Adventure Force Rebel Mech by Buzz Bee Toys!

  • Motorized, rapid fire dart drum clip blaster
  • Flip the switch on and shoot foam darts as fast as you can pull the trigger
  • Easy to load 30 count dart drum clip feeds into the dart blaster with lots of ammo
  • Blasts darts to 100 feet
  • Includes dart blaster, 30 long distance darts and 30 count dart drum clip

Definitely a good buy! At the price, performance, and ammo capacity this blaster is a good addition for any collection and a great gift!

[Review] Buzz Bee Agitator Blaster

Buzz Bee Air Warriors Agitator Reviewed

$19.99, available at Target now! The Buzz Bee Air Warriors Agitator allows you to hit your target every time! With the capability to blast targets from up to 100 feet away, this three foot blaster keeps the fun going with a flip clip so you don’t run out mid-battle. When one is empty, simply flip it around for another 10 count clip. Never lose sight of your target with the detachable barrel, which also doubles as a scope! [MSRP: $19.99; Ages 6+] $20, comes with a flip clip, and detachable barrel attaches to the top as a scope/sight.

See how my testing went, looking at mobility, mechanics, firing, and loading. Overall a pretty solid blaster at a great price. Comes with 20 XL Distance darts, but I recommend the PrecisePro instead.

Thanks to Buzz Bee Toys for the sample, and Wicked Ball Chicago for letting me use your space! Check them out for parties, including archery tag, Nerf Wars, Laser Tag, and Bubble Soccer. Wicked Ball Chicago is in Yorktown Mall, in Lombard, IL.

Nerf & Blasters Year in Review: 2018

New York Toy Fair Hasbro Showroom

THE END OF AN ERA FOR BLASTERS

2018 was witness to one of the biggest moments for me in the toy industry: the Fall of Toys R Us. If you read any of the Rock Father’s coverage, Toys R Us going bankrupt in the U.S. and shuttering its doors at all U.S. locations was a watershed moment that left ripples throughout the toy industry. While the brand lives on in Canada and Asia, losing the U.S. side of the business left a hole in consumer spending that many retailers tried to take advantage of. And after some initial reports, it’s not likely any true winner arose.

That meant more retailers carrying blasters, carrying exclusives, and a lot of private label items under air zone and stats had to find homes elsewhere. The Toys R Us exclusive brands and Nerf skins like the sonic series (there were still some fire/ice kits around), Alien Menace, all needed new homes too. Where once many blasters were consolidated under the House of Geoffrey, they scattered to new retailers, eager to draw in new business. One BIG example is Walmart making a grab with Adventure Force, their private label. Two of the brands below are distributed through Adventure Force, making some of those blasters Walmart exclusives. Target locked in their own exclusive deals as well, but this makes collecting and finding the blasters difficult for fans who make it a point to find what they can, and casual buyers couldn’t care less as long as the price is right.

Most of the products/brands on this list I had personal experience with, or was able to gain reliable discourse from trusted third party sources. If you think your product should be on this list, get in touch and let me know! I might not even know your product exists.

Nerf

Nerf Blaster Wall New York Toy Fair 2018

Nerf had a pretty big year for 2018, and going into 2019 it makes me wonder what’s coming next. When I outlined it, Nerf had a ton of releases this year compared to everyone else. Sure, there were reskins/jolts, but considering volume alone there was a lot of shelf space that Nerf occupied. Besides blasters, Nerf released new goggles, pushed ahead some merchandise with Jazwares, and maintained some new exclusivity agreements across the board. Kohl’s, Amazon, Walmart, and Target were some of the exclusives I heard about, and Academy Sports is the only carrier of the Kronos battle sets (red or blue) as of this writing. Currently, a lot of the Nerf merchandise there is on clearance, so it makes me wonder how well it actually sold at those stores.

Regardless of the sales, Nerf certainly went big this year. Big in the form of the Nerf Prometheus, a $200 Rival blaster that shot faster and had a much higher capacity than a lot of the market, holding over 200 Rival rounds, firing 8 shots/sec, at about 100 FPS. After that they had the Nerf Rival Hades, a bigger version of the Nerf Rival Artemis that held 60 rounds and had slamfire. The Nerf Rival Stormtrooper blaster was functionally similar to a Helios. While still a good blaster, it looked good but didn’t offer anything new mechanism wise.

Other releases included the auto-loading Nerf Infinus (a first in tech), new Mega Accustrike darts released with the Mega Thunderhawk, revisiting light-up and clear plastic designs in the Ghost Ops Evader, and putting out a new chain blaster for Zombie Strike with the Ripchain. Other releases included* (and there were probably others I missed):

– Nerf Chronobarrel/ammo counter
– Nerf Ghost Ops reflective targeting set
– Nerf Rival Deadpool Apollo
– Nerf Modulus Longstrike
– Nerf Modulus Demolisher
– Nerf Vortex blasters (3 – Vigilon, Praxis, Pyragon)
– Star Wars dart blasters (Han, Qi’Ra, Chewbacca, Tobias Beckett)
– Nerf Microshots series 2 (Stryfe, Crossfire, Roughcut)
– Nerf BattleCamo (Stryfe, Firestrike, Roughcut, Battlescout, Splitstrike)
– Nerf Surgefire- Nerf Kronos Battle Sets
– Nerf Mediator Core blaster, stock, and barrel attachments
– Nerf Mega Tri-Break
Nerf Kronos (technically, scheduled release for Spring 2018 in Phantom Corps)*Not including the Overwatch blasters since they were originally scheduled for 2019.

Nerf also brought back a new version of laser tag, calling it Laser Ops Pro. It was decently priced, sold as a rifle (DeltaBurst), pistol (AlphaPoint), or a two-player starter pack. Laser Ops Pro was pretty neat that it only needed one phone/mobile device to run an app to host online play, amidst a bevy of other features. Aside from all that, players could easily just turn on blasters and play right out of the box (after getting batteries). Here’s hoping they continue to support the new line down the road. From what I heard, there’s at least another year in the works with Laser Ops Pro, and we might see more at Toy Fair in February, if nothing leaks out ahead of time.

Besides the entertainment centers coming up, I think some of the biggest hits this year for Nerf/Hasbro came in the form of licensing. Not only did Hasbro take Power Rangers (and I expect more than a few blasters out of that line) but they gained a deal to make Fortnite and Overwatch themed blasters.

Considering the popularity of each game, this is a move to clearly pull new fans from larger audiences into picking up Nerf. Nerfnation is large, but there is still a lot of attention to be gained from expanding to new audiences, including gamers and cosplayers who may not have considered buying nerf blasters until now. Coupled with a renewed GI Joe brand, Star Wars, and Transformers, Nerf has a lot of licenses to generate blasters for, and it will be interesting to see what comes out this year and years down the road.

If I had to make noise about anything Nerf/Hasbro is doing, it’s the creeping prices on high-profile blasters. The Nerf Rival Prometheus ultimately got marked down, but consumers predictably balked at a $200 price tag. There’s a whole psychology at work in pricing and marketing, but to start right off the bat with that price took down the interest quite a bit I think. The Nerf Rival Hades was a good buy, and the Kronos DEFINITELY a good buy for this year. But a majority of the big ticket blasters that Nerf pushed (Infinus, Scravenger, Mega Thunderhawk, Prometheus, Evader) had pretty high price tags. The price tags on the Modulus Longstrike and Modulus Demolisher are way higher than I would expect as well, even with upgraded parts and new kit pieces.

The argument is that with each of those, Nerf also released a Scout Mk II, Quadrant, or Surgefire. That’s not what people were looking at this year though, and those releases quietly moved forward. As you will see, those prices could also backfire as lower cost alternatives grows in recognition all the time. And for many casual players, the price is definitely right when it comes to non-Nerf brands.

Bottom line for me is, that Nerf led the charge with higher ranges in foam darts and then changed the landscape with Nerf Rival. They continue to influence the market in big ways, regardless of where they come up short.

Zuru

Zuru XShot Swarm Seeker Bug Attack blaster

Zuru, or XShot, continues to astound in the pricing of their blasters. They offer high ranges and (in the case of the Turbo Advance) high capacity blasting for much lower pricing than Nerf. The only real shortcomings are that there are no magfed designs compatible with Nerf blasters, and most magazines for XShot blasters are too small for Nerf size darts. The only exception is the Bug Attack Crossbow. XShot darts are also shorter than most other brands, and while it doesn’t seem to affect performance, it’s something not a lot of people are aware of. This doesn’t affect the front-loading/turret style blaster but it sometimes affects magfed blasters.

XShot also does not have a wide variety of styles to choose from. The Turbo Fire is basically a smaller version of the Turbo Advance (with a different priming mechanism and slamfire) and the other blasters are styles we saw before, but with some mechanical changes. The Vigilante 2.0 is now better able to accommodate longer darts, some XShot blasters now have a recoil feature (for blasting play without the ammo, much like a light and sound toy blaster). What is nice is the Swarm Seeker and Regenerator use the same clip, in spite of being in different segments. Previously, it was a huge disappointment that the Bug Attack Crossbow was not compatible with magazines from the Max Attack.

If you wonder how XShot manages such low pricing, look to their manufacturing. Their factories are almost entirely automated, cutting down on costs. What that also means though is why there is such a limited number of different designs. Yes, the argument could be made that Nerf puts the same internals in multiple blaster shells (Jolt and Kronos) but the point is they have different looks to offer different consumers. With XShot they keep a few designs but can’t have a lot of different tooling molds due to the automated process. That’s why you don’t see a lot of compelling exclusives on the level Nerf does.

HOWEVER, you will definitely have a hard time saying no to the prices they have their blasters and ammo. And in this case, you get a pretty good product for what you pay for. Keep in mind, when you see “Adventure Force” you might see XShot blasters, and the performance is worth the price.

– Swarm Seeker
– Turbo Advance
– Regenerator
– Hawkeye
– Max Attack
– Vigilante Mk 2

Dart Zone

Dart Zone made HUGE noise last year coming out with a Rival-compatible line, BallistixOps (or Adventure Force, if you shop at Walmart). Lower cost ammo, lower cost blasters with comparable range and ammo capacity, hopper fed mechanisms, and again at a much lower cost. Aside from some design differences (always-on vs accelerator trigger) Dart Zone continues to put out Rival level product that is worth a look if Nerf blasters are out of your budget. The BallistixOps ammo is on part with Nerf Rival, and in some reviews even a little bit firmer than Nerf, so it flies a little better.

Dart Zone/Adventure Force blasters don’t neglect darts either. Dart Zone introduced their version of “waffle-head” type ammo, similar to the K’next K-Force darts of the past. These waffle darts fly pretty well out of all blasters, are compatible with Nerf, and unlike the XShot ammo are of the same length as Nerf darts. But you can also get 200 rounds at Walmart for around $10. Definitely worth the money for that much ammo. The BallistixOps ammo gets up to 150 rounds for $20, which is pretty good as well, considering the cost of Nerf Rival ammo. The key note here is this is mass market produced ammo and safety tested for sale in a major chain, as opposed to some products you find on Amazon.

I mentioned the Dart Blasters, and Dart Zone represented well. The CommandFire is their take on the reloading mechanism like the Nerf Infinus, but with a larger amount of ammo, not just one dart at a time. They continued using chain blasters, making the Titan from the Light Command, a fan favorite. The Double Trouble is a fun front-loading blaster that is not something you would holster, but definitely worth looking at for gameplay. For $20, Dart Zone did a good job at matching price with functionality. Definitely glad to see them producing for another year.

– Releases this year from Dart Zone/Adventure Force:

+Quantum
+Velocity
+Titanium
+Accelerator
+Double Trouble
+CommandFire
– Waffle-tip darts for CHEAP
– Rival compatible ammo

Buzz Bee

dc522-batch_img_5802

Buzz Bee had a somewhat quiet 2018. The releases they managed, as seen below:

+Covert Squad
+Night Attack
+Thermal Tracker
+Crossbow
+Reissues/Battle sets through Adventure Force of previous releases

The blasters Buzz Bee put out were good, but where last year saw the Thermal Scope on the Thermal Hunter, this year didn’t have a standout product. At Toy Fair, they had a handheld chronograph, the Velocity X, and the Mutator. Neither saw release in the United States (and I don’t think the Velocity X released at all) but the ideas were sound. The Velocity X was a handheld chronograph that was usable for darts, rival ammo, mega ammo, but it didn’t move forward. The Mutator I hear is only available overseas. Adventure Force carried the above blasters for the most part, while Target picked up the Covert Squad blasters, walkie-talkie bolt-action blasters.

The Night Attack and Crossbow didn’t use bolt-action, but the Covert Squad, Thermal Tracker, and Mutator did. Buzz Bee does believe in the bolt-action play pattern for blasters, and it’s interesting that they continue to use it. I always felt like it made usage more difficult for left handed players, but maybe I’m wrong? And considering the Nerf Jupiter leaked some time ago, it looks like Nerf believes in the bolt-action play pattern as well.

Buzz Bee blasters fire on par with Nerf blasters now, and Buzz Bee also has Precision, XL Distance, and suction cup darts, depending on the type of blasting a player wants to use. The darts and magazines for Buzz Bee blasters are compatible with Nerf as well, and Buzz Bee still produces a tactical rail adapter for Nerf blasters, making it possible to use accessories between the two brands still. On top of all the compatibility, Buzz Bee blasters are also much lower in price compared to Nerf blasters, and the ammo too. Buzz Bee hasn’t made the jump to a higher-impact play segment like Dart Zone, but they continue to crank out product in their segment that stands well against Nerf product.

Third Party (Amazon, Evike, eBay)

Third party products are a whole post on their own. There are many to choose from, and all I can say for now is you do the research and be sure of the product you are getting. These products don’t always go through the same safety testing channels that Nerf and other brands in stores go through, so it can be a mixed bag what you are getting. Sometimes darts that say “Nerf” are actually solid plastic/rubber headed foam darts with stronger impact, or just smell funny. Whatever the case, when buying online, follow your common sense protocols. If there’s enough interest, I’ll do a deep-dive post on third party products,

Blast Forward to 2019!

I’ll keep this short and sweet. 2019 looks to have quite a few huge events on the horizon. The Nerf arenas opening, Overwatch and Fortnite blasters being released, continued steady competition from other blaster brands, and the continued search for a new de facto toy store. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Here are some things I would like/feel I will see in 2019-

– If you HAVE SLAMFIRE, PLEASE
o Stock to stabilize firing motion
o PUMP-ACTION
TRIGGERS
o If you’re making a new blaster line, please make sure your blaster uses a trigger, unless there’s a very good thematic reason not to.
– Continued Growth of Nerf Rival (kinda obvious)
– Water ball blasters…. They were done poorly in the past (except for the Vapor line, that was pretty decent at the time) but definitely popular elsewhere in the world. Only a matter of time before they make their way back here.
– Better, much better GI Joe blasters to tie-in with the new movie (Though to be fair, no Bumblebee blasters yet).
– Hasbro will pick up more licenses, somewhere
– Big plans for Toy Fair in February
– Nerf will put out something even bigger than the Prometheus. Why? Because they can.
– More info coming up on the Nerf 50th anniversary, I am sure.

#NerfNationShow Episode 2 rundown! Zach King Tours the NERF FORTRESS

Zach King teased it earlier, but episode 2 of the Nerf Nation Show rolled out last week! It looks like they’re trying to do a video every Friday, and there was just a bit more structure to the episode. This episode ran about 5 minutes, and it looks like there will be blaster features (obviously, it’s a marketing tool and commercial. Kind of like an episode of Transformers back in the 80s), Zach mentions challenges (possibly in future episodes), and a running sketch about a robber being foiled.

Zach does the grand tour of the “Nerf Fortress” as they’re calling it, and it is a pretty sweet setup. Some highlights are the panic room, the fireman’s pole, and a zipline. There are a number of portals to blast from and multiple routes to get around, so how they battle in it will be interesting. No inflatables that I saw yet, like the ones from the initial preview videos.

According to Nerf’s Instagram, if you tag #NerfnationShow to a pic of your own Nerf Headquarters/Fortress, you’ll get a chance to be featured. Not quite the scale of Zach King’s but it’s a nice touch to think they’ll give you a shoutout. But how are you liking “The Nerfnation Show?” As the product is financed by Nerf, mods will most likely never be part of the programming. It’ll be skits, glitz, and commercial, but Zach King’s illusion and “magic” setups keep it neat and entertaining. Another episode could be out Friday, guess we will see what happens next.

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!

"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.

Nerf Alien Menace Voidcaster Review and Demo

Nerf Alien Menace Voidcaster in stores! Nerf Semiauto Goodness.
Hey all! Working from my phone, so I can’t embed the video at the moment, but just uploaded a video on the Nerf Alien Menace Voidcaster. Check the link below to visit my YouTube channel (if you like, please give a like and subscribe!)


Price: $19.99
Includes: 8 elite streamline darts
Toys R Us exclusive
Available now

Ranges:
Approximately 40′-50′ flat, angled is a little more.

Thoughts:
In a short list of non-battery powered semiauto blasters, the Voidcaster does lack ammo capacity (less shots than either the Snapfire 8 or DartFire) but makes up for that in aesthetics. If that’s how you want to see it. The Nerf Alien Menace Voidcaster is semiauto, primes and fires the blaster in one trigger pull, and gets about 40-50 feet in range. The above firing test was done one handed, so you can see blaster jump a bit with every shot. A two handed method definitely stabilize it.
I definitely like the slim profile of the blaster, but for 4 shots getting quick with the trigger is a problem. And like the other semiauto blasters you have to squeeze the trigger very distinctly each time to ensure a full firing  cycle. Otherwise the blaster may misfire (as seen in my video). At $19.99 too you are really paying for the look, which is a major appeal for this. The deco has a scaled pattern on some sections, while the colors go well together.
With this blaster, Nerf continues its world building for the Alien Menace line. No claimed ranges on the box per usual, since performance isn’t the focus on this or Doomlands. Hence, I don’t expect a lot from the more story driven blaster lines. Still though, for a little more than $20 you can own a semiatuo blaster lines. Not a terrible purchase, but definitely a middle ground. Thanks so much for reading, and stay tuned for more content!

The Walking Dead Abraham’s M16 Zombie Blaster

The Walking Dead Abraham’s M16 Zombie Blaster Clip-fed dart blaster

Basics:
  • Includes: Blaster x 1, 12 Long Distance darts, 8 round magazine
  • Blasts Darts up to 72′
  • Carrying handle and extended stock
  • MSRP: $32.00 – Ages 6+ 

Abraham! A character from “The Walking Dead” but not quite the character you might be thinking of. There’s the Survivor played by Michael Cudlitz on the hugely popular TV show, and then the character on the hugely popular longrunning “The Walking Dead” comic. This blaster references the latter. Here’s a look at them both (images used from The Walking Dead wiki:    

As played by Michael Cudlitz

The Buzz Bee blasters in general really stepped up in the last year. Revealed at New York Toy Fair last year, the new “The Walking Dead” was a real surprise to me in terms of licensed blasters to any degree. Up to this point, the only licensed weaponry was from Thinkgeek (non-projectile, non-foam) or a pretty poor performing Daryl crossbow that shot large foam darts.

BUT WAIT NO MORE.

These “Walking Dead” blasters are not only in a $30 and less price range, but they also are marketed at hitting 72′. Given the rising price of blasters, this adds some much needed relief for comic fans, collectors, and blaster enthusiasts.

Let’s talk colors.

Once again, the blasters draw inspiration from “The Walking Dead” comic book universe, in packaging and font, so if you’re a fan of just the AMC show the aesthetics might seem different to you. Also, Daryl wasn’t originally a character in the comic book, so no crossbow (yet…?)

The colors are a vibrant yellow/red/white, which is common to keeping cosplay enthusiasts and players from being identified as using anything dangerous. It’s not exactly some of the first colors you think of with a black and white comic or the zombie apocalypse but I like them and think they work in the space of making easily identifiable toys. (Yes, Toys! Remember, these are toys.)

The blasters are also a bit on the larger side, some folks may say this has a lot of empty space in the shells. Personally, I like the dimensions of the Abraham blaster, as it feels the most comfortable of the bunch to me, even without the adjustable stock. The mag release button is in an intuitive location, and resistant enough that I won’t accidentally hit the release at some point and dump my ammo. The priming slide/carry handle is a familiar motion for me from past blasters, so it’s not a pain to use, and the handle actually helps keep my hand from sliding off for some reason, such as dirt, sweat, or rain. I haven’t had a horrible jamming problem at all, whether that’s to the design or the fact I use fresh darts regularly is anyone’s guess. But finding a comfortable hand position on the blaster is definitely not an issue, the only real problem for me is carrying enough magazines to keep myself blasting 🙂

The carrying handle did come in handy to use while running, oddly enough. It’s one of those neat touches to a blaster that while it doesn’t affect performance, it adds to the feel and look of it to a huge degree. Otherwise, the blaster’s length isn’t super problematic in close quarters either, and aiming at targets wasn’t obstructed (as you can see in the video). The Buzz Bee darts need some further testing, but I like where they’re going so far.

In all, I feel it’s a really solidly built toy. The cost is right, and the biggest boon for parents is the magazines and darts will work with Nerf branded toys. Through some alchemic reaction the Buzz Bee and Nerf mags and darts are cross-compatible from what I’ve seen so far, so having to reinvest in a new ammo type or mag type (while preferred) is not a necessity. Keep in mind that stock blasters are built for their own proprietary accessories, and while they work together it may not provide full range and may lead to jamming some of the time.

Whew! So is this on your to-buy list? Will you use it for a costume? I have more reviews on the way, if you have any questions make sure to comment below! The blaster is available now, at a suggested retail price of $32. Fight the dead, but fear the living!

Edit: Sample provided by Buzz Bee toys, opinions remain my own.

SPOILER:

RIP Abraham, in both comic and tv show universes.

REVIEW: Scorpion Gatling Blaster: Dart Zone/Prime Time Toys

Scorpion Gatling Blaster: Dart Zone/Prime Time Toys
By: Vas The Stampede

Size Comparison: Scorpion vs. Nerf Barrel Break and Zing Legends Bow

My firing video:
 


Basic Info:

Price: $19.99 (Wal-Mart Exclusive)
Range: Up to 70′ (angled)
Includes:
“Super Darts” x 20

20 Dart Ammo Belt x 1
Instructions
Scorpion Gatling Blaster x 1

Prime Time Toys keeps the hits coming with one of their latest entries, the CovertOps Scorpion Gatling Blaster. A Wal-Mart Exclusive, this blaster is obviously inspired by some earlier similarly styled “gatling” blasters like the Punisher and Gatling Blaster. This fully automatic, 20 shot blaster proves itself a pretty good value for 20 bucks.

It requires 6 AA batteries, and that spins the barrel (purely cosmetic effect) and also powers the flywheels. There’s no accelerator trigger here, once you hit the “on” button the flywheels go and all you have to do is hold the trigger down. It’s pretty easy to shoot in bursts, or just empty the entire belt for maximum hilarity. The blaster is small, probably smaller than either of the earlier gatling blasters. This does make it a bit easier to carry and move quickly, although the chains do swing about, nothing new if you’ve ever run with a Nerf Vulcan. Unlike the Punisher, there is no ammo box, so there’s a loss in aesthetic as well. Oddly enough, while the line is called Covert Ops, once this blaster is on, there is nothing covert about it. If you didn’t like the noise level of a Barricade, you will definitely not like this blaster. As I suggest with any of those complaints, just wait until you’re about to shoot and flick the power switch then, don’t run around an entire game or scenario with your flywheels running (unless there’s a strategic reason for it, as I’ve done in the past).

The Covert Ops line is a green and orange mash of colors, crossing toy safety and a color scheme reminiscent of the movie, “Predator.” While this isn’t the total minigun that some folks may want, it does pretty well all the same. To me, the plastic and build feels pretty sturdy and that it might take a drop or 2. That is only descriptive of the blaster body, though. I can’t attest to the strength of the electronics and the motor if you dropped this blaster. Bottom line, it feels solid.

The amount of clearance to fit other brand darts through the Scorpion.

 I repeat, the size proves deceptive as you might not expect the power you get out of this. I was able to hit almost 50′ flat and angled my shots hit about the advertised 70′ range. And this was with both the proprietary “super” darts and other leading brand darts. This blaster shot just about anything I put in the ammo belts. The accuracy did leave something to be desired, but with foam ammo that tends to just be the reality of the medium. And if you’re sending out about 20 shots at a time, maybe accuracy isn’t your main concern!

That being said, I can’t comment if chains from the earlier gatling blasters will work with the Scorpion, as I don’t have either. And if I had any real complaint about this blaster, it’s that additional chains aren’t available to use this as a proper defensive or offensive weapon. Extra chains and the fast reload (with some practice and preloaded chains) would make for a good time in a stock blaster game. As far as I know, separate chains are not sold anywhere so you have one 20 shot belt and that’s it with the Scorpion. Either check your fire or get ready to reload the same chain frequently. For $20 and only 6 AA batteries, I definitely think this blaster is worth the trip to a Wal-Mart (in the US) and adding to your inventory. It’s a great price for a 20 shot blaster that hits its range and fires pretty quickly.

Thanks so much to Prime Time Toys for the sample, and to you for reading! If there’s anything I missed feel free to use the contact form or make a comment below (comments are moderated, so they may not appear right away.

Don’t forget to check out “Foam From Above” on Facebook. and I am also on Twitter (@vasthestampede) & Instagram (@blasterbot1984)!

NXT Tactical Shotgun – Review!

NXT Tactical Shotgun Review
Vas The Stampede




Fact Sheet:
NXT Tactical Shotgun:
Price: $42.99 at Toys R Us
Range: 20′ (flat, angled = approx. > 30′)
Ages: 5+
Ammo: Foam darts (3 velcro/3 suction) – proprietary, does not match any other brand of dart. Additional ammo packs are available.
Availability: Most major retailers.
Includes: 
Tactical Shotgun x 1
Darts (3 suction type, 3 hook & loop)
Target x 1
 

Sample was provided by the manufacturer, opinions are my own.

A look at the NXT darts – they’re shorter than most other brands.

The push-button breech, load the darts here.

NXT Generation Toys is a company I ran into at New York Toy Fair this year. I’ve seen their products at Toys R Us, but haven’t picked one up before. It was an unfamiliar brand, and I can only budget so much for blasters. But, they were kind enough to send along a sample, so let’s see what I’ve been missing out on.

FIRST OFF: I got a little background on the company, and their aim (is it were) is on target practice, giving parents another avenue to teach their child about hunting and marksmanship. They not only have shotguns, but crossbows, bows patterned after compound bows (a long bow too), and a bit of an old-time element with flintlock pistols and long rifles (see: Frontier Series).

BUT, the intended use for them is – target practice. The tactical shotgun came with a target of its own, but there are others available in the cartoon shape of animals and more traditional archery targets, reinforcing the hunting and outdoor sportsman theme.

Performance:

One of the neatest features about the tactical shotgun was the popout chamber. You push a button, out pops the dart chamber, you put the dart in, prime the shotgun, pull the trigger. It is one of the more unique ways to load a toy. However, this means it is also a single shot, and the chamber is small to accommodate their own ammo, but no other brands.

The NXT Shotgun only hit about 30′ at most with the toy angled, and 20′ flat after a number of shots. Compared to other brands currently, this isn’t something we see nowadays, especially at their price. In this case it might be a question how much you like how it looks.

Aesthetics:

Tactical means tactical. The toy is a solid matte black, with the obligatory orange tip. It feels light, and built so that the intended market (5+) should be able to manipulate the pump, with a little help from an adult (also part of the experience of making target shooting a parent-child experience). The pump does feel pretty solid, though I have to admit the feel of the toy doesn’t seem to be as robust as more recent toys. Again though, this follows with being built so a small child can use it. There’s no questioning what type of firearm this is modeled after though, so yes it can shoot targets but it might also be a good purchase for cosplayers and around Halloween.

The darts – the foam doesn’t match the current feel of other current brands. The foam feels lighter than other dart types, and the tips felt like they could peel off, especially if the dart got caught while pushing the chamber back into the body. 

Ultimately, is it a buy? If you really want that shotgun look and pump-action feel, then go nuts. But the ranges are low compared to what else you can get recently for a similar amount of money. In close quarters this could be fun, but you would be limited to the proprietary ammo which means you’re lacking a lot of flexibility if you intend to go player vs player. As a target shooting game alone, combined with the targets and 20′ of space it could be a fun experience for the young kids to learn how to aim and maybe begin familiarizing themselves with outdoor shooting. Hopefully this helps, and if I’ve missed anything feel free to submit a question or comment below.