Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Action Figure Review: Marauders Inc. Series #7 part 1

     I've been a fan of Marauders Inc. for quite some time, probably since I saw this interview with them conducted by Fred Meyer of Joe Battlelines back in 2007. What is Marauders Inc. you might ask? They're a small company that manufactures weapons for 1/18th scale action figures. While the majority of their fan base are G.I. Joe and 1/18th scale military collectors, you could easily use their equipment with Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Marvel Universe, or any other 1/18th scale toyline. While Hasbro's G.I. Joe line has always had scads of cool accessories, they haven't always had the most regular weapons. Marauders started out manufacturing basic weapons that collectors building armies might want such as AK-47s, M-4, and standard pistols but quickly moved on to more elaborate and exotic weapons. Then they started offering weapons with removable magazines and silencers. Then they started offering weapons that were modular and featured removable sights, flashlights, and tactical grips. To finance their latest series (series #7) Marauders Inc. utilized Kickstarter. My Kickstarter items just arrived and I managed to get most of series #7. There are a few extra pieces from series #7 which I've ordered that I'll be reviewing as soon as they arrive. Ready for a look at the very cool weapons of Marauders Inc.? Then join me after the break....

     First and foremost, remember that these are 1/18th scale weapons designed to work with modern action figures like G.I. Joe and Star Wars. While you can use some of them with vintage G.I. Joe figures, the fit just isn't going to be as good since those guys had hard (often brittle) plastic hands and no trigger fingers. Marauders weapons are molded in a nice solid plastic that seems very sturdy. Sure, there are little things to be careful about such as gun barrels and such, but they're not made of glass. Since these are intended for adult collectors and not children, sometimes the modular weapons might need a drop of super glue to keep things like magazines, scopes, and tactical grips in place. If you want some great, closeup shots of the weapons, check out Marauders Inc. as they've got some great, clear shots of the weapons themselves. Mine are more for illustrative purposes (also, I suck at photographing little things).  Here are the accessories from series #7:

ACR Assault Rifle
The ACR Assault rifle looks to me like a Bushmaster ACR and would be a great assault rifle for any of your modern G.I. Joe figures operating in a tactical capacity. It features a folding stock, a removable magazine, and various mounting points to add your own scopes, flashlights, and grips. There are three mounting points on the top rail, two on the bottom rail, and one each on both sides near the front of the gun. While Marauders Inc. warns you to be careful with the folding stocks, the stock here feels fairly sturdy and the clip stays in nice and tight. This is a really versatile weapon for equipping both Joes and Cobra troopers as well as any more military inclined Marvel Universe figures.

AKs74u Assault Rifle
     This isn't the first version of the AKs74u that Marauders Inc. has made, but it might be the most versatile. Series 1 featured a compact version of the weapon while another series featured the standard weapon with an under-mounted grenade launcher. This version is the basic weapon, although a more updated version that would be a perfect standard weapon for any Cobra special forces troopers or random terrorists in your 1/18th collection. It features a folding stock and a removable magazine as well as mounting points (two on the top rail, one on the bottom rail, and one on each of the side rails). This clip is really long and fits tightly in the gun. The folding stock works great also and adds to the character of the weapon which is covered with plenty of minute, but visible, details.

Commando Assault Rifle
     Based on the H&K G36, a  5.56×45mm German assault rifle, this weapon is used by police, military, and counter terrorism forces around the world. It's also used by the United States Capitol Police and the Baltimore City Police Department, meaning it's a versatile weapon for your 1/18th scale warriors. Marauders has released two versions of this weapon in the past, but this version features the now standard folding stock, removable magazine, and mounting points. There are two mounting points on the top rail, one on the bottom rail, and one on each side. This gun always makes me think think of the cover of Rainbow Six 3, thus cementing it as a perfect counter terrorist weapon in my mind. Shockwave could rock one of these, no doubt in my mind.

With stock #1
FO6c Compact Assault Rifle
     To my eyes, this looks like it's based off of the HK416, another Heckler & Koch weapon 5.56×45mm weapon. A variant of the American M4 carbine, it has been evaluated in the last few years by the US Military for adoption and is used by Joint Special Operations Command (Seal Team 6 and Delta Force) as well as the Asymmetric Warfare Group, NASA, the Marine Corps, and the LAPD.

With stock #2

What's cool about this weapon is that it's really versatile; besides featuring a removable magazine, and mounting points (three on the top, two on the bottom, and one on the right side) it also comes with two different swappable stocks. This could definitely be a standard issue weapon for your G.I. Joe forces.

SWAT Machine Gun
     Another version of the Heckler & Koch MP5, one of the most widely used submachine guns in the world. Used by the Secret Service, the FBI, Special Operations Forces, and police departments all across the US, the MP5 is versatile and will fit in with most of your G.I. Joe figures. Besides just featuring a removable magazine, this version has one mount on the top rail, bottom rail and side rails as well as a sliding stock. Yes, the stock actually slides out from the back of the gun. It's a really cool feature and a great part of this tricked out MP5. Heck, you can even see the fire selector on there!

Angled Front Grip
     Here's the first modular addition from series 7 and it's an angled front grip for most assault rifles. It's a tiny piece and initially something that I didn't really see much point it but when you finally do plug it in to the bottom rail of one of your weapons, you'll see that it does add a lot of character. Not as much as a chainsaw blade or a bayonet, but for 1/18th collectors who are seriously committed to army building, dio-stories, or creating incredibly accurate 1/18th scale customs, pieces like this are indispensable.

Combat Optic Scope
     This is a fairly standard smaller telescopic sight that can be mounted on top of any of the modular weapons. It's tiny but has some solid detail on it and would look good as a standard scope on any assault weapon.

"NCM Mark II" Pulse Rifle
     Based off of the M41A Pulse Rifle from Aliens, this is the second version of this weapon that Marauders has attempted. This version is not only more detailed but also features a removable box magazine. You can see the separate barrels on this gun for both the standard 10mm ammunition and the U1 grenades. It's a great weapon that's equal parts realistic and sci-fi that could work for either your G.I. Joes or your Star Wars figures. It's a little small for your Kenner Aliens figures, though. Personally, I think G.I. Joe soldiers like Sci-Fi, Hi-Tech, and Dial Tone would look awesome carrying these. Battleforce 2000, as well, although those guys are so 13 years ago.

FN FAL Assault Rifle
     The FN FAL ( Fusil Automatique L├ęger or light automatic rifle) is manufactured by the Belgian company Fabrique Nationale de Herstal. It's a 7.62 assault rifle that should be familiar to vintage G.I. Joe collectors: it's pretty much the rifle that came with the vintage Ripcord figure. Seen in many action movies, the FN FAL features a handle that can be used to carry the weapon and that folds down on the side when it's being fired. To replicate this feature Marauders has included a small handle that can be attached to the top rail of the gun or in a hole on the side. The handle is quite small and fragile, so I'd recommend deciding where you want to keep it and leave it there. It fits tightly and really makes for a great looking firearm. There's also the almost now standard removable magazine.

GALIL Assault Rifle
     This Israeli assault rifle is well known, especially being that it's a modified version of the AK-47. It's quite detailed and features the prominent bold and the fire selector switch. The magazine is removable and the stock can fold back for easier storage. If you're building a 1/18th scale version of the Israeli Defense Force, you'll be pretty pleased.

Grenade: "Flashbang" Stun Type
     This is a fantastic addition to the Marauders arsenal and something that most all soliders, whether Joes or Cobras, will want to equip. Based off of the M84 Stun Grenade, this thing fits perfectly in the hands or on very thin webgear of most modern 1/18th scale figures. Not only can you see the pull ring on it, but you can also see the perforations in the body of the grenade that allow the light and sound to escape from the device without causing the casing to explode into shrapnel. I'm super glad to finally have this and would love to order a bunch more in the future.

Laser Rifle
     Does this look a bit familiar? It should! Based off of the XMLR-3A laser rifle that came with the vintage Snow Job figure from G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, this was also the weapon that pretty much all the Joes used in the cartoon series. While only Snow Job was equipped with it in the vintage line, the 25th Anniversary line made it a bit more widespread. Still, now you can scoop these up by the dozens and fire red and lasers to your hearts content.

Model 1887 Shotgun
     I'm actually most familiar with this weapon from Terminator 2: Judgment Day but it has also shown up in Call of Duty multiplayer, Bioshock Infinite, and Far Cry 3. Based on the Winchester Model 1887, this gun looks awesome but can be difficult for many figures to hold due to the looped lever and delicate trigger. A figure holding this really needs to have a separate trigger finger and a smaller hand.

Skorpion Machine Pistol
     Anyone else still call these Klobbs? The Skorpion is definitely one of the most recongizable machine pistols out there and has appeared in pretty much every movie and video game ever made since 1993. Anytime you've got a crazy bad guy who needs a small, concealable automatic weapon, give him a Skorpion. Cobra troops just look awesome with these things. The magazine is also removable, but it's really tiny so don't lose it!

Space Command Assault Rifle
     Here's another sci-fi homage, this time to the assault rifle from Halo. I'm pretty sure this gun takes most of it's design cues from later games in the series, particularly Halo 4, as it's much more rounded and detailed in it's design than the earlier models. It can be tough for some figures to grasp, but looks great with G.I. Joes or even Star Wars figures. Considering some of the G.I. Joe trooper figures have seemed to take fashion advice from Master Chief, this feels like a natural fit.

T9 Submachine Gun
     Based on the Steyr TMP, this wicked cool submachine gun with a folding stock, a forward grip, and two mounts on the top rail should make your Snake Eyes figure very happy. This is a wicked little weapon that even features a removable magazine.

Tek-9 Machine Pistol
     Based on the Intratec TEC-9, a semi-automatic handgun with a pretty large magazine, this is another weapon that's just perfect for the bad guys. The Dreadnoks, Firefly, or other causers of chaos would look right at time with a Tek-9 machine pistol in hand. It also features a removable clip and tons of detail (you can see the perforations in the barrel shroud).

     Well, that's most of series #7. There's still a few extra modular parts and grenades that weren't part of my Kickstarter pledge level, but I've got them coming from Marauders Inc. and will review them when they get here. It's tough to say anything bad about Marauders Inc.: They make quality, affordable product, always have it available (none of this exclusive or timed drop nonsense), and they ship cheap. Great customer service, too. I will say that I'm a little disappointed as a few of the guns represented here have been made before, but they're such essential assault rifles for army builders that I can't blame them. I would have liked to see a new pistol or two and perhaps at least one more historical weapon, but I'm sure we'll see those in time. Overall, I have no complaints about the product itself. It's just grand. Accessories are always my favorite part of any action figure so the chance to just buy accessories is definitely appealing. Confirmed Epic product and a company that I'd recommend to anyone who loves playing, displaying, or photographing G.I. Joe and other 1/18th toylines.

     Where do you pick these up? From Marauders Inc. of course! And tell them Barbecue17 sent you! I don't know that it will matter to them but tell them anyways!

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