The Blaster In Question #0071: Spectre REV-5

BlasterInQuestion1

SPECTRE REV-5

N-STRIKE

Spectre1Knife-wrench: its a knife and wrench, mostly wrench. And then he accidentally stabs himself in the leg and we all have a good chuckle. That reminds me of this week’s blaster. No, not the stabbing part, but being a weird combination of two things, namely being a rifle and a pistol. Now that I’m thinking about it that’s hardly a unique design feature for this blaster, but I made a Scrubs reference, what do you want?  This week I’ll be looking at the Spectre REV-5. 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

spectre2The Spectre was released in 2010 as part of the original N-Strike line, then again in 2013 as the Elite version. I do own both versions, but I didn’t have the Elite model on hand when I was taking photos, so just keep that in mind. Most stuff I’ll touch on applies to both blasters but I’ll point out any differences. The Spectre is a 5 shot revolver style blaster similar to the Maverick or Strongarm, but with slightly lower capacity. The shell of the original was all new and the only changes to the Elite version besides color are the slots in the sides of the body for the slide to interface with the internals. The cylinder swings out to the left side of the blaster, which, itself, sports a barrel lug, a stock lug, and an accessory rail. At the time of its initial release, what set the Spectre apart from other pistols was its ability to accept barrel extensions and stocks, like those included, to transform it into more of a rifle type blaster. As I recall, the spectre3accessories that came with the Spectre were perhaps more highly sought after than the actual blaster. First off, the stock, while kinda flimsy, was the first example of a side folding stock to hit the market, so that was cool. Also, the barrel had the double distinction of having a bore wide enough that it wouldn’t affect performance, and it looked like a cool suppressor. The ergonomics of the blaster are pretty standard, functional but not mind blowing, though having both attachments on does make it feel like some sort of covert scout rifle, which is fun. Performance on the Elite version is substantially improved over the original but neither version is all that great, to be honest.  At the very least, you can feel like a hit man when you attach the suppressor before busting into your younger siblings’ room and start blasting. The Spectre REV-5 comes with a barrel attachment, a folding stock and either 5 whistler darts or 5 Elite darts, depending on which model. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

The concept of a single blaster that can effectively fill both roles of a pistol and rifle is and continues to be an intriguing one, but the Spectre sadly doesn’t pull it off. It’s an ok pistol, and a meh rifle, but there are better examples of each separately. That seems to be the way it goes, except with drill fork. It’s a drill and fork. I mean, come on, that’s pure gold right there. 

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The Blaster In Question #0070: Hades XVIII-6000

BlasterInQuestion1

HADES XVIII-6000

RIVAL (PHANTOM CORPS)

Sometimes you don’t need to make something entirely new to end up with something really good.  Sometimes you just need to take something promising, and tweak it just a bit, then double its capacity and add a shoulder stock.  And presto, its as easy as that.  At least, it is if you’re Nerf, because that’s exactly what they did to bring us this week’s blaster, the Hades.  Just imaging James Woods is reading this review to you.  

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Hades XVIII-6000 was launched in 2018 as the main spring-powered blaster in the Rival line’s fall quarter releases.  It features a hefty 60 round capacity tacked on to pretty much the exact same system as the Artemis XVII-3000, which used a pump action, rotating barrel mechanism to continuously feed rounds into the chamber.  With the integral magazines laying parallel to the blaster body, it’s a very streamlined layout that yields a high capacity for the size.  The Hades’ shell seems to be all original even with its similarities to the Artemis.  Thinking the Artemis might be better suited to the name Persephone, personally.  As mentioned before, the Hades has double the capacity of the Artemis and actually has a shoulder stock, making it more of a rifle.  Like the Artemis, the Hades’ pump grip is kid of an odd shape, in my opinion.  It’s not really shaped to the human hand, it’s just sort of there.  That’s really my only complaint with any weight behind it, anything else from here on out is really just nitpicks.  For instance, While I’m happy about the inclusion of a shoulder stock, I think the pistol grip is a little too far back as it makes the respective distances from off hand, to shooting hand, to shoulder a little wonky.  I think it would be as simple as moving the pistol grip forward just a couple inches to make it really nice, but I acknowledge its a highly subjective opinion to have, so not everyone will experience the same thing.  Additionally, I’m a little bummed that Nerf has gotten into the habit of leaving iron sights off of Rival blasters for a while now.  Sure you can use the red dot sight they make, and even such, sights don’t really help on a Nerf blaster, but I really enjoy when they are there.  As you’d expect from a Rival blaster of this size, the Hades hits pretty hard.  Pair that with the capability of slam-fire and you’d better be really sure your younger sibling deserved it before you bust into their room and start blasting away.  I believe the Geneva Convention lists an unprovoked attack from the Hades as a declaration of war, so keep that in mind.  If you do take that route and need to rearm, you reload the Hades by sliding the top cover all the way back to the stock and loading rounds into the ports on the top sides of the magazine tubes.  The Hades comes packaged with 60 Rival rounds in standard yellow, as well as blue and red team indicator flags.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

A common misconception that a lot of people have about Hades is that he wasn’t really a villain.   He was just kinda grumpy and could be a little frightening due to the nature of his job.  And I’d say that’s an apt description of this blaster.  It’s a really good blaster, like, you should go buy one.  It just depends which side of it you find yourself on that determines how frightening it is.  I guess I didn’t really write this to sound like James Woods very much, just replace some of the verbs with “schmooze” and I think that should do it.

The Blaster In Question #0069: Nitron

BlasterInQuestion1

NITRON

VORTEX

nitron1I think the Vortex line has perhaps the weirdest naming scheme of any group of Nerf blasters.  You start out with the Proton and the Praxis, both real words.  Maybe they’re going for a pr- naming pattern here, but then you get the Vigilon.  Huh.  That’s not a word, but ok.  Follow that up with the Nitron.  Ok, that’s just close enough to being a real word, I’m just annoyed.  There’s already a Proton, why not commit and call it the Neutron?  “But Tim, it’s got nitro in the name to emphasize how fast it is.” I hear you say.  But is it fast? Is it really? That’s a question for the rest of the review to answer. 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

nitron2The Nitron was released in 2011 as the big flagship blaster for the launch of the Vortex series.  It uses a standard flywheel control setup for the blaster with a motorized pusher enabling full-auto fire.  The interesting thing about the flywheels is that they’re different sizes to impart a spin to the discs as they are fired, you know, so they work at all.  The full-auto is a nice thought, but it’s just so slow that a manual semi-auto trigger could easily outpace it without even trying too hard.  Not looking so good on the “nitro” front.  I guess the complex system of wheels, and levers, and whirling blades used to launch the discs was too dangerous to put a nitron3jam door on it, so instead, there’s a disconnect switch along the top of the blaster, just behind the single accessory rail.  Toggling the switch off not only opens the circuit and prevents the flywheels from revving, but also moves the retaining bar in the chamber out of the way, allowing troublesome discs to fall out the barrel when tilted down.  Returning briefly to the accessory rail, the Nitron was initially packaged with a very fancy light up scope with several styles of illumination, and is actually quite a nice little extra piece, however mine is elsewhere at the time of me writing this so it wont appear in any photos.  Just know that it is part of the Nitron package and I still have mine, just somewhere else for now.  Don’t give me that look.  The body of the Nitron is all original and even has a slot in the back of the stock to hold a extra magazine, should you have one handy.  The lever just above nitron4the trigger is the magazine release for the forward magazine well.  The ergonomics are decent as all of the controls are easily accessible and there aren’t any sharp edges or abrasive textures.  The stock feels a little long for the rest of the blaster, and I keep getting the feeling like maybe it should be fired from on top of the shoulder like a rocket launcher.  Now the performance.  The “nitro” part.  It uh… it’s slow.  It’s real slow.  I mean, it shoots mini frisbees, so they fly a good long ways, but they’re really not in a hurry.  Even the rate of fire is leisurely at best.  Sure, it’s big and looks impressive, but unless your younger siblings are completely paralyzed by fear when you bust into their room, you might have a harder than usual time actually trying to hit them.  The Nitron requires 6 C cell batteries to fire, and the included scope takes 2 AA batteries.  The Nitron comes packaged with the scope, a 20 round magazine and 20 Vortex discs.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

So no, it’s not fast.  Should have just called it the Neutron.  Oh well.  It’s not a bad blaster, really, just far outclassed in this day and age.  If you can find one for a decent price, I’d even recommend picking one up, if for no other reason than to get yourself a nice scope and a 20 round Vortex mag.

The Blaster In Question #0068: First Order Stormtrooper Blaster (Rival)

BlasterInQuestion1

FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER BLASTER

STAR WARS (RIVAL)

RivalStorm1Hold on. We’ve been here several times before, haven’t we?  No, once again, we’re looking at yet another First Order Stormtrooper blaster. What is this, the fourth blaster with this name?  Yes, but with a big difference. Hitherto, all the various Stormtrooper blasters have been standard dart blasters, but this particular iteration is in fact, a Rival blaster. How’s that work then? Let me tell you. Onto the review. 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

RivalStorm2Arent you a little big for a stormtrooper blaster? Not you, the reader, was doing a bit where I—  you know, because of the quote from— look, nevermind.  The Rival version of the First Order Stormtrooper blaster was released in 2018 as one of the more “collector’s” style of blaster like we’ve seen with the Boba Fett Apollo reskin and the Deadpool Kronos. Like both previous examples, this blaster comes in a fancy display style of box with lots of stormtrooper imagery, as you’d expect. Unlike the other blasters, though, this isn’t simply a recolor, it’s an entirely new shell, and boy is it a shell. Mechanically speaking, the Stormtrooper blaster works just like the Helios, albeit without the ability to switch the charging handle from one side to the other. Because of this, the body of the blaster has to accommodate the same layout of internals, which is why the stock section looks a little chunky compared to props from the movies. Add to that the barrel and fore grip section which isn’t present on the Helios and you now have a pretty huge blaster.  Not that that’s a bad thing in and of itself, but it does throw a couple RivalStorm3things off just a bit in terms of the design. More of that later. Out of the box, the blaster comes with 2 extra bits that are meant to be slotted into the right side in order to make it more visually accurate to the movie prop. They don’t serve any function beyond aesthetics but I did find it interesting that they are easily removable, I guess if you want to put everything back in the nice display box. There is a scope molded into the body of the blaster so it’s not removable, but it might have been nice if they put any kind of reticle in there at all. As it stands, it’s just a tube. The aforementioned wonkiness in scale probably has the greatest impact on ergonomics. The first thing you notice when picking this up is that the grip is absolutely huge and kind of blocky. I know the Sterling submachine gun has a grip with flat sides, and consequently, so does the movie prop on which it’s built, but some contouring around where the webbing of my thumb sits would have made a big difference here, especially since the Helios has just such contouring, so it’s not an issue for RivalStorm4preserving the function of the blaster. Secondly, because the stock is so thick, the butt plate is much wider than it would be normally. Again, wouldn’t have been an issue with some light contour work, but for now, the wide plate with hard edges along the sides can be unpleasant if you don’t seat it just right on your shoulder. And that’s really all the functional complaints I have about this. I mean, it’s a Helios and I love the Helios. The charging handle on the left side is hinged so it can flip up to be more out of the way for storage or what have you, and is a pretty good shape for being as slim as it is. As a Rival blaster, performance is solid, firing hard and far, definitely something to give your younger siblings pause. The First Order Stormtrooper Blaster comes packaged in its fancy box with the two extra decorative pieces, a 7 round Rival magazine, and 7 special red Rival rounds, you know, ‘cause it’s a laser gun. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I do actually have one more complaint about the blaster, but I saw this one coming the moment I saw it unveiled at Toy Fair. It’s expensive. Really expensive. Such is always the case with licensed blasters. If you want a Helios, you can get one for about 1/4 the price of this. I got mine through GameStop with a bit of a discount, but still, you have to be sure you want this if you’re planning on picking one up. Maybe if you’re feeling crafty, you could paint the white parts gold and have yourself a Captain Phasma blaster. Then in true movie fashion you could never fire it once and then try to apprehend a deserter with a stick. Good choiceRivalStormbox

The Blaster In Question #0067: Delta Trooper

BlasterInQuestion1

DELTA TROOPER

N-STRIKE ELITE

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

THE BLASTER ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

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

The Blaster In Question #0061: Cam ECS-12

 

 

BlasterInQuestion1

CAM ECS-12

N-STRIKE ELITE

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

THE BLASTER ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

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

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

BlasterInQuestion1

STORMTROOPER DELUXE BLASTER

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (GLOWSTRIKE)

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? 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

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.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

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

BlasterInQuestion1

FIRST ORDER STROMTROOPER DELUXE BLASTER

STAR WARS

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!

THE BLASTER ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

MODULUS ECS-10

MODULUS

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.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

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.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

ZEUS MXV-1200

RIVAL

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.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

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 ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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.