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Review

SA Vz.61 Scorpion
  • Manufacturer 
     Tokyo Marui
  • Model 
     SA Vz61 Scorpion
  • Capacity 
     58
  • Weight 
     1110
  • Power 
     250 fps
  • Motor 
     
  • Hop-up 
     Adjustable
  • Battery 
     7.2 v 500 mAh
  • Shooting Mode 
     Semi, Full auto
  • Construction 
     Metal + ABS

Pros

-Nice weighty feel and realistic finish
-Reliable and simple operation
-Good performance in a small size
 

Cons

-Lack of blowback
-Does not necessarily fit western loadouts
 

Verdict

Another brilliant AEP from Tokyo Marui. While it doesn't have sound and feel of a GBB, it is reliable in various conditions, simple and cheap to use and offers a stable performance.

 

BREACH & ENTRY

As tanks became more and more common in the battlefields during the second world war, the obvious need for the tank crew to be able to ward off the enemy from close ranges was raised in priority. Should the tank become disabled in the heat of battle, the tank crew would have to continue fighting with what they have with them.

A lot of weapons were modified with folding stocks to be less cumbersome, but twisting and turning in the confined spaces of a tank and fitting through the hatches was a right kerfuffle even with those models. Some countries equipped their warriors in tracked vehicles with pistols, but obviously as the emphasis of this branch is in using the tank, the pistol is not that effective in those hands: Not every soldier is a special force operator.

The development of the Scorpion submachinegun was begun with these realities in mind, so the obvious requirement was to have a similar bulk to a pistol, but better firepower was required as well. Sounds a lot like the PDW concept? Remember that this was in the 50's!

In 1961, the SA Vz.61 or Samopal Vzor 1961 (Czech for "Submachinegun, Model 1961") was officially adopted. As opposed to other SMGs of its time, the Vz.61 fired from a closed bolt. Being a straight blowback weapon with a relatively low powered 7.65x17 (.32 ACP) pistol cartridge, the cyclic rate of fire of the Vz.61 would have been blistering. An ingenious fire rate reduction system was developed to make the weapon more controllable in terms of muzzle flip and ammo consumption. When the bolt hits the rear position, it sends a spring-loaded weight downwards into the grip, and gets caught by a sear. When the weighty piece jumps back up, it trips the sear and releases the bolt. The rate of fire was reduced to a theoretic 850 rounds per minute, which is still quite fast but bearable.

The Vz.61 has quite a wide reputation, although not that deeply rooted in the popular culture as the UZI or MP5. It has been widely exported, and was licence-built in the former Yugoslavia. Some speculation exists that the Vz.61 would be especially attractive to terrorist organizations. It is most likely that they, as any other buyers, are simply looking for something that works, is affrodable and most importantly available. These "terrorist gun"-labels are mostly political, and are not related to the actual features of various weapons. The Vz.61 and its variations have also seen some use in the hands of special force units, who use the ultra-compact SMG in confined spaces and covert operations as a concealed weapon.

A compact handy weapon, even with the stock unfolded.
The only markings on this side are the serial numbers. The other side features small Tokyo Marui and ASGK markings.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE AIRSOFT MODELS

A Vz.61 has been available from Tokyo Marui as a spring gun for quite a long time. It has also been made as a non-blowback gas gun, but neither has attracted large crowds, and the spring model is seen more as an entry level beginner's gun. The Scorpion was featured in the blockbuster cyber-movie Matrix, wielded tandem-style by Neo, accompanied by the Propellerheads. Soon everyone wanted one.

Maruzen didn't waste too much time, and released a gas-blowback variant of their own. The Maruzen Vz.61 has a phenomenal rate of fire, but is limited to HFC134a, thus leaving the power on the low side. It feels fantastic to shoot, but would have to be modified to be able to handle top gas - parts for this modification are not available.

Fast forward to 2007, Tokyo Marui released the Vz.61 Scorpion, this time in the AEP or "MAEG" format, as some call these things. This line of small automatic weapons is from a different planet compared to the scaled down Mini series or Electric Blowback models. The selection at the moment includes the HK MP7 PDW in addition to the Scorpion. Upcoming models announced by Tokyo Marui are the MAC-10 (big brother of the MAC-11) and Steyr TMP. The MP7 was a huge hit, and gained positive reviews for both the appearance and performance. For such a small electric gun, it has quite a decent power and rate of fire, and upgrade parts are available.

Hop-up hidden inside the ejection port. The dial is sturdy and does not adjust by itself.
Only the upper receiver and grip are plastic! The external appearance is very realistic.

LET'S OPEN THE BOX!

The Tokyo Marui Vz.61 Scorpion is supplied as a rather complete set. The package includes everything you need to operate it, save for protective goggles, which should be used always - even for target shooting because of ricoches.

Unlike with full size AEGs, a battery and charger are included. This is convenient, because the AEP batteries don't follow the same standard as AEG batteries. The charger is a japanese 110 volt model, so customers outside of the US need a step-down adapter, such as VASN-FS-120.

The package includes a small bag of BBs as usual, but a barrel cleaning rod and loading tube are included as well. For those who want to accessorize the SMG, a 20 mm Picatinny rail and a metal made 14 mm left hand (CCW) silencer adapter are included. These accessories are seen on some of the real variants as well, so they are not included only for the sake of having to put rails and silencers on every possible gun.

The instruction manual has roughly understandable English instructions, but once again the illustrations are more than enough to explain the dos and donts universally.

All in all the amount of accessories is rather complete, and you get more for the price than just the gun:

  • SA Vz.61 Scorpion
  • 58 rd Magazine
  • Instruction manual
  • Precision BBs
  • 7.2 V 500 mAh Battery
  • 110V / 8.5 V 280 mA Charger
  • Loading and cleaning tools
  • Sight adjustment tool
  • 20 mm accessory rail
  • 2.5 mm allen key
  • 14 mm left hand (CCW) silencer adapter
  • Inflatable Czech Tank Driver

    The outer barrel is most easy to remove with the supplied tool. Do note that the thread is left-hand!
    A metal outer barrel with a 14 mm left-hand (CCW) thread is included! Don't bother scratching your head about the direction: It goes in both ways.
    The Scorpion doesn't actually look bad with a reasonably sized suppressor, and it allows you to keep stealthy! How do you say "Hoo-ah!" in Czech?

    PREPARATIONS AND EXTERIOR

    The first thing to do is to plug the charger in and start charging the battery. As you are waiting for the electrons to relocate themselves into the battery pack, you have some time to study the instructions and admire how well the Vz.61 is replicated. The lower receiver, front and rear sights, stock, trigger and trigger guard, magazine and magazine catch and outer barrel are all made of metal. The only plastic part that is metal on the real one, is the upper receiver, which has a nice matte finish.

    The Vz.61 tips the scale to 1110 grams without a battery, and the front- and top-heavy weight distribution combined with the small grip makes the gun feel a bit heavier, adding to the non-toyish finish of the AEP. Pulling on the cocking buttons reveals the hop-up adjustment dial, and the bolt makes a nice clinking metal sound when released.

    The metal selector switch seems a bit odd at first, but you get used to it quite quickly. The safe position is in the middle, turning the switch back sets semi auto, and forward is for full auto. The grip has a nice contour, and is symmetrical for southpaws and the rest of us. The shape makes it easy to get a repeatable grip, but because the line of sights is 35 mm higher than normally, it's easy for pistoleros to raise the weapon initially a bit too high. Other than that, the Scorpion is a natural pointer and comfortable to hold.

    The easy "pointability" comes in handy, because the sight picture is rather tight when you use a pistol grip with arms extended. When you use the short folding stock, it's equally hard to get a good sight picture. The rear sight has some disturbing glares at the 150 m setting, but the 75 m setting is reasonably matte. The front sight can be adjusted for elevation and windage. The supplied sight adjustment tool engages the mock rifling of the outer barrel, doubling as a removal tool for when you switch to the silencer adapter. Using the tool instead of pliers prevents scratching the outer barrel. A small but nice indication that the design wasn't left halfway!

    The magazine holds 58 rounds, impressive for the size. It also feeds every BB, and filling it is smooth as silk. A well working magazine is a pretty good indicator of the overall quality of any Airsoft model, and this is where Tokyo Marui shines.

    Okay, two hours has passed and the battery is warm. Let's shoot!

    Removing the grip floorplate can be done by hand or with the help of an allen key. Twist and pull to open.
    The white arrow points to the front, and the battery doesn't go all the way in if it's reversed.

    SHOOTING

    After inserting the magazine and a loaded magazine, the first step is to adjust the hop-up. There seems to be a bit lift even at the lowest setting, and increasing it just a bit made it optimal for 0.2 gram BBs. With the hop set to produce a flat trajectory, the average velocity of 10 shots was 243 fps (74 m/s). There was very little fluctuation between the shots, and the difference between highest and lowest was only 5 fps. A typical TM MP5K doesn't fire much harder, so this is a very good result from a downsized mechanism.

    The firing sound is exactly as you would expect: A lot like an AEG, but more silent. The 7.2 volt battery doesn't exactly kick the mechanism into motion, so there's a slight delay for the first shot. The rate of fire is good however, so we feel that full auto is effective option.

    Adding a 150 mm foam filled silencer reduced and softened the muzzle pop consirerably, even to the point that it would be inaudible from a medium distance in a gaming situation! The gear sound is still audible, but it's not particularly high-pitch because of the medium rotation speed. Also the metal receiver seems to eat away resonance and noise.

    The accuracy test was shot off-hand from 10 meters with 0.2 gram BBs in strings of five shots. Despite the crude sights and complete lack of trigger feel, the BBs repeatedly penetrated the target in groupings of 85 mm and smaller.

    The 58 round magazine feeds every single BB thanks to the extended follower.
    Turning the front sight with the adjustment tool allows to correct elevation and windage.
    A good mechanical accuracy is a bit undermined by the sights and trigger pull, but still provides a good end result. Five shots from 10 meters off-hand, 83 mm.

    CONCLUSIONS

    The Vz.61 Scorpion fits various outfits, whether you are replicating East Block vehicle crew or special forces, a less "PC" militia man, or a cyberpunk in a long black coat. Admittedly the operation and feedback of this Tokyo Marui electric Vz.61 is not as exiting and realistic as the GBB by Maruzen, but the AEP has other strong points such as reliability, simplicity and low cost of use, and a better resistance to cold environments. The gaming effectiveness is very good for a weapon of this size thanks to the good range and magazine capacity, and you can improve it further with various upgrade parts, if the need should arise.

    This newcomer won some hearts in the office. Even among people who usually prefer the most realistic GBB action, it was admitted that the AEP does have its advantages.