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

 

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.

 

 

Mad Mondays: 8. The first modern repeaters.

History, Mad Mondays

Although there were a few early attempts at creating repeating firearms, there was a huge breakthrough in 1836 with the Colt Paterson.

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This revolver was the first use of the single-action, where the firearm was cocked and the cylinder rotated and indexed automatically. This was aided by the introduction of the percussion cap, which vastly simplifies delivering an ignition charge to a main charge of powder compared to a flintlock. 

So, what did this mean for firearms? Well, all of a sudden in order to take a second shot all you had to do was lift your thumb, grab the hammer and pull it back, then squeeze the trigger. In a world where nearly every gun available to people required you to ram a powder and ball down the muzzle with some force, prime a pan and then take aim and fire, this was a massive increase in firepower. Especially as the operator of this new revolver could follow up their first two shots with another three.

Admittedly, this came at a bit of a cost. The first revolvers were perfectly good, until they broke. Unit armourers did not have the expertise, nor the parts available to repair broken Patersons. As a result once a Paterson broke, it was unserviceable. To the soldiers of the time, this gave the impression that they were fragile. Whether or not this is fair, the result was that although these were adopted for military use, they did not see widespread adoption.14554256_3

Fortunately, the Republic of Texas liked the look of Colt’s revolving firearms well enough that they bought around 400 pistols, shotguns and rifles for their Navy. Although this service didn’t last long in itself, when the Texan Navy was disbanded these revolvers were surplussed off and ended up in the hands of the Texas Rangers. With them, the Paterson saw extensive use against the Comanche during the Texas-Indian wars, finding a great deal of favour among the rangers.

 

Such was their preference for this over every other firearm available, that Zachary Taylor, Commander US-Mexico Border at the time, sent Samuel Walker (formerly of the Texas Rangers, now serving with the US Mounted Rifles) to New York to have  Samuel Colt make a few changes to the Paterson to make it more suited to battle and cavalry use in particular.

Unfortunately, Colt was out of business. Sales had not been good enough to keep his company afloat and it had closed down. However this significant military contract was lucrative enough to allow him to undertake the design work and contract Eli Whitney to manufacture the new revolvers.

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This new model was named the Walker Colt, it featured: six shots, a simpler loading system (including a built-in ramrod) and at .44 and .454 cal were big enough to fell a man or horse with one shot, important not only for combat but also dispatching wounded animals safely.

This still wasn’t perfect, with the built-in ramrod prone to deploying under recoil, preventing the efficient cycling of the gun, though many fixed this in the field with a piece of rawhide to tie it up into place! However, the firepower this offered was outstanding and a real man-killer.

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We’ve now jumped ahead by following this line, so in the next article we shall take a step back and look at the first adoptions of percussion weapons by militaries, before looking once again at the development of repeating firearms.

 

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You can find other articles on the development of firearms overall here and on historical interest pieces here.

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Mad Mondays: 7 The percussion cap and the not-quites

History, Mad Mondays

In the last post, we looked at some fantastic examples of early revolvers, such as the Collier.

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The percussion cap was not a direct development from flintlocks, fulminates were discovered by Edward Charles Howard in 1800 and were initially used as a replacement for priming powder in a similar fashion to a flintlock (mixed with some other components). As well as being more reliable to fire, there was no cloud of smoke rising from the frizzen, giving a clear view right up until the moment the bullet left the barrel.

The first patent awarded for the percussion cap was to François Prélat in 1818, though there is a great deal of controversy over who actually invented it, with Joshua Shaw claiming to have invented it in 1814 (US patented in 1822). Other claimants include: Joseph Manton, Colonel Peter Hawker and Joseph Egg.

With the invention of the percussion cap, the format of the revolver could start to take its modern form, with one action operating each cylinder independently one after another. Before we get there however, there were a few alternatives that floated about in the early days. It took about 30 years before the percussion cap came into common military use in spite of its obvious advantages, as a result there were a few interesting civilian developments first, deciding how best to use it.

Some very early percussion guns used a frizzen-type system, with a hopper of caps that dropped one cap into the firing tray as the cylinder was rotated. However it was much more common to attach a cap to each chamber. Much simpler, much less likely to go wrong.

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One format was the turret rifle/pistol, this had a disk with chambers drilled around the circumference, each loaded with a charge and ball. Now, the eagle eyed among you will notice something about this.

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Each chamber is pointing in a different direction. 360 degrees of different directions, including back at the shooter. Now, with an unsealed cylinder there is a certain amount of uncontrolled flame around the chamber as you fire and there is a very small chance of a ‘chainfire’ occurring, where said fire jumps from one chamber to another, setting several other chambers off out of alignment.42cal-brass-pistol-right

So, if this unlikely event did happen, you could potentially shoot your target, followed in very quick succession by yourself. Although the design makes this occurrence incredibly unlikely, it seems that competitors to this design encouraged this urban myth to spread.

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Another option that never really caught on was the Harmonica gun. Instead of a cylinder, you had a square bar, drilled at regular intervals for chambers, with a percussion cap nipple usually located on the top, which could then be stuck by the firearm’s hammer.

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You’ll not find many of these about, those that were made as rifles aren’t too bad, but they make a pistol quite a bulky business, a bit too much so for a convenient carry piece. One famous maker (arguably the only famous maker) and the apparent designer of Harmoinca guns was Jonathan Browning. How on earth he had time to design and build guns among producing 24 children is a mystery to me, but he still managed to be the father of the John Moses Browning. 

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If you don’t know who he is, we’ll get to him much later on. He’s kind of important to modern firearms.

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You can find other articles on the development of firearms overall here and on historical interest pieces here.

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Airsoft Welrod: Part 1

Cold War, Custom builds, pistol, Suppressed, Weapons, Welrod, WWII

Our long-term readers may remember a long time ago an introduction to the Welrod.

 

While the initial project was for an airsoft model, it ended up being an inert replica for the client in question. Well, the Welrod is back for another attempt at the quietest airsoft pistol around!

The base gun for this is a double-action non blow back CO2 pistol. For those of you who like the internals of guns here is a picture!

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In order to keep things simple (K.I.S.S. or Keep It Simple, Stupid is my motto), I’m keeping as much of the frame as possible as it does a good job of holding the internals and designing a new frame… well suffice to say that life is short. The red coloured areas will be removed over the course of the build.

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The donor with several of the red panels cut away on one side. I actually quite like the slightly steampunk aesthetic of being able to see some of the internals.

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The receiver in progress, the first step is to cut out a recess for the donor.

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Which, with both halves now matching, fits in very nicely. Inside the tube is a buffer that holds the front of the barrel and stops the mainspring. In theory this could be adjustable to make the barrel unit strike the valve harder/softer to control FPS. I’m not sure at this stage how feasible this would be though.

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The front cap and back cap, freshly turned on the lathe! Both parts are in mild steel so will match the rest of the receiver nicely when all finished. The dip around the muzzle is to disperse the muzzle blast more effectively when used at point-blank range. Which it often had to be as accuracy was pretty appalling with the original!

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A close-up of the back end.

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The next stage is to make the trigger guard and housing unit, then modify the pistol grip.

 

If you would like to discuss commissioning a gun of your own or want to see more content like this,feel free to drop us an email at: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or join us on Facebook!

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P04 Navy Luger: Complete

Complete builds, Custom builds, Era, Imperial Era, Luger P04, pistol, Products, Weapons, WWI, WWII

Some pictures of the completed build! It’s not 100%, I think I will re-visit the rear sight at some point in the future and improve on the shape a little.

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With the exception of the areas left in the white, there is a thin coat of paint over the whole pistol in a dark blue, to try and simulate the blued effect of the original. It is quite successful, though the dream is to have an all steel model that is correctly blued!

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The text is slightly highlighted with off-white paint to improve visibility as well as authenticity.

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The original magazine plugs of the era were wooden, sadly this can’t be achieved with this model but I have painted them to give some of the effect for now until I can find a solution.

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And the DWM mark on the toggle lock. I need to find a way to fill this more effectively with paint, for some reason the usual technique isn’t working so well but the etching itself was satisfying!
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If this post has inspired you to want a gun of your own, drop us an email at: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or join us on Facebook!

You can also buy many of our finished products in our Etsy store.

 

To see the whole of this build from the start, you can see it here.

P04 Navy Luger: Part 2

Custom builds, Imperial Era, Luger P04, pistol, Weapons, WWI, WWII

When testing the Luger the first time round I found a few issues with certain features. The barrel’s paint job wasn’t ideal, I just did a quick spray job to make it usable at the time. I could have re-done it with several coats and lacquer but decided instead that Oil finishing was the way to go. I cleaned the barrel, heated the piece and dropped it in the oil tank.

(If you want to see how oil finishing works, you can check out this article here).

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Also, the single screw holding the rear sight came loose under recoil after about half a day’s play so I added a second screw and loctite to keep it tight and in place.

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A second day’s testing and it’s ready to have the finishing touches added!

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A few last bits of paint…

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Finished photographs to follow soon.

If this post has inspired you to want a gun of your own, drop us an email at: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or join us on Facebook!

You can also buy many of our finished products in our Etsy store.

 

 

P04 Navy Luger: Part 1

Custom builds, Era, Luger P04, pistol, Weapons, WWI, WWII

Just to remind you, this is how the KWC P08 Luger starts out life! All black with minimal markings.

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As I wanted a usable gun ASAP, my first modifications were internal. Using the ‘shot in the back test’, I determined that it was shooting much too hot for a pistol (at a guess  400fps plus with .25s). I trimmed approximately 8mm off the mainspring to make the hammer strike much softer.

While in there, I modified the hop. This gun has a fixed hop and in its natural state is very over-hopped. A dremmel tool took it down to the level it needed to be. The gun now fires at 309fps.

The next step and first aesthetic change, is the grips. These came in brown bakelite or walnut normally so two a red/brown mix of acrylic paints were used, followed by a spray-on varnish to protect them during use. To create the inconsistent, almost dappled effect I mixed small amounts of paint at a time so that it was not a consistent colour all the way across. If you want to do one thing to improve your replica Luger this is the best you can do! In the long term I plan to make walnut grips for it.

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The next external improvement is the barrel. The P08 has a 4″ barrel, the P04 has a 6″ barrel. This piece is turned from black mild steel round bar on the lathe, inside has to be drilled to several different diameters to make it function with the internal parts. For now I am keeping the original barrel but there is scope to upgrade and lengthen the barrel.

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With the inside fitting snugly, I could check the action operated properly. In the picture below you can see the old and new barrels side by side.

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I could then weld on the foresight unit, which itself was hand-made and welded together in advance.

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And cleaned up and back on the gun.

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The rear sight is also very different. For the P08, a simple flat bar with a V-notch is used, the P04 however uses a large, finned tangent style sight.
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So the sight has to go!

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This makes space for the new rear sight unit, which is fixed rather than adjustable. In the longer term I would like to replace this with an adjustable one as per the originals.

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It’s held onto the toggle with a screw. If this proves insufficient I’ll add in a second screw.

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In context on the gun.

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Obviously it needs a little bit of cleaning up!

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Moving onto some detail work now, starting with etching the DWM logo onto the toggle. I produced a dxf file of the logo, shrank it down to the correct size and printed it out. Here it is superglued to the toggle.

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I then followed the lines with the etching tool.

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I could then get started on cleaning the paint finish off some of the components that were left in the white on the original gun.

_DSF7594 So far, so good!
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I need to work on getting the logo finished nicely now, but the majority of the work is finished!

 

If this post has inspired you to want a gun of your own, drop us an email at: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or join us on Facebook!

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Webley MkVI Buttstock Complete

Add-on kits, carbine, Complete builds, pistol, Products, Weapons, webley, WWI, WWII

You can see the build post for this product HERE if you’re interested!

This buttstock is strongly based on the model available for the original Webley MkVI.

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The stock is made entirely of steel and real, solid walnut.

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The steel is oil blued and the wood has been finished with danish oil, followed by a protective layer of hardwax oil.

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The only real aesthetic improvement would be to make the remaining standard grip a brass colour, which it was with the original when the buttstock was attached.

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If you would like a stock like this for your own or you have a great idea for an accessory, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or get in touch on Facebook!

You can also buy many of our finished products in our Etsy store.

P-04 Navy ‘Luger’

Custom builds, History, Imperial Era, Luger P04, pistol, Weapons, WWI, WWII

Disclaimer: The Germans never referred to their toggle-locked service pistol as the Luger officially. However in this history of the pistol I will refer to the various models as the Luger as it is far more commonly known by that name today.

The P-08

The most well-known rendition of the Luger pistol is the P-08, adopted by the German Army after extensive trials as a pistol and another version (with an 8″ barrel, removable stock and adjustable tangent sight) was adopted as an artillery carbine. However, this was not the first rendition of a toggle-lock pistol, nor even the first Luger.MIT400-S-F1-H

The Borchardt C-93 was the first use of a toggle-lock, however it was somewhat clunky and quite uncomfortable.

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Georg Luger took this design and made huge improvements to the balance, weight and ergonomics, much to the chagrin of Hugo Borchardt who felt his idea had been ‘stolen’. However the improvements Luger made to this mechanism really made it viable for use as a sidearm.

This was then adopted by the Swiss (who had a reputation of staying ahead of the curve) and four years later by the Imperial German Navy in 1904. This featured a rear sight adjustable to 100 and 200m and a 6″ barrel. This is the rendition in question.

 

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While it is possible to get Lugers in all three German service versions that take green gas, they have a bit of a varied reputation, among which problems include firing full auto on occasion. I’m also a CO2 man myself, I much prefer the stability and reliability of CO2 cartridges.

The KWC Luger P08 will be the donor for this conversion, which will feature a longer barrel, the adjustable rear sight, new grips, lots of extra detailing (including maker’s marks missing on the KWC), some tweaks to the magazine and an overall refinishing. Plus some internal modifications to make it skirmishable as it is firing pretty hot, as my back will testify.

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As the Webley is my main sidearm, I forget sometimes how big it is. KWC’s 1:1 Luger is no midget of a gun, but it is positively tiny in comparison.

I’d like to go into a lot more detail about the history of the toggle-lock and the Luger specifically as it had a long and successful service life as well as entry into a number of trials in countries that nearly adopted the Luger but it’s a broad subject and at the moment building the replicas is what allows me to do this blog rather than the other way around. If you want to see more content along those lines, let me know and I’ll try and write more.

If this piece has interested you, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com or find us on Facebook!