Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nov 19 is "IIlegal Arms Smuggling Day"

A year ago or so I played Call of Duty 2, a video game set in WWII. I remember the day I found two spectacular in game weapons: the Maschinenpistole 44 (Sturmgewehr 44) assault rifle and the Gewehr 43 semi-automatic rifle. In real life, the Gewehr 43 jammed and was pretty bad, and the MP44 was pretty rare. However, in the glorified world devoid of gravitational drop on bullet trajectory and profuse bleeding killing you, these two were kings. They'd normally give you either a pistol or some sub-machine gun along with a rifle you may or may not fancy. They'd be usually bolt action rifles with long reload times, or sub-machine guns with low ammo capacities.

Anyways, I found myself holding the G43 and loving how unrealistically effective it was. Ten shots of semi-auto glory with easily aimed iron sights. Mowing down German troops with precision shots. It was magnificent. After a while, the MP44 popped into my hands by accident, while rummaging through piles of fallen soldier weaponry. "What's this? This looks different." It was much more powerful and was 30 rounds of full on auto fire, better than the MP40s and my clumsy aim with the Thompson.

For those of you not wishing to read the backstory behind my fondess for virtual firearms set in an idealized world, start reading here. I set upon making a 1:6 scale prop (model would imply I tried to also recreate the details, which I clearly didn't do) of the Gewehr 43 and MP44 a while ago. I was never satisfied with the results, but hey, when you're cheap with no income, simple copies of things you can't have work. However, I now have the luxury of 1:6 scale arms smugglers who handily have a supply of nostalgic facsimiles of firearms. The first time I managed to replace my inferior hand made copy with professionally made plastic ones, I decided to compare how "off" my model was in terms of size. Mind you, I made my models by using one side view of the subject in question and scaling it to 1:6 scale.

Well, there's the results. I was fairly accurate, within about 90% accuracy in terms of proportions for the MP44, featured left. However, my attempt at a G43 rifle sucked hard. Too short and really bad looking in general. Oh well. I've gotten better now anyways and could probably do better if I tried. I'll keep the MP44 around as a reminder of how far I've progressed, but man, that G43 needs to go...

About the toys themselves: The guns were manufactured by Dragon Models LTD. For those wishing to purchase them, here's the site. Each set (MP44: Item no. 71029 and G43: Item no. 71030) comes with a scoped and unscoped version, two ammunition pouches for your 1:6 scale figures and removable magazines. The G43 came with a clip of ammo along with the magazines, despite there being no moving parts to insert it into.
This is the scoped version of the Gewehr 43. The fake wood grain looks a bit too pronounced, making it look more fake than necessary. Unfortunately, it doesn't have any moving parts. Not a bad model, but some moving parts make the difference between "fun" and "sweet".

Here is the MP44, with the "Vampir" night scope and what I presume is a giant flashlight. On a side note, I attempted to pry off the scope since it looked so obscenely large. I was successful due to the low glue strength holding it on, but immediately glued it back on since it doesn't really do me any good. I expected the cocking lever to move, and sheared it off trying to do so. Had to glue that back on. (Man, I am expecting way too much from these things)

The highlight of the model is that the flashlight accessory isn't a solid lump of plastic, but a hollow tube with a piece of transparent plastic for the lens. The downside of the model was the paint application. There are stripes running down the side of the wooden stock, probably residual lubricant/excess paint from the roller or something. It doesn't look intentional, nor does it make the wood look like wood.

In all, I'm satisfied for the reduced price I paid for these (buying them on e-bay is silly: they cost twice as much there than from where I bought them), but was expecting too much. I'd wish I could recommend these, but I am not completely satisfied with the build quality and paint application. If you want a cheap set of these two guns, it's not a bad deal.

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