Original live broadcast on 2/19/2019, after New York Toy Fair. Panelists include Vas from FoamFromaAbove.com, Nerfers101 from Instagram, and Nikki from NY Dart Zone. Producer is Gabe E. of NY Dart Zone.
Buzz Bee Toys came out swinging last year with a number of great items; the Thermal Hunter, the Zenith, and the Thermal Sensor were standouts for me. The Monorail was a good idea but it had some reliability issues when I tried it and that kept it off my favorites list. There were other blasters that had Overall though, the creation of Precision Darts, Long Distance Darts, and sucker darts was some great stuff that came out of Buzz Bee last year.
This year, Buzz Bee seems to have gone the other way. I saw a lot of bolt-action style blasters in their room, such as a new Snipe and their walkie-talkie blasters. Most telling though is that their headlining item, the Mutator – is going to be bolt-action. I can’t blame them either, the tactile feedback from sliding a bolt handle into firing is pretty cool, and plays heavily into the roleplay aspect of the blaster.
The Buzz Bee Mutator
Buzz Bee Covert Squad – walkie talkies and single shot blasters
There are some exceptions, such as the new Demolisher for The Walking Dead line of blasters, and the PowerMech 20, but otherwise the majority of the blasters I saw on display were either out or bolt-action. Interesting how that works out given Nerf continuing to use flywheels, pump-action, or the traditional pullback slide.
The Mutator gets its name from the quick change it can pull off in the middle of a blaster fight. There are two magazines because you can load each one with a different type of ammo. One magazine is loaded with the precision darts, and the other loaded with the long distance ammo for farther targets. Pull the barrel forward on The Mutator to shift between either ammo type, bolt-action, and fire. The prototype was still very early, so I didn’t fire it but I did carry it a bit and manipulate the barrel. Interested to see the final product, for sure.
What I like about the Mutator is it’s a big show-me blaster and the reloading without needing to pop a magazine out and slap a new one in is a time-saving and efficient idea. I believe I heard a few more tweaks are needed and the blaster may not be out til 2019 to make sure it’s firing on all cylinders. I hope that’s not the case and we’ll see it sooner, to figure out more tricks to do with a blaster that reloads as the Mutator does.
The Covert Squad blasters were single-shot bolt action blasters, but the walkie-talkie action is a nice little twist. The blasters are compact enough to not be a bulky unit to hold up, and it’s just a neat gimmick feature for a simple blaster. If you remember the old Nerf Commlink, this is similar but a much greater range (300′), much more streamlined form, earbud connection, and more streamlined unit. For $24.99 (in a two-pack) I’ll go ahead and put this on my Gift Ideas list for the holidays.
The Demolisher was a flywheel unit, and then the PowerMech 20, but the real gem of the room was the Velocity X chronograph.
The big notes on the Velocity X are that it’s a chronograph, AND accommodates Nerf Rival and Mega ammo as well. The unit could be held in hand against the muzzle, or set up to stand on its own via tripod, but this will have a home with maybe arena owners and general users. One concern so far is if the device will be able to read higher (modded) velocities, but I don’t think anyone’s tried yet. All the same, a really good idea.
I got a few readings off it, and it was easy enough to use, but it’s a prototype as far as I’m concerned so when I see the production model I’ll chip in my 2 cents for a full, honest review. What was really cool was the range estimates; it would give distance estimates at an angle vs parallel to the ground. While the Nerf chronobarrel attaches to the barrel of the blaster and functions as an ammo counter, the distance reading, ammo diversity, and price ($14.99 MSRP!) get the edge here for Buzz Bee. At this stage in the game it’s too early in my opinion to really give my own review about anything, the Monorail was hyped last year but changed quite a bit before production. The Demolisher was a bit wonky from what I heard, so I didn’t really give that a try either, as prototypes tend to be. Prototypes from Toy Fair (if they work at all) may get altered en route to release. And that’s what could happen here. What we see at release may even be better, but you never can be sure. Is it great to know these things are coming out, however? You bet!
Buzz Bee had their thermal sensor packaged separately now and their own version of a red dot sight. That means more accessories for your tactical rails, and with the Buzz Bee adapter these will work on your Nerf blasters too, if you need to change things up on your loadout. New light-up swords that attach at the handle (think Darth Maul’s double-sided lightsaber) are coming out as well, but I didn’t notice anything like Michonne’s sword. Still, if you run games with melee weapons the Buzz Bee swords are not only some of the most budget friendly items out there but also pretty durable for the cost. There were some other items that I think were not released for full info yet (though I think they made it out of Nuremburg, if you search the right videos you may see them) so there will still be a few different releases past the press release. I think I can say though, just keep an eye out for these items in Walmart’s “Adventure Force” line.
Overall though, the Buzz Bee showroom showed that Buzz Bee continues to work their own place in the community with continued power increases and innovations from the brand. The Walking Dead license (for the comic, not the show!) and some different gimmicks and tech are on the way, which is a huge step for them to build on last year’s showing. Interestingly enough, they haven’t gone the Rival compatible route, opting to stick with the foam dart category and focusing on making some sweet blasters for dart users. The Demolisher’s aesthetic isn’t a Prometheus but I got a kick out of getting a feel for a gatling-styled blaster (Captain Xavier’s mod notwithstanding!) Definitely looking forward to more, and can’t wait to see the full form of the Mutator at release. Big thanks to Buzz Bee for having me, and see you on the shelves later this year.
Big thanks to Michael Ritchie for taking the time to speak with me while I was visiting today. If you want to see the full gallery, for now please check out Foam From Above on Facebook.
It was quite the visit! I spoke with Michael about a lot of the new developments over the coming year, and not a lot that I can really substantiate (because they have a lot of ongoing discussions.) What these discussions I can’t say, but one key element is the Kingsman agreement with Nerf to open an arena in Asia. I likened this to the Paragon/UK situation a few years ago, but that was very limited in scope to the UK. The arrangement with Asia isn’t. I’ve been messaged by a comrade in Singapore who has some insight to this, and it’s interesting, is all I’ll say. Hasbro’s Singapore branch better pay attention though, there’s a very stout community out there and it would be nice to see that fandom involved somehow in the development of this plan.
I did ask the U.S. side of things and… it’s ongoing. One key thing I think I picked up was that Hasbro is a much larger experience than Nerf. As fans we have to remember that there’s a lot going on at there that’s more than the community. Transformers, Power Rangers now, and Gaming. Hasbro Gaming accounted for one of the top branches of performance in Hasbro’s Business. What does this mean for us? That while yes, maybe arenas will happen, but they will be so much more. As for existing arenas, well, that’s another conversation for another day.
Having spoken to a few arena owners in the past, I brought up the subject of possible industrial-grade supplies and ammo. While the feedback was something unique, who knows if the demand is high enough for them to consider it. The stresses of blasters in arena-level usage might match the stress testing at HQ? Still, it was an interesting point to bring up. One new bit of info I heard was the preference of the pump-action grip vs a handle, as while I was here I heard apparently the Artemis handle has a habit of cracking. Bringing this up to the Nerf reps, they were intrigued about how it happened.
There are a few other subjects we broached, but I’ll leave those to the walls of the showroom.
Let’s talk blasters.
This little surprise is the Delta Trooper. The information wasn’t fully given to me in a press kit, so I don’t have the price on the Delta Trooper right now (I can’t speak for anyone else) but I’ll get it as soon as I can. What I can tell you is it is spiritually like a Retaliator (they say the design is a bit modernized, and I can see that with some of the smoother lines on the blaster) and it has slamfire. Even better that this has slamfire and A STOCK. Maybe someone in the comments can remind me, but slamfire on a Recon was a mod at one point, wasn’t it? Either way, at first glance and a little bit of usage, it felt pretty cool. I like it.
Next up, Nerf Zombie Strike Scravenger. I believe everyone figured this was the Modulus for Zombie Strike, and they were right. You have the attachments and everything to start off the Scravenger main body, and, and then there will be follow up accessory packs. In addition to the first-ever switch for Slamfire/lever blasting action, the accessories included are a smart-AR two shot jolt, barrel extension, magazine holder, scope, and red sight. The Twinslice (buzz saw blades) and Chop Stock (Axe-tension) are going to be future accessory kits to add-on to the Scravenger, sold separately. The fun part about the Twinslice is it’s not the bayonet people initially thought; it’s a holster for throwable buzz saw blades. Caught me by surprise, for sure. The Chop Stock is adjustable, and has foam edges. The main construction is plastic, but the edges are foam.
The Nerf Ghost Ops Evader is basically a stryfe; stock attach point, single trigger pull per shot, but obviously the grip and feel is a little different. The big features are the light-up aspects of the blaster, but the additional accessory functions as an ammo counter and chronograph. You can start the count at a certain number (say a 35 round drum) and have it count down, or start counting from 0 to count up. The community has been using chronys for testing for years, and Nerf’s picked up on the pattern. Additionally, they now have their own ammo counter design out now, but anyone who’s been around also knows there’s a third party Ammo Counter, who makes a similar (but with significant differences) product. The blaster was a low enough profile that it didn’t feel awkward to use, so at this point I think it’s pretty neat. Definitely looking forward to seeing it again later this year.
Oh, the Hades. Sweet, sweet, Hades. Huge capacity, slamfire, decent accuracy. At least from what I could tell since the range was full at the time I took the picture and tried the blaster out. The reload is similar to the Artemis, surprising no one. But having the blaster long enough to rest against the shoulder, along with sighting down the barrel, it was super comfortable to use. I recently heard that Artemis handles might break, at the point where it attaches to the blaster, just because of the direction of the force on the handle, versus a shotgun pump grip. I did mention this to Nerf, and they seemed receptive to at least knowing that this happens (and I saw it for myself). Whether that damage happens from inordinate levels of use (necessitating industrial grade plastic or something close) or just super unfortunate user error, or a little of both, I’m not sure. Either way, definitely a really solid feeling and cool blaster for the line. Also, loud. Had to ease up on the slamfire since another group was nearby 😉
The Nerf Mega Thunderhawk…. imposing, aesthetically very interesting, and it feels like a solid and powerful rifle. I’ll have video eventually but I think this was still a very prototype model, as the darts drooped a bit for some shots. Maybe it was the ammo, but I’d give this another look at release. One interesting design note is that the magazine is integrated. It starts on the left, and progresses to the right, then when you empty the mag you push it back to the left, like a typewriter. On the one hand, it spares you buying new magazines, but on the other I don’t know how left-handed users will receive this. Additionally, the mag sticks out so far I’d be wary of using it indoors just in case there’s a narrow doorway and accidents happen. As established the blaster’s barrel extension moves manually, no spring-loaded action when moving the bipod. Even the sliding motion feels robust and powerful, there’s no other way to describe it. Whether you use the snub nose configuration or extend the barrel, the blaster has weight and a feel of transforming it that really makes a significant noise and feel. As for the Accustrike Mega darts, there’s no groove like regular size accustrike darts, and the head is basically solid just flush with the foam body and holes to make a whistle. Worth another look at release definitely.
The Nerf Infinus – what a design. The Quickload technology is new, and pretty freaking awesome. Supposedly works with any mag, and if it jams it knows to shift two times in a row. The door jam is also on the side, so there is a way to get in. You don’t have to hold down the accelerator trigger to activate the Quickload either, it’s basically “always on.” Definitely feels a little heavy in the back, but the blaster is a robust build and feels pretty solid. The blaster is full auto, so you definitely need to reload on the move with something like this. The rate of fire didn’t feel as fast as a Hyperfire I think, but given the early state at Toy Fair, I’ll give it a pass on that for now. But the new feature worked perfectly, and I am heavily encouraged at seeing that. Definitely something to give a look when it’s released as well.
Oh, the PROMETHEUS.
It has its own type of rechargeable battery pack, $199.99 MSRP. So, it’s big, expensive, heavy, and LOUD.
But so neat, to put it lightly.
Right off, as shown in the video, the Prometheus stalled at loading. Like the Nemesis, as the hoppers are gravity fed, sometimes the blaster needs to be shaken. While using this akimbo, that gets a little difficult to do consistently. On the handle, there’s a safety, accelerator trigger, and firing trigger. In a way, it almost feels like what I would imagine a flightstick on a jet would be with all the switches. It has tactical rails, attach points, a slightly higher rate of fire than most other blasters, and super high capacity. You can also hear that it packs a bit of a punch for a stock blaster. Loading issues aside, it’s Nerf’s “shock and awe” level blaster and say what you want, but the strategy works. A blaster that’s $200, 200 shots, and Rival speeds, what’s not to notice about it? The way the blaster is held, at the waist with the strap, almost reminds of seeing Sigourney Weaver as Ripley with a flamethrower in Aliens. The handgrip is different but the stream of ammo and the posture to fire it is satisfying tactile experience. Clearly the blaster won’t be for everybody (because cost) but if you manage to get one, it’s definitely a good blaster to have, even looking at it this early. The loading is easily solved with a little shaking, and with that much ammo to shoot losing accuracy due to shaking isn’t necessarily a concern. 😉
The Nerf Ripchain was different… I didn’t expect to see Nerf going with chains again on any blaster any time soon but it looks like they did here. It opens up like a Vulcan, and the belts looks similar to Vulcan chains (so I think that stack of chains I have from the past are going to come back like a pair of retro bellbottoms). One note is that the plastic on the Ripchain chains feels a bit stronger than the old Vulcan chains, interpret that as you will. As for the blaster itself, it has slamfire, is pump-action, and decorated as Zombie Strike is. It felt comfortable enough to shoot, the chains obviously swing around so it’s not a blaster you can be sneaky with or run without sounding an alarm. But what’s old (chains) is new again here. Much like the zombies in the Zombie Strike universe chains are rising up in Nerf blasters with the Ripchain.
EDIT: The Vulcan chains are not going to be compatible with the Ripchain, per a source from Nerf. In fact, it’s recommended to not even attempt. (March 5, 2018)
There were also new goggles for Rival, Series 2 of microshots (all still one barrel, Roughcut microshot is still one dart), some new licensed bags and things, and then some new store exclusives, including a Phasma Rival blaster like the Deadpool and Boba Fett sets that were out last year. Deadpool is also going to get an Apollo colored version, so plenty more in store exclusives (Best Buy, Gamestop, and so on) with the Nerf line as well.
Fresh off the press kit, here’s the pricing information and copy from the new Buzz Bee items for 2018. Yes, there’s a chronograph/distance accessory among them. Yes, it accommodates Rival ammo and Mega ammo.
● Covert Squad [MSRP $24.99; Ages 6+]: Team up to embark on a covert mission with these two walkie talkie blasters by Buzz Bee Toys. Each blaster has a built in Walkie Talkie with earbud communication that works up to 300 feet range so your opponents won’t hear you coming. With blasting power up to 100 feet, you will be unbeatable! ○ Additional Notes: ■ Includes 2 blasters, 8 long distance darts, and 2 sets of earbuds.
● Velocity X [MSRP $14.99; Ages 6+]: The Velocity X by Buzz Bee Toys measures dart speed and distance from any blaster, at any angle. Its versatility offers three modes so you can use in a hand-held position, on a tripod stand, or you can attach it to compatible dart blasters for continuous readings!
● Mutator [MSRP $29.99; Ages 6+]: The Mutator by Buzz Bee Toys offers unparalleled versatility that allows users to expand the barrel, transform the blaster and select distance blasting up to 100 feet or extreme accuracy with PrecisePro darts.
○ Additional Notes: ■ Includes blaster, 10 long distance darts, 10 PrecisePro darts, two 10 count clips, and removable stock. ● The Walking Dead Abraham’s Demolisher [MSRP $29.99; Ages 6+]: You can have the same blasting power as Abraham with this Demolisher by Buzz Bee Toys! This fully automatic, high speed dart blaster with a motorized barrel will blast darts up to 100 feet! ○ Additional Notes:
Includes blaster, 30 long distance darts, dart clip, and shoulder strap. Batteries are required.
● Thermal Hunter [MSRP $29.99; Ages 6+]: E scape is not an option with the Thermal Hunter! Its heatseeking scope detects a heat source up to 60 feet away, and its crosshairs will turn red to let you know when you’re on target. Its unbeatable spring power and pump action allows you to blast darts up to 100 feet thanks to Buzz Bee Toy’s long distance darts! The unique design lets you customize and build the perfect blaster with other brand’s accessories – and you can even place this scope on other brand’s blasters! ○ Additional Notes: ■ Includes blaster, 20 long distance darts, heatseeking scope, stock, rail adapter, and a 10 count dart clip. Batteries are required.
● Predator [MSRP $9.99; Ages 6+]: Get ready for high-power, bolt action blasting with the Predator! This bolt action dart blaster by Buzz Bee Toys blasts up to 100 feet and also comes with soft and safe foam suction darts that pack staying power like never before! And with its secret storage area, you’ll never have to waste time refilling this blaster. ○ Additional Notes: ■ Includes blaster, 4 suction darts, 4 long distance darts, scope adapter, and scope. ● The Walking Dead Andrea’s Rifle [MSRP $14.99; Ages 6+]: Put yourself in your favorite Walking Dead character’s shoes with this clip fed, bolt action dart blaster by Buzz Bee Toys! With a detachable scope you’ll be able to see walkers from afar, and you’ll never have to get too close with blasting power up to 100 feet! ○ Additional Notes: ■ Includes blaster, scope, 8 long distance darts and an 8 count dart clip.
Hey Nerf Nation! I went through the Jazwares showroom the other day to have a look at the latest Nerf accessories and gear coming from their company (as they have the license to make Nerf gear now) and here’s a little rundown of some of the key items I saw. I was not allowed to take photos, but thankfully was allowed to post about this with the pricing. There are some assorted dart pouches, bags, hip holsters, straps, BUT:
The prices are subject to change –
Ankle Blaster Holster – $7.99
Looks like it’s made to accommodate Jolts.
Portable Practice Target – Mesh bag with holes for target practice – $12.99
New goggles (reportedly with swappable lenses, between orange and blue – $6.99
Ultimate Battle Vest – $29.99 (reminiscent of a chest rig)
Ultimate Battle Waist pack – $14.99 (basically a battle belt)
Ultimate Battle Pack (both Vest and Pack together) – $34.99
Hovering Target (like those gift sets with the ping pong balls that float up) – $24.99
Starter Strike Set – $9.99 – maybe a drop leg holster and dart pouch in one pack
Elite Endurance Set – $19.99 – The Starter Strike Set sold with a battle strap
Stealth Striker Set – $19.99 – The battle harness, drop leg, and…. Something else. Not sure what it looks like.
Mobile Gear pack – $19.99 – Battle Harness sold with the Starter Strike items.
Supreme Strategy Pack – $29.99 – Vest and pouches
Total Tactical Pack – $34.99 – Vest, Cinch bag, pouches
Kronos dedicated Holster for Rival – $9.99
FALL 2018 – BUILD A BUNKER CUBES.
Yes, Nerf is making their own inflatable cubes. You can stack and attach with Velcro, and a starter kit will contain 3 cubes. The cubes are maybe 3’ high, if I recall correctly (don’t quote me on that) and are pretty well built. I think it’s a heavier vinyl they are made of, and there’s a notch in the top to act as a barrel rest.
STARTER, Deluxe, Alpha, and The Ultimate Experience Pack Bunker Sets
Starter – $49.99
Deluxe – $69.99
Alpha – $99.99
UEP – $149.99
Jazwares is fashioning 4’ tall bunker supports that will have some Nerf branded camo netting draped between them. The supports will be inflatable but it looks like the bunkers will make a cover 4’ High and 7.5’ Wide. Complete with notches in the top for blasters to rest and holes to peek at the competition through.
BLASTER RACK (YES.) – $49.99
Looks like Nerf was paying attention during all those #Stockpile Saturdays, they’re finally making a blaster rack. Complete with side hooks, a main storage bay to rack blasters, shelving and a drawer, the set looked pretty cool. This was considered an “introductory” set, so plans for more could be in the works. The height of the initial set I saw was maybe 2-3 feet (tall enough to hold an AlphaHawk) and wide enough in the main spot to hold maybe 6 Retaliators. REALLY cool look, plastic but with a metal rack aesthetic.
Again, no pics were allowed! This is the best I can do, and thanks to Jazwares for letting me publish it! See you on the other side, Nerf Nation.
Some of the Nerf accessories Jazwares produced (the targets, the harness, not the darts.)
Nerf blaster firing videos from Toy Fair are found here.
(photos taken by Leywink, she helped me out a ton during the show. Most of the video? Her work, too.)
Nerf continues to provide blasters in the higher price category, but not without good reason. The Nemesis seems to be the hallmark blaster for them this show, providing a high capacity, high rate of fire, full auto, quickly reloaded blaster. At approximately $100 this is a pretty pricey toy, but for an older age group and with possibly a bit more disposable income. Using the Rival rounds is convenient (and offers a play style similar to paintball) even further encouraged with the hopper fed firing mechanism. Even as a prototype, this blaster really sets a bar that will be tough to meet on certain criteria. Again, this is a premium priced toy, but you might possibly get your money’s worth out of it.
“NERF MODULUS REGULATOR Blaster (Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $59.99/Available: Fall 2017) Bring the power of three firing modes with one epic blaster! The NERF MODULUS REGULATOR blaster features single-fire, burst-fire, and fully motorized blasting power. The REGULATOR blaster is customizable and compatible with accessories within the MODULUS system, sold separately, so fans can build their blasters and have the ultimate blasting experience. Includes two 12-dart clips and 24 MODULUS darts. Requires 4 C batteries, not included. Available at most major retailers nationwide and HasbroToyshop.com.”
The Regulator, I could see that blaster being quite a bit of fun across board as well. The select fire feature, complete with 3 round burst setting, is a fascinating bit of engineering. The Nerf video game had a burst round blaster, and now art imitates life here. The fire select option worked pretty decently going between single, burst, and full auto, but given it’s a prototype I don’t want to get my hopes up too much until the final product. At best I can estimate performance similar to the Hyperfire (based on the batteries needed) and my own visual experience. My only real confusion with this blaster is the carrying handle, I can see that adding to the full auto feel of the blaster but it comes across to me as just unnecessary. But, given the intended market and 8 year old switching from burst to Full Auto can really get in character with the help of the muzzle handle. Even more impressive is you can still sight through the handle even when it’s on. Well done for finding the Devil in the Details, Nerf.
“NERF DOOMLANDS THE JUDGE Blaster
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $59.99/Available: Fall 2017)
Bring justice to a doomed land with the DOOMLANDS THE JUDGE blaster. With an impressive 30 dart capacity, THE JUDGE blaster can fire three darts at once! This massive blaster is ready for anything the post-apocalyptic wasteland can send its way. Includes 30 DOOMLANDS Elite darts. Available at most major retailers nationwide and HasbroToyshop.com.”
The Judge’s size was not lost on anyone. ANYONE. This blaster is ridiculously huge, and say what you want about dead space, useless plastic, etc., this toy was still wowing and amazing people on the design. Now Nerf isn’t promising full range on all three darts from each barrel, there will still be a dip in performance for each burst. That being said, this would still be on my list of things to buy just because of how insane it looks. Would I have liked slam fire? Sure. Would I have liked a stock? Maybe? Would I have liked to see 4 or 5 dart bursts? Definitely. But even this prototype at Toy Fair did a fine job of leaving an impression and should find its way into a gift box or two. I would be interested to see this play out at some of the games I go to though (blasters can count as shields there, and the players go super stock. There is also a decent amount of cover, so high range blasters get equaled out a bit more.)
“NERF N-STRIKE ELITE ACCUSTRIKE RAPTORSTRIKE Blaster (Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $49.99/Available: Fall 2017) Hone your skills and hit your mark with the NERF N-STRIKE ELITE ACCUSTRIKE RAPTORSTRIKE blaster. This clip-fed blaster with pop-up sight, adjustable stock and bipod helps players line up their shot and to aim with precision and confidence. Includes two six-dart clips and 18 ACCUSTRIKE series NERF darts. Available at most major toy retailers and at HasbroToyShop.com.”
The Raptorstrike. You might not see anything with this Accustrike blaster that you haven’t seen already, outside of the precision/range increase from Elite and Accustrike technology. The blaster comes with 2 six shot magazines, extendable bipod, but a flip-up sight. the sight means no top tactical rail, which is unfortunate, but it does have a neat look and a very cool feeling carry handle along the underside. Also of note is the solid priming bar, not the insert tab style on the Alphahawk. Also missing is a barrel attachment point, but the iron sights are another nice detail on the blaster that some folks should get a kick out of. The ammo storage in the stock is a neat touch, and it’s one of the long type rifles that Longstrike/”sniper” fans might get a kick out of. Again, I’ll reserve full judgment until it hits stores.
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.
The Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt surprised me. I had not expected it to be nearly as big as it was, with previous crossbows in the line (Outbreaker, Crossfire Crossbow, etc.) and the Rebelle Courage Crossbow was supposedly a similar design, BUT SO MUCH SMALLER.
With the Dreadbolt, the blaster has a pretty sizable wingspan at the arms, and uses the soft head arrows introduced in the Rebelle line, with the Agent Bow. It’s also comfortable to hold, and the priming mechanism is a wrench along the bottom to crank back the string. Nothing you haven’t seen before either, but also nothing this big crossbow styled yet. I could see a few faithful users to this blaster just because of how much fun it could be. Using arrow ammo would be a pain during the usual Nerf war, but just the hilariousness of this blaster could make it worth it.
Speaking of arrows….
Really looking forward to the Signature Bow. I really hoped it would come out last year, but it looks like that was not the case, and this is why. It went rebranded to be released as part of the Dude Perfect trick shot items. I’ll still get it, just because of the archery aspect. Not much to say about it, as this is essentially the Platinum Bow from last year, and I wanted to get it then too.
Nerf Nitro was in full effect as well! The cars really are a firm foam construction, and Nerf isn’t kidding when they say you’ll hit new heights with the cars. They launch off the ramps a lot higher than I did with Hot Wheels cars I used back when I was younger, and if they hit wood floors or furniture, the marking and dents should be minimal. It’s a really neat idea and while not your usual cup of foam from Nerf, I can see why they did it. My next big question about this innovation is what does Nerf have lined up on the licensing side of things if this line takes off.
Nerf Rebelle only had a couple of new blasters to show off, the new Accustrike crossbows and then a crossbow/bow combo blaster. One might think Rebelle is getting scaled back after storming out with revolvers and other triggered blasters, but it’s hard to say. There wasn’t anything terribly striking from the Rebelle line this year though, unlike last year when the Corner Sight was part of the lineup. No new narrative was apparent either, unlike the “Secrets and Spies” from a couple of years ago, or the Charmed line from last year. Given how early it is in the year though, I’ll definitely not be surprised if Rebelle comes out with something else later this year.
Don’t forget that Jazwares will also be making new Nerf accessories for 2017! Check out the press release here.
Thanks for reading! I have plenty more booth visits to write up (Buzz Bee, Zuru will be out later this week) and some additional brands worth checking out to recommend (Whombatz and Fort Boards, I’m looking at you).
All in all, Nerf had a pretty strong showing with a couple of blasters, but stayed the course in functionality with a few others. I feel like there are still a few “buzz generating” items they’re holding off on even now, and will just bear watching in the future. A few more brands came out of Toy Fair swinging, so the brand synonymous with the blaster battle activity is going to have to keep coming out strong themselves.
Say what you want about Marshmallow Shooters, other blaster lines have come and gone but they are among one of the constants at New York Toy Fair year after year. Last year the biggest news from them (in my opinion) were the Ghostbuster-themed shooters, they looked great and while they were still functionally the same as previous releases, the line was just in time for the big anniversary of the release of the original film.
This year, it’s not a new paint job that piqued my interest, but this new line of blasters from Marshmallow Shooters, the “Orbballistics” as well as the “new” “FoamFury” line. Marshmallow Shooters is now in the business of making reusable foam ammo, as they did have some people who wondered about “wasting food” when it came to using Marshmallow ammo. While this is a concern for me as well, another problem with marshmallow ammo is degradation from heat or reuse. Squishy marshmallows loaded into barrels/hoppers usually meant residue on barrels and plunger heads. Foam ammo makes that less of a problem, thankfully. Based on the technology that they use for the “Orbball”, the ammo for the Orbballistics is a hollowed out foam tube that forms kind of a hollowed out oval, something like a grape, or a mini, teeny tiny hollowed out football. I’ve had some fun with the Classic, Crossbow, Bow, and a variety of other shooters in the past, but the ammo wasn’t optimal in the summer and I had to keep mindful about that. Also, never mind the constant consumption of my ammo from other players. Before the round, during the round, after the round, etc. Not entirely unexpected and it was all in good humor, it became the running gag any time one of us used a marshmallow shooter. Thankfully though that also gave me a lot of reasons to make s’mores and rice crispy treats as well!
Marshmallow Shooters is claiming 60′ flat on these things (and it might be possible, haven’t been able to do the video yet because of technical difficulties but there is one) so that’s pretty interesting stuff. Some of the initial comments I’ve gotten tell me these are similar to the Vortex Koosh blasters from way back, but these are definitely more compact. I didn’t have any prices at the time at New York Toy Fair, but they may be available as of 4th quarter, at least in time for the holidays.
As always, if I manage to get any samples I’ll be sure to do a review right at this blog. The model I handled was a prototype, so it’s way early for me to comment on handling and build strength. At most I can say that it looks sleek, and the ammo holders are always a nice touch. Past that, I am always looking forward to seeing new challengers to the foam arena.
Besides the Orbballistics, Marshmallow Shooters had “FoamFury” which is their classic shooter now firing foam “ear plug” like ammo. 20′ of range, so while made for a quick release definitely not what one can expect from the Orbballistics shooters. Also, there were “Varmint Series” blasters which look hilarious. Pics of these and more can be found in the gallery.
So, thoughts? Another (this time foam) solution from Marshmallow Shooters, with more range than the original shooters and with reusable ammo. Is this something you would try out? Would you qualify it as large ammo if your games use those rules? Comment below, and let me know!