REVIEW: Nerf Vortex Diatron (aka the Dead Space Plasma Cutter)

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:

Quick Stats:

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

Annnnd Video:

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!

Nerf Preview Images Incoming: Vortex Diatron and Roughtcut 2×4

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!

REVIEW: Nerf Vortex Pyragon

 Nerf Vortex Pyragon against the Lumitron and a Clear Raider

Ah, the Nerf Vortex Pyragon.  The Nerf Raider CS-35 ended up being one of my favorite blasters, I would decimate entire teams with the right timing to apply the slam-fire.  Would the Pyragon match it in utility, and even outdo it in range and reliability?

After the break-



A couple of outdoor games with this, and it is definitely worthy of standing next to the Raider, if not outright overshadowing it.  Even the Rampage pales in comparison to what the Nerf Vortex Pyragon brings to the table.  It was impressive enough to see in action at the Nerf Elite Hailfire release party earlier this summer, but of course there’s no substitute for having the blaster in-hand 🙂

So let’s get down to it!  The Nerf Vortex Pyragon comes with the Pyragon, a 40-disc capacity drum, manual, 40-discs, and your hopes and dreams.  No scopes, no stocks, no blast shields.  It’s $39.99 at most retailers.  Thanks to Nerf, I got a sample.  Would I get another one from the store?  Most likely 🙂

It’s comfy.  In particular with the lightningstorm stock, as pictured here:

And the foregrip fits nicely for adult hands.  Ergonomic is the Pyragon’s middle name, from what I can tell.

The Nerf Vortex Pyragon can be considered the Rampage/Raider/Alpha Trooper of the Vortex line, due to the slamfire capabilities.  Advantage to Vortex on this one though, because the slamfire on the Pyragon is smoother, more robust, and more reliable than the slamfire on the N-Strike blasters.  Just a cloud of discs all flying at you in a matter of seconds.  It’s firepower, it’s elegant, it’s reliable.  A winning combination.

The drum is piece of work as well.  There’s the stem which serves as the main chamber, but then 4 auxiliary chambers inside the drum.  And when one empties, it automatically rotates to the next chamber until empty.  That’s why you’ll run out really fast, but maybe not before you tag an entire team with just one drum. 

A lot of people liked the Praxis, but the Pyragon has it and the Lumitron beat in spades.  What it trades in a little bit of width is more than made up for in reliability and slamfire. Not to mention the drum serves as its own turret mount 🙂

Quick word of warning… use caution if you put the Pyragon drum into a Lumitron or Praxis.  I found the priming arm triggered the mag release mechanism and inadvertently dropped my drum a couple of times to the ground because of this.  I didn’t have an issue using the drum with a Nitron, but the Nitron does admittedly fire slower than the Pyragon.

Also, I tried attaching a sling to the Pyragon, but it looked a point of attachment was not available on the Nerf Vortex Pyragon.  With that much awesome, I’m thinking the design team figured no one would want to carry anything else if they had a Pyragon, hehe.

Range-wise, the Nerf Vortex Pyragon hits pretty much what you’d expect from the Vortex line.  I’ll let the video do the talking here.

Anywhere from 50-70’+ depending on angle.  I had a slight breeze, which could attribute to the slice my discs were experience.  That being said, I was very pleased taking it out onto the field a couple of times and taking care of business.  It is still small enough to be mobile even with the large disc drum.  I crawled and roadie-ran through a few jungle gyms with it during games and didn’t feel the pinch for mobility at all.  The thumb hole in the foregrip feels more secure when holding the blaster, especially when using slamfire.  And as proven, it’ll fit grown hands –

Thanks Rogue!

In any event, the Nerf Vortex Pyragon is a solid buy.  Between the drum and the improvements over the mechanisms introduced with the Praxis it’s a good upgrade/addition to your playstyle if you favor a heavier hitting kind of mentality with a shock and awe approach to unloading a swarm of discs, or just having a lot of ammo on-hand for surgical strikes.  The drum is designed with a lot of nice touches (etched numbers, a snazzy logo) and it’s just satisfying to keep hearing that click when you decide to unload the entire thing.  Cleanup is not as much fun, but when is it ever?

Run out and get one, seriously.  You’ll feel better about yourself. 🙂

Nerf Vortex Pyragon… Battle-tested!

Just wanted stop in… Didn’t get any photos/video from today’s game w/TTAGS (wanted to focus on playing for the first time in awhile), but my Nerf Vortex Pyragon and the 40 round drum got some work today 🙂

The slam fire action is pretty smooth and flawless (as demonstrated in some test fire videos) but the accuracy and general feel of the blaster is aces in my book (to be fair, we were playing Freeze Tag and on a playground with a jungle gym; about 30-50′ apart at times.)  I was moving under/around well with it, and taking out entire teams under a cloud of discs.  No misfires, no jams, and replacing mags when empty was easy and fast.  Can’t ask for much more in my book.

If only I had a room full of UV lights and a slew of white vortex discs… Disc Wars a la Tron coming right up!

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