Preview: Elite Alpha Trooper cs-12range test versus Original Alpha Trooper CS-18

Fired a few darts from my original Nerf N-Strike Alpha Trooper CS-18 and the new Nerf N-Strike Elite Alpha Trooper CS-12, and here’s what I got.  From where I was standing, the original shot about 30′, while the Elite Alpha Trooper hit around 50′, at a pretty flat angle.  Full review is being worked on!

Where the blasters lay denotes the cluster; original closer to camera than the Elite.  The one Elite dart near the original was a ricochet that bounced back.

Snapfire 8 – closer look (Review, Repost of Demo video)

Back at last year’s Toy Fair I posted this winner of a video –

and it took… a long time to get to the U.S.  It was out overseas at first (due to the popularity of Dart Tag in those areas as opposed to the lukewarm reception here) and only recently did I finally spot one in a Toys R Us.  Approximately $19.99, it’s that semiauto manual pistol some of us have wanted for a long, long while.  Personally, I remember this old video by SGNerf:

AND FINALLY…. FINALLY….. I got to take a look at a production version Snapfire 8 up close!

More after the break>>>>

Stats:

  • Toys R Us exclusive ($14.99 or so)
  • Front-loading, 8 shot turret
  •  2 settings, “Power” & “Speed”
Twist the dial in order to go to either “speed” or “power”

  • Fires streamlines and taggers
  • No tac rails (as this is Dart Tag)
  • Ranges: 50′ on “Power” (flat) and 30′-40′ on “Speed”

Annnd, size comparison:

Now to the task at hand:

“Does switching between Power and Speed do anything?”

As has been noted by other owners, the trigger pull on the Snapfire 8 feels a little weird.  It’s a bit longer of a pull than I initially expected, most likely to both prime and release the catch the mechanism.  The “Power” setting makes the trigger harder to pull (not unexpected) while the “Speed” setting is a lot easier to pull the trigger but at significant drop in range.  Gives the impression of using versatility and modular play, but I think I would just keep it on the “Power” setting as pulling the trigger a little harder isn’t a big deal to me.  “Power” might be tough for a 6 year old though, so parents be aware that you might have to help a little to fire on the “Power” setting.

Other than the trigger, the Snapfire 8 was decent.  It got decent range on either setting and while the trigger was weird, it just took a little practice for me to get the hang of it.  The big sell to me is the true semiauto one-handed operation- no pumping needed (like a Blastfire) and no batteries (pick one, there are tons of flywheel blasters to name out there.) This feature is also why I needed to dual-wield them, in spite of the risk of reloading both at the same time.

The Snapfire 8 handles well and with taggers it is pretty accurate.  I personally got a kick out of it because I’m a big fan of semiauto pistols (lots of John Woo films growing up), although the trigger is weird.  The round turret makes holstering/pocketing one a little tough, but nothing a good pair of cargo pants can’t fix.  I suppose the lack of any sling points isn’t terrible either, but it would have been nice have some place to clasp one on in case my pockets get full of darts.  The handle seemed a good size, it didn’t feel like I had to hold it weird or that I was enveloping the blaster with my hand, which was a good touch as well.

I think the speed/power setting was a bit unnecessary except for a few select occasions, but it’s a gimmick and needed to bring some different functionality to the table in addition to the true semiauto firing.  Now and again I did have a hiccup with pulling the trigger and a dart not firing, but that could be either poor dart fit or user error.  The same thing happened with the barricade, that if you didn’t pull the trigger correctly, darts jammed.  With the Nerf Dart Tag Snapfire, you have take the same care when firing, as the blaster has to move all its parts correctly to fire properly.

Overall, I give the Snapfire a middle of the road.  On the one hand I love love love the semiauto action, but the weird trigger pull holds it back a little as that affects the reliability of the blasters.  For folks who don’t like carrying a lot of n-strike magazines on them, this is another good addition based on the mobility you have with this vs. a Swarmfire, or even a Speedswarm (not to mention a Speedswarm has that split-second rev time and suffers a bit on the rate of fire).  Is it a must-buy?  Depends on how much you want that semiauto electric free experience.  Personally, I needed to try it and here I am.

While the price is a bit high even for this (much less 2 of them like I got) if you want that flywheel-free semiauto experience, this is your chance to get it, though it takes some practice.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go watch some 80s era Hong Kong action flicks 🙂

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!

Nerf Hailfire spotted! Target in IL

Got this on my twitter feed:  https://twitter.com/BrianDMoney/status/233726593569263616/photo/1

Looks like the Nerf N-Strike Elite Hailfire is already popping up on some U.S. store shelves!  This was at a Target for $39.99.  Have you seen’em yet?  Guess it’s close enough to the 09/09/12 release date.  Or not.

I’m supposedly getting a sample, for a more in-depth look, but I do have a video posted already:

Onward!

Nerf Elite Launch Party – 2012

Let’s get some links outta the way – AP IMAGE GALLERY

Adult Fans of Nerf
Nerfrevolution
Click Click BAMF
NERFHQ











Amongst other people who write mainstream news articles, the above sites were in attendance to the party.  In spite of recent events, Nerf does in fact reach out to fan sites and they do in fact treat them pretty well.

Now, my gallery (I also updated to include some new “Foamme Fatales” from the party) –

https://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

https://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

I’ll post some additional videos up (I had my GoPro chest camera on for as long as the battery would hold out; I’ll see what came of it) once they’re done, but just wanted to make some quick notes:

  • Nerf really knows how to throw a party
  • Nerf N-Strike Elite Hailfire ranges are pretty awesome for a flywheel.  Bandoliers are a necessity, and I’m working on a technique to allow easy dual-wiellding.  The magwell rack did pretty well in letting me run and the Hailfire is definitely more mobile than a Vulcan.  Mixing and matching the drums and mags was fun.  It’s a semiauto blaster, but it really feels way more reliable than a Barricade.  I suggest giving it a try when it’s released, I know I will.  One thing I would say is, you can’t really use a sidearm when you have it.  At full capacity, the blaster bangs around a lot if you try to run with it at your side.  You really need to carry it in your hands the whole time you have it.  Nerf groups who utilize blasters as shields are going to have to reevaluate their rulesets though, as this thing is a good size for that house rule.
  • The Nerf Vortex Pyragon is fantastic.  Rogue fell in love with it.  I love the way the drum loads, and the rate of fire on it is incredible.
  • The licensed Nerf materials rock pretty hard.  The sunglasses were fantastic, and I can’t wait to try out my earbuds 🙂
  • NERF FIREVISION.  Seriously, everyone needs to have a look at that when it’s out.  I will most certainly hope to get some samples to work with, but it’s a really interesting mechanic to utilize playing sports in low light.
  • It’s a little rough having to say “’til next year” to the fellow bloggers – it’s so much fun talking nothing but Nerf with these like-minded individuals.

Ok, I’ll have more to say when I go back over the vids.  I’m finally well-rested (2 red-eye flights in 2 days makes for a tired Vas) and I’ll go over more when I review what I shot.

From Nerf N-Strike Elite Launch 2012
From Nerf N-Strike Elite Launch 2012
From Nerf N-Strike Elite Launch 2012

From Nerf N-Strike Elite Launch 2012

From Nerf N-Strike Elite Launch 2012

From Nerf N-Strike Elite Launch 2012

From Nerf N-Strike Elite Launch 2012

From Nerf N-Strike Elite Launch 2012

From Nerf N-Strike Elite Launch 2012

Fresh from Nerf’s facebook/youtube, Nerf N-Strike Elite reveal!

Nerf just put up a video a blaster from their upcoming Elite line, debuting Fall 2012!  Say hello to the Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator.

 Key points:
– 75 ft.
– New dart style (supposedly)
– Removable/interchangeable stock, barrel; tactical rails, and 12 round mag
– Kinda reminiscent of a Recon, honestly

And there you have it!  One reveal down, a couple more to go.