Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Sidearms and the TDS series

Moving onto some of my early contributions, really the only noteworthy one was of my TDS series. Note: I'll include links for instructions, and while most of them are fairly simple, they'll use some concepts we haven't gone over yet if you're following the guide series, and they're not exactly great examples of what should be built either, so I'd recommend not building them. I'm mostly going over these just for a bit of history.

When I was a new builder, my main obsession was trying to replicate realistic firearms. At some point I wanted to try doing the Halo SMG. For reference, here's what a Halo SMG looks like:
Now, it had several challenges, but the ones I focused on at first were the shape and angle of the handles. Up until then, we rarely had realistically angled handles on our launchers, usually either straight up and down or at a 45-degree angle. So I came up with a way to angle both handles at a less extreme angle. I also tried coming up with a comfortably and somewhat accurately shaped handle.

Rest assured it was not good and I wasn't pleased with it. However, I did like the handle portion. I liked the idea of pistols with handle magazines, something to have as a sidearm in a hypothetical K'nex battle, but the only decent repeating ones were bulky and/or uncomfortable in my opinion. Probably the best one at the time was by DSman:

However, I found his rather long, and the handle uncomfortable, but it was basically the bar to beat, my competition. I saw an opportunity to finally contribute something to the community. I would simplify things to come up with the first version of the TDS, or TheDunkis's Sidearm.

Aside from its compact design, it had a removable magazine follower to make reloading a little easier. While it didn't get great range due to its design, having a nicely slanted handle magazine caused a lot of people to copy the general design to make their own sidearms. It started a friendly rivalry with DSman. I made many variations of the design, including one where I was prototyping a slide. I didn't really care for the bulkiness of this design. It was mostly just to prove I could do it.

Another variation I made was a mini version, which was the smallest repeater at the time.

My obsession with sidearms continued as I tried to come up with the "perfect" sidearm. I believe my standards, while doable today, were pretty high at the time, such as wanting a removable magazine and slide-action. One of my failed experiments was trying to make a removable magazine. The handle connection was flimsy and I never actually made the magazines functional. 

Needing help, I tried collaborated with DSman from above. We couldn't come up with a shared design and ended up both trying to improve our original designs. This lead to the TDS2, which was basically just a couple improvements and mostly aesthetic changes since I couldn't make any breakthroughs.

I overhyped it for being something not all that much better than the original, but it was still relatively popular for the time. I wasn't really sure how I could improve the design much more at the time. So I moved on from my fascination with sidearms for a while until saw a new design that incorporated a slide and was otherwise not inspired by my TDS series, which made it novel. I took the slide concept and went through a few prototypes until I was content enough to post the TDSS (TheDunkis's Slide-action Sidearm).

It didn't work all that great since I focused more on the slide than anything else, but I did like how it looked. But the time for sidearms had passed, we were into newer, better things and this didn't reach the same level of praise as my previous pistols, so this is where the series ended. I still considered the TDS2 the best sidearm of its kind, of course in bias, and a slide-action couldn't improve performance more than it could hinder it. Still, sometimes I wish I could've improved the design of the TDSS to be something more functional even if it were to remain just a novelty. It is worth noting that there was a resurgence in handle magazine pistols when people started trying to replicate real pistols, but they were never intended to be sidearms.

So that's the gist of my TDS series. Between the TDS2 and TDSS I'd do a few more things before my next obsession became Assault Pistols, which we'll cover in another post. Did you ever make your own or someone else's sidearm? Let me know in the comments. 

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