The Blaster In Question #0059: Barricade RV-10

BlasterInQuestion1

BARRICADE RV-10

N-STRIKE

barricade1Just about everyone has at least heard of the Stryfe or the RapidStrike or Modulus ECS-10.  Any of the big names in the wide range of electric flywheel blasters Nerf has produced over the years.  The blaster most people these days don’t remember is the one that actually started the entire flywheel class of blasters at Nerf, the Barricade RV-10.  Not the police car from Transformers, this is a different Barricade, both Hasbro properties, though.  Who?  No, Dwayne Johnson played Roadblock from G.I. Joe, another entirely different still Hasbro property.  Anyway, let’s take a look at the blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

barricade2The Barricade RV-10 was released in 2010 as part of the N-Strike line, kind of the only line Nerf had going at the time.  It was the first (I believe) flywheel blaster to come from Nerf.  There was at least one blaster from Buzz Bee Toys that used flywheels before the Barricade, but we don’t talk about that.  I mean, we could, but people will laugh and throw things.  The Barricade uses more or less the same mechanical configuration we’re used to on modern flywheel blasters but with 2 main exceptions.  First, it fires from a 10 round rotating cylinder rather than a magazine.  The second major difference is that instead of having a rev trigger just beneath the firing trigger like we’re used to, it has an on/off toggle switch that sits just above your thumb like a safety or fire selector switch, assuming you’re holding the blaster in your right hand.  The Barricade’s shell is all original, although it was reused in the Prime barricade3variant- I mean, the Elite version, which came with a stock and was renamed the Stockade.  Amazing.  It features a stock attachment lug on the back of the blaster and an accessory rail up top.  There’s also a interesting front sight that has a hole going through it, maybe so you can still see your target when aiming?  Who knows, but it has no rear sight to line up with and it’s on a pre-Elite blaster so it’s about as useful as.. something… not useful.  Wow, good job, Tim.  By today’s standards, the plastic of the shell feels a little thin and creaky, but that was about par for the course with the original N-Strike blasters.  Also somewhat outclassed by modern blasters is the Barricade’s performance.  Yes it is semi-auto, but with old motors running off of only 3 AA batteries, it can’t really keep up with today’s flywheels.  Given the lengthy rev-up time and the lack of any substantial power, I’d recommend setting this one aside as a collection piece rather than trying to bust into your younger sibling’s room with it.  The Barricade RV-10 comes with 10 Sonic Micro darts and requires 3 AA batteries.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

To be honest, I was not excited for the Barricade when it was announced.  I’m still not that into it.  I only bought mine because it came in a value pack with a stock that I really wanted.  I didn’t have it on hand so I left it out of the review.  Regardless, even if I’m not crazy about the Barricade, I do quite enjoy many of the other flywheel blasters that have come out since then, so I guess I can give it credit for that.  And I got a cool stock out of it too.

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The Blaster In Question #0058: Mediator Stock

BlasterInQuestion1

MEDIATOR STOCK

MODULUS

medstock1A couple things recently came to my attention.  First, today is Sunday, but there’s not much I can do to change that.  Second, however, is that I never finished talking about the 3-part kit that composes the Modulus Mediator.  That, I can change, so today I’ll be looking at the third and final piece of the Mediator ensemble, the stock.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

medstock2“How can a stock warrant its own review?” I hear you say.  Well, dear reader, this is no ordinary stock.  It uses a never before seen set of intricate mechanisms in tandem with what I must assume is some kind of ancient magic to achieve the results we can observe.  Not really.  They made it big and hollow and stuck a pistol inside.  Complex?  No.  Useful?  Eeeehhhhmmmmmmaaaaaaaybe.  Anyway, the Mediator Stock was released with the other 2 components in 2018.  It came in two parts, the stock/holster, and the pistol.  The stock itself is pretty straightforward.  It attaches to any Nerf blaster with a stock attachment lug and is simply a fixed stock albeit with a rather long length of pull for a Nerf stock and some extra rubber overlays on the back end to make it grippy.  The rear end of the stock is open to allow the pistol to be inserted or removed and this makes it feel a little odd when pressed against your shoulder, but it’s not uncomfortable.  Just takes a second to get used to.  There is a belt clip on the left side of the stock that allows you to attach it to your pants or belt to act as a dedicated holster for the pistol, if you so choose. The pistol is functionally identical to the  Doublestrike from the Zombie Strike line, using a hammer primed, 2 barrel smart AR setup.  Sure, it’s not much, but I get the feeling this is meant as a backup blaster rather than your primary.  medstock3The shell of the blaster is all new and has been sculpted to allow a fairly firm friction fit into the stock/holster. The performance of the pistol is about what you’d expect from a backup blaster.  The range and power might not be quite on par with a larger blaster but if your younger siblings don’t know that you have a second blaster, the surprise can be rather entertaining.  The Modulus Mediator Stock comes with the stock/holster, the pistol and 4 Modulus Elite darts.  

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

As soon as I bought the first 2 components of the larger Mediator set, I was basically guaranteed to grab the last one eventually.  If I recall, I got mine from a local TRU, which is something only Canadians can say now.  There’s really not much to say about this set.  The stock is pretty decent quality and is a good size.  The pistol shoots.  Really, the one thing I might have liked to see is if they had redesigned the grip of the pistol to have a stock attachment lug so you could put the stock on it rather than it just being a holster on its own.  Stocked pistols are totally a thing and I would have been so excited to have that as an option, but oh well.  It does what it does well enough.

The Blaster In Question #0057: Vigilon

BlasterInQuestion1

VIGILON

VORTEX

vigilon1I know what you’re about to ask, so let me go ahead and answer it before you do.  No, I’ve still not heard anything from Mads but I’m staying optimistic.  That’s not what you were gonna ask?  Ok, weirdo.  Oh, right, that.  Yeah, I have no idea what the heck a vigilon is either but it’s the name of this week’s blaster.  Maybe taking a look at the blaster will inform us on the matter.  Let’s find out if that’s the case.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

vigilon2It’s not the case, it’s a made up word.  Anyway, the Vigilon was released in 2011 as part of the Vortex series of blasters.  It then disappeared with the apparent death of the Vortex line a few years later, only to be brought back in 2018 in the Target exclusive Vortex VTX line-up.  Really all that changed is the colors, so I’ll be reviewing them both as the same blaster here.  The Vigilon uses the same mechanism for launching the Vortex discs as most blasters in the line but with the added bonus of an integrated internal magazine that holds (officially) 5 discs.  I find it odd that the Vigilon has only ever been marketed as a 5-round blaster despite the fact that I can fit 6 discs in the magazine just fine without using any trickery, plus, you can keep another disc in the chamber, effectively giving the blaster a 7-round capacity.  The magazine vigilon3itself is an interesting design in which you open the loading gate with the release levers just above the trigger and load rounds in the side of the blaster rather than the top or front like we’re used to seeing on dart blasters.  Releasing the magazine cover is also rather satisfyingly snappy and makes it feel like something akin to a plasma weapon from the Halo franchise venting heat.  The outer shell is all original to the Vigilon, and while the green and orange color scheme of the first wave was fine at the time, the sky blue/neon green VTX colors really do it for me.  Just- MM, so good.  Naturally, the new colors are also carried over to the ammo which also looks quite nice and again, an improvement over the older version.  I mean, they work the same, they just look nicer while they do it.  The Vigilon gets the same performance as just about every other Vortex blaster out there.  The discs do travel far, but they vigilon4slow down as they fly through the air and end up floating a bit near the end of their flight path.  If you’re planning on using this as a weapon against your younger siblings, just make sure they’re not too far away, otherwise, even if your shots hit, they won’t have nearly the same impact as they would at closer range.  Plus, with some practice, you can do crazy stuff like bank shots off the wall and whatnot.  Then you can really make them feel like they’ll never be safe again, and isn’t that really the goal?  What do you mean that sounds abusive?  I’m just saying they shouldn’t feel completely at ease in their own home cuz they’ll never see the radtastic VTX discs coming.  Well, yeah, when you say it like that, you can make anything sound like abuse.  Anyway, the original Vigilon came packaged with just 5 Vortex discs, but the new VTX version comes with 10 and they look way cooler to boot.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I don’t normally care too much about straight recolors, but the Vortex series was different and innovative in a way not often seen in the toy blaster market.  Moreover, it seemed to garner a decent fan base over traditional darts, so it’s fairly unique in that regard.  In reality, though, I just think the folks over at Nerf did a great job with the new colors.  I wish this had been what Vortex looked like from the get-go.  It’s just so- MMM, I love it.

The Blaster In Question #0055: Proton

BlasterInQuestion1

PROTON

VORTEX

proton1You may have heard that Vortex is back.  Yes, it seems the once-thought dead line of blasters has miraculous come back to life like Jesus, or Dracula.  While my money is squarely on this being a hasty rejiggering of an intended TRU exclusive, the Vortex VTX line seems to be solely in Target’s hands now.  So while the hype train is just slowly starting to pull away from the station, I figured I’d jump on board in order to bring you today’s review of the Proton.  I’m feeling pretty positive about this one.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

proton2Ok, while this is a Vortex blaster, it’s not part of the VTX lineup, so I’m less of a passenger on the hype train and more of that guy with the accordion who just walks from car to car demanding money in exchange for giving you tinnitus.  The Proton was released in 2011 as the smallest (at the time) entry in the newly unveiled Vortex series of blasters.  The big draw for Vortex blasters was their supposed super long ranges thanks to the mini-frisbee type of ammo instead of traditional darts.  The disks use their aerofoil shape to glide through the air which does allow them to travel pretty far, all things considered, but it also means that they lose speed quite quickly.  I’ve talked about this before in my Revonix 360 review and it holds true here and across the line.  The Proton, specifically, is a single shot pistol which is loaded through the rear of the blaster by pulling back the slide, placing a diskproton3 in the tray, and hitting the slide release lever on the side of the blaster.  Honestly, this was the feature that made me buy the Proton in the first place.  Regardless of performance, I just wanted a blaster with a functional slide release lever so I could do dramatic reloads while creeping around the house at 2:00 AM.  The shell of the Proton is all original which you’d kind of expect given how vastly different the internals of this blaster are compared to something like the NiteFinder.  There is at least a standard Nerf rail on the top of the barrel, but there’s not really anything you can put on it without making the blaster really top and front heavy, and that’s no good.  The Proton is meant to be nice and light, right around 1.67×10-27kg.  Not literally light, that’s photon, with an h.  Running the action of the Proton is nice and smooth and unless you did something really wrong, it’s very uncommon to have any kind of jam or malfunction, so that’s a positive.  The ergonomics are decent with all the controls where it makes sense for them to be.  The grip is a little skinny but not so much that it’s really a problem.  As with most Vortex blasters, there are a lot of safety locks inside the Proton, the most important of which prevents the trigger from being pulled when the chamber is empty. proton4 It’s good to know so that, if you’re storing the blaster somewhere for more than a day, it’s probably smart to fire off one round just to de-prime the blaster so you won’t wear out the spring.  If that happens, it’s like it loses its charge, and you’re left with a neutron.  It’s also a good idea to keep it away from stray electrons, because then it just becomes hydrogen, and that  tends to poof away into the air.  As far as using the Proton against younger siblings, I’d recommend it for longer-distance pot shots rather than the whole busting into their room method.  The Proton comes packaged with 3 Vortex disks in the classic Vortex green.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

Ah, I see you made it past my science jokes.  Good for you.  All in all, for as lukewarm as I am to the Vortex series as a whole, I actually quite like the Proton.  It’s fairly compact and has that really unique loading mechanism, which is honestly fun to play with just that.  While I don’t usually go for recolors of existing blasters, I must admit, the blue and green VTX color scheme looks pretty sharp, so I might not mind picking up another Proton if they come out with it.  Then I just need some neutrons and I can whip up some helium.

The Blaster In Question #0053: Qi’ra Blaster

BlasterInQuestion1

QI’RA BLASTER

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (GLOWSTRIKE)

qira1For the last couple rounds of Star Wars Nerf products, it seems like Hasbro has really settled on the formula of releasing a big show off blaster, a medium one with some features, and then a dinky little pistol that is really just there to have a cheaper offering.  More often than not, the pistol gets shafted in terms of quality, typically winding up being a woefully underpowered (even for the Star Wars blasters) single-shot and that’s it.  Now imagine my pleasant surprise when I saw that the pistol offering from the latest wave not only has legitimate range claims on the box, but also can be fired TWICE before reloading.  Sure, it’s hardly groundbreaking as far as Nerf goes, but it’s nice to see Hasbro going just that little bit beyond the bare minimum.  With all that said, let’s take a look at the Qi’ra blaster pistol.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

qira2Hi guys.  Thanks for tuning in to another video on Forgotten Weapons, I’m Ian and today I’ll be looking at this, the Steyr Mannlicher model of 1905 militar— wait, wrong blog.  Let’s try that again.  The Qi’ra blaster pistol was released in 2018 as part of Hasbro’s wave of Nerf merch tying in to the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story film.  It uses a 2-barrel smart AR system like that on the DoubleDown or DoubleStrike or basically any Nerf blaster that starts with “double” (except the DoubleDealer but we don’t talk about that).  Even though I got the wrong intro, it is true that the blaster in the film appears to be based on the aforementioned Steyr Mannlicher 1905 military pistol with a long toe.  You gotta remember that long toe.  I, personally, am quite a fan of the choice here.  It’s nice seeing the prop department for the film taking cues from the original trilogy by using WW1 and WW2 era small arms as the base for most of the blasters you see on screen.  Like all Nerf Star Wars blasters now, the Qi’ra blaster features lights and sounds every time you pull the trigger.  The lights are rudimentary, only lighting up one side of the blaster, but do show a bit more finesse than previous models by fading out rather than just turning on and turning off abruptly.  The pew pew sound effect in this blaster is the same as on the Poe Dameron blaster from the Last Jedi line of products.  It’s a little qira3disappointing that this blaster couldn’t get its own unique sound, but if it plays into Hasbro’s game of halfway decent but still economical Star Wars products, I can get over it.  The blaster also uses the Glowstrike system with UV LEDs in the barrel and glow-in-the-dark darts.  This and the lights and sounds requires just a single AA battery, but this does not effect the actual dart-launching functionality of the blaster.  Being built on a real-world firearm, the ergonomics are decent on this blaster.  The grip is maybe a little blocky but there’s nothing I would really call out as being unpleasant.  The length of the prime is quite short, but the spring feels reasonably powerful and as such, the blaster actually performs pretty well, only just underperforming blasters from the Elite series.  Similar to the Chewbacca blaster, I’d say this blaster is probably best suited for clandestine attacks or ambushes on your younger siblings, preferably at night so they get the full effect with the glowing darts and whatnot.  The Qi’ra blaster comes packaged with 4 Glowstrike Elite darts and 1 AA battery already installed. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I picked this blaster up on a run to Target with Ethan.  I had just bought the Chewbacca blaster only minutes prior and decided liked it enough to keep the ball rolling, so to speak.  As soon as I opened it, there was something familiar about it that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, so naturally I consulted the video library of Forgotten Weapons and voila, I had my answer.  While admittedly there would be an incredibly niche chuckle to be had if they had chosen to use the Steyr Hahn pistol in a movie about Han, I think this one works out better aesthetically.  It’s that long toe, man, gotta have that long toe.

The Blaster In Question #0051: Star-Lord Assembler Gear

BlasterInQuestion1

STAR-LORD BLASTER

ASSEMBLER GEAR (INFINITY WAR)

assemblelord1Sometimes performance isn’t the end-all be-all for having a fun Nerf blaster.  If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you may have seen a review I did way back in the way back for the Star-Lord Quad Blaster.  That’s a great example of fun despite pretty lackluster performance.  Well, today, I’m looking at yet another Star-Lord themed blaster, this time coinciding with the release of Marvel’s latest film, Infinity War.  Now I should warn you, I have seen the movie but I’ll try my best to stay away from spoilers.  Let’s get into it.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

assemblelord2Snape kills Dumbledore.  DAMMIT!  Sorry, I tried.  Anyways, the Star-Lord Assembler Gear blaster kit… thingy was released in 2018 alongside similar compatible kits themed around other characters like Iron Man, Captain America, and Bruce Willis who was a ghost the whole time.  GAHHH! Sorry, sorry.  The idea is that each kit comes with one core blaster component and then a bunch of other parts that can be attached in a number of different ways, kind of like the idea behind the Modulus series, but even crazier.  The blaster piece for the Star-Lord kit has 2 female barrel sockets, 2 male barrel sockets, 3 short little rails, and a rail clip on the bottom.  In addition, the two included extra parts each have a male and female barrel socket and rail and rail clip.  It’s rather a lot, to be honest but it does definitely lend itself to coming up with some pretty crazy combinations which is fun.  It is important to note that the barrel sockets on the Assembler Gear blasters are not compatible with regular Nerf barrel attachments.  It seems the extra parts aren’t really modeled after anything, just shaped vaguely like sci-fi blaster pieces. The core blaster is definitely intended to be modeled after assemblelord3Star-Lord’s signature blaster pistols from the films though it seems like they may have put the top on backwards as it slopes the wrong way.  This could have been an accident or could have been intentional for a number of reasons, but I can tell you it was not so they could fit halfway decent internals in this thing.  The mechanism that launches the dart out of the blaster is the bane of my existence as a Nerf fan.  I can only be talking about the dart flicker style of blaster like that in the Marvel’s Captain America Civil War Iron Man Stark Strike gauntlet blaster… from Hasbro that I looked at a few weeks ago.  I’ve already ranted on this subject before so I’ll spare you, good reader, this time, but it really is just terrible.  One potential argument you could make is that maybe a non-trash based mechanism would take too much space, to which I’d reply “Kevin Spacey is Keyser Soze.”  Then I’d go on to say that maybe scaling up the blaster as a whole wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world because as it is now, the ergonomics are atrocious.  I understand these are meant for children, but so was the Quad-Blaster and that was perfectly fine to hold.  This, on the other hand, is just not remotely comfortable.  A slightly larger blaster could mean a better grip and halfway decent internals, but sadly, it is not so.  Given the ergo and the performance, I feel justified saying it’s just not worth taking this blaster if you’re planning to bust into your younger siblings’ room and open fire.  Pick something else.  The Star-Lord Assembler Gear blaster kit comes with 2 attachments and 3 Star-Lord colored Elite Darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this blaster up on a trip to a local TRU.  I don’t recall if this was before or after the whole going out of business thing took effect, but I had seen them online and was curious enough so I picked it up.  Having done so, I don’t think I can really recommend a blaster this uncomfortable to use with such pitiful performance.  Maybe that’s the point though.  Maybe it’s meant to make you feel like Star-Lord.  Just get your biggest friend to hot glue some Jolly Ranchers to their hand and tell them to start punching as hard as they can while you try and keep them away by shooting.  I don’t see how this could possibly go wrong.

On a side note, I’m pleased to announce that after their hiatus, the fine folks at Timsical Thoughts have partnered with The Blaster In Question to bring you some degree of “content.”  I know the guy who runs the site personally and he’s just great so feel free to check that out.

The Blaster In Question #0048: Quadrant

BlasterInQuestion1

QUADRANT

ACCUSTRIKE

quad1If there’s one staple of Nerf blasters that always comes back, it’s revolvers, ok, revolvers and jolts, but let’s stick with the revolvers for today. All things considered, it’s a good design. There’ve been so many iterations that pretty much any issues have already been ironed out, but if you look at Nerf Revolvers over time, they have this odd trend of steadily getting smaller and smaller cylinders, and in turn, lower capacity. Today’s blaster is the first example of a 4-shot revolver I can think of, but as we’ve seen from Toy Fair last month, it won’t be the last.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

quad2Ok, first things first, I know I give Nerf a decent amount of ribbing over the naming conventions for their blasters, but when the other 3 blasters in a line have names containing “falcon”, ”hawk”, and “raptor”, there’s a pretty clear theme that they’re going for. With that in mind, what the double deuce kind of name is Quadrant? I get the name references the 4 barrels in the cylinder, but it throws off the whole bird-of-prey thing they set up. Anyway, the Quadchickadee was released in 2018 as part of the Accustrike series. As mentioned before, it is a 4-shot revolver that works more or less like any other revolver at this point. The construction is all new and pretty solid, like you’d expect from a Nerf blaster of this size, and the ergonomics are good. The proportions are kind of weird, what with the top half of the blaster being rather large and bulky. quad3At the very least, it’s not terribly top heavy which is a concern I had before it was released. What I don’t quite get is why the barrels are so far apart in the cylinder. Typically, the benefit of lower capacity in a revolver is a lower profile, but the cylinder for the Quadbearded-tit is barely smaller than the one in the Hammershot, which holds 5 rounds normally. But in addition, modders have shown it can handle 7 rounds in the same space quite handily. It just feels needlessly limiting to cap the capacity at 4, especially when it doesn’t even enable some other gimmick or function in the blaster. The performance is on par with other Nerf pistols. It doesn’t have the most power or range ever, but no one expects it to. Being in the Accustrike series, there’s nothing mechanical that separates this from any other blaster, all that means is it’s orange and comes with Accustrike darts as opposed to standard Elites. The darts do actually make it a little easier to hit targets from further away, so they’re good for surprise pot-shots at your younger siblings, with or without busting into their room first. The QuadAndean Cock of the Rock (it’s a real bird, look it up) comes packaged with 4 Accustrike darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Once again, I feel it’s important to make the point that I do actually like this blaster. I’ve gotten my money’s worth of fun out of it. Are there some issues? Sure, but I can be critical while still enjoying something. My primary complaints are that I wish it had more capacity or that it had some other gimmick going on. Maybe next time we’ll get one of those things, and you know there’s going to be a next time. There’s always another Nerf Revolver.

 

The Blaster In Question #0046: Dauntless

BlasterInQuestion1

DAUNTLESS

REBELLE (CHARMED)

dauntless1For those who are familiar with the typical catalog of Nerf blasters over the years, it’s clear that they aren’t strangers to the idea of repackaging old ideas. Oftentimes this becomes pretty tiresome after seeing the same design rehashed with countless iterations (I’m looking at you, Jolt), but every so often, the redesign is significant enough that it warrants buying the new blaster. This week’s case in point is the Rebelle Dauntless pistol. Let’s see what makes this blaster so special.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

dauntless2The Dauntless was released in 2015 as part of the Charmed set of Rebelle blasters. It uses a 3-shot inline smart AR system, just like the Lumanate or Messenger blasters, also from the Rebelle line. Nothing new with the mechanics of the blaster, but what really stands out is the design. Using a lot of the same elements as the Fair Fortune Crossbow, the Dauntless has a slightly regal but also vaguely piratical feel to it. The profile is definitely evocative of an old flintlock, albeit far more streamlined. The gold filigree pattern on the side lends itself to the highly decorative nature of the blaster and is echoed in the truss along the underside of the barrel. This truss also contains a hook by which you can attach the included charm bracelet, connecting the other end to the butt of the grip. I raved just a little bit in my review of the Fair Fortune Crossbow about how much I dauntless4enjoyed the inclusion of the charm bracelet and the same is true here. While it’s far too small for adult wrists, it is a satisfying little accessory to have hanging from the blaster. Paired with the décor of the blaster itself, when combined, the full kit feels like it was pulled right out of one of the Bayonetta games. I’ve not seen it, but I really hope someone else noticed this and made a pair of heels out of a couple Dauntlesses. While the aesthetics are certainly very strong, ergonomics take a bit of a hit. The grip is quite wide and the way it curves forward, while very elegant looking, makes it rather hard to get a firm grip. It’s also pretty short for a pistol grip which isn’t unheard of, especially in Rebelle blasters, but it does raise another issue. In order to try and get better purchase on the grip, I tend to place my hand further up toward the rear of the blaster. The problem is that there’s no scoop or beavertail to catch the webbing of your hand between your thumb and forefinger, so it’s pretty easy to get pinched if your skin is in contact with the priming bar when you fire the blaster. There are sights along the top of the blaster, I guess to make you think it’ll help with aim. As much as sights can ever be useful on a Nerf blaster, these ones are especially no good as the Dauntless doesn’t have the same power that many other Nerf blasters have. It’s certainly usable, but shots definitely hit softer and don’t travel as far. You do feel pretty cool looking down the sights at your younger dauntless3sibling after you’ve just burst into their room announcing that ye be takin’ none o’ them landlubbers as prisoners, rather ye be here to demand this week’s allowance. So I suppose there’s that. The Dauntless comes packaged with 3 of the collectible Rebelle darts and the charm bracelet in an old bronze kind of finish.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After initially buying the Fair Fortune Crossbow, I was pretty much sold on the Charmed series of blasters. Not long after that, I found the Dauntless at a local Target. It may not be the most effective blaster out there, but as a prop for playing pretend that actually shoots, I’d say it’s way ahead of the other blasters on the market.

 

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 #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.