The 2005 Collector’s Convention in Minneapolis was the first time I’d been able to attend the entire convention and so it is the standard by which all of the others are measured against—at least in my mind. This was the year of the announcement of DTC, the debut of the Sigma 6 line, and the launch of GIJoe product at HasbroToyShop.com. However, as exciting as those points are, the real hit of the convention for me was to be found in a small booth near the back wall of the dealer’s room. Seemingly a one-man operation, this booth showcased a series of original 1:18 th scale weapons that were designed specifically for my favorite Real American Heroes. Featuring intricate detailing, the weapons were very affordably priced and I found myself going back time and time again to purchase “just a few more”. In the intervening two years, Marauder Gun-Runners has continued to raise the bar higher and higher on their accessories while still maintaining an amazingly affordable price point per item. With the debut of MGR wave 4, Marauder John has once again proven that he can continue to surpass his previous offerings – and still equip 3.75” Joes of all eras.
NOTE: This “tag team” review features text by both Fred “Leonardo T Dragon” and Justin “General Hawk” Bell. Fred’s text appears in standard text while Justin’s will be rendered in italics.
.45 M19A1 Automatic Pistol:
If you’ve ever watched a John Wayne/ Lee Marvin/ or Charles Bronson war movie, then you’ll recognize this particular piece. Packaged (in various forms) with countless Joes over the years, most Joe fans might find themselves wondering just why they should acquire “yet another” version of this classic sidearm. After all, how many versions of a particular weapon can a fan truly own? There are accessories, however, and there are ACCESSORIES and the Marauder Gun-Runners pieces are definitely the higher quality pieces. For whatever reason, over the past several years Hasbro has been producing their figure accessories from softer grades of plastic. In some cases this works in the weapon’s benefit but in most it leaves the purchaser with the impression of a much “cheaper” accessory. MGR continues to use a harder grade of plastic which means that over time, the tell-tale “thumb scars” left on the hand grips of weapons by the ARAH-era figures won’t be as much of an issue. However, the real selling point for this piece is the typical MGR level of detail—round down to the cocked hammer and cross-hatched handgrip. Most weapons for this scale are typically rendered in a neutral state— essentially in the condition you might observe their real-life counterparts when sitting in a holster. This pistol, with its more dynamic casting, offers diorama builders and dio-story authors a more dramatic option. Now figures can be display truly “ready to fire” in a way that previously required some quality time with a decent photo-editing program. While not the standard sidearm of my collection, this .45 has definitely found a use in my Joe displays and I plan on using it in many a photo shoot for the site in the future.
I agree with what Fred is saying here. Let’s face it, there are dozens of pistols out there available with probably about 50% of the figures you buy out there. But there is a difference between just another pistol and a pistol that maintains a certain sense of quality and detailing. As Fred mentioned, the cocked hammer is a nice touch, the textured handgrip and the solid, thick barrel all make this pistol look great. I’m still a bit mixed on the trigger guard from a personal standpoint. For looks, it’s great, it does add a lot of accuracy to the pistol, but from a functionality standpoint, sometimes those trigger guards can impede the way the classic sculpt figures can hold these weapons, especially the pistols. The anniversary figures and figures with trigger fingers hold these weapons terrifically, but some of the holder figures have some minor issues. Minor issues, just the same, but still worth a mention. Regardless of these minor problems, though, this pistol looks fantastic and is detailed to the extreme.
.50 caliber sniper rifle:
In my review of the Night Ops Humvee released in the DTC line now two years ago, I gave one of the included accessories more than its fair share of discussion. The included Barrett sniper rifle caught my attention as the perfect weapon for my GvC sniper Crosshairs and promptly became part of his “default kit”. However, with the release of the MGR .50 caliber sniper rifle I’ve found a much more cost-effective alternative. (I don’t like splitting up the included gear of a vehicle and even with the recent HTS clearance sale I can’t quite justify buying more of that vehicle just to obtain more of the rifles.) To avoid sounding like a stock holder in MGR, I’ll just say that the detailing on this accessory rifle is fantastic—right down to the ejection slide molded onto the right hand side. With its attached scope (part of the molding) and non-removable clip there are no extraneous parts to worry about. The attached bipod snaps onto the mount solidly and, after days of examination, has never once tried to “slip away”. As a fan of both modern military gear as well as the stellar FPS shooter HALO, this particular weapon was a “must have” for my collection. I had previously said that you’d have to pry the Night Ops Humvee rifle from Crosshairs “cold dead hands”—but with the release of this particular weapon from MGR he’s gladly swapped out his gear. This has become his default rifle and will remain so for the foreseeable future.
Two words come to mind here… HOLY CRAP. There are guns in this world, and then there are GUNS. A few years ago I would have said Hasbro missed the boat in a big way by not capitalizing on the Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle, because it’s a terrifically designed weapon, and something that looks like it would fit perfectly in the G.I. Joe universe. Well, since then we’ve gotten the gun on the Night Ops Hummer, and the rifle with the DTC Wave 3 Low Light, so we have seen some of these weapons trickle in through official Hasbro channels. To be brutally honest, though, neither one of those weapons comes close to the detail, accuracy, and downright solid size of the Marauder version. The reinforced stock, nicely textured handle and sculpted detail from butt to barrel are all heads and shoulders above what we’ve seen in the past. The oversized magazine, tip of the barrel and fantastic bipod all add awesome elements to this monstrous .50 cal. A very nice looking rifle and a must have weapon for all of your G.I. Joe (or other 1:18 scale) figures.
Briefcase with foam insert:
I really don’t like doing these co-reviews with Fred if all I’m going to say is “me, too!” But at the risk of being a shameless parrot… Me, Too!
I can’t tell you how many times in the recent past that I’ve been looking for one of those silly Salvo briefcases just so I could have SOMEthing for someone to carry around in one of my dio-stories. And even when I did locate one of those briefcases and used it, I wasn’t all that excited about it, mostly because it couldn’t open and it was very specific in its design. Well, the Marauder briefcase solves all of these problems. First of all, it’s easily accessible and very affordable…it looks much more like a generic style briefcase which makes it a lot more functional than any of the other ones as well. Then you’ve got the whole aspect of the case opening! That is such a great bonus, and the removable foam insert is just the cherry on the sundae. From handle to hinges, this is the perfect compliment to any of your more “corporate” COBRA’s, and a great addition to any saboteur or Crimson Guard as well. For being a “non-combat” piece, I honestly think this briefcase is one of my favorite accessories of this fourth assortment. It’s terrific.
“Alright you primitive Screwheads, listen up! This is my BOOMSTICK!!” While I don’t see Flint making this declaration to a bunch of Dark Age peasants any time soon, I do see him displayed with the MGR tactical shotgun. Fans of the 1:18 th scale have been asking Marauder John for a tactical shotgun since wave 1 was a success back in 2005 and the Gun-Runner has delivered. This particular weapon is massive—considerably larger than the shotguns included with Major Barrage, the new Steel Brigade figures, or even the 25 th Anniversary Flint. It’s a solid-looking weapon that looks capable of blowing a fairly large hole through whatever solid object is unfortunate to find itself in its path. Following the recent trend of removable ammunition clips, the shotgun comes with a small “clip” of shells and not one but two place to attach them. Found on both the right hand side of the stock and the left hand side of the chamber is a small plastic slot which perfectly fits the tab on the back of the shells. This small detail gives customers display options not found on previous weapons—something that the discerning Marauder has come to expect in the past three waves. No longer must Falcon and Flint carry identical weapons! If the shotgun does have a downside it is that the handle is a bit thicker than on previous MGR weapons. As a result, placement of the weapon in the hands of older RAH-era figures requires a bit more care than it does with the newer GvC era pieces. This isn’t such an issue for me as I see this weapon getting more “play” from my newer figures but it is something to be aware of when choosing whom to display with this weapon. Aside from the scale issue, this is an extremely solid addition to the MGR line.
Like the .50 cal sniper rifle, Hasbro had kind of missed the boat in the shotgun arena through most of the classic era Joe line. Muskrat had a pretty cool tactical shotgun (I wasn’t a fan of Falcon’s personally) but until the new sculpt line came about, that was about it. Now we have a lot more options in regards to these weapons, but again, the Marauder offering just seems that much better. Of course, Marauder’s main focus is on the weapons themselves, so they can allocate more resources to the guns, but if you ask me, that’s a BIG bonus, because you end up with weapons like this.
The tactical shotgun is fantastic. A solid stock, well-textured surface and the nicely contoured pump all come together to give you an extremely realistic looking and impactful SWAT based shotgun. This thing looks like it could cause some serious damage. A nice addition to this weapon are the slots on the stock and on the other side of the gun itself, which allow you to hook shell “clips” to for storage, which is an awesome touch. The shotgun itself comes with one set of the shells, but it’s got a spot for two of them. Those double barrels on the front of the shotgun, the non-trigger guard, and overall design aspect of the shotgun just look terrific…cannot be beat. Fred is right about the handle, it is a bit thicker than some, but it works fine for me and I was able to work it into any classic sculpt hands, just use some care. Great gun.
Famas “Bullpup” Assault rifle:
I’m going to admit this now—as a young Joe fan I never used the FAMAS with Dusty. Fitting the original weapon into the hands of the v1 Desert Trooper was never the easiest task and I was paranoid about shearing off his thumb. (This happened to a friend of mine with his Zap figure and it made quite an impression.) However, when I opened my box from MGR I decided to give this weapon another try and was surprised by just how well it worked with my GvC era Dusty! Part of the appeal of this weapon is the non-standard nature of its design—with the ammunition clip located behind the hand grip rather than in front and the Marauder version captures the details of this weapon quite well. The bipod fits snugly just above the muzzle and folds back for ease of use. The weapon is asymmetrically sculpted—with differing key details incorporated into both sides of the mold. So, while not a personal favorite in terms of the design, I can see many Joe fans gearing up both their GvC and ARAH-era Dusty figures with this French weapon.
Personally I wasn’t a big fan of the FAMAS back in the day; it just hasn’t had my favorite design. Like Fred, Dusty didn’t use it a whole lot, and the weapon seems so specific for him, I’ve always been a bit curious as to why there was so much fan desire to see this weapon produced. Dusty’s original FAMAS was pretty good as it was, so I wasn’t really certain why this went forward. When I first pulled it out of the package, I wasn’t even sure what all of the advantages were over the original. Once I set them side by side, though, it was obvious and evident that the Marauder, Inc. FAMAS was well improved in every single aspect of the gun. The handle, the bipod, the overall design and detail is all 110% better than the one we got back in the day with Dusty. The FAMAS here looks much more like a “real” weapon and is a great improvement over the ’85 vintage release.
I’m still not wild about how the overall weapon looks, and getting it in the hands is just as challenging as it was back in ’85. Still, from an execution standpoint, you can’t argue that the weapon looks heads and shoulders better than the Hasbro produced version.
This weapon might look familiar—the short version (G36C) was released back in series two. For wave 4, Marauder John opted to include the standard version of the rifle and this time added the now-signature removable clip. This is one of those rifles that I’ve been a fan of since the commando version first made an appearance on Stargate SG-1. (It’s included as part of MGR’s “Gate Explorers” weapons set—a favorite bundle of mine.) While the shorter version works well for characters like Snake Eyes and Wet-Suit, this longer version just seems a much better fit with my “less commando” characters. As always, the detailing is up to the typical MGR standards—right down to the vents on top of the barrel. The grip fits solidly in both ARAH and GvC era hands so this is a weapon that can be used pretty much anywhere in your Joe collection. As the G36 debuted in 1990, I can see this weapon getting used by my later Joes as well as pretty much my entire new sculpt collection.
Fred’s right on, we received a smaller, more “commando” style G36 back in series two, and honestly I like that design a bit better than this larger one. But from a design perspective, the larger G36 still looks like a great weapon. With the new sculpt Joes, the G36 became a pretty standard weapon in the COBRA and Joe ranks, but none of them came out this well. The intricately sculpted hinge on the stock of the rifle is a great touch, and I love the newer more elaborate handle on the rifle, and the larger sized gun. It is a larger sized more long-range aggressive weapon, which comes across quite nicely, even though I do like the more compact, portable nature of the Commando version.
The removable clip is surprisingly functional, staying in its spot pretty well, though I’d probably slap a dab of glue in there before I use this gun outside shooting a Dio-Story. Still, the weapon looks great, and is a nice addition to the arsenal.
When someone mentions the movie “Predator” a few things come to mind. First, there’s the fantastically cool alien hunter with the chameleon effect. The second is the fact that two future governors are cast in the film. The third is Jesse Ventura’s character Blaine’s favorite weapon – “Ole Painless”. Hasbro has attempted to release a mini-gun twice before with varying degrees of success. The first was a diminutive model included with the Spy Troops release of Roadblock. The second was in the Plague Troopers vs. Steel Brigade six-pack and was included with Gallows. However, the BEST version I’ve seen thus far is found in the MGR series and somehow I’m not surprised. Capable of breaking down into no less than seven separate pieces, the MGR Gatling offers an unparalleled level of detail. Currently, the weapons ships without an ammunition belt but Marauder John has stated that a compatible model will be produced in a future wave. Simply put, this is the mini-gun I’ve been waiting for and I lament the fact that I do not have a 3.75” Jesse Venture figure to give it to. So, instead the custom Rock-n-Roll that I received from Luke Ellison a year ago has received a substantial upgrade in firepower! I can see this weapon being used with Joes, Dreadnoks, and even one particular Plague trooper as it is just that great of a weapon. This weapon is tied with the .50 caliber sniper rifle and the modular M4 as my favorite piece in the wave!
I’m not quite as high as Fred on the mini-gun concept in general, though I can’t argue with Marauder’s execution on this one. While I kind of liked the Ole Painless reference from Predator, I feel like the hand held gating gun/mini-gun use from the past few years has gone kind of overboard. From a personal standpoint I kind of prefer a more standard heavy machine gun to a handheld 20mm onslaught machine.
That being said, I still think Marauder, Inc. did a fantastic job with the execution of this mini-gun and folks who are into that idea will have a lot to love here. The weapon comes in several different pieces that assemble together to create the overall mini-gun, which works well. There are instructions included, which is good, because I wasn’t sure how to get all the pieces together, but thanks to the instructions it’s easy to get together and because it’s in those different pieces, you get even more detail throughout. The ammo case is nice as well.
One of the greatest things about this gun, though, is the customizing aspect. Because you can remove the barrel, it’s easy to use these mini-guns to soup up your vehicles, but you can also have just a straight up mini-gun, which is cool, too. Lots of detail, a nice design aesthetic…a great weapon if you’re into these types for sure!