[Build Video] – K’Nex KForce Rotoshot 25x

K’Nex KForce Build video – Rotoshot K25x blaster

Product provided! Opinions remain my own, thanks K’Nex!

Ultimately, the blaster took me over an hour to build, from dumping out the contents to the first shot. I did make some mistakes during the build, but unfortunately I didn’t catch them until well after they happened which meant backtracking and dismantling parts of the build to go back. As someone unfamiliar with using K’Nex construction kits, maybe this is growing pains at learning a different medium. The build isn’t even entirely like the one on the box because I messed something up and would have had to flip pieces that I installed at the beginning. But that’s the point of the line, right? Making your own blaster ultimately, after building the one shown?

For a blaster that reports 75′ on the box for 5 shots, at approximately $25 for the whole thing the replay value is potentially endless for a kit you can build and rebuild, with additional shots and turrets if you have the other kits. Is it worth it? If you aren’t heavily modding your blasters already, and do enjoy the satisfaction that comes from completing puzzles and building kits, this could be a neat addition for your collection. The colors are eye-catching for sure, and there are some spots on the blaster body I naturally found to be good for gripping, I didn’t stab my hands on any corners. Minus anything that resembled a stock, holding the blaster seemed pretty intuitive.

Battle-tested, I have tried some k’nex blasters at games before and maybe it’s just me but I definitely worry about losing the odd connector or slamming the blaster unexpectedly and spraying pieces everywhere. It hasn’t happened yet, but I have lost the odd piece from the body… maybe 2 at this point on other kits. Not a terribly bad ratio I guess but that’s not something you worry about right off the bat from other blasters.

K’Nex is planning on being at New York Toy Fair again, and so will I! Don’t forget to tune in here please and see what I find. (Full schedule posted shortly before the trip)

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Firing Demo: Adventure (Dart Zone) Zone Enforcer – 140′ angled?

Assembly/Firing video of the Adventure Zone (Dart Zone) Enforcer Blaster – it gets 140′ (angled)?

 

Thanks to Dart Zone for the sample! As always, my opinion remains my own.

STATS:
Enforcer: (Dart Zone/Adventure Zone) – Wal-Mart Exclusive!
MSRP: $29.99
Capacity: 40 Darts (belt-fed)
Includes: Blaster, belt, darts, instructions
Requires: 6 AA Batteries (not included)
Range claim: 80′ (box)

I want to get some game time with this blaster before coming up with a proper review, but right off the bat the Adventure Zone Enforcer belt-fed blaster from Dart Zone got AT LEAST 140′ right out of the box. That’s pretty impressive for a freshly opened blaster. That being said, reloading this beast would be a moderate pain since I don’t think there are plans to sell the ammo belts separately. And to head off another question, yes, this blaster is branded “Adventure Zone” but that’s to identify the Wal-Mart specific brand of action toys associated with this and other blasters undoubtedly coming out as Wal-Mart exclusives. It’s a Dart Zone blaster, same as the LegendFire and Magnum. It unloads its ammo payload pretty quickly, and should give any rushing team a reason to pause but the groupings are pretty wide the farther out you shoot. For $29.99 though you are getting good power, good ammo capacity, and a really satisfying shooting experience feeling the chains move and hearing the blaster chug through darts. Kids are gonna love the gatling feel of this blaster, and older users are going to like the power. And for $29.99, the price is just right compared to other blasters out there that shoot either less ammo or slightly shorter max ranges. I don’t say this often, but if you have to spend on any blaster, definitely give this a look. I’ll update this review with some gameplay thoughts once I actually field test it, but until then, color me impressed for now.

Dart Zone LegendFire Range Test/Demo video/overview

Testing the Dart Zone LegendFire blaster – ranges and reloading

Quick Stats:
 MSRP: $14.99
Range: 80′
Available: Now (I just saw these at Target)
 Includes:
2 x swappable ammo cartridges
1 x LegendFire
18 x darts

 More to come on what I think about this blaster after I get some game time in with it in Wisconsin this weekend. See you then!

Prime Time Toys Covert Ops Magnum Superdrum Blaster firing demo

Dart Zone Samples are in, and thanks to Mica T. on the Facebook page, the Magnum gets the first test shot video.

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Sample provided, thanks Prime Time Toys/Dart Zone!

I’ll be better suited to provide a full review next week, going to be field testing this (and more) blasters from Dart Zone with the MANO Wisconsin Nerf Group this coming weekend.

For now:

STATS:

MSRP: $19.99
Available: Now (Target Exclusive)
Range claims: 80′
Includes: 40 darts, blaster, manual

Note: Drum is a one-time installation, does not come out again after assembly.

If I had to say anything right off the bat, the swivel arm rest is kinda weird, and the blaster did spin a few shots out, but for the price this is a tough blaster to beat on dart output and range.

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Precision RBS – Part 2! Exclusive Q&A with the Inventor

F2A Exclusive: Q&A with Ben Stack, Inventor of the Precision RBS
Vas The Stampede

Many thanks again to Super Impulse and Precision RBS for the samples, and this Q&A with Ben Stack, the inventor of the Precision RBS Launchers! I met Ben at New York Toy Fair, and followed up in email with a series of questions. I thank him for the time he took to answer them. His responses are in bold.

Ben on the right, at New York Toy Fair

– What did you study? Feel free to share a little info about yourself such as hobbies and experience in toy industry.

I most recently went to school for product design, but I had a bit of a background before that in engineering from various hobbies and jobs making things. I’ve dabbled in robotics, carpentry, soft goods, and yes, many years of projectile launchers and other homemade entertainment.

– How long was RBS  in development?

It’s hard to say when Precision RBS as a potential product line really started. I’ve been launching rubberbands since I was about 6 when my brother and I made clothespin launchers with my father. That’s when I accidentally discovered the “rifling” or “spinning” technique that Precision RBS still uses today.

In high school, after making dozens of launchers in middle school, I set out to really perfect a modular, high performance series of launchers. In college, I took the concept to a more finished state as my thesis project, where I was connected to SI and we then spent another busy few months converting the line to a robust injection moldable ABS design. Taking out the off years in between, I’d say there’s at least 5 years of my own development work in these 3 products we have now.

The core pistols of Precision RBS launchers

– Can you talk about what inspiration you drew on for the look of the RBS shooters?

Precision RBS from the start was conceived as a skill toy that you could actually use safely in public without any worries. This meant throwing the visual concept of a “gun” out the window and really striving for something cool that wasn’t threatening. Science fiction and sports equipment was the only place you could find that. I went through hundreds of renderings, color combinations, and graphical applications before settling on what we have today.

– Why rubber band ammo? What advantages do you find there vs other mediums, and how is RBS different from what is out there currently, including among other rubber band shooters? 

The Hyperion: note the included pack of all three rubber band sizes.

Rubber bands are cheap, plentiful, multi-use, accessible to anyone anywhere, versatile, but most of all accurate! What fun is trying build your skills launching projectiles if you’re not going to reliably hit what you’re aiming at? Rubber bands are just the most amazing indoor target practice ammo. Rubber bands don’t bounce and roll away into dark corners either, to be forever lost. Rubber bands don’t get crushed if you step on them. They actually are affected by wind less than foam too, as the cross section density is higher.

The main thing holding back rubber bands all these years has been accuracy and range, and I think we’ve finally cracked it. When properly “rifled”, 117 rubber bands can reach out to 50 ft with a shot grouping well inside a standing silhouette. Inside of 30 feet, the grouping gets down to about 6 inches across. Fly hunting starts happening at around 8 feet.

Finally, and this is one that tends to get overlooked, escapement rubber band launchers basically act like a beautiful hybrid between flywheel and springer launchers: high rate of fire without any rev-up time or pumping. Your ROF is practically unlimited, it’s however fast you can pull the trigger. Just like flywheel blasters, you never have to readjust your sight picture until your launcher is empty.

I want to emphasize: Rubber bands shine when the target is behind cover and the window of opportunity is short.

As for other rubber band launchers out there, we’re committed to using all standard sized rubber bands so you have the option of refilling in bulk at office supply stores. On top of that, we’ve packed in just so many features unique to my rubber band launchers I’ve designed over my life, like the ability to always launch and store multiple sizes of rubber band, and the modular “barrel” lengths (wow, a barrel that actually does something?).

– Do you recommend certain shooters for certain ages?

Not really! It’s the band size that makes the difference. All of our precision RBS launchers are safety tested for ages 8+ and have been play tested by all ages, but loading size 117 bands can be more difficult for young kids. It’s not that it takes a great amount of force to draw the band back, but more that it is a long draw length, almost 24 inches. It usually just means younger kids have to brace the launcher against the ground to load it.

What’s really awesome with rubber bands is the size of the band really makes a performance difference.

Size 117 bands reduce the number you can load at one time down to 6, but increase range out to 50 feet with high accuracy. The size 33 is the sweet spot for indoor play in the middle, giving medium range, about 35 feet, and around 8-10 in loading capacity. Size 16s are for quantity over quality, giving you up to 12 shots with around 30 feet of range and close-in accuracy.

– How many designs do you have in mind past the launch?

Oh wow, so many. I have a lifetime of folders for this stuff. These first 3 are the basic, “standard issue” series, and we’re starting to get more specialized in next year’s line.

– I noticed a holster, will those be available as well in the future?

I definitely had holsters in mind when I designed the core “pistol” style launcher, but we’re not sure how it would fit in the line yet. It might be soon, it might be later. We’ll see how it works out.

– What is your favorite feature about any of the blasters?

The Chiron

I have a soft spot for Chiron in general as it was the first Precision RBS launcher that I concepted in high school for high speed play. It’s designed to be versatile, able to take on both long ranged Hyperion and high capacity dual wielders by maximizing size 33 reload rate with the Quick Loader, and able to launch the 117 bands with the hand launcher. Masters of the hand launcher should be able to pickup, load, and launch 117 bands in a single motion, which can overwhelm the slower-to- load Hyperion, and out-range the smaller two bands.

Lots of info and insight, thanks again to Ben for taking the time to answer my questions! I’ll be updating this post later today with some additional video on the Precision RBS launchers, but until then see you next time. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out Part 1 here.

Precision RBS Firing video playlist here:

Precision RBS: Rubber Band Shooter Rundown – Part 1!

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Super Impulse’s Precision RBS – Rubber band launching system

EDIT: updated with firing video playlist – 

The fine folks at Super Impulse provided samples of their latest offering, a rubber band shooting system called the Precision RBS. All opinions remain my own.
I first ran into Precision RBS at New York Toy Fair in February 2016. It was a new type of rubber band launcher, not to be confused with a previous brand the year before. Precision RBS offered something different from that previous toy in a variety of differences. It used normal rubber bands you could find at any major retailer, didn’t need a magazine, and most importantly HAD A FUNCTIONING TRIGGER. I saw 3 different models, each offering a little twist on rubber band launching. Aesthetically, I found the Precision RBS models elegant, with the smooth lines and round shape of the each shooter very different from many of the angular toys on the market today, adopting an alien/futuristic look, and the colors really stood out as well.
The Basics:

TALOS
“The lightweight Talos holds up to 20 rubber bands in two sizes, launches up to 30 feet and includes a built-in extender for even more power when you need it. It’s perfect for quick, smooth action.
MSRP: $14.99
Age: 8+”
CHIRON
“The Chiron has storage for up to 100 rubber bands, so you’ll never run out of ammo! Other features include the quick-loading design and a release option to separate into 2 completely different RBS Shooters, including a hand launcher. You’ll dominate your opponent with tons of ammo power!
MSRP: $19.99
Age: 8+”

HYPERION
“Nothing surpasses the Hyperion: with pinpoint accuracy and extended range! Capacity to hold three different band sizes, with extra side storage. Plus Hyperion has an unbelievable BURST feature and can launch 14 bands at once!
MSRP: $24.99
Ages: 8+”
Right away, the entire line is a relatively low cost offering, and with easily available rubber band ammo in large packs (and a secondary use as a tool around the house), there are a few perks before even talking about the toys themselves.
I mentioned my favorite parts of the aesthetics of the Precision RBS shooters. Besides the looks, the Talos has a very comfortable grip, and each toy makes uses of the body of the launcher, removing the necessity for attachments and accessories. The ammo holders are built INTO the body of the launcher, but by no means do they take away from the structure or the solid feel of the toys. Depending on the model, the ammo storage ranges from “adequate” on the Hyperion to “overwhelming” on the Chiron. But it’s these differences that really make for a compelling case at buying either model past the Talos.



The Talos acts as the “base” model of the line, while the Chiron and Hyperion are attachments onto the Talos that add another dimension to how you play with the launcher. The Chiron adds a humongous amount of ammo storage, along with the ability to shoot larger ammo and split into the Talos and a manually fired frame to shoot rubber bands from. For parents, this could easily be considered a two-player pack where one can use the pistol form and the other the hand launcher. The manual frame of the Chiron is easy to reload with practice, and can fire any size rubber band without an attachment, unlike the other models that can only fit one of the three standard sizes at any time. Here are the features among each launcher:
  • The Talos has an “extender arm” which allows it to shoot two different sized bands.
  • The Chiron adds an additional ammo holder and essentially a second manual shooter to go with the included Talos. Larger rubber bands may be shot on the Chiron as well when connected or separate from the Talos
  • The Hyperion can use small, medium, and large rubber bands, has an ammo holder for each type, and an undermounted shooter that sprays rubber bands or can shoot a massive clump of them at once.
The Talos pack is comprises of the Talos and two different sizes of rubber bands. The Chiron includes the Talos and the Chiron attachment/frame to shoot rubber bands by hand (and it protects your hand from being spiked by the rubber band upon launch). The Hyperion comes with all three different sizes of rubber bands as well as a Talos and the attachment for the Hyperion.
The rubber band ammo is pretty cool! Here’s how you load a Precision RBS launcher.
Why rubber bands? I’ll post an interview in part 2, but here’s a quote from the inventor, Ben Stack:
“What’s really awesome with rubber bands is the size of the band really makes a performance difference. Size 117 bands reduce the number you can load at one time down to 6, but increase range out to 50 feet with high accuracy. The size 33 is the sweet spot for indoor play in the middle, giving medium range, about 35 feet, and around 8-10 in loading capacity. Size 16s are for quantity over quality, giving you up to 12 shots with around 30 feet of range and close-in accuracy.
The rubber bands aren’t a perfect solution, though. The smaller sizes are particularly hard to see and find again, even at close range. I’d be hesitant to use them in a park area with wildlife. I am not sure I would use the line at all outside in a park, given how difficult it might be to gather the rubber bands up again. Maybe a concrete outside structure, but I’m too worried about the local woodland creatures. Also, the rubber bands in windy weather lose a lot of “oomph” and are very hard to aim, if they even reach their target. Not unlike other similar toys shot in the wind, but rubber bands are especially vulnerable to the elements. These toys excel indoors, and given the amount of cover in a home and/or office, Precision RBS would definitely offer a very intense play experience. And if you’re worried about pain, it’s minute and extremely temporary. The worst I ever felt was shooting my palm point blank with the Talos, and taking a hit 10’ away from the Hyperion. Otherwise, most of the energy is dispersed seconds after launching the rubber bands, and contact doesn’t hurt a lot, if at all. Considering the “pain scale” nurses might use, it goes from a 6 to a 1 in a matter of seconds of flight. My biggest recommendation is eye protection, because accidents do happen.

Edit: I wanted to capture a few more thoughts I had on this toy after the initial review – 5/4/16

One really neat trick about the rubber bands is the ability to “shotgun” them on a single nock, or in the case of the Hyperion one big clump of rubberbands instead of a stream of them. You can also shotgun load them onto the ammo holders, which makes restocking your reserve ammo elementary in practice. While shotgunning is possible with other toys, it’s not quite like this, and it’s pretty cool!

I found the launchers in Precision RBS very comfortable to hold, it didn’t feel built for small hands as some toys in the 8+ range are. And even if something like the Talos is oversized, there’s always the Chiron, probably the most versatile toy in the bunch because of the manual firing option. I almost wish the Hyperion had a stock, but it’s unnecessary. Its omission also probably helped keep costs low on the line, and again I find the prices a winner. Even moreso because of the lack of inherent costs in restocking a proprietary ammo, since the rubber bands are available everywhere.

Ammo holders on the Hyperion
And don’t let the various types of ammo dissuade you! I’ve found that with practice you can load multiple types of rubber band ammo onto the RBS, and as I mentioned with the Chiron frame it doesn’t matter.
It’s ingenious how the Precision RBS launchers are designed. The shooters barely have any moving components, outside of the nock wheel, the extender arm, and the slide on the Hyperion. The rubber band ammo is a self-contained propulsion projectile. I see those factors eliminating needs for maintenance to the toys, leaving not as many chances for a launcher to fail or misfire during a game. No fiddling with gears or wondering if your plunger is damaged, no spring tension or air bladders to worry about. Everything about the launcher is right there in front of you. It’s that simplicity of the Precision RBS that I really like, combined with the cost and ease of use this is a good buy for anyone looking to add something new to their arsenal or activities. 
Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow, where I release exclusive F2A Q&A I had with Ben, the inventor of the RBS launchers. I’ll also update with videos on these launchers tomorrow as well. Thanks!

Toy Fair 2016 – Testing Paper Shooters

Paper Shooters at Toy Fair 2016
Vas The Stampede

After a bit of press for the last year or so, Paper Shooters is finally ready for the U.S. shores! I’ve been following the brand ever since they approached me some time ago, and it was good to finally see and shoot a finished product. I went for the GoPro POV while aiming and shooting. Note the priming between shots and the shell ejection.

The basic kits will run $29.99 and may include the following (pulled this from their website, I assume it will be the same in the U.S. during release:)

“Your 138 piece kit contains :
– All plastic components, screws and springs to create your PaperShooters™ base model
– 8 highly detailed A4 die cut cardboard pieces that contain all the individual pieces to create your awesome Zombie Slayer camo skin

Also included :

– 50 ‘Soft- splat’ paper pellets. Just dip them in water for 20-30 seconds, load them into shells and blast away!
– A mould to create endless amounts of ammo from ordinary paper. Got paper,? Got ammo!
– 6 shells that eject with every shot!”

I will have a more in-depth look at this when the samples come in and will give more of my thoughts then. Already, I know that it’s supposed to be a pretty involved build and I am looking forward to taking a crack at it. It’s not going to be the usual blaster out of the box experience, but I am definitely taken with the look and feel of the product.

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Toy Fair Day 1 preview, found them! (Zuru, Buzz Bee, and so on….)

This little gem from Buzz Bee, the destiny. This is just the beginning! More on the way so watch this space.

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Then some Zuru –

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And Buzz Bee with the Walking Dead!

A photo posted by Humanoid Typhoon (@blasterbot1984) on Feb 13, 2016 at 1:48pm PST

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Marshmallow Shooters – Orbballistics, Varmint Series, and more! (Toy Fair 2015)

Orbballistics and more from Marshmallow Shooters at New York Toy Fair
Vas The Stampede

Find the picture gallery in full here: Marshmallow Shooters at New York Toy Fair 2015

Say what you want about Marshmallow Shooters, other blaster lines have come and gone but they are among one of the constants at New York Toy Fair year after year. Last year the biggest news from them (in my opinion) were the Ghostbuster-themed shooters, they looked great and while they were still functionally the same as previous releases, the line was just in time for the big anniversary of the release of the original film.

This year, it’s not a new paint job that piqued my interest, but this new line of blasters from Marshmallow Shooters, the “Orbballistics” as well as the “new” “FoamFury” line. Marshmallow Shooters is now in the business of making reusable foam ammo, as they did have some people who wondered about “wasting food” when it came to using Marshmallow ammo. While this is a concern for me as well, another problem with marshmallow ammo is degradation from heat or reuse. Squishy marshmallows loaded into barrels/hoppers usually meant residue on barrels and plunger heads. Foam ammo makes that less of a problem, thankfully. Based on the technology that they use for the “Orbball”, the ammo for the Orbballistics is a hollowed out foam tube that forms kind of a hollowed out oval, something like a grape, or a mini, teeny tiny hollowed out football. I’ve had some fun with the Classic, Crossbow, Bow, and a variety of other shooters in the past, but the ammo wasn’t optimal in the summer and I had to keep mindful about that. Also, never mind the constant consumption of my ammo from other players. Before the round, during the round, after the round, etc. Not entirely unexpected and it was all in good humor, it became the running gag any time one of us used a marshmallow shooter. Thankfully though that also gave me a lot of reasons to make s’mores and rice crispy treats as well!
 

Marshmallow Shooters is claiming 60′ flat on these things (and it might be possible, haven’t been able to do the video yet because of technical difficulties but there is one) so that’s pretty interesting stuff. Some of the initial comments I’ve gotten tell me these are similar to the Vortex Koosh blasters from way back, but these are definitely more compact. I didn’t have any prices at the time at New York Toy Fair, but they may be available as of 4th quarter, at least in time for the holidays.

As always, if I manage to get any samples I’ll be sure to do a review right at this blog. The model I handled was a prototype, so it’s way early for me to comment on handling and build strength. At most I can say that it looks sleek, and the ammo holders are always a nice touch. Past that, I am always looking forward to seeing new challengers to the foam arena.

Besides the Orbballistics, Marshmallow Shooters had “FoamFury” which is their classic shooter now firing foam “ear plug” like ammo. 20′ of range, so while made for a quick release definitely not what one can expect from the Orbballistics shooters. Also, there were “Varmint Series” blasters which look hilarious. Pics of these and more can be found in the gallery.

So, thoughts? Another (this time foam) solution from Marshmallow Shooters, with more range than the original shooters and with reusable ammo. Is this something you would try out? Would you qualify it as large ammo if your games use those rules? Comment below, and let me know!

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