Marauder "Gun Runners" Custom Weapons System
I have to say with the utmost sincerity that the guy "behind the glass" at Marauder "Gun Runners" is one of the most open and willing business owners I have ever dealt with. Rarely will someone interact so heavily with the fandom, get their opinions, get their input, and make actual product decisions based on what the FANS want. He's at the conventions, he's on the message boards, he is among the fans, trying to do everything in his power to make what we want him to make. His shipping is fair, his response time is terrific. As a company, I find absolutely nothing to complain about.
And that goes for his product to. His commitment to excellence in business translates to what he produces as well, and over the past few years, Marauder "Gun Runners" has quickly grown to be the definitive "Gun Runner" for any 1:18 action figure toyline. He is without equal! Now that this heaping helping of smoke blowing straight up his backside is done, what do I have to say about Series 5? As with most toys these days, it has it's ups and downs...but unlike most toys these days, there seem to be far more things to praise than there are things to find fault with. Marauder "Gun Runners" continues to take fan input to heart and make changes that only make his product better.
Upon first glance, this looks like a somewhat small wave. Three standard sized machine guns, a few pistols and one hybrid, there aren't a ton of weapons here. But these guns have taken customizing to the extreme and utilizing the additional parts we got with Series 4 as well as what we're getting with Series 5, you end up with an almost limitless selection of potential instruments of destruction. Just what every G.I. Joe fan needs!
First I'll cover the M14 EBR (which stands for Enhanced Battle Rifle). A weapon utilized mainly by United States Special Forces like the Navy SEALS. I must admit before getting this in the mail I had never heard of the M14 EBR, but now that I know about it, I love this weapon all the more. The most definitive aspect of the weapon is the unique stock formation, which is telescoping in real life (though unfortunately not in toy form). The details are intricate and real-to-life as we can expect from Marauder "Gun Runners" and the weapon ends up looking very nice right out of the box.
The M14 comes with a removable clip, I believe it's the same one that comes with the SCAR, and I'm happy to report that this clip is a bit thicker than some of the past ones we've gotten and it slides seamlessly into the body of the weapon and stays in very well. As always, a small dab of glue will keep it in there forever if you so desire, but as it is, it works remarkably well.
While this weapon does look great as is, the customizability of it is what really makes it shine. It's got two mounting holes underneath the front body, as well as the sight-mount on the top. With all of the different attachments available (both in Series 4 and Series 5) there are tons of potential configurations of this great spec ops weapon.
From a pretty state-of-the-art heavy assault weapon with grenade launcher...
To a much more science-fiction flair.
Next to the plate is the Heckler & Koch MP7. A small form factor, but fast-shooting submachine gun, the MP7 is portable, yet powerful. Even at this small size, the weapon is faithfully detailed with the fold down front grip and a removable clip. Unfortunately the removable clip on the MP7 is quite a bit looser-fitting than the others in this series. In fact I had some trouble even keeping it lodged inside the handle. However, all I needed to do was take some needle-nose pliars and kind of "bend" the top of the clip a bit and it stayed much more snugly and securely inside the gun, which I was VERY happy about, because this is a small, but potent piece of hardware that I LOVE. What's even cooler? Looks like the Baroness is sporting this weapon in the upcoming live action movie:
Even with the somewhat looser magazine, I fully intend on buying at least a handful of these to equip various COBRA agents with. I can already envision the Crimson Twins each sporting a pair of them and firing on some unsuspecting G.I. Joe agents. A very cool small weapon, that even has the customizability of it's "bigger brothers".
Our next weapon is a "Marauder "Gun Runners" original"! The infamous "NVR" that they came up with originally in Series 2 gets a little bit of a makeover here, with some extra space for plenty of added options. The base of the weapon is pretty similar to the original, which is impressive, because it looks awesome. It is a terrific looking assault rifle that looks like it packs some serious punch, and the fact that it's not an actual real world weapon makes it even better.
A great design stock, nicely contoured handle and a thick body makes this rifle an immediate power player, and this one has options for plenty of additional options.
The NVR has a slightly different clip/magazine from the SCAR and the M14, but it seems to work fairly well. It's thinner, and has a different way to connect to the body of the weapon, but it stays put nicely as it is and looks good. It's longer and slimmer than the one for the SCAR and M14, which gives this rifle a different profile, which is cool. All told, this is an awesome weapon to equip your COBRA Vipers with, and with plenty of options for added hardware to go along with it.
Probably my favorite configuration for the NVR. A nice large scope and laser-site handle from Series 4. Very cool.
Last, but not certainly not least (at least in the assault rifle category) is the SCAR. This is a weapon I was most looking forward to...I'm a huge fan of the way it looks, and you won't catch me using anything else in Ghost Recon 2. Also a special forces weapon, the SCAR just looks nasty. With that thick stock, huge handle (be careful about those vintage Joe hands with this one...I found out the hard way that the Convention exclusive Gristle doesn't have the softer plastic hands. :( ). The clip locks in and stays in safe and sound, and this is one heavy duty machine gun. From tip to stock, this weapon takes names and I feel sorry for any COBRA Trooper who stumbles on the business end of this bad boy.
This rifle looks flat out fantastic striaght out-of-the-box, but once you start playing with sites, handles, and undercarraige accessories, the possibilities are endless. An amazingly versatile and absolutely bad ass piece of hardware.
Straight out of Gears of War
Speaking of nasty pieces of hardware...let's check out the MGL Multi-Grenade Launcher. With a very high tech feel, this is one nice looking weapon that certainly packs a heavy punch. The carosel is removable, however the handle and site are permenantly affixed (which is fine, really). I love the sculpting on the handle and the stock...it is one impressive looking weapon. Surprisingly the rear handle fits fairly well into vintage Joe fans, and the front handle is close enough to be held realistically, too. From the thick, contoured barrel to the ornately sculpted stock, the grenade launcher came out amazingly well. I really, really like it, and this is coming from someone who prefers assault rifles over launchers.
Hardball needs to bleach that shirt...
Of course I don't want to forget the MG34. A more traditional, older style heavy machine gun (the one that Rock n Roll originally looked to have come with way back in 1982). Obviously quite a bit longer and more combersome than the more widely used SAWs of these days, it served its purpose back in World War II and I'm sure it was a pretty scary sight whenever a squad of G.I.'s happened upon one. The folding bipod fits well and the weapon is a very nice one, even if it's from an older time. The perfect weapon for those 21st Century Toy fans to arm their German soldiers with, though, that's for sure!
Another added bonus is that this is the gun that the Storm Troopers use as their "heavy weapons" in the Star Wars universe, so that's always a big appeal, too!
Of course you can't have a Marauder series without having some pistols, and we get some pretty cool ones here. Particularly one that a lot of Joe fans have been wanting.
This is a pistol that many fans have been clamoring for, and personally it's a very cool one to me, too. I was a big Robocop fan in my younger days, and I absolutely LOVED that pistol. It's awesome to have it faithfully represented in 3 3/4" scale, especially with Marauder construction and detailing. Can't go wrong here. The clip isn't removable, but that's not a big deal to me, the pistol just flat out rocks!
The USP is another fantastic spec ops weapon, this time in pistol form. This is a great looking pistol, a little short, but with a thick body and very nicely countoured handle. I still have mixed feelings about the trigger guard (it's great for Anniversary figures, not so much for vintage) but this is a very nice pistol for pretty much any purpose. A great addition to the armory.
Another vintage style weapon that works pretty darn well for Wild Bill or any other old western scenes you can come up with. Some great detailing, and while it doesn't fit in very well with my own current special operations team, it would be a nice addition for folks who set their universe back a few years, or who like the Civil War era figures as well.
This was a surprisingly cool little piece that I guess I had forgotten about. With it's own sheath, this small combat knife is a very sleek and deadly looking little critter. I love the detailing on the sleeve as well, though I'm not entirely certain how the buckle is supposed to work. Perhaps Killuminati from Robo-Predator has some ideas as far as that goes. If someone were to add a strap or sling to it, that would help as well. As it is, there isn't anything to really attach the knife sheath to, but the blade itself is quite cool.
UPDATE: scope uk from the JoeCustoms board has posted a great "How-To" on making a custom strap for this knife and sheath! Check it out.
Of course, the infamous blade. Who would have thought a scimitar shaped sword would be such a critical component of a modern special operations team, but thanks to the 1985 Snake Eyes, it is. With a very unique curved blade and awesome detailing on the hilt, this is a terrific update to the original sword...and to me it's far superior. There will be those folks who only want the original or nothing, but for people who honestly want to upgrade their Snake Eyes blade, look no further.
Best part of all, it fits seamlessly into his backpack sheath, and in the vintage style hands!
I couldn't have asked for a cooler update to this familiar weapon. Very cool.
Last, but not least, is the modified "Mauser". Again, not really a weapon with me in mind, as I'm not especially a Star Wars guy, or a fan of the World War II stuff, but this was definitely a smart weapon to make. With the sheer numbers of Star Wars fans out there, I can only imagine there's a pretty strong desire to be able to own this weapon, since it's so identifiable with Han Solo. Marauder "Gun Runners" added a nice removable scope, which is a pretty cool touch (and gives you a more standard Mauser with it off). All told a nicely detailed weapon as we've come to expect, even if it's not really in my wheelhouse.
I'd be remiss if I didn't at least mention the wide array of awesome modular accessories we've got with this series as well. A variety of different scopes and sites for pracitcally any purpose...a very cool, very scary looking chainsaw under-barrel attachment, along with a vicious looking curved blade. I can see the Dreadnoks or even your nastier COBRA Troopers toting weapons around with these bad boys attached. We've also got a very cool LSS Shotgun accessory, too, to add some more punch to your already power machine guns. The wealth of different options that these attachments give you is just amazing...you can pretty much create any weapon you can think of, and it just makes me wonder what the heck Marauder "Gun Runners" is going to do next.
That pretty much wraps up my review of Marauder Series 5. What else is there really to say?
You've come to expect excellent product, and Marauder delivers as always. Sturdy construction, excellent modular accessories, great weapon selection...you really cannot go wrong. I'm the biggest fan of the assault rifles, and with all of the different accessories, realistic or not, there are infinite possibilities and all sorts of great combinations. In short, it's another solid series in a whole run of great accessories, and you cannot go wrong with Marauder "Gun Runners" They get my absolute highest recommendation possible. Whether it's Series 1 or Series 5, do business with them, you will NOT regret it!