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 Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine

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MadMike
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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:53 pm

There are rumors that HF made two production runs of their M4A1. I could not confirm this until now when I found pics of a HF M4A1 that has the drain hole in the lower receiver, just like the later M16A4. Despite the (propably higher) serial number this may be the only difference. See the pics below of a late HF M4A1 (not mine):





Please note that this late M4 comes with a slightly darker carrying handle with "A2" forge marks, just like the (even later) M16A4.









After all these years finding new details still gives me a thrilll ... Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:18 am

All repairing and reworking is finished now. Thank you, 8Ace! I have refinished the lower and upper receiver by using flat black GunKote, applied with an airbrush. The result turned out quite good and realistic. Using this method is a little expensive, as you can not buy GunKote easily in Germany. You will need an airbrush too. It is vital to spray in thin passes. Once applied too thick it will come out shiny. It is crucial to clean and prepare the parts well. Any oil, grease or finger print will ruin the finish. Once applied it can be cured in an oven. I am thinking about doing a GunKote review soon too.
I will have to put the model back together now. I think this will mean some minor scratches and scuff marks, so i hope all will get well in the end. I will update this review











"What is foremost in Godfather's mind: We're still very much in the game, gentlemen, very much in the game."
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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:18 pm

It was my pleasure to help out and restore it back to its former glory, but it was a bit scary cutting bits off such a rare and valuable model pale

But it's all worked out nicely in the end cheers

8ace

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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:44 am

The upper receiver is reassembled. The charging handle, carrying handle, hand guards and front sling swivel are real Colt parts now. the colour of the receiver fits the parts okay so I think I didn't do too wrong. I really like it so far.

8ace will have to rework one part of the barrel though, which means a setback. But this is something I had to learn the hard way with this project: Two steps forward, and one step back.

Anyway I have drawn blood now and hope to finish it soon.



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pitfighter
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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:47 am

Great work, Mike!

Really awesome -

Pit.
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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:35 am

Stunning M4. Just an idea, could you not use an airsoft one piece outer barrel for yours? But will shut up if your going for originality. Embarassed
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jim
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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:25 am

Only if one of my M16 variant can get the same treatment of your M4 Mad ...
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MadMike
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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:03 am

I finally found the time to finish my project. It was a long way to go, and it was full of ups and downs. I had a lot of setbacks, but every single meant more encouragement. Looking back, I am glad I did not know what would come along with it, as I would not have had the guts to start it.

It all started that I didn’t like the selector switch, which did not engage in the SEMI position. I don’t know why HF didn’t make it right, as they should have been able too. I tried to rework it or to fit a real one. And there was that moment I didn’t pay attention and scratched the finish. Trying to repair it made it worse, so I had the idea doing modifications and a refinish in black. At one point I broke a lug that holds the trigger guard, and that was the saddest moment in my whole career as a modelgun enthusiast.

I have to admit I would not have been able to get the modelgun from japan and do all the modifications and repairs by myself. I had a lot of help, and I would like to thank everyone who contributed. I really hope I did not miss someone:

8ace for his skills and patience. He simply did not accept a “not possible”. He has that rare “no task too difficult, no damage beyond repair” mentality. This is your work, my friend!

Shazhib and HIGUsan for their help getting this modelgun and information about it from Japan. Thank you, my friends!

Cerwyn for all his encouragement, always open ears, understanding and help. He had to drag me along more than once.

ljerr2 for his great help getting me spare parts from the USA. I can not thank you enough.

Sadly I can’t take good pictures right now, the dark and snowy weather requires a flash, and that ruins the pics. I will do that asap.

I have written a lot about the modifications. The most important ones are:

Fitting a real (modified) selector switch, that clicks into the SEMI position well.

Modifying the barrel to a realistic “HB heavy barrel” profile.

Reducing the front lip on the receiver, drilling a drain hole, and removing traces from casting.

Adding real parts like a receiver extension (buffer/stock) tube, carry handle, charging handle, hand guards, stocks, front sling swivel and trigger guard.
All parts came from COLT and are mil spec. I could leave them in their original color, which fits the refinished receiver parts well, so I knew I was not too wrong about the color.
HF had chosen a dark grey, which is right for early M4A1 carbines. But I would not have been able to get the exact color, as well as real early spare parts in grey, so I can live ith the black color, even more as current Colt rifles are black.
I managed to obtain both types of Colt stocks, the early “CAR-15” style one that is flat on the back, and the later slanted type that was introduced around 2002/2003. I can’t make up my mind which one I like more.

Don’t get me wrong, the parts HF used are great too, and you can hardly, if at all, tell a difference. Anyway the stock and tube had the commercial dimension which Colt does not use, so I wanted the right ones.
I also gathered some good accessories, a blank adaptor (the ones for the M4 gas system are yellow, the ones for the M16 are red), a nice selection of magazines, a military issue sling and so on.















You can't see the biggest and most difficult modification/repair. 8Ace replaced the section with the broken trigger guard lug by a custom made aluminum part. What a masterpiece!




Last edited by MadMike on Mon May 06, 2013 9:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Cerwyn
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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:56 pm

Thank you for showing us your finished HF M4A1 'Mike Very Happy

It is a magnificent looking model. I'm happy to read that you are delighted with it. It was my pleasure to lend an ear and give you some encouragement my friend cheers

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MadMike
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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Mon May 06, 2013 9:23 am

Here are some detail pics. The sun was quite bright. It is hard to find the right lighting but you can see the details quite well.

Please note the "Heavy Barrel" barrel profile (custom made steel and aluminum barrel part by 8Ace - rock solid now, and heavy), the real front sling swivel (Colt Govt. issue), real carry handle (colour does not fit perfectly, but color varies on real rifles as well due to anodizing), Colt stock (N1 marked), Colt buffer tube, mil spec fire selector (clicks very positive into the SEMI position), reduced front lip at magazine well (made by 8Ace), Gun Kote finish (applied by myself using an Airbrush).

I also have the newer Colt stock, a real sling, real Colt hand guards, real Colt and Govt. issue magazines, a bright orange plastic magazine for blank ammo and a yellow M4 BFA (blank firing adapter).

It's been three years now working on this project but I am finally satisfied. what do you think?

Please note: You can't see the most difficult modification/repair 8Ace did, replacing the broken trigger guard lug by a custom made aluminum part. What a masterpiece!










































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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Mon May 06, 2013 11:19 am

Masterpiece is a perfect description 'Mike Very Happy

Has it really been 3 years in the making ShockedQuestion Where has that time gone:?:

3years work has been well worth the effort. This is a real beauty

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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:04 pm

I was able to take a few extra photos. And I was also able to compare it to an unmodified HF M4A1 from the same series (first production run).

Note the dark grey colour of the unmodified HF version. HF was right with this colour as real Colt M4A1s from that time were mostly dark grey.
I did a refinish in flat black. The colour matches current Colt production runs as I could use a charging handle and carry handle without refinishing them. The colour fits quite well.





Original version on top, reworked version below.

Modified model





With blank firing attachment and orange plastic Thermold magazine (for blanks only):



Reduced lip on the front mag well (modified by 8ace):





Original lip on the front mag well (too big):





Real Colt Govt. issue sling swivel (late version):



HF replica sling swifel (early version):




Traces from casting, please note the missing drain hole:



Same spot reworked and smotthed by 8ace and drain hole drilled before refinishing:





I am really happy with the modifications as we could make this great model even more realistic.
If only HF could see this. I really love their original product, but I am proud I was able to improve it even further.
Hell, this project really made me the king of the nitpickers ...
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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:01 pm

You are a king now, at least for modelguns ;-)

Modellers who put together plastic ships/tanks/airplanes spend a lot of time getting their kits adjusted from original-in-the-box to original-military state by doing a LOT of modifications and improvements. This is not considered nitpicking, and I think the same could apply to the modelguns in a quest for the perfect one (visually).

Even if it's "just" details, it was a tremendous amount of work, and I'm sure it wasn't easy for all involved, despite appearances.

Well done!

Most important is that is made you happier :-)

PS: yeah, they both look the same for me! ;-) (duck&run)
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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:53 am

Thank you! No need to run. I can understand that they look the same, but comparing the pics you should see the modifications ... Wink 

This project took a long time and was expensive. And we had a few setbacks. In my darkest hours I sometimes feared I would do something that would ruin my M4. But seeing the miracle work 8ace had done, I had no such fears.
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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:36 am

Is the BFA just for looks or has it been modified to fire blanks?
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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:42 am

It is just for looks. German gun laws prevent a modification to fire blanks strictly. It is a dummy only model, with blocked barrel and no firing pin. For legal reasions I kept the original HF design which complies to strict Japanese laws.
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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:56 pm

MadMike wrote:
Thank you! No need to run. I can understand that they look the same, but comparing the pics you should see the modifications ... Wink 
Wait! Forgot to put on glasses! ;-)
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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:22 pm

First photos updated with Servimg

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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:49 am

After 10 years I am still fascinated about the HobbyFix M4A1.

It is not easy to get information about this model, but it is confirmed that there were two production runs.

Here are photos of serial # ...244. I found them on the internet. I am quite sure the 2xx serial numbers were used in the second production run, whereas the oxx - 1xx were used in the first. Note the slightly darker carry handle marked "A2". This one also came with the M16A4. I am quite sure HF used real surplus parts on this, whereas the dark grey, "AH" marked could have been made by HF itself.



Note the drain hole that was missing on the first production run.





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MadMike
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PostSubject: Re: Photo review of the HobbyFix Colt M4A1 Carbine   Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:00 am

Here are some impressons of a first production run model showing some traces of wear and handling.

If you ask people who have handled a real one they say it looks and feels very realistic ...

Finish looks close to the real M4 made around 2000. Markings are on the spot, only drawback is that they are engraved, while the real ones are roll-marked.

Lest we forget that you can get a good semi-auto AR-15 rifle for half the money you normally have to spend for the HF model ...









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