It’s that time of year again… That time of year where Tokyo Marui show us a little glimpse of what’s coming up over the next year or so.
But be warned! Many have been led down the garden path by these teasers in the past and you have to take these shots with a pinch of salt, sometimes they can be incredibly misleading.
So there’s not really a format as such as to how Tokyo Marui do this, but from previous teasers, there’s a loose formula that seems to link the pictures Tokyo Marui send out.
The formula is this:
- A previously announced replica.
- An as yet unannounced replica.
- Something “off the f#€king chain”.
In the previously announced replica slot, we have the AKM Gas BlowBack Rifle (GBBR). Previously showcased in November. I’ve just realised that I didn’t actually cover this when it happened, I was playing at during the announcement and spent the following couple of weeks reliving the trauma of mopping a shitty Cold War era admin block with a mop that belonged in a museum.
It’s actually rather exciting stuff, I’m pleased to see Tokyo Marui exploring the GBBR route, however limited it might be (and I’ll expand on this further down). The AKM is a great partner to the current ZET/MWS System M4 and Type 89 line up, giving those who want something a little different to Tokyo Marui’s current line up, something to look forward to for sure.
The sneak peek is of that distinctive, slanted and slightly off-centre compensator. There isn’t much scope for error with this sneak peek and it’s pretty conclusive evidence that we’ll be seeing more of Tokyo Marui’s GBBR line up over the coming months.
The second sneak peek, filling the “An as yet, unannounced replica” slot could actually be either of the other two sneak peek photos. One shows what is almost certainly a pistol backstrap, in black and with a curvature and profile which looks very much like the SIG P320, a handgun which in the last couple of years has taken centre stage in games such as Modern Warfare and let’s not forget that it’s the US Military’s new cross branch sidearm, under it’s M17 handgun designation.
However, there is an issue with Tokyo Marui’s sneak peek… It’s black. Whilst there are black SIG P320 pistols out there, the US military sidearm is only available in Coyote Tan. This will certainly have implications on the markings Tokyo Marui decide to use, even if they later in decide to go ahead with a Coyote Tan P320, they would need to either only offer it with civilian markings (a distinct possibility) or retool it for M17 trademarks.
Although even in black civilian colours, there’s a world of opportunity out there. Hopefully if it’s the civilian model, they opt to make it as an RMR cut slide as with some other releases like their FNX and Smith and Wesson Ported “Performance Center” M&P 9.
So that leads us to the final pic, what I’m going to put into the third category. The “off the fucking chain“ category.
So, this third pic. It’s easy to look at it and attach it to a potential GBBR 416, but can you honestly see Marui announcing three gas powered replicas without a hint of recoil shock, AEG or even weird Resident Evil inspired shit? I didn’t think so.
To be honest, the profile doesn’t fit that of a 416 charging handle, it’s just the generic Colt version from what I can see. There isn’t much we can actually take away from this, I’d hazard a guess that this is a recolouring of one of their current lineup (Black Mk18 maybe) or possibly an addition to the Recoil Shock lineup such as a Block II SOPMOD (long overdue) or maybe something even more out there like an M16A3/4.
So why don’t I think it’s another GBBR? Well, as I’ve said, one GBBR is great news, two would be awesome. But ultimately Tokyo Marui would be mad to solely concentrate on gas powered replicas for even one single year. Whilst I’d love for the GBBR market share to increase within airsoft (regardless of manufacturer), I cannot see a business like Tokyo Marui focussing purely on one, small part of an already niche marketplace.
I might be wrong though… (it does happen), maybe this is a GBBR Mk18, something that I’m sure would sell and certainly something that Tokyo Marui themselves will have discussed. It would be a logical step for Tokyo Marui to take, a simple rebranding of their Mk18 Mod 1 boxes and the simple creation of a DD RIS 2 barrel nut to fit their MWS barrel wouldn’t take long to turn into a reality. Literally a single part to design and manufacture, not a lot to ask really is it.
So onto the real outsider, the abstract option. Tokyo Marui have been teasing a Next-Next-Gen for a couple of years now. There’s been talk of solenoid operated pistons and rumours of direct drive, core-less motor powered designs for the last 5-10 years, within airsoft we’re way behind the curve when it comes to the utilisation of micro-electronics. If there’s one thing that history has taught is though, it’s that the Japanese in general and Tokyo Marui in particular are innovators par excellence.
Most new technologies will use the M4 as a test bed, for a variety of reasons. It boasts a simple format with a lot of room for the required internals (even within a real spec receiver), plenty of scope to expand the product range and ultimately a fair amount of customer demand. When we ultimately see the next-next-gen design, I’d hazard a guess that it’ll be M4 shaped.
There’s a saying that there’s two constants in life.. Death and Taxes. I’d add to that and say the third is Tokyo Marui NOT announcing a Recoil MP5. Despite the pressure from all over the world (including the Japanese domestic market) for Tokyo Marui to look at this classic design and give it the update it so dearly needs (and frankly deserves), it’s not going to be yet.
So that’s it… At least for now, we shall see over the next couple of months what these teasers actually mean. Hopefully at least it’ll give us a little more variety within the GBBR Master Race.