|The "caps" that make this
model work are virtually impossible to obtain here in the United States.
In fact, I have yet to find an importer who has them in stock or is
willing to go to the trouble to import them. As neither the Japanese
postal service nor the United States postal service will accept these
(caps) for shipment, I have assumed because of their "explosive
nature", they must be transported by other means. While they are
relatively easily located for sale in Japan, purchasing them and getting
them imported into the US proved to be a major challenge. I do not speak
Japanese and my computer does not have a Japanese character set. I found
one Japanese website of a model gun store where these caps were clearly
being offered for sale. It was very frustrating to be able to see them and
not be able to purchase them. This store clearly accepted all the major
credit cards. I do not have a picture of the actual caps themselves. They
are NOT similar to the caps we used in toy guns in years past.
Shortly after I purchased the model M1A1 via Ebay, I found a website (in Japan) that was offering the same model M1A1 for sale. Refer back to Figure (1). While my computer does not have a Japanese character set, the pictures come through very clearly. On January 14, 2000 this particular model, along with 6 "blanks" was being offered for 39,900 yen - the equivalent at the time of about $400. To me that does not seem like a bad price for someone who would like a "wall hanger" that is just a little bit out of the ordinary. Soon after my discovery of this website, the M1A1 was no longer listed. I have returned to that site on a number of occasions. While this site currently offers a number of different models that appear to work as does the M1A1, I have never seen the M1 offered for sale again.
My purchase of the model M1A1 so peaked my interest in the real Thompsons that I began a search for one of the real weapons. In June of last year I took possession of a (WH) 1928A1 not perhaps the best of the real Thompson's that were made, but a piece of history, nonetheless.
I will bring both pieces to the Annual Thompson Machine Gun shoot in August of this year and look forward to demonstrating it. I also look forward to any input or advice those of you in attendance may wish to give me regarding the proper maintenance and upkeep of both my "models".