It doesn’t seem all that long ago that fans of 1:18 scale toy lines had two options for arming their figures. The first was to utilize the included weapons no matter how odd or inappropriate. The second involved sifting through spare parts bins and searching for significant quantities of the same type to properly arm a group of troops. It was feasible but it was also tedious and time-consuming. Various toy companies produced “accessory packs” of weapons but fans frequently had to buy the entire pack just to obtain the one or two weapons they really wanted. This all changed at the 2005 GIJoe Collector’s Convention in Minneapolis, MN when a little known company called “Marauder Gun-Runners” stormed onto the scene. Featuring detailed weapons available individually at reasonable prices, MGR gave fans the alternative that they’d been looking for. Now, after two years, the Massachusetts Gun-Runner debuts its third series and has set the bar even higher.
According to Wikipedia, the .357 Magnum was original designed for hunting but was adopted by police forces looking for a pistol with greater stopping power. Popularized in movies by actors such as Clint Eastwood, James Coburn, and Charles Bronson, the .357 has come to symbolize tough guys and action heroes alike. The MGR version lives up to this legacy by packing a tremendous amount of detail into a very tiny package. The hand grip is molded with a cross-hatched pattern, as well as a screw hole, replicating the real pommel of the weapon. The cylinder features the familiar indents found on revolvers and the top of the barrel also sports the “vented” machining found on the actual hand guns. The hammer is molded in forward position, giving the pistol a neutral appearance. The MGR version does sport a trigger guard which can interfere with the position of the weapon in some figure’s hands. However this could easily be removed with a pair of nail clippers without diminishing the weapon’s appearance in any way. Originally, I had intended for this pistol to go to my Headman action figure as it seems the type of weapon that he’d carry to “overcompensate”, but once I put it in Chuckles hands I knew it had found a new home. While not the most common pistol found on members of the United States military, the MGR .357 is a perfect accessory for Dreadnoks, Headhunters, mercenaries, and other undercover operatives from any toy line.
AK-47 w/ removable clip:
Some has to say it: Marauder John must love the AK-47. Wave 1 featured two versions – wood stock and folding stock. Wave 2 took the weapon a step further and introduced a version with an underside grenade launcher. Now, wave 3 brings us two additional version with a surprising feature. Available with and without a molded bayonet, this Marauder weapon features a first for the company: a removable clip! Figures can now be displayed loading and reloading their weapons. Better yet, MGR has also made spare clips available for sale which means that customizers can now add spare clips to the web gear adorning their favorite Real American Heroes. Fans worried about losing the clips can either order a few spares or just add a drop of super glue to the top to permanently secure it place. However, MGR still offers both the previous styles of AK-47 so fans can mix and match up this signature weapon from the former Iron Curtain.
British Sterling SMG (modified):
“Hey—that’s not a British Sterling! That’s an Imperial Stormtrooper blaster!” If this is what’s crossing your mind right now, let me just stop you and say “yes, yes it is.” It would seem that the perpetually bearded flannel-clad filmmaker from California liked the design of the British Sterling submachine gun so much that he made it the standard sidearm of the Empire. (Also, because he was filming in England at the time props were probably quite easy to acquire.) Regardless of how it is used, MGR has produced the most detailed 1:18 scale version of the weapon to date. All of the signature details are present—the side-mounted clip, the vented barrel, and even the stubby scope that is mounted above the handgrip. This version, however, takes the weapon a step further and introduces a folding stock that has, to the best of my knowledge, never been present on a version produced in this scale. The stock locks securely onto a post mounted beneath the muzzle and swings back on a pair of hinge pins located just behind the hand grip. The result is a weapon that is now as variable as it is familiar. Whether used as an SMG or as “blaster rifle”, collectors will all agree that this is THE definitive replica of the Sterling produced in this scale.
In our modern age, you can’t escape the cellular phone. From the movie theatre to the grocery store to public restrooms it seems that everyone is talking on a cellular phone. MGR brings this modern convenience (or inconvenience, depending on your perspective) home to action figure collections everywhere. Resembling a Nokia “brick phone”, this cell phone features a detailed numeric keypad, two “hot keys”, screen, and ear piece speaker. The design is similar to yet distinctive from the accessory phone that came packaged with the new sculpt Tele-vipers initially released under the Spy Troops banner. Able to fit in the hands of both new sculpt and RAH-era figures, these are sure to become popular with dio-story writers as field communication devices for both GIJoe and Cobra troops as well as both soldiers and civilians.
The M18A1 claymore is an anti-personnel mine used by the US military. Filled with explosives and steel ball-bearings, the mine is capable of spraying its “steel rain” in a sixty-degree arc hitting targets up to 100 meters distant. The MGR version replicates this troop-devastating device almost flawlessly—right down to the detonator connections on the top and the distinctive curved shape. The only thing missing is the infamous “FRONT TOWARD ENEMY” declaration that informs even the Gomer Pyle’s of the world which was to point it. With two small mounting posts protruding from the bottom, the claymore can be placed in soil, sand, or even some Fun-Tac if displayed indoors. While the mine’s signature phrase is missing, the mine itself fills a void left in most 1:18 th scale accessory lines. The lack of writing on the explosive face simply allows the device to mimic any number of the international licensed copies that are used by other military organizations around the world—and perhaps even a familiar serpent-motif army.
A great many of my GIJoe figures over the past few years have come packaged with combat knifes so I was initially wondering why MGR would decide to produce an item that most collectors already have in abundance. The key to the superiority of this knife over others is found not in the sculpting but in the handle. Most 1:18 scale knives are molded with a thin flat handle which causes the knife to slope when placed into a figure’s hands. The MGR version takes a different approach and bases its pommel on a cylindrical design. The result is a much more solid fit when placed in tiny plastic hands. An added side-effect of the cylindrical design is that the knife can be rotated to almost any position and still remain held fast in the figure’s hands—something that just wasn’t possible with other knives in my accessory bins. When you factor in the detail found on the blade, this accessory is a no-brainer for any serious collector.
When I think of the classic “angle head” flashlight, I think of the accessories for my RAH-era Tunnel Rat and Outback figures. The first version fit snugly into two holes on the top of the EOD soldier’s backpack while the second featured a post that mated snugly with a hole in the characters thigh. Both were great accessories to look at but neither one fit well into the hands of the figure that were included with. The MGR version, however, seems to have been designed with actual use in mind and fits snugly into vintage C-grip hands with little or no effort. Better yet, this version is detailed to such an extent that it is possible to position a figure’s thumb over the activation switch! The hand grip also features etched detail while both the battery compartment and lens compartment caps are molded! Just accept it—you’re not going to find a more detailed military flashlight in this scale.