Marshmallow Shooters and Paper Shooters partner up at New York Toy Fair Vas The Stampede
Had a chat with the folks at Marshmallow Shooters and Paper Shooters (soon to be Spitball Blasterz) to see what they were up to, and surprisingly, they joined forces! Marshmallow Shooters has some new management, new manufacturing, which means new products. Paper Shooters, after a couple of hiccups, struck a deal to work products with Marshmallow Shooters. This also means that Paper Shooters is going to start exploring making all-plastic, shell-free shooters (hence the rebranding to Spitball Blasterz).
The new Marshmallow Shooters pump a bit more efficiently while shooting a bit farther. The “Extreme” Marshmallow Shooters also have a front-loading muzzle now, as opposed to the breech-loading on earlier models. Reusable ammo was also available, though no sign of the “orbballistics” shooters from a couple of years ago. The new agreements should alleviate some of the cost of the Marshmallow Shooters (which, are pricey in some circles) and affords Spitball Blasterz a helping hand in the manufacturing department. Also promising, new manufacturing means Marshmallow Shooters may diversify to other products. What products, that remains to be seen.
Paper Shooters (henceforth referred to as Spitball Blasterz) is moving forward as well, to all plastic bodies. The original kits had a plastic skeleton which was then covered by a treated cardboard. The new shooter models I saw are all plastic, rear loading, and don’t require casings for the paper wad ammo. The paper construction/paper mould kits are still going to be available in the line though, so construction/gunsmithing fans will still have something to work with here. The prototype all-plastic rifle I tried out felt pretty comfortable, and shot well enough, but like all things at Toy Fair I await with cautious optimism.
Good to see more options for play out there though! Marshmallow Shooters undoubtedly has an audience (given their longevity) and Paper Shooters offers something just a little different from the out of the box experience. Where their products find a home in the community will be interesting to see, I’m just glad to see that there is still more invention out there when it comes to Toys That Shoot.
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?
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.
K’Nex K-Force continues into 2016! The construction set blasters introduce turrets and motorized blasting with the new crop of blasters coming out later this year.
K-10V Building Set Build your own K-FORCE Build and Blast K-10V blaster that fires up to 75 feet! Set features 83 pieces including, K’NEX rods and connectors, 1 blaster chamber, 1 quick fit grip, 1 preload ring and 5 foam darts. Customize and create your own K-FORCE blaster or combine with the K-FORCE Build and Blast Mini Cross Building Set (set sold separately) for an awesome downloadable combo build! All K’NEX rods and connectors are made in the USA. Suggested retail price is $14.99. Ages 8+. Available Spring 2016.
K-25X RotoShot Blaster Building Set
Get ready for rotating blaster action with the new K-FORCE K-25X RotoShot Blaster
Building Set from K’NEX! The K-25X RotoShot blaster allows you to construct an incredible blaster, and then fire off 5 shots without reloading! Set includes 1 NEW RotoChamber, 5 foam darts, 1 quick fit grip, 1 preload ring and downloadable instructions for 4 additional custom blasters and targets. Models can be built one at a time. Compatible with the entire K-FORCE Build and Blast line. All K’NEX rods and connectors are made in the USA. Suggested retail price is $39.99. Ages 8+. Available Fall 2016.
Super Strike RotoShot Blaster Building Set
Rotating blasting fun is what you will get with the new K-FORCE Super Strike RotoShot Blaster Building Set from K’NEX! The Super Strike RotoShot blaster allows you to build an amazing blaster, and then fire off 5 shots without reloading! Set includes 1 NEW RotoChamber, 5 foam darts, 1 quick fit grip, 1 preload ring and downloadable instructions for 4 additional custom blasters and targets. Compatible with the entire K-FORCE Build and Blast line. Models can be built one at a time. All K’NEX rods and connectors are made in the USA. Suggested retail price is $39.99. Ages 8+. Available Fall 2016.
Flash Fire Motorized Blaster Building Set
Blast darts as fast as you can with the K-FORCE Flash Fire Motorized Blaster Building Set! Build your blaster and then load the clip with up to 10 darts, and the new motorized rapid fire chamber will fire darts as fast as you can pull the trigger! Set includes 1 motorized rapid fire chamber, a 10 dart clip, 10 foam darts, 1 quick fit grip and downloadable instructions for 6 additional custom blasters and targets. Compatible with the entire K-FORCE Build and Blast line. Batteries required, but not included. Most models can be built one at a time. All K’NEX rods and connectors are made in the USA. Suggested retail price is $49.99. Ages 8+. Available Fall 2016.
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!
So, there are some constants to New York Toy Fair, and Marshmallow Shooters is another one of those brands who keeps chugging along. Every year there’s something new, and this year they revealed a few things. Now, in my opinion they most famously have many repaints of existing models, but given the circumstances, I don’t mind in this case. They landed the Ghostbusters license, so the next round of Marshmallow Shooters are going to look fresh out of 1984 (Happy 30th Anniversary to “The Ghostbusters” and it’s a sad thing that Harold Ramis had to pass away this year. As a fan of his work, I couldn’t believe it when I first heard it. But that is a whole different blog post. If you missed out on the original Ghostbusters pop guns back in the day, maybe these will take the edge off. But at the very least, it’ll be for a new generation.
Ghostbusters paintjobs for Marshmallow Shooters
A concept image of an upcoming Marshmallow shooter. Think… scattergun. Scattermallows. Something like that.
A Beaver Blaster. Not only will it shoot Marshmallows, but it is supposed to also have a foam ball.
I caught wind of Paper Shooters on twitter and instagram, they seemed interesting enough. Behold, a triggered paper wad shooter! While the paper wad part brought back memories of the Shadow Hawk/Max Force line, they looked like replica M4 rifles and had a trigger… not to mention these things were supposedly made out of cardboard. You know the motto around these parts, “If you can fire it, I will try it.”
Right off the bat, this line isn’t fully in production yet. On Friday, their indiegogo page goes live – www.indiegogo.com/papershooters – and from there you can pre-order your own shooter kit. As stated in the video, they need to cover some further costs on die-cutting parts of the kits so that’s where the donations come in.
The team was nice enough to send along a bit of info:
Included in each kit:
– Plastic shape (skeleton) and all internal mechanics, rivets, springs etc – Layer one Camo Skin (with rivets/ screws to attach to plastic) – Layer two Camo Skin (glues onto layer one to add significant detail)
– A Magazine- additional Mags available – 8 Gold Shells with 50 pcs of pre made ‘soft splat’ paper ammo – Mould to make ‘soft splat’ ammo from ordinary paper (never need run out of pellets) – Zombie head target (this is a cardboard model head- made from the box itself)
“Everything is included in the box. It uses screws and a patented ‘rivet’ ststem. An ordinary rivet cannot be opened when fixed but the ones utilsed in our kits can. We include a tool so you can ‘un pop’ them and change the skins, pieces etc. Glue/ screwdriver etc all included!”
Price: Around $50-$60 – Target Audience: Ages 14+
Digital Ops, Golden Touch, and Zombie Slayer Skins
Anyone else love unlocking the “Golden Gun” in Goldeneye on the N64?
The Ammo! (It does look similar to the Max Force paper wads…) Requires to be set inside a casing, THEN placed inside the magazine.
First, this isn’t the typical fare of shooter/blaster we’re used to seeing. These are construction kits moreso than a toy (think like making a model plane) where the end product is a replica (of sorts) of an m4 rifle. But this actually has a function and shoots projectiles. In this case, wet paper wads. The experience of building is the sell before target practice. If you mod your toy blasters, you know what I’m talking about. The kit is your starting ground. You have the option to build your blaster from the ground up (albeit being handed the pieces), craft your own ammo with the mould included, and customize as more pieces are available.
I’m not sure this qualifies as a blaster toy. It’s a creative experience first, followed by the play. Additionally, it’s geared to 14+, NOT within the usual range of 8+ like most of the other blasters I write about (I believe BlasterPro was aged 14+ as well.) I’d qualify these as a type of display piece/model, that you can play with. While these are modeled after an actual firearm, they are scaled smaller(like an airsoft rifle might be), have the visible orange tip, and colored in atypical designs. While they do fire, the rate of fire is slow compared to current toy blasters (bolt-action, no slam fire, it uses casings to hold the paper wads which eject after each shot, etc.) good for some hijinks in the office and target practice but until I get these in-hand I can’t attest to the actual experience of these in use. Between the casings and the rate of fire, it is at a distinct disadvantage for most of the ways I play dart tag.
The base of the model is plastic but then decorated and finished off with the cardboard accents. Word has it the cardboard on the exterior will be treated specially to make it more durable than regular cardboard. Again, should I get my hands on these I’ll test for sure.
Pricing – admittedly $50-$60 is a bit steep, but when you think that buying additional paper wad ammo packs isn’t necessary (you can make your own from scrap paper, but additional magazines and casings will be available), that’s one thing you save on, and you get a very nice looking replica you made yourself. AND A HUMAN ZOMBIE HEAD TARGET MADE FROM THE BOX. But in this case, the value is all on what you’re into. This is an interesting level of customization and ‘smithing right out of the box in regards to Things That Shoot, so I’m intrigued to say the least.
So you build your own shooter, then what? If the indiegogo does well, they have plans for an RPG, “Call of Duty”-type crossbow, additional sights and accessories, and stronger internal mechs and springs to add to your models after some time. So, you start with these and then continue to upgrade as pieces are made available. This only happens though if they have enough support! When the page goes live Friday, if this seems right up your alley, go for it. www.indiegogo.com/papershooters It looks great aesthetically, and the creative process of crafting your own shooter and ammo (from paper scraps, no FBR or additional materials necessary) might interest you creative types. Give them a look, and if they get to their pre-order target I’ll hopefully be back with a proper live test/review of these things when they’re available.
For the 14+ crowd Jury is still out on playability VERY STRIKING aesthetically Offers a creative element usually only experienced in the mod community (build your own) Pricey, but full of potential in customization and future product offerings Indiegogo preorders must be made for this to come out
Monkey Business Sports was awesome enough to send over some of their Foam Strike line, in this case Pocket Shots, their take on the slingshot.
Stats: Pocket Shot – MSRP: $6.00 Includes: Pocket Shot x 1, Ball ammo x 3 Range: Just under 30′
Pocket Shot ammo (center) vs. Nerf ballistic balls
In order to load it, you wedge a ball between the uprights of the Pocket Shot, pull back the “hammer” and release, striking the ball forward.
As you can see, it took some adjusting to get the shot to go straight but it flew well once I had the mechanics dialed in. The table was set up around 30′ away, and the ball dropped a little short so there’s your range there.
The Pocket Shot strikes me as a blaster that truly can get played indoors or out. The ammo flies softly enough that I don’t think it could knock over a vase or anything breakable. It is also small enough to pocket, even if you are carrying additional ammo which is a good characteristic for a sidearm. The only shortcoming is that unless you are carrying additional ammo, you’re stuck with 3 shots before you have to retrieve.
The action of pulling back the bungee cord (as all Foam Strike shooters use; compared to the rubber tubing Zing Toys uses) is a very satisfying and tactile sensation, so while this won’t set any range records it is still a bit of fun to play with. Definitely leave a group of them on a table at a party and see what happens:)
The shape makes these shooters very low profile and unassuming, as opposed to some typical gun shapes that might scare administrators or parents. Coupled with the softness of the ammo and the low velocity rate, if my nephew were still 5 years old, I’d feel safe letting him play with this under supervision (he’s 10 now). The Pocket Shot is pretty quick to load and a convenient sidearm if you’re in the market for one. At the very least, having a slew of them around and random shootouts with friends is a great way to even trigger interest in the hobby at large. Pretty good offering from Foam Strike with this mini shooter, and after seeing their own bow and arrow hit 200’+, I look forward to seeing more from Monkey Business Sports, for sure.
Tech 4 Kids To Revolutionize Boys Action Experience with Tek Recon!
With innovations never seen before, Tech 4 Kids is set to revolutionize the action blaster category with Tek Recon! Tek Recon is a new line of blasters that integrate cutting edge design and the latest in gaming technology to provide the ultimate targeting and boys action experience. By bringing blasting capabilities to new heights, and by adding revolutionary app-enhanced gameplay features comparable to those of sophisticated video games, Tek Recon truly takes the category to the next level. Simply attach your smartphone to the blaster’s mount and you’re ready for Tek Recon Advanced Battle Systems that include GPS radar, voice communication capabilities and tons more gaming features!
Tek Recon blasters are the ONLY in their category to feature:
App-enhanced video game quality multi-player battles and team play, in REAL LIFE!
High performance rapid fire blasting (rubber rounds) with real recoil kickback
Additional features include:
Futuristic blaster design
Massive capacity of rounds (30 with Hammer Head, 90 with Havok), reusable with no mess
Long blasting distance with modifiable blasting modes
Fast trigger blasting with quick clip reload
Advanced Battle Systems:
The optional smart phone enhanced features are industry leading in bringing video game like experiences into real world play and include:
Reality /Digital Convergence (RDC) to capture real world actions through the lens of a smart device jam packed with popular, in demand gameplay features
Heads-up Display (HUD) with customizable vision modes, sound effects, and scopes for enhanced scouting of targets and objectives
Massive closed circuit gaming experience where players can use GPS to track the movement of teammates and opponents through Tek Recon Radar
Downloadable upgrades and links to a global social community, where screen captures can be shared, personal stats can be tracked, and team leader boards populated
Flashlight for night vision, surveillance video and camera, inter-team walkie talkie features
3 Popular, Familiar, and Exciting Game Modes:
Isolation: every person for themself tagging battle – last person standing
Team supremacy: team battle, eliminate opponent team through tactical maneuvers and tagging
Intel recovery: team reconnaissance mission – locate and scan all flags before
The app works with iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and iPod Touch devices as well as select Android devices.
Available Fall 2013 Suggested retail price: $19.99 (Hammer Head), $34.99 (Havok) Ages 8+