The Blaster In Question #0070: Hades XVIII-6000

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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 #0042: Kronos XVIII-500

BlasterInQuestion1KRONOS XVIII-500

RIVAL (PHANTOM CORPS)

kronos1“Hang on a minute, didn’t we just have a Rival review, like, two weeks ago?” I hear you ask.  Why yes, sharp-eyed viewer, indeed we did.  Ordinarily I’d try and spread stuff out and keep you guessing about what the next blaster will be, like a game, but this is new and hot.  The new hotness, you might say.  So this week I’m looking at the Kronos.  Something that bears the name of the father to the Olympians must be a behemoth of a blaster, right?  Actually, it kind of goes the other way, but trust me, it’s not the size that counts, it’s all about the balls.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

kronos2The Kronos XVIII-500 was released in 2018 as part of the Phantom Corps subset of Rival blasters.  I was initially under the impression that Phantom Corps was a Target exclusive line, but this blaster was purchased from TRU which confounded me to no end, at least for a few minutes.  No idea what the deal with that is but whatever, you’re here to read about the blaster.  The Kronos is a spring powered pistol with a 5 round integrated magazine à la MEGA Magnus or Star Wars Rey (Jakku) Blaster.  Like both of those examples, the Kronos is loaded through a port on the top of the blaster that opens when the slide is primed back.  The Kronos also has an additional flap covering the port which I guess isn’t really necessary but it does preserve the silhouette of the blaster a little bit.  The shell of the blaster is all new and sports functional front and rear sights as well as 2 Rival accessory rails, one on the slide and one just above the muzzle.  Interestingly, while the blaster is labeled “XVIII-500” on both sides, the name Kronos appears nowhere except on the packaging.  Something to note about the rails on the Kronos is that, after attaching the Rival red dot sight, I noticed that it could slide back and forth just a little bit, just a few millimeters at most, and the nature of the attachment mechanism means it wasn’t in danger of falling off, but it’s just something I’d never had kronos3any of my other Rival blaster do.  I doubt that’s going to make or break anyone’s opinion of it, though.  Aside from that, everything about the Kronos’ construction is solid.  The grip in particular is very comfortable and secure in the hand as it follows much more organic lines than the more hard-lined rest of the blaster body, which is a style I quite like, visually and practically.  The slide has a surprising amount of thought and engineering put into it.  Priming the blaster is fairly easy with the grip panels that add a good amount of traction as well as providing a more defined surface to pull back on.  On the underside of the slide, there are a couple of telescoping flat panels that extend when the slide is pulled back, I assume to either keep the mechanism clean or to prevent kids pinching their fingers in the internals.  The very rear of the slide also has a cutout so you can see the orange plunger when it’s primed as well as a button to release the lockup if the blaster jams. Like all other Rival blasters, the Kronos has a safety which locks the trigger when engaged.  Unfortunately this particular safety has the same after-the-fact addition kind of feeling that the Zeus’ had.  It’s hard to describe verbally, but it feels like it’s flexing before it clicks rather than pivoting and is generally unpleasant to operate, not that it’s a necessary feature per se. For its size, the Kronos holds its own surprisingly well against other Rival blasters in terms of performance.  Shots fly and hit with the expected Rival accuracy and power, making it a kronos4real terror for younger siblings, especially given how low profile and nimble it is due to its smaller size.  I’ve even found that it fits rather handily into standard jeans pockets for holstering, just so long as you have jeans with actual pockets (why are fake pockets even a thing?  Sorry, side-tracked).  The Kronos comes packaged with another set of red and blue Rival flag/ribbon things, provided you got the Phantom Corps version and didn’t shell out $70 for the Deadpool variants, as well as one Rival round-  what’s that?  It comes with 5 rounds?  Ok.. if you say so.  Scratch that, I guess it’s supposed to come with 5 rounds.  Hmm…

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

Ethan was actually the one who found this blaster at TRU and nicely offered to pick it up for me as I mentioned last week.  I went over to his place to pick it up as well as just to generally hang out, but when I opened the box, I found that only one round, specifically the one visible in the little window on the box, was actually inside.  Further inspection of the box revealed that the tape on one side had been cut and then taped over again, leading us to believe that someone had swiped the remaining 4 rounds from my box.  Normally I’d be rather upset upon finding out that I had been shorted, but I could not for the life of me, think of a more laughably unsubstantial thing to steal.  Whoever this chuckle-head is, decided it was worth risking getting kicked out of a Toys R Us or even fired if they were an employee over 4 Nerf Rival rounds.  The imbalance of risk to reward was so skewed, I couldn’t even bring myself to be mad about it.  If you did it, and you’re reading this, I hope you’re really enjoying playing with my balls.

The Blaster In Question #0040: Helios XVIII-700

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HELIOS XVIII-700

RIVAL (PHANTOM CORPS)

helios1Alright, I know it would have been thematically more appropriate to do this review last week what with the whole Christmas thing that happened, but this is my (subsection on someone else’s) review site and I will do what I like.  Besides, Ethan is still working through his annual haul, so it’s fine.  Now that that’s out of the way, let’s have a look at the first Nerf blaster I’ve received for Christmas in, like, 8ish years.  That would be the Rival Helios XVIII-700.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

helios2The Helios was officially slated for release in 2018 but as you may have figured out, they slipped into circulation just a little early.  So far it is only available in the Target exclusive Phantom Corps subset which means white is your only color option for the blaster itself.  At first glance, it looks like just a revised design of Apollo and I suppose that’s not far off, functionally, but it’s certainly not just a reskin.  Only the Jolt can get away with that.  Like the Apollo, it is a spring powered blaster that uses standard Rival tube magazines loaded through the pistol grip.  What’s different about the Helios is the addition of proper fore-grip and stock pieces, a jam door, and a new style of priming handle.  Instead of being a vertical pull and push bolt handle like on the Apollo, the Helios has a side-mounted bolt handle with a spring return, so you just pull it back and let it snap forward again on its own.  The whole motion is very satisfying and makes the Helios feel like an SMG or machine pistol. The fun doesn’t stop there, though, because those crafty folks at Hasbro worked out how to make the bolt handle removable and reversible, making the blaster helios3completely ambidextrous for all you sinister people out there. Either that or if you’re one of those Ghost Recon/Sam Fisher Ubisoft properties who might need to switch hands at a moments notice. Besides the obvious benefit of just a better priming action, the orientation of the bolt handle means there’s an actually usable line of sight as well as a bunch more rail space for attachments. As with all Rival blasters, it should be noted that it’s not an N-Strike style rail, so only Rival accessories will work.  They’ve also changed the style of safety from a push button on the Apollo to a switch on both sides of the blaster, sticking with the ambidextrous theme.  All put together, you have a very compact, solid blaster that is just a joy to operate and feels good in hand.  The blaster runs very smooth, like how you would expect an improved Apollo to run.  The power of the blaster is right on par with other Rival blasters, flying straight and hitting hard, definitely not something to use lightly when busting into your younger sibling’s room.  Maybe save it for when they’ve actually earned it.  The Helios comes packaged with a 7 round magazine, 7 Rival rounds, and, specific to the Phantom Corps line, two colored team flags, one red, one blue.  I believe the purpose is for them to be attached to your person or your blaster to denote your team when playing competitively, but I just like putting them on my bag so everyone knows I’m a huge nerd who plays with Nerf blasters.helios4

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Helios was a present from my parents this past Christmas.  Before that, it was the Dart Tag Furyfire 2-pack when it was new.  That should give you an idea of how long it’s been since I’ve found a blaster under the tree.  Ordinarily I would have already purchased a blaster like this myself and so ruling Nerf out as a potential gift, but recent financial constraints have somewhat slowed my consumption of Nerf lately, but I fully intend to pick up the slack eventually, just have to see when that is.