Vz. 24: Complete

Complete builds, Custom builds, Inter-War (1918-1939), Products, Rifles, Vz.24, Weapons, WWII

The Vz.24, VSR base. Like the K98k builds, this was destined to be a pretty gun.

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This build has used a lot of original parts, which really adds to the air of authenticity.

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The straight bolt handle and cut back top guard is reminiscent of the very early Vz series.

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The rear sight is 3D printed, as needs must to fit the VSR base.

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It is adjustable for elevation, underneath the sight leaf is the TDC hop adjustment.

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The Mauser back cap and locking block are almost identical to the K98k model.

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The opposite side, where you can see the alternative sling arrangement. Rather unusually for the era, this rifle has several sling mounting options that allow the rifle to be shoulder or back slung fairly comfortably.

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The middle band is original, a rather pleasing feature. The lower swivel was surprisingly tricky to find.

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The wrist swivel. An unusual location, but fine so long as you’re not left handed.

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This rifle was started while I was still using my MkI steel VSR magwells. As a result, it still has this model. Future versions will use my MkII magwell.

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The buttplate, which interestingly is interchangeable with the G98.

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If you like this build you can see the rest of the project here. If you 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.

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Vz.24: Introduction

Inter-War (1918-1939), Rifles, Vz.24, Weapons, WWII

The Vz.24 rifle was produced from 1924 and was part of the generation of universal short rifles that followed the Great War, where long rifles proved unnecessary at best and an inconvenience or danger at worst. The hassle of issuing different arms to different unit types was more hassle than it was worth: the short rifle format as used by the British and US proved its worth up to any expected combat range in the way warfare turned out to be fought, with the extra length of the long rifle no longer needed for fighting in line. 

Czechs1939

Czech soldiers on exercise in 1939.

The Czechs had been using a domestically produced version of the G98 previously with a few of their own preferred tweaks, but presumably wanted something handier and lighter.

The Vz.24 was originally produced in 7.92 Mauser (8mm Mauser to most people), but were also produced in calibers to suit users other than just the Czech military (it was originally manufactured for) which were many: China, Spain, nearly a dozen Latin American countries, Iran, Romania and even Germany.

photo ecuador officers 1924

Ecuadorian Officers in the 1920s with their pristine Vz.24s. Ecuador was one of many Latin American countries to adopt this rifle.

After Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, Brno’s production was turned to German use. A version of the Vz.24 was produced for the occupiers (renamed the G24(t)) with some small modifications, until the production line was turned over to K98k production.

SS Vz 24 in training

SS training with a Vz24. These rifles were mainly second line use but the SS, being outside of the normal military procurement system, seem to have ended up with them. 

The G24(t), the Germanised version of the Vz.24, features some nods to the K98k; including the disassembly tool in the butt and the alternate sling arrangement, with the deletion of the wrist-mounted swivel.
 

G24t-tiltI have a VSR-based Vz.24 in the works at the moment for a customer. It’s using an original stock and as many original parts as possible.

 

You will be able to see the build process here as it is published.

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.

Vz. 24: Build 1

Inter-War (1918-1939), Rifles, Vz.24, Weapons, WWII

The printed parts for this arrived first. The design is based on the K98k I produced previously. 27710779_10156349726138623_307322835_o

The main difference is in the back of the sight, different in shape and in the profile of the notch. The sight base is less the scope mount on the K98k.

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The bolt back cap is the same as the other Mausers. Shown here is a bent bolt handle, though I’ll be fitting this rifle with a straight one as per the early Vz24s.

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At the front end, I’m using a short section of tube as a place holder for the full length barrel I’ll be putting in later. The top guard has to be custom made to accommodate the VSR and will be quite thin when finished to try and keep the shape as close as possible.

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The rear sight base screws into place and should be reasonably solid, given its being surrounded by wood.

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The wood around it had to be lowered slightly to give access to the sight. I’ll shape the wood around it.

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The foresight, 3D printed and then cast in resin from a silicone mould. The barrel crown holds the front of the inner barrel.

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With the addition of the faux cleaning rod this build is coming together very nicely!

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The next step is to make modifications to the receiver to make it look right, plus a few details like the wrist sling mount and buttplate.

If you are interested in this project you can see the introduction here. If you 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.

 

Creating an impression: British Infantry, Temperate Climates 1969-1985

Cold War, Creating an impression

First things first, this uniform is an approximation for airsoft purposes, it’s still a working progress (as any impression should be). It is absolutely not the typical British soldier in several respects, which I will detail.

My reason for putting this load out together was to have something which complimented my M16A1, which really didn’t work well with my WWII British Battledress and 37 Pattern Webbing. I’ll refer to the M16 from this point on as ‘Armalite’, as this was how it was largely referred to by the British at this time.

Also, there is no magazine in the rifle. I know this, I was in the safe zone, hence no magazine in the gun!

Research

Contrary to expectation, British forces have used the Armalite rifle since pretty early on. While the Self-Loading Rifle (SLR)* is the iconic British service rifle of the Cold War, there have been roles where the Armalite has been used as an alternative. These fall into two categories:

  1. Where a lighter rifle with lighter ammunition is required
  2. Where select fire is needed to provide automatic fire where a light machine gun would be unsuitable

The majority of the former situation applied only really to Special Forces units, the SAS, SBS and Pathfinders for example. I’ll do these as separate impressions as there are many variations between operations.

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The latter situation applied in a couple of places, Northern Ireland and the Falklands. Although not in every case, some units were given an Armalite for every ‘brick’ (which was the term used for a group of around four men). This was typically carried by the section commander as a little extra firepower, one supposes as an upgrade on the Sterling SMG, which by all accounts was not popular.

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Northern Ireland, as a Corporal, this chap was probably in charge of a brick, hence the Armalite.

The picture above is pretty typical of urban Northern Ireland in the 1970s, at a later date I shall came back and do this load out as well.

Although Trousers, Lightweight (plain, Olive Drab/OD and DPM 68 pattern smocks were commonly mixed, soldiers also wore matching 68 Ptn Jackets and Trousers, along with mashups including but not limited to: wooly knitted pullovers, trops (tropical issue trousers), flak jackets, private purchase para smocks, not to mention an assortment of water and wind proofs.

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Lieut. General Sir Harry Tuzo, GOC Northern Ireland, (centre) with a Military Police escort in Newry.

Headgear varied depending on the conditions. Berets were common headgear, comfortable and fairly warm. When patrolling through streets on peacekeeping operations these were seen as more ‘normal’ and approachable than a steel helmet, and certainly more comfortable to wear for prolonged periods.

Steel helmets were often worn with nets and heavily scrimmed, as you can see below, however they were worn without scrim during riots,  replaced with a visor.

BRITISH ARMED FORCES IN GERMANY 1945 - 1975

On the feet and ankles, DMS (Direct Moulded Sole) boots were the norm, though private purchase boots were sometimes worn. DMS boots were just to the ankle, so puttees were worn as extra support and theoretically sealing boots against dirt ingress (apparently this is effective against sand). During Second World War, puttees were largely replaced with anklet gaiters, which were much quicker to put on and take off and did not require careful tying. For reasons best know to the higher-ups, after the war the army went back to puttees.

 

*For those outside the UK, you would better recognise the SLR as the FN-FAL, though locked to semi-automatic only.

 

The Impression

This is an approximation for an infantryman not in a frontline role where combat was imminently expected.

On my head, I have a black beret with General Service Corps badge. This is sufficient for now until I decide what regiment to portray. If I wanted to add camouflage to this, loosely folding a scrim scarf over it to cover the colour and break up the outline is historically valid.

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The General Service shirt should, for other ranks, be worn over the collar of the combat jacket.

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The webbing setup is a light belt kit, as used in Northern Ireland where patrols were not usually longer than a day and threats were within a fairly limited scope. This belt did have a First Field Dressing (FFD) attached with electrical tape for fast access near the buckle. Most of this is 58 pattern, with a few exceptions.

The pouches visible in the photo below are from left to right: Left ammunition pouch (with loops for bayonet), compass pouch, 37 pattern ammunition pouch and holster for .455 Webley (this is of course not standard issue, but when running a sniper rifle in airsoft it is  good manners to carry a sidearm). This will be replaced in time with a Browning Hi-power and suitable 58 pattern holster. On the right is a later-issue S6 gas mask bag. When skirmishing I use this to carry my scrim scarf as a gas attack is unlikely, and it is more comfortable to fall on than an S6.

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The trousers are the 68 pattern type. Until you have worn these, it’s not obvious to someone who is used to more modern equipment why ‘lightweights’ were so named. These are more closely related to the Battledress trousers of the last war than to modern issue, they are very thick and heavy, supported by braces and high-waisted. An FFD pocket is stitched on the front like battledress.

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The TRF is a fictitious one, just to complete the look. Under this are corporal stripes that came with the jacket.

In use, this setup is very comfortable in cool, wet conditions. When moving through thick brush and thorns, the jacket and trousers provide very good protection. Even running around quite a lot, I found the clothing breathable and fast drying. I’m yet to try it on a hot day.

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Personally, I am quite fond of the puttees. They provide a little extra support, even with the high-ankle boots. However the trousers do pull out easily, though this may just be that they are on the short side.

With the webbing, it is quick to get magazines out but hard to close in a hurry. I’m producing a set of reproduction M16 pouches to play with to see if they are an improvement.

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Equipment and sources

Most of this equipment is not available as reproduction.

Webbing

In the UK, it is easy to find sets of 58 pattern webbing for next to nothing. Not so long ago people struggled to give it away, but now you can buy sets online easily for £10-25 in worn condition. Silvermans usually has some, and if you want them in brand new they have those too… at a price. They also have some rare trials versions produced in nylon, which was one attempt to make it more suitable for use in NBC warfare.

If you shop around on eBay and collectors groups, you may find it for less.

 

Berets

Berets used in the 60s-80s are much more like modern berets than those used in WWII. A modern one is pretty close, though if you can find a beret with a slightly large crown it’ll look better. With cap badges, make sure they are for a unit/regiment that existed, there have been many amalgamations since the end of WWII.

Helmet

If you wish to wear a helmet, the MkIV turtle helmet is your best option. You can find them in various conditions from £25-40. A helmet net and scrim is used for anything outside of fighting in built up areas.

Puttees

For puttees you want the short, ankle type rather than the long, knee-length ones. You can find these on eBay for £10-15 a pair. If you are buying used ones, make sure the ribbons you tie them with are intact. They should be about 70cm long ideally.

Boots

DMS boots are easily had, for £15-20 used if you shop around. If you want to buy new, Soldier of Fortune have them for £40.

Clothing

GS shirts are available very cheaply, even the most expensive used ones are £7 or so in the UK. At Varusteleka they had some selling for £3 each a while ago. If you can’t find some for some reason, you can also legitimately use ‘Shirt, man’s, combat’ (known as the Hairy Mary), which is a green wool collared shirt. Itchy as buggery, but warm. Nice when you get used to it.

Some soldiers also replaced their issued shirts with US-made ones.

The 68 Pattern outer layers will be the most difficult to find. Looking on eBay will be your best bet, expect to pay £15-30 for trousers and about the same for a jacket. Absolutely DO NOT FORGET to buy a pair of braces. Grey elastic and leather braces as issued can be found for £5-10. Beware of retailers selling items as 68 Pattern when they are not, later patterns of DPM are darker and with chunkier splotches. You can avoid wasted funds by comparing the offerings to the patterns on Camopedia.

Scrim scarves of this era are two-coloured, a sort of weak green-black or green-brown, almost blue-tinted. They are found on eBay, Web-Tex make a good version.

Weapons

Your options for a typical British Soldier are reasonably broad for this era.

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The SLR

Ares produce an L1A1 SLR replica which I’ve heard many good things about. You can get it with a wood stock for early impressions and it comes with black plastic as standard.

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The Armalite

There are of course countless AEG M16A1s that would be suitable and endlessly modifiable. My M16 is a WE gas blow-back, with modified nozzle to remove the locking lugs (which cause no end of problems) and flat hop.

The Sterling

If you want a sub-machine gun, the Sterling was widely used by those in support and command roles. It was also widely detested. Airsoft versions seem to have a custom gearbox so be prepared to modify standard parts for repairs.

The L42A1

 

This was the standard sniper rifle of the Army from 1970, taking over from the No.4 (T). It was a re-chambered No.4 to 7.62 with a new magazine and the No. 32 scope modified for the new cartridge. You can see the progress of the L42A1 being made here at VA.

Side-arms

Side-arms were not issued as standard to British forces, they were for support, command and special forces types. However for Airsoft it’s considered good manners to carry a side-arm if you have a rifle running above 350fps. You can carry a Browning Hi-power in a 58 pattern holster or a revolver as I have. Privately purchased pistols were carried, though frowned upon, bans being enforced more or less depending on circumstances.

 

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