And by news I mean pictures with me making educated guesses about what’s actually happening.
So, the biggest news is that it looks like Marui have finalised the retail packaging for this replica. As it stands, the package appears to be along the lines of their special edition replicas which usually fetch an even larger price than the standard models.
So what are you possibly going to get? And how much is it going to be?
From the promotional leaks that have just come to light, Marui seem to be making this a very tactile experience for the end user with some assembly required.
The included accessories appear to be boxed separately and include the following items…
A small 11 round section of mock 5.56mm link to fit from the box to the feed tray, assembly appears to be required. All part of the experience I guess, I’m just glad I don’t have to make up a couple of thousand rounds of link before every game.
The Bipod, The weakness of most LMGs. This comes in its own packaging and that’s probably for the best, Airsoft LMG Bipods don’t fare well and I’ve seen a couple damaged in transit. Hopefully its steel and made to take the beating it’ll inevitably get, but don’t count on it.
It’s a gorgeous looking replica, whilst I’ve had a couple of good looking G&P LMGs in the past, I’ve not seen anything with this level of finish… Marui has really gone full throttle on this one.
The box mag, the most fundamental part of all Airsoft support weapons and unfortunately the weak link in many… Still no word as to how it’s feeding mechanism will work, my guess is on a mechanical system with a rotary spring (as found in most high caps) with a switch stopping it from feeding once the last round has been fed to cut off the whole system.
Marui usually find a simple and effective mechanical solution to most problems and I can’t see them going down the route of optical sensors or sound activation etc. The magazine replicates a 100rnd “nut sack” in US Woodland, a pretty cool option but I’ll be hoping to add a couple of spares to my rig once they’re released. The Mag will hold approximately 1000 rounds but if like me you’re tempted to store the battery inside as well you’ll be looking at a reduced capacity.
The mags do appear to feed directly into the bottom of the replica, loading into a short feed tube to the hop unit. Whether it picks up power from hidden contacts (such as the 416c and it’s proprietary magazine battery system) or it has a separate battery I don’t know.
There is also apparently a pair of flash hiders… the traditional SOCOM cage type with a cut out for the KAC NT-4 SSQD Suppressor as well as the commonly seen Vortex flash hider (although this might be available as a separate option, it was hinted that this was given to people at Marui’s unveiling event… hopefully it’s an included part).
In my opinion I’d have rather seen a Surefire type flash hider with possibly a SOCOM 2 can fitted to give that up to date SEAL Team look (although these are available from aftermarket manufacturers such as 5KU and Angry Gun).
The barrel appears to terminate in Marui’s 14mm CCW standard muzzle thread, obviously good news for those wishing to run their own flash hider or tracer unit. Personally I’m looking forward to belting out ribbons of green (or red) after the lights go out with either Marui’s own tracer unit or possibly something a little special of my own design.
The stock portion of the replica still hasn’t given up any clues as to how it fits on or any other little oddities it might be hiding, we’re all hoping for the Mod 1 type stock to be released ASAP (or at least be compatible with others currently on the market) but Marui often don’t make the obvious move and release what their customers ask for.
Their long barrel 417 being the most obvious case in point… Despite a lot of demand and the barrel being a two piece design, Marui never made a short barrel version of the 417. This led to VFC 417 rails becoming hot property… as you can see here.
The stock doesn’t appear to be the housing for the battery, it’s been mentioned on several occasions (through the oracle that is Hyperdouraku) that you’ll have to “change” the barrel to access the battery section in the gas tube underneath, I can see the more clumsy owners getting into trouble with this and breaking their Mk46 due to not treating it with enough respect…
I can also see an opportunity for the technically gifted to swap the battery placement to either a rail mounted accessory or possibly rearwards to the box mag (I’m personally considering this if it’s possible) or indeed the stock.
It’s good news overall though for those looking to modify it to a current USSF spec, and very good news for those looking to emulate Sonny Quinn’s loadout from SEAL Team.
Hopefully if a Mod 1 stock becomes available it shouldn’t present any battery housing or recoil unit issues if it’s just replacing an empty stock.
One thing that has got me torn is the rumoured split inner barrel design… on one hand it’ll keep the hop unit in a fixed position making it hopefully as consistent as you’d expect from TM, on the other hand it’s a split barrel… this could cause a whole host of issues. Not least aftermarket compatability and air leaks. I’ll possibly be swapping this out to a one piece design if possible, obviously I’ll have to mount the battery elsewhere and I’ll lose the barrel quick change ability but I’d sacrifice those for an ultra accurate support weapon any day of the week.
The biggest surprise that came out this week was the inclusion of a duffle type gun bag with the replica, a damn good surprise as I’d been pondering how the hell I was going to transport this between games. Made by J-Tech (who I’ll admit I’ve not heard of) and purportedly made from 1000d Cordura with YKK and ITW nexus hardware it should do what it’s designed to do very well.
There’s also a couple of Tokyo Marui patches on the case, I’ll probably end up sticking those straight on the wall for bragging rights plus the empty loop field real estate will give me more room to whack on the SEAL Team patches 😉.
The case itself looks to have a few pockets, some looking perfect for carrying ammo etc… There is also a nice looking bound manual included which is meant to resemble the user manual for the real Mk46 weapon system, but who reads manuals… Am I right? 😂
The biggest bit of news to come out of these shots is that the price has been revealed as ¥148’000 Japanese Yen, now this equates to £1’113.73p as of today… now as much as people will now assume that this means buying direct from Japan could mean avoiding a hefty markup from UK retailers, import tax and duty are pretty much a dead cert nowadays with echigoya and impulse101 being pretty upfront on their customs declarations.
As much as I like a bargain, I’ve genuinely not saved much money or even time by buying directly from Japan in the past, this time I’ll be buying from the UK and getting that all important piece of mind.
There will be a few UK retailers who will be importing this, however don’t expect there to be many of these replicas floating about. Eagle Six and a few other TM specialists will be looking to fulfil their customers orders buy buying half a dozen or so, with some UK retailers even going so far as to ask for a pre-order deposit. I’ve not chosen to reserve one, I’m always wary about pre-ordering something when you don’t know the total cost. Certainly it’s not an easy position for the retailers to be in… each unit costing a hefty chunk of money and having to work out if it’s actually going to shift quickly or sit on their shelves collecting dust.
The biggest reason for this is cost, Overall I’m still not looking to get much change out of £1600. This is far too much for some people… This equates to buying any other recoil complete with a brace of mags, accessories and fully tuned to your requirements or a PTW set up… Hell, you could even buy an off the shelf GBLS DAS GDR15. Any way you look at it this is looking like one of the most expensive replicas on the market, certainly outside of very niche collectors pieces such as Red Wolf’s custom replicas and certain one offs this will be one of the most expensive out the box replicas on the market.
I’d thoroughly recommend shopping around once this is released, the fact that it’s a new platform means that parts might not be available and you’ll want to make sure that you can count upon a retailers goodwill to tear apart a box fresh Mk46 to replace that one spring that you’ve broken. I know Eagle 6 and a few others will be tearing the first one they get to its core parts, that’s good news as between these experienced retailers they’ll be able to spot where there is potentially compatible parts and also look at how to push up Marui’s support weapon to UK power limits.
As for release dates? Still no word.
I’d expect to see this go up for release by the end of the year, but it’s possible that we’ll not see this until Easter 2020. However long it does take though, there’s sure to be more than a few airsofters looking to add this to their collection… I can confirm there’s at least one guy who has the money sat there waiting…
Thanks to Rich from Eagle Six for keeping his eyes open for release pictures, I’m always racing him (and losing) to get those first pics from Japan.