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The Great LSM Twins Group Build ends July 3, 2024 ×

Thompson SMG M1A1 Scratchbuild 1:1 scale


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Hi everyone, I am going to jump in right here. - I joined LSM to share my interest in model making. My subjects are machine guns of WW2 to the ultimate large scale of 1:1. I have built 3 to date, the first two were made for my grandson but, as my interest grew, I modified my building methods and became more concerned with getting the detail right.

This is my 4th model – a Thompson M1A1 of WW2.

I began with a genuine set of M1A1 woodwork and downloaded plans from the internet. The build is practically complete at the time I found LSM. There are a few details still to make.

I sprayed the finished build with a yellow filler primer prior to painting. Then I sprayed the whole model with Simoniz Wheel Steel acrylic spray paint from Halfords.

This is the stage I am at currently. I will need to think about the final finish as it needs to reflect the age and the patina of a WW2. It will be a dark grey of some sort with some dry-brushwork and some oil washes to bring it alive!!!

I hope my buid interests some of you, It would be nice to make contact with someone else who has tried this. It would be great to share ideas.

Anyway, here are the photos I took a few moments ago. (The grips are temporarily attached )









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The high quality Bluing on the earlier Thompsons was modified somewhat on the M1 & M1A1 in order to keep the cost down. I have the original butt plate on the stock, together with photos (like the one below) to give me a guide. Should be interesting though.

The painting will need to be put on hold as i am working away for a couple of weeks. But I will post more photos as the build progresses.




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Thanks for the interest Dave.

The main core of the body is a block of pine onto which the Original woodwork can be directly screwed for strength. The barrel was turned and tapered from an old broom handle on my lathe - I turned a smaller diameter plug on the end to fix it into the pine core.. The core was then built up using pine and balsa wood. Balsa is easy to shape and sand. When I was happy with it I coated all the balsa parts in epoxy resin, allowing it to soak in and harden. A lot of sanding and filling with epoxy putty and squadron white putty. The details such as magazine catch, retaining spring front and rear sights were built using laminations of plasticard - up to 2mm thick and carving or sawing (scroll saw) to shape. The magazine was mostly plasticard with some balsa shaped to support the curved part. Other bits were made with metal tubing and rod etc. Several good coats of yellow filler primer (plus sanding) followed until it looked O.K.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Back to my build. I have been away for a couple of weeks. Today I started to paint and weather the M1A1. I began by airbrushing Tamiya Dary Grey with a little black added.

I sprayed this on in sections, rubbing back with a tissue, dampened with isopropyl alcohol, to show some of the underlying steel paint. (upper photograph).

This looks a little obvious so I lightly sprayed over it again to make it more subtle. I did rub back again here and there again to bring out the steel paint.

The gun now has a matt finnish and looks a liitle light. Tomorrow I will brush on some layers of 'Future' to add shine which should deepen the look. I will then add patina with some oil paint washes.



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 Thanks for your comments guys. My build is nearly complete. Last evening I applied a couple of coats of Johnsons Future polish, with a brush. This gave a convincing level of 'sheen' and darkened the grey.

Today i added a 'patina' using Atelier Artist Acrylics - Ivory Black and Burnt Umber. The burnt umber added a warm weathering tone - a hint of rust maybe?

I did not use the burnt umber on the magazine, nor did I do as much weathering. I wanted the look of the gun to differ from the magazine as the two items would not have been together for the whole of their lives. The difference is noticeable, yet subtle, and adds a lot to the overall character.

On the stock is the original screw and washer, the finished effect had to match these original items in their finish.

I have ordered a sling from ebay today, and I still need to add a couple of details. I will post some photos next week, hopefully when the sling is attached.



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Added the final details on the weekend. I made a simple mold from epoxy putty and impressed a screw head (wear damaged) into it. When set I cast 4 dummy screw heads, again using epoxy putty. These were then painted and weathered - (photo A).

The original woodwork was fixed to the model with modern wood screws (photo B) .

The modern screw heads are hidden by the epoxy dummies with great effect. Surprising how little details can add so much to the look of a model. (photo C).

That's this build finished. Thanks to all those who have showed an interest and have made comments.

I have taken some shots of the completed model and will post them in the 'finished build' section.





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