The Blaster In Question #0061: Cam ECS-12






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.


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.


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.


The Blaster In Question #0054: First Order Stormtrooper Deluxe Blaster (Heavy)




stormheavy1Hang on a minute… Haven’t I already reviewed this blaster?  Not exactly.  This is really just another example of Nerf running out of names for their products.  It’s hardly a new problem, just ask the Hornet, Snapfire, or Secret Shot, but this is indeed a different blaster from the previous The Force Awakens model.  Being a Stormtrooper blaster, we already know the accuracy is going to be abysmal, but let’s not start the review off biased.  Who knows, maybe it’s actually ok? 


stormheavy2The First Order Stormtrooper Deluxe Blaster (I’ll call it the Heavy Blaster for clarity’s sake) was released in 2017 as part of the lineup of Star Wars branded blasters in conjunction with the film Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  It’s built on a standard electronic flywheel setup, albeit with the magazine sticking out the left side of the blaster instead of straight down.  Functionally it operates just like any of the other semi-auto flywheel blasters out there, but it does it with more pizzaz, just so long as pizzaz doesn’t include good performance (spoilers).  The FOSDHB does the same song and dance that all recent Star Wars Nerf products have been doing lately with the Glowstrike and the lights and sounds.  Pressing the rev switch turns on the UV LEDs in the chamber of the blaster as well as revving up the flywheels.  Pulling the trigger activates the lights and sounds regardless of whether or not the rev switch is pressed.  The lights and sounds are decent but could probably have used just a little refinement.  The lights along the barrel flash in succession when the trigger is pulled, creating a kind of laser pulse effect, but given how spread out they are on this blaster, they feel sluggish especially for something that should be traveling at light speed.  The sounds are similarly disappointing.  It seems like Nerf wanted to set the FOSDHB apart by giving it more than one blaster sound effect which sounds good on paper, but less so from the actual blaster.  Instead of having three distinct and stormheavy4unique blast sounds, the FOSDHB has a single “pew” but it is just randomly modulated into one of three pitches which sounds less like laying down suppressing fire on some rebel scum and more like you just suck at playing “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”  Turns out Stormtroopers cant even hit a note.  (HOOOOOO!) That joke has probably been made at least a million times but I still went for it.  You can’t stop me.  The construction of the blaster is mostly pretty solid.  The stock feels a little flimsy but I haven’t had any actual problems with it yet.  At least it has a nifty feature where it can act as magazine storage if you have a spare lying around somewhere.  The ergonomics aren’t bad but it does seem like this blaster has a more modern style grip on it.  After digging around online, I believe this blaster is built on a Lewis Gun which has a very different grip and stock shape.  The blaster in the film also has a neat foldable stand that extends from the underside to create a mounted machine gun kind of setup.  Sadly, the Nerf version doesn’t have this feature but it does at least have a mounting bracket which can be used with the tripod from the Vulcan or RhinoFire if you have one of those.  I probably don’t need to say anything about this blaster’s performance given the enormous barrel, single set of batteries powering all the lights and sounds as well as the motors, or just the track record of Star Wars blasters’ performances, but I will anyway.  It’s bad.  It’s real bad.  stormheavy3The darts that leave the barrel when you fire are just not motivated at all.  I almost wish that instead of laser pew pew sounds, the blaster just had Alan Rickman’s lines from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  They don’t go far, they don’t hit hard, and by the time they’re out of the barrel, most of the glow-in-the-dark charge has faded.  It’s just really not a great blaster.  I would not recommend this one for use against younger siblings.  It does not have the power to back up how obscenely big and noisy it is so you’re more likely to come across as clownish rather than imposing and scary.  Even after all of these issues, I haven’t gotten to the biggest one of them all, the price.  I don’t usually mention the price of blasters unless there’s a good reason to, and in this case, for a vastly underpowered, unwieldy, pew pew Stryfe, an MSRP of $80 is imbecilically high.  It comes with 4 AA batteries already installed, so I guess you can deduct that from the price, but still.  The FOSDHB comes packaged with a 12 round magazine and 12 Glowstrike Elite darts.


Thankfully, I did not pay full price for my blaster.  As with so many new purchases these days,  this came from ToysRUs, the UK to the toy industry’s European Union.  Based on what was said, we really thought they’d be gone by now.  What was I talking about?  Right, politics, that’s what you want from a toy blog.  This blaster is really disappointing, but that being said, if you want one, TRU still has plenty in stock and they’re getting cheaper, so there’s that.  Now let me tell you about Trump.  What’s that?  Ethan has just informed me that I’m fired if I start talking politics.  I suppose that’s reasonable.  Yay toys!

The Blaster In Question #0037: First Order Stormtrooper Deluxe Blaster




stormrifle1Look at this post.  Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so punctual.  Ok ok, technically this week’s blaster isn’t from the “empire” so to speak, but the First Order is basically the Empire 2.0, so yeah.  Also, I know there is a more recent First Order Stormtrooper Deluxe Blaster on the market now, but I couldn’t justify hefty price tag on that one just yet so we’re going with the older one.  But that’s enough about that, on with the review!


stormrifle2The First Order Stormtrooper Deluxe Blaster (the first one) was released in 2015 as part of Nerf’s Star Wars tie-in products, at the time, corresponding with the release of The Force Awakens.  Functionally, the blaster operates just like the N-Strike Elite Rampage, or Raider before it as it built on virtually the same internal mechanism using a pump-action magazine fed setup.  This makes a lot of sense as a design choice since it probably saved the good people at Hasbro some time and therefore money working out how the blaster was going to work.  Also, given that the Sterling Mk. IV SMG (the real steel firearm on which the F-11D Stormtrooper rifle is based) loads magazines from the side, I’d say the decision practically made itself.  The blaster looks and feels pretty good.  Leaving enough to clearly denoted it as a toy, the blaster resembles the prop from the film pretty closely.  Being modeled after a real world firearm, the ergonomics are pretty good.  The pistol grip is simple but does the job well.  The pump grip could be a little more rounded for comfort in my opinion, but it’s understandable squaring it off to accommodate the proportions of the blaster body.  As a fun side-note, most of the official promotional stormrifle3images for the blaster show it with the pump grip installed backwards.  The FOSDB also comes with a scope and stock accessories that fit onto standard Nerf attachment rails and lugs, respectively.  The scope is very low-profile and actually provides quite a nice sight picture for what that’s worth in a Nerf attachment.  The stock is nice and solid, if a bit short on its own but the way the body of the blaster extends back past the grip means it’s at least a useable length when attached.  At the very least, it fits with the overall compact size of the blaster.  Without the stock, the blaster itself is really sized more like a large handgun than a rifle, something that it has over the Rampage.  That and the fun primed indicator disguised as a vent that changes from black to red when the blaster is primed.  Both of these little improvements make it that much more disappointing that the performance isn’t up to the same standard as Elite blasters.  I’ve been over the reasons why this is the case, but it still bums me out sometimes, especially with blasters that should be awesome by all rights.  Even if you’re not getting exactly the same range and power, at least you can throw out movie quotes as you bust into your younger sibling’s room and start blasting.  Good luck hitting anything, though.  It is a Stormtrooper rifle, after all.  The FOSDB comes packaged with a scope, a stock, an all-white 12 round magazine, and 12 red Star Wars branded Elite darts with transparent red tips.stormrifle4


This blaster was really the first Star Wars Nerf blaster I can remember seeing and getting excited about.  Before this series, the best we got always seemed to be single shot, muzzle loaders, so it was really great to see tie-in blasters get more serious designs, even if they’re almost direct copies of existing blasters.  Clones, maybe.  Wait, no, we’ve confirmed the First Order doesn’t do clones.  Only bad movies do that, that’d be stupid.

The Blaster In Question #0031: Modulus ECS-10



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


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


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


The Blaster In Question #0027: Zeus MXV-1200



You know what this page needs?  It needs more balls.  Like, just a little pile over there, like 2 cubic tons.  Ok, maybe not that many, more like just a few ounces.  And obviously, I’m talking about the Nerf Rival High-Impact Rounds.  What else could it be, you weirdo.  Yes, it’s another Rival review, and this time we’re looking at part 2 of the line’s debut release, named for the king of the gods himself, the Zeus MXV-1200.  Let’s check it out.


Here’s a fun fact, the names of the Rival blasters are actually quite informative.  Let me break it down for you.  So far they all are named for a deity from the ancient Greek pantheon and that’s just to sound cool.  After that, if the first letter is an M, that stands for “motorized.”  If there’s no M, you can assume it’s spring powered.  The next letters are the Roman numerals for the last 2 digits of the blaster’s release year.  XV is 15, hence, the Zeus and Apollo came out in 2015.  Lastly, the number after the hyphen is the blaster’s initial magazine capacity multiplied by 100.  All clear?  Good, let’s move on.  As the name suggests, the Zeus is a semi-automatic flywheel powered blaster with a 12 round capacity using the included magazine.  The flywheel mechanism itself is nothing new, though it has been substantially beefed up to deliver the expected Rival performance.  The shell of the Zeus is completely original and features a unique in-line side loaded orientation for the magazine, using the magazine spring itself to feed rounds into the flywheels rather than some other pusher mechanism.  Exchanging magazines is a little tricky at first because of how unconventional the layout is, but with a little time you get used to it.  Something worth noting is that the Rival 12 round magazines are the only ones that will work with the Zeus.  The Zeus’s handling is pretty good, though I do have some minor gripes.  The blaster feels solid and rather hefty in the hand, but the housing for the motors sticks out kind of abruptly from the left side and can dig into your palm if you’re not holding it just right.  Also, the pistol grip feels a little slim and I might have preferred just a bit more there to hold onto.  There is a lever safety above the trigger that prevents the rev switch from being pressed when it’s engaged, but it’s got a lot of play before it actually clicks into place and feels like it was probably a last minute addition.  The Zeus sports 3 Rival attachment rails (not the standard Nerf rail, these are specific to Rival), one on each side and a longer one along the top of the blaster.  It also has flip-up sights to help with aiming but they sit a little low compared to the back end of the blaster so you have to really mash your face into the cheek rest to get a decent sight picture.  Functionally, the only complaint I have is that I wish inserting a magazine didn’t automatically make it push a round into the blaster.  Again, these are minor issues that I have and don’t affect my overall opinion of the blaster that much.  That’s because actually shooting the Zeus is a joy.  Unlike other flywheel dart blasters, the Zeus revs up with a sound I’ve often described as a bag of angry hornets, and that sound is very much understandable once you pull the trigger a few times.  It launches rounds on more or less a straight line trajectory for a good 50 feet before they exhibit any noticeable drop.  Rounds also hit hard, making indoor shooting kind of a bad idea if you don’t want to risk breaking anything.  The plus side of this is that usually, you don’t even need to shoot anything to freak out your sibling when you bust into their room.  Just rev the darn thing like a mother-something chainsaw (what?) and that’ll get your point across. The Zeus MXV-1200 requires 6 C batteries and comes packaged with 12 High-Impact Rounds and a 12 round magazine.


The Zeus isn’t perfect.  Almost no blasters out there are, but it’s easily in the top 10% and very much a force to be reckoned with.  It sounds like thunder when it revs up, buzzy, high pitched thunder.  It hits like lightning.  There might be some hyperbole in there but you get the point.  It seems “Zeus” is an appropriate name for this blaster.  It’s not much of a womanizer though, so I guess that’s probably a point in it’s favor.

The Blaster In Question #0025: AlphaHawk



Sometimes bigger isn’t always better, but if you’re going big anyway, make sure you look good doing it.  That pretty much sums up what I must imagine was the design mentality behind this week’s blaster.  I am talking, of course, about the Accustrike AlphaHawk.  We’ve already checked out the target pistol-esque FalconFire, so let’s see what the full sized rifle has going on.


The AlphaHawk was released in 2017 as the then-flagship blaster for the new Accustrike line.  It uses a 5-round rotating cylinder like the Hammershot or Spectre REV-5.  It uses a bolt handle to prime the plunger as opposed to the more common slide or hammer mechanisms and features the ability to swing the cylinder out to the left side to facilitate loading.  Very little if any part of this blaster is new, mechanically speaking, but the tooling on the outer shell is all original.  This is perhaps the best feature of the blaster.  It’s clear a lot of care went into the design because it just looks fantastic.  Additionally, it feels great too.  The grip is very ergonomic and even has rubberized side panels for extra traction.  The bolt handles are all plastic unlike those found on the Longshot or Tri-Strike and are much lower profile plus have a spring return instead of having to be manually pushed forward again.  The AlphaHawk also has somewhat functional sights along the top with a big ring around the front post.  There aren’t any accessories included with the blaster but it does sport a rail on the top of the body and another just under the muzzle if you feel like adding any.  I personally think it looks rather smart with the scope from the Zombie Strike Clear Shot.  The performance for the AlphaHawk is pretty standard for a mainline Nerf blaster, shooting pretty far and hitting reasonably hard.  The darts are perhaps the biggest improvement, offering significantly more consistent flight paths for every shot.  Using regular Elite darts effectively makes the blaster just like any other 5 shot revolver except in a package the size of a rifle.  This then begs the question, “why would you choose a rifle with only 5 shots when there are pistols with higher capacity and equal or superior performance?”  The answer is simply “style.”  Looking at the pure numerical statistics of the AlphaHawk, it’s not that great of a blaster.  It doesn’t provide any real benefit of use for all that extra plastic, but that’s not the point.  Yes, it’s styled to resemble a sniper or marksman’s rifle, but you’re never going to get that kind of performance from a toy for kids 8+.  In this case it’s all about the feel of the blaster, and the AlphaHawk feels phenomenal.  The size does make it a little unwieldy for the traditional busting-into-your-sibling’s-room kind of attack, but it’s a ton of fun to play indoor sniper and take pot shots at them from down the hallway.  The AlphaHawk comes packaged with 10 Accustrike darts.


There are a handful of blasters out there that I feel get an undeserved amount of hate from Nerf fans.  Most of the time it’s very straightforward, but I feel like the AlphaHawk is the target of a much more subtle brand of contempt.  I’ve never heard anyone flat-out say they hate the AlphaHawk, but I’ve seen more than a handful of videos of people cutting off the barrel and stock, making it into just a revolver pistol.  If you want a revolver pistol, Nerf has a wide assortment to choose from, but I really don’t understand the point of ruining arguably the best feature of the blaster in order to get there.

The Blaster In Question #0024: Captain Cassian Andor Deluxe Blaster



Everything looks better in blue.  Ok, maybe not everything, but a lot of things do, and that goes for Nerf blasters.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at yet another Star Wars blaster.  This time it is the Target exclusive Captain Cassian Andor Deluxe Blaster.  Well, sort of exclusive.  I’ll explain later.  Let’s get into the review


The Captain Cassian Andor Deluxe Quite A Mouthful Blaster was released in 2016 as a tie-in product for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  This specific blaster is the Target exclusive blue recolor of the Jyn Erso Blaster from the same line.  Plus, this one’s got a bunch of accessories that Jin’s blaster doesn’t.  It’s built on the classic magazine-fed flywheel system we’ve seen on the Stryfe and other blasters.  Holding down the rev trigger spins up the flywheels and pulling the main trigger pushes a single dart into the wheels, sending it flying.  The big difference between the CCADB and the Stryfe is the inclusion of lights and sounds which activate on the trigger pull, regardless of the rev trigger being pressed.  I was actually pretty impressed with the lights on this blaster.  Every time the trigger is pulled, a series of green LEDs in the barrel light up in rapid succession giving the illusion of a laser blast traveling down the barrel.  Accompanied by the sound effects, it really does make just pulling the trigger quite satisfying.  It’s also worth noting that holding down the rev trigger turns on the blue LED in the chamber as part of the blaster’s Glowstrike feature.  The included magazine holds 12 darts and, unlike most standard N-Strike Elite magazines, is completely transparent orange on both sides.  The outer shell of the base blaster is completely new work though shared with the Jyn Erso blaster, and looks a good bit like the blaster in the film which, if anyone cares, was made with an AR-15 as the base of the prop.  Like with the Poe Dameron blaster, the use of real-world firearms parts makes holding the blaster fairly comfortable, though there is some noticeable down-scaling from the real thing, making it a little cramped in the grip.  All the included accessories with the CCADB are recolored attachments from various other blasters.  The stock comes from the N-Strike Raider CS-35, the scope comes from the Modulus Long Range Upgrade Kit, the barrel extension/suppressor comes from the N-Strike/Elite Specter REV-5, and the bumps along the sides of the magazine indicate it comes from the Modulus Flip-Clip Upgrade Kit.  In addition to the grip being a hair small, some sections of the blaster feel a little flimsier than I’m used to from Nerf.  It’s not a lot, but the grey panels on the sides of the grip and the battery tray cover do flex a good bit if you have a firm grasp on the blaster.  This CCADB is not a heavy hitter in terms of performance.  The power of the flywheels is rather limited, either by design or because the batteries also have to power the lights, sounds, and Glowstrike feature when firing.  This is an indoor blaster, no question.  It does fire reliably but shots arc more severely than most other blasters and don’t land with as much force, making it ideal for busting into your sibling’s room and emptying the mag without fear of getting in as much trouble.  The CCADB comes packaged with 12 Glowstrike Star Wars darts, a 12 round magazine, a scope, a stock, a barrel extension, and 4 AA batteries already installed.


This blaster is largely what convinced me that the addition of lights and sounds to the Star Wars Nerf lineup wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.  While the Death Trooper blaster is fine, the effects on this blaster are pretty top notch and, having seen this year’s offerings, set the standard for effects for “deluxe” blasters to follow.