Zach King’s #NERFNATION SHOW: Super Soakers, Jamie Costa, and CtF (Oh my!)

These little rundowns of The #NerfNationShow are kinda fun, it’s a good reminder that while yes there’s a huge fan base of Nerf modders and other special interest play groups out there, there’s always the larger population of casual players who just want to have fun.

So this week’s episode involves Zach King and Co. getting a shipment of Nerf Super Soaker blasters, and Jamie Costa as a ref, there isn’t much in the way of skits really (unlike last week) but definitely a lot more actual gameplay, sort of. Two teams use Super Soakers to tag each other out, and ultimately capture the other team’s flag. Maybe a Super Soaker group can chime in on how they do Capture the Flag?

We see a lot of new Super Soakers in the video, and the Nerf Splashmouth seems to get the most looks in the video, especially showing the dump feature. They don’t name or price any blasters in the video itself, and Zach King does some of his usual magic, but it’s definitely another structure and format different from the previous episode, and the episode before that. The new Laser Tag system was recently announced and should be coming out soon, I would expect that to show up in an episode in the near near future.

Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt – Review and Firing Demo!

Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt is a Huge Crossbow against the Undead Horde


NERF ZOMBIE STRIKE DREADBOLT Blaster

(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $49.99/Available: Fall 2017)
Outsmart and dominate the zombie hordes with the ZOMBIE STRIKE DREADBOLT blaster. The first-ever arrow-firing ZOMBIE STRIKE crossbow, the DREADBOLT blaster can take down zombies like never before. Use the detachable scope to line up the target, aim, and fire! Includes five arrows and detachable scope. Available at most major retailers nationwide and HasbroToyshop.com.
Well, there it is. the Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt. First seen at New York Toy Fair, I was most shocked at how super sized the thing was. The ammo was the same as the Rebelle Arrow Revolution, Agent Bow, and Courage Crossbow, but the build of this Crossbow is arguably WAY bigger than any of those. 
Aesthetics:
I like the way the Dreadbolt looks. The Zombie Strike junkdeco is still in effect, along with the green/orange motif. Nothing new or surprising there. The nuance of a wrench as the priming handle is a nice touch, and one of my favorite features of the blaster. Yes, nothing really new as it’s a crossbow reusing ammo from previous blasters, and the priming mech uses a a bowstring, but the fun is in the small details, like the priming arm wrench. It’s a smooth action with the priming handle too, and the stock is comfortable to hold. My frame is about 5’8″, and the stock is plenty comfortable for me to use. The blaster is a little front heavy though, and with the wrench positioned where it is makes finding a grip for your offhand a little odd sometimes (there’s a grip area after the wrench, but sometimes my hand kept finding its way further up the body naturally.) Overall, a nice job with a solid build. The arms make moving through tight spaces a bit more difficult, but hey, that’s a crossbow for you.
Usability:

The elephant in the room is that this is an “impractical” blaster for a Nerf war. And we’ll look at a couple of reasons why.
– The ammo. Most games I play in utilize darts and maybe a few players bring Mega or Rival rounds. If you’re using this or something like it, you best have a sidearm or be ready to chase your ammo down, lest your round with this blaster end quickly. The Rebelle version of the arrows are still available so a player could stock up ideally, but they might be the only player with that ammo type that day. 
– The range. Flat, this blaster hit 40′, maybe. angled it would hit in the 50s and beyond but other blasters are doing that at lower angles with faster velocities. Style points would be the main incentive at using this against dart firing blasters.
– The cost. Given the price of this and other products coming out this year, consumers may feel compelled to have another selective year buying blasters. at $50 this is already a chunk from buying the Regulator or Nemesis, as cool as it looks. You could put your money into this blaster or something that will extend your play time during a game round.
Probably other reasons, but those seem to be the main ones for me.

With a little practice I was able to smoothly reload arrows, but the malleability of the shaft of the arrows also adds an extra level of sensitivity, you have to make sure you don’t push too hard, lest the arrow flex out of place or veer off target because it gets bent. Besides that, aiming (and I found that easier without the sight) moving with the crossbow, all of it was ok. Going through doorways and tight spaces could be a liability with the Dreadbolt, but those are minor issues at best considering the number of other blasters available for different situations.

HOWEVER – 

This blaster was still one of my favorites from the show. The priming mech, massive build (relatively speaking) and Crossbow love were enough to make me give this blaster a prolonged look. In this toy there’s definitely a roleplay element that is being tapped into more with this blaster than performance in rate of fire or range, and that’s ok. Kids that want to imagine carving their way through an undead horde will get a kick out of this, as will players who may want those style points, or work on a more unique play style that doesn’t involve streamline sized darts or Rival ammo. I see the value in unstructured play and imagination, and that’s the crux of this blaster seeing yourself in that position of a crossbow wielding hero against the teeming undead masses. And in recent pop culture history, we know where that’s coming from 😉
That being said, for the sheer size of this blaster I know some people will find purpose for it and it’s not a bad buy for a blaster. I would remark that maybe wait for a sale or coupon to  buy it, as $49.99 is a little steep for a 5 shot specialty ammo blaster, considering the future and currently available blasters. But even at that, it’s a proud addition to any collection, and a fun blaster in its own right. Whatever you pay, I found this blaster still offered a fun experience shooting arrows, and I hope you find it that way too.
Sample provided by Nerf, but all opinions remain my own!

AFFILIATE LINKS BELOW:
//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=f03ec-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00INZO35W&asins=B00INZO35W&linkId=60194f09222f976256d4b51490cd4795&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=f03ec-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00TVIFZ1Q&asins=B00TVIFZ1Q&linkId=e06041c6eed5776c26784e8f8fb9385c&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=f03ec-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B01LW888GS&asins=B01LW888GS&linkId=905adadc9b620b14bd4c60d14b049b70&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff

WHOA: Nerf Revonix – found in the wild?

While scanning through instagram… found this new shot of a Nerf Revonix 360 (so did Basic Nerf).  Not a website and not from Toy Fair, but user “daltontheamazing” might have a nerf Vortex Revonix 360 of his own, judging by the picture.
I thought the Revonix was not scheduled ’til the Fall, but release dates do get fuzzy!  Looks like his location is set in Rhode Island too… so the plot thickens.  (Anyone remember the Pyragon leak last year?)
Anyway, of note is the discs are white (and what looks like a red one?) As opposed to the red/white ones I saw at Toy Fair and the green ones in some of those store photos.
Interesting… very interesting.
EDIT:  Join the discussion on reddit – http://redd.it/1edcoe

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!