Classic Army CA36C AEG
Known problems with the prototype: These current issues are already known about and are due to be fixed for the production version:
The front grip needs to be made tighter in the production models.
The fire selector should be made more smooth when it is turned to different positions. The single action point is not a positive position and hard to find.
The magazine catch area will be slightly changed as the tolerances in this prototype version are too narrow. This means that the mag is a tight fit in the mag well and has to be pushed in hard for the mag catch to click and secure it.
As this was a prototype version sadly printed materials such as manuals and instructions were lacking. Hoever these materials will be available in the production packaging.
Improvements I'd like to see:
Full metal or stronger upper scope rail.
Single push pin for lower receiver, rather than a nut/bolt system.
Front handguard split could do with being glued together better.
Stronger cocking handle as the current one is hollow plastic and rather weak.
Conclusion: ClassicArmy have produced what is to me their best production AEG to date. There is very little that could be improved upon within the bounds of producing a merchantable replica. As I've said it's a shame that the original H&K markings are lacking, but this is sadly unavoidable.
The look of the AEG is spot on, both the weight and feel are as close as you can reasonably get while still remaining compatible with TM parts. The gearbox is well made and the internals are an imrpovement over the TM equivalent (metal bushings and 'reinforced' parts). So if you're looking for a G36C replica and are given a choice between the TM and CA model which would I recommend? The playing fields have been well and truly levelled, and the choice between CA and TM is closer than ever.
To me the choice is simple; the CA rifle offers an improved gearbox, hicap magazine, improved feel and better value than the TM (price for the CA should be the same or less at the time of release). Upgrading the internals is also much easier than the TM equivalent.
I'm pretty much sold on the CA36C myself, it shows that ClassicArmy are taking more time in their product development and not rushing to get something off the shelf before it's ready.
The only minor downside I've found is that now their production cycle is longer, they are more cagey about any new items coming to their product lines in the future.
There's a production CA36C on the way over for appraisal now that the first stocks have hit the stores in the EU, so any and all changes that have been made will be noted on this review when I get to see it.. hmm that'' take me onto an 8 page review, ah well.
In short, bravo Classic Army; this is a jolly nice piece of kit, and I'm looking forward to seeing their next AEG line coming in 2005 as I'm sure everyone else is.
[edit 13/12/04 - please read the addendum below for more information concerning the full release]
Addendum - Comparison to the production version: Now that I have my hands on the production version I can compare the two versions:
First off, the front grip is now a much better fit, even without a battery and a vertical grip (to add leverage) there's no wobble or shake to it at all.
The fire selector is firmer with a more positive click where you'd expect it to.
The magazine catch secures itself pretty well this time, there's no need to apply heaps of force to lock the magazine into place.
The forward metal frame has now been modified by CA with side stabilising tabs for the grip (shown inset), the same as the TM G36C. In the photo underneath this to the right the prototype is at the bottom of the shot, and the release version is at the top.
One major change is that the production version now comes shipped with the side rails.This is to help the CA version offer better value when compared to the TM equivalent. Prices for the CA36C are in the region of 240USD (compared to the TM price of 230USD for the G36C). The side rails cost around 8USD each, so for the difference of 10USD you get 16USD worth or parts added in on the ClassicArmy model.
The fire select switch although improved is still not great, I'd recommend using a 1.5mm Allen Key and either tightening the levers on yourself, or using some suitable loctite on it to secure things. Because of the method that the lever is secured, it is relatively easy to push it forward too hard and loosen things so that it basically falls off (at which point the tiny spring pin inside will disappear). On the production version, this is really the only major complaint. A better method of fitting to my mind would be a small screw or bolt that screwed into the fire select mount through the lever from one side, rather than the current grub screw that applys pressure on a flat surface.
As noted above the release version should have lugs behind the flashhider inside the foregrip area on the metal frame. The lugs inside the foregrip itself slide into these holes and secure the grip, stopping it from rotating. The model here has a very firm grip which doesn't move at all, even without a battery installed. If your grip moves, it's highly likely that the firegrip isn't fitted on correctly, or that you don't have a production/release metal frame, and is therefore missing the new securing lugs (seen here).
Also, to give you an idea of what the AEG looks like with two mags secured to it you can have a look at these shots:
To attach one magazine to the other, simply angle the left magazine backwards from the right magazine, hook the top attachment lug over, then carefully rotate the left magazine forward pivoting on the top lug. There should be a click, and you've now got two magazines secured together.
Options/Addons: There are a selection of addons that you can get specifically for the CA36C.
Rails - You only get the lower rail fitted to this rifle out the box, however there are places to fit a side rail on either side of the foregrip. The side rails are available at extra cost and are basically identical to the lower rail that's already there.
Conversion kits - There are also a huge amount of conversion kits available for the C variant if you get bored. Kits range from the simple "G36" conversion (comprising of a new grip/barrel assembly and replacement stock), through to the SL9 kit from StarAirsoft which is a complete body shell replacement.
End cap - there's a couple of companies making the G36 style end cap (as seen in Terminator 3) for the G36C series.
Motor Drive C magazine - Electrically driven and able to contain 2500 rounds.. I doubt you'll need to worry much about refills.
50 rnd locaps - CA make 50 round locap magazines for the G36 series. Like the TM version they are possibly some of the most realistic magazines you can get for any Airsoft replica although personally I feel that the rounds are a bit too bright.
(available in 1024x768)
External links: Links to external sites of interest.
HKPro - probably the definitive HK website
Unofficial HK G36 page -
A handy resource for real G36 information
Classic Army - The manufacturers of this product
Star Airsoft -
Make an SL9 conversion kit for G36C AEGs
ActionSportGames A/S - The nice people that sent over the prototype for review
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