The Sten MkV kit in action

Add-on kits, Customer Reviews, Products, Sten, Sub Machine-guns, Weapons, WWII

Many of VA’s followers are also on the UK WW2 Airsoft forum and will know regular contributor Ken by his handle ‘Kendo’. Ken was one of the first people to buy one of my ready-designed kits and has been using it heavily for well over a year now. I caught up with him recently to get some feedback:

“I was first made aware of Vintage Airsoft’s MkV Sten kit through the WW2 Airsoft forums, perhaps better known to some as ‘Comrades in Arms’. Dom had posted his prototype MkV build, and was looking to put together some more kits for those of us stuck with the perhaps not-entirely-accurate MkII Sten, especially for the many folks like me that portray the iconic late-war British paratroopers!
The idea was inspired: a hand-built, wooden stock, comprising a mounting bracket and pistol grip, that slotted directly onto the receiver of the AGM Sten, replacing the standard T-stock; the kit would be complete with a wooden foregrip that bolted to the Sten barrel shroud, and topped off with a metal front sight that slipped over the outer barrel. As if that wasn’t enough, the wooden stock was hollowed out and wired, meaning the Sten was no longer bound to tiny batteries. All of that for a fraction of the price of a full custom gun, and you could swap back to the old MkII components without any permanent modifications.

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I jumped at the chance, and I’m pleased to say after a solid year of near constant use in all weather, the kit has held up admirably. It’s been dropped, fell on, submerged in nasty bog water, and survived me crashing through foliage in full combat kit, with the only appreciable outcome being a slight looseness at the stock mounting (which was subsequently fixed with the liberal application of B&Q’s finest super glue). I’ve found it to be a very comfortable weapon to hold – a far cry from the plumber’s nightmare that was the MkII – and the battery compartment in the stock is truly a godsend; battery switches can be done in a flicker of the time, and without dismantling the gun to boot.

Now, being a drop-in kit, as it were, all of the pieces are obviously made to be easily installed or removed without modifications to the base gun, and there are some drawbacks to this. The front sight, for example, was initially held on by friction, meaning that knocks and bumps to the gun would frequently misalign it with the rear sight. I also found that the paintwork of the metal band that fits around the barrel shroud would wear away very easily, due to the steel fitting of the sling rubbing against it with use. The nature of the kit also means that certain aspects of the real MkV cannot be replicated – the rear pistol grip sits further back, most tellingly, although this is a small price to pay in my opinion.

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The front sight issue can be easily solved: boring and tapping a small hole through the underside, then using a pointed screw to tighten it against the outer barrel of the Sten would help immensely. Indeed, the user could go one step further and drill a shallow hole into the outer barrel itself for the tip of the screw, which would eliminate the front sight shifting altogether, and with minimal modification to the base gun.
The barrel band, meanwhile, I would most certainly improve by chemical or oil blacking, rather than painting. This will allow it to resist the worst of the wearing the sling attachment subjects it to, and means I won’t have to keep repainting the bloody thing!

I have been let down by certain individuals in this line of work in the past – sometimes criminally so. I am very pleased to report that my experience with both individual and product in this case has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s safe to say I have put the MkV kit through its paces from day one, and it has rarely let me down, with Dom always on hand with troubleshooting should I need it.
Truly though, in a hobby dominated by yet more M4 derivatives and Multicam FAST helmets, nothing beats attacking an objective in full British airborne kit with a proper MkV Sten in your hands. I have Vintage Airsoft to thank for that that one.”

 

I have reproduced Kendo’s full review here, unedited for full disclosure! Feedback like this is really appreciated and we’ll be improving our product accordingly by oil blacking the foregrip band and tapping the foresight mounting. This sort of feedback can only be gained after the sort of heavy use Kendo has subjected it to!

 

You can buy our Sten MkV kit and many other items from our Etsy store.

 

A big thanks to Syfer Airsoft Photography for use of their fantastic photographs. Check out their page for great kit and action photos.

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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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T100/40. Note massive bayonet lug and bipod.

 

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

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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!

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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.

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

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

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And brazing the muzzle brake:

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

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

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

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

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But eventually it is there.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.
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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.

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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.

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

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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.
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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?