outline on the No.5 MkI, see Ian’s video at Forgotten Weapons.

For some in-depth information, see C&Rsenal’s article on the rifle, including how to spot the many fakes available.

When the build posts go up, you can see the progress here.

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If enjoyed this piece 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 some of our complete products via Etsy

Enfield No.5 Mk 1 Build: Part 1

Cold War, Lee-Enfield, No. 5 Enfield, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

The buttstock I am using for the No.5 is a damaged SMLE stock, as a result I don’t feel guilty about the chopping I’ll be doing to it!

I make the rear band unit in the same way as in all the other Enfield builds: ERW beaten to shape and welded to the trigger guard.

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The No.5 trigger guard/magwell housing is slightly different to the other Enfields, being thinner and lighter. This makes it an even more awkward shape to cut out!

 

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The VSR gets its special parts added. The standard Vintage Airsoft quick-load VSR magazine well and the Enfield trigger that takes the trigger back into the correct location. I’ll also be using the TDC mod for this rifle of course, along with the Enfield bolt mod.

 

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In place in the roughed out stock, the gun already starts to take shape.

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I smooth out the shape and improve it a little. I still have to finish the back end where the receiver fits and around the rear band.

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At the front I need to create space around the outer barrel as it is free floating on the original. The top guard also needs rounding off at the front.

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Working on the receiver now, no standard typeface is quite right for the markings. I find some clear images to work from and create a file I can work from and tidy up in Qcad.

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Once the basics of the typeface have been finished up, I transfer them onto the side of the receiver to be 3D printed.

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I got the muzzle brake/foresight unit 3D printed. As well as looking the part it also holds the inner barrel centred nicely. It’s held in place with two screws that lock it in place through grooves in the top of the barrel.

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The outer barrel is secured in the ‘traditional’ way for my VSR builds.

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I’ll have to spin up the barrel on the lathe to clean it and get a consistent polish, then I can oil finish it which will be nice and wear-resistant.

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Polished up and oil finished, the only problem is the muzzle brake doesn’t look as good now! You will also notice that the inner barrel has been cut down and re-crowned on the lathe by this point.

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At the back end, I start the modifications to the butt.

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The buttpad and cage have been 3D printed and are fitted by hand to the wood.

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I’m fairly pleased with the standard of the fit. The buttpad cage is a little more fragile than I would ideally like so some tinkering may be needed.

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I carved out the recess needed for the sling loop in the buttstock. 

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The assembly so far. The receiver needs fitting, plus there are some finishing bits to do. Inevitably there will be a bunch more things that I can’t think of right now. I am very excited to finish this build and get her in the field!

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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. 

 

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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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

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

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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.

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

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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