The Blaster In Question #0076: Nailbiter

NAILBITER

ZOMBIE STRIKE

nailbite1Nails. We all love them. Spikes what spike stuff together. Either that or the scratchy bits on the ends of your fingers, or even a band from the 90s that wants to do stuff like an animal. What does this all have to do with Nerf though? Well think about it, if you had to grab a makeshift weapon to use against zombies, wouldn’t you go for a nail gun?  No, not a cricket bat, and not a regular ball-peen hammer and sheer unflinching willpower, a nail gun. If for no other reason than it would be cool if it worked at all. Enter Nerf’s answer to this question that you all (for the sake of the review) answered wrong by picking more wisely, the Nailbiter. Improvised weaponry made from power tools? Let me show you its features. 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

nailbite2The Nailbiter was released in 2019 as part of the Zombie Strike line. It features a double-action trigger, like the Voidcaster from the Alien Menace series, but instead of just a smart AR, the Nailbiter uses an 8 round, vertical ratcheting clip, reminiscent of how, say, a nail gun would feed. I don’t know why Nerf seems to be on such a ratcheting clip kick lately with the Thunderhawk and Rukkus in addition, but it does seem like they’re slowly improving upon the system each time. People hated the Thunderhawk’s clip cuz it stuck out to the side and made it virtually impossible to store the blaster with space efficiency in mind. The Rukkus was a little better but you couldn’t access the whole clip from a single position for nailbite3reloading. Now with the Nailbiter, not only does the clip fit entirely within the silhouette of the blaster, but when it’s ratcheted all the way up, you can reload all 8 barrels. At this rate, in a few more iterations, it’ll hold 200 rounds and have 30% critical chance. Nerf, I’m serious, pick up the Warframe license. I’ll buy everything. Anyway, being a double-action blaster, pulling the trigger not only primes and fires in a single stroke, now it also advances the clip. This makes rapidly firing very easy, especially while dual weighing which I highly recommend if you can manage it. The Nailbiter is fairly large for a pistol. It was certainly bigger than I was expecting. On the plus side, that larger size means that it was big enough to include a stock and barrel attachment point. There’s also a rail on the bottom for… something, Australian scopes?  Who knows? The performance of the Nailbiter isn’t the most amazing in terms of range and power, but it’s definitely respectable in those regards. As I said earlier, the main draw for a blaster like this is rapid fire. Busting into your younger siblings’ room with two Nailbiters and opening fire is a sight they’ll not soon forget. The Nailbiter comes packaged with 8 Zombie Strike Elite darts. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I found the Nailbiter entirely by chance at my local target since I was under the impression they hadn’t come out yet. Needless to say, I bought 2 and I regret nothing. As much fun as the Voidcaster was to dual wield for the vague Halo-esque feeling it inspired, the Nailbiter is functionally the better blaster, and having 16 rounds of semi-auto foam on tap is quite a feeling of its own. I recommend greatly

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The Blaster In Question #0064: Ripchain

BlasterInQuestion1

RIPCHAIN

ZOMBIE STRIKE

ripchain1If there’s one universal truth that Todd McFarlane knows, it’s that kids love chains, and I think we can all learn from that.  It seems like Nerf certainly has, with the recent release of their second belt-fed blaster.  So with this much Nerf chain out on the market for kids to love, this blaster obviously needs a name in line with something from the McFarlane universe.  Let’s see, Overt-kill is already taken, so we’ll have to go with Ripchain.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

ripchain2The Zombie Strike Ripchain was released in 2018 and features a 25-round loop belt which is fed through the blaster by pump-action.  The system bares some similarity to the manual fire mode from the Vulcan EBF-25, but without the option for automatic fire.  Sorry Todd, no wires on this one.  Also, I did try, but sadly the belts from the Vulcan are not compatible in the Ripclaw.  To load the Riptor, you fill the belt with 25 darts, lift the hatch on the upper front portion of the blaster, slip the belt over and into place, close the hatch and you can then proceed with firing.  Like the Vulcan before it, the Riptide has a mechanism that locks the hatch in place when closed over the belt, however it also has a switch that can unlock the hatch, making unloading the blaster much easier.  The ergonomics of the Cy-Gor aren’t exactly its strong suit, but they’re functional, at least.  Having the belt all the way in the front makes loading and unloading much easier but it also makes the blaster very front heavy.  Additionally, the plastic piece imitating a ripchain3cloth wrap on the pistol grip isn’t completely locked into the rest of the grip and wobbles just enough to make me concerned about the grip’s structural integrity, particularly if you try holding it by just the pistol grip.  The pump grip is a little blocky but it’s a decent enough shape overall.  The shell of the Malebogia is completely original and features a single accessory rail on the top.   Performance-wise, the Necrid actually has decent range and power given the potential for a poor air seal between the plunger tube and the individual links on the belt.  The belt itself is all plastic with pins connecting the individual links, rather than the cloth strap the Vulcan belts use.  This means turning quickly while holding the blaster causes the belt to swing side to side with a rather distinctive clacking sound.  This can either come across as silly if it’s unintended or can be a foreboding herald just before you bust into your younger siblings’ room and open fire.  The Ripchain come packaged with a 25-round loop belt, and 25 Zombie Strike Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

Ok, first things first, I know all of the goofy names I used weren’t McFarlane properties but I felt it was more important to gradually warm you up to the joke with other “Rip” names first.  I suppose I could have used Rip Torn in there but I actually like stuff he was in so he gets a pass.  Anyway, I think it’s a cool, slightly gimmicky blaster.  Should you get it to be a purely practical blaster? Probably not.  Should you get it to be fun and because it’s belt fed?  Aw heck, yeah.

The Blaster In Question #0030: Sledgefire

SLEDGEFIRE

ZOMBIE STRIKE

Boo! Haunted house!  What else could be scarier than a late review?  Muahahaha!  Ok, well, lots of things, I suppose.  Zombies, for instance. And if there are zombies, you know you’re gonna need to shoot at least a couple of them, you know, just to try it out. Sure, you could, in theory, use any of the quality blasters in the Nerf catalog, but what if one or even two darts at a time isn’t enough?  That’s when it’s time to consider the Sledgefire, and consider it we shall.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Sledgefire was released in 2013 as part of the first wave of Zombie Strike blasters alongside the Hammershot. Like the Barrel Break from last week, it operates using a break action with darts being loaded tip first into the barrel. The big difference between the Barrel Break and the Sledgefire is that the Sledgefire uses proprietary shells for loading which hold three darts a piece. Pressing the orange tab above the grip unlocks the barrel, allowing you to simultaneously open the action of the blaster and prime the air plunger. Once fully opened, you insert a shell and close the breach back up. Pulling the trigger fires all three darts out of the shell in one blast, there isn’t a staged trigger like on the Barrel Break, so it’s effectively a one-shot blaster that has a spread pattern. The outer shell is all original, featuring a pretty aggressive looking attachment rail on top, and sports a rather appealing turquoise blue color that we are yet to see on any other Nerf blaster, which I feel is a shame. The shells are unique to the Sledgefire and serve simply to hold the darts in position for loading and firing. The stock has cutouts that allow you to store the shells with the blaster so they don’t get lost, which is a nice feature since the blaster cannot work without the shells. You can buy more shells, but only through Amazon or via the Hasbro Toy Shop website, which is nice that they’re available, but I wish they had a proper retail release.  The ergonomics of the Sledgefire are pretty nice, the grip is comfortable even at such a steep angle which seems to be Nerf shorthand for “this is meant to be a shotgun” at this point. Everything feels nice and solid especially around the breach which is important for something like this to work well. Loading the shells into the blaster is pretty fiddly and takes a bit of time to get used to, but it’s novel and has nice mechanical feedback so the fun of reloading makes up for some of the required fine motor control needed. Performance isn’t really the focus of the blaster, and as such, spreading the air pressure of a single plunger across three darts does make them fly a little shorter and softer than typical.  Additionally, I’m not sure what it is, but the Sledgefire is on of the worst blasters as far as dart crimping, where if you leave the darts loaded in the shells for any period of time more than a day or so, they get compressed and don’t fit the chamber as snugly so performance drops pretty dramatically.  It’s still quite effective against younger siblings whether you’re busting into their room or waiting in ambush to blast them. The imposing ka-chunk if snapping the breach closed only adds to the shock and awe impression its sure to leave. The Sledgefire comes packaged with 3 shells and 9 green Zombie Strike colored Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I figured this would be a pretty fun blaster to look at for Hallowe’en (or Samhain if that’s more your style) weekend.  It’s not really a practical blaster at all, but once again, the fun of it makes up for that in spades.  You can always count on shotguns for fun.

 

The Blaster In Question #0021: Hammershot

HAMMERSHOT

ZOMBIE STRIKE

Zombies: everyone’s favorite guilt-free shooting target.  In just about every iteration of modern zombie fiction, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before everyone has a gun and is lighting up the undead left and right.  The fine people over at Hasbro certainly took notice of this trend when they started the Zombie Strike series of blasters back in 2013, a product line that persists to this day, which is a feat in and of itself.  So what laid the groundwork for such a line?  That’s what we’ll be looking at today with the Hammershot.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Hammershot was one of the very first Zombie Strike blasters, released in 2013 alongside the Sledgefire.  The Hammershot is a 5-round revolver style blaster, which, itself is nothing new.  What sets the Hammershot apart from other blasters like the Spectre REV-5 or even the Strongarm is its priming mechanism.  Instead of a traditional priming slide which would require a second hand to operate, the Hammershot uses, unsurprisingly, a hammer style of prime that can be operated entirely one-handed.  If you read my previous review, you’ll know that the premise of effective dual-wieldable blasters is quite alluring to me, so it should come as no surprise that I own a couple of these, thanks in part to my boy Ethan.  The outer shell of the blaster is entirely original work and has a lot of really nice layering of plastic which gives it some visual depth.  This is also helped by the use of this super cool, very subtle swirly metallic orange plastic which I believe is completely unique to this blaster.  There’s some interesting texture work going on too with the faux wood grain and faux cloth wrap on the handle.  I was skeptical of the cloth wrap at first because I thought it looked goofy and sort of out of place, but ergonomically it works just fine with no harsh lines or edges.  The handle itself is rather long, extending well past the bottom of my hand, but the extra length does provide a nice amount of surface to grip while working the priming hammer with your thumb.  As something of a side note, the distribution of weight around the trigger as well as the larger grip make it very easy and entertaining to spin the blaster around your index finger like a gunslinger.  In doing so, I’ve managed to fling mine into the floor several times without so much as a scratch, which speaks to the build quality of the blaster.  This is probably largely due to the relative simplicity of the internal mechanisms and outer construction.  Unlike blasters such as the Spectre, the Hammershot has no barrel or stock attachment points though it does have a single attachment rail along the top of the blaster.  The blaster performs admirably with shots flying far and hitting with substantial force.  I would recommend it more for outdoor play and advise caution before using it to light up your younger siblings unannounced.  The Hammershot comes packaged with 5 Zombie Strike green Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the Zombie Strike line was first announced, for me, the Hammershot took the back seat as far as my attention goes.  There had been more than a handful of revolver blasters over the years and the premise of the shotgun style Sledgefire overshadowed the Hammershot.  While it’s true the Sledgefire may be the more mechanically interesting of the two, it’s hard to deny the sheer utility of the Hammershot.