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Review

Tokyo Marui BOYS Series Mini M4A1 Colt Carbine
  • Manufacturer 
     Tokyo Marui
  • Model 
     EBB M4A1 Colt Carbine
  • Capacity 
     180
  • Weight 
     1000
  • Power 
     130
  • Motor 
     NA
  • Hop-up 
     Adjustable
  • Battery 
     6XAA Batteries
  • Shooting Mode 
     Semi, Full Auto
  • Construction 
     ABS Plastic Body, Metal Sling

Pros

+ Full auto is loads of fun (plus semi-auto selectable too!)
+ Realistic details and dimensions
+ High quality construction
+ Uses AA batteries that are available everywhere
+ Affordable price
 

Cons

- A bit on the light side
- Reloading process takes practice
- Conservative power level
 

Verdict

A big dose of full-auto fun for a small fraction of the price of a full-fledged AEG rifle. Big bang for the buck - perfect for beginners or those who want to test the waters with an entry level AEG before spending several hundred dollars on a full-size version. Also great for safe indoors plinking!

 

Not everyone is willing to invest in a full-size automatic electric gun (AEG) due to the prohibitive costs - usually ranging from the high (USD) one-hundred to three-hundred plus range. And while Tokyo Marui has always offered a low end of mini-type Airsoft guns that fire full-auto to satisfy office plinkers, there has always remained a massive price jump from these entry-level caricaturized guns to the full-size, full-featured, and much more powerful AEG rifles. Tokyo Marui fully recognized that this gap needed to be addressed, and has now released a economically priced mini-style AEG that has the same looks and relative proportions of the real size rifle, albeit a little scaled down in actual dimensions (about 75% of the actual dimensions of the real M4 rifle). Rather amusingly coined the "BOYS" series, this new line of affordably-priced AEGs are intended for ages 10 and up (whereas the full size AEGs were always intended for operators aged 18 and over due to their much higher power). Our first test firing of the new M4A1 Carbine from this line-up proved addictively fun - and we were soon firing directly at colleagues in the office. Operation and feel is very similar to the full-sized AEGs, and the gun even emits similar sounds to a full size AEG.

Colt logo and markings engraved into receiver just like the full size M4 AEG!
Extra precautionary safety button on pistol grip prevents misfires
Extendable stock offers 4 positions to ensure most comfortable firing position

Proportioned identically to the real M4A1 rifle, the new BOYS series M4A1 looks convincingly real in finishing and markings. All the components are colored in the same manner as the real M4A1, and the Colt logo and marking are also engraved on the receiver. There are also 5.56 NATO markings on the plastic barrel, which ends in a plastic non-removable flash hider. The front sight post houses a metal sling for durability. In fact, this gun is designed for attachment of a full size 3-point tactical sling in mind. Much like the larger M4A1 AEG, the batteries are stored in the front fore-grip. The battery compartment is accessed in exactly the same manner as the full size M4 AEG - by pulling back on the retainer ring and lifting the top half of the fore-grip off. With enough room to house 6 AA Alkaline batteries (sold separately and not included with gun), there is enough juice to deliver approximately 5000 rounds of fire (according to the Tokyo Marui website). For those of you who are curious, the lower fore-grip is not removable.

The carrying handle is not removable either but the fake retainer thumb knobs are both metal, as is the windage adjustable rear pin-hole sight- just turn the metal adjustment knob on the right which clicks away as you turn it - and you slowly watch the sight move left and right on its guide rails. The molded charging handle is also non-movable but the breech cover on the right of the receiver can be opened to reveal a hop-up adjuster lever. Hop-up is increased by dragging the lever back, and reduced by pushing it forward. The removable plastic "high capacity" magazine is removed from the gun by pushing on the metal magazine release button, which is fashioned in the same look as on the real M4A1. For readers who are not familiar with what hop-up is, it is similar to applying backspin on a tennis ball - which allows it to travel in a straight line further. By the same concept, hop-up induces backspin on the BB to keep it in the air longer but by sacrificing a bit of speed.

The high-capacity magazine holds 180 rounds in total and is loaded by opening a flap on the top and pouring the BBs in. The flap is very easy to open and locks back in place with a click to prevent BBs from falling out. What is interesting is the way that this high capacity magazine "winds" or loads BBs up into the firing chamber. Unlike the design of the high capacity magazines for full size AEGs, there is no winding dial - but instead, there is a lever that you can pull down with your fingers to compress a loading spring within the magazine. After you do this, you need to tilt the gun forward (assuming the magazine is inserted into the gun) to allow the BBs to fall into the path of the compressed spray and BB feed tube within the magazine. Keeping the gun tilted forward, you then press a small button on the side of the magazine to release the compressed spring and lock in those BBs into the feeding. This last action starts pushing the BB upwards for firing. This may sound very complicated but a removable sticker comes affixed to the side of the magazine to teach first time users how to do this. The entire sequence was a bit cumbersome at first but soon became easy to do after a couple tries. This action needs to be repeated every 28 rounds or so, which is actually quite fast when you are firing in full auto mode (at 10-15 rounds per second). With practice, we were able to perform this reloading maneuver in under 2 seconds before we were able to re-level the gun to continue firing - kind of like reloading a magazine on a real gun after every several seconds of full-auto fire. Spare magazines are available so you can stock yourself up with 3-4 magazines with a total capacity of several hundred rounds.

Magazine is removable
Special reloading lever allows quick "winding up" of this high capacity magazine
Instructions are included in a removable sticker on the side of the mag for first time users

Firing is also a bit of a trick since you need to keep your firing hand completely wrapped around the ergonomic pistol grip -there is a safety button embedded in the finger groove. Only by pressing this safety button are you then able to pull on the metal trigger. Selecting mode of fire is done by flipping a metal selector switch on the side of the gun - just like on the real M4A1 and on the full-size M4A1 AEG. The metal switch itself is very sturdy and clicks back and forth with a tactile feel - and can easily be operated with your thumb without changing your pistol grip position. The stock itself offers 4 different positions, from fully collapsed to fully extended. For adults (I am 5 foot 10 inches tall), extending the stock fully allowed me to use the gun like a full size AEG rifle - with enough room for me to lower my face into the line of sight, and make use of the built in targeting system. In this position, the size of the gun and the position of the foregrip is very similar to a full-size MP5A5 SMG. Adjustment of the stock position is performed through the use of a locking switch, which is fashioned in the same manner as on the real M4.

All in all, the M4A1 is lots of fun to toy with and full-auto mode delivered a bullet hose and rapid report just like the full-size AEGs. The receiver kicks a bit during full auto fire, with vibrations running through your hands which give you a sense of power. The rat-tat-tat sound is also loud to further underscore that sensation. Using standard 0.12g 6mm BBs (a small starter pack of these BBs come with the gun), we were able to reliably achieve 20 meter "kills" and more than 25 meters with the hop-up tuned a bit more aggressively. Accuracy varies probably due to the light BBs, but we were not expecting this gun to be a sniper rifle of any sort. Most users of this gun will probably run it on full-auto, which would allow sweeping the target. Power is on the conservative side at just below 150fps, which is enough to sting unsuspecting targets at close range, but harmless enough to avoid major damage to indoor fixtures! Power was sufficient for riddling a paper target to shreds - but lets face it - this mini-AEG cannot compare with a full size AEG rifle in terms of power.

Pour in 180 rounds of 0.12g BBs and shoot away!
Metal front sling ensures durability when mounting a 3 point sling!
Authentic NATO engravings on barrel too!

Internally, these new mini-AEGs are technically a cross between EBB pistols and the age-old caricaturized mini-guns from Tokyo Marui. Most of the internals are plastic, with gears and a motor that drive to compress a spring, which in turns pushes air through a piston to propel BBs out of the gun. Unlike full-sized AEGs, however, these new mini-AEGs are not designed to be upgradeable in power.

So is this new gun right for you? Well that depends on who you are and what you intend to use it for. Young and inexperienced players will benefit from a very fulfilling AEG experience without paying through the nose. The performance and features of this gun means it is sufficient for friendly backyard and neighborhood skirmishes. Older players who have never shot an AEG rifle before, but are wary of the high investments can opt to try one of these entry-level M4A1 AEGs out first to get a sense of what its like to shoot a realistic looking full-auto rifle - at the same time keeping in mind the performance gains from moving up to a full-size AEG in the future for 3-5 times the power and pin-point accuracy. For experienced Airsoft players like myself - well, it doesn't replace a full-sized AEG but it makes a great plinker in the office which I can shoot around without fear of really hurting anyone! It's also just small enough to sit comfortably on the shelf, while at the same time not scaring my colleagues into thinking that I am about to go postal on them!

Tokyo Marui has aggressive plans for this new line of AEGs, and is planning to release many exciting models already available in the full-size AEG lineup - including an H&K MP5A5, P90, AK Spetsnaz, G36C, and L85A1 (which incidentally is the only rifle not yet available in the full-size AEG lineup). We have stocked our new BOYS series M4A1 Carbine under the AEG - Tokyo Marui EBB section.

Breech cover can be flipped open to reveal hop-up adjustment lever
6 AA batteries stored in foregrip
Forward assist button is molded immovable but rear sights are windage adjustable