Monday, September 8, 2014

Scratch-built Tiny Machine Gun

The problem with building technicals in micro-armor scale is that there are not a lot of free-standing weapons to use and what there is, you don't necessarily want to use for a technical. For example, I see lot of pictures of technicals armed with the Russian ZPU-4 quad 14.5 mm AA gun. However, there are only two companies that make them, GHQ and Scotia. GHQ's aren't cheap, and to paraphrase another microarmor blog, they are very difficult put together. I have a pack of them, but have yet to put them together for fear of screwing up a $10 model. It was hard enough putting together their beautiful Ontos model with its four recoilless rifles; this challenge looks way too daunting. Scotia's model, on the other hand, is easy to put together, but bit too large. I can see why they made it that way in order to cast it, and it looks passable when on the ground, but I can't see it on the back of a pickup truck:
Scotia ZPU-4 with Northern Chalupistan crew
Included in the GHQ's pack of Toyota pickup trucks were some pedestal-mounted, 7.62mm M-60 looking light machine guns (GHQ Stock # TW6). As an experiment, I decided to make my own light machine gun to attach to one of the little open-topped, Trabant Kuebels that I got from Shapeways.

Step 1: Cut out Gun and Glue to Pedestal
Examining the GHQ guns (sorry, I forgot to take a good picture of them, but you can see them peeking out at the top of the picture below), I could imagine that they were made from very thin sheet styrene.
Using a very thin sheet of styene, I cut out my gun. Unlike the GHQ gun, there is no grip on mine. I couldn't imagine how they were able to either cut that out, or glue one on.  The stock on my gun looks really large, too, but I think my gun looks overall passable:
Gun cut out with car next to it.
Close up of gun with pedestal glued on it.
I then took a 2mm styrene rod at glued it onto the gun with a combo of styrene welding cement and superglue gel. I didn't want to trim it to size until I was ready to put it on the car.

Step 2: Adding a Magazine
I could have left it at that, but I couldn't be outdone by GHQ's fantastic work. With nerves of steel, I then glued a tiny block of styrene onto the gun to make the magazine:
Gun with ammo box attached
Its probably out of scale, but it will do.

Step 3: Glue the Gun to the Car
What could be easier? Unfortunately, it was not the case. Apparently, the material that these 3D printed cars are made out of seems superficially rubbery, but in reality, its brittle. Or, it could be that the primer I used made the material matter. I foolishly thought that I could drill a shallow, little hole behind the two front seats to fit the machinegun in by using my X-Acto knife. This is what resulted:
And this:

The two halves didn't fit back together well. In addition to the two halves, there were a bunch of little shards.  So, there is no point in fixing it. I will probably use it as a bombed out car. I have not yet decided what to use the machine gun for. I have some Mamba South African APC's that could use some fire power, or I might give the Trabant Kuebel another try. I probably will give another go at making light machine guns. I doubt they will look uniform, but I think that with practice, I can make enough to equip more vehicles.


  1. Cue the sad trombone, indeed. Well, it was a valiant effort, and for that I salute you.

  2. Fortunately, I survived the ordeal and am a better man for it!