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 BLASTER ITSELF
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.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
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.