The Blaster In Question #0048: Quadrant




quad1If there’s one staple of Nerf blasters that always comes back, it’s revolvers, ok, revolvers and jolts, but let’s stick with the revolvers for today. All things considered, it’s a good design. There’ve been so many iterations that pretty much any issues have already been ironed out, but if you look at Nerf Revolvers over time, they have this odd trend of steadily getting smaller and smaller cylinders, and in turn, lower capacity. Today’s blaster is the first example of a 4-shot revolver I can think of, but as we’ve seen from Toy Fair last month, it won’t be the last.


quad2Ok, first things first, I know I give Nerf a decent amount of ribbing over the naming conventions for their blasters, but when the other 3 blasters in a line have names containing “falcon”, ”hawk”, and “raptor”, there’s a pretty clear theme that they’re going for. With that in mind, what the double deuce kind of name is Quadrant? I get the name references the 4 barrels in the cylinder, but it throws off the whole bird-of-prey thing they set up. Anyway, the Quadchickadee was released in 2018 as part of the Accustrike series. As mentioned before, it is a 4-shot revolver that works more or less like any other revolver at this point. The construction is all new and pretty solid, like you’d expect from a Nerf blaster of this size, and the ergonomics are good. The proportions are kind of weird, what with the top half of the blaster being rather large and bulky. quad3At the very least, it’s not terribly top heavy which is a concern I had before it was released. What I don’t quite get is why the barrels are so far apart in the cylinder. Typically, the benefit of lower capacity in a revolver is a lower profile, but the cylinder for the Quadbearded-tit is barely smaller than the one in the Hammershot, which holds 5 rounds normally. But in addition, modders have shown it can handle 7 rounds in the same space quite handily. It just feels needlessly limiting to cap the capacity at 4, especially when it doesn’t even enable some other gimmick or function in the blaster. The performance is on par with other Nerf pistols. It doesn’t have the most power or range ever, but no one expects it to. Being in the Accustrike series, there’s nothing mechanical that separates this from any other blaster, all that means is it’s orange and comes with Accustrike darts as opposed to standard Elites. The darts do actually make it a little easier to hit targets from further away, so they’re good for surprise pot-shots at your younger siblings, with or without busting into their room first. The QuadAndean Cock of the Rock (it’s a real bird, look it up) comes packaged with 4 Accustrike darts.


Once again, I feel it’s important to make the point that I do actually like this blaster. I’ve gotten my money’s worth of fun out of it. Are there some issues? Sure, but I can be critical while still enjoying something. My primary complaints are that I wish it had more capacity or that it had some other gimmick going on. Maybe next time we’ll get one of those things, and you know there’s going to be a next time. There’s always another Nerf Revolver.


The Blaster In Question #0033: FocusFire Crossbow



The Rebelle line of products and its handling has always slightly confused me.  At a surface level, getting girls into a hobby dominated by boys by making products targeted to them sounds like a good thing, exactly what constitutes a “girl blaster” is odd to say the least.  I’m not about to go on a rant about gender equality or how Hasbro should run their business, but what I will do is talk about one such Rebelle blaster, the FocusFire Crossbow.  Let’s get into it.


The FocusFire Crossbow was released in 2017 as a crossover blaster between the Rebelle and Accustrike lines.  Mechanically, it’s a 5-round revolver.  That’s it, the crossbow arms don’t actually affect the performance of the blaster in any way.  As such, you may notice that I chose to leave them off of mine.  Had I left them connected, I could store a few extra darts on the crossbow arms themselves.  The string of the bow arms is intended to loop through the priming handle on the top of the blaster which locks back when primed and snaps forward again when you pull the trigger, thereby imitating a crossbow action kind of, I guess.  The internals aren’t really anything special, but I do quite like the exterior of the blaster quite a bit, at least up to a point.  I have always been a fan of Rebelle’s smoothed, clean shell designs for the blasters and this is no exception.  The FFC has some really nice flowing lines with just a little bit of texturing on the grip that adds an air of technological sophistication into the overall grace of the design (can you tell I was an art student?), kind of like somthing I’d expect from the Asari from the Mass Effect video game series.  I also really like the paint deco on the right side of the blaster.  It’s just a shame it didn’t make it to the other side as well, like with so many other Nerf blasters.  There aren’t any places to add attachments on this blaster, but it does have an interesting integrated sight setup on top.  The blue piece can fold up or down to give you a choice of sight picture.  When folded down, it effectively acts as a hybrid peep/notch sight that’s more or less parallel with the barrels.  Flipping it up gives you a few more options as the entire piece can theoretically work as a ladder sight for angling long-range shots with a few pre-selected notches for quicker aiming, I suppose.  It’s a nice feature, but it doesn’t really help that much if at all.  I assume it was added to coincide with the fact that this blaster comes with Accustrike darts.  In theory the better accuracy of the darts could be taken full advantage of with the use of proper sights, and while accustrike darts are vastly superior to Elite darts, its still a toy, so sights can only do so much.  There is at least nice contrast between the blue rear sight and the orange front sight so they’re easy to aquire and line up.  The construction of the blaster feels solid, so no issues there.  Where I do have some issues is in the scale of the grip area.  The grip is noticeably smaller than on standard Nerf blasters both in length and thickness.  I can still fit my whole hand on the grip, which is more than I can say for some Rebelle blasters, but the notch toward the end can dig into my pinky a little.  The worst part, though, is the stock.  It’s too small to use, period.  I know Rebelle is geared to younger girls, and in general girls are slightly smaller than boys, but when my 11 year old sister can’t even use this thing, you know it’s just too small.  I would have loved it if it was a useable length, but as it stands, its just this weird extra part that hangs down and blocks your wrist.  As is the norm for Rebelle, the FFC is a little underpowered when compared to similar Elite blasters.  Not by much, granted.  You can still land some good hits on your younger siblings with it, and of course, the added accuracy of the darts helps with shot placement.  The FocusFire Crossbow comes packaged with the bow arms not attached, and 5 fancy purple Accustrike darts.


Sadly, it seems like Rebelle has been on the decline as a product line.  There have still been some new releases with blasters like the Com-Bow, but not nearly as much as we used to see and that does bum me out.  Sure, maybe the line could have been handled better, but the problems are pretty much all easy fixes, and I’d much rather see these issues taken into account with future releases than have the whole line disappear.


The Blaster In Question #0025: AlphaHawk



Sometimes bigger isn’t always better, but if you’re going big anyway, make sure you look good doing it.  That pretty much sums up what I must imagine was the design mentality behind this week’s blaster.  I am talking, of course, about the Accustrike AlphaHawk.  We’ve already checked out the target pistol-esque FalconFire, so let’s see what the full sized rifle has going on.


The AlphaHawk was released in 2017 as the then-flagship blaster for the new Accustrike line.  It uses a 5-round rotating cylinder like the Hammershot or Spectre REV-5.  It uses a bolt handle to prime the plunger as opposed to the more common slide or hammer mechanisms and features the ability to swing the cylinder out to the left side to facilitate loading.  Very little if any part of this blaster is new, mechanically speaking, but the tooling on the outer shell is all original.  This is perhaps the best feature of the blaster.  It’s clear a lot of care went into the design because it just looks fantastic.  Additionally, it feels great too.  The grip is very ergonomic and even has rubberized side panels for extra traction.  The bolt handles are all plastic unlike those found on the Longshot or Tri-Strike and are much lower profile plus have a spring return instead of having to be manually pushed forward again.  The AlphaHawk also has somewhat functional sights along the top with a big ring around the front post.  There aren’t any accessories included with the blaster but it does sport a rail on the top of the body and another just under the muzzle if you feel like adding any.  I personally think it looks rather smart with the scope from the Zombie Strike Clear Shot.  The performance for the AlphaHawk is pretty standard for a mainline Nerf blaster, shooting pretty far and hitting reasonably hard.  The darts are perhaps the biggest improvement, offering significantly more consistent flight paths for every shot.  Using regular Elite darts effectively makes the blaster just like any other 5 shot revolver except in a package the size of a rifle.  This then begs the question, “why would you choose a rifle with only 5 shots when there are pistols with higher capacity and equal or superior performance?”  The answer is simply “style.”  Looking at the pure numerical statistics of the AlphaHawk, it’s not that great of a blaster.  It doesn’t provide any real benefit of use for all that extra plastic, but that’s not the point.  Yes, it’s styled to resemble a sniper or marksman’s rifle, but you’re never going to get that kind of performance from a toy for kids 8+.  In this case it’s all about the feel of the blaster, and the AlphaHawk feels phenomenal.  The size does make it a little unwieldy for the traditional busting-into-your-sibling’s-room kind of attack, but it’s a ton of fun to play indoor sniper and take pot shots at them from down the hallway.  The AlphaHawk comes packaged with 10 Accustrike darts.


There are a handful of blasters out there that I feel get an undeserved amount of hate from Nerf fans.  Most of the time it’s very straightforward, but I feel like the AlphaHawk is the target of a much more subtle brand of contempt.  I’ve never heard anyone flat-out say they hate the AlphaHawk, but I’ve seen more than a handful of videos of people cutting off the barrel and stock, making it into just a revolver pistol.  If you want a revolver pistol, Nerf has a wide assortment to choose from, but I really don’t understand the point of ruining arguably the best feature of the blaster in order to get there.

The Blaster in Question #0001: Falconfire



What’s this? It’s not an action figure? No, today I am kicking off my series of toy blaster reviews. Given my extensive knowledge and collection of Nerf blasters in particular, this seemed like a logical addition to The Figure in Question network. Will it work? Will it be interesting? The answer is a resounding maybe. But enough intro, get into cover and yell “NOT IN THE FACE! NOT IN THE FACE!” because here comes the foam.

Birds. That’s what you think of when talking about accuracy, right? Well the fine folks at Hasbro certainly do, as evidenced by the naming convention used on the Accustrike series of blasters. So let’s kick things off with a look at the smallest blaster in the series thus far, the Falconfire. Caw caw!


The Falconfire was released right around January 2017 along with its bigger brother, the Alphahawk (caw) as one of the first blasters in the Accustrike series. While neither of these blasters provided much new material in terms of operation, they did usher in the latest in foam dart technology i.e. the Accustrike darts. These darts, in comparison to standard Nerf Elite darts, feature a redesigned tip which is supposed to impart a sort of rifling effect upon the dart as it flies, providing a much more consistent trajectory. Long story short, they work. The inaccuracy of Elite darts beyond maybe 20 feet was a well known gripe in the Nerf community and I have to give props to Hasbro for the solution they came up with. Not only are the new darts a marked improvement over the last generation, but they’re entirely cross compatible with existing Nerf blasters. This point is clearly demonstrated upon inspection of the Falconfire blaster itself. As I mentioned earlier, functionally, the blaster is nothing new. The Falconfire is 13 inches long, 6 inches tall, and 1 1/2 inches wide and is built on the same mechanics as the Sharpfire from the N-Strike line, and the Ionfire from the Modulus line. Admittedly, it’s a little over-complicated of a mechanism for a single shot blaster. Nevertheless, it’s fun to mess with and the breech-loading does lend itself to playing sniper if you’re into that sort of imagination thing. There is also an attachment rail on the underside for accessories. The blaster feels nice and solid in hand. The handle in particular is exceptionally comfortable compared to many other Nerf blasters (I’m looking at you, Modulus). The barrel is largely useless in terms of accuracy but it does fit with the aesthetics of the blaster, and the hole is large enough that it doesn’t detract from the blaster’s performance. I am a fan of Nerf adding sights to their more recent blasters and this holds true for the Falconfire, though they may have gone just a little overboard. I mean, it works, but 3 rear sights and 2 front sights including the great big ring seems a tad much. Maybe that’s just me. Being as simple as it is, jams and malfunctions are extremely rare. Performance is decent but nothing to write home about. It does seem to shoot softer than most of the larger blasters and even some pistols, but for indoor plinking, it serves just fine. The Falconfire comes packed with 6 Accustrike darts and instructions for operation.


I picked up the Falconfire at a Target while I was visiting my boy Ethan. Fun fact, the whole idea for The Blaster in Question has been in the pipeline for quite some time and after some pestering, Ethan convinced me to write up the first review now while I have the blaster in hand. So here we are. Overall, I quite enjoy the Falconfire, despite not being top tier in terms of performance. I especially appreciate the new darts and am excited to see what new releases Nerf will cook up for the series. If they stick with the same naming convention, I’m sure we can all look forward to the Eagleshot, Ospreyblast, Vulture Pew Pew, and BLAM Chickadee.