The Blaster in Question #0045: Battlescout ECS-10

BlasterInQuestion1

BATTLESCOUT ICS-10

MODULUS

battlescout1Sometimes Nerf will announce or unveil a blaster with a particular gimmick to it and all you can do is nod in acknowledgment and hope it at least shoots well. Sometimes it does, but sometimes it really doesn’t. Not to give anything away prematurely, but this week’s blaster is the latter of the two. I’m talking about the Modulus Battlescout. Let’s scope it out.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

battlescout3The Battlescout ICS-10 was released in 2016 under the Modulus line and was intended to bring 2 cool new features to the brand. The first was the use of a new horizontally-feeding clip as opposed to the more traditional Nerf magazines (despite Nerf themselves referring to them as “clip systems”). The clip holds 10 rounds and automatically advances one position when the blaster is primed via the angled front grip. This means the clip starts by sticking out the right side of the blaster and eventually ends up sticking out the right side or potentially even just fully ejecting from the blaster itself if you’re a little too vigorous with the pump action. I was reasonably interested in having a Nerf blaster with this style of feeding mechanism when I first heard about it, and I still think it has potential, it just seems like the execution left a little to be desired. The clip is just too bulky for only holding 10 rounds, and the ratcheting mechanism in the blaster doesn’t hold onto the clip very securely so it’s possible for it to get bumped out of position. The second feature the Battlescout was meant to showcase was the included attachable Nerf “action cam” that could clip onto a Nerf accessory rail. I’m pretty sure no one was excited about this. After the Elite Cam ECS-12 blaster, everyone was familiar with the quality of cameras Nerf was working with and they weren’t great. At least the Cam blaster had a screen so you could pretend the camera was just a scope instead of a dedicated recording device. Not so with the Battlescout. I only took a couple test videos just to see what it was like, but the picture quality was dark and grainy, the sound was tinny and sounded like it was being recorded through several blankets, that is, until you tried shooting the blaster while recording upon which you were treated to one of the most battlescout4horrific sounds I’ve experienced as the noise from all the blaster’s mechanical parts moving was transferred through the plastic to the mic. There also seemed to be some discrepancy between the video and audio recording, as every time I played back a recording on the computer, the longer the video went on, the further and further out of sync the audio got. Long story short, the camera was just bad. What was worse, though, was the fact that its inclusion jacked up the price of the Battlescout to almost $70. Yikes, indeed. “But does it shoot well, at least?” I hear you ask. Well, dear reader, no. No it doesn’t. I can’t quite tell where the problem is, but it’s one of the weakest shooting blasters I can recall from recently. Flaccid is a generous term. More than once, I’ve had shots just tumble out of the barrel followed by the slab of orange plastic getting spat out the side of the blaster, sometimes travelling further than the dart. Not great. I can’t say I’d recommend this one for attacking your siblings unless you’ve got enough of a presence that you don’t have to actually shoot to get your point across, because at the very least, the Battlescout looks cool, and with places to attach a barrel, a stock and anything else besides that camera onto the top rail, you can really dress it up. The Battlescout ICS-10 comes packaged with the Camera, a 10-round clip, and 10 Elite Modulus darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wanted to like the Battlescout, I really did. It looked so cool and interesting in the pictures. Sadly, it just couldn’t live up to my expectations. Although, I will say, since its initial release, there’s been a Walmart exclusive “battle camo” version with no camera, a stock, and what seems to be reasonable performance. Sure, it doesn’t really match any other blasters, but at least it works, so if you’re determined to get a Battlescout, I’d say go for that one.

 

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The Blaster In Question #0044: Mediator Barrel

BlasterInQuestion1MEDIATOR BARREL

MODULUS

Wow, it sure is interesting how earth-shattering personal events can affect your ability to blog about toy guns.  I almost didn’t make it to this week’s deadline, but here I am, so let’s move on and try to stay positive.  I feel like every time I start to review a Nerf blaster that resembles a shotgun in any way, I want to reference White Wedding by Billy Idol but I don’t think I have thus far, so let’s give it a crack.  Hey, this week’s blaster, who is it you’re with?  It’s with the Modulus Mediator.  Hey, this week’s blaster, who’s your only one?  It’s uhh… oh god… No, NO!  Staying positive, Tim, POSITIVE!  Alright, maybe enough of that, let’s have a look at the blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

Hey, this week’s blaster: SHOTGUN!  Ok, now that’s out of the way.  The Mediator Barrel blaster/accessory thingy was released in 2018 under the Modulus line as one of the three components that make up the Mediator XL blaster, each sold separately.  We’ve already seen the Mediator core blaster, so what’s so special about the barrel?  It’s actually a convertible blaster that can switch between a standalone shotgun kind of blaster or an underbarrel shotgun attachment to any Nerf blaster with a barrel attachment lug.  This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this concept, especially in the Modulus line, but what is interesting about the Mediator Barrel blaster is the firing mechanism.  Normally with stuff like this, it’s used either a standard plunger and trigger setup or a manually actuated plunger, but this time, it seems like the people at Nerf decided to use an older system where the pump builds air pressure inside the system and a button on the blaster releases it in a blast, firing all of the darts at once.  It was certainly an unexpected choice, but I can’t say I have any problems with it.  It seems to work just fine.  I will say I’m a little bummed they couldn’t find a way to put the firing button on the actual grip, but I suppose it’s still functional.  The shell work is completely new to the blaster and features the female end of the barrel attachment setup as well as a big grey button that allows you to pivot the pistol grip in line with the blaster, turning it into a barrel extension piece.  I’m also kind of disappointed in the aesthetics of the barrel/pistol grip.  I would have preferred something that looks more cohesive with the rest of the blaster, especially when folded flat, but as it stands, it’s just a grey tube with some minor contouring.  As a standalone blaster, the Mediator Barrel is just a mediocre, one-shot shotgun with the trigger on the side of the blaster.  As an attachment to another blaster, it’s actually pretty alright.  When paired with the Mediator, the lines and colors flow together reasonably well which helps solidify the notion that they are parts of the same blaster.  The attachment lug that connects the two isn’t the tightest fit, and so there is a little bit of wobble, but stuff like that happens, especially with the bigger, heavier barrel extension pieces, so I’m not super mad about it.  As far as range and power are concerned, neither are the best, but I don’t think that was ever expected.  It shoots reasonably hard up close, but with this blaster more than others, it feels like the shots lose power over distance quicker.  If you’re planning on using it against your younger siblings, it’s best as either a sneaky ambush shotgun blast as a standalone, or as a coup de grâce  after a volley of shots from a primary blaster.  The Mediator Barrel comes packaged with 3 Modulus Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s a nice day to start again.  It’s a nice day for a white blaster.  Well, it’s really more of an accessory with a gimmick.  That’s what I’ve taken away from this.  It’s not that great of a blaster because it’s not meant to be just a blaster, but as far as attachments go, it’s pretty cool.  What I’m getting at is that it doesn’t like to be alone, it’s meant to be with another blaster to really reach its full potential.  Sure it said some things that didn’t come out right, but it’s really trying to- wait, no, that’s something else.  Stay positive, Tim.  It’s a cool blaster.  I like it for what it is.  Happy thoughts.

The Blaster In Question #0041: Mediator

BlasterInQuestion1

MEDIATOR

MODULUS

mediator1Sometimes a really good idea isn’t something entirely brand new, but rather, a refinement of something that already exists.  Up till this point, we’ve had the Raider CS-35, the Alpha Trooper CS-18, the Rampage, Elite Alpha Trooper, and Stormtrooper Deluxe blaster (the first one) that all fill the role of pump-action magazine fed blasters.  Well, with Nerf’s latest wave of products, we have yet another to check off those boxes and then some.  Let’s have a look at the Modulus Mediator.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

mediator2First things first, I have no idea why they went with “Mediator” for the name of a blaster.  It doesn’t have quite the same sort of imposing punchy quality as something like the Rampage or Retaliator.  Even in the context of a conflict, a mediator is supposed to be a neutral third party that gets two opposing sides to agree on something.  I don’t know, just feels like a weird choice, but that’s what it’s called so I guess let’s just roll with it.  The Mediator was released in 2018 as part of the Modulus line of products,  Like I said, the Mediator operates much like other pump mag blasters but with 2 major differences.  I would say they’re improvements, but I’m sure there are people who aren’t fans.  Probably the same weirdos that thought The Last Jedi was the worst thing ever, but that’s neither here nor there.  The shell of the Mediator is all new work apart from the standard Nerf barrel and stock attachment points.  That actually brings us to the first big improvement, that being customizability.  While you could expect to find a stock attachment and a rail on pretty much all other pump mag blasters, what you never found was a second rail (I’m counting the Raider/Rampage’s rails as one big one, fight me) or a barrel attachment lug, both of which the Mediator provides quite handily.  The extra rail on the right mediator3side obviously grants you greater potential for decking out your blaster with tactics.  That’s all well and good, but the inclusion of the barrel lug is really what’s new.  Given blasters like the Rampage and Alpha Trooper needed already pretty lengthy front ends to accommodate the pump action, extending the barrel further doesn’t make much sense as it would only work to slow the dart after being fired.  As such, they never had barrel extension lugs, but the Mediator pulls it off thanks to it’s second major improvement over previous blasters.  The whole thing is super compact with just a short little barrel.  This means adding extra barrels doesn’t drastically reduce performance, which in turn means even more customization.  The ergonomics of the Mediator are pretty great.  I’d say it’s probably the best we’ve seen from the Modulus line so far.  The pistol grip is a good size and has a really nice grippy texture to it that I haven’t seen before but certainly hope to see again.  The same texture is also on the pump grip, which is a little short, but not enough to hinder, and I can understand the desire to not have it protrude too far from the body of the blaster.  Everything feels nice and solid, though I wish the ratcheting on the pump grip was a little quieter when cycling the bolt.  Nothing a little light modification can’t fix, though.  My last gripe is purely aesthetic.  I wish the blaster had a raised front sight parallel to the very prominent rear one.  While this would have looked better in my opinion, it turns out the little stubby nub at the front end IS a front sight and is even relatively well calibrated to give slightly arced shots for a subtle boost to the range.  On that note, the performance of the Mediator is decent.  Shots fly and impact right on par with those of other comparable blasters.  The ability to slam-fire is also a plus when busting into your younger sibling’s room and laying down heavy fire.  The Mediator comes packaged with the magazine well detached (needs to be installed to operate the blaster), a 6 round magazine, and 6 white Modulus styled Elite darts.

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got the Mediator on a trip to Target with my boi, Ethan.  I didn’t expect to come out with it, but I knew I had to buy something and there it was.  See, the night before, Ethan texted me that he had come across another blaster that I was looking for (more on that next week) and offered to grab it for me and I would pay him back.  I didn’t have any cash on me, so when we were hanging out the next day, I suggested we stop by Target so I could get some cash back.  Long story short, I bought a Nerf blaster so I could pay for another Nerf blaster.

The Blaster In Question #0039: BarrelStrike

BlasterInQuestion1

BARRELSTRIKE

MODULUS

The great thing about the Modulus series, since its inception (BWAAAAHHHH) has been the increased variety of accessory pieces and attachments with which you can equip your blaster. Oftentimes these attachments come with and serve to compliment a larger blaster, but what about attachments that ARE the blaster? That, dear reader, is how we got the Modulus BarrelStrike. How exactly does that work? To find out, we have to go deeper (BWAAAAAHHHH).

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The BarrelStrike was released in 2017 as part of a wave of standalone Modulus accessory products, meaning they weren’t packaged in with a bigger blaster but could be purchased in a more a la carte manner. As a blaster in its own right, the BarrelStrike is a 4-shot muzzle loaded blaster with the standard style of Jolt-esque prime and a staged smart AR setup, like the Triad but with an additional barrel. The outer shell of the blaster is all original and features a hinged stock with a barrel tube running through it. Pressing a button on the right side of the blaster releases the stock which can then be folded up over the top of the blaster, revealing the barrel attachment ring that gives the BarrelStrike its titular feature. When folded up, the stock of the blaster can act like a standard Nerf barrel attachment for any other blaster with the corresponding lug. In this way, the BarrelStrike can act like an under-barrel alternate fire weapon, providing 4 additional shots to whatever you chose to mount it to, and in a way that is far more secure than simply using a rail attachment. The BarrelStrike does have a single attachment rail on the top of the blaster but this is only usable when the stock is deployed. Personally, I prefer to leave the BarrelStrike on its own with the stock down as I don’t think the boxy shape of the stock fits particularly well with the aesthetics of any current blaster, but the functionality of it is hard to deny. I suppose you could argue that it should use a different ammo type like the MEGA darts or even the Demolisher missiles, and you mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling (BWAAAAAAHHHHH), but as far as back-up blasters, you can do a lot worse. Being so compact, the construction is solid. The grip is a good size, granted it has to accommodate an air cylinder and plunger. The stock, when deployed, is a bit short, but I’m not mad at it. It’s a small blaster with a small stock, what do you want? It still locks into place pretty securely and doesn’t flex or bend when you put pressure on it, so I’d say it’s still functional. As a barrel attachment, the distance from the bore to the grip means that its fairly easy to accidentally twist the whole thing off the attachment lug of another blaster if you’re not paying attention, but as I stated before, I don’t tend to bother with this configuration so it’s less of a problem for me. The BarrelStrike has a considerable prime length which contributes to its actually pretty respectable performance. Shots fly far and hit hard, just so long as you don’t leave darts in the barrels for more than a day or so as they can get crimped and lose pressure when fired. Also, with such a lengthy priming stroke, if you don’t fully prime the blaster and release the plunger, it has a tendency to spit out one or two darts with a pitiful amount of force. Just make sure you know how to run the blaster reliably before busting into any younger sibling’s rooms otherwise you may end up getting a defiant chuckle instead of the shrieks of terror you’re going for. The BarrelStrike comes packaged with 4 white Modulus Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When it was announced, I was less excited about the BarrelStrike’s ability to attach to another blaster than I was to have a blaster with a folding stock akin to that of the vz.61 Skorpion machine pistol, especially given the relative size of the blaster, it just seemed so fitting. Yes, the stock could stand to be a little longer but it definitely serves its purpose, and I can’t speak for anyone else, but snapping it into place before busting into one of my siblings’ rooms makes me feel like a SWAT trooper.

P.S. The Inception jokes have nothing to do with the blaster, if you were curious. I’ve just had Inception on my mind, that’s all.

The Blaster In Question #0031: Modulus ECS-10

MODULUS ECS-10

MODULUS

It’s come to my attention that there is a glaring hole in the scope of my reviews thus far.  As it stands, an entire line has gone without a dedicated review up till this point.  An empty space in the catalog, like the eye of a hurricane, a vortex, if you will.  But that ends here.  It’s time to stop circling around the topic like debris in a vortex.  So now I bring you this review with great fervorTex.  That’s right, it’s time to talk about Modulus.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

Ok, that was mean to lead you on like that, I’m sorry.  Now that that’s out of the way, I feel like if we’re gonna be talking about the Modulus line, you have to start with the blaster that’s also called… Modulus.  It’s the Modulus Modulus?  You mean like Mario Mario?  It’s probably just easier for everyone to call it the ECS-10.  The Modulus ECS-10 was released in 2015 as the first blaster in the Modulus line.  Mechanically, the blaster works exactly like a Stryfe, using a magazine-fed flywheel setup, requiring 4 AA batteries to run.  The exterior work is completely original and showcases the primary focus of the line: accessories.  The ECS-10 has more than its fair share of attachment points including 5 attachment rails (one on the top handle, one on top of the body, one on either side, and one beneath the barrel) plus 2 more on the top and bottom of the included barrel extension.  In addition, there is a stock attachment lug in the back and a barrel attachment lug up front, but wait, there’s more.  Typically, if a Nerf blaster has a barrel attachment, it’s a simple case of male barrel to female accessory, but with the ECS-10, the barrel extension piece has both male and female connections, allowing for even more barrel pieces to be added.  For the most part, all components of the blaster work and feel good with just a couple rather pronounced exceptions.  First and most importantly is the grip.  When designing this blaster, the people at Nerf went for a skeletonized sci-fi looking handle which is cool until you pick up the blaster itself.  The construction leaves it a little creaky if you hold onto it with any significant force.  Worse than that, though is that there is a sharp little ridge that is positioned just perfectly to dig rather painfully into the webbing of your hand right by your thumb.  Now, Nerf has been known to quietly update some of their designs to fix some of the more egregious problems, so it may have been addressed in later releases, but on mine, it’s just bad.  The second area of concern is the stock, which, immediately upon handling, reveals itself to be comically floppy, lacking any kind of structural integrity whatsoever.  I guess it can hold a spare magazine, so there’s that.  It’s also removable so I don’t see it as being quite as irksome as the uncomfortable grip.  The other attachments don’t add any functionality to the blaster but they’re at least cool pieces in their own right.  The scope has a sharp look and provides one of the better sight pictures available on a Nerf blaster, while the vertical fore grip is vertical and adds a place to grip… in the fore.  Simple enough.  Being more or less a Stryfe reshell in its core, the ECS-10 performs accordingly, flinging darts a respectable distance and with just enough oomph to make it noticeable if you get hit, but not enough to get in trouble when you bust into your sibling’s room and light them up with a volley of foam.  The Modulus Modulus Luigi Mario ECS-10 comes packaged with a stock, a scope, a vertical fore grip, a barrel extension, a 10-round curved magazine (though the darts don’t actually go down far enough for the curve to do anything but look cool), and 10 Modulus colored Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember when the image of the Modulus first leaked back in 2014, everyone was convinced it was going to be this revolutionary new system that could be configured as spring or flywheel powered just by exchanging a few parts.  Boy was that optimistic.  Don’t get me wrong, I think the Modulus  line is great for all the crazy new accessories it’s spawned, but it’s not the build-a-blaster dream so many people were convinced it was going to be.  I mean, there’s always time for Nerf to come up with something like that sometime in the future I suppose.  Just have to keep on dreaming.