Airsoft S.T.A.L.K.E.R LR-300 ("TRs 301")
Recently obtaining my UKARA membership has permitted me to update my Airsoft collection (and empty my bank account) with a couple of new purchases. Surprisingly, the introduction of the VCRA over six years ago has done nothing to quell interest in the activity, or to disuade manufacturers. There are now more brands producing fantastic quality Airsoft equipment than when I first started collecting over 12 years ago, leaving considerable choice for players and collectors (even if 90% of this choice consists of endless M4 rifle variants).
The availability of a much wider range of replicas has made it possible to recreate a favourite weapon of mine from one of my favourite games; S.T.A.L.K.E.R - Shadow of Chernobyl. Apart from being fantastic fun to play, the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series of games has also sported one of the best ballistics models in any game I've played, not to mention a wide array of configurable real-world weapons (albeit with fictional names).
The later games allowed considerable customisation of the weapons, both internal and external. I've played through each game in the series several times, and I always end up creating more or less the same loadout based on the 'TRs 301', or as it's known in real life, the 'LR-300'. In the game it's possible to attach a SIG G97 grenade launcher, supressor and SUSAT scope. With everything attached it becomes a large, powerful and effective weapon for dispatching every enemy in the game.
I discovered a while ago that G&G Armaments make a ZM-licensed Airsoft replica of the LR-300 in the exact configuration seen in the game (less the various attachments), so decided to replicate the in-game setup...
Parts & Assembly
The SUSAT Scope
The presence of a SUSAT sight on anything other than an SA-80 rifle is unusual, which adds to the appeal of the setup - however there's a good reason why these sights aren't commonly seen on other rifles; the railing system to which they mount is a different size and incompatible with the modern 20mm 'Picatinny' rail system for which most assault rifles (LR-300 included) are fitted. The configuration shown in the game would be impossible in real life without a bespoke SUSAT or rail adaptor. Real SUSATs are also not widely available and ill-suited to Airsoft use due to their post-style reticle which obscures too much at close range.
Thankfully, at least one retailer/manufacturer makes a fantastic quality replica that fixes all of these issues; using a 20mm rail mount and more traditional crosshair-style reticle. I was lucky enough to find one on eBay for half the usual price.
The Barrel & Surpressor
The LR-300 comes in four main configurations - two barrel lengtsh and two stock types. The game features a short-ish barrel and unique sliding & folding stock, however the barrel length shown in the game is half-way between the long and short barrel versions of the real and Airsoft rifles. The surpressor is also of an exotic/fictional design that I haven't been able to track down. I went for the short-barrel rifle and found a simple supressor that looked the right size. I may try to 3D print a shroud for the surpressor that replicates the shape of the in-game model.
The problematic part of the build was the launcher. The model in the game is described as an 'M203', of which there are dozens of Airsoft replicas. However the actual model is based on a SIG G97, which no-one makes an Airsoft version of. In addition, I found no rails capable of fitting the bottom of the LR-300's foregrip.
I decided to use a Madbull launcher, as its simple design would be easy to extend/modify if I decided to accurately replicate the G97's appearance in the future by fabricating a cosmetic shroud. For now, I'd 3D print a simple mount and see how it looked...
Printing The Launcher Mount
This process began with exact measurement of the rifle and launcher fittings using a digital calliper. These measurements were put into Sketchup, which I now use to create all my 3D printed models. Sketchup makes this kind of design work extremely fast and easy with an interface that makes you wonder why Blender and similar applications are so complex.
Within an hour I had an accurately modelled design for a mount, the Sketchup file for which is available to download here. This could be adapted for other launchers by simply adding more lateral grooves to the rail. As the mount was too large for the Solidoodle's build platform (which is approximately 150mm square) I cut the part up into four pieces which I'd later bond together with Plasti-weld. Using the STL import/export plugin for Sketchup, I exported an .STL file that Slic3r could convert in G-Code, which is essentially a text file containing instructions for the printer.
I decided to use this opportunity to do my first .1mm print, as it would theoretically make for a stronger and cleaner finish. Previously I'd used the .3mm layer height for speed purposes. As a result, the print took just over 3 hours. Despite slight warping, the print came out well and after bonding and sanding was sprayed with Krylon for a tidy finish consistent with that of the launcher.
The fit was more or less perfect, and whilst the assmbled rifle does not look exactly the same as the in-game model, it does look fantastic. I may now use the 3D printer to create some cosmetic shrouding for the launcher to replicate the in-game look more closely, as this is the most notable difference.
I look forward to taking it to my next Skrimish.