I know this is going to be an "against-the-grain" approach to ping-pong, so just bear with me. When playing Ping-Pong, which is easier to hit the ball with? Holding a pair of paddles awkwardly like this?
Or holding it in one of various more traditional ways, like this?
The answer is obvious (or should be...) The latter grip on the paddle is one of the several standard methods for holding a paddle because it makes the most sense in regard to the easiest way to connect the paddle with the ball. The paddle functions as an extension of the arm/hand, rather than a bulk on the side of the hand. If you were holding two paddles like the first photo, it'd be harder to move your hand to the side of the ball to get the paddle to connect. Now, for those of you who are ping-pong junkies, don't get on my case. I know there are plenty more reasons for why we hold our paddles the way we do...don't get technical with me.
Most of you probably see where this is going.
When holding a normal Manta Ray, you're essentially holding a pair of oversized, oblong ping-pong paddles similarly to the first photo. Over the past number of months since I began using a Manta as part of my secondary war setup, I noticed that I was blocking a lot of the faster and closer shots with my hand itself, rather than with the manta shield. Blocking with your hand hurts. More importantly, blocking with your hand means you're hit. Not cool. After some thought, I reasoned that when a person only has a split second to react to something flying at them, their hand will line up directly with where their eye leads, rather than taking the time to line up something outside the body with the target, as is the case with the Manta.
So today, we're going to remedy this a bit. There are tons of ways you can do this, but this is what I settled on. It's based loosely off of something very similar I jokingly flirted with the idea of over a year ago, but decided that half of a manta on my crossbow was just gh3y. Now it's a workable integration that allows me to block the way I've always wanted to, because it's an extension of the hand and arm, rather than an addition to it.
So for starters, I took one of my manta shells, and bent it over backwards and then some with my handy dandy campstove. A heat gun would ultimately be better because it won't leave scorch marks, but this was quicker, and I don't have a heat gun. I have no patience and was ultimately painting it anyway, so I dove in with the stove, and it worked.
I formed it around a specific gun which it seems to have been made for, but you don't have to follow my form exactly.
Once you have it appropriately formed, with the curves on the sides how you want them etc., you should have a pretty good idea of how you want to attach it to whatever gun you're doing this on. It's probably obvious where the connection should go. Personally, I wanted to make mine removable, so I epoxied and zip-tied a piece of Lexan with velcro on it into the space where the join would be. It took two pieces like this to ultimately give me the structural support I needed, but I nailed it down soon enough.
(NOTE: If you do a velcro attachment to make the manta removable, zipties are a MUST. No epoxy, JB Weld, Fishin' Glue...NOTHING holds on when pulling apart velcro. I've ripped JB Weld in half with velcro. Use both, and it'll hold.)
At this point, it's technically ready to go. Fully functional, and pretty damned awesome looking, if I may say so myself. On a quadded Splitfire it might look awkward, but in reality it's almost TOO perfect. Pumping is simple...turn it on its side, and the manta never touches my pumping arm. Same for rotating the barrels. A gun hit is virtually impossible now, and my barrels are almost impervious to getting dinged/dented by a stefan.
As you can see, the shell extends out around the bulk of the gun, encasing it in the shield. It's just one big paddle that shoots. Makes blocking multiple shots in rapid succession a breeze, if you use it right, yet it doesn't weigh things down all that much. You just have to be careful to keep from banging it against trees/buildings/etc. too much, or the wings may snap off. That's another benefit of the velcro; chances are, the Velcro will give out and let go of the manta before it snaps.
And then, of course, I'm not one these days for something that doesn't look like it belongs, so I gave it my signature paint job, and it fits right in with the rest of the crew.
^Complete side-to-side barrel coverage. The only part of the gun that can be hit that isn't shielded (other than being hit from above), is where your hand goes. But we don't block with our hand anymore, do we? If used right, the problem is solved, and it's damned sexy.
So in the future, though it isn't made to be installed on my turreted splitfire while the SF's on the crossbow, the Scimitar attachment will be a frequently used option in my day-to-day arsenal. At this point, my SF is as capable of standing on its own as a primary during a round as my crossbow is.
It's adaptable for other guns, but I wouldn't suggest something so large as a crossbow or other rifle-sized primary/sidearm. You have to be able to move it quickly to block, so I could see this being effective on anything from 2k's to DTG's, etc. The SF just screamed for it.
Hope you enjoyed.
Edited by Falcon, 22 August 2008 - 02:41 AM.