Saturday, December 30, 2017


I promise, one of these days I'll make a proper blog post again. It's been years since I've done that and I'm worried that when I do it'll be impossible to sum up all the many changes that have taken place in my life since the last post. In fact, it probably already is. So lets ignore that for now and look at a gun I drew:

I wanted to design a gun that would fit the aesthetics of the setting; something rugged and simple. It had to have a minimum of moving parts. It had to be lightweight and ergonomic, so creatures of all shapes and sizes could use it comfortably. And it definitely needed wooden furniture.

When I started working on this idea, I wanted to make a hybrid of an AK-47 and an M16. It would be a sort of fusion of East and West, which I thought would be appropriate for the Chmatran people. But very quickly I realized how futile that would actually be. The more research I did the more I came to dislike the M16. Externally it looks fine, but I found it's direct impingement system disturbing and awkward. "Why would anyone want to vent hot gas directly into the receiver?" I found myself asking.

I liked the idea of keeping the M16's main spring or maybe it's trigger group, but little else. I was dead set on using the AK's gas piston system. I thought it was simple and elegant and it reminded me of a car. It became increasingly obvious that nothing from the M16's design was going to mesh with that. I suppose I could have used a short-stroke gas piston. But why bother? The Akar was meant to be dragged through steaming jungles and blistering deserts. It was meant to make the long journey to the roof of the world and endure the bitter cold of the polar wastelands.

There was no room for plastic furniture or aluminum bodywork on a gun like that. This isn't a toy we're making here. The Akar is a slab of solid steel, milled into the shape of a gun. It needs to be so solid that it gets passed down from generation to generation of monster hunters. And in all that time the most maintenance it should need is a bi-yearly spritz of WD-40.

My design was turning into yet another AK clone. I was becoming lost. I had no idea how to make it any more unique. It started to feel like every new feature I wanted to include would just be a distraction from the elegant simplicity of the original AK-47. It was around the time I started worrying about how a Chmatran factory would stamp the upper dust cover that I felt like I was wasting my time.

And then it came to me; a perfect solution.

"Make it German."

It seemed so obvious I don't know how I didn't think of it before. But the best way to make the Akar more exotic looking was to take elements from the very first assault rifle. It's commonly, maybe erroneously, thought that the AK was based on it's design. The two have similar gas systems and it's main spring is even in the back, like how I wanted with the original design. Yes, it was the only way to make this work; I would use the Sturmgewehr 44.

When that decision was made and I found a hinged lower receiver design I liked it became a matter of fitting all the parts together in a way that looked good; the AK's muzzle brake, the StG's front and rear sights. It also needed a bayonet lug of course. From the start I knew I needed a bottle opener, like the Galil. As I continued to polish up the design I also took elements I liked from the Heckler & Koch G3, which was itself based on the StG design.

This last step was an important one, because it confirmed to me that the Akar needed to look like an oversized jungle MP5. And that's exactly what we're left with. I'm very happy with how it turned out.

There's still the question of what caliber the Akar would be chambered for. Like everything else about the M16, 5.56 NATO makes me uncomfortable. The AK's 7.62mm round is just fine and the StG's 7.92mm Kurz was too anemic to be used in any gun after World War II. I suppose I could make a new caliber native to Chmatra that combines the best aspects of both the 5.56 and 7.92. But I don't know anywhere near enough about ballistics to make an informed decision about that. A fusion of the two would bring the gun closer back to it's original concept though. For the time being I'll say the Akar just shoots bullets.

What I like the most about this design is that there's room for some variation. The Akar is supposed to be a well-known firearm used all over Chmatra and it's sister planets Chmyka and Pandemonium. It's such a simple design that it can be cranked out by the hundreds of thousands in enormous automated factories or hand crafted in someone's garage with equal proficiency. Countless local variants would spring up over the years; some could have collapsing stocks, others could accept huge drum magazines, different sights, accessory rails, cup holders maybe and that's not even getting into the strange enchantments wizards would place on their guns. There would be no limit to what people could make.

So, it's done. Expect to see the Akar and it's many cousins in the comic very soon. It'll be there alongside plenty of other fictional firearms to come.

Oh, I guess this ended up being a long post after all. Weird.

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