Japanese T89 ‘knee’ mortar

Area effect, Area-effect, Complete builds, Custom builds, Inter-War (1918-1939), T89 'Knee' Mortar, Weapons, WWII

I was recently given this replica T89 mortar replica to convert to fire TAGS. I hope someday to make my own from scratch with a bit more detailing and moving parts.

_DSF8460 copy

The first step is to fit a firing pin. This is quite simple, I tapped two disks and threaded them onto a bolt to create a stable unit. This can be pushed down to the bottom of the barrel.

_DSF8462

The shells are steel tubes with custom-made caps. This is the prototype, there is a second hole in the production versions to allow quick refiling of the TAGs. The bottom plate is held on by spring pressure.

_DSF8463

There are two rows of spacers. The bottom one keeps the shell centred in the barrel, the top, thicker row allows the user to line up the shell before dropping it into the barrel for firing.

_DSF8464

The completed shells.

_DSF8681

I’ll be taking lessons learned from this design to apply to my other mortars and heavy weapons. I’ll also be offering these quickfill shells as an alternative to the standard 2″ mortar shells I’m providing with the SMBL mortar.

 

If you want a mortar of your own, please do 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 Battle of Guadalcanal

Game write-up, WWII

Those who follow Vintage Airsoft on the Facebook page will know I attended the 34th Infantry’s WWII Pacific game last week at Fireball Squadron. I thought I would give a little writeup on the day as these games really summarise what WWII airsoft games are all about for me.

13701037_1556731174634764_6917937850205247728_o

The game format that the 34th run is based on missions. Each squad has to accomplish as many of these as they can, they choose which missions they do when. As a result, friendly and opposing teams are tracking across the field randomly, never knowing exactly where everyone else is. As a result, you can go for an hour not seeing another squad, then have a solid half-hour contact with both enemy squads!

13724076_1556730941301454_7532353967394876524_o

This randomness means you never know exactly when or where a firefight will be. You may lay an ambush carefully, wait for 20 minutes and the enemy is as likely to appear behind you as where you wanted them to be!

13710665_1556732057968009_1035743645650927127_o

For my part, I played Japanese. Our squad had a very quiet morning, only the one contact. We spent a lot of time patrolling the field, achieving lots of objectives. We came close a few times, with the US Marines clearly operating at the next set of buildings or defensive lines, but held our fire in order to complete our missions13765724_1556732241301324_3409418459314172379_o

The missions varied, there were several where we had to sabotage various facilities, placing bombs to ‘destroy’ targets. The loud bangs sometimes drew in the enemy, so it was wise to bug out as quickly as possible.

There were also search and destroy missions, where you had to simply go out and get kills from enemy squads as well as supply runs or treasure retrieval.

13717289_1556732331301315_7476387656128870935_o

For me, the highlight of the day was a Banzai charge. The squad got as close as we could to a Marine squad without being spotted, as soon as they saw us and started to fire, most of us jumped into a sprint, yelling and screaming “BANZAIIIIIIII!!!!” at the top of our voices. I went in with the Luger, firing off a magazine as I charged. About 15m away from the Americans, I copped two shots in the torso and went down. One of the great things about the format is that instead of shouting ‘Hit!’, raising a hand and walking away, you scream out and ‘die’, as dramatically as possible. This is disconcerting for people who have never seen it before but it does add to the immersion value. Once you get into it, it is also quite fun in its own right. It certainly makes taking a hit more enjoyable.

13719516_1556731347968080_3182840814547442745_o

If not all your squad are killed in a contact, there are two bandages per player that allow you to be medic’d back into the game twice. One prolonged contact in the afternoon, all my squad around me had been wounded and I was on my last Sten magazine. I ended up having to do a dance of death with my opponents, shooting and moving position, waiting for them to move up to a place where I could land my shots on them. At a crossroads in the path around which this contact happened, three of my team were lying injured, with one of the enemy.

Fortunately I had a good view of this and when people came up the path I was able to jump out with the Luger and emptied a magazine at them, taking them down. I pulled back for a bit and waited again. A Marine came back from further ahead to try and medic one of his teammates back into the game and I shot him with a short burst from the Sten. At that point enough of the Marines were out of action for me to feel comfortable healing my own teammates. Three healed, we started to pull back to our HQ, leaving the Marine squad ‘dead’ at the crossroads.

13724879_1556732327967982_3394278286955255478_o

There were also a lot of contacts where our squad got slaughtered, quickly or otherwise! One mission was to achieve two confirmed kills, we set up an excellent ambush at a checkpoint with lots of hard cover. As the US troops came into view,crossing the road about 20m away I opened fire with the Sten. Unfortunately, it turned out that both Marine squads were together at this point, resulting in our being flanked from the back, right and killed to a man!

13735656_1556731771301371_6594056660192709137_o

The sheer unpredictability of this style of game is what makes it so attractive. You have to be on the ball constantly, there is no doss period as you make your way to the start point of a mission, as soon as you leave your HQ you are fair game! You may be contacted before you reach your objective, while you are carrying out the mission or on your way back. The enemy can come from any direction, at any time. There are quiet periods, but that makes you appreciate the fight even more when it does come.

 

If you are able to make it to a game with the 34th Infantry I highly recommend it. You can find them at Fireball Squadron, near Sutton Coldfield.

 

Photographs are kind courtesy of Pedro @The Airsoft Project.

If you would like to get involved with WWII airsoft in the UK, you can find the WWII airsoft forum here.

P.S.: This rare airsoft beauty featured in the game. A Type 14 Nambu pistol, this is the first I have seen in the flesh. A truly lovely replica, with very good handling characteristics._DSF7665

Lanchester to T100 conversion: Complete

Complete builds, Custom builds, Products, Sub Machine-guns, T100/44, Weapons, WWII

This has been such a good build. A really enjoyable conversion where I could take time shaping a beautiful, authentic stock and assemble some simple fittings to produce a reasonably authentic and very distinctive piece. Another enjoyable aspect was learning about a gun I didn’t know much about before, from a firearms design culture somewhat divorced from what I am used to in the west.

_DSF7260

First picture: The completed T100 with the Lanchester parts it came with (not made by me but a home-build Sten project).

_DSF7254

And a view of the T100. As you can see, this has a new fore-end and a standard Sten magwell.

_DSF7255

Close-up on the front band, on which the foresight post and front sling mount is placed. Underneath the paint the sling mounts have been oil blacked to resist wear for longer.

_DSF7256

The rear sight is not correct for the T100, this came with the Lanchester but would need entirely removing to be more correct. Early T100s came with a laughably small tangent sight at the very back of the receiver tube, but when I make another T100 I will equip it with the later fixed peep sight, which is more suited to such a gun.

_DSF7258

A close-up of the new trigger, guard and the cavalry sling mount.

_DSF7257

_DSF7259

And a final view of the far side of the stock and rear sling swivel. You can also see clearly on this side the join in the stock used by the Japanese to improve material use efficiency.

 

This is clearly not a 100% true replica. In terms of inaccuracies, I have already mentioned the rear sight. Also, the T100 fed from a curved magazine with the magazine housing inclined slightly forward. This is a project for the longer term. The operating handle and the slot it runs in is higher while the ejection port is lower. The overall shape is slightly lower profile but there would be no way of using the Lanchester without massive, irreversible modifications which somewhat defeats the point!

 

For use, I think the gun’s owner will be very please with the ergonomics, coupled with the Sten’s excellent internals it should serve very well.

 

If you like the look of this gun and would like one, or 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.

Lanchester to T100 SMG

Custom builds, Sub Machine-guns, T100/44, Weapons, WWII

History

The T100 SMG was a Japanese sub machine-gun produced during the Second World War. Two versions were made, the earlier T100/40 was excessively complex and quite frankly, a bit useless. Later on in the war the T100/44 was brought in to massively simplify production and produced a faster-firing and much more reliable weapon.

Type_100

T100/40. Note massive bayonet lug and bipod.

 

34667

T100/44. Image courtesy of James D Julia (Maine).

17332661_2

T100/44. Image courtesy of James D Julia (Maine).

The build

This build will be a lookalike gun made for WWII Airsoft games set in the Pacific. The client has supplied me with a home-built Lanchester based on an AGM Sten to work from.

First step is to remove the recess for the action to go. The trigger mechanism housing on the donor gun has been heavily modified already to reduce its bulk which is helpful this!

_DSF7053

Then the rest of the buttstock can be glued on. Most if not all Japanese firearms were made in this way due to material shortages.

_DSF7054

While this is drying, I can get to work on the barrel shroud.

_DSF7055

The template guides where the holes go accurately. All the tubular components together below:

_DSF7056

And brazing the muzzle brake:

_DSF7059

One really nice feature of the T100 as far as manufacturing goes is that all the accessories mounted on the barrel shroud are on this band at the front. This makes it very easy to place everything without wielding the large workpiece.
_DSF7064

Now dry, I can get to work marking out the body of the stock.

_DSF7066 _DSF7067

Which is roughed out on the scroll saw before proceeding with shaping.

_DSF7068

 

_DSF7069

 

_DSF7070

And routing out the slim finger grips at the fore-end.

_DSF7071

Fitting the Lanchester action to the stock is, as always, slow work!

_DSF7078

But eventually it is there.

_DSF7079

Once tightened down with the mounting screw it sits very snugly in the stock. The balance of the gun is set very high due to the action being sat high-up on a slim wooden stock. You can also see the new trigger in its initial stages.

_DSF7080

The new trigger guard in place and recessed into the stock.

_DSF7082

At this point the stock is sanded down, ready for oiling and the buttplate fitted.

_DSF7084

In this photograph you can just about see the join between the two pieces of wood that make up the stock.

_DSF7086

The buttplate is, unconventionally, wooden as well. Attached with two panel pins. Although this seems a bit pointless, the side grain of the wood is less likely to be damaged by grounding the stock than the end grain, which would splay and splinter with repeated exposure.
_DSF7089

After several coats of danish oil followed by a coat of Hardwax oil the stock is looking pretty fine. The join between the two stock pieces is subtle, perhaps a bit too much to be authentic but the oil does boost the contrast in the grain very well and the butt plate shows up nicely.

_DSF7107
_DSF7112

Skipping ahead, the barrel band is welded together. Underneath is the bayonet lug and on the right side is the unusual sling swivel arrangement. The parts of the swivel are oil blacked as they will be worn much more heavily. The rest will be painted as it is quite a large item to try and oil black.

_DSF7238
_DSF7243

The remaining small parts are oil blacked and fitted to the stock.

_DSF7244

On the left of the stock is an unusual sling arrangement which I have reproduced. The position and design is very much in the style of a cavalry carbine. Although this particular sling swivel is non-functional it does rotate much like the original.
_DSF7246

Now it is time for final assembly and fitting, plus a couple of last details. Pictures of the final product to follow!

 

Like this gun? Why not email us on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to find out more. Also, why not check out our Etsy page where we have ready-made kits and accessories?