Just over a month ago, the L119 Owners Club kicked off a build competition; intended as a bit of fun and relief from the current circumstances, as a way to showcase builds and hopefully spur on a couple to finish. The response to this call to arms was absolutely staggering, with hundreds of worthy entries.

The categories were:

  • Best Classic L119A1 Build
  • Best Modern L119A1 Build
  • Best L119 Paintjob
  • Most Creative L119 Build
  • Best Two L119A2 Builds (two winners because currently there’s no distinction between classic and modern, unlike the A1)

The judges were group owner Jay, Andy of Andy’s Gasworks, and Rich from The Reptile House. Aside from the many prizes on offer, one of the outcomes was to feature the successful builds in a mini article on this blog.

With the winners informed and having being asked for info on their builds, The Reptile House proudly presents this year’s winners to the blog’s readers.

All categories were hard won with the judges having a difficult time deciding on every single winner.

1. Best Classic L119A1 Build – Paul B

Everyone loves a classic A1 build but paradoxically so few people build them. Luckily there were a number of solid entries for the judges to choose from, with Paul B’s SFW/UGL combo agreed as the winner.

The judges really appreciated details like Paul’s Matech BUIS and of course the UGL was a bold, daring addition.

The build started off as a G&P M4 Commando. The launcher is a Classic Army AG36 which was modified to fit a KAC rail.

I specifically wanted to replicate this L119A1 style after seeing it with 21 SAS training at Bramley, whilst on exercise with my cadet unit. Plus you don’t see many with the L17 grenade launcher in airsoft!

I cant take all the credit though. Ben P did a brilliant job getting the engraving and barrel kosher, and Mark T for the L17 modifications.

Paul B

Honourable mentions: Lorenzo M; Sam J.

2. Best Modern L119A1 Build – Ben H

Again, an incredibly difficult choice which eventually saw Ben H’s modern SFSG A1 victorious. It’s based on the Systema PTW platform, with a HAO receiver set.

The judges were impressed with its uniqueness and the way in which it pushes a legacy form factor into the present (and maybe even beyond.)

The build started out as my brother’s project, who commissioned it from Tackleberry in 2017. It uses a one-off (as far as I know) factory engraved HAO Colt receiver set, PTW OEM parts, and (now) mostly RS bits, with all the usual Tac mods and refinements.

It took a fair while for the build slot to come around and during the wait my brother lost interest in airsoft, so I paid the outstanding balance and took delivery from Tac in late 2018. When it arrived, I rushed some pictures up onto the L119 Owners Club – a new member seeking a pat on the back.

Needless to say the build took a mullering from the usual keen eyed critics! It was an OK attempt, but a long way to go. Defeated and salty, I decided to get serious. Looking around at reference material, talking to the group and checking available parts it became clear that a modern build was the way to go.

The reference picture I used came from The Reptile House (thanks Rich) – it’s a very clear picture and Rich had already identified all the parts in the article. I hadn’t seen any similar clone builds and most of the RS parts could be sourced here in the UK.

Over the next year I collected everything that is on the build now – the big-ticket items were the CompM4 (which I sourced from Dave – thanks!) and the very distinctive Lancer one-piece magwell – it’s pretty trick for a UK issued weapon. In between the credit card raids I focussed on smaller details like the receiver extension nut, mag release and flash hider (HAO), a handguard cap without cut-outs, and of course a set of Jay’s PEQ stickers. Magpul furniture is easy enough to come by in the UK so the only repro part I needed was the MOE grip which is FCC (and not great – ideally I’d get Tac to do a number on the motor like Rich has on his L119A2). The last piece I bought was the BUIS which, although not present in the reference picture, rounds the build off nicely I think. The holy grail would be asking HAO to custom engrave their new Gen 2 Colt lower for me – but that’s a bridge too far just now.

It’s been a great journey and I’m very chuffed to have won a prize – the judges all know their stuff and there’s some great builds out there! Thanks to all the people over at the L119 owners page for sharing your knowledge whilst humiliating the ignorant – I couldn’t have done it without you!

Parts: Custom Engraved HAO Colt receiver set*; Systema internals & barrel (Tac modded and built)*; KAC RAS – non UKSF version; Lancer one-piece magwell adapter; Magpul furniture – MOE stock, ASAP plate, AFG 1, MS3 sling, MBUS Pro; Comp M4 and spacer; HAO – pins, mag catch, extension nut, flash hider*; FCC MOE grip*; (*repro)

Ben H

Honourable mention: Bruno C.

3. Best L119 Paintjob – Chesleigh M

This may well have been the hardest category to judge out of what was a very close competition overall. In the end the judges felt that Chesleigh M’s paintjob on his TM NGRS shone in being the most authentic and not overly self-conscious; yet still distinct because it’s so perfectly simple.

I drew inspiration for the paint scheme from Dean G’s awesome paint jobs. Unfortunately, when it came to the execution it didn’t go to plan…

I always planned to work with tan. Looking at the reference pictures available, current theatre for A2s is somewhere hot and arid, so that’s what I went for.

I started off with a base layer of Halfords camo Tan, moving onto bold stripes with Halfords camo Brown. The effect was a little too bold, so I started breaking up the stripes I’d created with a light dusting of Tan. I actually really liked the effect, so I continued coating the design with more light dustings of the Tan, by holding the can away at an angle and letting spray fall on to the RIF.

Because it was not primed or sealed, the paintjob has weathered quickly with use. I’ve since added a Manta Suppressor Cover in Camo.

Chesleigh M

Honourable mentions: Dean G; Jay P; Matt F.

4. Most Creative L119 Build – Mark T

Mark T’s TM NGRS build achieved a relatively early unanimous decision by the judges, for his work on innovations such as Simunition style bolts and magazines; together with his resourcefulness in sourcing the L119A2 unicorn that is the grenade lug grip cover. The judges remarked, “Mark – we hate you for the latter but love your work in general.”

First of all, can I say a big thank you to all the judges in the competition.

A great deal of effort is put into all of my custom work, and it’s all done by myself where possible. I develop inspiration for my TM NGRS build by adding features I’ve not yet seen before in the L119A2/UKSF airsoft community. I’m not afraid to try new things, and make/use custom parts which may have been seen once, just rumoured or in some cases possibly off-spec – all for my own personal enjoyment of watching diehard cloners squirm as a 40 round PMAG protrudes from their messiah!

For this competition I focussed on my most recent project, the Simunition force on force setup, along with some rarer attachments. The magazines are Lancer L5 AWM Midcaps, which I disassembled and repainted to replicate a simunition load. And the bolt is a standard TM part; cut to shape, painted and weathered with a heavy carbon build up as per real use. Simple mods which add a new dimension to ‘cloning’ I’ve not seen in impressions before.

You can see more of my L119A2 build, and UKSF impression on my Instagram – @mk1_tactical

Mark T

Honourable mention: John Ross T.

5. Best Two L119A2 Builds – James B & Matt F

James B’s Systema PTW/HAO-based A2 impressed the judges with what is quite possibly the most technically correct build in the entire competition. While sticking closely to canon, James chose an array of legit RS accessories to produce a distinctive build.

I’ve been an avid Systema PTW owner and user for a long time, moving through multiple rifles with varying setups over the years. When HAO released its complete L119A2 kit, I decided to place an order. This was my very first HAO kit and I have to say that the hype around the quality is 100% justified. I was really surprised at the overall quality and attention to detail HAO has put into their products. Needless to say, I am a convert!

I didn’t follow one single piece of reference for the build, but rather a multitude of images to try and find a setup I liked. The reference and information available here on The Reptile House and the L119 groups on Facebook were invaluable for determining which parts I should buy.

Gathering all of the externals was a slow process, and another pricey bit. I wanted to try and add as many real steel accessories as possible, to leverage the Systema PTWs 1:1 aspect. Another part of its charm.

James B

Matt F’s GHK build was also very much seen as the full package, blending a clean, modern, just-out-of-the-armoury aesthetic with an authentic looking and unselfconscious paint job. Two of the judges commented that of all the A2s, this one was perhaps most usable and appealing to them in terms of form factor.

My L119A2 build is based on reference photos and personal knowledge of what is used in the wild on the A2.

It’s been through a bit of a transition, but I’m happy with how I’ve now got it now. It’s a set up that is functional yet rugged, and lightweight enough to be used for all sorts of scenarios.

For the paintjob, I was set on Kryptek after seeing a reference photo of an L119A2 with that pattern. I wanted to imitate that finish, which despite the use of stencils looks expedient!

I’ve just had my receiver trades finished by A-Tac Laser Engraving and I’m really impressed. I think A-Tac’s are the best engravings I’ve seen and are very, very close to the real thing. In terms of what’s left to do or where it’s going to go, I want to get the HAO FA556SA suppressor for it, and finish off the details such as the buffer.

Otherwise I believe this is how my rifle will stay and I’m currently finishing of an L119A1 build!

Matt F

Honourable mention: Jay P

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