Interview & pics by: Fred Meyer
JBL Interviews "Marauder John" of Marauder, INC

  Interview & pics by Fred Meyer

Move over MARS!

How long has Marauder Inc been in business?

The company Marauder, Inc. was formed less than 9 months ago, but wasn't "made public" until the 2nd week in June. It took over 8 months to bring the items to market. First the idea, then the designs, sculpting, manufacturing, production...all took lots of time. Didn't want to make any type of announcement until we had actual product.

AK-47 with folding stock

Your accessories work EXTREMELY well with Hasbro’s GIJoe line. Do you design your products specifically to be compatible with GIJoe?

GI Joe is the "Gold Standard" for 1:18 scale action figures. When a choice has to be made as to what specific figures the weapons will work with best, the nod always goes towards GI Joe. The weapons don't have "trigger" guards-- that is a salute towards the best vintage weapons of the 80s and allows for a better fit in the figure's hands.

AK-47 with wood stock

Are you a fan of GIJoe or of military toys in general?

Yes, have been a huge RAH GI Joe fan since the introduction in 82. Interested in lots of other toy lines (military and non-military), but GI Joe has always been a personal favorite.

AKS-74U assault rifle

What inspired you to produce weapon accessories in the 1:18 th scale?

As mentioned, I've been an avid Joe collector for several years. And as most Joe enthusiasts can attest to, it is easy to get stung by the "Army Builder" bug. There are so many cool figures out can you just get one of each style? So one becomes two, then 3 and so on. Next thing you know, you have dozens of figures that need to be armed. Whether the original weapon is missing or the original weapon was a sub standard design, you find yourself needing "cool & affordable" weapons (that are worthy to equip your soldiers). I spent countless hours at GI Joe conventions, trying to find weapons. If you did find a weapon (personal army builder favorite was the Snow Serpent AK) there were only a few available OR more likely were too expensive. It was tough trying to rationalize buying a vintage weapon for $10 or more EACH! Some of the other custom weapons out there were made of brittle resin, which couldn't hold the detail. And the 1:18 scale weapons made by other toy makers were too rubbery and had the infamous trigger guards. So after getting fed up with searching & disappointment, decided to see if they could be produced.

Colonial Marines gun

What helps Marauder Inc determine just which specific weapons to produce?

The first wave were some of my personal favorites. Always wanted a detailed and IN SCALE AK-47 (with wood & folding stock), a Dragonov, M14, Uzi, etc. Figured if no one else was interested in them, I would at least have made stuff I wanted. Luckily, the first wave has met with a good response. The second wave was opened up for suggestions from fellow members of the various Joe user boards. Most of the items suggested were already under development, which helped confirm our "gut instincts" but more importantly we got some FANTASTIC suggestions. The "real" version of the Viper Rifle (fan named the NVR Rifle), the Megatron "style" P38 Walther, a VERY SIMILAR Pulse Rifle to the Colonial Marine M41A weapon and the P90 were all suggestions from the Joe boards. I wanted to do the P90, but didn't know if anyone else felt the same way (and the list was already gettng so long). So was happy to see all the requests for the gun.

Dragonov Rifle w/bipod

Can you describe the design process? (Or is that a “trade secret”?)

All items are 1:18 scale reproductions of real guns or "life like" real weapons. We don't "reproduce" vintage Hasbro items (don't want to go near that issue!). We make weapons that work with all 3 3/4 inch figures, just happens GI Joe is one of the lines. We reference certain vintage figures or vintage weapons for comparison sake, but are clear to point out our weapons are original designs. The whole process starts with a list. If the items are based on existing weapons, we track down lots of pictures and blue-prints. We also like to get 1:6 scale samples for sculptor reference. If it is an original design, several sketches are made. All the reference info is sent to our sculptors. They then make prototypes that are 6 to 12 inches long, depending on the gun (about 1:4 scale). The prototypes are then shrunk down to 1:18 scale (similar to what is done with coin artwork). The new 1:18 scale "reduced" prototype versions are checked for scale & detail and then the manufacture tool is made. Final step is the actual production. Hopefully the lessons learned from the first wave will allow for substantial time savings on this wave.

M-4 carbine

Some of your weapons seem to have a more “Sci-fi” feel to them while others are amazingly realistic. Does Marauder Inc have plans to produce more original accessories in the future?

Yes, this first wave had a couple of weapons with a Sci-Fi "ish" feel. The item we call the Colonial Marines "type" weapon is a cross between the Aliens gun & a Halo weapon. It just looks powerful & cool. The Urban gun looks like something out of Battlestar Galactica or Stargate. The next wave has mostly realistic weapons, but there are a couple of sci fi weapons for the Star Wars customizer out there ( a weapon which is a cross between a Star Trek V phaser, Halo weapon & P90) and of course a much more accurate M41A "TYPE" Pulse Rifle.

Pump shotgun

Can we expect Marauder Inc to branch out into other types of accessories? (Melee weapons, backpacks, etc?)

Yes, if everything works out, will broaden out into more "non-gun" type accessories. Have received requests for berets, weapon crates, weapon racks, backpacks, helmets; lots of great stuff. It just comes down to the success of the first series and the upcoming 2nd series. If we can recoup the development & production costs, will keep making items.

urban assault gun

The 2005 Collector’s Convention in Minneapolis was the first time that most Joe fans had ever seen your product. What was the reaction like?

The response was tremendous. It was a nervous time. After all those months of work, the significant dollar investment in the project, and "working in the dark" all came down to the "REAL" Joe fans reaction at the Show. Talk about swimming with sharks! Figured why dance around the issue, either the line would sink or swim in front of the die-hard Joe point in hiding. I was knocked over by the positive response, the warm reception and surprisingly the many "Thank you for making these guns" type comments. Right then I decided to make the next wave of weapons (haven't even paid off the first series yet, but am jumping in with both feet for the next round).

UZI sub-machine gun

Can you describe your current product line for us? (Types of weapons, etc)

Tried to do a wide selection of weapons with the first wave, with the obvious emphasis on "bad guy" weapons. Most collectors "Army Build" the nameless & faceless wanted them to have some cool choices. Also, hoped to help increase the hoped for success of the idea; and my own experiences lead me to think that the most obvious need was for "bad guy" guns. The AK-47 Assault Rifles (with & without stock) with the correct front site and all of the other "authentic" details are some of our most requested. The Dragonov Sniper rifle is an impressive piece and the detail on the Uzi is outstanding. Added a couple of "Sci-Fi" type weapons to test the waters. The next wave has twice as many items and a greater selection of "good guy" & Special forces weapons, squad automatics, pistols and our first sword. We asked for suggestions and the Joe board users came through BIGTIME! As mentioned earlier, there were several weapons already under development; but wanted confirmation from our fellow enthusiasts and see what we had missed. Hopefully everything will proceed on schedule and will have 2nd wave product within a few months.

There are a lot of army-builders out there with large numbers of troops. Does Marauder Inc offer special pricing on larger orders? Say—50+ of the same weapon, for example?

OH YES! There are discounts for buying 12 or more, but if 100 or more are purchased of a particular style we're always happy to give an additional discount (on the already discounted price). Also, shipping is just $ matter how many items are purchased or what country you live in. The driving guideline behind this project is "Detailed, Accurate Scale and Affordable prices."

What’s your favorite piece that you’ve produced thus far?

My favorite is the Uzi. Love the AKs & Dragonov, but was thrilled with how well the Uzi turned out. The success of the detail on the Uzi is what prompted the addition to pistols to the line.

M-14 rifle w/bipod

Is there a mailing list for future updates, news and specials at Marauder, Inc?

Our website will be live by the next week. Very basic design, but will have lots more purchasing options and will be a simple to find destination for our items. We don't have a mailing list, just use the word or mouth & referrals from Joe fans that have purchased our items. But as our website gets established, will make customers aware of special events (and NEW releases). We make specials available all the time. Right now any buyers that mentions the Joe boards gets a free Dragonov with their paid order. In addition, have a special "Save the Crimson Shadow Gurad" weapon set: 5 Ak-47 w/folding stocks, 5 pump shotguns, 1 Dragonov Sniper Rifle w/ bipod & Ak74 for $5.99 plus shipping (instead of $9.75 plus shipping). It was such a shame to have such a cool figure set equipped just with knives & made an affordable & "high power" weapon set for the figures. We have similar type promotions & special deals going forward.

To place an order with Marauder Inc, visit their Ebay webstore today.

A big thanks to "Marauder John" for time and informative answers to this Joe fan's questions.

For more pics of GIJoe and Marauder weapons, keep scrolling down!

2005 Collector's Convention Iron Grenadier with Marauder Inc shotgun



Copyright 2003