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.

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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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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!

 

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.