In terms of the internet 2005 was a LONG time ago. The landscape of the digital world was a fairly different place just 7 years ago as was entire G.I. Joe brand. Back then, Joe was moving to a “Direct-to-Consumer” model, 8” Sigma Six figures were on the horizon, and the o-ring was still king. Yet one other important event occurred that year at the G.I. Joe Collector’s Convention—and it wasn’t tied to Hasbro at all. At the back of the convention dealer’s room was an unassuming booth that would eventually take the fandom by storm. That’s right—at the convention Marauder Gun-Runners debuted their first line of 1:18 weapons for “fully poseable modern army figures”. The initial line seemed to be the stuff that fan boy dreams were made of and yet over the years MGR continued to set the bar higher and higher—providing weapons, accessories, and even figure stands. Now Marauder Gun-Runners is back with their 6 th series of weapons and accessories for all figures in my favorite scale. So, how does this line hold up? Let’s just say that the years have been kind indeed!
In order to keep this flowing smoothly, I’m going to present each item and just a few comments. (Trust me, there are a lot of pieces in this wave!)
Type 95 QBZ Assault Rifle:
If this rifle is initially unfamiliar to you, don’t worry. A Chinese modular weapon, the QBZ-95 was first observed outside of China in 1997 during the transfer of Hong Kong’s sovereignty to the People’s Republic of China. This particular replica seems to be based upon the “prototype version” which is no longer in production. However, the bullpup design and the pronounced iron sights give it a formidable and exotic appearance which stands out from more familiar Western designs. This is an ideal choice for outfitting Cobra Troopers who have a tendency to favorite non-NATO weapons.
AA12 Automatic Shotgun:
If you’ve seen either “Predators” or “The Expendables” then you’re most likely familiar with the Atchisson Auto Assault-12. With a fully-automatic firing rate of 300 rounds per minute, this combat shotgun made an impression upon movie goers by either ripping apart Predator “hounds” or by taking out a small army that had most of the Expendables pinned down. Featuring a removable drum, the Marauder version is near perfect fit in the hands of most Generation 3 construction Joes. While the drum on mine fit in snugly the first time I took it out of the baggie I’d recommend a drop of super glue to make certain it’s not going anywhere. Oddly enough, Hasbro issued a version of this weapon with one of the final Ripcord figures to be released in the Rise of Cobra figure line. However, both the scale and detail are MUCH better on the Marauder version.
AKM Assault Rifle (“Basic” and “Deluxe”):
The standard weapon of the former Soviet Union (now the Russian Federation) gets a facelift with this modular overall. Sporting a modern stock and a plethora of “mount points” for the modular accessories, this weapon couldn’t be more appropriately timed consider the 2012 Collector’s Convention set features the Oktober Guard. This is also an idea weapon for the nigh-impossible-to-find Dollar General back Cobra Troopers or any other 30th anniversary Cobra soldiers one might have laying around the house. As is the case with the “Basic” FOS rifle, this weapon is highly customizable thanks to the plethora of accessories released in this wave. One word of caution—once you’ve worked out exactly what your weapon’s configuration will be, use a drop of super glue to hold everything in place—and this includes the removable clip. Another solid update!
FOS Assault Rifle (“Basic” and “Deluxe”):
As near as I can tell, this seems to be based on the Heckler & Koch HK416 assault rifle and serves as the Western counterpart to the “Basic” AKM Assault Rifle in the wave. As usual, the detail on the weapon is the usual high standard that fans of MGR have come to expect over the past seven years—just compare pics of this weapon to any images of its real world inspiration and you’ll see that the details are all lovingly replicated in tiny 1:18 form. However, the real strength of this weapon is in the modular nature of the construction. Just like the modular M4 of wave 4, this weapon can be configured per the owner’s whim with a variety of pieces (covered elsewhere in this review) to better suit the figure it is being displayed with. In fact, an entire squad of Joe Troopers could be outfitted with this weapon and yet each man’s gear could look unique. I easily spent 30 minutes just working up various configurations of this rifle and I still couldn’t settle on ONE that I liked best. (Note to self: place an order for 5 more once the review is done.) This is a great choice for someone seeking to update his or her 30 th anniversary Joes with a standard rifle that has a bit more international flavor.