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.

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The Blaster In Question #0057: Vigilon

BlasterInQuestion1

VIGILON

VORTEX

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

THE BLASTER ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

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

The Blaster In Question #0055: Proton

BlasterInQuestion1

PROTON

VORTEX

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

THE BLASTER ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

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

The Blaster In Question #0032: Revonix 360

REVONIX 360

VORTEX

Ok, fine.  I was mean to you guys last week so here it is, an actual legitimate Vortex review.  Some of you may ask “But Tim, what is Vortex even?” to which I would reply, “Largely unsuccessful.”  Sure, it had its fans, but not enough to keep the line afloat.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of the last Vortex blasters to see a release, the Revonix 360.  What the heck is a revonix?  Let’s have a look and find out.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

First things first, “revonix” isn’t a word.  It’s not even a mishmash of a couple real words, and that’s really rather odd for Nerf.  Even the Vigilon is arguably “vigil” and “on.”  Still doesn’t make sense, though.  Best I can tell is “revo” refers to the rotating drum aaaaaaand… that’s it.  It’s just gibberish.  The Revonix 360 was released in 2013 as part of the Vortex line of blasters.  The main selling point of the entire line was its use of proprietary Vortex discs as ammo which provided greater range and consistent flight path over standard Elite darts.  The trade-off was the speed of the projectiles themselves which could be outrun by an enthusiastic glacier.  As with almost all Vortex blasters, the Revonix launches the discs by use of a spring-loaded lever that would effectively flick the discs out of the chamber instead of a more traditional air plunger mechanism.  What makes the Revonix unique is its style of magazine which holds the discs perpendicular to their flight path until one is loaded into the chamber by pumping the fore grip.  Within the magazine, the discs are held in 5 stacks of 6 which cycle through the blaster.  The drum magazine is fully integrated with the blaster, so you have to reload the discs one at at time through either of the ports on the sides of the blaster.  The shell of the Revonix is entirely new, though it does bear a striking resemblance to its predecessor, the Pyragon.  There is a very long attachment rail on the top of the blaster and a stock attachment lug in the back. Some images of the Revonix showed it with its own stock which looked pretty cool, but it seems that wasn’t ever put into production. Sadly the Revonix was released after the decision was made to change the deco style of the Vortex blasters from a cool high-tech sci-fi look to some sort of urban/punk/graffiti kind of something. I’m not really a fan, but as such, the Revonix sports a weird out of place flame paint scheme.  Oh well.  Another trait shared among the entirety of the Vortex line is how wide the blasters are compared to standard dart blasters.  The Revonix is even more so than that because of the great big drum mag, so the whole thing feels rather hefty in hand.  Thankfully the ergonomics are good.  No hard edges or sharp corners on the grips.  Due to the mechanical complexity of the blaster, priming it is fairly loud and requires a bit of elbow grease, but once you get a feel for it, it’s hard to deny the intimidation factor of hearing it rack in a new round, especially if you’re one of those younger siblings I keep talking about.  As stated above, Vortex blasters have a tendency to shoot straight and far but hit with minimal impact and it’s true here too.  Sure, it sounds, looks, and feels like a monster, but it’s really a precision tool of sibling harassment as you can pretty easily get shots to just barely skim someone’s head if they’re not looking.  If they can see you, though, it just takes an idle side-step to avoid one of the discs, so I would greatly recommend using stealth to your advantage.  Easier said than done with a blaster like this.  The Revonix 360 comes packaged with 30 red and white Vortex discs.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There we have it, I finally got around to reviewing something from Vortex.  I am a little sad that the line is dead, I do quite enjoy all of my Vortex blasters still.  At the same time, I’m glad Nerf had the sense to end something that was floundering so they could make room for something awesome like Rival a little further down the road.