Nerf Vortex Diatron. When I first saw it, I thought:
And as far as Nerf blasters get, this is about as close as I feel you can get to one without buying this:
Price: Approx $19.99 Ranges: 30-40′ @ Flat shooting (See video)
Ammo Type: Vortex Discs Ammo Capacity: 12 discs (load 10, prime, then load 2 more) Orientation: One-handed, ambidextrous handling possible Tactical rails? Yes, but not very comfortable (Read on) Stock Attachment? Possible Dual-Wield? Not really
The Nerf Vortex Diatron looks cool, first and foremost. At least, I think so. The Vortex discs give it decent range, and it’s part of the “MultiShot Madness” campaign that Nerf is running with it’s RoughCut and Triad, but that being said it’s a great thought but not without some reservations.
First, let’s take care of the good. The MultiShot function works! It fires 2 discs, and they both launch out of the top barrel.
Top barrel, only one disc shown but needs 2 to fire.
Also, higher capacity than a Vigilon, hence the common misconception that there are 2 barrel and one disc flies out of each. It’s shaped as such to make room for the higher-capacity internal magazine:
There’s a tac rail on top, and if you’re aiming the blaster the priming lever is on the left, the disc release/jam clear is on the right. The mag release switch is on both sides of the handle. The rear part of the blaster can have stocks and such attached, adding to the customizable options of the blaster.
So the blaster’s multishot is a nice change of pace from what we’ve seen with the Vortex line so far, the paintjob is pretty cool, and the design is fresh from science fiction. It fires pretty decently too, within the normal tolerances of a stock blaster, hitting anywhere from 40-50′. The discs are stacked vertically when they exit the barrel and spread apart, with the bottom disc getting the lower end of the range, while the top-stacked disc goes a few feet further. The thing is Vortex discs are so unpredictable in flight sometimes you do run the risk of getting tagged no matter what you do.
That being said, there are some issues to consider about the Nerf Vortex Diatron. While the mag release IS on both sides, the priming lever and jam release placements might be problematic for lefties. Also, the Diatron’s a bit tougher to reload than the Vigilon. It’s a lot easier to palm 5 discs and slam them all in at once as opposed to the 10, 6 of which you might be able to bunch in, and individually reload the rest. Thankfully, the extra shot trick still works (check the video for that). The Diatron REQUIRES 2 discs loaded to fire, and it jams if there’s only one. In the video I show how to troubleshoot the Diatron if only one disc loads on accident for some reason, but I see many people not reading the manual and wondering why their blaster is broken and the trigger is not pulling. So, it’s a bit touchy. One concern I have read about on other reviews is the Nerf Vortex Diatron’s priming lever is flimsy and counterintuitive. I agree that the priming lever is definitely not something I saw from this blaster in the preliminary photos, but what’s done is done, and if you can fit this with your playing style, then game on. As for the arm being flimsy, I disagree on that. I think it feels pretty robust and don’t see it breaking on me in the heat of the game.
Range-wise, the Diatron was on the low side for Vortex blasters I thought. One of the discs only flies about 30′ while the other gets standard Vortex ranges, and I would have liked to see similar power put on both discs. There’s an inherent inaccuracy with Vortex ammo, so that’s no surprise that the effective range is maybe 30-40′, and the discs slice severely after that.
One final thought is that I really would rather use this as a sidearm, but the Diatron’s so big it won’t even fit in my super-sized Grabit Pack.
Overall, is this worth the $20? It’s no Pyragon, but the Diatron could be a fun little blaster in its own right. If you liked the Vigilon, this is right up your alley. If you like Dead Space but can’t afford a replica Plasma Cutter, this is your option right here (my cousin worked on the game and he agreed it looks pretty close). The multishot feature is a bit disappointing in the disparate ranges between the fired discs, but I had no problems with the feature actually working. And… ultimately, the Nerf Vortex Diatron looks really cool! Whether you use Vortex discs or not or you play indoors or out, try it out and maybe you’ll find it does in fact work for you. Try before you buy, if you can!
Oh man… what a year! 2012 was a pretty big time for toy blasters. There was just so much that came out and so many things have happened, here we are again.
Some of my fave things:
– New York Toy Fair 2012
– The Nerf Hailfire Release Party (Thanks Nerf!)
– BATTLE OF THE AMAZONS
The Release of the Nerf N-Strike Elite: – Retaliator – Rampage – Hailfire – Triad – Stryfe – Strongarm – Elit Reflex/Eliminator (Though I don’t believe it actually has a range increase) – Elite Rayven – Firestrike – RoughCut 2×4 – Stockade (outside the U.S.)
Nerf Strongarm and Firestrike
Nerf Elite Rayven and Stryfe
Nerf Stockade and 30 pack of darts
Nerf Dart Tag: – Snapfire 8 (outside the U.S.)
Nerf Vortex: – PYRAGON
Whew! It’s been a busy year 🙂
Nevermind that Nerf revamped the Lazer Tag line:
Buzz Bee and Air Zone/Prime Time Toys had some respectable years with new releases of their own, but the most notable was probably the Range Master, an air blaster w/pump that got good ranges and gave some folks out there a non-springer option:
But it wasn’t just the year of the foam dart blasters, not at all. Disposable ammo is part of the game now, past the Max Force spit wads and the first run of Xploderz water pellet blasters, there’s now also BlasterPro, “X2” series Xploderz, and Vapor.
This branch of the toy blaster tree will definitely bear some watching come 2013. I got a feeling we’re in for a whole new level of innovation, between Nerf upping the ante with their increased ranges from the Elite/Vortex lines, now these new companies are going to have to show what they can do next.
Definitely not least, Zing Toys is out there with some great products as well. Definitely keep an eye out for their Air Storm line:
Zing Shot and Pop Rocketz
Zip Bak Bow
WHAT A YEAR, HOLY CRAP. SO MANY TOYS.
On that note… let’s not forget the fallen. Gone, give or take some leftover stock on the shelves. Safe to say these brands aren’t supported in their current forms anymore:
BUT… while two brands dropped out (apparently)… one more has risen. Yup, Launch N Attack
And a more local offering, Bumpa’s Blowguns!
And that, as they say, is that! Sorry if I missed anything, but there’s only so much one can recall! Have a great New Year, and see you in 2013!
Images from Nerf this morning; high-res shots of the Nerf Vortex Diatron and Nerf N-Strike Elite Roughcut 2×4. There are already tons of videos out there from folks who got Roughcuts early due to stores putting them out ahead of release dates, so there’s plenty of info out there on that. The Nerf Diatron however, has maintained some semblance of secrecy. Who knows if it’ll pop ahead of Spring 2013, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
(BTW, for those who don’t know, my relationship with Nerf dictates that when it comes to early releases/info/mods/etc., I can’t post about it. In return, there are in fact some perks such as release event access and product samples.)
The Roughtcut for those who don’t know, is an eight-shot, slam-fire capable, pump-action blaster with Elite ranges. It also fires two darts at a time, making it the closest approximation to a shotgun-spread blaster that anyone has made in a long time (the Triple Shot DOES NOT COUNT. It was good modded, but the stock shotgun spread on that thing was terrible). Either way, it looks interesting and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. None of the stores in my area have it on shelves, so I would need to order via Amazon.
The Nerf Vortex Diatron, that’s a whole ‘nother story. It looks remarkably like a Plasma Cutter from Dead Space (bonus) and fires two discs at once (double-bonus!). It looks like a doubled up Nerf Vortex Vigilon, so I’m guessing the capacity is ten discs per reload. (11 or 12, depending on how you load it, amirite guys?) I do wonder if the discs will collide with each other at some point in mid-air during flight, so it’ll be interesting to see how this fires. Of all the recent blasters, this one is the only one not seen on shelves yet. Yet.
In any event, these two blasters have the “multishot madness” tagline on their boxes so Nerf is definitely leaning towards a different type of functionality, seeing as how they’ve increased ranges using Vortex and Elite styles. Make sure to check the Nerf Facebook page (linked at the beginning of this post) for further info such as pricing and alleged availability. And naturally, once I get my samples in I’ll have my reviews up as usual. Although at the rate things are going, who knows what’ll even be left by then!