FG42: First production model: In pictures

Battle Rifles, Custom builds, FG42, Products, Weapons, WWII

Airsoft replica of the WWII German battle rifle used by Paratroop units. The Fallshirmjägergewehr 42 was designed to give paratroops more firepower than their the standard rifles and SMGs as well as giving them a small enough package to jump with rather than having to drop them separately in a canister.

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This airsoft version is based on a later pattern, with only full automatic functionality. Semi-automatic functionality may be achieved with the addition of a mosfet or rate of fire control unit. 

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The bipod locks up and down solidly with knurled thumbscrews, as does the foresight unit. 

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This will come with a rubber bayonet, modified from a MAS36 but which maintains the look of the original.

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This replica takes standard TM/CYMA M14 magazines for ease of procurement, inserted in reverse. The version customers will receive will also have a false fire selector that is missing in this picture.

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The charging handle can move, the current design is not sprung but I hope to fix this in future versions.

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I have been asked a few times if I will be producing an early pattern FG42. Within a few months I will be producing a conversion kit with additional parts to make it into an early pattern for those who want it.

 

You can see the build process for this here and order the FG42 and many of our other items through Etsy.*

For large items like this, payments in instalments are welcome. Please get in touch to arrange.

*At present Etsy are being awkward about selling replica firearms. Please get in touch directly on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to place your order

FG42: First production model: Improvements

Battle Rifles, Complete builds, Custom builds, FG42, Weapons, WWII

First things first, a locking system for the bipod. It flopped around a lot on the pre-production version so I have added locking lugs. This should hold it in both deployed and carry positions.

The new receiver and trigger group. The shape has been changed significantly, losing the fore-end entirely which allows for a much stronger wood fore-stock. The back has been extended to fill out the buttstock and support it fully.

The pistol grip has also changed to fit the new grips I am making.

I bought in some repro grips from the US and modified them with polymorph to fill in the air gap and make them really solid.

I then made rubber moulds of these modified grips and poured copies.

The new magazine well is a big improvement. It locks up very tightly on the magazine.

I have modified the Sten barrel to fit an extension. The gas port is welded directly onto the receiver.

The new foregrip in place. This is much more solid than the first version and will have a correct-looking curve across the top.

I sanded down the woodwork and stained it. Finishing it with hardwax oil.

I then cut a slot matching that in the receiver up into the gas tube for the operating handle in order to allow it to move.

Some of the new parts having their first coat of paint. I’m looking into 3D printed versions of some of these, but need to test out the strength of the parts.

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In position on the gun. 

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The bipod locked down, so far, so good!

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The new gas tube cover.

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There are a few other small changes, but this article covers the vast majority. I hope to have the first  production model completed this week!

 

If this build is of interest to you, please 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.

FG42 Pre-production prototype complete

Battle Rifles, Complete builds, Custom builds, FG42, Weapons, WWII

Long-awaited by many, the pre-production FG42 is now finished!

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This airsoft model was designed with a number of considerations in mind:

  1. It should be relatively affordable. Obviously work like this is expensive but the price should be kept as low as possible.
  2. It should use standardised airsoft parts as far as possible to allow for upgrade and tech work to be carried out with relative simplicity if/when it must be carried out.
  3. It should use standard magazines. Airsoft guns with dedicated mags for a relatively niche audience become unusable if the magazine malfunctions or breaks.
  4. It should have features as authentic as possible to the original.

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After several years of work, this prototype which roughly shows what the end product will be like. This is NOT the finished product, there are a number of design and manufacture differences that will be implemented in future models:

  • The pistol grips will be replaced with a design that is both easier to make and more authentic
  • Gas port detailing will be improved
  • The forestock will be re-designed: So that the operating handle will move and the shape of the woodwork will be improved
  • Bipod: locking mechanism to improve stability when in use
  • Add turf spike to bipod
  • Improve case deflector
  • Improve aesthetic of rear sight
  • Improve access to hop adjustment
  • I hope to produce a bayonet for it in time (such use as it may be!)

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There are a number of positive features of this design which I shall be retaining however:

  • The base gun is an AEG airsoft Sten, taking upgrades for this model and having its excellent hop-up
  • The magazines are standard, unmodified M14 midcaps
  • Both fore and rear sight fold down for transport
  • The rear sight adjusts for elevation just like the original, you can see a video of a prototype here
  • The construction is, as far as possible, steel. The woodwork is laminate, like the originals (so far as I can gather)

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If you are interested in 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.

 

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

FG42: Part 6

Battle Rifles, FG42, Weapons, WWII

Through all this section I am working in the background on the furniture, staining and varnishing it for use. This is literally watching paint try so I will just give you an intermediate shot of the process rather than bore you with a step-by-step!

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There aren’t any good photos of the bipod in progress, each fold was handmade in the vise with a few different hammers and other tools until each was at the right angle. For a production version, these will probably be made with a press if I find a supplier who can do this.

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And folded away! This should really look the part when painted up and the furniture is in place.
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Next, shaping the grips. I used polymorph plastic coloured with acrylic paint as a base colour. These are just a rough first pass, they will be re-shaped with a heat gun to get a smoother finish.

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After a bit of work with the heat gun and some tools, the finish is now quite smooth, providing a good base for etching in the chequering.

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I oil backed the rear sight for a really wear-resistant finish. As with previous versions, this adjusts just like the original.
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On the lathe, I turned the muzzle brake in plastic. When this is finished I shall produce a mould to cast more from as it is quite a complex piece.

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I made a mould and took a casting from it. This has been painted up to look like metal!

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And this slots onto the gun! Oh yes, I have now oil finished the foresight unit and bipod, which should resist the wear and tear that will inevitably affect these parts better than paint.

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Pretty much all there at last! Just a few last details to finish off…

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Completed pictures to follow.

 

If you are interested in 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.

 

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

FG42: Part 5

Battle Rifles, Custom builds, FG42, Weapons, WWII

Since the last post, I have attached the new magazine well, it’s not looking pretty yet but is feeding from the magazine! At this stage function> appearance, though it’s not long before it looks right and actually works.

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My second model bipod legs, these are much thinner and lighter than the first attempt but are the same basic shape. However on completion I found that they interfered with the barrel. Not a problem though, a new design is due from the laser cutters any day now.

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The bipod mounting unit and foresight unit is going to be one part.

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The foresight mounting block, which incorporates the bayonet mount, barrel lug and front sling mount.
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Roughly cleaned up, this will get some attention from the scotch brite pads before finishing.

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And in place on the barrel, the foresight can be folded down for transport. The screw will be replaced with a knurled head screw to lock it in place.

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Next, I secured the buttstock in place. A piece of polymorph prevents the wobble of this piece, I plan to make a front cover to hide the gaps. On the production version I will tweak the design to sit closer to the receiver naturally.2

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At the front end, the fore-stock has been screwed into position around the cocking handle. This one has been welded into position, in time I hope to produce a version that has a moving cocking handle but at present this is where the battery goes.

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So finally we can now see the overall format of the FG42! The sling is from Zib-Militaria, it is effectively identical to an MG34 sling. The metal parts look as though they have been painted while still rusty so I won’t be providing these to customers.

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Not far off now!

  • Details like the selector switch, pistol grips
  • Stain and varnish the woodwork
  • Flash suppressor
  • Gas tube/battery compartment cover

And of course overall paintwork etc…!

All that to come in the next instalment.

If you are interested in 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.

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

FG42: Part 4

Battle Rifles, Custom builds, FG42, Weapons, WWII

The next important step In making the FG42 was the furniture. The prototype served its purpose but it was time to get something that was a better shape. I took the outside shape and created a series of layered profiles that could be glued together. These were then laser cut in plywood.

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I put two pilot holes in the backs to line them up, using M4 screws. Then put each layer down in order with a thin coat of wood glue and clamped it.

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The two halves could then be glued together. Here’s a picture of the new next to the old, as you can see the shape is much improved and the sling swivel mount is present in the new version.

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For the fore-end, much the same procedure was followed, I’m concerned about the strength of this part as there are some very thin joints so this may have to change for production. Nevertheless, the original was fragile so maybe this is authentic!

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I took the worst of the edges off with the draw knife, but it was quite difficult due to the perpendicular grain.

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In the end, I switched to the drill mounted sanding drums, which dealt with the cross grain far better and gave a relatively smooth finish. A quick going over with sandpaper by hand will clean this up nicely.

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Not looking too shabby though I say so myself! A bit of wood stain and some kind of epoxy outer should finish this off nicely when it is sanded down. The next step is to make the new magwell and create the bipod!

 

If you are interested in 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.

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

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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

2016: What to expect:

Era

Well, the first year for Vintage Airsoft is over. We’ve come a long way and learned a lot!

The next year has a lot more to offer. We’ll be finishing off a couple of projects from 2015 before working on the next few builds, but there’s a lot to be excited about!

Anti-tank airsoft weapons are currently… well there’s no way of avoiding it: dire. We’re hoping to improve on what is available over the next twelve months…
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Yes, we are STILL working on a decent bolt-action rifle. We are getting there with it though! If you want to help with this build we are selling off a deactivated Arisaka T99 on behalf of a client. Let us know if you are interested on the email address at the bottom of the post.

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We also hope to do more history and firearms development articles on the blog. Although we have covered a handful of major historical events, most history and firearms content is on our Facebook page. We’ll try and get more content up here as well.

Hopefully we will find a suitable platform for selling our wares so that you can access them more easily, eBay and Co. don’t do so well on these things so if you are a seller who would like to sell on our products let us know.

Now, the big message.

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We want to make gun shaped stuff, but we need YOUR help to do it. If you like the stuff we make, let us know! Maybe even buy it! The more we sell, the more guns we can make. If you can’t buy it just yet, share us everywhere people may be interested.

And always feel free to drop us an email on: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to ask a question, give feedback or just for a general chat. We love to hear from you.

Thanks for everything in 2015, here’s to another!