Saturday, December 11, 2010

Finishing up the VSS and Case

Last time, I covered building the VSS "Vintorez" sniper rifle. This time, I'll highlight the carrying case.

The build is similar to the Golgo 13 gun case, with the exception that I have no idea what the rest of the case looks like other than the inside. The walls are 4 cards thick, with a 2mm overlap between top and bottom covers. The case seems to have different latches and handle, so I'll be using a newer design for those.

I have a ton of leftover foam from the Golgo 13 case. Absolutely annoying to trim and cut. What I did was trace out a template of the parts arrangement on some paper, then attempted to cut that pattern on several layers of foam. The case is fairly deep, and it required three sheets of foam.

Each layer of foam differed, requiring the three different patterns shown above. A larger block of foam would have been extremely annoying to cut out in this case. As usual, the foam is completely different colored from what the inside of the case is, and visually showcasing black gun parts on a black background is terrible.

The handle looked like a double hinged attachment, so a bent paper clip tacked in place with some cards worked fine.

I had more liberty with experiment with hinge sizes this time. The hinges are composed of two 2mm wide strips of 110lb cardstock glued together using loc-tite to strengthen it. They were then folded over a paper clip to form the hinge hole. The sections were then staggered and glued together to form two hinge halves. The overall thickness of the hinges was under 3mm, closer to 2mm.

I could not find a feasible method of reproducing the latches on the actual VSS gun case. Mostly because I couldn't tell what they looked like. So I went with generic suitcase latches. The overall width was 3mm, requiring some narrow strips of cardstock. The construction method is the same as the rear case hinges, but uses two narrow 1mm strips for one side, and one narrow 1mm strip for the latch. These had to be strong enough to not snap off after 5 uses, but not bulky. I fixed that by effectively soaking the sides of the hinge pieces with super glue and letting them sit.

As great as the prototype colors look, I had to eventually ruin the project with my crappy painting skills. At least, just the gun part. The case may not see paint for a while. Onward to failure!

This gun used mostly flat black enamels. The stock was a nice mix of dark red, flat brown, and "rubber" enamel. Turned out better than I expected (meaning it didn't look like complete crap). I have no idea how to make textured surfaces like stucco, so the grip is a smooth finish. Anyways, here's some more images of the completed sniper rifle.

So, Golgo 13 has a choice of covert sniper rifles to use. Options are always great.

For the people completely uninterested in reading blocks of any text at all, here's a video demonstrating the case.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

This Month's Project: 1:6 Scale VSS "Vintorez"

This month's project could be tied to the game S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Shadow of Chernobyl, but I actually chose it on other merits. The VSS Vintorez silenced sniper rifle is an interesting weapon for a few reasons. Its existence as an integrated silenced sniper rifle alone is notable.  It also is a fully automatic sniper rifle. I was more interested in the idea that it was capable of being disassembled and stored into a carrying case for Spetsnaz operatives to use. The goal this month was to design and build a 1:6 scale VSS Vintorez that can be disassembled and stored into a briefcase.

Since there's a whopping one image of the briefcase, it was a tough job. The goal is to replicate the configuration of this case, down to the specific scopes used. In this case, there are three 10 round magazines, one 1P43 scope, and one MBNP-1 night vision scope. The MBNP-1 was reverse engineered with the help of this site, and the 1P43 scope was built with the lone side view offered by this site. Most images of the VSS feature it with a PSO-1 scope, which was not one of the scopes in this case.

First, we get some helpful side profile images as usual, then scale them down. For this, I mapped out each section and how they'd integrate with each other. The toughest part was devising a means to attach the stock to the receiver.  Otherwise, this gun is a very mediocre and easy build.

This is the base, composed of simple laminates, a box for the magazine well, and a rolled up paper tube fitted over a bamboo stick barrel.

Next, it's time for adding single sheets of 110lb cardstock to thicken out the smaller details, and carving off sections to form rounded areas.

Smaller pieces like the sights and safety were done with two sheets of Magic the gathering card thickness (in this case, X-Men TCG cards were handy).

 The VSS has some side rail mounting system that I can't replicate in 1:6 scale, since I can't build a clamp that small. I however could copy the aesthetics with a single layer of MtG card and a lot of zealous gluing. Loc-tite and other super glues aren't good in shear, so I had to compensate by using MORE GLUE. Plastinating the entire section worked out ok.

 Here's the major portions broken down. The magazine up to this stage is a placeholder.

 The attachment mechanism worked out better than I hoped. It was a simple paper clip rod inserted into a groove covered by a single card. It was sturdy and had a very low profile.

Using the sites mentioned above, I was able to create close replicas of the scopes in question. I have a bit of uncertainty about their actual names, but I'm fairly confident I have the dimensions done right. These were done using my spreadsheet for making cones and solid cylinders. The goal was to have clear lenses as well, so they're hollow in the center with proper recesses to allow fitting of plastic lenses.

The mounting method was tough to plan out, given the small workspace. The requirement was to have something 1mm thick, but rigid, and also have a means of attaching it to the side of the VSS. Paper clips are about 0.8mm thick, and alone weren't enough to fill out the frame. I turned to an unlikely resource that I had accumulated: hard plastic card sleeves. Gaming resources unite! Two sheets of hard plastic card sleeve glued with Loc-tite made a fairly stiff sheet. Gluing this to a bent paper clip allowed me to make a thin but sturdy component.

For mounting the scopes, I ended up having to cheat. I drilled two 1/16" diameter holes into the side of the gun, and put a mating pin into the scope mounting brackets. I used more paper clips to serve as attachment rods. The original goal was to have the holes be hidden near the mounting rack things on the gun, but they were placed in not convenient locations. As a result, they're noticeable without a scope attached. However, the end result is stable, and the mounting rails catch the bracket frame on the scope to align the scopes up with just one pin.

VSS with the MBNP-1 scope attached.

The other scope was built in a similar manner, but with less overall complexity.

Next time, I'll cover the briefcase construction.