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.

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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

The Blaster In Question #0067: Delta Trooper

BlasterInQuestion1

DELTA TROOPER

N-STRIKE ELITE

dtrooper1I’ve talked before about how much I appreciate Nerf’s willingness to update and improve on their designs over time.  It definitely makes me, the consumer, feel that they are trying to present me with the best possible product.  That is, assuming that each iteration is actually an improvement over the last.  One of the most pervasive designs is the Recon from way back in the days of regular N-Strike.  From the Recon, we then got the Retaliator and the Recon Mk2 (which itself had an updated version to fix some issues).  Now I’ll be looking at the latest model of this type of blaster, the Delta Trooper.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

dtrooper2The Delta Trooper was released in 2018 as part of the N-Strike Elite line and moved to fill the role of the Recon Mk2 as the newest version of the slide-primed magazine-fed configurable rifle/pistol thing.  You could be forgiven for thinking it should be an updated version of the Alpha Trooper, but not this time.  It functions exactly like any of its predecessors, but with a new style of magazine release, and more importantly, with slam-fire.  Slam-fire is always nice to see added as there’s really no downside to having it, and I quite like the AR15 style push-button mag release over the latch we typically see.  All put together, it’s a pretty good looking blaster.  It has decidedly more aggressive lines than the Recon or Retaliator, which I enjoy.  Sadly, that is almost all the good things I can say about the Delta Trooper.  Here’s where we start with the complaints.  First and foremost is the ergonomics.  The pistol grip on the DT is a weird size.  It has a decent thickness to it and fills the hand quite well, but it’s about as short as it could possibly be and still fit all my fingers on it.  I could overlook this if it wasn’t made worse by the abrupt hard edge right above where my thumb sits.  If I choke up on the grip, this edge digs rather uncomfortably into my hand which makes me want to move down a bit, but then my pinky is all but falling off the grip.  I’m not exaggerating when I say I had to manually smooth out that edge to make holding this blaster normally a mostly comfortable feat.  Sure, I’ve had blasters with seams that didn’t line up where I’ve done similar modifications for the sake of comfort, but this wasn’t a seam, it was a quirk of the design that I’m surprised no one in testing had issue with.  But what about the other hand?  Well, on the main blaster body there’s a small area that can be used as a fore-grip, but trying to hold the blaster by the barrel, when dtrooper3attached, is again, thoroughly uncomfortable thanks to the design of the shell.  All those visually appealing aggressive lines just do not work with hands, but they also have another drawback.  One of the main features of the Recon/taliator is its customizability with attachments for the barrel, stock, and as rail accessories.  The DT has a stock, though short and blocky with no extra features, and a barrel, which refuses to sit parallel to the main blaster and has the aforementioned ergo problems, but what the barrel does have is the only rail on the entire blaster.  There are no rails on the core blaster itself which means that most options for customization are just gone.  The other issue, while slightly more nit-picky, is the magazine well.  With the included 12-round mag, it works as it should, but with every other magazine I had on hand, it was tight and stiff, nevermind that it simply does not accept the 35-round Raider drum mags.  Sure, the blaster still works, but this isn’t the same level of polish I’m used to seeing from Nerf.  Now, the Recon Mk2 had similar issues and those did get fixed, so maybe an update is in the works, but I’m still a little frustrated with it.  Overall, the construction does seem solid and the performance is good, but these are kind of expected at this point for a full size blaster from Nerf, so they do little to abate my annoyance with the other issues.  The Delta Trooper comes packaged with the stock, barrel, 12-round magazine, and 12 Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

If I’m being honest, from when I first heard about this blaster, my thoughts on it have been a series of concessions.  First I thought it might be a new Alpha Trooper and it wasn’t, but maybe they’re going for a whole assortment of “trooper” blasters.  Then it was shown as only having one rail for the whole kit, but at least it looked really cool.  Then I got one and felt it in my hands and wasn’t thrilled, but maybe performance will justify all of it, but it’s standard Nerf performance.  I won’t go so far as to say I regret buying it, because I don’t, but I do sincerely hope it gets the same treatment the Recon Mk2 got.  Either that or I’ll hold out for the Upsilon Trooper.

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…”

The Blaster In Question #0065: 4 Victory

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4 VICTORY

REBELLE

4vicEveryone agrees that its way cooler and easier to read when you replace words or letters in tex with numbers that approximate their shape or phonetic pronunciation.  Just ask F3ar, Sk8r boi, or the cast of 673453 (that’s the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th sequels to Grease, all as a single movie, if you weren’t aware).  You get extra points if the number(s) indicate something beyond just the iteration, like in today’s blaster, the 4 Victory, or as the ancient Romans would have called it, “IV Hoc non sunt inventa adhuc.”

THE BLASTER ITSELF

4vic2The 4 Victory was released in 2015 in the Rebelle line of blasters.  It uses the same hammer-action style of priming that was used on the Hammershot and the Sweet Revenge, but instead of using a revolving cylinder, the 4 Victory uses a 4-barrel smart AR system.  This means lower capacity but also a substantially smaller blaster overall, which Nerf really tried to showcase by including a holster with the blaster.  The holster is specific to the 4 Victory, so it doesn’t really work with other blasters, but that means that it fits the 4 Vic quite nicely.  The shell to the 4 Vic is all original except for maybe the hammer, and features an accessory rail along the top of the blaster, though adding anything to the rail prevents the use of the holster.  Unlike a lot of Rebelle blasters, the 4 Vic actually feels decent in hand, from a sizing perspective.  Many other Rebelle pistols in particular tend to have very small grips that aren’t really designed to accommodate big man hands like mine, or even big woman hands like a woman with big hands would have.  Such is not the case here, though, and I appreciate it.  The shape of the grip is a little odd in the way it curves forward but it does lend itself well to reaching up to prime the hammer with your thumb.  The 4 Vic shoots decently hard, not just for a pistol, but also for a Rebelle blaster, and a blaster with a smart AR, both things that historically have indicated slightly poorer performance.  Sure, there are pistols with higher capacity, but as a backup blaster when you need to really drive the message home to your younger siblings that you are not to be trifled with, this serves quite well in that respect.  I guess it would also do well in any other similar situation that would call for a backup blaster.  The 4 Victory comes packaged with the holster, 3 collectible Rebelle darts, 1 secret message dart, and a decoder. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

If there’s one thing I want you guys to learn from this, it’s that it would have been so easy to do the progressively less correct name gag again this week but I decided to spare you from 4 Fast 4 Victory and the like, so you’re welcome. I actually picked up my 4 Vic from my local 5 Below, on 6/7 at 8:09… 10.  Ok, the date and time part was a lie, but the location is correct and I couldn’t resist.  My sister actually had one of these before me and obviously that cannot stand, so I bought my own.  I’m kind of surprised neither of us has tried dual wielding them, but then again, that would be 2×4 Victory, or 8 Victory and I don’t know if anyone could handle that much victory.  That’s a lotta victory.

The Blaster In Question #0064: Ripchain

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RIPCHAIN

ZOMBIE STRIKE

ripchain1If there’s one universal truth that Todd McFarlane knows, it’s that kids love chains, and I think we can all learn from that.  It seems like Nerf certainly has, with the recent release of their second belt-fed blaster.  So with this much Nerf chain out on the market for kids to love, this blaster obviously needs a name in line with something from the McFarlane universe.  Let’s see, Overt-kill is already taken, so we’ll have to go with Ripchain.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

ripchain2The Zombie Strike Ripchain was released in 2018 and features a 25-round loop belt which is fed through the blaster by pump-action.  The system bares some similarity to the manual fire mode from the Vulcan EBF-25, but without the option for automatic fire.  Sorry Todd, no wires on this one.  Also, I did try, but sadly the belts from the Vulcan are not compatible in the Ripclaw.  To load the Riptor, you fill the belt with 25 darts, lift the hatch on the upper front portion of the blaster, slip the belt over and into place, close the hatch and you can then proceed with firing.  Like the Vulcan before it, the Riptide has a mechanism that locks the hatch in place when closed over the belt, however it also has a switch that can unlock the hatch, making unloading the blaster much easier.  The ergonomics of the Cy-Gor aren’t exactly its strong suit, but they’re functional, at least.  Having the belt all the way in the front makes loading and unloading much easier but it also makes the blaster very front heavy.  Additionally, the plastic piece imitating a ripchain3cloth wrap on the pistol grip isn’t completely locked into the rest of the grip and wobbles just enough to make me concerned about the grip’s structural integrity, particularly if you try holding it by just the pistol grip.  The pump grip is a little blocky but it’s a decent enough shape overall.  The shell of the Malebogia is completely original and features a single accessory rail on the top.   Performance-wise, the Necrid actually has decent range and power given the potential for a poor air seal between the plunger tube and the individual links on the belt.  The belt itself is all plastic with pins connecting the individual links, rather than the cloth strap the Vulcan belts use.  This means turning quickly while holding the blaster causes the belt to swing side to side with a rather distinctive clacking sound.  This can either come across as silly if it’s unintended or can be a foreboding herald just before you bust into your younger siblings’ room and open fire.  The Ripchain come packaged with a 25-round loop belt, and 25 Zombie Strike Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

Ok, first things first, I know all of the goofy names I used weren’t McFarlane properties but I felt it was more important to gradually warm you up to the joke with other “Rip” names first.  I suppose I could have used Rip Torn in there but I actually like stuff he was in so he gets a pass.  Anyway, I think it’s a cool, slightly gimmicky blaster.  Should you get it to be a purely practical blaster? Probably not.  Should you get it to be fun and because it’s belt fed?  Aw heck, yeah.

The Blaster In Question #0063: Tri-Break

BlasterInQuestion1

TRI-BREAK

N-STRIKE ELITE (MEGA)

tribreak1Since its inception, the MEGA series of Nerf blasters has lent itself well to oversized, chunky blasters.  Sure, there are some actual size constraints given the dimensions of the ammunition, but most MEGA blasters go well beyond what is necessary as far as the size of the actual blaster.  The pistols in the line, especially, seem to have steadily gotten bigger and bigger relative to their ammo capacity.  Today, I’ll be looking at perhaps the biggest 3-shot pistol in my Nerf arsenal, the MEGA Tri-Break.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

tribreak2The MEGA Tri-Break was released in 2018, unsurprisingly as part of the MEGA subset of the N-Strike Elite line.  It uses a pretty standard 3-round smart AR system with a jolt-style priming bar in the grip.  That’s right, for all its bulk and flare, it’s a jolt (triad) reskin.  It does go a little beyond just a basic reskin by the use of its primary gimmick, that being the pseudo break-action… thing it has.  In the trigger well, there is a button on the forward end that, when pressed, releases the front half of the blaster, allowing it to pivot down like a break-action shotgun, or Hellboy’s Samaritan.  This gives you access to the barrels in order to load the blaster, but the overall implementation of this feature raises some design questions.  First off, it’s interesting to note that the front end of the Tri-Break is a purely cosmetic piece.  It contains none of the mechanism required to operate the blaster.  As such, being as short as it is, you can actually load the blaster reasonably easily without breaking it open.  Second, the catch that holds the front end locked in the closed position is located right at the pivot.  tribreak3Given the size of the blaster, particularly in the vertical direction, this means there is a lot of mechanical advantage when any force is applied to the upper forward section of the faux barrels.  You know, right where the accessory rail is, right where you might be inclined to add extra weight.  Now, I’ve seen other reviews of this blaster where the front end drops down after even firing the blaster, and I will say, I’ve not had that issue, but I do still agree that the catch mechanism feels pretty weak.  On the more functional side, the blaster has decent ergonomics and feels good in the hand.  It might feel a little more imposing if I had more confidence in the barrel catch, but if you can play it off well, it’ll still make quite the impression on any younger siblings who find themselves staring down the barrel.  The priming stroke is surprisingly long for this style of plunger tube, but I’m hardly complaining because that extra air flow means the darts hit with the expected oomf you’d want from a MEGA blaster. The MEGA Tri-Break comes packaged with 3 MEGA darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I think Nerf likes to tease me on purpose.  They must know I have a thing for break-action blasters after hearing me go on and on about the Sledgefire and the Barrel Break.  When I first heard about this blaster, I thought, just for a second, that this was going to be just as fun if not more so than those two.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, I do, quite a bit, actually.  But in this case, the inclusion of the break-action seems questionable and just pure gimmick whereas it was integral, new, and fun on the Sledgefire and Barrel Break.

The Blaster In Question #0062: Evader

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EVADER

MODULUS (GHOST OPS)

evader1What’s this?  A review of an actually new blaster?  Yes, we’re well into August and so that inevitably means getting hit by a wave of new Nerf blasters, many of which were seen at NY Toy Fair back in February.  Today’s review is one of those blasters.  It’s also an example of a spin-off of a spin-off, where at first we had N-Strike Elite, then Modulus, now we have Modulus Ghost Ops.  Spooky.  Let’s take a look at the blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

evader2If you hadn’t yet read the title of this post, I am indeed reviewing the Modulus Ghost Ops Evader.  It was released in 2018 as the first and, so far, only blaster in the Ghost Ops sub-series.  Functionally, it’s a Stryfe just with a side-loading magazine, still using the same flywheel semi-auto mechanism.  Hey, if it works, use it.  The big draw for the Evader is the completely clear plastic the shell is cast in, and subsequently, the light-up feature that this allows.  The main pistol grip contains all of the standard flywheel controls we’re used to, but the fore-grip also has a button which, when pressed, activates the green LEDs inside the body of the blaster, giving it an almost night-vision kind of look.  That is, as long as it’s not too bright wherever you are.  The effect definitely gets stronger in darker conditions, unsurprisingly.  Assisting the LEDs is an array of light piping and refractive surfaces that give the light more places to bounce off so you can actually see it.  It should be noted that the button for the lights has to be held down to keep the lights on.  I had to jerry-rig my blaster to keep it lit for one of the photos without my hands getting in the way, so don’t expect that to be the norm.  The lights are overall pretty well incorporated into the blaster’s design, and I especially like the lights inside the muzzle that are only activated when you attach the included barrel extension.  The shell appears to be well made, but it’s hard to see what the shape of it really is the way you could with an opaque blaster. evader3 When I first took it out of the box, it was a lot bigger than I expected but that turned out to be ok since it addressed my concern that the thumbhole fore-grip might be small and awkward.  It’s still not conventional but even with my larger hands, I can say it’s perfectly functional.  Being a Modulus blaster, the Evader sports a top, bottom and side rail (right side only), as well as attachment points for a stock and a barrel.  I’ve only used the Evader with the batteries that came installed from the store, but even as such, it seems like it has a decent amount of power behind it.  Shots travel far and hit hard.  It’s already been proven to be effective in combat in my ongoing campaign against the spider crickets in my basement.  I expect it would perform just as admirably against younger siblings, especially if you use the light-up feature as some sort of psychological/intimidation tactic in conjunction with the actual darts.  The Evader comes packaged with the barrel extension, 12 white Modulus Elite darts, a 12 round magazine, and the 4 AA batteries that power both the lights and flywheels already installed.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

The Evader was the first of the new 2018 wave of blasters that I purchased, but not the first I attempted to buy.  A few weeks earlier, I had found the Delta Trooper on shelves at my local Target, but when I went to go check out, I was told they couldn’t sell it to me so I had to leave without it.  When I eventually went back, I found that they had just recently put out the new blasters with the one exception being the Delta Trooper.  It doesn’t really have much to do with the Evader itself but its a bit of a story.

The Blaster In Question #0061: Cam ECS-12

 

 

BlasterInQuestion1

CAM ECS-12

N-STRIKE ELITE

cam1There’s one thing that Nerf keeps trying to do that I don’t think I’ll ever understand, and that’s attaching cameras to their blasters.  They tried it with the Battlescout and that was no good, but that was hardly their first attempt at this particular gimmick.  That one also suffered because the blaster itself was pretty crap, but what if they had tried using an actually decent mechanism as a starting point.  Well, in that case, you end up with the Cam ECS-12, which I’ll be reviewing today.  Let’s check it out.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

cam2The Cam ECS-12 was released in 2014 under the core N-Strike Elite line of blasters.  It was built on the old standby semi-auto flywheel mechanism we’ve seen again and again.  The main draw was the integrated “battle cam” that could function more or less like a scope while also being able to take photos and record video of whatever Nerf shenanigans you might choose to get up to.  With the 4 buttons just below the viewing screen, you can power the camera on and off, play/pause, skip forward, and delete files.  The actual capture button is located on the left side of the blue fore-grip area so you could press it from a firing position with your thumb (or index finger for lefties).  Rather wisely, the camera is run off its own entirely separate bank of AA batteries so having the cam on or off doesn’t affect the performance of the blaster at all and the two can be operated completely independently of each other.  The down-side is that the camera is just the worst.  It only captures images and videos in a tiny square format which matches the tiny square screen on the back end.  Videos also capture sound using a built in microphone which, as you can probably imagine, sounds horrendous should you do something stupid like rev up the flywheels ever.  The video feed to the screen always shows which format (photo/video) the camera is set to and how much capacity is left on the SD card as well as a square crosshairs reticle for aiming, I guess.  None of these actually get recorded onto any photos or videos, so that’s nice at least.  Turning the camera on, you are greeted by a Nerf logo on screen and a bizarre series of sound effects which I really can’t understand what they’re suppose to be.  cam3If you don’t touch any of the camera controls for about 5 mins, the blaster will start beeping and you’ll see a countdown from 10 on the screen, at the end of which, the whole thing explodes.  I mean, the camera auto shuts off, but you still have to hear that beeping so it might as well.  The slot for the SD card is on the forward left side of the “scope” and comes with a 4GB card already installed.  There was also originally a big orange shade on my blaster above the viewing screen, but It’s not really necessary and I found it flopped around and annoyed me so I took it off.  That’s probably enough about the bad camera, let’s end on a positive note.  The shell of the blaster is all original and boy does it look good.  Sure the barrel is kinda long and that slightly reduces its performance, but it just looks so sleek.  In all honesty, if Nerf tweaked the shell to get rid of the camera, and by extension drop the price substantially, I would buy another one of these in a heartbeat.  Some Nerf designs, while cool and I love them, can feel weird and goofy in hand.  This feels like a rifle, and I like it a lot.  It definitely gives it a more aggressive feel without being cartoonish and as long as you don’t intend to actually record anything, the video “scope” can make you feel like some sort of high-tech Halo-esque cool guy when you bust into your younger sibling’s room with it.  The Cam ECS-12 comes packaged with a 12 round magazine, 12 Elite darts, and the 4GB SD card.  The blaster takes 4 AA batteries to run and the camera takes another 4.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

This blaster got everyone super excited when Nerf first showed it off because, let’s be honest, it just looks cool.  The thing is, people got very unexcited when they saw the $75 price tag.  As such, hardly anyone bought one.  I managed to grab mine on a Black Friday sale for much less than MSRP, but I don’t know that looks and feel alone would have made me shell out that much money.  All this just makes their later attempt with the Battlescout all the more baffling.