I'm breaking away from a figure review because I was recently given a couple Marauder Inc. accessories by a friend to give my thoughts on here at JediDefender.com
. My opinion doesn't reflect the opinion of the site here, this isn't in any "official" capacity a part of my duties here at the site, I simply am giving a little bit of my thoughts/feelings on the accessories Marauder Inc. is putting out on the market for 1:18-ish scale collectors (GI Joe, X-Treme Detail, Elite Force, Star Wars, Pirates of the Carribean, etc.).
First up I'm going to take a look at the above accessory of a "Modified British Sterling SMG
"... Or in Star Wars terms, a Blastech E-11 Blaster Carbine
The guys at Marauder seemed to think Hasbro just hadn't done a good enough job with the Imperial Blaster so they decided to beef it up a bit. Did Hasbro win or Marauder? Well, I've always felt Hasbro's blaster was pretty good but there was definite need for improvement... Most noteably a trigger guard is lacking on Hasbro's weapon... Can Marauder up the ante? PROS & CONS
... Marauder's sculpt of the E-11 is certainly quite spiffy. The details like the pistol grip for instance are markedly superior on the Marauder E-11 compared to Hasbro's. You'll notice right off the bat the raised bumps on the Marauder handle compared to the smooth finished handle of the Hasbro weapon. The difference is different enough to catch my attention straight away and it's the kind of extra sculpting effort Hasbro bailed on.
Another little difference I noticed are the raised and recessed portions of the Marauder Blaster are sharper and more realistic. For instance the chamber where, on a real Sterling, the spent cartidge is ejected from the barrel of the weapon, is sunk in on the Marauder weapon while it's less noticeable on the Hasbro weapon... This is a pretty distinct difference.
Other small details include the spring mechanism on the back barrel portion of the gun... On Hasbro's sculpt it is simply smooth and undetailed, but on Marauder's the coiling is sculpted into the weapon. Same goes for the top "fin" piece of the barrel... There is little "hole" detailing sculpted into it while the Hasbro weapon lacks that.
The biggie though is the inclusion of a trigger and trigger guard on Marauder's weapon... The big detractor to the Hasbro sculpt was always the lack of a trigger guard as all the weapons seen in the films had the guard included. Hasbro removed the guard to fit older styled hands that lacked separately sculpted trigger fingers. Marauder Inc. ups the quality with a seemingly sturdy trigger guard that hasn't broke as I have put it into figure's hands, and seems very high quality. It adds a lot of realism to the accessory overall.
... Marauder's stuff seems to come (at least what I bought) molded in black plastic. It's plain, and I have to say I'm a little disappointed in the "shine" to it. That said, some Hasbro stuff has the same shine as well... It's better than getting something molded in awkward colors as well which happens from time to time.
The plain black plastic is ok, I just think Marauder would do better if they could get it to turn out in a "dull" tone rather than with some shine to it.
... Two features on the Marauder weapon are unique to this gun that the Hasbro sculpt lacks completely. The Marauder E-11 has a folding stock that WORKS, as well as having small holes sculpted on to allow for adding a thread sling for the gun.
The folding stock is one of the surprises for sure and fans will probably be really happy to have this feature, let me tell you. The feature isn't without flaw though, unfortunately. The stock swings back easily and locks in place in the forward position as well, quite easily.
The stock however is a bit bulky and noticeable. For fans that demand 100% accuracy the additional bulk of the stock may be bothersome to them. Then again so would no trigger guard on the Hasbro gun, right?
The other issue though is that the stock doesn't unfold 100% as it should. It swings back, but there is a shoulder rest piece that is not moveable, that should swing down, turning the Carbine into more of a rifle (just as the real British Sterling SMG was). I'd have been FLOOOOORED had the stock moved at each part instead of simply one. I have swinging stocks on some German MP40's for my military figures I collect, but the inability for them to completely fold/unfold as the real weapon does has always bothered me and takes away from the novelty of the feature.
That said, I think most people will enjoy the feature for what it is, and may pick this gun up just to have a couple that feature this. For me though, I actually like the inclusion of the loops for adding a thread sling even more! To me that's a cool extra as I do think slings look sharp on weapons in this scale, especially on non-Imperial figures using the weapon. Handing some slinged ones out to Rebels in your diorama can make them look like they stole and customized some of the weapons. I think that's a major plus.
... The price is a tough thing to judge with the Marauder Inc. weapons... A lot of the thought-process on this depends on your financial status I think, and how you feel about collecting in general...
For me, the debate comes down to this; Do you want to pay $X extra to outfit your figures with something you think they'll look cooler with than what Hasbro gave you? That's a tough question to answer I think, unless you've got money to blow on it without thinking about that kind of stuff. I, unfortunately, do not have that luxury.
The Marauder E-11 is $1.00 each... There are also sets you can buy more I believe, which is kind of cool if you get a break on price there. $1 is pricey for an accessory I think since I can buy boxes of Hasbro parts at Toy Shows for usually fairly cheap. And if you're outfitting 100 Stormtroopers... Well holy ****. $100 for blasters for them is not a tempting thought since if you're me, you already blew a LOT of $$$ on the figures themselves.
That said, $1 for one, or a handful, isn't too bad... It's going to really depend how you feel about spending $1 extra to make your already $7 figure "nicer". Me, I'm cheap, but I still want some of these guns for figures I have, haha.OVERALL
So that's my little review of the Marauder Inc. Modified Sterling or Blastech E-11 accessory. I really find the company's ideas interesting at the very least, and if they get into actually making more sci-fi doo-dads like perhaps crates, packs, and especially the less often seen weapons of Star Wars, I think I'm going to be compelled to buy into them.
As it is I think the E-11 is worth having a handful of... They have a set of 12 for $9.99 I believe. That's like 2 free, less than $1 each... Not bad. You can outfit rebels with them if you want, or if you've got a modest Imperial army they can get them. They're cool.
There is one thing I'd suggest, and that's for Marauder to, instead of making the stock moveable on this, try making a single "extended stock" version that is in the COMPLETE unfolded position for people who don't care for the bulkier functional stock that doesn't unfold completely. If they did unfolded ones I'd be in on a dozen of those at least.
If Marauder keeps up with the Sci-Fi line but starts tackling the various Sandtrooper rifles (which Hasbro makes too flimsy), Dengar's rifle, IG-88's rifle, the Sniper Rifle from Battlefront (who wouldn't buy that thing in bulk?), and other weapons of that ilk, I'm definitely in on those... Or taking it a step further, how about sci-fi crates and barrels? Funky hex-shaped storage crates and the like would go a long way... Or chairs? The IMperial Conference chairs from the Death Star anyone? Or simple Destroyer Bridge chairs with maybe a small computer console?
Fans would eat that stuff up if Marauder Inc. can offer it for $1 or $2 a piece...
The E-11 is a nice step forward into the Star Wars realm for them. I just hope they take a bigger step soon to satiate the collector-demand for "set pieces" and weapons Hasbro truly hasn't done well yet like the Sandtrooper's rifle(s) and such. That'll be when the collectors come out of the woodwork I think.