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Thread: The Space Mag Appreciation Thread

  1. #1
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    The Space Mag Appreciation Thread

    In the 1990’s, while paintball marker’s were evolving from shoebox shapes to milled masterpieces, few creations reached the mystique and uniqueness of a rare series of guns known as,”the Space Mags.” The ever expanding internet allowed these guns to be seen across the world, and as the images were being passed from one computer to the next, the rumors started. When all was said and done, the stories that were circulating left no trace of the truth behind those seemingly surreal guns.
    I first saw them years ago on the old version of AutomagsOnline, a small forum dedicated to Automags. The pictures from back then are the same as those found today, four shots of three guns, revealing little more than their profile.
    The first question was,”do they work?”then,”are they real?”and finally,”it must be photo shop!” Then came the stories, the most imaginative of which described the guns as props for a B-grade French science fiction movie that never made it to the screen. Though evidence to support that claim was never found, the tale was diligently spread around.
    Soon more theories surfaced, ranging from the notion that they were plastic showpieces, to the conclusive belief that they did not work. How could they? Their unique shape and construction made them look almost like they came from, well, yeah, a science fiction movie! They must be showpieces!
    Next up were the doubters who wondered why there were only four pictures and no more. On top of that, they were all profile shots. That gave many people good reason to believe that the guns were little more than a nifty photo enhancement. After a while, the story of the Space Mag was reduced to a few pictures cut and pasted by some guy in France and that was that.

    Recently, the editor of a magazine was looking to do a piece on unusual paintball guns and he asked me for some assistance. The Space Mags immediately came to my mind, and I sent him a link to the famous four pictures. The editor’s response was as follows,”those are nice guns, but we need to have better pictures.”
    So the search was on to find a set of guns that hadn’t been seen or photographed for over a decade. Embarking on such a journey 20 years ago would have most likely cost me a bunch of money, time and travel. Today, my only concern was having enough coffee and getting up off of my butt once in a while to make sure it didn’t grow roots. Cyberspace is definitely the tool of the times.
    I turned to AO first, and announced that I intended to find these guns, come what may. Responses were scarce at first, until a polar bear by the name of Doc Nickel took notice and offered his help. He also mentioned that the Space Mags impressed him enough that he dared to reconstruct one of them five years ago. He never took pictures, but the quest to find the originals appears to have spurred him into doing yet another recreation. The enthusiasm for such a retro project made itself quickly recognizable.
    I kept at it, looking for any guns that were intended to defend France from Martians, and hounding all the old schoolers of our sport who had seen nearly everything back in the day. I was surprised to hear that some of the most famous Mag toters of the 90’s never knew about the Space Mags, and that other industry stalwarts had to brush the cobwebs from their memory to recall them at all. I posted on paintball forums in France, Belgium, England and America, where I encountered many people who showed great interest and curiousity, but provided little information.
    Two weeks went by, and after tapping every resource I could think of, I was ready to give up. On the same day that I announced my failure, Doc came through with the crucial link that sent the search onward. Doc’s own website, www.DocsMachine.com has a forum named the Tinker’Guild and it’s filled with fans of the extraordinary. Links to the known pictures were found there, as well as a rare shot of what appeared to be an anodized Space Mag. Most signifigant however was the discovery of a five year old post intending to sell one of the Space Mags.
    MarkM, a fellow AO member living in the UK had also joined the search early on, and he took charge when he noticed that the phone number in the post from Doc was in England. Mark was quick to act, tracing the old contact to the present day, and before I could get another cup of coffee, he supplied me with the info I had set out to find.
    Half an hour later I was on the phone talking to an Englishman who hadn’t played paintball for more than ten years. A man who still had the final incarnation of the Space Mags he created collecting dust in his closet. A man named Allan Hastie.
    Well, we talked for a little while, and Allan told me everything I wanted to know about those guns. So now, after this lengthy introduction, I’m happy to present you with the facts, and though they may not compare to the spectacular legends that have been told, some of them are actually quite interesting.
    First, here’s a bit about the way he did it:

    The parts were all aluminum, cut out of inch thick plate stock with a jigsaw, and manually milled on a small bench lathe in his dining room. Hand filing and shaping was done while watching television, with the final finishing done by hand in the bathtub to minimize the mess it made. None of the work was done in a workshop, and each gun took roughly three months to finish.
    Allan also said he did some technical modifications to his guns, including spring reinforced triggers that helped them shoot faster, and other work on the internals to tweak their performance. All of the guns were set up for remote lines, and none of them have any attachments that allow for the mounting of a pressure cylinder. But perhaps the most cunning part of their construction is that the first two have air passages internally cut and drilled to supply air to the gun.
    Try doing that in your dining room!

    The first Automag Allan modified was close to 15 years ago. On the top of that gun, what appears to be some kind of a red dot site is actually a barrel cleaning device, designed to be ready for action when a ball broke in the barrel. Allan says the whole project was merely an experiment to see what he could do. When asked why he did it, he said it was fun to have something that looked different from everyone elses.
    Someone made Allan an offer on that gun, and he accepted, but he only sold off the parts he made, keeping the Automag body and A.I.R. valve. He said he’s pretty sure that the pieces he sold are lying at the bottom of a scrap pile by now.

    For the second gun, Allan used the same body and valve that he kept from the first one, and this time he went so far as to build a shot counter into the grip. He played with it for a while until he sold it off to someone at his local field. The gun has since been anodized with a silver splash pattern on a dark background. No one knows where it is today.

    The third and final Space Mag was created almost ten years ago, a design based on the RT Automag from Airgun Designs. Serial # RT 00554. It was one of the first RT’s to see English soil, incorperating the prototype body with the raised and angled backward power feed. According to Allan, this was his best work, the most complete version of the Space Mags, and he’s still got it after all these years.

    Having found Allan with one of the original guns, and possibly inspiring Doc to resurrect one of them from the recycling bin, it looks as though the Space Mags can rest in peace, and so can the rumors. We can now say for certain that they are not just pictures, nor are they wannabe laser zappers. They have absolutely nothing to do with France and they’re not made of plastic. They are(or were as the case may sadly be)fully functional aluminum markers created by someone who had the desire to turn his Automags into something special.

    Hats off to you Allan!



    Thanks to AO, especially Doc and Mark for their help. This would not have happened without you guys.

    Now, if I may dare to be so cheesy……Vive la Space Mag!!!
    Last edited by Maghog; 10-09-2005 at 04:39 PM.

  2. #2
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    New pictures are on their way...stay tuned

  3. #3
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    Order of Creation

    The Order of Creation is




    But was orginally raw not splashed anno, like this





    It should also be noted that since these were made in the UK we don't have to worry about the "legal" issues about sound suppressors unlike some parts of the world. Eventually they (sound suppressors) were banned from being allowed in Tournaments but not banned for use on rec/senario days.

  4. #4
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    Great write up!

    Edit: Also, I think the original one is the coolest one.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muzikman
    Great write up!

    Edit: Also, I think the original one is the coolest one.
    i also like the original one the best out of all of them. good read
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  6. #6
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    Sweet. I always liked the looks of the later three.

  7. #7
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    simply put.....thank you!


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SummaryJudgement
    Sweet. I always liked the looks of the later three.
    There only ever was 3. The middle to pictures are the sameone. (After Anno and Before Anno)

    It's nice to finaly know the real story behind these works of art. I'm looking forward to any new pictures that might be had and to see what Doc is able to produce on his new venture into spacemagdom.

  9. #9
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    If its sitting in Allan's Closet, someone offer to buy it, and put it in a museum at AGD

  10. #10
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    And he did this AT HOME! Can you even imaging what he could do with a shop full of the latest tools/machines?!?!?

    I like the first one best myself, but the last one is damn nice also.



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  11. #11
    Very cool, can't wait to see more pics, and of course Doc's finished piece.

  12. #12
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    great work maghog, doc, and markm. Thats a great peice of history all of you uncovered.

    All I can say is wow, a small lathe in the living room? He must of either been single or had a really awesome wife!

  13. #13
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    wow dude that was an awsome story My AGD hat is off to him thats amaizeing but I only wonder who came up with that french movie romor? Well eather way I would love to see they way they are now a days.

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  14. #14
    SPECK Guest
    So have you purchased the last remaining Space-Mag?

    Dave

  15. #15
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    Good job on the research! We need current pics now

  16. #16
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    Now if we can just get Doc to make a small batch....... #1 & 3 get my vote.
    AGD CCI

  17. #17
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    Wow! Great report on a piece of paintball history! I am upset the first one doesn't exist as a whole gun, I really liked that one.


    AGD

  18. #18
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    Good write-up. Nice to set the record straight on things. As for the markers….. I like the first one the best. But none are my style.

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  19. #19
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    Thanks for the comments guys, I have to say that this was a great experience. It brought me back to the old days a bit, where people did things for fun. It's good to see that some of those people are still doing it too.

    FYI-yes, I am buying the final Space Mag, and it's going to be on display in the States soon. Please don't ask what I paid, I'm not telling anyway.

    Pics are going to take a bit longer...sorry, I will post them as soon as I can.

    Allan is also checking out this thread so don't be shy, let him know that if he ever decides to make another Space Mag that we'll be waiting to see it.

  20. #20
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    if allan makes anything else, spacemag or other kind of marker, I would love to see it!

  21. #21
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    Wow, great story.

    I respect hand-made and home-made work so much and doing that without pro tools in your home is so inspiring.

    Like others said, thank you for your great work.

  22. #22
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    True works of art.

  23. #23
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    As promised,

    All of the black stripes are inlay, inluding the 4I logo/name (or is it a stylised AH for the maker Allan Hastie?)

    Save these pictures if you want to but remember whose picture's they are also since they are currently on a photobucket account please don't link the urls as they will quickly dissapear due to bandwidth restraints...thanks.





    Close-up of the frame showing all the different levels and notice how the grip is set into the frame not on top, that is trick and sutle












    Close up of the stock fitting


    Yes there is some milling to reduce weight
    Last edited by MarkM; 10-27-2006 at 11:46 AM.

  24. #24
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    Man that thing is so cool.

  25. #25
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    Maghog,

    When you say display in the states, I assume you mean in the EMR museum?

    Also, if you decided to ever part with it, please let me know first.

  26. #26
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    I asked Allan about the inlay, he says he used epoxy resin. The symbol stands for Allan and Ian Hastie. I didn't ask if the other two bear the same mark, would be cool if they did though.

  27. #27
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    This should go under historic posts me thinks. It IS part of automag history, be sad to see it go.


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  28. #28
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    so happy to see the story of these fianlly told. These are awsome works of art, and its a crying shame that the first one is likely forever lost.

  29. #29
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    i must say it is much much wider than what i thought it would have been, can't imagine it is terribly comfortable. still very neat.

    I also still think the first is the coolest looking of the group.

  30. #30
    Automaggot68 Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by thecavemankevin
    i must say it is much much wider than what i thought it would have been, can't imagine it is terribly comfortable. still very neat.

    I also still think the first is the coolest looking of the group.

    That's exactly what I was thinking.

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