The Blaster In Question #0050: Vulcan EBF-25

BlasterInQuestion1

VULCAN EBF-25               

N-STRIKE

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I told you I was bad at this whole scheduled posting thing but you didn’t believe me.  Well here we are, BIQ review #50 and boy is it a good one.  It’s not my ultra-rare black chrome rubber band gun (teaser for #100), but it’s still quite a special blaster. If you read the title of the post or looked at any of the pictures before you started reading this like a normal person might do, then you’re probably aware that I’m reviewing the Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EBF-25 machine gun.  Aside from blasters like the Centurion, this is probably one of the most specialized, purpose-built blasters in my collection, and that purpose is absurdity.  Let’s take a look at that absurdity.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

vulcan2The Vulcan EBF-25 was released waaaay back in 2008 as part of the original N-Strike line.  No Elite here.  The whole thing is just… I mean, it’s a machine gun.  What more do you want?  Instead of using a magazine or rotating cylinder, the Vulcan actually uses a belt to feed darts into the action which, itself, can be operated in two ways.  The primary method being full auto because come on, it’s a machine gun.  Provided you had installed the 6 D cell batteries in the tray, you could then load in the belt, flick the switch just above the firing grip, and hold the trigger down making the blaster fire repeatedly with a rather noisy “wheeee-CHUNK! wheeee-CHUNK! wheeee-CHUNK!”  While it was technically full-auto, the rate of fire was not exactly impressive.  With good coordination, you could easily out-pace it by cycling the bolt manually which had the added benefit of not requiring the aforementioned 2 cubic tons of batteries to work.  You could, in theory, run the blaster entirely without batteries.  Just leave them in a little pile over there… just 2 cubic tons.  While it undoubtedly made the internals of the blaster a lot more complex, it is a feature I’m disappointed didn’t make it to later electronic blasters like the Stampede.  The ammo belts, I feel a little differently about.  There is a certain level of novelty in using a legit ammo belt in a toy blaster, but man, are vulcan3they a pain to reload.  Maybe if there had been another blaster that also used the same belts, I might like them a bit more, but the novel factor goes away after the third or fourth time you have to reload the dang things.  It’s not just a matter of putting the darts back, when the belt is emptied, it falls out the right side of the blaster, or if you want to reload without firing off all 25 shots, you need to pull the remaining belt out of the action in order to reset it.  Once you have a loaded belt, there’s still the process of setting it in the ammo box attached to the left side of the blaster in just the right way that the feed gear can actually pull the belt into the blaster, and THEN you have to open the top hatch on the blaster body to seat the first link onto the feed gear, close everything up again and prime the bolt.  Once you’ve done all of that, now you can shoot.  BUT WAIT!  Now you have to decide, are you going to carry the blaster by hand and fire from the hip like some kind of sexual tyrannosaurus, or are you going to mount it on the included tripod, realize the tripod kinda sucks, and opt for the Blaine method anyway?  But what does Mr. “The Lovebird” Ventura have to say about that body?  Probably something rambling and largely incoherent about having to keep him away from it, but it’s worth noting that the Vulcan has all original sculpt work which includes a vulcan4hinged top handle for use in the “Old Painless” style of carry and a detachable ammo box for holding the belt while in or out of use.  The front end of the Vulcan also sports 3 Nerf accessory rails, but I can’t honestly think of what you could possibly want to put on them.  There are, in fact, a set of sights along the top of the blaster that you’re welcome to use if you think it’ll help.  Sadly, these days, the Vulcan doesn’t quite stand up to other blasters in terms of range or power.  If you play your cards right and rely mainly on the shock value of busting into your younger siblings’ room holding this, they might not even notice that the shots aren’t hitting very hard.  The Vulcan comes packaged with the tripod, the ammo box, two belts, a sling which I have since lost, and 50 whistler micro darts.vulcan5

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Oh how times have changed.  I remember going to purchase this blaster from a local Wal-Mart and thinking to myself, “Wow, $50 for a Nerf blaster sure is a lot.  I can’t possibly imagine spending more than that on a Nerf Blaster.”  BAHAHA foolish child.  While the performance isn’t quite where I’d like it to be, the Vulcan succeeds on raw novelty and gimmicks and I think that’s part of why I like it so much.  That and the potential to stick it to the roof of my car and drive around with someone standing up through the sunroof.

 

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The Blaster In Question #0049: Stark Strike Blaster

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STARK STRIKE BLASTER

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (NERF)

starkstrike1Another week, another late review. One of these days I’m going to get the hang of this. And what’s that? April 1st? Time for jokes and pranks and whatnot. Well, kinda, I don’t have quite the same elaborate gag-posts Ethan pulls off, but this week’s blaster is a joke in and of itself in a way. That’s me saying it’s bad. It’s a bad… you know what? Nevermind. On to the review.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

starkstrike2It’s the Marvel Captain America: Civil War Iron Man Stark Strike Gauntlet Blaster… from Hasbro. At least, that’s what the friendly marketing guy in the video ad for this product told me. It’s the longest name for a Nerf blaster I can think of since the Nerf N-Strike Accu-Zombie Elite Strike Fire Mega Fury Strike Rapid Modulus Strike Fire Strike Strike… from Hasbro. The MCA:CWIMSSGB… fH was released in 2016 as a tie-in product for the Captain America: Civil War film. The blaster uses spring power to launch the dart, but instead of using it to push a plunger into a cylinder to create air pressure, the spring just impacts the dart directly. I’ve mentioned this system a couple times I the past, largely in reference to how terrible it is, and that assessment holds true here as well. The body of the blaster is pretty good, actually, the main feature being that the actual blaster part pops up from the rest of the platform before allowing you to fire. The construction feels solid and the sculpt is all new with starkstrike3some painted gold accent work here and there. The only controls on the blaster are the two buttons on the back, one causes the blaster to pop up, the other fires. Interestingly, due to the nature of the firing mechanism, even if the blaster is primed, it can’t be fired without a dart in the barrel, I assume to prevent the spring from beating the crap out of the internals of the blaster. The strap is small but I can still get it around my adult-sized wrist without too much trouble. Unfortunately, the problem with arm-mounted blasters is that aiming is pretty much out of the question. They say you can’t lick your own elbow, and it seems just about as impossible getting a sight-picture with it too, not that aiming would improve your chances of hitting anything with this blaster. As said before, calling the ranges on this blaster “disappointing” would be the understatement of the month, that is, if it fires at all. More often than not, the shock of the top part snapping up into position is enough to shake the dart forward in the barrel to where it no longer presses on the firing lock, meaning you have to re-seat the dart before the blaster will fire. If it does work, then you can watch the dart go flying up to about 10 or 15 feet. Woo… So unless you have some really emotionally fragile siblings, this blaster won’t help much when you decide to bust into their room and light them up. It’s probably best to leave it back in your room. The Marvel Captain America: Civil War Iron Man Stark Strike Gauntlet Blaster… from Hasbro comes with 2 Eilte darts in red and black but I seem to have lost mine, oh well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I think It really says something about a blaster when the most enjoyment I’ve gotten from it is hearing the guy in the ad say the full product name and almost forget to mention it’s from Hasbro. Sure I like gimmicky blasters, but that’s predicated on them being blasters first, and this one is pretty awful. Heyyyy jokes! But seriously, though, I wouldn’t recommend this blaster.

 

The Blaster In Question #0048: Quadrant

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QUADRANT

ACCUSTRIKE

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

THE BLASTER ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

 

The Blaster In Question #0047: Tennis Ball Blaster

BlasterInQuestion1TENNIS BALL BLASTER

NERF DOG

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I’m not dead! I swear! Turns out my sister having a sleepover can be almost as disruptive to Nerf reviews as having my world exploded. Almost. Not only that, but have a bit of a weird one for you this week. It turns out Nerf makes a whole line of dog toys which mainly consist of the standard chewy footballs and lengths of rope, but also, as it turns out, a blaster. My family does own a dog but she’s not really the playing type, but that hardly stopped me from picking one of these up.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

dog2It’s a little hard to track down the relevant information, but it seems like the Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster was released in 2015 as part of the Nerf Dog line. The mechanism seems to be unique to this particular blaster as it doesn’t use the traditional air pressure to launch the projectile, in this case a tennis ball, but rather just uses the power of the spring inside the blaster to kick the ball out directly. There aren’t any fancy gimmicks or controls, you just load the ball in the barrel, pull the top handle back to prime it and then pull the trigger. The outer shell is completely original too, which isn’t surprising given the rather purpose-built nature of the blaster. The overall feel of the blaster is that its built so that even a non-Nerf savvy person couldn’t mess it up too badly. The construction is hefty and solid and the grip has plenty of surface to hold onto. I get the feeling it’s meant to be fired one handed like a pistol because the front end is very wide to accommodate the ammo type, but this means it’s a bit awkward trying to hold it as you would a rifle type blaster. There is a ball holder on the underside of the blaster for storing the tennis ball when not dog3loaded into the barrel. While the ball included is Nerf branded, it is dimensionally the same as a regular tennis ball, so you could use any brand you like. Now, obviously, I can’t tell you to go harass any younger siblings you might have with this blaster. That would actually be abuse. But I can tell you that in the amount of range testing I did, I honestly found the performance pretty disappointing. I’m not athletic, like, at all, but I could easily throw a tennis ball farther than this can launch one. Some of you may be thinking that it’s not meant to be better than a functioning human arm, but it will let people who can’t throw (age, injury, etc.) play with their dog. But then I’d say, if you don’t have the physical faculty to throw a ball by hand, priming back the spring in this blaster is likely to be as much if not more of a challenge. Really, it seems like this blaster is meant for people who like gadgets or are fans of Nerf who also like playing with their dog, that or college kids who want to modify it into a big shotgun for HvZ, but that’s a different story altogether. The Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster comes with an orange and blue Nerf Dog branded tennis ball.

Now, I feel I should take the time to introduce Nerf Dog. Not the product line, the tennis ball. ND will be filling in for Penn for the time being while he’s away on holiday, that is to say, until I figure out where the heck Penn even went. But fear not, for I have it on good authority that ND is exactly the same size and therefore will do a fine job as a stand-in. Who knows, if he does a good job, there might be a more permanent position opening.dog4

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t planning to buy a Nerf blaster when I walked into the local grocery store with my girlfriend. I didn’t even expect to see any aside from the usual array of Jolt reskins. I had seen this blaster online before and thought it looked fun, even if I didn’t have the recommended dog with which to play, but I never bought it until I saw it in person for a substantially reduced price. Most people have impulse grocery purchases like a pack of Oreos or a cake or something. I walked out with an impulse Nerf blaster, because of course I did.