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Brothers, After spending some time with a real 1914 Lewis, photographing, measuring every detail, understanding how the mechanisms work..... I realised within a few feet of it that my T21 was so far off it was going to drive me crazy ! So my advice is.... if you've made a T21 and you ever get a chance to handle a real Lewis... DON'T !!! You'll lose sleep So there was only 1 thing I could do... Make a new one from scratch Only this time, I wanted to make it millimetre perfect, reproduce all of the glorious details in the firing mechanism, have an open breach, a see through cocking mechanism, reproduce the barrel engraving, the hand engraving, the tiny makers symbols.... every scratch, every imperfection, every detail from the base of the stock to the tip of the barrel. Oh, and just to add some spice to an already spicy adventure.... It had to weigh under 2.5 kilos and it had to come in 2 parts for ease of transport !!! So here is my photo journey. A journey which took 4 solid weeks and is still going. Here's a picture showing the real Lewis (TOP) against my nearly finished T21 (BOTTOM). Bear in mind that the 2 are at slightly different angles. It's still not fully complete. there are a couple of bits missing and some changes to the greeblies, so i'll keep this thread going as I amend the bits. Now.... you guys know how to use a Dremel and basic tools, so I won't be boring you. But I'll show you a selection of the build photo's taken from the start.... The first thing you'll notice is that this is NOT a PandaTrooper build. It's not going to work for the level of accuracy I need. It's a pipe build which gives me a chamber for mounting the front barrel inside. To make absolutely sure that this build was exactly the right dimensions and shape, I took all the reference photographs and enlarged them to 100% scale using photoshop. Then I spent a long time tracing the outlines of all the parts to use as templates. The stock, receiver, top plate and even the barrel was done this way. By using the trace outlines, I was able to reproduce all of the parts with ultimate accuracy. It's worth mentioning that when I overlaid the tracings with the 'publicly available' shape and dimensions, it was quite different. But unless the existing drawings and templates were reproduced from a real Lewis, that's to be expected. To be fair, the available ones are a good representation of a Lewis, but they don't measure up correctly in many of the dimensions. Once you have all of the information, measurements and trace outlines, the actual process was not far off a conventional build. The difficulty was substituting materials from the original steel on the real Lewis. Plastic will never be as strong at steel in any thickness, and given that I wanted this to be as light as possible I needed to be smart with the materials used. The entire weapon was eventually made from light wooden stock, aluminium, ABS and lots of Milliput for shaping. The basic shape... Made from a light wood and using the traced outlines, I marked up the main body. The trigger guard has to be so thin, it needs to be made from aluminium. Wood won't be strong enough at this thickness. You can see the areas that I needed to cut out for realism. It doesn't leave a lot of wood left for strength. The pipe that will receive the barrel extension, making it a 2 piece weapon. The receiver is fully open from the feed plate to the ejection port. Once the barrel slides into the receiver, the holes close up. Both sides were faced with 2mm ABS sheet to give twisting strength. These we bonded to the wooden form and allowed me to shape the curves of the grip and underbody correctly. The Lewis doesn't have any square surfaces, which you only see on the actual gun on inspection. There are also many strange undercuts and shapes on the underside which need to be included. None of this is visible from any screen shot from the film. You only see these on the actual Lewis. It's a complicated design :/ Full Barrel made from 3 parts of TIG Welded Aluminium. The welds were ground off to make it smooth, then the reduction was gradually filled to mimic the reduction in the actual Lewis. It's a very gradual reduction as you'll see in the end photos. Lathing Guide and Receiver Outline. Initial mockup of Receiver assembly, made from ABS and Architect Craft Board. Internal Barrel Pipe with some 3D printed Spacers that are bonded to the inside of the larger front barrel housing. Lots of Filler Primer on the base form. At this point all of the subtle curves and shaping has been completed. I use filler primer to give me a thick base to sand from. This removes any tooling marks on the receiver, allowing me to get the shine needed on the body. Again, this is only seen on the real Lewis. 3D printed Front Sight. I used a bit of 3D printed parts for this, firstly to keep the weight down and secondly to save hours of painstaking part building. I print in PLA as ABS doesn't have the same strength for the size part. But it gives me another problem. Sanding PLA is almost impossible, so each part has been coated with resin and filler primer, then sanded. Once painted, it's close to any resin cast you can get. Hand engraved (By Me) symbols and lettering present on the original. There are many different symbols, including a 'Masonic' symbol on the receiver tray base. My TD ID is the Serial Number (33751) Laying down the base colours. There a many different colours here, from grey to silver to blue. And many different tones and blending. Front Barrel Vents for the inside of the hot end. Initial Weathering of the Receiver Mechanism. Notice the latching mechanism for the Ammunition Drum. This is the first of many layers of weathering, using the reference photos to try and accurately represent the colours and areas. Plastic is starting to look a lot like metal now One of the most difficult aspects of the real Lewis to replicate, the Barrel Engraving !!! So far we have discovered 2 types of Lewis barrel engraving and knurling. I'm not sure if that's a date driven thing or a use driven thing (Field use vs Aircraft use). Mine has the concentric barrel engraving from top to receiver. On the scales ... It's good A little over 2.3 kilos, which is 5 lbs. Comparison against my Old T21 and my new T21. At first, there doesn't look like much difference. But there are lots of subtle differences and once they all add up, it's like black and white. There's still a few bits to do and I'll update as we go, but so far it's a fairly realistic Lewis It also weighs in at only 2.3kg.
*** LAUNCHING ON MAY 4th **** Brothers and Sisters of the MEPD, We have been working very hard behind the scenes to develop an amazing accreditation scheme, aimed at achieving the ultimate accuracy for Sand Troopers in the areas of Armour, Field Packs and Weaponry. Tunisia '76 has been created by existing SWAT members of the international Sand Trooper community, to assist new members towards attaining the Tunisia '76 Tactical Recognition Flash (TRF). We know that there is a desire for troopers to become the ultimate screen accurate (canon) Sandtrooper, based on the 1976 Starwars 'A New Hope' from the original trilogy. So we have pulled together our resources, references, builds and intricate backlog of information to put together this amazing accreditation. The Tunisia '76 Members Only FaceBook Page and associated tutorials have been carefully constructed to allow you a friendly, clean and professional place to share your progress while you work towards the individual sections and ultimate accreditation. Unlike other related social media, we are heavily moderated and constantly monitored to ensure that you get the best experience from your engagement with us. We guarantee your integrity with our network of helpful and professional, individually assigned Instructors. So what is the Tunisia 76' accreditation ? It's simple really. We absolutely want you to be the best ANH Sandtrooper you can be, with your Armour, Weapons and Field Pack. We have set a minimum standard of accuracy across all of these areas which can be achieved once all of the criteria have been evidenced and approved. While we are happy to help newcomers to our hobby with their costume builds, we stipulate that anyone looking to achieve the Tunisia 76' accreditation must be at least certified as an active PO with the MEPD (Our MER - Minimum Entry Requirement). Access to Tunisia '76 is open to EVERYONE. You can use our references, detailed photographs, links to exact parts and detailed tutorials to help you towards each section. But you will only be able to progress towards your accreditation (and be assigned a personal Instructor), once the minimum entry requirements have been met. We even have a dedicated store coming soon, to purchase specific related items that are extremely hard to find ! We are not an alternative for MEPD SWAT accreditation. You can still work towards that if you desire and we have made sure that our standards do not conflict with those criteria already set by our brothers in the MEPD. Our award system is available internationally and can be successfully achieved by anyone that satisfies the criteria. You can choose to progress towards one, two or all three sections at any time. Only once all three sections have been completed, will you qualify for the full Tunisia '76 Accreditation. By successfully achieving the Tunisia '76 accreditation for your Sandtrooper, you will be one of the most accurate representations the costuming community has to offer. We are here to support you, help you through the build processes with step by step assistance in an effort to help you become one of us. This is how you will progress through the scheme.... Want to be a part of the Tunisia '76 ? Send us a message to be added to our Members Only FaceBook Group from May 4th, and get access to an amazing selection of reference material and detailed tutorials. Or click here to access our FaceBook portal > https://www.facebook.com/Tunisia-76-1744626149157726/ Looking forward to seeing you there ! .... THE TUNISIA '76 TEAM