The Blaster In Question #0077: Scout Mk. II

BlasterInQuestion1

SCOUT MK.II

N-STRIKE ELITE

scout1You know how sometimes in the design process, if something has a series of iterative improvements, those iterations are labeled “Mark [number]?”  I’m not entirely sure Hasbro really gets that concept. We’ve seen the Recon Mk.II which was certainly an iteration of the Recon platform, but I don’t think many would say it really fixed any problems. Now we have the Scout Mk.II, daughter of Atticus Mk.II. So is this an improvement over the last model? I mean, I guess kinda, that is to say, it would be if it was in any way related to the prior Scout. But let’s not discuss that here, onto the review. 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

scout2The Scout Mk.II was released in 2019 as part of the N-Strike Elite series. It features a 4-round revolving cylinder and a prime bar sticking out the back. Actually, it’s mechanically identical to the Quadrant from the Accustrike line, just in a more triangular shell. I’m hesitant to call it “sleeker” because, while the lines do flow a little better than on the Quadrant, it adds a big section as a sort of angled fore-grip, if that made any kind of sense on a pistol. This, paired with the enclosed finger guard means that going for a tactical two-hand grip pretty much forces you to use the angled front section which again, just feels weird on a pistol. I suppose all of this isn’t a problem if you’re shooting one-handed like a true gentleman and officer, but that kind of scout3went out of style after Crimea. The shell of the blaster does have an attachment rail, and a front sight sort of, but not really any rear sight. You know what they say, foresight is a blessing, but hindsight is just straight-up missing.  The performance is ok, but it’s a pretty small blaster so you’re not gonna get a giant air chamber or a hard spring. It shoots fine, just don’t expect to kill any mockingbirds with it. What you absolutely can do is take shots at your younger siblings from across the room, and because it’s the same mechanically as the Quadrant, you can use the loud clack from priming the blaster as sort of psychological warfare. And as long as they’re an armed combatant, the Geneva Convention has nothing to say about it, so you’re good to go. The Scout Mk.II comes packaged with 4 Elite darts. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I’ve fooled you. All of you. You thought I was just idly referencing the classic of American literature, To Kill A Mockingbird, but I’ve never actually read it, so ha. Joke’s on you? Anyway, books and international treaties aside, the Scout Mk.II is another entry into the ever-growing “it’s fine, if you want it, get it but you’re not really missing anything if you don’t” group or blasters. Who knows, maybe you like weird angled fore-grips on small pistols, in which case go right ahead and hold it that way while spewing hatred for the Deploy or whatever else people who are weird and wrong do these days. 

Advertisements

The Blaster In Question #0076: Nailbiter

NAILBITER

ZOMBIE STRIKE

nailbite1Nails. We all love them. Spikes what spike stuff together. Either that or the scratchy bits on the ends of your fingers, or even a band from the 90s that wants to do stuff like an animal. What does this all have to do with Nerf though? Well think about it, if you had to grab a makeshift weapon to use against zombies, wouldn’t you go for a nail gun?  No, not a cricket bat, and not a regular ball-peen hammer and sheer unflinching willpower, a nail gun. If for no other reason than it would be cool if it worked at all. Enter Nerf’s answer to this question that you all (for the sake of the review) answered wrong by picking more wisely, the Nailbiter. Improvised weaponry made from power tools? Let me show you its features. 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

nailbite2The Nailbiter was released in 2019 as part of the Zombie Strike line. It features a double-action trigger, like the Voidcaster from the Alien Menace series, but instead of just a smart AR, the Nailbiter uses an 8 round, vertical ratcheting clip, reminiscent of how, say, a nail gun would feed. I don’t know why Nerf seems to be on such a ratcheting clip kick lately with the Thunderhawk and Rukkus in addition, but it does seem like they’re slowly improving upon the system each time. People hated the Thunderhawk’s clip cuz it stuck out to the side and made it virtually impossible to store the blaster with space efficiency in mind. The Rukkus was a little better but you couldn’t access the whole clip from a single position for nailbite3reloading. Now with the Nailbiter, not only does the clip fit entirely within the silhouette of the blaster, but when it’s ratcheted all the way up, you can reload all 8 barrels. At this rate, in a few more iterations, it’ll hold 200 rounds and have 30% critical chance. Nerf, I’m serious, pick up the Warframe license. I’ll buy everything. Anyway, being a double-action blaster, pulling the trigger not only primes and fires in a single stroke, now it also advances the clip. This makes rapidly firing very easy, especially while dual weighing which I highly recommend if you can manage it. The Nailbiter is fairly large for a pistol. It was certainly bigger than I was expecting. On the plus side, that larger size means that it was big enough to include a stock and barrel attachment point. There’s also a rail on the bottom for… something, Australian scopes?  Who knows? The performance of the Nailbiter isn’t the most amazing in terms of range and power, but it’s definitely respectable in those regards. As I said earlier, the main draw for a blaster like this is rapid fire. Busting into your younger siblings’ room with two Nailbiters and opening fire is a sight they’ll not soon forget. The Nailbiter comes packaged with 8 Zombie Strike Elite darts. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I found the Nailbiter entirely by chance at my local target since I was under the impression they hadn’t come out yet. Needless to say, I bought 2 and I regret nothing. As much fun as the Voidcaster was to dual wield for the vague Halo-esque feeling it inspired, the Nailbiter is functionally the better blaster, and having 16 rounds of semi-auto foam on tap is quite a feeling of its own. I recommend greatly

The Blaster In Question #0075: Shadow ICS-6

BlasterInQuestion1

SHADOW ICS-6

MODULUS (GHOST OPS)

So it turns out I’m not dead and I’m still on this site. Sorry. But speaking of dead things, ghosts, like the Modulus Ghost Ops line of blasters, and yes it is a line now.  You only need 2 points to make a line and we now have the second point. Also apparently not dead is the old style of giving Nerf blasters alphanumeric designations along with their name, so today I’ll be looking at the Shadow ICS-6. 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Shadow was released in 2019 as the second only blaster entry into the Ghost Ops subset of the Modulus line. It uses the internal magazine system we’ve seen on blasters like the Magnus and Rey/Han blasters. Functionally, however, it has a slightly different loading system which allows the magazine to be loaded when the blaster is unprimed. Additionally, other external features like copious accessory rails, a barrel attachment point and stock attachment point separate the Shadow from other internal magazine type blasters. Perhaps most notable about the Shadow, somewhat counterintuitively, is its light up feature, much like the Evader that came before it.  The secondary trigger on the grip activates the lights, which create a pretty cool effect especially in low light. I don’t know if it’s just my blaster, but one of the lights is placed in just the right position to shine right into my face when I try to aim the blaster with the lights on, so that’s a little irksome but by no means a deal breaker. Like the Evader, the Shadow has a tiny little switch on the front end that activates one more light inside the barrel when an extension is put on. This won’t affect 95% of barrels out there, but any of the Ghost Ops barrels light up like fiber optics. Performance-wise, the Shadow does more or less how you’d expect a modern Nerf blaster. Shots fly reasonably far and hit equally as hard, maybe not as much as a full-sized blaster, but it is a pistol, kind of. Now we come to my main complaint about the Shadow. When you take into account that it is a 6 shot pistol, it’s huge, a detail not helped by the entirely clear body. This means you can see all of the dead space inside the blaster, which makes the size all the more baffling. I guess it’s not a huge issue, but it bugs me. I guess the extra size does make it just that little bit more intimidating when you bust into your younger sibling’s room and double tap them in the head like a Nerf hitman. The Shadow ICS-6 comes packaged with a barrel attachment and 6 Modulus Elite darts. The light up feature requires 3 AAA batteries but is not needed to operate the blaster otherwise. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I want to be clear on one thing, no pun intended. I really like the Shadow as a blaster. That being said, my knack for picking out blasters that not many other people like seems to be in effect again. From what I’ve been able to find, not many people are really thrilled with the Shadow and I can’t quite understand why. It’s a decent blaster with just a few things that are less than optimal.

The Blaster In Question #0074: Demolisher 2-in-1

 

BlasterInQuestion1

DEMOLISHER 2-IN-1

N-STRIKE ELITE

demolish1Without question, everyone who has ever owned more than one Nerf blaster has thought “I wish I could stick these together and make one super blaster.”  There’s a whole branch of the modding community dedicated to this exact goal. The fine folks at Hasbro certainly took note of this when they designed this week’s blaster, the Demolisher 2-in-1. So what madness did they concoct in the Nerf labs?  Let’s have a look

THE BLASTER ITSELF

demolish2The Demolisher was released in 2014 under the N-Strike Elite line in their bizarre switch from the standard phthalocyanine blue and titanium white color scheme to a sort of burnt sienna and ivory (blue and white became orange and white). It features 2 separate firing mechanisms that allow it to fire both Elite darts and the same big rockets that the Thunderblast uses. It sounds interesting and complicated at first until you realize they stuck the Thunderblast on the underside of a scaled up Stryfe and painted it orange.  The shell is completely original at least, and I actually think it looks really aggressive and cool. I’m not sure why but I really love that tubey bit that loops under the barrel. I also, for some reason really felt like I wanted to call it the Bullshark instead of the Demolisher.  Again, not really sure why other than it just felt right.  Both systems work well, the missiles fly out with a satisfying *thunk* and the darts fly far and hit decently hard. I really cannot stress enough that this is just a Stryfe and a Thunderblast. Ergonomics are good once you get used to how front-heavy the blaster is. My only gripe in this category is the design of the stock which has space to hold an extra missile. The problem is it holds the missile in the top of the stock, meaning you basically can’t aim when there’s a spare missile in there, and even when it’s out, the strange bulge makes putting your face against it kind of uncomfortable. As far as functionality, obviously the blaster has a stock attachment lug but it also has a barrel lug and 2 rails for other accessories. One thing that stuck out to me and probably only me because that’s the kind of guy I am, is the feel of the trigger. It’s very smooth first of all, but it also has a really nice pressure curve when you pull it. On my Demolisher at least, it starts rather stiff, but past a certain point, the amount of force to pull it the remaining distance goes way down which makes it feel really snappy and responsive. Maybe I’m just imagining it, but it makes me happy, and it may make you happy too.  On a different note, one of the more immediately noticeable appeals of the Demolisher over other blasters is its appearance, which really sets the tone well when you bust into your younger siblings’ room and they see a Nerf blaster with a missile launcher pointing at them. It’s a ton of fun. The original Demolisher came packaged with a 10 round curved magazine, 10 Elite darts, 2 missiles, and a stock, but there’s just recently been a new Modulus version that comes with a bunch of other stuff. I don’t have one of those yet, though, so I’m just telling you about the original. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I do seem to have a tendency of using a joke in one review and then reviewing something else which would also work with the joke not long after. You have no idea how badly I wanted to make the knife-wrench reference again, but alas I had already used it. Nevertheless, the Demolisher is one of those blasters that I wasn’t super excited for and I could see it being easily overlooked given its similarities to other existing blasters, but it’s actually quite a nicely refined setup with just a few extra bells and whistles, so I definitely recommend grabbing one if you can. 

The Blaster In Question #0073: Rukkus ICS-8

BlasterInQuestion1

RUKKUS ICS-8

N-STRIKE ELITE

rukkus1People that know me know that I spend more than a fair bit of time playing Warframe. And if, like me, you too play more Warframe than you should, you probably know that the Soma rifle from the game is a boss and I’ll fight you if you don’t like it.  Sure it’s not the KOHM, but that’s a shotgun and doesn’t relate to today’s review. Visually one of the more distinctive features of the Soma is a giant clip that feeds vertically through the gun as you fire, and that specifically is where my mind went when I first saw the Rukkus ICS-8. I’ll tell you right now it’s not the Soma, or even the Aksomati, but that’s like comparing apples to fictional oranges from a video game that are meant to be lethal firearms, so not really fair. Let’s get into the review. 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

rukkus2The Rukkus ICS-8 was released right at the end of 2018 as part of the N-Strike Elite series of blasters. It is yet another entry into the list of ratcheting clip-fed blasters like the Battlescout but this time the clip feeds vertically rather than horizontally. Additionally the clip on the Rukkus is curved slightly and is not removable from the blaster. It holds 8 rounds and is capable of slam-fire. The blaster also uses a top priming slide rather than a pump grip or bolt. This isn’t unusual for a smaller Nerf blaster at all but it does play into my next bit so sit tight. If recent news has told us anything, it’s that Nerf is not shy about license deals with upcoming products for both Overwatch and Fortnite. At this point, I would like to submit for consideration, Nerf Warframe. Just extend the clip, put a stock and proper barrel with maybe a pump grip, and you have a decent analog for the Soma, at least in form. Hasbro, if you’re listening, just think about it. Anyway, the Rukkus has no C696D89D-1202-45FC-8BC5-C482973E4A41attachment rails or lugs of any sort so, sadly, your options for customization are essentially nil without getting into mods. Personally I start with a Hornet Strike and Pistol Gambit to boost the critical- wait… different mods, sorry. The ergonomics of the Rukkus are decent, nothing really remarkable but it’s all comfortable and functional. Likewise, performance is solid without being mindblowing. There are some shots that feel like they don’t hit quite as hard as others but it’s not consistent so it’s hard to nail down what the cause is.  The mechanical sound and feel of clip advancing between shots is quite satisfying and can be rather intimidating to your younger siblings when you bust into their room. Just count your shots because reloading is a little cumbersome given that the clip is never fully exposed to put darts back in. The Rukkus ICS-8 comes packaged with 8 Elite darts. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I know in reality the odds of Hasbro picking up the Warframe license are slim to none, but you have to admit there would be plenty to work with. Other weapons in the game would be easy pickings for conversions into the toy market.  I mean, the Furis is basically a Stryfe as is, and we know Nerf has experience with melee foam toys. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to swing around a big foam Galatine like a cool guy. Until then, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a Tenno-Strike series of blasters or even a Warframe Legends action figure line.

The Blaster In Question #0072: Thunderblast

BlasterInQuestion1

THUNDERBLAST

N-STRIKE 

thunderb1I’m sure quite a few if not most of you are familiar with the KISS acronym meaning “keep it simple, stupid” or some derivation of that. Well this week’s blaster deals with the slightly lesser known KISBJUOOTFBDYEHS acronym. And if any blaster can demonstrate keeping it simple by just updating one of the first blaster designs you ever had, stupid, it’s the Thunderblast.  So let’s have a look. 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

thunderb2The Thunderblast was released in 2015 as part of the N-Strike line. I know it’s got the Elite style blue and white color scheme, but the box just says N-Strike, no Elite here. It uses possibly one of the simplest firing mechanisms ever used in a Nerf blaster, a system referred to as a HAMP or hand-actuated manual pump, I think. In essence, you load one of the rockets onto the spindle, push the fore-grip forward and slam it back as hard as you can. The harder you slam, the more power behind the rocket. Of course, the act of vigorously slamming back a fore-grip will do terrible things to your accuracy, but we’re talking about Nerf here, how accurate can you possibly be?  This system, albeit in a very different form factor, is virtually identical to the system in the very first Nerf blaster I ever owned, the NB-1 from 1992 back when Nerf was made by Kenner, and even then, the design was used on earlier toys like a foam Batarang launcher. Bet you weren’t expecting a Batman name-drop in this Nerf rocket launcher review. Coming back to the Thunderblast, while the mechanics on the inside haven’t changed much, I am glad they changed the ergonomics. While the NB-1 will always have a special place in my heart, if I’m honest, the grips on that thing are small and blocky in contrast to the TB’s large contoured grips, even allowing for vertical or horizontal fore-grips. The TB also has a stock, something it has over the NB. Granted it’s not the best stock, but it’s fine. There’s a curved section on the underside that’s meant to allow you to seat the blaster up on top of your shoulder like a proper rocket launcher, but what this does is reduce the length of pull so much that your dominant arm ends up sticking out to the side like an awkward chicken wing. The thought is still appreciated. You can shoulder the blaster like a rifle, but the way the extra rockets are stored means you’re basically shooting from the hip from your shoulder… kind of. I’m trying to say they block any kind of aiming you might attempt. Performance is all over the place, given that the power behind each shot is fully dependent on the user, but overall, if you’re at least of teenage years with average upper body strength, you should be able to launch rockets pretty far. Interestingly, because the rockets are so wide, even a jacked up shot from the tuberculosis doesn’t hurt as much as a standard shot from an Elite blaster, but it your younger siblings don’t know that, just the presence that a rocket launcher has can be quite effective for intimidation. And that’s something the New Balance didn’t have. The consumption comes packaged with 2 rockets. I know in my pictures it has 3 but I think it looks better with 3. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I fully accept that at this point, a blaster like the Thunderblast isn’t exactly practical, but the homage to older designs does appeal to me. That and the fact that it’s a rocket launcher. It did kind of bum me out initially when I saw it didn’t have a trigger, but if we’ve learned anything from the Modulus Mediator barrel, it’s that Nerf still knows how to do pressurized air blasters, so who knows? Maybe we’ll see a revamp of the Titan one day. 

The Blaster In Question #0071: Spectre REV-5

BlasterInQuestion1

SPECTRE REV-5

N-STRIKE

Spectre1Knife-wrench: its a knife and wrench, mostly wrench. And then he accidentally stabs himself in the leg and we all have a good chuckle. That reminds me of this week’s blaster. No, not the stabbing part, but being a weird combination of two things, namely being a rifle and a pistol. Now that I’m thinking about it that’s hardly a unique design feature for this blaster, but I made a Scrubs reference, what do you want?  This week I’ll be looking at the Spectre REV-5. 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

spectre2The Spectre was released in 2010 as part of the original N-Strike line, then again in 2013 as the Elite version. I do own both versions, but I didn’t have the Elite model on hand when I was taking photos, so just keep that in mind. Most stuff I’ll touch on applies to both blasters but I’ll point out any differences. The Spectre is a 5 shot revolver style blaster similar to the Maverick or Strongarm, but with slightly lower capacity. The shell of the original was all new and the only changes to the Elite version besides color are the slots in the sides of the body for the slide to interface with the internals. The cylinder swings out to the left side of the blaster, which, itself, sports a barrel lug, a stock lug, and an accessory rail. At the time of its initial release, what set the Spectre apart from other pistols was its ability to accept barrel extensions and stocks, like those included, to transform it into more of a rifle type blaster. As I recall, the spectre3accessories that came with the Spectre were perhaps more highly sought after than the actual blaster. First off, the stock, while kinda flimsy, was the first example of a side folding stock to hit the market, so that was cool. Also, the barrel had the double distinction of having a bore wide enough that it wouldn’t affect performance, and it looked like a cool suppressor. The ergonomics of the blaster are pretty standard, functional but not mind blowing, though having both attachments on does make it feel like some sort of covert scout rifle, which is fun. Performance on the Elite version is substantially improved over the original but neither version is all that great, to be honest.  At the very least, you can feel like a hit man when you attach the suppressor before busting into your younger siblings’ room and start blasting. The Spectre REV-5 comes with a barrel attachment, a folding stock and either 5 whistler darts or 5 Elite darts, depending on which model. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

The concept of a single blaster that can effectively fill both roles of a pistol and rifle is and continues to be an intriguing one, but the Spectre sadly doesn’t pull it off. It’s an ok pistol, and a meh rifle, but there are better examples of each separately. That seems to be the way it goes, except with drill fork. It’s a drill and fork. I mean, come on, that’s pure gold right there. 

The Blaster In Question #0070: Hades XVIII-6000

BlasterInQuestion1

HADES XVIII-6000

RIVAL (PHANTOM CORPS)

Sometimes you don’t need to make something entirely new to end up with something really good.  Sometimes you just need to take something promising, and tweak it just a bit, then double its capacity and add a shoulder stock.  And presto, its as easy as that.  At least, it is if you’re Nerf, because that’s exactly what they did to bring us this week’s blaster, the Hades.  Just imaging James Woods is reading this review to you.  

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Hades XVIII-6000 was launched in 2018 as the main spring-powered blaster in the Rival line’s fall quarter releases.  It features a hefty 60 round capacity tacked on to pretty much the exact same system as the Artemis XVII-3000, which used a pump action, rotating barrel mechanism to continuously feed rounds into the chamber.  With the integral magazines laying parallel to the blaster body, it’s a very streamlined layout that yields a high capacity for the size.  The Hades’ shell seems to be all original even with its similarities to the Artemis.  Thinking the Artemis might be better suited to the name Persephone, personally.  As mentioned before, the Hades has double the capacity of the Artemis and actually has a shoulder stock, making it more of a rifle.  Like the Artemis, the Hades’ pump grip is kid of an odd shape, in my opinion.  It’s not really shaped to the human hand, it’s just sort of there.  That’s really my only complaint with any weight behind it, anything else from here on out is really just nitpicks.  For instance, While I’m happy about the inclusion of a shoulder stock, I think the pistol grip is a little too far back as it makes the respective distances from off hand, to shooting hand, to shoulder a little wonky.  I think it would be as simple as moving the pistol grip forward just a couple inches to make it really nice, but I acknowledge its a highly subjective opinion to have, so not everyone will experience the same thing.  Additionally, I’m a little bummed that Nerf has gotten into the habit of leaving iron sights off of Rival blasters for a while now.  Sure you can use the red dot sight they make, and even such, sights don’t really help on a Nerf blaster, but I really enjoy when they are there.  As you’d expect from a Rival blaster of this size, the Hades hits pretty hard.  Pair that with the capability of slam-fire and you’d better be really sure your younger sibling deserved it before you bust into their room and start blasting away.  I believe the Geneva Convention lists an unprovoked attack from the Hades as a declaration of war, so keep that in mind.  If you do take that route and need to rearm, you reload the Hades by sliding the top cover all the way back to the stock and loading rounds into the ports on the top sides of the magazine tubes.  The Hades comes packaged with 60 Rival rounds in standard yellow, as well as blue and red team indicator flags.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

A common misconception that a lot of people have about Hades is that he wasn’t really a villain.   He was just kinda grumpy and could be a little frightening due to the nature of his job.  And I’d say that’s an apt description of this blaster.  It’s a really good blaster, like, you should go buy one.  It just depends which side of it you find yourself on that determines how frightening it is.  I guess I didn’t really write this to sound like James Woods very much, just replace some of the verbs with “schmooze” and I think that should do it.

The Blaster In Question #0069: Nitron

BlasterInQuestion1

NITRON

VORTEX

nitron1I think the Vortex line has perhaps the weirdest naming scheme of any group of Nerf blasters.  You start out with the Proton and the Praxis, both real words.  Maybe they’re going for a pr- naming pattern here, but then you get the Vigilon.  Huh.  That’s not a word, but ok.  Follow that up with the Nitron.  Ok, that’s just close enough to being a real word, I’m just annoyed.  There’s already a Proton, why not commit and call it the Neutron?  “But Tim, it’s got nitro in the name to emphasize how fast it is.” I hear you say.  But is it fast? Is it really? That’s a question for the rest of the review to answer. 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

nitron2The Nitron was released in 2011 as the big flagship blaster for the launch of the Vortex series.  It uses a standard flywheel control setup for the blaster with a motorized pusher enabling full-auto fire.  The interesting thing about the flywheels is that they’re different sizes to impart a spin to the discs as they are fired, you know, so they work at all.  The full-auto is a nice thought, but it’s just so slow that a manual semi-auto trigger could easily outpace it without even trying too hard.  Not looking so good on the “nitro” front.  I guess the complex system of wheels, and levers, and whirling blades used to launch the discs was too dangerous to put a nitron3jam door on it, so instead, there’s a disconnect switch along the top of the blaster, just behind the single accessory rail.  Toggling the switch off not only opens the circuit and prevents the flywheels from revving, but also moves the retaining bar in the chamber out of the way, allowing troublesome discs to fall out the barrel when tilted down.  Returning briefly to the accessory rail, the Nitron was initially packaged with a very fancy light up scope with several styles of illumination, and is actually quite a nice little extra piece, however mine is elsewhere at the time of me writing this so it wont appear in any photos.  Just know that it is part of the Nitron package and I still have mine, just somewhere else for now.  Don’t give me that look.  The body of the Nitron is all original and even has a slot in the back of the stock to hold a extra magazine, should you have one handy.  The lever just above nitron4the trigger is the magazine release for the forward magazine well.  The ergonomics are decent as all of the controls are easily accessible and there aren’t any sharp edges or abrasive textures.  The stock feels a little long for the rest of the blaster, and I keep getting the feeling like maybe it should be fired from on top of the shoulder like a rocket launcher.  Now the performance.  The “nitro” part.  It uh… it’s slow.  It’s real slow.  I mean, it shoots mini frisbees, so they fly a good long ways, but they’re really not in a hurry.  Even the rate of fire is leisurely at best.  Sure, it’s big and looks impressive, but unless your younger siblings are completely paralyzed by fear when you bust into their room, you might have a harder than usual time actually trying to hit them.  The Nitron requires 6 C cell batteries to fire, and the included scope takes 2 AA batteries.  The Nitron comes packaged with the scope, a 20 round magazine and 20 Vortex discs.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

So no, it’s not fast.  Should have just called it the Neutron.  Oh well.  It’s not a bad blaster, really, just far outclassed in this day and age.  If you can find one for a decent price, I’d even recommend picking one up, if for no other reason than to get yourself a nice scope and a 20 round Vortex mag.

The Blaster In Question #0068: First Order Stormtrooper Blaster (Rival)

BlasterInQuestion1

FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER BLASTER

STAR WARS (RIVAL)

RivalStorm1Hold on. We’ve been here several times before, haven’t we?  No, once again, we’re looking at yet another First Order Stormtrooper blaster. What is this, the fourth blaster with this name?  Yes, but with a big difference. Hitherto, all the various Stormtrooper blasters have been standard dart blasters, but this particular iteration is in fact, a Rival blaster. How’s that work then? Let me tell you. Onto the review. 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

RivalStorm2Arent you a little big for a stormtrooper blaster? Not you, the reader, was doing a bit where I—  you know, because of the quote from— look, nevermind.  The Rival version of the First Order Stormtrooper blaster was released in 2018 as one of the more “collector’s” style of blaster like we’ve seen with the Boba Fett Apollo reskin and the Deadpool Kronos. Like both previous examples, this blaster comes in a fancy display style of box with lots of stormtrooper imagery, as you’d expect. Unlike the other blasters, though, this isn’t simply a recolor, it’s an entirely new shell, and boy is it a shell. Mechanically speaking, the Stormtrooper blaster works just like the Helios, albeit without the ability to switch the charging handle from one side to the other. Because of this, the body of the blaster has to accommodate the same layout of internals, which is why the stock section looks a little chunky compared to props from the movies. Add to that the barrel and fore grip section which isn’t present on the Helios and you now have a pretty huge blaster.  Not that that’s a bad thing in and of itself, but it does throw a couple RivalStorm3things off just a bit in terms of the design. More of that later. Out of the box, the blaster comes with 2 extra bits that are meant to be slotted into the right side in order to make it more visually accurate to the movie prop. They don’t serve any function beyond aesthetics but I did find it interesting that they are easily removable, I guess if you want to put everything back in the nice display box. There is a scope molded into the body of the blaster so it’s not removable, but it might have been nice if they put any kind of reticle in there at all. As it stands, it’s just a tube. The aforementioned wonkiness in scale probably has the greatest impact on ergonomics. The first thing you notice when picking this up is that the grip is absolutely huge and kind of blocky. I know the Sterling submachine gun has a grip with flat sides, and consequently, so does the movie prop on which it’s built, but some contouring around where the webbing of my thumb sits would have made a big difference here, especially since the Helios has just such contouring, so it’s not an issue for RivalStorm4preserving the function of the blaster. Secondly, because the stock is so thick, the butt plate is much wider than it would be normally. Again, wouldn’t have been an issue with some light contour work, but for now, the wide plate with hard edges along the sides can be unpleasant if you don’t seat it just right on your shoulder. And that’s really all the functional complaints I have about this. I mean, it’s a Helios and I love the Helios. The charging handle on the left side is hinged so it can flip up to be more out of the way for storage or what have you, and is a pretty good shape for being as slim as it is. As a Rival blaster, performance is solid, firing hard and far, definitely something to give your younger siblings pause. The First Order Stormtrooper Blaster comes packaged in its fancy box with the two extra decorative pieces, a 7 round Rival magazine, and 7 special red Rival rounds, you know, ‘cause it’s a laser gun. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I do actually have one more complaint about the blaster, but I saw this one coming the moment I saw it unveiled at Toy Fair. It’s expensive. Really expensive. Such is always the case with licensed blasters. If you want a Helios, you can get one for about 1/4 the price of this. I got mine through GameStop with a bit of a discount, but still, you have to be sure you want this if you’re planning on picking one up. Maybe if you’re feeling crafty, you could paint the white parts gold and have yourself a Captain Phasma blaster. Then in true movie fashion you could never fire it once and then try to apprehend a deserter with a stick. Good choiceRivalStormbox