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ZeroRoom's E-11 Scratch Build (Very Pic Heavy)

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When can we expect this in kit form? B)


It's not an entirely ridiculous idea bobojuice! Let me think on it...




Unfortunately I didn't end up getting a lot done this weekend as I had a busy one. I did manage to get a few small details done in the form of the bayonet lug, the cocking handle and a bit of work on the end cap.




The bayonet lug is surely one of the most mysterious and overlooked parts of the E-11, or indeed the Sterling it is built on. Luckily for me Andy PlayfulWolfCub furnished me with some good detail pics and diagrams to pore over. 


The new Sterling Templates we've been building suggest constructing the bayonet lug of three pieces like this:




So I started out with three cut plastic parts as per the templates and assembled them like so:




That gave me a basic shape that roughly sketches the structure of the bayonet lug. It only required a small amount of tweaking to get it into it's proper form from there.


First I held it in one of my clamps and rounded off the top edge using my dremel:





Then I took one of my new favorite products. My wife gave me this for Christmas and its called Apoxie Sculpt:




It was originally created for use in taxidermy, and wife had bought it for me for any needed repairs to my armour, but it turned out to be brilliant here too. It's a two part putty that air dries in about three hours, has the working consistency of modeling clay, can be worked with water like ceramic clay and dries to consistency almost exactly like plastic. It can be sanded, drilled and carved once dry and has a brilliant bonus feature in that it has a glue like quality that bonds it hard to almost any surface it's applied to.


Anyway - enough with the TV commercial. I took a tiny amount of the Apoxie Sculpt and pressed into either side of the bayonet lug and shaped it accordingly:




It was an easy shape to adjust with even the tiniest amount of putty and once it was attached to the barrel casing and painted I was pretty happy with the shape:







I was at the hardware store picking up some of that phony grass when I had a sudden bolt of inspiration. You know what looks just like a cocking handle? These bad boys:




The things you use when driving nails into concrete or plaster.


I printed out a basic scale graphic of the cocking handle silhouette as a bending guide and then

I took one of the nail plugs and literally held a cigarette lighter to it until it became soft enough to bend. (using gloves again - it gets hot!) I bent it to shape over the print out:




Then I used another very thin layer of the apoxie sculpt to smooth the surface and create the flared end. Once this was dry I filed and sanded it a shape I was happy with:




This part was relatively easy. It was just a matter if paying careful attention to the shape of the pice and using reference pics as much as possible.


Once I was satisfied with the shape, I re-inserted the nail and cut it short to provide an anchor for the bottom half:




I made the bottom part from a piece of dowel and bevelled the edge as needed with a simple pencil sharpener:




Once it was all glued solidly together and under coated it came up like this:




I know it's not entirely accurate. The middle circular section is about 2mm too small in diameter and the base of the handle part could be a bit sharper, but everything that is visible above the surface of the cocking slot looks pretty good so I'm going to stick with it as it is.


You can also see how perfectly it fits into my breech bolt where it should:




I did also get a little bit done toward the folding stock, but not enough to start the pics rolling yet...


But then - there's always next weekend. Stay tuned!

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Another wacky weekend in which I didn't get nearly as much done as I would have liked. I did get to painting though so at least it's looking like it's coming together :D


First of all an advance apology for the terrible pics in this post. I was totally off my game and I just had the hardest time finding decent bl**dy light around the house :angry:




After the glue had set on my trigger assembly and grip mount the next step was to cut and mount the stock hinge.


I cut the correct 38.1mm width (give or take for saw blade width) out of a spare piece of curtain rod I had lying around.




Marking out the 12mm curve that sits outside the receiver I held the metal piece in a clamp (it gets reeeeaaaal hot) and sliced it up with the cutting wheel on my dremel...




...'til it looked like this:




Once again it was time for the magic apoxie resin to fill back in the body that fits the curve of the receiver and provide a surface for adhesion. Don't forget that the apoxie resin is not only a good body filler but it acts as its own adhesive too... Another apology for the pics. In this case I was watching TV in the dark :D


This was really just a matter of mashed potato sculpture. I used a little off cut of the 1.5" tube just to sure up the shape before I placed it where it needed to be on the real deal.




Getting this bleeding thing perfectly straight was a bit of a PITA but it had to be done just so or else the whole folding stock would be off, or worse - wobbly. It not only has to be straightened around the circumference but on the z axis of the tube as well, which of course can distort the apoxie resin while it's still soft and so on and.... :6:


Never mind... Too much whinging. It's done. That's all that matters. A little careful sanding to blend and smooth once it's cured and we're good to go. (isn't how cool how seamlessly the real metal of the stock hinge pipe blends with the faux metal of my paint job?.. Isn't it?...guys?)




The real Sterling stock hinge has a peg sticking out on either side for mounting the stock. For a variety of reasons I've decided to do mine in reverse and insert the hinge pin through the stock and into the hinge base.

I had originally laser cut these small parts to glue into the stock hinge base tube and provide perfectly sized holes for the hinge peg.




However once I had had the hinge measurements confirmed by Andy, I found the hinge base only protrudes 1mm from either side of the barrel casing and thus these parts were of no use to me, as they were to thick. Instead I built the sides with the apoxie and sanded them level.

So using the unused plastic piece as a stencil, I've marked a small indentation in the centre of the stock hinge for later drilling and insertion of the hinge peg.






Almost time for painting! All I had to do before applying the black paint was prep the weathered areas. I forgot to photograph this I'm afraid but most of you will be familiar with the latex method of weathering and chipping. Just dab on some liquid latex with a small paintbrush in any areas you want to mask off . Be as rough and blobby as you like - remember this is battle damage!


I wanted to look at genuine reference photos for my weathering just to make sure it was in the right places and balanced well between too much and not enough. This wasn't so easy however. It's pretty hard to find pics of Sterlings that haven't been repainted at some point. When you do find some good weathered demilled guns they're a good 30 years old already than the screen used blasters so the weathering and damage is usually more extreme than on screen. You can see in the pic of Leia the screen used blasters were weathered but not in the extreme:




So in the end I assessed what areas were most prone to weathering and chipping (blowback shields, sight guard, slots and ports etc) and just applied what I felt was the right amount for each area. You'll be able to see what I ended up with soon...


Painting is, of course, the easy part. I suspended the gun using a pipe and old rope so I could easily access every area of it. First I had taped up the grip area and the rear cap lug. For the first coat of hammered black I also taped up the mag because the magazine itself is usually smooth and slightly more grey, not texture coated. The paper you can see emerging from both ends was just inserted to protect the metal insides from any black paint as I am reliably assured that the inside of a Sterling is not painted.




So one coat of hammered black first. The hammered black however as tested by Seantrooper, here, is way too glossy, so over that goes a satin sheen coat of latex paint. It's more of a matte in fact but has just enough of a sheen to simulate what matte bake on paint looks like on metal, while still allowing the hammered black texture to come through. Overall it's pretty realistic looking so I was satisfied.




While the main body was drying I had a chance to throw the barrel together quickly.


Here's a pic Mark sskunky put up of what the barrel inside looks like. This is hard info to find because it's usually removed from demills:




I decided to go with a simplified barrel that just focussed on the visible parts and was the correct 15.7mm width externally. To that end I took some other spare curtain rod (which was fortunately already powder coated with a black hammered effect!) and the laser cut parts I had ready for this bit:




All I had to do was install the circular mounts at either end. Luckily for me the tolerances on the laser cut parts were so precise this didn't even need gluing - it held tight. I added glue anyway because I'm anal like that...




You can see how with a bit of sculpting and painting the finished product could easily be made to replicate the real barrel exactly - I was just too damn lazy to do. Mainly because I didn't want to repaint a hammered black rod, hammered black :blush:




When it was dry and so too the paint job on my main body I (slid? Inserted? rammed? God Almighty Darth Aloha's gonna be peeing in his pants...) I placed it inside ready for the muzzle to be glued in place:




Then I set about peeling off all my latex dabs... easy enough - I just sat the gun in my lap like a Bond villian's cat and scratched away at it while catching up on some work...


This is what I ended up with








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First off I made sure the muzzle was attached well and good:




You can get a pretty good sense of how you can see the barrel through the vent holes in this photo:




In real life it's a pretty convincing finish, but I suppose I won't really know until I take it down to my local convenience store and see if the guy behind the counter empties the register on demand... (Dear Australian Police - this was a joke. I have no intention, nor ever have of having my picture taken by a grainy, unflattering security camera...)


I have to say, the hardest thing I did all weekend was try to take these accursed photos for all you blaster addicts out in webnet land...

You can see here the bits I weathered the most heavily... the bayonet sliding area and lug (since the continual addition and removal of the bayonet would do a lot of weathering:




The ejector port and cocking slot for obvious reasons:





and the vent holes just because I've never seen any Sterling pics where the vent holes aren't weathered lke this:





You can (kinda) see in these images how the mag housing and screw have seen a lot of action and can almost make out the different coloring and texture of the magazine itself:





Here's a shot of the cocking handle pulling the breech bolt back, as well as in the forward position... there is an issue with the breech bolt but more on that later..




Finally, getting a decent photo of the whole thing was so damn hard, and so utterly wrought with failure that I shot the blaster (I'll take my award for pun of the year in cash, not cheques thanks) in two different lights for y'all to see:






So that's where I'm at right now. It's taking much longer than I hoped, but generally I'm pleased with the results. I just really, really wanna get onto my folding stock...

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is the magazine curved?


Only the tiniest amount. It's a resin cast and obviously the chopped down E-11 style mag, so the curve has been all but removed...


You'll see soon why it's taking me so damn long to get around to the end cap...


That metal finish is great and makes for a very convincing Sterling.... You wouldn't believe it was plastic!


Coming from a real Sterling owner I take that as credible praise indeed - thanks Mark! (BTW you've got a PM coming your way shortly..)

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Utterly stunning, Lucas!!!! You've absolutely captured the spirit of a Sterling!!! I can tell because I noticed I had the same huge grin on my face looking at your build photos as I do when I look at photos of real Sterlings! That's a first for a repro! :D


It's definitely worth getting/making a different magazine as that one lets down your astonishing work (it's not even quite accurate for an E11). Would a real one be illegal to import to Oz? They have great mechanisms inside!


There's one small tweak you could make that would make it almost indistinguishable from a real one. The vent shield, eject port shield & front sight could have a few dinks filed into their outer edges as they look too perfect (& are slightly too thick). That's the only thing I'd feel compelled to do if it was my build. There are a few other tiny, tiny inaccuracies but they aren't as obvious & I don't want to be a nit-picking a**e publicly! lol


Great textures on the receiver, grip mount & selector switch!


My fav photo is the one on the left here - the bolt (& whole gun!) looks totally convincing! :) The spring is a little thinner than a genuine one & looks a little shiny & lighter coloured. (Again with the nit-picking but I know you'd rather have the info & then decide whether to do anything about it).




Hopefully your work will inspire the rest of us to start/complete our builds rather than demoralize us into thinking we couldn't come close to this quality! lol


Thanks so much for all the photos & detailed commentary, Lucas - it's a really enjoyable, inspiring read. I too am sitting with my popcorn waiting for the next installment... :)

Edited by PlayfulWolfCub
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Thanks Andy!


I tend to agree with you about the mag and mag housing casting... It definitely feels to me like the only let down on the build so far. Which is weird because, being a cast, I had thought it would be spot on and sound as a pound, but now I do feel like a scratch build could probably be better. It's probably going to bug me more and more as the days go by... :laugh1:


That spring in the corner is my test spring (which I will post about soon). Your eyes are sharp sir - it is 16 gauge wire when in fact it should be 18 (1.8mm diameter) but that was what I had lying around. I can easily pop out and get some 18 gauge sometime soon - I have after all got this far with pretty much stuff I had lying around! I'll try and see if a darker wire is available but if not some staining will fix that right up I'm sure.


As to your suggestions about chipping up the shields and sight guard - I love it. I will get the dremel out again on the weekend and hack away! I just need to replenish my stock of metallic paint to recoat the surface once I chip it through. Again you're right about the width. I couldn't obtain 1.6mm thick plastic so I rounded up to the nearest available thickness and got the 2mm. Perhaps some of the chipping will help with the appearance of the thickness of these parts?

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Perhaps some of the chipping will help with the appearance of the thickness of these parts?


If you can add a few dinks & file just the edges of the guards & sight down to nearer 1.6mm no-one will know their main body is thicker. I'd add the dinks first because the metal of the real ones gets squashed with impacts so is thicker than 1.6mm in places. I think you'll have good pics of this in the photo bundle I sent you :)


The mag well doesn't attract my eye as being wrong like the mag itself does & would be a lot harder to redo, wouldn't it. It may not be perfect but it's not shouting (from the pics you've uploaded anyway).


What sort of place sells 18 gauge springs that you can "pop out & get easily"? I looked around but couldn't find any that were cheaper than buying an original! lol

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What sort of place sells 18 gauge springs that you can "pop out & get easily"? I looked around but couldn't find any that were cheaper than buying an original! lol


Sorry - my bad. I made that spring myself with the old wrap and stretch method. I meant buy some 18 gauge wire with which to make a spring from scratch... So long as you measure the gaps between coils (I believe it's 16mm) properly you get the same result...

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  • 1 month later...

So - this update has been a looong time coming! Work has been progressing in the last month since I posted - I just haven't had the time to upload the pics, update the thread etc etc...




The next thing I did after the main barrel casing was complete was complete my end cap.


Now most of you won't have to do what I did as you will probably have the common sense to use a hollow end cap. I, of course, did not.


Again, these were all spare parts I had lying around so in a perfect world I would have just ordered a hollow end cap casting but I was determined just to work with what I had - thus the first job was to hollow out the end cap. As I said most of you won't care about this bit, but I'm posting my method anyway as it can also come in handy for hollowing out resin scopes and the like, and provides a nice clean and fairly accurate shape.


The first thing I did was use an off cut of my 1.5" OD plastic pipe to centre up and trace the size of the area that would need removing:




Then I drilled long, slim holes into the resin too the depth I would need:




The next step was to use a larger drill bit to go over the holes. Using one of the first holes as a pilot hole, the bigger drill bit expands the circumference to about four surrounding holes (if that makes sense?). Progressively you get more and more resin removed...




Then using the grinding bit on the dremel, followed by a sanding bit I cleaned up the last few bits of craggy resin and smoothed the edges of the circle. Thanks to the drill technique I already had a nice even 90 degree angle on the walls:




At this point I was about to attach the lugs to inside when a test fit proved that my tolerance was so spot on that the end cap held tight by itself:




I still have every intention of adding the lugs, just to be anal, but I can afford to leave it for later now :duim:


The next step was to remove the cast D-Ring from the end cap casting. This was a simple job with a sanding drum on the dremel and some careful edge work - there really is nothing you can't do with a dremel :peace:




(excuse the light in this pic - I was working at night)


Switch over to a drill bit in the dremel and putting the D-Ring hole through is even easier:




To make my D-Ring I just took some wire that was part of an old hanging basket and bent a loop in it. I wrapped it around a marker pen that just happened to be the correct diameter to get the curve size right.




Then I simply cut the wire through to leave a useable D-Ring. Actually it's more a C-Ring but you catch my drift...


I used the exact same, prime, mask and paint technique from the barrel casing to paint the end cap - so no need to repeat myself - and inserted the D-Ring to finish the whole thing off.




I have a bad feeling some of the keen eyed spotters out there might inform me that my D-Ring wire is a tiny bit too thin. If that happens I can easily remove and replace it though.

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It was finally time to tackle the folding stock - this took a lot of thinking through to figure out exactly how I was going to make it work.


I had many great resources to work from though. Firstly Vern posted these great pics here and Andy PlayfulWolfCub sent me a huge batch of extra pics.


In addition I had these two diagrams in the book "The Guns Of Dagenham":






(by the way - I can't recommend this book enough - it's been invaluable in my build as well as being a fascinating read. A shout out to my wife for spoiling me with a copy)


Now you'd think that this would be all you could possible need to build the stock, but it's a little trickier than that. These diagrams don't show exactly how the action works with the spring and what I couldn't reconcile was this bit that looks like this in the diagram:




With the bit that looks like this in real life:




So, long story short, I had to come up with a "best of both worlds" method of making it all work. Without ripping a real folding stock apart I have no idea how accurate this is - but it works.


In fact it works so well I think I will draw up some diagrams and break this out as a separate tutorial soon, but meanwhile - back to the build…


The first thing I did was shape the arms. Some of you might have seen this in my strip heater How To here but basically the shape started out flat from the laster cutter like this:




Bending the sharp turns at the front was easy enough with the strip heater but the softer, larger curves of the arms would need a wider heating area. It's probably better to use a heat gun here (as Brent discovered in his build) but I didn't have one. So it was back o the oven again!


The first thing I did was trace and cut another wooden forming jig using the templates:




Then I cut the jig into two parts - the long skinny front and the curved back.


I tightly tied my stock arm part to the front jig using 100% cotton tape to make sure it kept it's shape in the oven - remember I only want the back half to bend now:




I used 100% cotton tape to do the tying so it wouldn't melt in the one and I wet it to prevent it burning any and leaving marks on the plastic. After about 10 minutes in the oven I took out the part and quickly locked the back half of the jig in place with the front half. I held the plastic around the jig tight for about 5 minutes (ouch):




Once it had cooled I was left with a nice stock arm shape:




There are a few small but crucial details to add to the stock arms next. The first is this small groove channel toward the front:




That was a simple carving job with a small dremel grinding cylinder.


The other is the lugs which I had cut with the rest of the parts. After I measured for accurate placement (these need to lock into the channels on the end cap) I glued them in place:




The last parts to glue over the base were the tear shaped parts at the stock hinging point:




Over all the finished arms looked pretty good:




The next step was to cut a piece of pipe for the inside support strut:




This pipe should be 12.75mm OD.


You can see in these pics from Andy that there are some odd shapes capping this pipe:




There was unlikely to be any found objects matching these so it was out with the apoxie sculpt again to form these bad boys:





It took a bit of sanding to get the sharp edges right but the whole thing worked out pretty well.


I also needed to cut a hole for the sprung catch to stick out of. I just drilled two holes with my dremel drill press (seriously - I'm not sponsored by dremel) and cut between them with the cutting wheel:




You can see here I did a pretty bogy job of it but it will do the trick.




Back on the drill press again I drilled the hole for the hinge right through the stock arms and strut at once:




Now the key thing to the folding stock actually functioning as it would on a real Sterling is the aforementioned catch, spring, folding action contraption. So i needed to next construct the basis for this. As per the diagram the strut pipe needs an internal spring to hold the catch forward.


I made the spring out of some sturdy but thin wire using the same method I used to make the spring inside the barrel casing. Since I forgot to show you guys how I made that I thought I'd post the method this time.


It seems obvious to wrap your wire around a stick of some sort the same OD as you want the spring and space the coils the distance you wan them. However I find this often leads to very wonky springs and ones that don't really work as functioning springs.


It's better to coil your wire around a stick with a smaller OD the your intended finish product. Also you should wrap the coils as tight as you can - as if the spring is completely contracted.




Then after you slide the spring off the pole you can stretch the coils to the required size and have the chance to adjust any wonky ones and ensure an even spring. Bending the wire this ways also provides better tension in the wire for spring function.




(And yes I do realise I just went on for two paragraphs about the evenness of spring coils… My anorak is in the mail…)


Then I cut a hole in a small piece of dowel that fit the inner diameter of the strut pipe perfectly. This will be the slot for the catch to sit in.




A quick test assembly proved that the stick sprung back and forth nicely inside the pipe:




As a bonus it makes a satisfying "springy" noise when compressed :duim:

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Of course this whole contraption is for nought without the catch that holds the folded stock in place as seen in yet another pic from Andy here:




Alas - when I had all my parts laser cut I was ignorant of function and shape of this piece so did not have it made - a mistake I would definitely rectify next time. So out comes the apoxie sculpt again, over a spine of scrap plastic…




Although this next pic was taken after painting (and is therefor out of sequence) it does show the assembly premise:




Last - but soooooo not least - was the butt portion of the stock. Let's all get over the word butt right now because I'm about to use it a great deal…


Again it was a jig and oven job from cut template piece. Because of the wacky shape in all dimensions it took a few goes in the oven and some clamps to add three or four hands to my two…




In addition - although the shape wrought by the template was satisfying - to truly get an accurate shape I needed to use some of the apoxie sculpt as filler for filling and shaping the edges and meeting points. At this point it's good to keep your reference pics handy.





Once I was happy with the shape I gave it a good sanding to blend the joins and was left with a fairly god representation of the real Sterling butt.





This seemed as good a time as any for a test fit:




That was all good so I moved to the next part - the mystery component from this earlier pic:




I won't bore you with the amount of mental nonsense it took to come to my solution (and let's face it if you've made it this far in a thread this long you're a soldier…) but here's what I did. I chose to replicate that circled part as that is the recognisable outside facing portion. My idea was to build a protuberance that would push the sprung catch backward when the butt was hinged open. That's certainly what it looks like is happening and - had I not been confused by the GofD diagram - I would have sincerely believed was how the folding stock works. Ultimately after all my head scratching this was the simplest solution that worked the best and looked the most accurate.


I just cut a small piece off of a lollipop stick from our candy jar and guess-timated the right angle by fiddling with it over and over. This would form the skeleton of my protuberance thing…




Once this was dry and solid I just sculpted over it til I had a decent replica of the shape seen in the pic above.


Meanwhile it was pointed out to me that the small "hole" in the butt above the shape that catches the arms was in fact a dimple and not a hole as I had cut it. I just refilled it with some apoxie sculpt.




Pushing it in with my finger to create the dimple also conveniently created the "pimple"(??) on the other side that helps hold the stock closed:




Now I really did have enough for a proper test fit. I just held the joints together with the pins from some pop rivets and tested the opening and closing function -






to my absolute shock it worked perfectly.


The only part not installed at this point was the catch hook. This is because the fact that it emerges from a stick that sits inside the strut pipe means that it has to measured and inserted after assembly - there is no way to get the stick inside the pipe once it's all hinged up. I also wanted to be sure to paint all components separately to prevent the paint sticking up the hinges and preventing the folding action. Paint first - hinge later...


Once again the whole paint, mask, paint cycle takes effect. These are the components of the folding stock ready to assemble.






I needed something for a hinge that would stay fixed to the outside parts of the stock and sit loose inside the strut in order to allow the hingeing without applying wear and tear to the external painted components. I also wanted something that matched the circular look of the press fit bearings used on the real stock. I came up with the idea of taking some pop rivets like these:




and using pliers pulled out the little stick that comes in them. I was left with a perfect hinge stick with just the right kind of circle to sit on the exterior of the arms and impersonate press fit bearing:




Being careful not to apply any glue to the end that would sit inside the strut caps I inserted and glued down my "hinges"




I inserted the catch hook (after testing the correct placement) using the apoxie sculpt as both a base and a fixative. I gave the hinges and the hook a touch of paint to blend them and finally I had a finished folding stock!


At this very moment it sits drying in the lounge. It's after midnight here so the light won't allow any decent pics so worst of all I haven't got any "finished product" pics for you all! If I can indulge your loyalty to this thread to come back tomorrow I will shoot some and post them. I'm pretty happy with the result.


All that remains now is to attach it to the rest of the gun…

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An absolute joy to read this, Lucas, as always. You are doing the E11 community (& indeed the whole world!) a huge service with this thread!


I also feel you should be awarded some kind of special badge (or hat, if you prefer) for the world's first usage of the word "pimple" as a technical term! :icon_bow:


It'd be great to see a video of the stock hinge mechanism in action when you get a chance - it looks great!


You were concerned that "sharp eyes" might suggest your end cap ring was a little thin. That actually didn't strike me (tho I haven't compared pics) What did strike me was that it's a little more curved than the original - the section that goes through the sling is straight so the sling sits flat against it. I'm sure you've got a photo of it so I'll not post another here unless you need me to.


It's been a while so I'd eaten all my popcorn but I've ordered a crate of it for future installments! :)

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