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Vader
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Sidearm mistake/oversight? (summary on p.2)

Fri 15 Nov 2019, 14:55

EDIT: Pictorial summary on Page 2.


The "M4A3 Service Pistol" described as the "standard sidearm" of the USCMC ... I have to wonder where it comes from.

The picture looks sort of like a strangely proportioned hybrid between a Colt M1911A1 (never seen in ALIENS) and the S&W 39 that Vasquez privately keeps a custom ivory-gripped version of. It has that archaic early 20th century "Browning automatic" look to it, in any case.

On the other hand, several individuals among the Marines wield an entirely different sidearm in multiple scenes, such as for example:
  • Frost in the xenomorph nest
  • Ferro reaches for it on board the dropship
  • Vasquez gives one to Bishop when he starts off for the landing pad
  • Gorman fires it at the xenomorphs in several shots in the command centre and the ventilation ducts
.
The weapon used as prop here is an early model of the Heckler & Koch VP70 (or, according to certain sources, the blank-firing replica version from MGC).

It looks a lot more futuristic than the illustration in the game (in fact, this was the first polymer-framed sidearm; the forerunner of the Glock 17 and everything that followed), and is thus a lot more credible in the role of a future Marine Corp's standard sidearm:

Image
Could someone shed some light as to where the game's "standard sidearm" comes from, and why FL chose not to reference the on-screen prop for their design?


Footnote: "M4A3" is the moniker that the "ALIENS: Colonial Marines Technical Manual" seems to attribute to Vasquez's custom S&W 39 (although for some reason, they illustrate it with a line drawing of an M1911A1...). In the book, it is rationalised as an earlier standard sidearm, lately superseded by the one portrayed by the VP70.

So ... is this the source for the "M4A3", then? And the reason why the illustration is an odd mash-up of the S&W and the Colt?

But if so, that still begs the question: why has the VP70-"lookalike" -- which obviously IS the Marines' standard sidearm in ALIENS -- been omitted?
Last edited by Vader on Thu 11 Jun 2020, 09:03, edited 3 times in total.
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Birdie_Sparrow
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Re: Sidearm mistake/oversight?

Fri 15 Nov 2019, 23:22

My 2 cents - the VP-70 is not that well known plus the current background implies non-USCM characters (as in they have left the service if they were one versus active duty). As such civvies would not necessarily have access to military grade weapons. Yes I know the smart gun and pulse rifle are there but civvies should not have access to such hardware normally. 

So.... since the VP 70 is "current issue" and one assumes more advanced that means the older M4A3s may have been decommissioned and sold to the public.

However, since the first expansion will be the USMC book I assume we will see the VP in there. 
 
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Vader
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Re: Sidearm mistake/oversight?

Sun 17 Nov 2019, 12:09

Not unlikely you are right ... but in my mind, the H&K being more obscure, and looking more futuristic, should have made it a better candidate for use in the base game than the obvious recognition factor of the "Browning pistols" that literally originate from the time of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers -- the Colt is, as the model number indicates, a pre-WWI weapon; the S&W is, in the context of "Browning pistols", quite modern; it started development during WWII and entered production in the '50's.

I mean, there was a reason why James Cameron chose to use the H&K -- doubtless having to do with the reasons stated above (obscure, futuristic) -- and why they bent over backwards to make the Thompsons and MG42's unrecognisable. It is my distinct feeling they gave the ivory-gripped but otherwise unmodified S&W to Vasquez precisely so that it could be recognised as an antique. The "former service weapon model" reationalisation doesn't hold water for me.

It would be interesting if someone from Fria Ligan could comment a bit on the design choices made here.
- They're a bit like Facehuggers, aren't they?
- Face ... huggers?
- Yeah, you know. Alien.
- ...?
- The horror movie, Alien.
- There's a horror movie called Alien?? That's really offensive! No wonder everyone keeps invading you.
 
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Rymdhamster
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Re: Sidearm mistake/oversight?

Sun 17 Nov 2019, 22:23

Footnote: "M4A3" is the moniker that the "ALIENS: Colonial Marines Technical Manual" seems to attribute to Vasquez's custom S&W 39 (although for some reason, they illustrate it with a line drawing of an M1911A1...). In the book, it is rationalised as an earlier standard sidearm, lately superseded by the one portrayed by the VP70.

So ... is this the source for the "M4A3", then? And the reason why the illustration is an odd mash-up of the S&W and the Colt?

But if so, that still begs the question: why has the VP70-"lookalike" -- which obviously IS the Marines' standard sidearm in ALIENS -- been omitted?
This version was in the computer game Aliens: Colonial marines; https://avp.fandom.com/wiki/M4A3_Service_Pistol

Why the change, i do not know. Maybe they repurposed some existing model of the pistol from another game. Rather than making a new from scratch. Or the person designing it it for the game just vaugley remembered Vasquez gun and went from there.
 
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Vader
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Re: Sidearm mistake/oversight?

Mon 18 Nov 2019, 09:35

Thanks, Rymdhamster!

Indeed, it seems Aliens: Colonial Marines chose to just go with the info in the ALIENS: Colonial Marines Technical Manual book, the firearm in the illustration you linked to being, as you say, just the straight-off Colt M1911A1 (with an under-barrel laser sight).

Fria Ligan has obviously been more creative in drawing a weapon of their own; something like 60% based on the Colt, 20% based on the S&W, and the rest on ... I don't know ... one of Alucard's pistols from Hellsing?

I'd really be curious to have some insight into the process behind the choices made.
- They're a bit like Facehuggers, aren't they?
- Face ... huggers?
- Yeah, you know. Alien.
- ...?
- The horror movie, Alien.
- There's a horror movie called Alien?? That's really offensive! No wonder everyone keeps invading you.
 
[AvPG]CorporalHicks
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Re: Sidearm mistake/oversight?

Thu 21 Nov 2019, 12:23

The writer knows the Veep was missing. I'm sure we'll see it in the upcoming Colonial Marines book. ;) 

The M4A3 is actually from the Tech Manual and made its way into AvP Classic before appearing in Colonial Marines. 
 
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Vader
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Re: Sidearm mistake/oversight?

Thu 28 Nov 2019, 12:50

The writer knows the Veep was missing. I'm sure we'll see it in the upcoming Colonial Marines book. ;) 

The M4A3 is actually from the Tech Manual and made its way into AvP Classic before appearing in Colonial Marines. 
I hope it does! :-) (if you refer to the footnote in the OP, you'll find the M4A3/ACMTM reference - still a different gun, though)

But I'd still be curious to get some insight into the creative choices made in writing the core book. If someone from FL could pipe in with a bit of backstory, I'd be most appreciative...
- They're a bit like Facehuggers, aren't they?
- Face ... huggers?
- Yeah, you know. Alien.
- ...?
- The horror movie, Alien.
- There's a horror movie called Alien?? That's really offensive! No wonder everyone keeps invading you.
 
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Vader
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Re: Sidearm mistake/oversight?

Mon 02 Dec 2019, 17:12

Just thought I'd post clear pictures of what we're talking about:

This is the "original" gun carried by Vasquez: the S&W 39, as what quite clearly seems to be a non-standard issue weapon. Not unlikely, it is connected to her character backstory:
Image

The ALIENS Colonial Marines Technical Manual chose (ill-advisedly, IMO) to rationalise Vasquez's weapon as a former standard USCMC service sidearm -- but for some unfathomable reason illustrated it with a bog-standard Colt M1911A1. The ALIENS Colonial Marines video game follows suit:
Image

Fria Ligan elects to forgo the VP70 altogether, and just rolls with the outdated early-20th-century pistol design; however choosing to draw their own, loosely based on both of the former, with a fair lot of creative license (note e.g. the absence of an ejector port, and the absolutely massive frame proportions at the muzzle end):
Image

Here's where I'd  be curious to hear a bit from Fria Ligan themselves.
I am confident the design choices made are perfectly valid ones; I'm just curious to understand the underlying reasoning.
Last edited by Vader on Mon 02 Dec 2019, 19:41, edited 1 time in total.
- They're a bit like Facehuggers, aren't they?
- Face ... huggers?
- Yeah, you know. Alien.
- ...?
- The horror movie, Alien.
- There's a horror movie called Alien?? That's really offensive! No wonder everyone keeps invading you.
 
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aramis
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Re: Sidearm mistake/oversight?

Mon 02 Dec 2019, 19:39

The lack of an ejector port strongly implies a caseless design. Caseless pistols are (at the moment) largely a thing of Sci-Fi; current caseless weapons are either GLs or rifles. 
—————————————————————————
Smith & Wesson: the original point and click interface...
 
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Vader
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Re: Sidearm mistake/oversight?

Mon 02 Dec 2019, 19:52

The lack of an ejector port strongly implies a caseless design. Caseless pistols are (at the moment) largely a thing of Sci-Fi; current caseless weapons are either GLs or rifles. 
.
I'd even go so far as to say that it would necessitate a caseless design -- but it's either that, or (as the slide release lever, as per the image incongruously placed on the weapon's right side, would suggest) the image has been flipped at some point, for graphic design reasons (it would look strange for the guns on the page to point "in"; it looks graphically better for them to point "out").

I'm actually more inclined to believe the latter explanation.
- They're a bit like Facehuggers, aren't they?
- Face ... huggers?
- Yeah, you know. Alien.
- ...?
- The horror movie, Alien.
- There's a horror movie called Alien?? That's really offensive! No wonder everyone keeps invading you.

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