G43 AEG Mk2: Complete

Battle Rifles, Complete builds, Custom builds, G43 MkII, G43/K43, Weapons, WWII

I know some people are quite excited about this project so let’s get straight stuck straight in with some pictures!

Left side:

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Right side:

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The 3D printed receiver.

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The rear sight, adjustable for elevation via the leaf. The rear sight adjustment is controlled by the bar across the leaf which is held in place by teeth and spring tension.

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The receiver open. You can now see the finishing touches to the slide, which has been painted up using a mix of acrylics and coarse sand. This simulates the rough cast surfaces left over that were not milled flat as a manufacturing expediency.

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The foresight unit, 3D printed and pinned in place. The blade is adjustable for windage once the hood is removed.

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The barrel is black painted. Production versions of this may be oil blacked, though the fore-end cap will likely be printed rather than metal.

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The magazine well and trigger guard. I may have to beef up the trigger guard in future versions. The magazine release is the small catch between the  magazine and the guard. Although not greatly ergonomic, the original was designed to be fed with stripper clips to be fair.

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A second view.

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The buttstock needs a bit more work for production, but it’s a satisfying result. For production I am going to try and put a sling mounting through it as per the original.

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The buttplate comes off to access the battery compartment.

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A quick view down the gun from the back.

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I’m very pleased with this build I must admit. It looks the part and has a nice heft to it. Of course there have had to be some dimensional changes to fit the airsoft internals, but they aren’t any worse than AEG M1 Garands and without a direct comparison it ought not stand out too much.

Finally WWII airsofters have an option for a rifle that isn’t a K98k or an STG44.

 

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.

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

 

 

G43 AEG Build 2: Part 3

Battle Rifles, G43 MkII, Weapons, WWII

The last leg of the G43 build are the details that will make it really look the part. First up: the rear sight leaf. This is adjustable for elevation, using a spring and teeth that engage on the right side of the leaf.

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At the front, I’ve had a spring 3D printed. This slots into the nose cap provided by the client.

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At the back of the receiver, the new one has the disassembly lever.

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The rear sight in the flesh. It is kept down by the spring in the front of it.

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Eagle eyed viewers will notice that the receiver has changed a bit, there are now two scoops in the side up by the chamber. There are also stronger rails which had proven a little bit weak to stand up to repeated disassembly.

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The rear sight in place on the new receiver. 

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The foresight is pinned in place with two 3mm pins. The foresight blade is adjustable for windage, so with the rear sight elevation adjustable you have a good range of adjustment.

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Although this is now nominally all in place, I need to do some last bits of finishing. Although it is all there there is something missing to give it that ‘X-factor’. I expect it’ll all come together once the painting has been done.

 

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 complete products via Etsy.

 

G43 AEG Build 2: Part 2

Battle Rifles, G43 MkII, G43/K43, Weapons, WWII

The first job for this part of the build was to modify my receiver design to fit the gearbox with comfortable space around it.

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Effectively I added a slither of extra space down the middle to add width.

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Once printed, it all fits quite nicely. The slide moves freely, needing only a slight tweak to put it in place.

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While there isn’t a function to the action opening, it’s one of those things that is nice to have.

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I decided at this stage to get the stock parts recut to improve the shape slightly.

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The action now fits deeper inside  the stock and the receiver needs fitting into the woodwork rather than sitting on top.

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I routed out the top so that the receiver fitted snugly in. As before it hooks onto the back and screws down at the front.

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I routed out the top guard to fit the barrel and marked out cut lines.

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I marked out some of the shape for the top guard at the same time.

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Fitting the front cap provided by the client, the top guard is partly secured in place here and will be at the back as well.

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With this in place, I can rough shape the stock itself. The top and bottom are rounded off for comfort as far back as possible.

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Even at this stage the stock is developing a pattern quite pleasingly similar to the original!

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I welded up a buttplate, the battery compartment needs still more work to fit an original alas.

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With some careful design, the first version of the trigger guard and magwell just slots straight into the stock. Two screws in the front will hold it in place along with two lugs at the back.

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The build is now starting to look distinctly G43-ish.

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The magazine is a snug fit, but the catch engages nicely.

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A little test piece to see what the varnish/stain will do to the woodwork.

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Much of the rest of the work on this is painting and finishing work with just a few details to add.

 

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 complete products via Etsy.

G43 AEG Build 2: Part 1

Battle Rifles, G43 MkII, G43/K43, Weapons, WWII

The aim of this build is twofold. In the previous G43 build it was a conversion from a wood-stocked M14. There were two problems with this:

  1. The M14 stock isn’t quite the right shape
  2. Wood-stocked M14s have become almost completely impossible to find

So as the G43 is one of my most asked-for builds I have finally come up with a solution. Making a stock from scratch is the simplest way to go, this one has taken a bit of time to get right but I now have a design I’m confident of.

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Laser cut from ply, the parts are stuck together one layer at a time.

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Checking the fit, the ‘lightly’ modified M14 action slots in. At this stage my main concern was the motor space as it is snug by necessity for strength.

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Out of the second side, I have to cut a section to fit part of the M14 receiver. This is chiselled out and is invisible from the outside of the rifle.

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In situ, the only part out of place here is the rear-wiring, which would normally live inside the stock. However it needs re-soldering on the motor here and doesn’t go in easily as such. This will be solved easily enough though.

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The second side glued and clamped in place. I’ve put the battery transfer wire through from the battery compartment (in the buttstock) through to the motor housing. 

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The action fits in snugly, and I fit the repro front cap provided by the client.

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Although the donor action looks weirdly bent, that is the shape of an M14 once you strip the receiver bits off. The nozzle goes up into the feed ramp at an angle. It’s weird, but it works.

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The next step is to create the faux receiver. I designed it for 3D printing. It may need a little tweaking to fit around the gearbox.

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My initial design will need a little tweaking to fit around the gearbox mounting but the majority of the work is done.

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I am hoping to have an opening receiver. Although it’ll have no function, it’s one of those touches that is nice to have.

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More of this build coming soon!

 

If you would like to find out some of the history of this rifle, you can see my long-ago written intro to the G43 here.

 

If you enjoyed this article, join us over on Facebook and check out our Etsy store. If you have an idea for a custom build of your own get in touch on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com.

Cz ZB-26-Bren barrel conversion

Bren, Machine-Guns, Weapons, WWII

A regular client of mine recently got himself a ZB-26 LMG to use as a Bren. There are a few differences between these guns, the main one being the barrel. On the Bren it is a smooth surfaced heavy barrel, the ZB-26 has a fanned barrel for faster cooling. I was commissioned to make the changes.

The original plan was to turn down the fans along the whole barrel, however this turned out to be aluminium and I was concerned about the integrity of the finished product.

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As a result I removed the majority of the barrel from the attachment point that fits into the receiver and turned down that part to fit inside a piece of steel tube.

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As so… a very close friction fit.

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Meanwhile at the other end of the steel tube, the flash suppressor and foresight unit fits nicely over the outside diameter. Underneath is the gas block and two holes that run through the top of this, through which drift pins can be pushed to hold the unit in place.

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At this point I realise I have had a dunce moment. Naturally the barrel is slimmer than the ZB-26 barrel as it hasn’t the cooling fins and the handle mount is much too large.

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Fortunately, making a new one is simple enough, the new lug is brazed onto a piece of steel tube that fits around the barrel.

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The old handle is close enough to the original to be used, so a custom bolt allows this to be removed without tools.

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Finally, the gas block adjustment, which controls the gas flow in the original. Grey polymorph fills in the space.

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And all finished! This unit just needs mounting into the Bren gun and it’s good to go.

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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.

G43: Part 6: Complete

Battle Rifles, Complete builds, Custom builds, G43/K43, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

As promised, photographs of the finished G43 build. Remember, this was converted from an M14 AEG, so it isn’t a 100% accurate replica.

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This is shown with the short M14 magazines, the standard M14 magazine is much longer but these are a pretty good stand-in for the original G43 mags.

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Side view of the receiver, showing the scope rail.

_DSF6700And with scope mounted.

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A close-up on the foresight. This wedge sight and full hood should make for fast and easy target acquisition.

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The underside for those interested. Unfortunately due to the location of the battery compartment in this AEG, the classic German sling mounted through the side of the buttstock was unfeasible. As a result I have kept the original sling swivels.

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This project has sparked a lot of interest so this model will be available as a kit and as a complete gun. If this post has inspired you to want a gun of your own, do drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or find us on Facebook. Remember, you can now buy our pre-made kits on Etsy.

G43: Part 5

Battle Rifles, Custom builds, G43/K43, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

The G43 was looking pretty close to finished at the end of the last post:_DSF6312

Since then, I’ve been working on a last few details. Firstly, the scope mount for this client as he wanted to be able to use this rifle as a DMR in modern skirmishing.

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The scope mounts on the rail which was built into every G43 after the first couple of hundred. This mount just slides into position and can be removed and replaced in game. During the the Second World War snipers in most nations were taught to carry their weapons scopeless the majority of the time, carrying the optic in a special protective case, only attaching them when needed. A scope rail like this would allow a sharpshooter to maintain zero through removal and re-attachment.

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I also wanted to work on the iron sights to make them more realistic and user-friendly. The rear sight leaf is adjustable for windage. A piece of folded steel supports the leaf and it is all brazed together. You can see the first stage of the elevation adjustment here as well

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I turned two endcaps for the tube, one of which I drilled and tapped to take a screw. These could be brazed into position.

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I then made a small screw with a knurled thumb nut to lock and unlock the elevation slide into place once the correct elevation was found.

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The unit is now finished for functionality and just needs to be painted up. I’ll add some markings on the elevation slide to make it easier to track movements.

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To help the markings last longer, I cut recesses for them with a fine file. I could then fill the space with off-white paint. I painted the rest of the sights, though I think if I do any more sights like these I will probably oil black them overall and just paint in the details.

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As it’s an airsoft gun, I have left the range markings off, normally a rifle like this would have marking from around 200m to about 1200m. I’ll leave it to the client to mark in ranges that he wants with a chinagraph pencil.

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Finished photographs of the whole gun will be going up in the next post!

This project has sparked a lot of interest so this model will be available as a kit and as a complete gun. If this post has inspired you to want a gun of your own, do drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or find us on Facebook.

G43: Part 4

Add-on kits, Battle Rifles, Custom builds, G43/K43, Weapons, WWII

While skimming the stock to remove the varnish one thin area gave way in the pistol grip. This proved quite difficult to fill as there was no support to speak of underneath.

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Eventually, I managed to fit a piece of shaped wood into the space and affix it with wood glue. To re-enforce it I filled the space with resin. Once sanded and varnished it should disappear fairly quickly.

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I could then varnish the wood all over to seal it.

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I then oil blacked the remaining parts. I’ll be putting together a video on this process very soon.

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The oil blacked receiver in place. You can see the small, irritating gap between the top heat guard and the stock. I have managed to fix it by shaving some of it off in just the right place and adding a brace inside.

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Looking quite close to finished now! I’m tweaking a couple of bits to make it a little more usable and will be testing it soon. I also have to finish the scope mount for this client.

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This project has sparked a lot of interest so this model will be available as a kit. If this post has inspired you to want a gun of your own, do drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or find us on Facebook.