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Japan BlackHole Trip (2004-02-06)









As we enter the New Year of 2004, RedWolf Airsoft wasted no time and flew out to Tokyo to attend the first Blackhole Show of the year (held from January 10 - 11). As usual, the show was held in Tokyo in a large convention center - housing four massive floors of exhibition space each more than 10,000 square feet in size! For those of you who have not heard of BlackHole - it is an event that is held 3 - 4 times annually in Tokyo, and serves as an exhibition event for Airsoft manufacturers, retail shops promoting their own products or hard-to-find collector items, and basically anything military related - including lots of surplus equipment from the US, Russia, China, Europe - ranging from WWII to modern tactical equipment like infrared scopes and night vision gear. Flying in from Hong Kong with a few other well respected individuals from the Hong Kong Airsoft scene, we settled into his Tokyo hotel late evening before heading out to a nice sushi dinner with the group. A great evening of good food and fine sake wine set the stage for many interesting Airsoft stories (which we won't get into here) - which suffice to say highlighted the humble beginnings of Airsoft as a hobby in Hong Kong in the 80's. Tired for the long flight, the group turned in early in anticipation of the show early next morning. Walking into the show the next day - one of the first things that struck us was the number of people in costume walking around the show floor greeting visitors. Turns out the event organizers had hired numerous people to dress up as law enforcement and military officers from across the world - amongst which include US SWAT, German military, Chinese military, Delta Force, Rangers, etc. All wore extremely authentic uniforms with full gear (carrying the appropriate Airsoft rifle). Amusingly, there were even individuals dressed up as Samurais and Ninjas, sparring off in the middle of the exhibition!

Many well-known Airsoft manufacturers were on hand to show off their latest products, including (in no particular order) Mosquito Molds, TOP, Tokyo Marui, Firefly, Shoei, CAW, and many others.

The biggest and most colorful booth usually belonged to Tokyo Marui, and this show was no exception. Employees from the company showcased various new models planned for release in 2004, including the SIG P226 Gas Blowback Pistol and a Beretta 93R (which is probably slated for 2005 given the early stages of the mold demonstrated at the show). A very imminent release is the BOYS series MP5 AEG - which was already on display in full operational form. Tokyo Marui even set up a small skirmish section (fully netted off with wooden boards to serve as cover) allowing visitors willing to dish out a couple yen to shoot it out with their friends using the BOYS M4! Most exciting of all is the planned release of the Marui M14 AEG sometime in the middle of 2004 - this is one rifle we simply can't wait to get in our hands!!

TOP had its usual display of the M60 series and a model of the much-anticipated MP40 AEG due out sometime this year. CAW was also on hand to display their full line of M203 Revolver Grenade Launchers.

Many discontinued items were also on sale from collectors, including WA 1980s generation pistols and other hard-to-find items. A large assortment of deactivated weapons was also for sale - including grenades, rifles - and even an M72 missile launcher!

Wildgoose is a big fan of action figures - and he jumped with excitement as he looked beyond the Marui booth to see a large model of a German battlefield scene - laid out completely with German soldiers and tanks (sorry, our camera ran out of juice before we could take a photo!)

There were also many custom gunsmiths showing off their masterpieces - while there were simply too many to name (as seen in the photos here), one notable custom piece was an MG42 built with a gearbox - promising massive firepower using the MG42's long barrel!! While impressive, most of these custom pieces were ludicrously expensive - but if money is no issue, you could even get an expert engraver (who was on hand at the show) to engrave anything you wanted onto your gun. We were extremely impressed with his work, which was very detailed and exquisite.

All in all, BlackHole Spring 2004 was a great show with lots to see as usual! You can be sure that RedWolf Airsoft will continue to provide news from the front at future shows!