The Bolters used by Space Marines in Warhammer 40000 table-top combat game is an iconic weapon in the science fiction world. In this scifi universe, the Space Marines are parallel to the U.S. Marine. And the Bolter is their equivalent to a M4 assault rifle.
Just today, when I was looking at M4 pistols, it occurred to me how the M4 pistol (without a buffer tube) resembled a Bolter. That gave me a sudden inspiration to design an airsoft Bolter using the M4 as the base.
In this article, I will walk through the process of building a functional airsoft Warhammer 40K Bolter through the use of off-the-shelf M4 parts. You can then use the M4 Bolter as-is, based on the resemblance, or continue to improve the base through sculpture modeling.
We have many other scifi airsoft gun build articles. Take a look at our Build a Science Fiction Airsoft Gun list.
To test the feasibility and perform a rapid prototype, I have used the Pimp My Gun site (see "Related Links" section below). Pimp My Gun allows you to assemble guns virtually using a selection of models. I have used its list of standard M4 parts to assemble the base of the airsoft Bolter. The result is shown in the design below.
Pimp My Gun has the short grenade launcher above, but it's too long for our purpose. There is a mini M203 airsoft grenade launcher now, which should be sufficient for this purpose. So using Gimp, I made some changes to resemble real airsoft parts. The result is shown below.
As you can see in the comparison images below, the assembled M4 has a huge resemblance to the Bolter. The only thing that the airsoft version is missing is the short butt stock.
So far, all the parts in the design are off the shelf airsoft parts. Therefore, you can see that is quite feasible to build an airsoft Bolter. How closely you want it to resemble the Warhammer 40K Bolter depends on how much sculpture modeling you are willing to perform afterward. In the next section, I will show you all the off the shelf part that are used in the design.
The exploded parts view below shows all the parts for this airsoft Bolter. Keep in mind that it only shows the external parts, not the internal parts.
The first part was the receiver. In this case, I picked the HK416, because it had a great resemblance to the Bolter receiver. Next, I picked the AG-43 handgrip, because it had the finger indention similar to the Bolter handgrip. The VFR-AR15 adaptive quad rail made the top even more Bolter like. And the saw-off M203 grenade launcher was selected just to give it the Bolter handguard look. The PMAG 30 round magazine was about the closest part I can find for the airsoft Bolter. The KX3 flashhider, if used with a short external barrel, matched the Bolter quite well.
As you can see, all these parts are readily available in airsoft or real firearm versions. In the next section, we will look at making this Bolter an airsoft reality.
Just getting all the external parts to make it look like a Warhammer 40000 Bolter is one thing, but to make it work as an airsoft gun is quite another. For example, where are you going to put the battery if you go the electronic route?
If you go the gas route, your work is practically done. You just get gas internals and gas magazines and you are ready to play.
But going electronic requires a little bit more thinking. The idea is to route the wiring to the front and placing the battery in the grenade launcher. You aren't thinking of using it as a grenade launcher, are you? There is no grenade launcher on the Bolter. Therefore you can safely use the M203 grenade launcher as the battery box.
Alternatively, I found a off-the-shelf foregrip that looks very similar to the Warhammer 40K Bolter foregrip. It's ready to mount to the bottom of a quad rail and has a generous internal volume for an airsoft battery. Take a look at the following part:
Seem similar doesn't? All you have to do is to chop off the bottom and the back and it will resemble the Warhammer 40K Bolter foregrip. The off-the-shelf part is the Airsoft3D Sydex Foregrip. So if you ask Airsoft3D nicely, maybe they will even modify it to look like the Warhammer 40K Bolter foregrip for you.
You can make the base M4 airsoft Bolter look more like the real thing through sculpture modeling. Sculpture modeling is the working of material to build up form and shape. You'll want to keep in mind of the airsoft functionality, so the shape you model should be easily removable from the airsoft base, yet won't fall apart on the airsoft battle field. Keep in mind how the receiver separates (see image below). When you model, be sure to account for serviceability of the airsoft gun.
I am not a sculpture modeler, so this is as far as I can go with my airsoft Bolter. But if you are inspired to make a model for it, please feel free to expand this article on design and on instructions.