Nerf TablePros – Table top sports for a decent price and a retro feel
NXT Tactical Shotgun Review
Vas The Stampede
NXT Tactical Shotgun:
Price: $42.99 at Toys R Us
Range: 20′ (flat, angled = approx. > 30′)
Ammo: Foam darts (3 velcro/3 suction) – proprietary, does not match any other brand of dart. Additional ammo packs are available.
Availability: Most major retailers.
Tactical Shotgun x 1
Darts (3 suction type, 3 hook & loop)
Target x 1
Sample was provided by the manufacturer, opinions are my own.
|A look at the NXT darts – they’re shorter than most other brands.|
|The push-button breech, load the darts here.|
NXT Generation Toys is a company I ran into at New York Toy Fair this year. I’ve seen their products at Toys R Us, but haven’t picked one up before. It was an unfamiliar brand, and I can only budget so much for blasters. But, they were kind enough to send along a sample, so let’s see what I’ve been missing out on.
FIRST OFF: I got a little background on the company, and their aim (is it were) is on target practice, giving parents another avenue to teach their child about hunting and marksmanship. They not only have shotguns, but crossbows, bows patterned after compound bows (a long bow too), and a bit of an old-time element with flintlock pistols and long rifles (see: Frontier Series).
BUT, the intended use for them is – target practice. The tactical shotgun came with a target of its own, but there are others available in the cartoon shape of animals and more traditional archery targets, reinforcing the hunting and outdoor sportsman theme.
One of the neatest features about the tactical shotgun was the popout chamber. You push a button, out pops the dart chamber, you put the dart in, prime the shotgun, pull the trigger. It is one of the more unique ways to load a toy. However, this means it is also a single shot, and the chamber is small to accommodate their own ammo, but no other brands.
The NXT Shotgun only hit about 30′ at most with the toy angled, and 20′ flat after a number of shots. Compared to other brands currently, this isn’t something we see nowadays, especially at their price. In this case it might be a question how much you like how it looks.
Tactical means tactical. The toy is a solid matte black, with the obligatory orange tip. It feels light, and built so that the intended market (5+) should be able to manipulate the pump, with a little help from an adult (also part of the experience of making target shooting a parent-child experience). The pump does feel pretty solid, though I have to admit the feel of the toy doesn’t seem to be as robust as more recent toys. Again though, this follows with being built so a small child can use it. There’s no questioning what type of firearm this is modeled after though, so yes it can shoot targets but it might also be a good purchase for cosplayers and around Halloween.
The darts – the foam doesn’t match the current feel of other current brands. The foam feels lighter than other dart types, and the tips felt like they could peel off, especially if the dart got caught while pushing the chamber back into the body.
Ultimately, is it a buy? If you really want that shotgun look and pump-action feel, then go nuts. But the ranges are low compared to what else you can get recently for a similar amount of money. In close quarters this could be fun, but you would be limited to the proprietary ammo which means you’re lacking a lot of flexibility if you intend to go player vs player. As a target shooting game alone, combined with the targets and 20′ of space it could be a fun experience for the young kids to learn how to aim and maybe begin familiarizing themselves with outdoor shooting. Hopefully this helps, and if I’ve missed anything feel free to submit a question or comment below.
Nerf Tournament in Des Plaines, Illinois (thanks, Des Plaines Park District!)
By: Vas The Stampede
Last year, the Des Plaines Park District hosted a Nerf Tournament. Darts were fired, and fun was had. The fun was so plentiful they went for a second go recently as well! From the looks of it, there were about 30 (24 in the group shot below) who showed up to play, that’s up from the (roughly) 17 in last year’s group photo. Given that this is one of the few (if not only, at least as far as I know) park districts near me that uses Nerf/toy blasters as part of its programming, this is progress. (Niles, Morton Grove, Glenview, I’m looking at you.)
Here are (some of) the pics from 2014 – the day started off with some free skirmishes for the teams to get warmed up, then into round robin and eventually the knockout round.
The Des Plaines Park District set up the whole event-
The game of the day was Capture the Flag – teams would hide their flag somewhere on their half of the field, then search out the flag of the other team. If a player was tagged with a dart (and only a dart) they had to run back to their end of the field, count to 5, and jump back into play. A team only needed the other team’s flag to win, if their flag was moved they just had to hustle the other team’s flag back to their own base before their flag reached the other side. If a flag carrier was tagged with a dart they would drop the flag and it was to stay where it landed, a team could not move their flag back to base.
A little different was teams could only use ammo they brought into the game at the start; reloading from darts off the field was not allowed (probably to speed up the game, as teams would end up putting up strong defenses and reloading magazines. Even in a 5 minute round, this got a little slow.) If a player was hit, they were to pick up ONE dart from the ground and drop it into a bucket at their base. If there was no flag capture by the end of the 5 minute limit, whichever team had the most darts (meaning their players were tagged more) lost the game. Eye protection was mandatory, and players supplied their own ammo. Obstacles were provided by the park district, along with some loaner blasters when necessary.
Here’s the gallery:
Interesting note, I didn’t see any off-brand blasters. Whether it was the marketing or just preference of the players, I’m not sure. The blasters were stock (from what I could tell, and mods weren’t allowed anyway) but from talking to some of the players were definitely aware of the larger community, yet here they were doing work on the field laughing and playing with stock blasters.
The players range from 6-14 (maybe? I hadn’t really asked) but the kids came to play. Park staff acted as referees through each game and resolved any disputes and rules questions, and things went through pretty smoothly. The whole event took about 4 hours to complete from briefing to awards.
The kids definitely came to play, they were hustling, talking strategy, scouting other teams, all hallmarks of really wanting be competitive and put on a good show during each game. Admittedly, the games I played in the past at other meetups are a little less competitive so it was refreshing to see Nerf through the eyes of a more competitive mindsetthan I normally see. (Ask me about “Cannonball” sometime to get a feel for how I Nerf.)
I provided a little tech support (and some photographic coverage) but ultimately these kids may be the ones to pick up the hobby and continue to demonstrate that yes, blasters are still a valid toy market! Thanks again to the Des Plaines Park District for letting me be a part of this event and hope to see some of these faces again next year!
|JT Splatmaster z300 Sniper|
You know the drill.
First, a little more about what JT Splatmaster is about, what the JT First Shot Challenge is, and where Splatmaster is going next, thanks to Rich Telford (XSV Paintball), commissioner of the JT First Shot Challenge, Pro Paintball player (for 20 years now), and overall cool guy:
And that being said, here’s the demo video and some shots I traded with Thomas Taylor after PSP Chicago. Dude is a beast at normal paintball, and it was an honor to trade paint with him.
- Price: approx. $49.99
- Available: Now, varies by location
- Range: approx. 100′ (flat, not angled)
- Priming Mech: Side-lever arm, mimics a bolt-action feel of sorts
- Capacity: 15 Splatmaster .50 paintball rounds
- Loading: Breech-loaded, through an opening on the top of the marker.
- FPS: Approx. 140, but may shoot higher.
- Attachments: Tac rails on top and bottom (perfect fit for picatinny mounts, I have used a GoPro mount), removable and adjustable stock. Stock has a spot to attach a sling/bandolier.
Barrel plug is included.
- EDIT 07/16/13 Sorry for overlooking this – if it wasn’t obvious the priming arm is on the LEFT side of the blaster, effectively making this only for right-handed people. The z200 is still a decent enough primary for both lefties and righties, but lefties are going to have a bit of a different mechanic from righties if they use the z300.
|JT Splatmaster z300 (barrel plug is in)|
|Tactical rails along the top and bottom of the barrel; picatinny mounts work just fine 🙂|
|Down the sight, and this aims pretty well.!|
|The lever arm priming mech; kinda felt like a bolt-action rifle after a bit.|
|.50 paintballs are loaded throught the breech here (the blue part is a door you push open to load)|
|Your ammo stores here; see how many shots you have left|
I first checked out Splatmaster with the z100 pistol and z200 shotgun, and the z300 is way different from either.
The z100 and z200 were tested with a chronograph to around 120 fps; the z300 will usually hit around 140 fps but I have seen videos where the fps hit around 180 fps at max. So, definitely a beefier, stronger shot. However, the priming arm mechanic feels a lot slower than the z200’s pump-action motion so there’s definitely going to fall on the player whether they want the power of a z300 or a faster run and gun style the z200 lends itself to. Additionally, the z300 adds a little backspin to keep the shot aloft (hop up?), so I sometimes sailed a little high from my target. It took some adjustment at first, but eventually I got comfortable. Still, the power and accuracy in the z300 are pretty righteous. It’s a nice trade if you have a more deliberate and surgical play style. Overall, the range and accuracy are pretty impressive. I’ll definitely do a follow up with higher standing targets and revisit this in the future.
Let’s talk about how the z300 handles and feels. As far as holding it, the adjustable stock really helps. It’s comfortable, and after holding other toy blasters it feels skinnier and a bit easier to aim, carry, hold, and run with by comparison. The styling lends itself really well to a proper rifle, making moving and aiming pretty intuitive. If I had to critique anything, I’d say it needs a bipod, as this is the Sniper type of marker in the lineup. The priming action is smooth, the trigger pull doesn’t fight, and the arm sits against the body in line with the rest of the marker, so if I strap it to my back it doesn’t jab at me. There is only one sling point though, and that’s on the back of the removable stock.
|Removable stock with 5 different settings. The sling point is that loop on the back of the stock||.|
Furthermore on the handling. The z300 loads through a door in the top of the marker that holds the paintballs (illustrated in the pics above.) With every move of the priming handle, a ball loads into the barrel (via gravity and a follower that pushes the balls along, it might take some practice or jiggling if you experience any misfires) and the trigger pull launches the ball. I didn’t experience any chopped/broken balls so far and misfires are rare (and I’ll attribute those to human error), so between the paint and the marker itself, everything is pretty reliable. You can reload the chamber either one at a time with paintballs but there are also speedload tubes (pods) that JT makes (see the pic below) to expedite the reload process. It took a little practice to get the right motion/angle to get the tube to push the door down and feed the balls, but as you can see in the video above I got it.
In a way, this simulates refilling your hopper with a full pod (and it’s very possible to miss reloading a proper paintball hopper too, so that’s just part of the game.) Either way you choose to do it, you have options. In fact, of the existing ammo containers, the grenade shaped ammo packs work pretty well too, just they’re bulkier than the speedload tubes (and during the Splatmaster First Shot challenge you only have 30 rounds per player, so starting ammo & 1 tube.)
Bottom line, while the priming motion and rate of fire is a tad slower than the z200, the z300 is definitely worth the $49.99 for it’s power, range, accuracy, portability, aesthetics, and just overall feel. For kids and adults looking to start in paintball this is a great offering. It is definitely one of the coolest looking things I’ve used, and handles so nicely. That the rails accommodate picatinny accessories (like my GoPro mount) is a huge plus (and might address the bipod gripe I have) and only adds to how much I like this marker and is a must-try for anyone thinking about this line. So far Splatmaster has the z90 (not reviewed yet, debuted at JT Splatmaster Chicago), the z100, z200, and now the z300. Each offers a little something different in the play experience so see which suits you! Just please remember to obey the local laws regarding paintball products, please.
In closing, big thanks to Rich, Thomas, and everyone at Empire/JT for their time and efforts. Hope to see you all again! As a majority of my time with them was spent at THE FIRST JT First Shot Challenge in Chicago, of course I have pics 🙂 Splatmaster is a brand worth watching with what their goal is (building paintball by making it more accessible to people) and what they’re making for people. They’ve got some great ideas, and I hope to see them come to fruition.
PIC PREVIEW SPAM:
First, let’s get some pertinent links out of the way:
Living Legends of Paintball
Viper Paintball Scenarios
A favorite saying I have is that “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Having played Nerf so much, I also try to keep an open mind about the other Ways to Play out there, whether it’s water pellets, rubber bands, or in this case, paintball.
I barely remember my first time playing paintball, just that it was a bachelor party. It was fun, but definitely different from Nerf in range, pain factor, ammo capacity, and so much more. It was its own game, and I had a blast when all was said and done. It was cost-prohibitive to me though, so I didn’t play all that often. Whenever someone had another bachelor party or random get together, I managed. And then I found out about Living Legends.
For a little history, the first Living Legends was held in 2008, and it was a relatively huge paintball scenario game that took place at CPX Sports, an approx. 143 acre property with about 18 or so different fields. Only for Living Legends…. basically the entire park was the battlefield. It was intended to let people come together and have a great experience playing paintball with some of the greats in the sport. And maybe through the weekend, earn a legend of your own. That first Living Legends had just under 700 people.
This year’s, number 6, had just under 2,000.
CPX is below:
[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=CPX+Sports,+Chicagoland,+Schweitzer+Road,+Joliet,+IL&aq=0&oq=cpx+c&sll=39.739318,-89.266507&sspn=8.697629,19.753418&t=h&ie=UTF8&hq=CPX+Sports,+Chicagoland,+Schweitzer+Road,+Joliet,+IL&hnear=&radius=15000&ll=41.466207,-88.155785&spn=0.071946,0.071946&output=embed” width=”425″>
View Larger Map
Anyway, I decided this was something I needed to experience at least once, so I went for it. Two teams (New Empire vs The Horde), and a game that ran all weekend. I picked up some gear, played a couple of more times at CPX leading up to Living Legends, and finally this happened –
(Language warning, a word or 2 slips in the video)
It was intense, it was dirty, it was great. Work to organize an event like this began about 6 months prior, in order to organize missions, planned skirmishes, the works. Points and objectives were all out there, it was up to us the players and our commanders to get out there and do the work. From about 10 AM until 6 PM I was respawning and marching to different points of conflict, making friends along the way, and just throwing myself into it. If there was a particular spot they needed people, I went. If I was walking along and ran across a firefight, I joined the line. It was by and large one of the most physically demanding things I ever put my body through (on top the gear and activity, it was about 80+ degrees that weekend so water was my best friend) but it was worth every bruise and sore muscle afterward, just to say that I did it.
I had a number of tense moments in trees, bushes, and buildings thinking that I’d turn a corner and run into a cadre of Horde team members all bearing down on me, or just trading shots with multiple targets and hearing paintballs fired at 270-300 fps zip past my ear, break on trees and burnt out cars. And your only choice is to keep going until you’re hit, paint, or air ran out. (And the way they handled logistics, it was more likely you’d get hit before the other 2 conditions played out.)
Not to mention that there were some great people I ran into. Our Commander, Wolf , was very easy to talk to and say hi, whether at HQ or at the concession stand. I used a few videos of TechPB’s as a reference about what to expect and how to prepare, and managed to meet him as well. Everyone I spoke to (either on the field or moments of down time) was either willing to help answer a question about where to go, what to do, or if a ball had broken on me. The refs were great, making sure the rules were followed but also that players had answers and most importantly, were doing ok. I had never been asked/told to hydrate so much, it was good reminder.
Also, in the video I mentioned “tanks” and this is kinda like what I’m talking about –
|Taken from Bunker Shots – https://www.facebook.com/Bunkershots|
Sadly, I only went for 1 day. Day 2 was the “Final Battle” where moments like this were commonplace: (it’s a battle over a single spot to score points).
|Photo taken from “Bunker Shots” – https://www.facebook.com/Bunkershots|
That being said, I consider this Bucket List item only half complete. Next year! Until then, I’ll keep exploring this hobby too and hopefully have a new trick or two up my sleeve for next year. There’s truly nothing else like it that I’ve experienced yet, and I can’t wait to do it all again.
See you on the field.
Thank you so much to CPX and Viper for putting this all together! Thank you to the pro shop staff! To HK Army! And most of all, to every player that was on that field. It was an honor.
Fresh from JT Splatmaster… they’re starting a way to introduce newcomers to league play and competition!
(my original review here: http://foamfromabove.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-jt-splatmaster-z100-z200-and.html) I was a fan of it then, and am still a fan of it now. Between the accuracy and the comfortable feel of the Splatmaster line, it’s a solid buy if you’ve been thinking about it. It’s nowhere near as painful as paintball (due to the decreased fps) but tons of fun at closer ranges than you might expect with paintball.
All the rules and regs are listed here:
http://empirepaintball.com/jt-first-shot/. More, after the break.
Players must NOT have any tournament experience!
- Saturday, June 22
Joliet, IL 60436
- JT SplatMaster
And, got a new video up today on the TekRecon for my own channel –
Whew! Busy morning. (at least, it’s morning here)
How about that? The Tacticool Tag and Gaming Society of Chicagoland (http://ttagschicago.blogspot.com) is going to be hosting a slew of minigames during the JustPlay! Sports and Recreational Festival. Word has it they’re planning on doing stock blasters, mandatory eye protection (provided) and demos of some of their favorite toys. If you’re in Illinois and near Carol Stream, feel free to check it out! There’s a ton of other activities, and here’s a promo video from 2011 –
Zip line, Basketball, karate, kid’s nerf wars and so much more over two days, May 19th and 20th! Hours: 10 AM – 6 PM.
FULL SCHEDULE AND WEBSITE HERE: http://www.csparks.org/justplay/ – 7 years long, 7 years strong!
Protip: If you’re the first person to find them and say, “mekka lekka high mekka hiney ho”, you’ll get a prize 🙂