The Blaster In Question #0066: Venom Blaster

BlasterInQuestion1VENOM BLASTER

DART TAG (SPIDER-MAN)

venom1I was wondering what would break first: your spirit, OR YOUR BO- what? Oh sorry, wrong Tom Hardy role.  Why Tom Hardy, you ask.  That’s because he will be playing Eddie Brock in the upcoming Venom movie.  So in the spirit of that film, I thought I’d showcase something that only exists for its context to Spider-Man, but without any mention of Spider-Man on my part.  I give you the Dart Tag Venom Blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

venom2The Venom blaster was actually part of the Spider-Man vs. Venom set in the Dart Tag line, released as a tie-in with the film Spider-Man 3 back in 2007.  It uses a pretty unique mechanism as far as I’m aware, featuring an air pump and 3-tier staged trigger.  This allows you to fire each of the 3 barrels one after the other in semi-auto fashion, or just mash the trigger down to launch all 3 simultaneously.  The shells of both the Venom blaster and the matching Spider-Man blaster in the set are the same aside from the colors, but beyond that, they are unique.  Being Spider-Man themed, the ergonomics are a little strange, but perfectly functional. You secure the blaster to your inner forearm using the Velcro strap, with the trigger in reach of your middle and ring fingers.  While on your arm, the most awkward part of the operation is by far pumping up the air tank as it takes a decent amount of force to actuate the pump handle, particularly when you get close to maximum pressure.  That being said, they do stay pretty secure on your arm, and the cloth Velcro strap doesn’t cut into your arm the way the plastic venom3watch strap things on more recent arm blasters do.  The performance isn’t the best, but keep in mind these came out well before N-Strike Elite was even a thing, and they’re licensed blasters, so it’s pretty easy to forgive.  While it won’t hit very hard, you do effectively have a 3-round burst strapped to your arm which can be somewhat concealed fairly easily, especially if you’re already holding a blaster in your hand.  That way, when your younger siblings think its safe because you’re out of ammo, you can blast them with an extra 3 shots they didn’t know existed.  That’s how you know you’re the cool older sibling: subterfuge and treachery.  The Spider-Man vs. Venom set originally came with the 2 blasters, 1 in each color scheme, a Dart Tag vest for each, a set of Vision Gear goggles that also matched, and a total of 12 Dart Tag darts, 6 for Spider-Man, and 6 for Venom.  I, however, picked mine up second hand, and as a result, only have the Venom blaster.  No Spider-Man anywhere.  But if Marvel wants to use any of my review in their current Tom Holland Spider-Man movies, I’d be more than willing to license it out to them. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

Movie politics aside, I was actually one of those kids growing up who didn’t really care about Spider-Man, the character, but I thought Venom was awesome.  Pair that with Nerf and it was fairly inevitable that I would pick one of these up sooner or later.  And to be fair, the movies I’ve seen that had Tom Hardy in them, for the most part, I thought he did a good job.  Overall, my opinion on the blaster is it’s a bit dated but still fairly fun and I’m glad to have it.  Do I think the movie will be any good?  I think Mad Max said it best when he said “Hgrmngr rgn rgmrn mrgrnm…”

Advertisements

The Blaster In Question #0060: Sharp Shot

BlasterInQuestion1

SHARP SHOT

DART TAG

sharpshot1It’s always exciting to see new and innovative systems and mechanisms in Nerf blasters, whether they actually work or not.  It’s nice to see the effort and the willingness to try.  What really makes entirely new systems so exciting is how many other blasters use the same old tried and (usually) true methods in between.  Today, we’ll be looking at one of those old classic designs, the slide-primed single shot pistol, specifically the Dart Tag Sharp Shot.  So what sets this one apart from any other single shot pistol out there?  Let’s have a look and find out.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

sharpshot2The Sharp Shot was released in 2011 for the newly revamped Dart Tag line and then again the following year with allegedly improved internals, denoted by a blue trigger.  As mentioned above, it uses functionally the same system we’ve seen on other pistols like the Scout IX-3 or Eliminator where you load a dart in the muzzle, rack the slide and fire.  The big difference between the Sharp Shot and any other similar pistol is really the looks.  Keeping in line with that particular iteration of the Dart Tag series, the Sharp Shot features smooth, rounded edges and a nicely contoured overall shape.  Not only does this serve to look real nice, but it actually works to ensure there aren’t any weird sculpted areas that could create hot shots while using the blaster.  The other thing that was different about the Sharp Shot was the accessory that came with it.  sharpshot3Originally, the blaster was packed with a 2-ended plastic carabiner that had a ball joint swivel in the middle.  The idea behind this was so that you could clip the pistol to a belt loop or whatever so it was on your person but then if you needed to grab it quickly, the ball joint would pop apart with a stout pull, making it act kind of sort of maybe like a holster in theory.  Personally, I never once used it and mine has since gone missing, but I can’t say I feel bad about it.  For the time, the Sharp Shot had ok performance.  It was still a pistol after all, so no one really expected it to shoot like a laser.  In this day and age, however, it doesn’t hold up so great.  I’d say if you have one or can find one for cheap, it feels great in the hand and looks pretty cool to boot, but unless you’re planning on effectively overhauling the entire mechanism, don’t expect it to be much help busting into your younger sibling’s room.  The Sharp Shot comes packaged with the quick detach clip and 4 Dart Tag Velcro whistler darts. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I don’t remember too much of how and when I bought this blaster.  It was a few years ago at this point.  I probably bought it mainly for the looks, which is understandable.  I want to keep this one in its original condition, but if I happen to find another one, it might be a good base for a prop blaster, should the need arise.

The Blaster In Question #0004: Speedload 6

SPEEDLOAD 6

DART TAG

For all the fun, random quirks that have appeared in Nerf blasters over the years, the one avenue that has always remained is the competitive aspect.  Nerf has gone through many iterations and just as many product lines trying to corner competitive play.  Recently they’ve made some moves that a lot of people consider game changing in the competitive arena, but this wasn’t always the case, as with the off-and-on-again Dart Tag line.  Today I’ll be looking at the mid-class Speedload 6, so let’s load up the review… quickly.  Speedily.  A speedy load- forget it, here’s the blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Speedload 6 was released in 2011 as part of the revival of the Dart Tag line.  As you may note, mine has an orange trigger, whereas the second wave Dart Tag blasters featured blue triggers, signifying slightly improved internals.  As with just about every repeating blaster at the time, the SL6 uses a reverse plunger mechanism which should irritate you if you’re a seasoned modder, or mean absolutely nothing to you if you aren’t.  The SL6 and its bigger brother, the Quick 16, both share a fairly unique loading mechanism.  They both feature integrated magazines that can be constantly topped off while a series of cams and levers pull darts sideways into the chamber to be fired.  (The only other blaster that has anything even resembling this mechanic is the Vortex/Zombiestrike crossover Fusefire, but Vortex is a whole different story so let’s leave it at that.)  Not only this, but both of these blasters fire Dart Tag velcro-whistle darts, which is impressive in and of itself for a magazine-fed blaster.  The SL6 is deceptively large.  When I first saw images of it, in my mind, it would replace the Maverick REV-6 as the goto 6-round pistol, and it might have if the it wasn’t quite so large.  Don’t get me wrong, the size isn’t a problem, it makes operation of the blaster very easy and comfortable even for a grown adult.  The blaster is solidly built and shooting it feels nice and snappy.  At the time, Streamline darts were notoriously unreliable so having a magazine-fed blaster that used more stable “broadheads” was quite an advantage, just so long as you had plenty of time to reload the fixed magazine.  It’s also important to make sure you fully cycle the priming slide while firing.  I’ve had a number of instances of the blaster trying to chamber multiple darts due to partial priming.  Admittedly, it is user error, and I’m sure someone could get used to it if they were dedicated, but it’s just different enough from other slide-primed blasters that it can throw you off if you aren’t using it regularly.  Being targeted to competitive players, the SL6 has decent performance, although I must add a caveat.  My SL6 has been modified to boost performance, and it was done long enough ago that I can’t say I really remember it before then.  Granted, it was also long enough ago that my skill as a modder probably didn’t add too much.  Nevertheless, in its current state, my SL6 shoots just marginally weaker than stock Nerf blasters available today.  The Speedload 6 came packaged with 6 Dart Tag darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I bought the Speedload 6 right around the time I was way into Humans Vs Zombies on my college campus.  At the time, it served very well as a sidearm and occasionally a compact primary, but sadly, since the introduction to the Elite series and now Accustrike, many of the advantages of using the SL6 have become irrelevant.  If there’s anything I can give it credit for today, it is the engineering behind the wacky loading mechanism and the blaster’s overall durability.  I loaned mine to a friend to use on a week long HVZ game, and for all he put it through, it still works perfectly fine.  Not bad.