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M1A1 Thompson

If any WWII Airsoft weapon should be the "Holy Grail" this would be it. But, since the Thompson follows modern assault rifle form (pistol grip, long magazine under the receiver) and it was prominently featured in a big Hollywood movie (Saving Private Ryan), Tokyo Marui took it upon themselves to create an almost perfect rendition of this classic.

Every component that is metal on the real thing is metal on this one. The stock, pistol grip and foregrip are plastic, but you honestly can't tell until you touch them. Best of all, this beauty can be bought between $245 and $335, depending on the where you shop. Craft Apple Works makes a kit that will replace the plastic pieces with wood (about $180). This AEG takes a normal 8.4 volt large battery in the stock and produces about 270 fps. This is the one you want to buy if you're starting out in WWII Airsoft.

One caveat. The barrel design in this airsoft replica leaves much to be desired. In fact, it is almost a certainty that you will snap the barrel off if you fall and land on this SMG the wrong way. The barrel is held onto the upper receiver by a thin flange of steel. Airsoft Gear in Wisconsin has come up with a fix. Send them your M1A1 and they will install a reinforcing plug that will completely solve this weakness.

Where to Buy

You can pick this one up almost anywhere that sells airsoft guns. Overseas prices are about $215. Domestic prices are about $300. I suggest looking for a US based distributor. Stay away from Ebay and message boards. For a few dollars more, you will appreciate the security of ordering from a reputable vendor.

Other Information Sources

Some helpful sites and reviews of this weapon:

Arnie's Airsoft

Airsoft Gear Fix for Barrel Weakness

M1928 Thompson

This variation on the Thompson is actually an older model in real world terms. The M1 and M1A1 were adjustments made on this original design to simplify manufacturing and reduce cost as the war progressed. The M1A1 was introduced shortly before D-Day. The M1928 is the correct weapon for use in any impression prior to that date. Drum magazines were used as well, though those were completely dropped prior to D-Day by the US.

Where to Buy

Mosquito molds makes a very nice full metal conversion kit that turns the M1A1 into a M1928 (about $220). Really nice parkerized finish too. This kit replaces the entire upper receiver and barrel. Again, Craft Apple Works can supply a wood kit for full M1928 realism (about $150). You'll notice slight variations in the shape of the stock between the M1A1 and M1928. A big plus to all these changes...The barrel weakness found in the original Tokyo Marui upper assembly is gone. This kit makes the SMG as solid as a baseball bat. Very, very cool and highly recommended. The photo above is my personal M1928 with the wood stock kit from CAW.

Other Information Sources

Some helpful sites and reviews of this weapon:

M1928 Conversion Kits (PDF of Den Trinity Site)

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P08 Lugar
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Allied Weapons

M1A1 Thompson
M1 Garand
M3 Grease Gun
M1 Carbine
M1918A2 BAR
Sten Gun
Enfield Rifle