I chose to build this after watching Starship Troopers, despite the complete lack of any order in the Mobile Infantry Military, the absence of support weapons, artillery or any armored vehicles, I couldn’t help falling in love with the look of the futuristic, yet quite believable looking Morita Smart Rifle.
The movie guns were completely custom cast fiberglass shells based around the Ruger Mini 14 for semi automatic guns, the Ruger ACC556 for select fire versions and the Ithaca M37 Stakeout shotgun for the under slung blaster.
The rear section of the Movie Moritas was molded off the real steel Muzzlelite bullpup stock for the Ruger mini 14 and AC556, and used the standard clips for these guns in a futuristic casing, to make them both larger and more interesting to look at.
For my Morita I thought it best to start at the same place, and while the Ruger Mini 14 or AC556 are not easily available as airsoft weapons, the AC556 not even being made, while the Mini 14 was made as a spring rifle by Maruzen many years back, the Muzzlelite stock is easy to get hold of even here in the UK, through several gun dealers, as it is not a limited or restricted item.
The Hardballer shotgun slotted quite easily into the gap in the resin casting for the real steel M37 stakeout shotgun, as they are very similar in shape and size, although the Hardballer, being slightly smaller than the M37 meant that I had to have the trigger for the shotgun. Further forward than ideal and it can be seen in the front handgrip area of the final model.
The Muzzlelite stock is a clamshell style body kit that converts the Ruger series and as some is completely hollow inside allowing plenty of space to fit custom airsoft internals.
I removed the front section of the Muzzlelite stock, from the trigger guard forward and chopped off the front of the carry handle along the top, the area where I had cut away the front was sanded flat and mated to the rear section of the front resin piece that ended just before the resin trigger guard. A length of copper tube runs through the center of the whole gun, to act as a long outer barrel and to also add a strengthening support down the length of the whole model. Several tubs of two part epoxy resin were used to fill the remaining gap inside the Morita resin front and the parts of the Muzzlelite that would not contain any internals. The bond between the front resin casting and the plastic Muzzlelite stock is very rigid; there is no flex at all to be felt.
I was left with only one trigger on the pistol grip as the shotgun didn’t reach that far, something I was not happy with at the time…
The internals for the rear machine gun were originally electric, and taken from a Marui P90 (version 6 gearbox) with a hop unit from an MP5 and the magwell from a M16. I managed to fit them quite easily, but as I had to do away with the trigger from the P90 it was no longer select fire, and on firing for the first time a problem feeding the gun became very evident, the bb’s would not feed from the M16 mags into the hop unit properly… I tried to fix it but it would not work smoothly, and so I went back to the drawing board.
Some serious brainstorming later, I arrived at the conclusion that a GBB like the Maruzen VZ61 Scorpion or MP5 would perhaps work; using a cut out of the two I tried them in the Morita.
To finish off the design a copy of the Mini 14 cocking handle was attached to the VZ61’s right cocking handle, which is now used to cock the action and moves when firing just like the Mini14’s.
The mag casing over the VZ61 mag is made from a stunt rubber Morita clip used in the actual Starship Troopers film. In the end I decided to add the second shotgun trigger beneath the rifle trigger, even though it did nothing, I thought it finished the Morita off, and added something that had been missing in my earlier design.
Despite the fact that the Morita is 41 inches long and a real hard gun to carry (even with me being 6ft tall) it is very solidly built and could be taken skirmishing. It’ll never happen though, I couldn't bare for the Morita to get smacked against a tree after all that work… Guess I’ll just have to defend the garden against those pesky Bugs…
by Matthew Bond
|A site with a few images and some usefull information covering various sci-fi props|
|LazerTag E-Zine May 2001||The LazerTag e-zine, with informaion and a picture of their Tag-MORITA|
|TrooperPX.com||TrooperPX: The Worlds Most Complete Starship Troopers Reference Collection|
|Starship Troopers Props for sale||A site with various props and equipment for sale from the film|
|GoldenArmour||GoldenArmour's page for the MORITA|
|Ithaca Gun Company||The real-steel makers of the Ithaca 37 shotgun|
|Ruger Firearms||The real-steel makers of the Ruger Mini-14 rifle|
|The Ruger Mini-14 page||A small page of links to information, parts, and other resources for owners and fans of the Ruger Mini-14 Rifle.|
|ReelClothes||ReelClothes have several props and the like for sale, including original and 2nd gen MORITA shells|
on this page from the 'StarShip Troopers' DVD are ©2000 Warner
No arachnids, infantrymen or bugs were harmed in the production of this page. ( My my, we do read the small print don't we ? )