The
Complete Castor Troy

DumboRAT’s
Face/Off Tribute


Suit by Pal Zileri, Shoes by Bruno Magli,
Custom GBBs and Holsters. Ready for a night
on the town.

Introduction
The Real-Steel
Airsoft Alternatives


The full build

– The DIY
So what’s involved?
An Aside – Holsters and Mag Pouches, section
I

Holsters and Mag Pouches, redux
III. Option Three – The Contract Killer
OK,
you idiot, now you have four pistols but only 2 hands


Conclusion
External Links
Site
Links

Commercial/Retailer links
Airsoft Retailers
Dedications

Introduction: In
the mid 1980s, John Woo’s inspired modern classic, A Better
Tomorrow, served to define the genre of “heroic bloodshed*”.
Popularized by Hong-Kong’s most famous movie makers, these films
never gained a true Western audience until the art-house flick
The Killer managed to capture the attention of movie moguls
in the US. Once Western audiences – always hungry for more graphic
violence – got a taste of the action that has so rightfully
been called “ballistic ballet,” the result was perhaps one of
the largest and most noticeable changes in the cinematic handling
of gun fights and gunplay since the advent of modern weaponry.
(*This term was coined by Bey Logan, author of Hong
Kong Action Cinema; a fine read highly recommended for anyone
interested in both modern and classic HK action films.)

Prior
to the popularization of the action sequences seen in these
Hong Kong films, the use of two pistols simultaneously, as well
as any fancy gun-play, was limited essentially to the Western-genre
films of yesteryear. No-one – not Gibson, Willis, or Arnold
– ever picked up twin pistols in anger before this period in
modern film history.

Fast
forward to today, some two decades after the beginning of the
first modern HK action films, this kind of gun-play is now almost
de rigueur.

A
modern action hero or villain is expected to be able to handle
a pistol like a samurai would his sword – be it tossed-to or
kicked-over, he’d better be able to snatch his weapon out of
thin air and spread bloodshed and chaos. What’s more, he’d better
be able to do so with a pistol in each hand. Everyone from Leguizamo
to Denzel to Costner has dueled with a fancy, customized set
of twin hand-cannons.

But
of course, as befitting the genre, no screen-characters do this
better than Woo’s.

Chow’s
John/Dumbo in The Killer and Tequila in Hard Boiled held off
virtual armies with a pistol in each hand. So did Cruise’s Ethan
Hunt in MI-2 – no task was too delicate or too large for a pair
of Berettas to handle.

But
in as much as these characters’ athleticism and grace were mirrored
in their choice of weapons (spurring the sales of twin Western
Arms Perfect Version Beretta M92FS and Centurion GBBs to many
airsoft skirmish gamers), the full potential of the twin-pistol
genre remained mostly unrealized. The true screen-power of dual
handguns was first tapped in Woo’s Face/Off — a flash of golden
gunmetal behind the back of Cage’s Castor Troy.

Such
customized handguns are not new to the Silver Screen. The Westerns’
of yore routinely featured finely crafted firearms. Similarly,
Hollywood today is also populated by a set of firearms enthusiasts
serving the role of not only armorer/master-at-arms, but also
even in the role of directors/producers…and even film stars.
Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin’s quick-draw technique wasn’t all
just song-and-dance, and even today, this kind of focus on how
a firearm and its use may be linked to the overall screen-characters’
credibility is not overlooked by actors even as young and popular
as Taye Diggs, Benicio Del Toro, or Ryan Phillippe.

The
flair and flavor of the weapons must match that of the screen-characters’.
And that gorgeous pair of 1911-.45s in Face/Off currently serves
as the proverbial gold-standard for this rule.


The Real Steel: With custom made grips
that featured a set of inlaid Japanese-style dragons, the pair
of Springfield Armory Custom Distinguished Limited (PC9404)
pieces, all done in 24k gold (thanks go out to fellow enthusiast
Grishenko for this wonderful bit of Hollywood trivia!) was unquestionably
powerful in their screen presence. Internally named the “Distinguished
Limited Movie” by the renowned Springfield Custom Shop, these
pieces became the instant focus of gun-fetishists world-wide.
Even today, over a half-decade since these pieces appeared on-screen,
they remain among the most highly sought after and highly asked-about
by airsoft “custom gun” enthusiasts.

The
interest in the twin golden .45s has been nothing short of phenomenal.
Visit any of the Internet airsoft Forums, and you’ll see that
hobbyists, collectors, and even skirmish players – literally
world-wide – have been actively pursuing these replicas. US,
UK, Iceland, Finland, Japan, Hong Kong – it doesn’t matter where
you look; if there’s discussion about gas-blowback replica handguns,
you’ll find talk about the Castor Troy pistols.

So
what does a boy have to do to get his paws on a pair of these
replicas?

Airsoft
Alternatives:

I.
The full-build —
The easiest – albeit also possibly the
most expensive – way is to fork over the $4800 or so (US Dollars,
and that’s without shipping!) to the famed Sheriff Co., Japan,
airsoft custom-house.

What
you get in return is a pair of fully-built Springfield Custom
Distinguished Limited Movie replicas aptly named the “Movie
Special.
”

Using
Sheriff’s proprietary Titanium Coat (TiN ion-coat – which can
be seen in this
picture
, and also is further demonstrated here)
finished in a deep 24k gold shade (a $400 option in and of itself,
on a customer-supplied Sheriff slide) with full Springfield
trademarks and inscriptions (available on the frame only when
one purchases a complete, full-build GBB from Sheriff – otherwise,
it’s just the slide that gets the treatments on a cost-per-inscription
basis) , this is about as close as you can come to the movie
pieces in a plug-and-play format.

The
only differences from the twins seen in the movie are the grip
panels, which here are black Zytel (instead of the inlaid wood),
and the use of Novak/Wilson Combat #463 Series Tactical Combat
Sight replica rear sight units (instead of the BoMar on the
guns seen in the movie).

A
near-perfect piece – for a very dear price.

That
kind of a budget, however, is typically only within the realm
of the well-endowed collector, the filthy rich, or just the
outright bat-crazy…..

Luckily,
there are other options available.

II.
The DYI —
Foremost among these options: you can simply
try to build your own.

Look
at those same Internet hobbyist websites and you’ll see discussion
threads filled with an abundance of such project ideas (please
see the “External Links” section of the references included
below). What’s more, there have even been some very detailed
full-out projects, such as that by the UK WA GBB guru Mobius
Strip
, which have gained world-wide fame.

These
projects all are indebted in-part to an ever-growing list of
readily and easily available “over-the-counter” aftermarket
parts that have come to-market over the past few years and which
are getting more and more cosmetically detailed and specialized
for just this application.

Currently,
it is actually quite easy to locate the most critical component
– the slide.

Sheriff,
Perversity Guns Corporation (PGC), GRS, and Shooter’s Design
(SD/DEN) all make different Springfield Armory trademarked aftermarket
metal slides in all sorts of different finishes and with varying
details. Depending on user-preference, you can get the Springfield
Armory crest placed at different locations, Custom Shop slides,
different combinations of cocking serrations, barrel bushing
use, and even different rear sight cutout types. With a budget
anywhere between a high of $500 (including special refinishing
– however, keep in mind that true “custom” slides can go up
in price into the thousands of dollars!) to a low of $120, one
can quite easily purchase a slide to fit whatever unique and
special needs he or she may have. And if the gold finish is
more important to you, then Guay Guay (G&G) offers a “gold”
polished SVI-type “fish scale” cocking serration equipped slide.
Or if you simply desire the compensated look, the PGC “Japan
Set” for the Springfield Custom integrates a V-12 ported bull/cone/”corn”
outer barrel matched with a port-cut slide.

Just
as this critical part is readily available from the larger HK
retailers such as DEN Trinity, WarGamers’ Club Shop, UN Company,
RedWolf, etc. (and therefore by extension also the main US high-end
retailers like AirsoftToys and AirsoftExtreme, as well as specialty
resellers, such as Olympus Airsoft), other main components,
such as the outer barrel, recoil spring guide rod, ambidextrous
safeties, beavertail grip safety, and so on can all also easily
be had from those very same sources.

But
yet, there are also certain problems.

Among
these headaches are the biggies of first locating the proper
type of retrofit slide in order to guaranty usability with what
is typically the Western Arms 1911-type GBBs as their base-frames
– chiefly, the availability of slides as well as outer barrels
that have received the Springfield V-Comp cuts and porting is
distinctly limited (currently, with PGC’s “Japan Set” being
the only retail option in this respect, but provides its own
problems with respect to rear sight use). And, of course, the
cosmetic finish of the slide also remains problematic.

And
this is what accounts for most of the differences for the current
Face/Off projects that have come to bear – instead of slaving
for an exact replica, hobbyists/enthusiasts have instead chosen
to put their own touches on such dedications through a combination
of both need (from the inaccessibility of certain parts and
accessories) as well as out of their own aesthetic creativity.

I
am no exception to this – I also created my Springfield Customs
out of those very same constraints and also out of my desire
to pay tribute to Face/Off in a manner that does not specifically
replicate the twin gold .45s.

I
wanted to add my own personality to the project.

To
start, I wanted something that was actually less flashy.

Since
these GBBs are to actually be used in skirmishes (albeit
highly stylized “Suit Battles”), I wanted something that
will not draw too, too much attention to myself. Instead
of a gold finish, I decided to go with a classic, basic
black – accented with chrome and silvertones.

Serving
as the base chassis and donor slide internals, I chose
to go against convention and collectors’ wisdom and selected
a pair of Western Arms Shibuya Shop SVI Single Column
Pistol 1911-5.0 (WA-CWI)
GBBs.

As
its name suggests, these WA GBBs are single-stacker SVIs in
the best traditional 1911-vein. A full sized 5” Government Model
chassis is mated with a traditional partial dustcover, traditionally
profiled slide, and round trigger guard. Add to that a distinctly
modern twist in the form of a contrasting silver color plated
beavertail grip safety, ambidextrous wide slide/thumb safeties,
adjustable SV trigger assembly, as well as a full-length recoil
spring guide rod, a bull/cone/”corn” barrel, and BoMar adjustable
rear sight aperture – what you get is a faithful yet unique
re-creation of a single-stacker, Strayer Voigt Traditional 1911
IED as seen here.

At
925 grams in stock form, this GBB is no flyweight. For the uninitiated,
it can be relatively disconcerting and distinctly fatiguing
to shoot one handed. However, easing this are the usual WA single-stacker
format grip frame weight plates, which shift the center-of-mass
of the piece to favor the grip itself. Unlike the real-steel,
of which the barrel constitutes a heavy weight until a fully
loaded magazine is inserted, the replica is distinctly non forward-biased.
Thus, general arm strength, rather than forearm/wrist strength,
is all that’s required to heft and aim these pieces

Otherwise,
ergonomics are much the same with this piece as with any other
single-stacker 1911-variants dished out by Western Arms.

For
those familiar with the beefy feel of the double-stackers, the
single stacker, with a grip that’s nominally only about ½
inch to 1 inch “thinner” than that of its higher-capacity counterpart,
proves to be quite a bit more ergonomically pleasing for most
users due in large part to its more softly contoured edges rather
than to any true differences in overall grip size. However,
for those who cut their teeth in airsoft skirmish combat with
the much more anatomically appropriate grips of the SIGPROs
and Walther P99s, or even that of the Glocks and Berettas, the
traditional 1911 grip will likely feel quite flat and “slab-sided.”

Meanwhile,
although the slide safety remains easily accessed by the thumb
of the shooting hand, these GBBs still retain the traditional
1911 design and dimensions regarding actuation of its main control
surfaces. Most notably, the magazine release requires a slight
shifting of the hand to actuate for all but the largest-pawed
shooter. And of course, the slide stop/lock-release requires
either a full shifting of the shooting hand to trip, or, according
to more correct procedures, will require the support-hand thumb
to engage (in a one-motion that completes the magazine reload-process,
as it comes up to support the pistol).

However,
a modern 1911 isn’t necessarily an ergonomic nightmare.

The
high-ride beavertail is a welcome addition. It allows a very
firm, high-grip of the GBBs chassis without any fear of the
.45-trait of web-pinching from the hammer. Meanwhile, where
the trigger meets the finger reveals the typical SVI interchangeable
trigger shoe design, offering the shooter the ability to tailor
the trigger itself to their own taste. And up-top, a set of
highly defined traditional three-dot ironsights provides easy
target acquisition – with the rear blade insert even featuring
a Wilson Combat “Combat Pyramid”-type beveled-cut relief, automatically
guiding your eyes toward the front sight and the setup of a
proper sight picture.

Leading
down toward the muzzle is a typical Western Arms 108 mm length,
6.08 mm bore inner barrel. This in turn resides in a bull/cone/”corn”
type metal outer barrel and is stabilized with WA’s plastic
inner-to-outer barrel interlock bushing and further anchored
with a HopUp-enabled chamber assembly. With an inner barrel
length matching that of most other non-mock compensated/suppressed
Western Arms 5” 1911-.45 variants and taking full advantage
of the typical (painful to adjust but exceedingly stable and
very consistent) WA Hop assembly, this piece proves to be just
as accurate as any of the renowned full-size WA 1911s – exhibiting
near-equivalent levels of objective BB grouping as well as subjective
effective-range (details of which are available with my 5” double-stacker
assessment in my BB-IPSC review, referenced below as the third
“External Link” entry). Suffice it to say that picking off a
12 ounce aluminum soda can, at even 40 ft., off-hand, is no
problem. One can easily expect an effective airsoft skirmish
combat range of 70+ ft., center-mass, when high-powered gasses
such as Taiwanese “Green Gas” and high-grade 0.20 or 0.25 gram
BBs are used, with average muzzle velocities well in excess
of 300 fps. with 0.20 gram BBs (around the 0.8 to 1 Joule force-energy/power
mark).

And
of course, it is to this last aspect – the safe/durable continued
use of higher-powered gasses in order to insure and/or boost
skirmish-capable performance – that in large part drives the
lust for upgrades that’s so commonly seen with hobbyists and
players today.

This
is also what serves as the basis for the cosmetic upgrades needed
for a proper Face/Off tribute.

So
what’s involved?
Typically, the first item of worry under
such violent-use applications is the slide. The stock ABS polymer-plastic
slide, be it of lightweight or heavyweight material by WA, is
relatively prone to catastrophic damage under the punishing
cyclic forces experienced by GBBs using higher powered gasses.
In this respect, I chose to fit a cosmetically appropriate-for-the-theme
GRS side-polished dual-tone Springfield Custom “5-inch” metal
slide. With a material density that rivals the class leading
PGC and also the runner-up SD/DEN products, this item should
easily withstand regular skirmish-use/abuse. Furthermore, its
black-on-chrome coloration is a perfect compliment to the black
frame and sliver control surfaces of the Shibuya 1911-5.0. The
only downside to this item is that cosmetically, it’s not as
refined as even similar products by PGC and SD, which is already
a notch lower than what’s offered by Sheriff. Although the inscriptions
are clearly cut, the Springfield crest on the GRS slide is flawed
(only visible upon close inspection) and certain production-quality
issues (such as one of the slides missing the faux real-steel
extractor cut-out) do present themselves quite readily. Additionally,
unlike the surface of comparable slides from PGC and Sheriff,
the GRS’s polished aluminum finish is rather easily scratched
(albeit also rather easily restored with 800-grit dry Emory
paper polishing).

But
with a heavier slide (unlike Sheriff’s or even SD’s offerings,
this piece is beefy, and on the order of PGC’s in terms of adding
mass to this critical area) as I’ve stated countless times on-line
in the Forums and specifically presented in my “BB-IPSC” article,
what’s also needed are some additional small-parts upgrades
– all aimed at boosting slide cycle speed. .


Note the spring closer to the top is the stock WA recoil
spring for this item. It is both shorter and lesser-tensioned
than the Guarder/IS 150% recoil spring below (closer to
the frame). Installation of the increased-rate recoil
spring is made easier if you allow yourself to “thread”
the recoil spring guide rod through the spring as you
replace the entire assembly as seen below…. By the time
you get to step 3 below, you should be compressing the
spring so as to bring the two halves of your guide rod
assembly together.

.

With
such a goal in-mind, installed in this pair of replicas are
a set of Guarder/IS 150% recoil springs to speed return-to-lock/battery.
Overcoming this additional forward drive is a 150% mainspring
hybridized with Sheriff’s unique mainspring spacer assembly,
which is then paired with a PGC “enhanced” (slightly extended)
firing pin to help reinforce the blowback aspect of the cycle.
Cosmetically, the stock high-polished, full-length two-piece
WA recoil spring guide rod was retained, and I further surface
re-finished and rust-proofed (Rust-Oleum Premium High Gloss
Crystal Clear Enamel) a set of Sheriff steel mainspring housings
in a black/silver pattern to continue the ongoing color scheme.


The surface black finish on the mainspring housing was
polished off to leave only black cross-pattern deep within
the checkering, providing for a duo-tone finish overall.

Countering
the higher tension within the mainspring housing and subsequent
higher trigger pull weight are basic modifications to the trigger
bow, sear spring, and mainspring assemblies to slightly lessen
trigger poundage. This is further aided through the installation
of a set of PGC “Wilson Combat”-type bearing steel
hammers with matching precision-cut sears and a PGC hammer strut.
Polishing of the main contact components is an important step
that no one should overlook, and further helps reduce operating
friction, decrease lock-time, and also helps better overall
subjective trigger feel. Here, caution should be taken to simply
polish and remove burrs, not to actually remove critical material
needed to achieve proper sear and hammer function, which is
a common newbie mistake.

At
the other end of the GBB, a Guarder/IS “5-inch” stainless steel
bull/cone/”corn” outer barrel (with full faux rifling) was mated
to a high-polished. rust-proofed, and clearance-cut Sheriff
“Barsto .45 ACP” steel faux/outer chamber (cover). Considerably
heavier than either of their respective metal and plastic WA-OEM
stock counterparts, these aftermarket pieces lend considerable
heft to the GBBs, and helps to add a favorable muzzle-weighted
feel to the replicas that enables greater accuracy on-target.

Running
through the length of the Guarder/Sheriff barrel is the stock
WA Hop-enabled true chamber assembly with stock WA 6.08 mm bore,
108 mm long inner-barrel. But for duty in the upgraded GBB,
the inner-to-outer barrel interface is stabilized by a Guarder/IS
metal inner-barrel bushing at its forward junction. As these
GBBs are required to function reliably under any and all skirmish
conditions, the exacting and highly demanding nature of a tightbore
inner barrel was sacrificed for ultimate feeding reliability.
Similar to the simplified trigger job, the highest goal for
this pair of GBBs is to achieve a reliable cycle, without fail,
under ALL gaming conditions. As such, cutting-edge performance
is sacrificed in-trade.

At
the base of the GBBs, a set of real-steel Wilson Combat #188
extended magwells in bead-blasted blued finish were installed
(which required relief-cutting of the stock WA grip frame in
order to achieve proper fit) to help balance the overall slide-vs.-frame
proportions. Functionally, however, they also further ease magazine
reloading by helping to funnel slightly misguided mags, which
is a distinct possibility during hurried dual-gun reloads. And
as each of my mags are fitted with some form of extended base-pad/”slam
pad” (everything from stock WA-Wilson Combat magazines to custom
cut-and-fitted genuine Wilson Combat #47BN base plates), proper
clearance for mag insertion presents no problems.

Trace
area of “C” hook with fine-tipped pencil or pen, then
trim away (using a Dremel tool’s grinding stone will work
nicely) excess plastic within the area outlined until
an easy fit of the magwell is made possible. Check to
insure drop-free of ejected magazine, as this is a sure
sign you’ve not removed enough of the frame material.
Be careful not to damage the grip screw bushing during
installation and removal of the mag well clamps – and
if you’re using a rubber mallet to help install the magwell,
be sure not to crack the grip with your pounding!
Cut
along track just above Wilson Combat trademark, this will
allow for proper clearance for gas fill nozzles on most
bottles. Higher cuts can result in not being able to get
the nozzle into contact with the fill valve. Before affixing
to the mag, you’ll need to drill an access hole for the
gas nozzle!
Drill
pilot hole with 3/32 inch drill bit centered at
the right-most arm of the “M” as seen above. Gradually
enlarge with successive drill bits until ¼
inch drill bit is used as final. File and polish
off rough edges as-needed and roughen both contact
surfaces before using either barge cement or two-part
epoxy as adhesive (this is not a shoddy airsoft
trick, Wilson Combat actually recommends the use
of either of these adhesives for real-steel “stick
on” applications of base-pads!) to fix the pad to
the base of the mag.

To
further assist during reloads is the installation of a
pair of Sheriff silver bead-blasted finish wide-extended
slide stops.

Functionally,
they help ease single-handed actuation of the slide stop/release
lever. An item of controversy with real-steel 1911-.45s
(due to the possibility of recoil causing the shooter’s
thumb/hand to accidentally engage the extended over-grip
portion of the slide stop and therefore cause premature
stoppage of cycle under critical tactical situations),
the extended slide stop/release lever is indispensable
in this particular and specific low-recoil, one-handed
actuation scenario, and is a true exception to otherwise
must-follow real-steel mantra.

A
silver bead-blasted finish Sheriff extended mag release
button, along with a pair of custom magwell relief and
ambidextrous safeties cut CarbonCreations “black-on-black
smooth” carbon-fiber grip panels (with Smith&Alexander
type base cut) completes the overall duo-tone look. The
latter, fitted with chrome-finished Wilson Combat and
Western Arms grip screws, lends a distinctly high-tech
look to a traditionally configured 1911-.45 while adding
optical depth to an otherwise typically drab and flat
area. Unfortunately, the traditional weight-plates contained
within the WA-OEM Zytel grip panels were sacrificed, but
with the GBB already burdened by a much heavier barrel
assembly and the additional weight of the metal mainspring
housing and Wilson Combat #188 magwell in-place, the loss
of the weight plates is actually quite welcome in helping
with the overall stability of the twin cannons when each
is raised to firing stance.

Cosmetic
parts aside, the mechanical modifications made boosts these
WA 1911 single stackers to a totally different playing field
in terms of observed muzzle velocity/energy as well as cyclic
rate. The typical “weight lag” in cycle speed reported with
stock WA heavyweight slides is completely eliminated. At the
same time, the final muzzle energy approaches that of a WA double-stacker’s
when on higher-powered Taiwanese “Green Gas” (appx. 1.0-1.1
Joules, or around 330 fps. with 0.20 gram BBs – confirmed current
muzzle velocity/energy under 50 deg. F. testing conditions is
a consistent 305 fps. with 0.20 gram BBs, verified via a Shooting
Chrony F1 chronograph), ensuring capable field-performance.
With comparable grouping as a typical stock inner-barrel equipped
WA double-stacker (2-2.4 inch grouping at 5 meters; with proper
Hop adjustment, easily capable of center-mass shots at 70+ ft.),
these are a formidable pair of skirmish pistols.

And
with a price-tag of around $700, each, when all’s said and done,
they’re not bad bargains at all for a set of high-performance
and cosmetically unique replicas in the vein of Castor Troy’s
flashy twins.

This
is especially true considering that just about anyone who can
use a screwdriver, has at least some basic mechanical knowledge/aptitude,
and can follow the mountains of advice and instructions provided
on-line (much of which is cited below in the “References” section)
can readily and easily build/tune themselves just such a quality
piece!

go
to Page 2 ->


Face/Off
and the represented characters are copyrights of: Paramount /
Touchstone Pictures

Last modified:
Thursday, February 27, 2003 9:56 PM
Copyright 2003 ArniesAirsoft

 

 

Looking for somewhere?
Podcasts
airsoftology
The Airsoft Discussion
Gorilla Airsoft Radio
Airsoft Medicine
SSMG.se Specialist Swedish Military Experience Group
Subscribe to our news

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

News Feeds
Archives