Nerf Prometheus Unboxed (and with 100% more firing demo!)

Opening up the Nerf Prometheus, firing/range video coming soon (the outdoors isn’t terribly cooperative today.)

Sample provided by Nerf! Opinions remain my own!




NERF RIVAL PROMETHEUS MXVIII-20K Blaster (Ages 14 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $199.99/Available: Fall 2018) Head into battle blazing to take on the competition with the NERF RIVAL PROMETHEUS MXVIII-20K blaster! This blaster features the new ADVANCED ACCELERATION SYSTEM which allows it to fire at a rate of 8 high-impact rounds per second! This blaster also holds a whopping 200 high-impact rounds in its easy-load hopper. The PROMETHEUS MXVIII20K blaster is fully motorized with a rechargeable NiMh battery for endless fun. Package includes blaster, 200 highimpact rounds, rechargeable NiMh battery, charger, two flags, shoulder strap and instructions. Available at most major toy retailers nationwide and on HasbroToyShop.com.

Enjoy! Make sure to like and subscribe!

Zach King’s NerfNation Show Goes live! (#NerfnationShow)

YouTuber/Magician Zach King announced some time ago that he would be producing “The Nerf Nation Show” and here it is:

And…. there you have it.

– This particular episode was a little over 4 mins. long.
– Covered Jared’s Epic Nerf Battle
– Showed off the Judge and the Nerf N-Strike Elite Infinus
– Running. So much running.
– Preview of the set they’ll be using.

In previous videos, eagle-eyed commenters noted the Delta Trooper was in the arsenal and he shows off other new blasters in the series preview. There were a few good shots, it was nice to see JT in there, and Zach King is good on camera (not surprising considering his own channel and history) so it’s a decent start of sorts? I would have liked more of an idea of what they’re going to do with each segment but at least the production values are there and as I caught myself watching his magic videos for extended time future videos could be just as compelling. I’m not quite sure what the format of the show is going to be, but there’s only one way to find out! Are you going to tune in again for the next episode?

And some actual Nerf news:

Nerf Perks
·         Be one of the FIRST to get the Nerf brand’s newest blasters. Starting July 1st, Nerf Perks members can use their points to redeem for any of the Nerf brand’s NEW blasters. Go to NerfPerks.com to redeem! Not a member? No problem! Sign up for free at nerfperks.com and start earning points! Open to US Residents 18+.
·         Members and non-members can use code NERF18 to get an extra 200 points to help you on your way to earning some awesome rewards.
·         Eligible Blasters include: Modulus Evader, Mega Thunderhawk, Elite Infinus, Elite Delta Trooper, Zombie Ripchain, Zombie Scravenger, Rival Prometheus, and Rival Hades
Nerf Fest
·         Get ready, because Nerf Fest is coming! All of the fall Nerf products will be hitting shelves on Monday, July 16th!

Street date for the new blasters is July 16th. New releases been spotted in Mexico and elsewhere (and the Delta Trooper is in the hands of some people already) but the samples should be coming out soon.

The Prometheus and the Hades by far were favorites, but I am really curious how the Mega Thunderhawk is going to be. It underperformed in my opinion at New York Toy Fair, so hopefully they made some adjustments since then and it’s going to fly! The harmonica clip on that blaster isn’t my favorite feature but the build itself was super solid, and the sliding barrel sheath(?) feature was pretty neat.

Nerf Mega Thunderhawk

Nerf Rival Prometheus

Nerf Rival Hades

Make sure to keep tabs for the next entry! By then it should be something from Buzz Bee. Or Zuru. Or maybe Nerf! And don’t forget to keep tabs on my social channels as well.

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Zuru: Flying Bug Attack Review (Clipfed, target shooting goes insect)

Zuru Launches new Flying Bugs with Flying Bug Attack kit
(Samples provided, but opinions remain my own)

Flying Bug Attack Single Pack

X-Shot Flying Bugs
Take down REAL flying targets with the NEW X-Shot Flying Bugs range! The latest addition to
ZURU’s hugely successful dart blaster range X-Shot Bug Attack which takes the action to the next
level with real moving targets. To get your bugs flying, simply place the bugs onto the motorized
launcher, press the pedal down with your foot and release to see the bugs soar in the air as you try
and take them down before they land! Featuring the exclusive new X-Shot Swarm-Seeker blaster – a
rapid fire blaster that can shoot 10 darts in rapid succession with an innovative side-loading clip
system! The X-Shot Flying Bugs Single Pack includes 1 Swarm Seeker blaster, launcher, 2 flying
bugs, and 12 darts (SRP $19.99). The Double Pack includes 2 Swarm Seeker blasters, launcher,
3 flying bugs and 24 darts (SRP $29.99). Ages 8+, Available July 2018.

STATS:



Includes: 12 zuru darts, 1 clip, Swarm Seeker blaster (aka Predator, according to the Zuru site), 2 flying bug targets, and 1 launcher.
Batteries: Requires 4 AA batteries (for bug launcher)
Range Claims: 90 ft
Other notes: Clip is compatible with the Zuru XShot Regenerator blaster, and those clips work with this pistol.

And Zuru is hot off to the races with their newest addition to the Bug Attack line, this time incorporating a helicopter/flying bug target to use with their blasters. The target is easy enough to use; you step on the pedal (video is still being worked on, that will be added in later), rev the rotors on the bug, release, and it flies off so you can shoot it down. The bugs banged into walls and the flying pattern isn’t the easiest to follow, so maybe this will be great fun for target shooting, and higher in difficulty level.

The blaster itself is called the Swarm Seeker. It’s a 10 shot clipfed blaster, and the clip is a typewriter/harmonica sideways orientation. Not my favorite placement on a pistol (as I would want to holster it) but the grip is comfortable for me and I didn’t have any jams after firing 3 clips full of ammo. I also launched a few proper Nerf Accustrike rounds from the blaster, and didn’t experience any jams using another brand of ammo. Accuracy from the blaster was pretty decent too, and while some Zuru darts did veer off from a straight line that was the exception more than the rule. As with all Zuru/XShot darts, these are also shorter darts than Nerf or most other brands.

The range I got from the Swarm Seeker (video coming later) went anywhere from 40-60 feet. Some of my shots were angled as well, but for a pistol that’s not too bad and for a stock blaster fresh out of the box that’s about what you would expect. The most telling thing about the blaster was that it had some decent accuracy.

Zuru dart is second from the left.

If I had any strikes against this blaster it’s about the choice to orient the clip sideways. As previously stated, holstering it with the clip loaded is tricky, and the other option is to keep them separated while running around and THEN loading the blaster when you use it (if you decide to keep it as a sidearm). That seems inefficient. I also didn’t notice a slamfire feature on the blaster, and while that’s not a dealbreaker, I wouldn’t have minded having it there.

The clip does make loading faster though (as opposed to one chamber at a time on a front-loading blaster) but only as long as you have loaded clips. Currently the only way to get any additional clips is thrifting, trading, or buying a Regenerator/another Flying Bug Attack kit. Zuru currently does not sell these clips (or the magazines for the Bug Attack Crossbow) separately.

Considering Zuru’s past prices, $19.99 for the single kit itself is a deal. If you consider that a Strongarm on Amazon or most other pistols are about $12 for something that has less shots on a turret, that’s an even better price. If you want to consider the Nerf Recon Mk II, which is a small (when no attachments used) clipfed blaster, it is certainly a lower price but you don’t get the additional value of the launchpad and target, especially if you lack Nerf wars near you regularly. This is certainly a good set for a parent to get their kid(s) with the additional targets, which may keep the darts from flying at siblings and/or furniture. Even more intense players may dig the pistol, which I found comfortable to grip and fire, if not keep as a sidearm. Definitely worth a look once these are widely available later this Fall. Big thanks to Zuru for getting me these samples, and looking forward to more!

Adventure Force 200 Dart Pack – Walmart Exclusive, Quality Blasting on a Budget!

Adventure Force from Walmart $9.97 USD 200 round dart refill pack, “waffle darts” compatible with Nerf and other brand, available August 2018

Walmart steps up HUGE for the coming year, offering up a 200 dart pack under their “Adventure Force” brand, already filled to the brim with dart blasters. The darts take cues from the K’Nex K-Force blasters, and compare in shape to other “waffle” style darts available on Amazon. This is only the first product of the blaster related items for 2018 from Adventure Force, and if last year was any indicator there are big things coming for this year. Dart Zone, through Walmart’s Adventure Force label look to push a quality blasting experience without the premium cost. And with the incoming prices for the next year in other brands, a little relief on the wallet might be just what parents are going to want when it comes time for gift-giving. Big thanks to Dart Zone for sending along a sample of the ammo, really looking forward to using these in play! My judgments are based on cursory testing of the darts from a few shots, naturally as I get to use these more I’ll have a stronger opinion (opinions also remain my own, even with a provided sample). From what I’ve seen so far though, it’s good, it’s pretty good.

The Adventure Force waffle darts are in the center, green with blue tip. Zuru darts, while slightly cheaper, are still shorter than most darts.

A closer look to compare the dart heads: the KForce is on the left, EKind (I think), Dart Zone, and Ekind)

A quick search on Amazon.com shows some of the first results are 200 darts of various 3rd parties for $10+, Walmart will sell these 200 dart packs for less at the $9.97 USD mark they set. The Dart Zone Sureshot package for sale on Amazon is 100 darts for $14.99, not the same value as the Walmart pack. Make sure to shop “Adventure Force” at Walmart and you can be confident that you are buying darts safe from an established company that will ship appropriately and promptly for one of the best prices out there. Zuru makes a slightly cheaper 500 pack for $24.99, but those darts are shorter (shown in the first pic above) which can be a problem for some players (depending on the type of blaster they’re using). So yes, the value is close but the dart length makes it a gamble on whether your blasters will work (if your blasters use magazines, this could affect reliability feeding. Front-loaded blasters obviously are less troubled by dart length than blasters that use magazines.

As I stated before, the bonus of buying through Adventure Force is that one of the companies making the products for the Adventure Force line, Dart Zone, is an experienced and established blaster/toy company, not just a listing on the internet. You know the BallistixOps line, the Dart Zone chain blasters (Enforcer, Dart Storm, Light Command) in recent history, and their dart making has hit some leaps and bounds since they first appeared. Some people know the third party brands they trust but this pack remains competitive even with some of those. If you need to make a run on ammo in a pinch, just run out to the store and not have to worry about waiting for shipping.

The foam of the Adventure Zone waffle darts are on par with anything else I’ve used as far as foam dart ammo is concerned. It did feel a bit too squishy trying out the front loading of a Tri-Fire, but ultimately the darts fired just fine, they loaded well. Durability will really test during summer play, or hopefully in an arena somewhere. Definitely no complaints from me regarding the shape, the feel, or the flight path of the darts. The video above illustrates some of my findings firing these out of stock blasters.
The darts were impressive! I had maybe one ricochet off a wall, but for the most part the darts all stayed within the center and grouped in the middle of the hallway. That’s a far cry from some other darts that fly every which way; maybe far distances but definitely nowhere near what you want to tag sometimes. It’s a promising start for the first item of Adventure Force for 2018, coming from Dart Zone. Looking forward to what the summer reveals will bring!

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Nerf VORTEX New (Again?) For 2018! – Nerf News

Nerf Vortex Returns in Fall 2018
Vas The Stampede

UPDATED: Unboxing video posted 5/8/2018 and Nerf Vortex Vigilon 2011 vs Nerf Vortex Vigilon 2018




And my old firing video of the original release of the Pyragon – 

NERF VORTEX VTX PYRAGON Blaster
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $59.99/Available: Fall 2018)
Take battling to the next level with the NERF VORTEX VTX PYRAGON blaster! With a 40-disc drum, this blaster is the highest-capacity VORTEX blaster yet. Battlers can take aim to swamp the competition with a fast-flying barrage of discs. Fire one disc at a time or fire all 40 darts rapidly with slam-fire action. With discs that can bank, curve, and ricochet, the competition will have to stay alert to keep track of their trajectory. Package includes blaster and 40 discs. Available exclusively at Target.
NERF VORTEX VTX PRAXIS Blaster
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $34.99/Available: Fall 2018)
Get ready for awesome free-style blasting with the NERF VORTEX VTX PRAXIS blaster! Pump-action power and removable clips allow battlers go the distance, keeping the competition on their toes.Load one clip into the blaster and keep the second nearby for quick reloading. Blast fast and create trick shots with discs that can bank, curve, and ricochet. The competition will never see them coming! Package includes blaster, two 10-disc clips and 20 discs. Available exclusively at Target.

And the first shot I fired out of the Vigilon as soon as I received samples way back when.
NERF VORTEX VTX VIGILON Blaster
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $24.99/Available: Fall 2018)
Bend the rules of battle to create all kinds of trick shots with the NERF VORTEX VTX VILIGON blaster! The VORTEX VTX VIGILON blaster sends discs soaring through the air for rule bending bombardment. Open the drop-down door to access the internal clip, load five discs inside, then take aim and send one disc at a time. Re-load the clip for minimum reloading time and maximum blasting. The battle is on! Package includes blaster and 10 discs. Available exclusively at Target.
NERF VORTEX VTX DISC REFILL
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $9.99/Available: Fall 2018)
Blast discs that soar and ricochet with the NERF VORTEX VTX blasters! Create all kinds of trick shots with these soft, flexible discs. Stock up for rule-bending battles with this refill pack that includes 20 NERF VORTEX VTX discs! Includes: 20 discs. Available exclusively at Target.
The initial leaked images were true! Nerf Vortex, after a few years of non-releases and hearing that lessons were learned from the line, is back! Coming out this fall (in addition to all the other huge releases) Nerf Vortex blasters are going to be exclusive to Target and having new colors with some of the old blasters of yore. No Nitron or Proton so far, but everything old is new again. The ranges were ok when compared to Nerf blasters pre-Elite but the real bonus (to some folks) was that the discs could be fired just right to  hook around an obstacle someone may be hiding behind. Mr. S at Nerd Drop figured it was Nerf’s “trick shot” line, and that was pretty true considering some of the marketing that followed after. Another story that came out was that it was going to be a whole “Vortex Vs Elite” theme between the two lines, but was deemed too aggressive for the 8+ crowd (so I heard).
Most of the feedback from other players were the discs were too expensive considering the disposable nature of Nerf wars, or the discs were inaccurate. Some players loved it but sales didn’t seem to translate well, especially after the Elite line was released. It was another ammo type to buy and when you combine the cost of ammo, that’s not a good mix. But the line is back (and for a more expensive price, but that’s the cost of inflation over years, maybe.) 
Either way, looking forward to the samples, and now it looks like the Vortex side of my collection gets new life breathed into it! Lock and Load, Nerf Nation.

"GIANT NERF BATTLE" – Illinois -The Write Up

Giant Nerf Battle takes place in Illinois – Around 200 Fling Foam in the Avanti’s Dome in Pekin, IL
A look at the field they set up for this event
With Click Click BAMF and some of his Iowa crew

I heard about the “Giant Nerf Battle” in Pekin, IL from the Internet (maybe CJ from ClickClickBamf tipped me off…) about a month ago, so naturally I kept tabs on it. I reached out to the host, followed the Facebook event, CJ was coming in with a few people from his crew out there so naturally, I made preparations to attend.

There’s an event in Dallas called “Jared’s Epic Nerf Battle” and it just wrapped up its 3rd year. I haven’t made it there, so given the proximity (2.5 hours) to go to Pekin vs. the much larger (and costly) trip of going to Dallas, I at least had to try to go to the Giant Nerf Battle.

What I knew was it was going to be in the Avantis Dome (pictured above), an inflatable dome somewhere in near Morton, IL. This was a first year event (the host, Mike, had held paintball events before, but this was the first time he was running a “Nerf” type event.) Knowing it was a first time thing, my expectations were low. With any convention, fan event, anything, if it’s a year One, I don’t expect much. Also, the rules, some promo material, were strangely reminiscent of the materials/videos/rules affiliated with Jared’s Epic Nerf Battle. Keeping all this in mind, I didn’t really know what to expect but any expectations had to be realistic.

There were a few rules right off the bat –

The main theme for the games were “Cubs vs Cards” which was basically Red vs Blue… if you showed up with Cubs gear/blue clothing you were assigned to the Cubs side of the field, Red/Cards gear meant the opposite side. A winner was declared at the end of each game, a point given to the Cubs or Cards accordingly. For those who may be scratching your head, Cubs is for “Chicago Cubs” and “Cards” is “St. Louis Cardinals”, eternal enemies in Major League Baseball’s National League.

Each game was going to be 6:00 – the first 3 minutes allowed respawning (run back to your “base” and tag in) and the last 3 minutes meant no more respawns. You couldn’t cross the midfield line until the last 1-2 minutes of each game. What that meant to me was to sit in the back until the last 3 minutes, and start then. There was no real incentive/rule to do anything before elimination. People would shoot at me, but all that meant was more ammo on our side of the field.

Games would be different themes, different age groups, different blaster types (all Rival, all Dart, I heard there was an HvZ round too) but same time limits each time, with a 10 minute or so break to collect ammo/reload.

The crowd looked just under 200 to me, (maybe close to 120 or so, including staff) and games had maybe upwards of 80 people on the field at one time. Final estimates look to be closer to 200 according to the field employees.

THE RUNDOWN:

Having been at the game, I have thoughts/opinions. I drove my own way there, I paid my own ticket in, if I got anything out of it it was CJ covering my food (thanks, man!)

The Field:

– Getting inside, the Avantis Dome was a single field with a few bleachers on the side for staging. It was nice enough and the field was big enough to accommodate the crowd. No real complaints there. I’m fielding opinions still on the field itself though… there was turf I think but the ground wasn’t very forgiving. I avoided sliding too much or doing any rolling as I had a near 3 hour drive back and didn’t want to increase chances of bringing an injury home. According to some folks, turf is supposed to be a bit squishy and soft, definitely not what I think I felt in this case.

– There were bunkers, and a lot of them! There was still a lot of space and lines to get your foam through, but the fun part happened when you could finally cross over to the other side. Otherwise I saw people finding favorite obstacles to stay behind or just standing in the open if they were farther back. I think I would have preferred having things a little tighter considering the size of the crowd. It did get intense the closer you got to midfield but the back rows were safe havens practically.

– Because it was in a stadium, the “rules” to the event included using only clear/transparent bags on the field. I had reached out to Mike (the host) if this meant we could bring in tubs or other lockable storage so long as we used transparent bags during play, but probably due to the hectic run-up to the event he hadn’t responded. I ended up purchasing new transparent bags to bring, but after arriving there it looked like that didn’t matter. I saw players showing up in military harnesses and running onto the field and no officials said anything. People were staging out of opaque tubs and no one got stopped there either. I ended up switching out for my usual belt/pouch combo and carried on in spite of the posted rules. 18 under had to keep eye protection on when on the field, and 18+ had it optional. For the most part, I didn’t hear about any serious eye injuries.

– Side note, they had various blasters and ammo for purchase as I found out, and along with that some ammo. I did find full vinyl jacket (FVJ) darts on those tables, as well as on the field. Not my favorite decision to sell that ammo as it’s banned at numerous meetups I know of, but I wonder if they researched ammo types available. (Again, this was a first time Nerf-style event for Mike.)

The Crowd:

– Lots of families (not surprising) and thus the younger side of 8+, unsurprising for an event like this. Parents would sometimes just be there to help their kid reload or track down ammo, but weren’t shooting blasters themselves. Props to them for bringing their kid to something unique like this.

– Honor system was… a guideline at best. I recall at least one moment that I had to stare at a kid to get him to respawn after tagging him out. Other players were crossing the 50 yard line before we were “allowed” to do so, referees were apparently not enforcing hits/rules too well (according to the folks I spoke with) and if you tried to tell people yourself I know at least one instance someone got a rude hand gesture for it. Nevermind some of the profanity I heard from adults yelling at kids, or other people just looking to talk garbage to others. Sure, it happens in large crowds but still doesn’t make it right.

– For the most part the attendees were there to play and burn off some energy/have a good time. Hits weren’t super serious to count, and the only real detractor was any rude/off color behavior. We’re already getting together to shoot Nerf toys, that’s inherently silly as it is. Let’s not be jerks while we’re at it. I suppose the issue I have with some of lack of enforcement is that there was an actual exchange of money involved here, a ticket purchased. If I wanted to horse around with blasters in a freeform scenario for a few hours I didn’t have to drive almost 3 hours to get there and pony up the money for a ticket. I could have gotten some friends together and did that closer to home.

The Game:

– As I mentioned, the rules were loosely enforced so with that in mind it was a loose gameplay experience. The uncrossable line seemed to catch some people off-guard and it didn’t matter to other players anyway, as I saw. The problem here seemed to be communication before the event in order to give players ample notice. Again, not that serious to keep to a strict play pattern but if you’re going in and paying money you almost want some structured game types to differentiate from what you can do at home.
– There was only elimination played, really. I would not have minded an attempt at few different game types like capture the flag or attack and defend variants. Again, this is where communication ahead of time would have been good. At a paintball event, Living Legends, the midfield area has scoring pods (on a hill) and people have to run foam bricks from their side into these pods. I don’t know how it would have worked here but something like that might have been a lot of fun with that much foam flying through the air. In a way to just have one game type (and maybe there was a zombies round) constantly played for 3 hours smacks of lack of planning and insight. Sure, it works for the majority of the crowd to have elimination but there is more out there to try out just for fun as well.
– No water fountains or stations available. Maybe I can be corrected in the comments, and yes there were in/out privileges for the arena, but if you weren’t buying water/refreshments at the concession stand. I think you just had to go thirsty. A concession stand was made available and I appreciate that food and drinks were there, but it seemed off to not even have the option to take a quick drink if you needed it, you had to leave and wait in line. Just seemed odd to me if that was the case.

ClickClickBAMF has a whole video on our chat after the event, keep an eye out for that! While it was great that a stadium game happened in Illinois, we weren’t sure this was the best foot forward. It was a first year event and had some definite issues, but maybe if they do more events they’ll put on a better show. I would like to say I am all ready to get back onto their field for the next game in June, but to be honest, I am neutral to going again. I wish them well on future games though, and hope to see more from Pekin Paintball in the future. For now though, it’s just not a good fit for what I want out of paying money to Nerf vs what was presented.

Buzz Bee Toys 2018 Toy Fair Roundup – Bolt-action cometh, and the return of an old pattern

Buzz Bee Toys came out swinging last year with a number of great items; the Thermal Hunter, the Zenith, and the Thermal Sensor were standouts for me. The Monorail was a good idea but it had some reliability issues when I tried it and that kept it off my favorites list. There were other blasters that had Overall though, the creation of Precision Darts, Long Distance Darts, and sucker darts was some great stuff that came out of Buzz Bee last year.

This year, Buzz Bee seems to have gone the other way. I saw a lot of bolt-action style blasters in their room, such as a new Snipe and their walkie-talkie blasters. Most telling though is that their headlining item, the Mutator – is going to be bolt-action. I can’t blame them either, the tactile feedback from sliding a bolt handle into firing is pretty cool, and plays heavily into the roleplay aspect of the blaster. 
The Buzz Bee Mutator

Buzz Bee Covert Squad – walkie talkies and single shot blasters
There are some exceptions, such as the new Demolisher for The Walking Dead line of blasters, and the PowerMech 20, but otherwise the majority of the blasters I saw on display were either out or bolt-action. Interesting how that works out given Nerf continuing to use flywheels, pump-action, or the traditional pullback slide. 
The Mutator gets its name from the quick change it can pull off in the middle of a blaster fight. There are two magazines because you can load each one with a different type of ammo. One magazine is loaded with the precision darts, and the other loaded with the long distance ammo for farther targets. Pull the barrel forward on The Mutator to shift between either ammo type, bolt-action, and fire. The prototype was still very early, so I didn’t fire it but I did carry it a bit and manipulate the barrel. Interested to see the final product, for sure. 
What I like about the Mutator is it’s a big show-me blaster and the reloading without needing to pop a magazine out and slap a new one in is a time-saving and efficient idea. I believe I heard a few more tweaks are needed and the blaster may not be out til 2019 to make sure it’s firing on all cylinders. I hope that’s not the case and we’ll see it sooner, to figure out more tricks to do with a blaster that reloads as the Mutator does.
The Covert Squad blasters were single-shot bolt action blasters, but the walkie-talkie action is a nice little twist. The blasters are compact enough to not be a bulky unit to hold up, and it’s just a neat gimmick feature for a simple blaster. If you remember the old Nerf Commlink, this is similar but a much greater range (300′), much more streamlined form, earbud connection, and more streamlined unit. For $24.99 (in a two-pack) I’ll go ahead and put this on my Gift Ideas list for the holidays.
The Demolisher was a flywheel unit, and then the PowerMech 20, but the real gem of the room was the Velocity X chronograph.

Velocity X
The big notes on the Velocity X are that it’s a chronograph, AND accommodates Nerf Rival and Mega ammo as well. The unit could be held in hand against the muzzle, or set up to stand on its own via tripod, but this will have a home with maybe arena owners and general users. One concern so far is if the device will be able to read higher (modded) velocities, but I don’t think anyone’s tried yet. All the same, a really good idea.

I got a few readings off it, and it was easy enough to use, but it’s a prototype as far as I’m concerned so when I see the production model I’ll chip in my 2 cents for a full, honest review. What was really cool was the range estimates; it would give distance estimates at an angle vs parallel to the ground. While the Nerf chronobarrel attaches to the barrel of the blaster and functions as an ammo counter, the distance reading, ammo diversity, and price ($14.99 MSRP!) get the edge here for Buzz Bee. At this stage in the game it’s too early in my opinion to really give my own review about anything, the Monorail was hyped last year but changed quite a bit before production. The Demolisher was a bit wonky from what I heard, so I didn’t really give that a try either, as prototypes tend to be. Prototypes from Toy Fair (if they work at all) may get altered en route to release. And that’s what could happen here. What we see at release may even be better, but you never can be sure. Is it great to know these things are coming out, however? You bet!
Buzz Bee had their thermal sensor packaged separately now and their own version of a red dot sight. That means more accessories for your tactical rails, and with the Buzz Bee adapter these will work on your Nerf blasters too, if you need to change things up on your loadout. New light-up swords that attach at the handle (think Darth Maul’s double-sided lightsaber) are coming out as well, but I didn’t notice anything like Michonne’s sword. Still, if you run games with melee weapons the Buzz Bee swords are not only some of the most budget friendly items out there but also pretty durable for the cost. There were some other items that I think were not released for full info yet (though I think they made it out of Nuremburg, if you search the right videos you may see them) so there will still be a few different releases past the press release. I think I can say though, just keep an eye out for these items in Walmart’s “Adventure Force” line.
Overall though, the Buzz Bee showroom showed that Buzz Bee continues to work their own place in the community with continued power increases and innovations from the brand. The Walking Dead license (for the comic, not the show!) and some different gimmicks and tech are on the way, which is a huge step for them to build on last year’s showing. Interestingly enough, they haven’t gone the Rival compatible route, opting to stick with the foam dart category and focusing on making some sweet blasters for dart users. The Demolisher’s aesthetic isn’t a Prometheus but I got a kick out of getting a feel for a gatling-styled blaster (Captain Xavier’s mod notwithstanding!) Definitely looking forward to more, and can’t wait to see the full form of the Mutator at release. Big thanks to Buzz Bee for having me, and see you on the shelves later this year.

2017 Year in Review – Nerf, Buzz Bee, Zuru, and more – The Blasters, the Fails, the Wins, the Ugly

YEAR IN REVIEW: BLASTERS AND MOAR BLASTERS
Vas The Stampede

Blogger note: Each section will not encompass ALL releases for each brand. I am choosing highlights for each.

Nerf Nemesis. One highlight from 2017

NERF CONTINUES TO INNOVATE FOR 2017, BUT ALSO BLASTS YOUR WALLET.

2017. Probably one of the craziest years for blasters thus far. Nerf continues to hit some really high notes with their Rival line, continued world-building with Alien Menace, Doomlands, and hitting stride with continued products for Zombie Strike. However, they also continue to push the envelope when it comes to prices. While they are establishing themselves as the de facto blaster brand (so much that the brand has become eponymous with blaster battle play and games) they also establish with Nerf you get a premium product but also at a premium price.

The Nemesis, Regulator, Judge, Twinshock and even Dreadbolt were all 2017 releases and while impressive big blasters, the lowest of the bunch was $39.99 approximately. The Voidcaster, a semiauto spring pistol also released at around the $19.99 mark. The Raptorstrike looked great but it was another bolt-action rifle and while impressive aesthetically wasn’t functionality we hadn’t seen in previous blasters (bolt-action, magfed, accustrike ammo, etc.) The new blasters for the most part were cool in their own right –

Nerf Mega Twinshock
  • Nemesis – gravity fed hopper, 100 rounds before empty, usable with the Nerf Battery pack, overall just a great addition and a huge step for toy blaster play, although at $99.99
  • The Judge – a multishot functionality (3 dart bursts) but HUGE, and expensive.
  • Regulator – a blaster that introduced 3 dart bursts (a function also used in the Nerf Wii game a few years ago) but also a select-fire switch, a huge feature to go from burst, single, and full auto in a blaster. Bonus points for Modulus functionality to add more accessories. If the Nemesis hadn’t released this might have been my favorite from Nerf this year.
  • Voidcaster – Another semiauto blaster. Just a lot of fun and a function that needs to be used more often.
The jewel of the Nerf releases I think was clearly the continued monster offering from Nerf Rival. Higher fps, higher capacity, even at the prices it’s what the community was doing and Nerf made an offer for folks to step up their experience right out of the box. The Nemesis is costly, but that just makes blasters like the Hera, Kronos, even Khaos (with mags now sold separately) a bit more accessible and reasonable by comparison. And the Hera and Kronos were sleeper releases that weren’t a Toy Fair but were a huge hit when they came out, adding functionality to the Rival line of a semiauto flywheel Rival blaster and a 5 shot pistol with an internal magazine.
Not to even begin on the licensing for Deadpool, and Star Wars blasters that are perform pretty well (though I’ll say I wasn’t excited to see the Boba Fett Apollo kit), Nerf continues to keep the market stocked with a good amount of product for shelves. It’ll be interesting to see where Nerf goes next (and a leaked video earlier this year hinted at Bigger than a Nemesis, maybe even a Rival rifle…. a Rivle?) and with all the sub brands they have you can only expet more Nerf on the shelves for the coming year (some of which has already leaked onto shelves early, including the Mediator and Tri-Break.) If I had to nitpick anywhere, I wish there was more range out of the Judge, and maybe something new besides another rifle for Accustrike. Impressive as the lineup was in places, there is still some room for improvement and maybe some concepts I would like to see revisited. The Signature Bow was another great item, albeit not your usual blaster fare.
Toss in the additional licensed products from Sakar and Jazwares, there will be a full array of toys, accessories, and items to choose from to add on this year. Nerf continues to pave the way for other brands. And yes, there were also a bunch of smaller releases, repaints, exclusives, but these are the highlights that stuck out most for me. Dare I say it Nerf continues to set a gold standard for blasters in mass market, and whatever innovations they make definitely find their market amongst hardcore fans and casual players alike.
Don’t sleep on the competition – “Nerf or Nothin'” =/=…. Buzz Bee, Dart Zone, Zuru….

Competition is healthy! It’s so good. And when the competition is like this, the real winners are the players.

Buzz Bee came out swinging, releasing the Thermal Hunter, Zenith, Barbarian, Tactical Storm, Dwight’s Crossbow (for “The Walking Dead”)…. all for lower prices than Nerf blasters. The highlights were not only the number of pump-action blasters they made, but some accessory innovation with the Thermal Sensor (shown below!)

Buzz Bee also made magazines that were cross-compatible with Nerf blasters, new ammo types (Precision, Long Distance, in addition to sucker darts) that were compatible with Nerf blasters, even an adapter to make the Thermal Sensor usable on Nerf Tactical rails.

The Thermal Hunter was by and large the most comfortable blaster from this line for me, and the pump-action gave it the advantage over the Tactical Storm. I also have the Monorail (thanks for the sample, Buzz Bee!) but man…. the issues about it loading are pretty apparent. It does jam on me quite a bit from just the initial testings I’ve done, and considering how excited I was at Toy Fair I was a bit frustrated with the final product. Great idea, great look, but I wish the experience with the Monorail so far hadn’t left me wanting.

All the same, heck of a year for Buzz Bee releases. They really stepped up to provide an alternative dart flinger for Nerf, and at the prices they have the offerings are pretty good! If you’re a blaster player on a budget, don’t sleep on Buzz Bee toys. You definitely get what you pay for and a lot extra, I think. They still haven’t made their comparable Nerf Rival blaster, but that brings me to…
With the Thermal Hunter
Dart Zone (Covert Ops!) I used to dub Zing Toys the Dark Horse of the blaster/launcher category.
As Zing hasn’t had a new release in some time (that I’ve heard about) besides some Costco gift packs… I pass that onto Dart Zone. It wasn’t enough that they released the Enforcer, Light Command, Dartstorm, but they made a real splash this year with…. 
Much like what happened with Buzz Bee, Dart Zone has made a comparable product to Nerf Rival, but cheaper than any other offering from Nerf. $20 for the Powerball, and it’s cross-compatible with Nerf Rival ammo and magazines. The performance is comparable, in range and accuracy. No slam-fire still from these blasters but that’s not a big deal at all considering what you are getting. On top of the ability to use Nerf mags, the BallistixOps blaster comes with a gravity fed hopper, so depending on your style of play you can use either. You have choices. And buying this blaster won’t put you out against anything else except maybe the battery operated Rival blasters. And even then, there are plans for a new blaster called “The Accelerator”.
Dart Zone again makes the case for a budget buy that offers near-premium performance. You won’t go wrong giving this brand a second look in 2018. Their dart blasters are fantastically strong out of the box as well, but the BallistixOps definitely made their mark this year.
Welcome to the…. ZU (Zuru/Xshot)

Zuru by and large may arguably have the BEST value of blasters and darts. Knowing some of their manufacturing methods, their darts come in crazy packages of refills, but there is a caveat with that. While their blasters accommodate nerf darts, the darts are a little shorter than Nerf darts. In early Zuru mags, Nerf darts were way too long and weren’t cross-compatible. The Bug Attack Crossbow fixed that, but it made the magazine and Crossbow unusable with earlier smaller Xshot magazines, a huge oversight on their part in my opinion. Zuru darts however might hiccup in a Nerf magazine but they work a large part of the time. 
This year, Zuru put out the much lauded Turbo Advance and the Regenerator…. both really decent blasters. The Turbo Advance may have the advantage in my opinion though, as the blaster only needs to be reloaded via the drum while the Regenerator has two new clip styles and you have to refill those as you go. But the blasters are pump-action which I like, and in addition to the cost Zuru continues to chug along cranking out low cost products for good ranges and decent quality. Another brand that undercuts the premium pricing you find at Nerf with good options that don’t have the spectacle and aggressiveness of Nerf, but fire almost as well as anything else. Again, another brand you won’t regret saving a few bucks on.
The E-thir (Third Party companies/products)

Nerf says to use only products with the Nerf seal of approval, and there’s a litany of legal reasons they have to say that to people. Nerf’s brand has become synonymous with toy projectile play – practically anything that shoots a foam dart, arrow, ball, etc. gets referred to as a Nerf toy. Something goes wrong, like a third party dart injures a kid (anyone who used FVJs and found those uncomfortable to get hit with for instance) or some other product breaks and damages a kid’s toy, it’s Nerf who initially may get put on the hook for it. To my experience, the third party products I’ve used (Headshot ammo, shout out to them for providing a pretty decent Rival alternative) have so far been ok, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all of them will be. With the advent of 3D printing, information exchanges on the internet, and Amazon availability, the third party products available now is at a crazy level. That being said, yes, you may find some products perform better than Nerf products and that’s great. Common sense, not all Nerf products are created equal and not everything “for use with” Nerf is Nerf made nor may it be as safe as a product made by Nerf, or any other retailer that makes their products compatible for Nerf but also make their products for mass market (that means Dart Zone, Zuru, Buzz Bee). Just use common sense, read reviews, ask for recommendations, and happy hunting.
Bring me that horizon:

They’re still out there, and I hope to follow up on them at Toy Fair 2018, but Marshmallow Shooters, Paper Shooters, and Precision RBS are still out there and making products! Alternammo from foam darts are still around, so make sure to stay tuned here to find out more as I get info from them. 
Accessories! Modular battlefields!

Earlier I touched on licensed products by Jazwares, utilizing the Nerf brand (those are ok!)
Get familiar with these brands, as they offer ways to create your own adventures and battlefields in two very different ways. Battle Bunkerz offers inflatable barrels, drums, boxes, etc. that you can set up for your own purposes, like they do on Battle Universe. They look really cool aesthetically, and I do need to get these out in the field to try out for myself (it’s winter, and going outside is tough right now in Illinois! Indoor places by me are also few and far between. :P)
Fort Boards (and their sister product, Blaster Boards) are a bit costly to make a HUGE fort, but even the starter kits available can help make some decent panel obstacles for a small battlefield. The blaster board targets make for good objective and target shooting game play, while you also have the added benefit of a construction and fort building kit to add just a little more panache to your battlefield, whether indoor or out. It’s the first year I’ve seen other companies try to market directly to blaster play communities, and it’s interesting to see how everything plays out. The fact that these products exist and have an audience in this manner show that blaster play patterns are really coming to light. Yes, couches, chairs, and tables may still rule the field, but they don’t have to be the only things at risk (and these may save a lamp or two!)
WHEW! What did I miss? 2017 was a big year for blasters and associated products, feel free to sound off and let me know what you want to see in 2018! Happy new year, everyone!

GET CONNECTED!

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Dart Zone 2018 New Blasters -Titanium & Accelerator (Adventure Force, Wal-Mart line)

New Adventure Force “Tactical Strike” blasters, from BallistixOps releases from Dart Zone, approximately January 2018! (compatible with Nerf Rival)

Fresh new info from Dart Zone, aka Prime Time Toys!

High-res photos too!

Priced again at just under the cost of other brands, Dart Zone sent over a press release of their new offerings coming to 2018. Under Walmart’s “Adventure Force” brand, the “Tactical Strike” line is where to find these new blasters. I’m not sure what effect this will have on future releases, whether these will be for Walmart only (although in the case of the Powerball, Tactical Strike will have its own paint scheme) but for now I don’t have any info that shows these will be anywhere else.

Queued up is the Accelerator blaster, what looks to be a flywheel, 6D battery monstrosity and the Titanium, another pump-action blaster. A little reminiscent of the original Powerball with a different handle. The new aesthetics look pretty cool though, for sure. What’s new are ammo reloads (Dart Zone is making their own Rival-style ammo) and a mask along with the blasters. As I am all about the details, the blasters and the masks look to have interchangeable color plates for team indicators. Blue, Red, Green for starters (compared to the All-or-nothing color schemes for Blue, Red, and Phantom on the Nerf side of things.) And ultimately the price is definitely nothing to sneeze at considering the current market for 14+ foam projectiles. As a believer in stock play (not that it’s the only way, but I do appreciate my experience straight out of the box) this is a pretty strong toy. And yes, comparable to Nerf performance the Powerball is a smaller profile blaster, and compatible with Nerf Rival magazines. The only real shortcoming is no slam-fire but maybe one day.

I may have samples after the holidays, we’ll have to see! The official release date is January 15 so don’t be surprised if these start popping up around then.

Exciting times, comrades. Dart Zone offers a fine product and if you’re curious here’s a firing video I did when I first got the Powerball:

Going to give these a go? Don’t forget to check out Walmart later this month (or January at the latest) to see if you can find them!

For you YouTube watchers:

The Nerf Doomlands Judge! New Nerf Blaster that Needs a Bigger Gear Bag

Test Firing the Nerf “The Judge” for the Doomlands line… a huge blaster in its own right. Sample provided by Nerf, but thoughts and opinions remain my own!

NERF DOOMLANDS THE JUDGE Blaster
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $59.99/Available: Fall 2017)
Bring justice to a doomed land with the DOOMLANDS THE JUDGE blaster. With an impressive 30 dart capacity, THE JUDGE blaster can fire three darts at once! This massive blaster is ready for anything the post-apocalyptic wasteland can send its way. Includes 30 DOOMLANDS Elite darts. Available at most major retailers nationwide and HasbroToyshop.com.


Basic Statistics:

MSRP: $59.99
Available: Now
Capacity: 30 shots (3 shot bursts, shotgun style. No shells. Front-loading in 3 dart groupings)
Includes: Judge, 30 elite streamline darts, HUGE BOX

Test fired the Nerf Doomlands Judge in the above video. Watch the assembly below!

https://flipagram.com/f/1AAhv6F8ep0/embed

The blaster itself is incredibly…. ridiculous. It’s HUGE. The box itself has an “actual size” photo to shock and awe parents and kids alike in the toy aisle. And with good reason, as an adult the blaster is about the diameter of my torso and definitely eclipses my head when I place it in front of me. On pure aesthetics, this blaster is already quite an imposing image, or maybe a cartoon, depending on your point of view.

Gargantuan in dimension, the blaster is ungainly to wield. Pump-action makes dual-wielding nigh impossible, and and the surface area of the muzzle ensures that going around corners and finding good hiding spots in stealth are not a real consideration. Not when your blaster is the size of a small shrub. Does that make it a scrub, oh no, it makes it visible, and aggrolicious (I find big blasters tend to attract fire and attention from opposing teams and players in a casual game; this can be exploited in the hands of a knowledgeable player.) That being said, the blaster comes off initially as intimidating and with a three round burst is pretty effective in close quarters once it can be brought around to bear.

Performance wise, the blaster can be said to have more bark than bite. The ranges don’t seem much different from the initial product I saw at New York Toy Fair, and that was around 30′-50′. Angled or not, that was the most definite range. Not terribly different from the Sledgefire, but at least it had A WAY LARGER PAYLOAD (30 darts vs. 3+shell) and could be used as a shield (within certain gametypes). The spread wasn’t anything particularly astounding considering the 3 dart burst, and there was some loss of range on at least one dart in those bursts. The loss is usually where the 30′ mark came from. The key point is to consider this a truly close quarters blaster, and use it as such. If rules allow, use it as a shield. If they don’t, then be smart about aiming and when you try to run and gun with this blaster. The pump action is smooth, but the lack of a slamfire feature and again, the size for a short range blaster gives a player some extra tactical considerations.

Ultimately, if you’re let down by the range, then make sure to keep your focus in the Nerf Elite, Nerf Mega, and Nerf Rival areas of consideration. Unless otherwise stated, the thematic lines focus more on roleplay and fantasy/imagination play with blasters than outright performance. And The Judge, as a member of the Doomlands 2169, is highly indicative of that. You’re getting a relatively high capacity “shotgunned” blaster for close quarters and a lot of people as casual Nerf blaster users would love that. Who wouldn’t want to bust this out for some mischief on coworkers, classmates, and possibly unsuspecting family members? The Nerf Doomlands Judge makes an over the top statement about what it does as a blaster, and works the immersive angle of being some wasteland superhero with a large inventory of weapons of even larger construction. That’s the focus, and not squeezing out an extra 10′ on minimizing dead space or barrel fit. Doomlands is how some people play, and it gives them just the fantasy weapon to express themselves with.

The Judge is $60 roughly, available now. Is it worth it? If you can spring it and don’t mind the difference in range to most other blasters, then yes. Heck yes. It’s ridiculous, and that’s enough for me. If you want your accuracy and range a little higher, then it’s better to pass on this for a Rival (like the newly available Hera) or Nerf Elite (the Regulator is a good fun blaster out now as well.)

Hope this review helps, feel free to sound off in the comments! ‘Til next time.