Nerf Rival Firing and Demo video from New York Toy Fair
Vas The Stampede
Here’s what you’re here for:
|Nerf Rival Zeus and Apollo|
Blasters for the line:
|Nerf Rival Zeus in Red|
Nerf Rival Firing and Demo video from New York Toy Fair
Vas The Stampede
Here’s what you’re here for:
|Nerf Rival Zeus and Apollo|
Blasters for the line:
|Nerf Rival Zeus in Red|
|JT Splatmaster z300 Sniper|
You know the drill.
First, a little more about what JT Splatmaster is about, what the JT First Shot Challenge is, and where Splatmaster is going next, thanks to Rich Telford (XSV Paintball), commissioner of the JT First Shot Challenge, Pro Paintball player (for 20 years now), and overall cool guy:
And that being said, here’s the demo video and some shots I traded with Thomas Taylor after PSP Chicago. Dude is a beast at normal paintball, and it was an honor to trade paint with him.
|JT Splatmaster z300 (barrel plug is in)|
|Tactical rails along the top and bottom of the barrel; picatinny mounts work just fine 🙂|
|Down the sight, and this aims pretty well.!|
|The lever arm priming mech; kinda felt like a bolt-action rifle after a bit.|
|.50 paintballs are loaded throught the breech here (the blue part is a door you push open to load)|
|Your ammo stores here; see how many shots you have left|
I first checked out Splatmaster with the z100 pistol and z200 shotgun, and the z300 is way different from either.
The z100 and z200 were tested with a chronograph to around 120 fps; the z300 will usually hit around 140 fps but I have seen videos where the fps hit around 180 fps at max. So, definitely a beefier, stronger shot. However, the priming arm mechanic feels a lot slower than the z200’s pump-action motion so there’s definitely going to fall on the player whether they want the power of a z300 or a faster run and gun style the z200 lends itself to. Additionally, the z300 adds a little backspin to keep the shot aloft (hop up?), so I sometimes sailed a little high from my target. It took some adjustment at first, but eventually I got comfortable. Still, the power and accuracy in the z300 are pretty righteous. It’s a nice trade if you have a more deliberate and surgical play style. Overall, the range and accuracy are pretty impressive. I’ll definitely do a follow up with higher standing targets and revisit this in the future.
Let’s talk about how the z300 handles and feels. As far as holding it, the adjustable stock really helps. It’s comfortable, and after holding other toy blasters it feels skinnier and a bit easier to aim, carry, hold, and run with by comparison. The styling lends itself really well to a proper rifle, making moving and aiming pretty intuitive. If I had to critique anything, I’d say it needs a bipod, as this is the Sniper type of marker in the lineup. The priming action is smooth, the trigger pull doesn’t fight, and the arm sits against the body in line with the rest of the marker, so if I strap it to my back it doesn’t jab at me. There is only one sling point though, and that’s on the back of the removable stock.
|Removable stock with 5 different settings. The sling point is that loop on the back of the stock||.|
Furthermore on the handling. The z300 loads through a door in the top of the marker that holds the paintballs (illustrated in the pics above.) With every move of the priming handle, a ball loads into the barrel (via gravity and a follower that pushes the balls along, it might take some practice or jiggling if you experience any misfires) and the trigger pull launches the ball. I didn’t experience any chopped/broken balls so far and misfires are rare (and I’ll attribute those to human error), so between the paint and the marker itself, everything is pretty reliable. You can reload the chamber either one at a time with paintballs but there are also speedload tubes (pods) that JT makes (see the pic below) to expedite the reload process. It took a little practice to get the right motion/angle to get the tube to push the door down and feed the balls, but as you can see in the video above I got it.
In a way, this simulates refilling your hopper with a full pod (and it’s very possible to miss reloading a proper paintball hopper too, so that’s just part of the game.) Either way you choose to do it, you have options. In fact, of the existing ammo containers, the grenade shaped ammo packs work pretty well too, just they’re bulkier than the speedload tubes (and during the Splatmaster First Shot challenge you only have 30 rounds per player, so starting ammo & 1 tube.)
Bottom line, while the priming motion and rate of fire is a tad slower than the z200, the z300 is definitely worth the $49.99 for it’s power, range, accuracy, portability, aesthetics, and just overall feel. For kids and adults looking to start in paintball this is a great offering. It is definitely one of the coolest looking things I’ve used, and handles so nicely. That the rails accommodate picatinny accessories (like my GoPro mount) is a huge plus (and might address the bipod gripe I have) and only adds to how much I like this marker and is a must-try for anyone thinking about this line. So far Splatmaster has the z90 (not reviewed yet, debuted at JT Splatmaster Chicago), the z100, z200, and now the z300. Each offers a little something different in the play experience so see which suits you! Just please remember to obey the local laws regarding paintball products, please.
In closing, big thanks to Rich, Thomas, and everyone at Empire/JT for their time and efforts. Hope to see you all again! As a majority of my time with them was spent at THE FIRST JT First Shot Challenge in Chicago, of course I have pics 🙂 Splatmaster is a brand worth watching with what their goal is (building paintball by making it more accessible to people) and what they’re making for people. They’ve got some great ideas, and I hope to see them come to fruition.
PIC PREVIEW SPAM:
First, let’s get some pertinent links out of the way:
Living Legends of Paintball
Viper Paintball Scenarios
A favorite saying I have is that “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Having played Nerf so much, I also try to keep an open mind about the other Ways to Play out there, whether it’s water pellets, rubber bands, or in this case, paintball.
I barely remember my first time playing paintball, just that it was a bachelor party. It was fun, but definitely different from Nerf in range, pain factor, ammo capacity, and so much more. It was its own game, and I had a blast when all was said and done. It was cost-prohibitive to me though, so I didn’t play all that often. Whenever someone had another bachelor party or random get together, I managed. And then I found out about Living Legends.
For a little history, the first Living Legends was held in 2008, and it was a relatively huge paintball scenario game that took place at CPX Sports, an approx. 143 acre property with about 18 or so different fields. Only for Living Legends…. basically the entire park was the battlefield. It was intended to let people come together and have a great experience playing paintball with some of the greats in the sport. And maybe through the weekend, earn a legend of your own. That first Living Legends had just under 700 people.
This year’s, number 6, had just under 2,000.
CPX is below:
[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=CPX+Sports,+Chicagoland,+Schweitzer+Road,+Joliet,+IL&aq=0&oq=cpx+c&sll=39.739318,-89.266507&sspn=8.697629,19.753418&t=h&ie=UTF8&hq=CPX+Sports,+Chicagoland,+Schweitzer+Road,+Joliet,+IL&hnear=&radius=15000&ll=41.466207,-88.155785&spn=0.071946,0.071946&output=embed” width=”425″>
View Larger Map
Anyway, I decided this was something I needed to experience at least once, so I went for it. Two teams (New Empire vs The Horde), and a game that ran all weekend. I picked up some gear, played a couple of more times at CPX leading up to Living Legends, and finally this happened –
(Language warning, a word or 2 slips in the video)
It was intense, it was dirty, it was great. Work to organize an event like this began about 6 months prior, in order to organize missions, planned skirmishes, the works. Points and objectives were all out there, it was up to us the players and our commanders to get out there and do the work. From about 10 AM until 6 PM I was respawning and marching to different points of conflict, making friends along the way, and just throwing myself into it. If there was a particular spot they needed people, I went. If I was walking along and ran across a firefight, I joined the line. It was by and large one of the most physically demanding things I ever put my body through (on top the gear and activity, it was about 80+ degrees that weekend so water was my best friend) but it was worth every bruise and sore muscle afterward, just to say that I did it.
I had a number of tense moments in trees, bushes, and buildings thinking that I’d turn a corner and run into a cadre of Horde team members all bearing down on me, or just trading shots with multiple targets and hearing paintballs fired at 270-300 fps zip past my ear, break on trees and burnt out cars. And your only choice is to keep going until you’re hit, paint, or air ran out. (And the way they handled logistics, it was more likely you’d get hit before the other 2 conditions played out.)
Not to mention that there were some great people I ran into. Our Commander, Wolf , was very easy to talk to and say hi, whether at HQ or at the concession stand. I used a few videos of TechPB’s as a reference about what to expect and how to prepare, and managed to meet him as well. Everyone I spoke to (either on the field or moments of down time) was either willing to help answer a question about where to go, what to do, or if a ball had broken on me. The refs were great, making sure the rules were followed but also that players had answers and most importantly, were doing ok. I had never been asked/told to hydrate so much, it was good reminder.
Also, in the video I mentioned “tanks” and this is kinda like what I’m talking about –
|Taken from Bunker Shots – https://www.facebook.com/Bunkershots|
Sadly, I only went for 1 day. Day 2 was the “Final Battle” where moments like this were commonplace: (it’s a battle over a single spot to score points).
|Photo taken from “Bunker Shots” – https://www.facebook.com/Bunkershots|
That being said, I consider this Bucket List item only half complete. Next year! Until then, I’ll keep exploring this hobby too and hopefully have a new trick or two up my sleeve for next year. There’s truly nothing else like it that I’ve experienced yet, and I can’t wait to do it all again.
See you on the field.
Thank you so much to CPX and Viper for putting this all together! Thank you to the pro shop staff! To HK Army! And most of all, to every player that was on that field. It was an honor.
Fresh from JT Splatmaster… they’re starting a way to introduce newcomers to league play and competition!
(my original review here: http://foamfromabove.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-jt-splatmaster-z100-z200-and.html) I was a fan of it then, and am still a fan of it now. Between the accuracy and the comfortable feel of the Splatmaster line, it’s a solid buy if you’ve been thinking about it. It’s nowhere near as painful as paintball (due to the decreased fps) but tons of fun at closer ranges than you might expect with paintball.
All the rules and regs are listed here:
http://empirepaintball.com/jt-first-shot/. More, after the break.
Players must NOT have any tournament experience!
|Splatmaster Playgroup – late 20-early 30 year olds, varying levels of experience with gas-powered paintball|
Ah, paintball. Flinging spheres of paint at 200-300 fps out of CO2 charged markers in games of combat, whether objective or elimination based, it’s a hobby that has had quite the following. In Illinois, we have a truly unique field, CPX Sports that has a HUGE selection of fields. And not just inflatables, but some include a full-on town (Bedlam), a burnt out city (Armageddon) and an ancient temple (Jungle of Doom). What does all this have to do with JT Splatmaster, from JT Paintball?
JT Splatmaster wanted a review, and CPX was willing to let me bring a group over to play and give some feedback on both the JT Splatmaster markers and the field itself. And on that note, let’s take a look at the markers. Also available are a bevy of accessories, and you can read more about those HERE
First, the JT SPLATMASTER Z100 PISTOL($29.99):
|With barrel plug inserted; and pullback assistance handle attached.|
|A look at the magazine (7 shots)|
WHAT ABOUT IT?
Right off the bat, I knew this thing wasn’t a toy. Sure, you had “paintball” things like the old lever-action Supasplats and others like those, but they did not feel NEARLY as solid as the Splatmaster markers. The outside is a really durable and tough, thick plastic. At least, I think it’s plastic. Either way, this thing will take a beating. There’s a button for a magazine release and a safety switch (a proper one-touch switch; not the continuous hold like on the BlasterPro line), which adds to the feel, aesthetics, and usage of the marker.
The magazine holds 7shots, and primes by pulling back the side on the top, if you can use a Maverick, you can use this. It’s definitely longer than a maverick and heavier, but it’s also much easier to holster. Magazines are going to be sold separately. I found the pullback assist handle not that easy to attach and it came off when I pulled it, so I just left it off. Still a lot of fun to shoot though, I just wish I had more mags on-hand.
Next, the JT SPLATMASTER Z200 SHOTGUN ($39.99):
This was the marker we used for the duration of the day. 15 shots, pump-action, and breech loaded (even had a floppy trap door over the breach, nice touch! It also has a safety switch but no other buttons. You can see it has tactical rails, as I attached a camera to it. It’ll accept picatinny mounts, so if you have’em, use’em! Word has it that additional accessories are in the works, so keep your eye out for them. Additional accessories such as ammo packs, targets, and safety equipment are all located here. One recommendation from Hustle paintball is to use the 50 count grenade container to hold spare ammo, and there is a nozzle on that and the 200 paintball container to assist in loading through the breech of the Z200 swiftly. This too is built incredibly solid, and I just wish it had a stock. Maybe in a later marker.
These have been chrono’d at 120-130 fps, drastically less than their gas-powered siblings. Even at that rate though, it is wise to treat these as you would any other paintball marker, including using a full mask and goggles when playing in a player vs player game. For target practice, you can get away with just using the goggles. Safety first, and it’s usually a good policy to have eye protection on when playing with any toys that shoot.
That being said, these things were a lot of fun! The group had limited experience playing paintball, some a handful of times and others not at all. The general consensus was everyone enjoyed the decrease in pain (I told everyone to layer up as they would playing normal paintball) and the much more limited ammo available. Instead of a full hopper, you had only the 15 rounds to make it in a round (none of us had extra ammo holders available, although some risked keeping spare ammo in their pockets. I know, I know >_<) People could run and charge at each other without getting tagged 5 or 10 times from a hail of paint. Would we do it again? Sure! Will this kill paintball? No! It'll get more people interested at least, and this is a bang-up way to introduce them to the sport. Whether 9 or 29, this is a good thing for people looking to play something a little different without feeling beaten up. These things definitely stung enough to let you know you got hit, but no worse than getting a bad insect bite. I've been punched harder than these things put out.
It was definitely nice to try some new strategies rather than just lay out paint, and JT is definitely onto something here. Hopefully, we’ll see even more new markers next year. Between the solid build, the fps, and the accuracy (these things definitely hit 50′ in a better cluster than I thought, but 100′ is still a max range, and it’s hard to hit anything then.
Interestingly, no ammo with the markers. Considering how fussy paint balls can be, I shouldn’t be surprised. It is much easier to regulate temperature and shipping conditions when you separate the products. Also, the goggles and masks are sold as separate units, to reinforce that younger players should work their way up to playing Player vs. Player games. Parents, this would be one way to incentivize proper blaster/marker safety. They can’t PvP without earning their way up to the mask. Also, some paintball fields might have these for rent: rentals are different colored from the markers at retailers to prevent theft. Rentals pistols are red, while the shotguns are blue. Vice versa for consumer markers. This does not mean consumer markers are different, just a different shell but they all perform the same.
On that note, here’s a video of various footage I snagged during that day:
Considering the ranges and power these things do have, it’s definitely better to keep the play to the backyard. You don’t have to worry about accidentally hitting someone unexpectedly which again, safety first. Definitely nice not having to pick up ammo after myself for once, but it definitely pays to play in a proper field, with ammo that washes away/disintegrates. Worth giving a try!
Ah well. Questions? Comments? Feel free to post below or write: foamfromabove_AT_G_MaIL-DOT-COM
First things first, let’s talk about the Mauler. Then we’ll go into BlasterPro, more after the jump —->
X2 Xploderz Mauler 1000. What can I say about it? I wasn’t a fan of Xploderz before, and I will admit that this goes a long way to address some of the problems that I had with the original run.
– No jiggly side handle to load ammo before each shot. Yay!
– The thing actually shoots. The XGround Pounder was terrible with misfires and barely had a round clear the barrel. I was firing consistently with the Mauler.
What’s still there:
– Still no trigger. Word has it something to do with using stored energy (such as a trigger) makes it a toy safety regulation issue. Not totally sure on the phrasing , but that’s what they say.
– Gel-ammo. It’s fun! No colors, no splotches, no getting soaked. It breaks apart and dries up. Pickup not necessary.
– Hopper sits on top of the blaster…. so… sights… there are none.
– High ranges. It does get pretty close to 100′, but hitting that range with accuracy is the real issue.
– Still grow your ammo in the included ammo depot, then link that up with you hopper when you want to reload.
1000 rounds of ammo
Ok, now to get to it. If the Mauler is any indicator about the X2 line, the Maya Group got some things right with this. They have range and output. However, the triggerless system feels a bit awkward for me to use, and the design of the blaster, while futuristic, is uncomfortable to wield.
The Mauler works like this: You pull the handle back which causes ammo to load into the barrel (before you had to jiggle a handle to open the loading door that dropped ammo in), hold the handle, and release it when ready to fire. A little simpler, a lot easier to shoot. And more relable! Definitely better than the Ground Pounder.
|A bit more focused picture of the trigger guard|
The trigger-guard’s square shape was a bit uncomfortable to hold for extended usage not to mention trying to hold the blaster steady while shooting was difficult because of the pull and release. Trying to stiffen my arm holding the blaster, like a bow and aroow, was less than effective because the pull arm is sized for the target market, kids. It’s like trying to shoot something that’s a hybrid bow and arrow and gun. The smooth knob of the handle on the “power arm” doesn’t lend itself well to consistent pull; my hand did slip off now and again from test-firing it. Unfortunately, my aim was kind of all over the place because of this.
The Bow N Mallow shooter has a good example of a form that works. I would have liked a rounder grip to fit my hands, and once again… the ability to aim down the sights. The power arm makes me want to the position the blaster along my arm already, (again, the bow and arrow comparison) so aiming right down the top of the blaster happens naturally for me. Trying to fire from the waist is just a little more awkward with the power arm and where my arm gets positioned to use it.
NEXT UP: BlasterPro S2500 (manual pump-action shooter)
Ah, the new stuff! The smaller-ammoed, harder hitting, less-time growing entry to more advanced tactical blastersports from Maya Group. It sells a paintball and/or airsoft experience with none of the mess and splatter. At approx. $30 for the S2500 and approx. $50 for the electric (Es5000) version, it is certainly cost-effective compared to a day on a paintball field.
It comes with a zombie color-change target, 170 rounds ready-grown, the S2500, 5 bags of 500 pieces of dry ammo (grows in 90 mins with water) and the box.
It works by pumping the handle, pushing down a safety button (and keeping it pushed when you want to fire), and pulling the trigger. The video below demonstrates.
First off, the thing definitely gets near the 100′ mark angled, and hits around 70′ flat. Maya Group isn’t kidding though about the ages on this thing, it hits pretty hard. Here’s a shot I took from a little more than 10′ away –
A little too close at range? Maybe. But this is what the thing can do. Having played paintball before, the welt is nothing but wanted to share for anyone who was curious. 14+ is definitely the market this sits in.
It does have range, output, a triggered experience, and the aesthetics of a shotgun. While it may be a bit too dark-colored for some folks, make sure you are responsible with it.
A couple of notes about the design: the pump-handle is a bit herky-jerky when popping off shots, I think to ensure the ammo drops in and to prime the gun. There was this consistent point in the motion that I really had to pull on the handle to move it, and you can hear it in the video I think. Additionally, the pump-handle struck me as a little undersized, I really felt like my hands wrapped around it and even pinched my hand a couple of times when it went flush with the rest of the gun. It could stand to be a bit bigger, but at that point I’m being nitpicky.
Unlike Xploderz, the hopper can be reloaded via a door at the top of the ammo container:
And a closer look at that zombie target:
You’ll most likely find this in the paintball/airsoft section of your local stores, and if you feel like you want to paintball but don’t have the time/money to hit a field, give these a try. Definitely less cleanup and cheaper than a paintball field, but remember these aren’t toys and should be respected as such. Watch your eyes, your aim, and most importantly the other side 🙂
Thanks to the Maya Group for the samples!