In the early to mid 1990s, Colin Thompson ran Lapco out of Paintball Connection in San Diego.
During this period, Paintball Connection had established a steady production process and this resulted in a large amount of Ghosts and Spirits being produced.
Towards 1993 and likely before 1994 Colin developed a long bodied bore drop design that was similar to many of the other popular nelson based pumps still in existance. Line SI (post 1990), Carter Machine, CCI’s Phantom, WWP’s Razorback and WGP’s Ranger all used a longer body with a less exposed valve. This removed the need for the two side valve body screws.
I have seen around five of these pumps complete and another couple un anodized. This body style may have also been used on some of semi automatic Autospirits.
After Colin left Paintball Connection he likely lost some of his supply chain and distribution and began working with left over parts, or small batches of new parts. Paintguns that came as a result of this were the Force Recons and custom pumps that Colin built for customers as he worked out of Mr. Paintball in Escondido and other locations.
One theory for the small numbers of the longer snub body I can think of is that when Paintball Connection closed Colin had a large amount of standard bodies and valves left over that he could build. To use the later bodies he would have to buy valves from another manufacturer. Maybe he had a surplus of standard “nelson spec” valves he could use? Maybe he never developed a valve body for the longer snub Lapco bodies? The few I have and have seen were likely using valve bodies cut down after they were machined originally. An error in this theory is that it would be easier to cut the back down on one of these bodies than it would be to cut a standard spec body for Autococker barrel threads. This would make me think that only a small number of these bodies were made.
Last month, on MCB, a longer Snub body came up for sale from the original owner, Jim Campos.
The original owner, Jim Campos, met Colin at Paintball Connection in 1993/94, while visiting from Minnesota. He remembers, “Many years ago I met Colin Thompson along with Russell Maynard in the early 90’s when he had his shop in the back of Paintball Connection in San Diego. This was my introduction to California Paintball. Russell showed me an Autococker and the trigger job that he did to improve it. I bought one and Colin did his porting at the end of my bull barrel.”
Jim was shooting Snipers and Autocockers at the time, but curious about Nelsons. He asked Colin how to assembly a Nelson based pump.
Campos writes, “I asked Colin to show me the process of putting a gun together. He picked up the some parts around his bench and assembled this gun. He said it will be unique because of the 12 gram adapter attached to a bottom line that would allow me to use a 12 gram or 7 oz bottle. I played with it twice and I never got into the groove of the gun. I am really a Sniper 2 Pump person. So here is the gun. RIP Colin and Russell.”
While in Minnesota, Campos played with the Lost Boys.
He writes, “I played at Borderland Paintball whenever I was in San Diego, [and] in Minnesota [my local fields were] Splatball and Adventure Zone in Rosemount. I was playing for the Lost Boys of Minnesota.”
Aside from the longer snub on this Lapco Spirit, a few other features stood out.
On some Force Recons, Colin used the WGP Ranger frame, so I didn’t immediately notice that this pump uses an Autococker slide frames that is pinned to hold a ranger trigger.
Some of the later models used the Ranger frame but I haven’t seen examples with the pinned slide frame before. I didn’t know this would even function correctly. I will break it down in another video eventually.
The valve body on this pump is also a combination of parts I hadn’t seen before, a plastic 12 gram changer off an early Trracer pump, which works with this set up because of the longer snub body. Meaning that Trracer back bottle valves, as well as possiblly some phantom valves might work.
Another feature uncommon on earlier Lapco pumps was the removable barrel.
The longer snub body comes stock with Autococker threads and the cocker threaded barrel, could have been sliced off from another ghost body, since it has the return spring under the pump, and features Colin’s signature porting at the end of the barrel.
The end of the barrel features Colin’s signature porting.
And Muzzle break step in the end bore.
So thinking about the components used by Colin on this pump, including the Trracer valve body, the slide WGP frame and the re anodized pump arm (anodized over Lapco) and not the bright engraved post anodizing many Lapco’s features, I can conclude that Colin may have been either running low on parts or working on other (non pump projects).
Giant thanks to Jim Campos for selling me this remarkable Lapco pump and letting me use his photos.
Find more Lapco history at https://paintballhistory.com/tag/lapco
And Lapco pump parts for sale at http://www.baccipaintball.com/parts/pump/nelson/brand/lapco.html
Colin was a good guy. I played in the late 80s in New England with stock play in the woods and saw him come up as CA pball first got going. After plaing for a few years, I picked up a nice new marker by the new Canadian outfit Mokal. I talked to Colin on the phone & email and got one of Colin’s last hand made barrels and lapco adapters for my Mokal Titan in the early 90s. Really nice guy who knew his markers.