New rubber melee weapons

BC-41, Cold War, Edged Weapons, Fairbairn-Sykes Knife, NR40, Products, Weapons, WWII

It’s been a while since I did a post about melee weapons, but there are a few items now available in the Etsy shop which may be of interest to followers of the blog.

 

BC-41

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The BC-41 was an early fighting knife adopted by the British Commandos. Inspired by earlier Trench Knives, this is great for an inexperienced knife fighter who can punch and slash and be fairly likely to do some damage.

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It was fairly quickly put aside in favour of the Fairbairn-Sykes design, which was much more flexible in use due to being able to hold it in a variety of ways. Ideal for the experienced and practiced knife fighter, though some would argue of questionable use to the average soldier.

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You can find the BC41 here.

 

Fairbairn-Sykes

The mould for the Second Pattern died a death recently and I reckoned it was time to do something a little different. The new knife is a First Pattern, though at a glance it could easily pass for a Second Pattern.

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As with the previous model, it is stiffened so that it doesn’t flop about. This is aided by a new rubber I am using for thin blades which is slightly harder.

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It has an optional sheath based on the second pattern version to keep costs down, though it should fit in a repro sheath if you already have one.

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You can find the Fairbairn-sykes here.

 

NR40

For the Soviets among you, the NR40 will serve you well for WWII and post-war impressions. Although it has long since been replaced in service, privately procured ones have remained popular with Russian soldiers.

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Once again, this is stiffened and uses the new rubber mentioned above to maintain stiffness on this relatively thin blade. This is cast from a reproduction but should fit in original and repro scabbards.
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The NR40 is here.

 

You can take a look at the Etsy store for these and other interesting and unusual items, but don’t forget to join us over on Facebook where there’s nearly always something interesting going on.

Fairbairn-Sykes Second Pattern selection

Cold War, Edged Weapons, Fairbairn-Sykes Knife, War on Terror, Weapons, WWII

Over the whole production of F-S knives, there was huge variation. Include private purchase and commissioned blades and there are even more. At Vintage Airsoft we are now offering a selection of Second Pattern F-S knife replicas. These have no edge for safe carry as standard but can be sharpened when ordered.

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Handle styles left to right: Mild steel, oil blacked; Brass, oil blacked; Brass, plain.

The handles are available in mild steel and brass, with plans to offer aluminium and stainless steel in the near future.

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The blades are also available in several styles: polished and oil blacked.

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These are marked on the cross guard with a subtle identifying marker.

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And this slightly off-the-wall version, which is a sharpened model with a blued blade and polished brass handle. The handle on this particular one is more in line with the ‘fatman’ knives which were produced for men with larger hands who found the standard grip too small.

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You can buy any of these knives through Etsy, if you want something specific outside of our standard knives then you can drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss.

 

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Kukri- Floppy replica!

Cold War, Edged Weapons, Imperial Era, Kukri, Products, War on Terror, Weapons, WWI, WWII

When showing off the original kukri replica, a good number of people commented that on their airsoft sites don’t allow for solid melee weapons and that they have to be flexible.

The people spoke, we listened! As a result, this foam cast version is now available on our brand new etsy page.

_DSF6362Original resin model bottom, foam above.

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Flexible enough for safe use in the field!

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So, we hope you like it! If you want to buy your own kukri you can do so here.

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The Fairbairn-Sykes Commando Knife Part two

Edged Weapons, Fairbairn-Sykes Knife, Products, WWII

I have been experimenting with making replica Fairbairn-Sykes for quite some time now (since my introductory article here in fact). I was fortunate to find a copy of the original design by Fairbairn himself including dimensions.

My first attempt came out quite well:

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However at the time I did not have all the lathe tools required to finish the workpiece. There are some very fine private purchase knives that have this smooth finish so I shall leave it much as in this image.

I moved onto my next attempts recently after a long hiatus caused by a broken lathe.

I used the same dimensions as before, though achieved a much higher level of accuracy this time.

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I cut two, one in brass, one in steel. This time I was able to drill perfectly central holes all the way through and knurl the outsides. These handles are based on the Second and First pattern knives rather than the more common third pattern, which have deep parallel grooves. As the third pattern would be more work to produce and are readily available I decided to focus on these.

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The blade blank was laser cut (as was the hand guard). I then shaped it with the grinding disk and polishing disks to develop the shape. Finally, several grades of sharpening stones put a smooth finish on it. This blade has not been sharpened and has flat profile edges to make it legal to carry for reenacting. This also means that it is slightly thicker overall which is an advantage later on…

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The handles are oil blacked. Steel is much easier to black than brass due to the recognisable colour changes that are very distinct. However I only had one blade profile so finished the brass handle first.

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The next step is to work on a rubber solution to the very thin blade. Most (all in my experience) rubber F-S knives bend when wielded and this really removes any sense of threat or realism which can ruin immersion in-game.

If you like the look of these blades, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to place an order. We can customise the knife to your preferences and provide them sharpened or unsharpened.

You can also find us on Facebook. Don’t forget to follow the blog and get updates straight to your inbox!

 

Kukri-Replica

Cold War, Edged Weapons, Imperial Era, Kukri, Products, War on Terror, Weapons, WWI, WWII

The first job is to create a mould from which I can make a resin casting.

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Mould making has been quite well covered elsewhere on the net by people much more expert than I so I shan’t go into detail here. I then poured a resin into the cavity which, when hardened produced a hard but semi flexible blade.

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Much like an airfix model, once the flashing is removed it takes shape very quickly. A bit of filing and sanding here and there gets a smooth surface overall. I then sprayed it black as a base coat.

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I then layered up the paints as I would for a plastic model.

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Blue-tack makes a great masking tool, allowing a really clean, sharp edge to certain areas._DSF6342

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After an initial dark brown coat on the handle, I dry brushed a light brown paint over then top to create the impression of the light tropical woods used in older kukris.

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A finishing touch was the varnishes, different types for different parts of the knife to give the correct finish for the materials the paint is impersonating.

I’ll be making a few of these as training knives and airsoft knives. Just email us on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com and join us on Facebook. Don’t forget you can follow the blog and get updates straight to your email inbox!

Kukri- Introduction

Cold War, Edged Weapons, Era, History, Imperial Era, Kukri, Products, War on Terror, Weapons, WWI, WWII

The Rev. J. G. Wood in The Natural History of Man (1870):

“The Goorkha ‘kookery’ is of a very peculiar shape. Both the blade and hilt are curved. The blade is very thick at the back. From the back it is thinned off gradually to the edge, which has a curve of its own, quite different to that of the back, so that the blade is widest as well as thickest in the middle, and tapers at one end towards the hilt and at the other towards the point. The steel of which the blade is formed is of admirable temper, and for the greater part of its surface is burnished like a mirror. The point of the kookery is as sharp as a needle, so that the weapon answers equally for cutting or stabbing. In consequence of the great thickness of the metal, the blade is exceedingly heavy. It may be imagined that a blow from such a weapon as this must be a very terrible one. The very weight of the blade would drive it half through a man’s arm, if it were only allowed to fall from a little height. But the Goorkhas have a mode of striking which resembles the ‘drawing’ cut of the broadsword, and which urges the sharp edge through flesh and bone alike. In the hands of an experienced wielder, this knife is about as formidable a weapon as can be conceived. Like all really good weapons, its efficiency depends much more upon the skill than the strength of the wielder; and thus it happens that the little Goorkha will cut to pieces a gigantic adversary who does not understand his mode of onset. The Goorkha generally strikes upwards with the kookery, possibly in order to avoid wounding himself should his blow fail, and possibly because an upward cut is just the one that can be least guarded against.“Years ago, when we were engaged in the many Indian wars which led at last to our Oriental empire, the Goorkhas proved themselves most formidable enemies, as since they have proved themselves most invaluable allies. Brave as lions, active as monkeys, and fierce as tigers, the lithe, wiry little men came leaping over the ground to the attack, moving so quickly, and keeping so far apart from each other, that musketry was no use against them. When they came near the soldiers, they suddenly crouched to the ground, dived under the bayonets, struck upwards at the men with their kookeries, ripping them open with a single blow, and then, after having done all the mischief in their power, darting off as rapidly as they had come. Until our men learned this mode of attack, they were greatly discomfited by their little opponents, who got under their weapons, cutting or slashing with knives as sharp as razors, and often escaping unhurt from the midst of bayonets. They would also dash under the bellies of the officers’ horses, rip them open with one blow of the kookery, and aim another at the leg of the officer as he and his horse fell together.”

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First things first, I admit I have a bit of an obsession with the kukri. They are really stunning tools as well as formidable weapons. For those unfamiliar with the kukri, they have their origins in Northern India. Here the Goorkhas, a local tribe, dominated their neighbours in battle and forged their own respectable little mountain empire which we would now call Nepal. When the British East India Company came into conflict with these vicious mountain men they learned the hard way what they could do:

“A British officer, armed with a long regulation ‘spit’, ran his sword through a Goorkha. Notwithstanding his agony, the wounded man literally forced his way up to the weapon’s hilt, until he could close with his adversary, cutting him down with his kookri (Nepaul knife) and falling dead beside him.” (Gen. Orfeur Cavenagh, The Native Army in India, 1879.)

As a result of this they made the unusual decision to make peace and ally themselves with the Goorkhas and even employed them as soldiers, considered widely in much higher esteem then the average sepoy (Indian soldier in Colonial pay). Since then they have served British interests loyally up to this day. ‘Ghurkas’ as they are now known also serve in the Indian Army and Shanghai Police.

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Their weapon of choice has always been the Kukri, a complete history of which could take a whole blog, never mind one post. Suffice to say that this blade has been used to pacify Indian mutineers and rioters, Europe in WWI and WWII and in the East against Japan. Even in recent years Gurkhas deployed to Afghanistan have used their Kukris in close quarter combat with the Taliban.

Gurkhas at kit inspection showing kukri in France during World War I[1/4th] Gurkhas at kit inspection showing kukris [Le Sart, France].

I have been experimenting with replica knives for Airsoft and re-enactment purposes for a while now and thought this would make a fun project. More to follow next time…

The Fairbairn-Sykes Commando Knife

Cold War, Edged Weapons, Fairbairn-Sykes Knife, History, Weapons, WWII

The Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife was developed as a joint effort between William Fairbairn, Eric Sykes and John Wilkinson. The two former men of the Shanghai Municipal Police force and British Army the latter of the Wilkinson Sword Company.

I’ll not go too far into the history and development of the knife here as this is adequately covered in other places. A lot of the aspects of the design were carried over from the work of Fairbairn and Sykes on their Shanghai fighting knives-developped during their time with the police there. Each one was handmade and different to the next one.

From top to bottom: Pattern 1 Pattern 2 Pattern 3

From top to bottom:
Pattern 1
Pattern 2
Pattern 3

Fairbairn was experienced in fighting with knives and knife fighting, having been on both ends innumerable times working in Shanghai. From this experience he developed what he called his ‘timetable of death’. I think it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that a man so studious in fighting is best qualified to design a knife so single-minded in its purpose.

Timetable

On their return to Britain, they developed the knife further with the Wilkinson Sword Co. In November 1940, the War Department ordered a small number of knives to be delivered.

Over the next five years of war, Wilkinson produced three patterns of the FS knife for use by British and Allied forces while Fairbairn and Sykes trained them in their use. Royal Marines, Army Commandos, Royal Navy Commandos, the SOE and many others benefitted from their experience.

The knife was so popular it ended up featured on the insignia of Commando Units not only in the UK but in countries all over Northern Europe. It is still in use today worldwide.

 

To read up more on the design of this weapon, I recommend this site, which is overall quite thorough.

For more about the use of knives, this page has some interesting information.