The Blaster In Question #0065: 4 Victory

BlasterInQuestion1

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.

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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 #0033: FocusFire Crossbow

FOCUSFIRE CROSSBOW

REBELLE (ACCUSTRIKE)

The Rebelle line of products and its handling has always slightly confused me.  At a surface level, getting girls into a hobby dominated by boys by making products targeted to them sounds like a good thing, exactly what constitutes a “girl blaster” is odd to say the least.  I’m not about to go on a rant about gender equality or how Hasbro should run their business, but what I will do is talk about one such Rebelle blaster, the FocusFire Crossbow.  Let’s get into it.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The FocusFire Crossbow was released in 2017 as a crossover blaster between the Rebelle and Accustrike lines.  Mechanically, it’s a 5-round revolver.  That’s it, the crossbow arms don’t actually affect the performance of the blaster in any way.  As such, you may notice that I chose to leave them off of mine.  Had I left them connected, I could store a few extra darts on the crossbow arms themselves.  The string of the bow arms is intended to loop through the priming handle on the top of the blaster which locks back when primed and snaps forward again when you pull the trigger, thereby imitating a crossbow action kind of, I guess.  The internals aren’t really anything special, but I do quite like the exterior of the blaster quite a bit, at least up to a point.  I have always been a fan of Rebelle’s smoothed, clean shell designs for the blasters and this is no exception.  The FFC has some really nice flowing lines with just a little bit of texturing on the grip that adds an air of technological sophistication into the overall grace of the design (can you tell I was an art student?), kind of like somthing I’d expect from the Asari from the Mass Effect video game series.  I also really like the paint deco on the right side of the blaster.  It’s just a shame it didn’t make it to the other side as well, like with so many other Nerf blasters.  There aren’t any places to add attachments on this blaster, but it does have an interesting integrated sight setup on top.  The blue piece can fold up or down to give you a choice of sight picture.  When folded down, it effectively acts as a hybrid peep/notch sight that’s more or less parallel with the barrels.  Flipping it up gives you a few more options as the entire piece can theoretically work as a ladder sight for angling long-range shots with a few pre-selected notches for quicker aiming, I suppose.  It’s a nice feature, but it doesn’t really help that much if at all.  I assume it was added to coincide with the fact that this blaster comes with Accustrike darts.  In theory the better accuracy of the darts could be taken full advantage of with the use of proper sights, and while accustrike darts are vastly superior to Elite darts, its still a toy, so sights can only do so much.  There is at least nice contrast between the blue rear sight and the orange front sight so they’re easy to aquire and line up.  The construction of the blaster feels solid, so no issues there.  Where I do have some issues is in the scale of the grip area.  The grip is noticeably smaller than on standard Nerf blasters both in length and thickness.  I can still fit my whole hand on the grip, which is more than I can say for some Rebelle blasters, but the notch toward the end can dig into my pinky a little.  The worst part, though, is the stock.  It’s too small to use, period.  I know Rebelle is geared to younger girls, and in general girls are slightly smaller than boys, but when my 11 year old sister can’t even use this thing, you know it’s just too small.  I would have loved it if it was a useable length, but as it stands, its just this weird extra part that hangs down and blocks your wrist.  As is the norm for Rebelle, the FFC is a little underpowered when compared to similar Elite blasters.  Not by much, granted.  You can still land some good hits on your younger siblings with it, and of course, the added accuracy of the darts helps with shot placement.  The FocusFire Crossbow comes packaged with the bow arms not attached, and 5 fancy purple Accustrike darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Sadly, it seems like Rebelle has been on the decline as a product line.  There have still been some new releases with blasters like the Com-Bow, but not nearly as much as we used to see and that does bum me out.  Sure, maybe the line could have been handled better, but the problems are pretty much all easy fixes, and I’d much rather see these issues taken into account with future releases than have the whole line disappear.

 

The Blaster In Question #0019: Lumanate

LUMANATE

REBELLE

In general, I’m a fan of the aesthetic choices that go into most Nerf blasters.  By and large they are styled after sci-fi interpretations of regular firearms and that’s cool, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it “pretty.”  Today’s blaster is the complete opposite of that.  My initial reaction to seeing it was something along the lines of “Wow, that’s a pretty gun.”  This blaster is none other than the Lumanate, so let’s take a look.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Lumanate was released in 2016 as part of the Rebelle series.  Similar to the blasters from last week’s review, the mechanics of this blaster are really nothing new with most features being taken from blasters like the Triad or Messenger from previous years.  It uses a front loading, 3-barrel smart AR setup with an inline plunger, keeping everything pretty simple.  The real points of distinction for this blaster are the shell, first of all, and the light-up feature that works with the darts specifically provided with the blaster.  As you probably figured out, I’m a big fan of the work on the shell of this blaster.  It has a lot of really nice flowing lines and smooth surfaces as well as some eye-catching transparent blue accents on the side panel and trigger.  Sadly, only one side has the blue panel, leaving the other a plain white which is a little disappointing.  Just below the cool blue trigger is a hot pink button which activates the blaster’s light-up feature.  Truth be told, this was pretty disappointing too.  Initially, I expected the entirety of the transparent blue panel to light up when the button was pressed, but instead, there is a single UV LED in the transparent orange muzzle of the blaster.  What this does is it “charges” the special glow-in-the-dark tips of the included darts which is intended to create a kind of tracer effect when fired.  It kind of works, kind of.  Not really.  The tiny LED only exposes about a third of dart tip (not the whole dart, mind you, just the rubber piece at the end) when turned on.  It’s one of those features that technically works, but doesn’t add anything practical to the function of the blaster.  The light-up feature requires 3 AAA batteries to operate but is not integral to the function of the blaster otherwise.  Coming back to the work on the shell, the smooth curved lines make the ergonomics of the Lumanate rather enjoyable.  I can see how the hand guard in front of the grip might make holding the blaster cramped and uncomfortable for some people with larger hands, but Rebelle products consistently have smaller grips than those in the N-Strike Elite series, so it’s not surprising here.  The size of the grip does lend to the overall very compact feel of the blaster in hand.  The Lumanate has an attachment rail on the top of the blaster for accessories.  Putting the disappointing light feature aside, the actual blaster works pretty well, especially compared to other Rebelle blasters.  Darts travel a decent distance given the blaster’s size and hit with the usual amount of force.  This blaster is probably best suited for indoor use because regular darts won’t respond to the UV light, and the 3 that come with the blaster are all you can get without buying a whole new Lumanate.  If you don’t mind messing with the color scheme, though, the Glowstrike darts from the Star Wars: Rogue One series of blasters will also glow.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was really excited to pick this blaster up at first but became gradually less enthused when I discovered the extent of the “illumination.”  Even still, I was very happy with the overall looks of the blaster and feel of it in the hand.  It really reminds me of something the Asari from Mass Effect would have designed, and anything that helps me pretend I’m in Mass Effect is a winner in my book.  Honestly, my biggest pet peeve with the blaster is the name.  Why they spelled it “Lumanate” as opposed to “Luminate” I guess we’ll never know.  I guess if that’s my biggest complaint, though, that tells you my opinion of it.  It’s good.  I like it.

The Blaster In Question #0009: Fair Fortune Crossbow

FAIR FORTUNE CROSSBOW

REBELLE (CHARMED)

If there’s one thing the Rebelle line can’t get enough of, it’s bows.  Early on in the series, these were mostly just regular air-chamber blasters dressed up to look and operate more like a conventional bow.  It took a couple releases before Nerf finally released an assortment of “stringer” elastic powered blasters that took another step toward proper bow mechanics.  Of course, with all these bows, you have to be able to distinguish them from each other otherwise the market gets flooded.  Today, we’ll be looking at one of the more visually unique bow (well, crossbow, but you understand) blasters from Rebelle, the Fair Fortune Crossbow.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Fair Fortune Crossbow was released in 2014 as part of the Charmed subset of Rebelle blasters.  It uses the same elastic chord system that first appeared on the Rebelle Diamodista, except instead of being a single shot blaster, the FFC features a 6 round rotating cylinder.  Given the unique aesthetics of the blaster, it shouldn’t be a surprise that all the hardware is original.  The ornateness of the faux filigree paired with the unusual upholstered patterning on the grip and slide gives the blaster a feel very reminiscent of something from the Bayonetta video game series, something I am rather fond of.  This point is further driven home when you attach the included charm bracelet (hence the Charmed moniker) to the blaster, adding a little bit of sparkle accompanied by a satisfying jingling sound.  The bracelets in particular surprised me.  When I initially heard about the upcoming release of this line, I thought it sounded gimmicky and pointless, and I guess I was kinda right.  However, the bracelets themselves are metal and so have a decent heft to them.  Additionally, the charms on each of the bracelets (which are all unique to their specific blaster) are well designed and eye-catching.  The one problem with the bracelets is their size.  I have two much younger sisters, and even they struggled getting the bracelets around their wrists.  Alright, enough about that, back to the blaster.  The grip on the FFC is a little odd.  First of all, it’s severely inclined, almost parallel with the body of the blaster.  Second, it has a loop for your middle finger just below the trigger, so only very specific ways of holding it are comfortable.  Once you’ve worked out how to hold the darn thing, it feels pretty good in the hand.  The aforementioned upholstery-like texture provide a decent amount of traction.  The plastic that surrounds the cylinder is a little on the thin side, but it’s not vital to the structure of the blaster so it’s fine.  The FFC has no sights of any kind, and I normally wouldn’t bother talking about what the blaster doesn’t  have, but the priming slide sticks up enough on the top of the blaster that it actually obscures your view, so it’s worth noting.  Because it uses the elastic to fire darts as opposed to an air plunger, the blaster is very quiet when firing.  It hits a little on the soft side of Nerf blasters and, in my experience, it seems like standard Rebelle and Elite darts are more prone to swerving than when fired from a more traditional blaster.  Taking these things into account, the FFC is definitely an indoor blaster, especially if you’re particularly attached to the collectible Rebelle darts that come packaged.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I think this blaster is a good example of one that, while it doesn’t necessarily perform terribly well in comparison to others, is a lot of fun despite it’s shortcomings.  Personally, what attracts me to a blaster is often how easily I can fit it in with a particular pretend-play and the FFC has a lot of potential in this regard.  Whenever I pick it up, I can very easily form a story around it, and admittedly, this has occasionally included playing “Fly Me to the Moon (Climax Remix)” while making a number of stylish poses.

The Blaster In Question #0006: Allegiant Blaster

ALLEGIANT BLASTER

REBELLE

If you’ve read the title of this review, you can probably tell that I’m a big fan of Divergent. I especially liked the part where Katniss has to play Nerve because she’s made of grenades— what’s that?… I’m being told that’s not in Divergent. Are you sure? Well, I mean, that’s just, like, your opinion, man. Ok ok ok, I don’t actually know or care much about the Divergent series but they did get a couple Nerf blaster tie-ins and I do care about those. So let’s take a look at the biggest blaster from the bunch, the Allegiant Blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Allegiant Blaster was released in 2016 as a promotional item for the new Allegiant movie from the Divergent series. The blaster itself is a recolor of the Rapid Glow, also in the Rebelle line, which in turn is essentially a reskin of the Recon or Retaliator which are built on the Bucky Cap body. Wait, scratch that last part. Differing from the Rapid Glow is the magazine which is the same type used in the Rapid Red, though also recolored. As with many blasters in the Rebelle line, the proportions on this blaster almost seem like they’ve been shrunken down, which I don’t entirely understand. I know Rebelle is targeted to girls, and statistically speaking, girls tend to be slightly smaller than boys, but the size difference on things like the grip and stock versus core N-Strike equivalents is kind of absurd. As such, the grip feels very cramped for me and my adult hands, and the stock is almost entirely cosmetic with no practical use. However, despite its size, the overall shape of the blaster is very smooth with rounded edges and flowing lines, which do add a little bit to the ergonomics. I just wish the dang thing were bigger. The magazine holds 12 darts and is completely interchangeable with other Nerf magazines. The blaster doesn’t feature and sights but has a single attachment rail on the slide. In addition to being typically smaller, most Rebelle blasters perform just slightly worse than core N-Strike Elite and this is also the case here. It’s not the kind of difference that will make or break the blaster for most people, but side by side, it is noticeable, making it more suited for indoor play. This is doubly true if you are like me and have to keep all the original darts with the gun since it comes with its own custom assortment of colors. The blaster comes packed with the magazine and 12 “collectible” darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Several of my friends and myself volunteer as tribute (like in Divergent) to help run a local convention every year. I purchased this blaster from Amazon so I could arm them to help enforce some of the rules. Unfortunately, the blaster didn’t arrive in time, so I was forced to bring a selection of other blasters in my arsenal. All in all it didn’t seem to affect our ability to lay down the law, Judge Dredd style, and either way, I got a new blaster out of it. While it’s not a standout blaster in any measurable sense, one of my favorite things about it is the aesthetics with the nice color scheme and the pictures of the mockingjays. And with that, I’m gonna end the review before actual Divergent fans start throwing things.

 

P.S. What day is it today? Thursday? Good gods, it seems like I missed my regularly scheduled time slot. I hope you don’t mind too much since the last weekend almost killed me with school work. Regular posts will resume Saturday, so don’t worry.