JG Ika Zuchi/Thunder Maul/Dragon
Date product posted
Sat December 27, 2008
S.T.A.R. Ika Zuchi Type-0/JG Thunder Maul/Dragon
Click all pictures to enlarge
Discuss this review HERE
Table of Contents:
Real Steel History
Basic Gun Information
Real Steel History:
The Ika Zuchi Type-0 (just called the Type-0 from now on) is an anime style gun, based off of something you might see in the “Ghost in the Shell” or “Appleseed” series. It resembles guns from the fictional company “Seburo” which is one of the main small arms suppliers in the aforementioned Manga series. Cosmetically, it is fantasy based, but mechanically it is based off of an M4, therefore, it doesn’t really have a real steel history.
I obtained this gun from Evike when I went down to their walk in store in California. They have a somewhat special version of the gun, with “S.T.A.R.” trademarks, rubberized furniture, and a single point sling mount. The versions in Hong Kong have the rubberized furniture and sling mount, but have Japanese “Ika Zuchi” trademarks and more Manga style box art. The “S.T.A.R.” version is available at Evike and ASGI, priced at $169.99. If you order it from Evike, they throw in an additional 300 round M4 high cap magazine and a bungee bunch sling. Evike has also said that they are working with the manufacturer to build a model specific grenade launcher, as well as the Famas based Seburo gun, so this should just be the beginning of affordable and durable Manga based guns.
Basic Gun Information
This is a clone of the Japanese Poseidon kits, which have become rare, expensive, and are made of somewhat low quality ABS plastic. JG saw a market demand for Anime style guns, and decided to produce fully assembled and functional clones of the Poseidon kit, with their new 2008 “black” gearbox, as well as having some improvements made to the original design. The grip surfaces received a rubberized coating, the carry handle is capable of attaching a scope mount, and there is a 14mm- silencer/flashhider adapter for mounting muzzle accessories.
The gun arrived in a pretty plain box, with an image of the gun as well as some basic info printed on it. There is a sticker showing that the importer is “CSI”. Inside the box, everything is secured in their cutouts in the foam lower, and it should survive normal shipping bumps with ease.
The standard package includes the gun, 8.4v 1100 mAh NiMH mini type battery, 250mAh output trickle charger, cleaning/unjamming rod, 14mm- flashhider adapter for mounting mock suppressors, flashhiders, etc, a mag winding key, front sight adjustment tool (even though the front sight isn’t adjustable), a bag of cheap bbs, and an M4 manual. The manual is handy because it deals with the internals and the external features of the base gun, but it doesn’t cover model specific issues, such as disassembly, battery installation, or muzzle installation. The battery is the JG standard Shuang Ba brand, and is pretty good for an ACM “toss in” battery.
Everything in the foam lower
Manual, mag winder, and useless front sight tool
Weight: 6.45 lbs
-Stock Extended: 25.5"
-Stock Retracted: 22.4"
Height (Sight to grip): 8.75"
Sight Radius: 11.75"
This gun can best be described as an ultra short barreled M4 with a body kit. It is primarily plastic, with a variety of paints and textures rounding out the look of the gun. The plastic feels very strong, just like the plastic on any other JG gun, and should stand up to the rigors of game play.
Basically what you have is an M4 receiver that has been covered by decorative plastic pieces, which gives it the appearance of a futuristic model. The decorative coverings are separated into three main sections; the receiver, the front end, and the stock. The receiver pieces are attached via the carry handle mount, and are securely clamped onto the body with a minimum of gaps and seam lines. The front end is attached by sliding over the RIS rail and barrel, and securing it via a phillips head screw at the front. The stock is clamped over the regular M4 stock and is quite secure. These panels don’t feel cheap or weak and they lend to the overall solid feel of the gun.
Paint wise, there are several colors and textures aboard, which add to the futuristic look of the gun. The upper covering is silver, along with the lower stock. The upper stock, pistol grip, foregrip, and the entire front end received a matte black rubberized coating, similar to the TM Beta Spetz or the JG BAR-10. This rubberized coating feels great in your hands, but makes scratches pretty visible. The last of the various colors is the plain old M4 receiver grey, which adorns the receiver and carry handle. All in all, I think the color combo works, and help a unique gun stand out even more.
The stock is designed to be ergonomic, but is a touch too tall for me. I am unable to get a good sight picture with the stock, but if I had an optic mounted on the carry handle it would be perfect. The stock adjusts to 5 positions which helps adjust it to pretty much any user or situation. You can remove the contoured stock and add any M4 stock, either for cosmetic reasons or ergonomic reasons. I have tested an SRC LE stock, DBoys Crane stock, JG Choate stock, and a UTG full stock, and all fit well. On the stock buffer tube there is a single point sling mount, which can be switched around for right or left handed users. The buffer tube is metal and is securely mounted to the receiver. Under all the plastic shenanigans is a standard LE style M4 stock, so if you want to remove the pieces and just use that, you can.
The receiver, as mentioned earlier, is basically a standard plastic M4 receiver with plastic coverings on it to make it the unique model that it is. The controls, such as the selector switch, trigger, and magazine release are all metal. The trigger guard is removable so you can change it with a different style of guard if you would like. I personally have taken a fondness for Magpul designed trigger guards, so I may be swapping it out in the near future.
The charging handle can be pulled back, opening the dust cover, and exposing the hop-up adjuster. There is a mock bolt underneath the cover which adds to the realism. The charging handle returns nicely, but occasionally requires you to push it in a bit to lock it.
Charging handle pulled back
Hop-up adjuster exposed
The grip is unique in that it is an SPR type grip and that it also received the black rubberized coating. It is designed for right handed users only, and lefties will have problems holding this comfortably. The grip feels good in your hand, and adds to the overall style of the gun. The rubber coating has scratched off a bit after laying it on the ground a few times, so that may become an issue down the line.
The foregrip is part of the receiver cosmetic panels, and is very comfortable to hold, provided you don’t have hands that are too big. My hands are big, but not fat, so I can hold it just fine. It also has the rubberized coating, making it very nice both visually and to the touch. There is a small plastic RIS rail on the front, which is partially covered by the front end. It sticks out enough to allow mounting of a laser or small light, but not much more. It is not very rigid, so don't count on sub MOA zeroing of a laser on there.
The front end, which consists of the muzzle, front of the foregrip, and front sight are all one piece and are removed to insert the battery. This area received the rubberized coating as well, and has an orange coating on the tip to comply with US laws. The outer barrel, which is hidden by the muzzle, has 14mm+ threading, but they have included an adapter that screws onto it to allow you to mount a 14mm- accessory.
Adapter in use
Element Noveske style “loudener”
Element 10” foam filled silencer
On the topic of battery installation, Evike has a nice pictorial on the proper battery loading procedure:
Install procedure, be sure to click to see the full size
The sights are half M4, half fantasy design, and are fully adjustable. The rear sight is part of the carry handle, and is adjustable for windage and elevation in the traditional M4 style. There are two apertures that you can select for the rear sight for varying ranges and light conditions. The front sight is a blade that is molded into the front end, and it is not adjustable at all. Overall, the sight picture is good and quick to acquire, although a little low for me due to the voluptuous cheek rest.
The carry handle is able to accept carry handle specific optics or scope mounts, so you can add whatever sighting solution fits your play style.
DJ Mike Oz was able to take some pics for this review with an optic and rail mounted:
All in all, the externals are pretty good for the price. They are all plastic, but the construction is strong and should take normal airsofter abuse. JG has always built high quality plastic bodies, and I have no reason to think that this model will be any different.
The Evike and ASGI versions of this gun feature special trademarks that say this:
(Various Chinese Characters)
SPECIAL TACTICS AND RESCUE
There is also a large character to the left of everything, which is apparently the traditional symbol for "Dragon" (Thanks to Alpha Elite for that one.)
The other, non US version (in most cases) has these trades:
Thanks to DJ Mike Oz for this
As this is based internally off of an M4, it uses all normal AR mags. It comes with a short VN style metal high cap holding 190 rounds. The mag features the now ubiquitous 1/8” winding key hole on the side for quickly winding the high capacity mechanism. It clicks into the gun smoothly and feeds well.
Like all JG’s, this gun is compatible with all TM compatible magazines. I have tested it with full size JG highcaps, DBoys short and long highcaps, UTG high caps, SRC highcaps, G&P midcaps, and MAG midcaps with no issues. You may have issues fitting drum, box, or C-mags because of the wider bodywork on the gun, so I can’t guarantee fitment on those.
Some of the mags I’ve tested it with
Stats with 0.20g TSD BB shot through a Madbull Chrono:
363.6 FPS over 15 shots
17 RPS recorded using Audacity
Long range accuracy is surprisingly good given the short barrel and mid-range FPS, with 150' torso shots being easily accomplished about 9/10 times using TSD .23g BBs. It reaches out to further distances with heavier BBs, but the lower FPS means there isn't a lot of kinetic energy left over to let the target know that you hit it. It used .20g BBs just fine, but for max performance, I suggest .23s or .25s.
The short game on this one is interesting, in that even though it had a tiny inner barrel (195mm), it still achieved decent groupings at 40'. The 10 shot grouping came in at 1.45", again using .23g TSD BBs.
My biggest concern in a gun's accuracy isn't groupings or anything of that sort. It is how far can I shoot and hit a man sized target 90% of the time, and with .23g TSD BBs, I can do that out to 150' comfortably. If I fire a burst and walk it on to the target, it can be a bit further, out to 170' or so, but the first shot hit probability isn't terribly high.
All in all, the performance is above par for a CQB type weapon, delivering good midrange accuracy and a high stock ROF. The FPS is high, but not too high as to become a big problem in CQB scenarios. This gun certainly delivers a good bang for the buck in the area of performance.
The internals of the Type-0 are of the new "2008 Black Gearbox" type, consisting of a black gearbox shell that is made with a better metal composition, better gears, and a high torque motor. This doesn't use an M120 spring, as it has good compression but only shoots about 365 FPS. The gearbox shell itself is not reinforced, unlike some of the other '08 JGs, but the metal composition certainly looks much better than some of their older offerings. My set of Torx bits has magically disappeared in the packing for my upcoming move, so it is unlikely that I will be able to open the actual gearbox in the coming weeks, but I can convey my observations about what I can get to.
To access the internals, you first need to remove the decorative body panels. First, you need to take off the front piece that you normally remove to install the battery. Then, take off the receiver pieces by unscrewing the two hex screws that go through the carry handle, removing the one phillips head screw at the front of the carry handle, and a small plastic piece secured by a phillips screw at the bottom of the vertical grip. Once you remove all the screws, you can carefully begin prying the decorative panels off, which are still secured by a few metal pins pressure fit in the pieces. Once you get the panels off, you can see the M4 that lies at the heart of this gun.
Body panels removed
Inner view of the panel, showing thick plastic build and interesting textured finish
M4 hidden under all that plastic
Disassembly is now standard M4 takedown, by popping out some pins and pulling the upper and lower receivers apart. I won't beat a dead horse by explaining the process, but if you need help at this point, go to www.mechbox.com and look up their tutorials.
Inside, there is a plastic two piece hop-up unit mated to a brass 195mm long inner barrel. The barrel's muzzle isn't really crowned, but does have a small bit of crowning on the inside and outside surfaces, giving it an almost rounded appearance. I have no digital calipers, so I can't measure the inner bore, but the quality looks good enough. It was quite dirty inside, so I recommend giving the barrel a good cleaning before use. The hop-up is fully compatible with normal AEG hop-up buckings and nubs so you can upgrade to your heart's content.
Inner barrel and hop-up
Odd rounded muzzle
The motor feels pretty high torque by turning it by hand, but it is nowhere near as strong as an SRC Ultra High Torque motor out of their Gen 3 AEGs. It has a graphite like paint finish and a sticker showing that it is an "Super High-Power" motor. Like all ARs, it is a long type motor and is compatible with aftermarket motors if you want to upgrade. I took this chance to try out the Airsoft Innovations Motor End Plate, which replaces the hard to keep track of metal plate at the base of the motor. It is a pain to keep that thing centered when reinstalling the motor and grip, especially if you have a motor with strong magnets. The AI motor plate actually press fits onto the motor end bell, and keeps it secured during install. I really like this thing, as it saved me some frustration during reassembly.
Odd "JP" logo stamped on the motor
AI motor plate on the right, JG on the left
Motor plate pressed on, no issues with motor height reported
Now to the gearbox. From what I can visually check, it features plastic 6mm bushings, a black painted shell, black plastic air nozzle, decent 18g wiring, an automotive style 25A fuse, metal spring guide, and a pretty high wound count spring. Looking inside the shell, you can see that there is no reinforcement in the normal place, near the gears, so I cannot say that this is a reinforced gearbox shell. The cylinder is chrome plated and is of the ported type 1 variety.
"SB" is stamped for some reason...
Metal spring guide and high wind count spring
All in all, the internals are pretty standard JG parts. It sounds very smooth while firing with no screeches, grinding, or other bad noises. In order to test the "LiPo Ready" claim by Evike, I was able to test it out using a 11.1v 25C LiPo pack at Evike by firing about 500 rounds through it. I am happy to report that it handled those 500 rounds with no problems at all. It sounded good and smooth, and had an exceptionally high ROF. Now, this certainly isn't a long term test, and I can't guarantee that it will last for 501 rounds with a LiPo, but it seemed to handle the power with no problems.
Internally and partially externally, this is an M4, so from basically the mag well back, you can use standard M4 parts. Internally, you can use normal V2 M4 internals, with the exception of an ultra short barrel. With the addition of the 14mm- muzzle adaptor, you can really customize this gun to fit your style. It is able to fit carry handle scopes or scope mounts, so optics can be part of your customization plan.
Inexpensive compared to building an original Poseidon kit
High FPS and ROF
Good mid-range accuracy
Very unique design
TM compatible magazine use
Stock too curvy for me and makes a proper cheek weld impossible
Foregrip may be a problem for someone with big hands
A bit pricier than other JGs
Styling isn’t for everyone
Shoots a bit hot for some CQB fields
Well, love it or hate it, this gun is here and it is awesome. The build quality is very good, the use of paint and rubberized coating blend to make a very attractive gun, and the use of the new 2008 JG gearbox delivers very high performance. The styling certainly isn’t for everyone, but I personally love it. It sets you apart from all the other conformists on the field, but without sacrificing easy upgrades and cheap magazines. A true A+ effort, and hopefully a taste of things to come in the affordable anime market!
Thanks again to Evike at www.airsoftpost.com, www.caoc-a.com, ICU at www.icub4ucme.com, www.airsoft-innovations.com, and of course, www.airsoftretreat.com (phew, that list is getting long!) Also, big thanks to DJ Mike Oz for getting me those pics.
Ultimate CQB weapon? Maybe...
Noveske flashhider, ICU mirror system, and green laser. Yum.