As an ICS fan of old, Bill constantly takes a keen interest in their latest models and when the chance came for him to get the very newest addition to the CKP MARS line out on the range, he was keen to take the opportunity and now lands his findings on the Limited Edition Grey version, the “Komodo”!
ICS never cease to amaze me! Just when you think some of their models and what goes on inside them is looking and feeling a bit “dated”, they do something that makes you stand back and just say “Wow!”
I’ve had my greedy little hands of most ICS releases for the best part of twenty years and I have to say that they offer some of the most consistently reliable airsoft replicas out there. Whilst they have not always have been “cutting edge” in their overall design, they’ve certainly been functional and with an ICS AEG you’re certainly going to have something to help you rack up those “kill streaks” on the field!
We are lucky to play airsoft in a time of constant improvement and no little innovation and, whilst some may say that there is “nothing new under the sun”, I would disagree to an extent as, although we are not seeing major leaps forward like the first ever airsoft motor or the development of a new way of instilling hop to our BBs, I believe that what we are seeing is incremental improvements and refinements to make the systems we rely on even more versatile and durable. In my mind ICS are one of the companies leading the charge on this.
I do bemoan the fact that ICS (as yet) haven’t developed their own full recoil system, although their Electronic Blowback function is a nice nod towards realism, giving some kinetic energy feedback but don’t expect any true felt recoil. Perhaps here I am being massively unfair but ICS are a brand that I love and I expect them to do things better and realistically they actually do, with constant improvements to their existing systems and the occasional leap forward as if from nowhere. Some airsoft companies seem content to just follow a single line of thought in relation to their designs but I have to say that ICS have not done this in any way. I’ve always been a fan of their split gearboxes, which are reliable and easy to work on should you so desire and personally I’ve never had an AEG from them that has been anything other than first rate.
I’ve said this before but with the introduction of their “Gen 1 CXP” models I believe they really hit on something quite unique, in the form of a thoroughly modern design with an Electronic Blowback function that not only looked great but performed superbly straight out of the box. It’s been my great pleasure to have had most of the variants of the CXP out on the range and new variants keep on coming through! ICS also continually look to the real firearms market and have consistently tracked the changes there; developments in relation to the “AR/M4” platform continually change, with many iconic designs, reduction in overall weight, more modularity and features that have been updated to get the best performance possible from all parts.
With their more recent releases ICS have followed the firearms industry trend for lightweight, ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing designs, not only creating their own receivers and rails, but also bringing to market some fabulous designs for stocks, pistol grips and back-up “iron sights” – and the CXP range shows this completely. In my mind they have some really super designs which follow the trend away from out and out military models, instead following the creation of lightweight, slim-line, ergonomic sporting rifles and carbines.
FADE TO GREY
For those of you that love the whole “urban grey” aesthetic, the latest Limited Edition Grey CXP Modern Assault Rifle System (MARS) “Komodo” from ICS is going to have you drooling and even for me, the deep coloration and superlative finish of the metal parts takes things up a notch! Although the grey of the aggressive CNC machined upper and lower receivers with laser engraved ICS trademarks and the grey of the equally well-finished rail is not 100% totally colour-matched, the overall feel of things is one of immense high quality. However, I will get my one gripe out of the way here, in that the MTR S1 adjustable stock, although a brilliant design that lets you change out your batteries in a flash, is just plain “Henry Ford Black” and I would like to have seen this in grey to complement the rest of the rifle.
Overall though, the “Komodo” is a stunning looking rifle, well up to “custom standard” fit and finish and from that MTR stock, to the unique muzzle brake, it’s a quality item! At 880mm with the stock in its closed position, you get an AEG with a 375mm inner barrel that weighs in at just 3,200g, so not only does it feel good but it’s manoeuvrable and light enough to work extremely well both as a “field” gun and for CQB. Fitted with a really nice ambidextrous charging handle, which seems to have become a bit of a fixture on the MARS range, there’s also an ambidextrous safety and magazine release as standard, which in sum total makes this a very attractive proposition from the user’s perspective. Add to this a comfortable pistol grip of ICS design, along with their excellent flip-up front and rear sights, an enlarged trigger guard with a “race” style trigger and a singlepoint sling attachment point, with the now tried and tested “T Mag” it’s already adding up to a very attractive package!
WHAT LURKS INSIDE…
As lovely as the externals are, and they are, and as useful and user friendly as the included accessories are, what REALLY stands the “Komodo” apart from its forebears though is the new SSS, or Self-Diagnostic Shooting System. Thanks to the SSS, the trigger is not controlled via a switch assembly but via a built-in micro-switch. This results in an extremely precise trigger, one that verges on “hair” territory to be honest! Although you have the usual “S/S/A” settings on the fire selector, you can also engage “three round burst” as well and this is achieved by pressing the trigger in semi-mode for about 10 seconds, until you feel a tactile vibration. To reset full-auto mode, simply repeat the process. When activated, the trigger just needs to be tapped briefly and the “Komodo” automatically fires three BBs. A dual MOSFET design directs the full battery voltage directly to the motor, which allows it to deliver consistent full power, resulting in much faster trigger response time. You can also safely use an 11.1V LiPo as the system protects against overspeed / overtorque issues in the gearbox. Even with a 7.4V LiPo the shot cycle is completed, even if there is a problem with the trigger unit itself!
Okay, so, programmable trigger, MOSFET protection, that’s been done before right? But there’s more! Thanks to integrated battery monitoring, you do not even have to worry about the state of your battery. The motor vibrates when you hit low voltage and a battery change should be performed and if you choose to ignore this and the voltage continues to drop, the system automatically shuts down to avoid over-discharge! The “Self-Diagnostic” part of the system continuously checks the functions of the trigger unit, fire selector, gearbox, MOSFET and battery voltage and if a problem occurs you can check the error via the built-in LEDs by simply splitting the receivers (this process is explained fully in the User Manual) and this will visually tell you what’s going on.
- GREEN: All okay and ready to rock!
- RED (blinking): One of the following components is having a problem; Gears, Motor, Cut-off Lever.
- RED (pulsing): An electronic problem has been detected or the MOSFET needs attention.
- ORANGE (blinking): Malfunction of the Trigger Assembly
- ORANGE (pulsing): Malfunction of the Fire Selector.
So, inside and out this is a real beauty of an AEG but ultimately you want all of things I’ve described going on without you even having to think about them and what you do need to think about is nailing your target! Thankfully you do indeed forget the majority of the clever gubbins inside the “Komodo” when it comes to range time! As I’ve tested a number of the CXP rifles and carbines the smooth operation and performance of the “Komodo” was a bit of a no-brainer and loaded up with .20g NUPROL RZR BBs and with a NUPROL 7.4 LiPo fitted it was time to take the rifle to the chrono, where it racked up a consistent and site-friendly 0.93 Joule/318fps.
But oh, THAT TRIGGER! If you’re used to a regular airsoft trigger then this is going to put an absolutely massive smile on your face, as there is no take-up whatsoever and (to go into real firearm terminology) there is zero reset! Basically, touch this trigger and you’re going to launch a BB downrange… and then do it over and over again. If, like me, you’re a fan of accelerated pairs, or the good old “double tap” in old money, then you are going to simply adore this trigger and for that alone the SSS is worth its weight in titanium! Accuracy was again as I expected, that being excellent once the hop was securely set. Shots out to 30m were absolutely bob-on, with BBs ranging out to the backstop beyond the targets. ICS AEGs have never been slouches when it comes to accuracy and the “Komodo” obviously follows that particular family tradition and to me the top rail just shouts out for a decent bit of glass to make the most of that.
The ICS “CXP MARS Komodo 3S Limited Edition Grey” has a price tag of about £460 so is it worth the money? I’d have to say an absolute “Yes!” to that as the fit, finish, quality of overall craftsmanship and proven performance of accessory parts married up to the very latest in internal wizardry create a pretty unique package. I for one question to a degree what more you can do with current technology to make a better standard AEG out of the box!
Well done again ICS!
For more information on the CXP line of AEGs and the rest of the extensive range of ICS AEGs and accessories please do pay a visit to www.icsbb.com, and as always my sincere thanks go to www.fire-support.co.uk where you can buy this super AEG right now.