Unboxing: Fort Boards from New York Toy Fair (Nerf Bunker construction idea)

Fort Boards Assist in Nerf Game Bunker construction



Fort Boards! Pretty cool!

Fort Boards are 8″x8″ plastic interlocking panels that can be used to create a variety of shapes, including curved surfaces, blocks, walls, panels, panels with doors, etc. They come in a variety of colors, in a “Starter” pack of 22 panels (along with additional connectors) or a “Prime” pack of 44 panels (with additional connectors. Customizable with (sold separately) metal or wooden texture inserts, bull’s eye inserts (coming soon with Blaster Board Target panels).


There’s a LOT of potential I see here with this toy, with a little practice building your own customizable bunkers (with targetable panels) could work out pretty quickly. Different color schemes would keep things fresh as well (and maybe even help with branding for some arenas) while the modular nature keeps things varied and enhances objective style gameplay. I most certainly see the applications of this toy, and they are diverse beyond just building a clubhouse. Not going to lie, building an octopus looks pretty neat though.

Basic Stats:

Starter Pack:
Includes 22 boards (8”x 8”) and 21 connectors (for interlocking) and instructions – $61.99

Prime Pack:
Includes 44 boards (8”x 8”) and 46 connectors (for interlocking) and instructions


Find the Fort Boards on Amazon –
Amazon Associate Links (affiliate links, help keep the lights on for F2A! This is a provided sample by Fort Boards for review, I assure you my opinions remain my own):

Fort Boards Prime Pack – Kids Fort Building Kit – Jumbo Toy Blocks – 90 Piece Set – Yellow

Fort Boards Prime Pack – Kids Fort Building Kit – Jumbo Toy Blocks – 90 Piece Set – Gray

Fort Boards Prime Pack – Kid’s Building Toy and Construction Blocks – 90 Piece Set – Red

Fort Boards Starter Pack – Kids Building Toy – Jumbo Construction Blocks – 43 Piece Set – Light Blue

Fort Boards Starter Pack – Kids Building Toy and Construction Blocks – 43 Piece Set – Gray

Fort Boards Design Cards Stone Pattern Accessory for Building Toys

Fort Boards Design Cards (Metal Pattern) – Accessory for Fort Boards Building Toys

Design Cards (Wood Pattern) – Accessory for Fort Boards Building Toys

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New York Toy Fair – Marshmallow Shooters and Paper Shooters (aka Spitball Blasterz)

Marshmallow Shooters and Paper Shooters partner up at New York Toy Fair
Vas The Stampede

Photo Gallery – Marshmallow Shooters

Photo gallery – Spitball Blasterz


Marshmallow Shooters and Paper Shooters partner up at New York Toy Fair
Vas The Stampede

Had a chat with the folks at Marshmallow Shooters and Paper Shooters (soon to be Spitball Blasterz) to see what they were up to, and surprisingly, they joined forces! Marshmallow Shooters has some new management, new manufacturing, which means new products. Paper Shooters, after a couple of hiccups, struck a deal to work products with Marshmallow Shooters. This also means that Paper Shooters is going to start exploring making all-plastic, shell-free shooters (hence the rebranding to Spitball Blasterz).

The new Marshmallow Shooters pump a bit more efficiently while shooting a bit farther. The “Extreme” Marshmallow Shooters also have a front-loading muzzle now, as opposed to the breech-loading on earlier models. Reusable ammo was also available, though no sign of the “orbballistics” shooters from a couple of years ago. The new agreements should alleviate some of the cost of the Marshmallow Shooters (which, are pricey in some circles) and affords Spitball Blasterz a helping hand in the manufacturing department. Also promising, new manufacturing means Marshmallow Shooters may diversify to other products. What products, that remains to be seen.

Paper Shooters (henceforth referred to as Spitball Blasterz) is moving forward as well, to all plastic bodies. The original kits had a plastic skeleton which was then covered by a treated cardboard. The new shooter models I saw are all plastic, rear loading, and don’t require casings for the paper wad ammo. The paper construction/paper mould kits are still going to be available in the line though, so construction/gunsmithing fans will still have something to work with here. The prototype all-plastic rifle I tried out felt pretty comfortable, and shot well enough, but like all things at Toy Fair I await with cautious optimism.

Good to see more options for play out there though! Marshmallow Shooters undoubtedly has an audience (given their longevity) and Paper Shooters offers something just a little different from the out of the box experience. Where their products find a home in the community will be interesting to see, I’m just glad to see that there is still more invention out there when it comes to Toys That Shoot.

New York Toy Fair 2017 Picture Gallery is live!

Nerf Showroom Photo Gallery from TFNY 2017 is live! 
Vas The Stampede

Click the link here to view the full album.

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.

Nerf Toy Fair Showroom Info Inbound!

Video firing the Nerf Accustrike Raptorstrike is done! Enjoy this while I work on the rest. Updating this post as I finish each one, and a writeup to follow. Thanks!

Update: Let’s do this.

No big surprises at the Nerf showroom today, but I finally got my hands on a number of the products revealed over the last few weeks.

First off, thanks again to Nerf for giving me the 9 AM slot, I always appreciate the timing. Second, thanks to Michael Ritchie (VP, Global Brand Strategy & Marketing) for stopping to take a few minutes to chat with me. I hadn’t known I would run into him, otherwise I would have taken a few questions from you all!

Michael and I discussed the Nerf brand as it was and where things were going, and touched base about the specificity in certain lines. ICYMI, the Elite line is still seen as the “performance” level blasters and thus are denoted with the ranges and frequencies blasters hit that range. Nerf is still very much a storyteller brand as well to foster the “unstructured play” of its market (kids) so they can create their own stories within the blasters they use. Hence, forming organized games and leagues aren’t something Nerf is really invested in, but they recognize these exist. If you remember the Nerf Dart Tag League, Nerf put on these tournaments once upon a time but stopped in order to allow the fans to create their own. Think of Nerf as a sandbox, and games, leagues, teams, clubs, etc., are all castles that get built within it. We spoke about the involvement of the community in creating content (that’s YOU folks), from people who have maybe under a 100 views on their videos (me) to all the other channels with way bigger followings. Also, be ready for Hascon! It’s coming.

Overture, curtain lights, let’s talk about the blasters.

ACCUSTRIKE. Currently, the Alphahawk and FalconFire are available, but coming in hot is the Raptorstrike, shown above. It has 1 tactical rail that the bipod is mounted on, a flip-up sight, extendable legs in the bipod, a 6 shot magazine, additional magazine storage in the stock, and a solid bolt priming handle. Unlike the Alphahawk, the Raptorstrike’s bolt handle looks like the metal pin version of old. I hope to still see that on the final release. The blaster itself is LONG… so long that there’s a good distance between the magazine and the trigger. But in that space there’s an additional spot on the body to use as a carrying handle. Another neat feature is the placement of the mag release, it’s right on the inside of the trigger guard across from the trigger but accessible to both left and right-handed users. Kudos to that, Nerf.

The Mega Twinshock is ANOTHER big blaster. 10 shots, single fire (with a staged trigger, pull it slow enough and it will shoot one dart at a time), two shots at once, or slam-fire, you have choices! There isn’t much else to say, and I really enjoyed using it. Vicious simplicity.

The Regulator. Burst fire. Full Auto. Single Fire. Flywheels. An oddly included carrying handle. “Ammo Out” warning light. The Nerf Modulus Regulator has so many features integrated into it, there might be a kitchen sink Modulus accessory in the works at this point. I didn’t experience any skip or interruption holding the accelerator trigger down while switching firing modes and it seemed like a seamless transition for the blaster. It runs on 6 “C” batteries, which leads me to believe it fires as fast as a Hyperfire and its sounds that way from when I tested this blaster. Again, this is a prototype and as such I can’t get too excited until the final product is in hands. Was I impressed? Yes. Cautious optimism? Always.

Ok, THIS blaster caught me off guard. THE DREADBOLT IS HUGE. I thought it would be a reshelled cousin of the  Courage Crossbow, but nope. It’s the same principle (bowstring power, arrows, etc.) but the Dreadbolt is a much bigger design, with a bigger shell and more comfortable stock. It has a lever action priming arm that pulls the bowstring back for each shot before you nock in the arrow, and you fire. While I can’t totally get behind any blaster that uses an additional type of ammo (it makes reloading during organized games more difficult if everyone is using darts) but as a standalone toy for hilarity and mirth? Sold. I look forward to this at final release as well.

The Judge was still a little finicky at the show, but it made it through all 30 darts (in varying distances) during my firing test. The blaster is RIDICULOUSLY huge, wider than my torso (at least my head) but leaves too much of an impression to not be curious about it. The darts are going to fly different distances each burst, but hopefully this will be improved even a little bit at final release. Big cartoonish blasters like this are perfect to “build your own story” in imaginative role play, as opposed to being considered a “war worthy” blaster. It’s oversized, it’s silly, but I can’t help wanting one based on the shock value of how massive this blaster is. Performance wise, I can’t get too harsh on it as the blaster’s still in prototype form.

100 shots! Hopper fed! Rival velocities! The Nerf Nemesis is huge. It’s battery powered with full auto, and there’s not much to say except announce how much I want one. I can’t imagine how this might change the game for some groups and people who are way below the output on this blaster. The only trouble I ran into needed me to shake the blaster a bit to get the rounds to load into the feed, but that’s minimal. Otherwise, the accuracy, rate of fire, and sheer madness of the blaster make it worth a buy but the price is a bit up there too ($99). As a paintball player, this blaster definitely blends worlds together, and I look forward to seeing much more of it at final release.

Questions? Comments? Let me know!

New Nerf Blasters for 2017 – the story continues! The Road To Toy Fair.

Nerf Blaster releases for 2017 – The Story So Far
Vas The Stampede



The road to Toy Fair continues! Nerf let loose a slew of information on new releases, from Geek.Com and Popular Mechanics say hello to the newest upcoming additions to the Nerf Arsenal. Don’t forget to check some of the previous release info Here and Here (some items were scheduled for 2017, but are readily available. It happens, certain areas are subject to availability.

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.




NERF MEGA TWINSHOCK Blaster
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $39.99/Available: Fall 2017)
Experience double-barrel MEGA blasting power with the NERF MEGA TWINSHOCK blaster! The pump-action blaster shoots two MEGA darts at a time, sending darts flying up to 90 feet! Want to shoot one dart at a time? The TWINSHOCK blaster has a single-fire option. Includes 10 MEGA whistler darts. Available at most major retailers nationwide and HasbroToyshop.com.


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.

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.




NERF ALIEN MENACE VOIDCASTER Blaster
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $19.99/Available: Fall 2017)
Fight off aliens with the new ALIEN MENACE VOIDCASTER blaster! The blaster’s unique styling and pump action power gives NERF fans an edge against the intergalactic foe. The VOIDCASTER blaster fires four darts in a row without reloading and has storage for an extra four darts for easy reloading. Includes 8 ALIEN MENACE Elite darts. Available at most major retailers nationwide and HasbroToyShop.com.




Still no press release that’s been sent to me on the Nemesis – but it’ll be $100 in the U.S. when available. As soon as I get one, it’ll get posted!

I have some opinions to post on these blasters too, they’re coming up later this week.

New Nerf Rival Artemis and 2017 Gear and Accessories!

New Nerf Rival accessories and the Artemis for 2017

The Nerf Rival Artemis is already out in some areas and online (for a hefty price judging by what I saw on Amazon) but the official press release and info finally came in from Nerf. Check out below for the Artemis, as well as some new accessories (finally!) for your Nerf Rival blasters.

I think I saw the battery pack myself out at a Toys R Us recently, but originally I had thought that the battery pack only saved you from buying batteries, I had not realized it also promised improved rate of fire. I do believe there’s already video out there, but as always I want to see things for myself whenever I can. Anyway, samples from Nerf are promised, so stay tuned! (And thanks, if you’re reading!)

 NERF RIVAL ARTEMIS XVII-3000 Blaster
(Ages 14 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $44.99/Available: Spring 2017)
Experience ultimate precision and power in battle with the NERF RIVAL ARTEMIS XVII-3000 blaster! Available in red or blue (each sold separately), the ARTEMIS XVII-3000 blaster features a spring-action cocking mechanism, easy-load internal magazine, and boasts slam-fire capability firing NERF RIVAL foam rounds at a velocity of up to 100 fps.  Compatible with NERF RIVAL tactical rail accessories (sold separately). Includes 30 NERF RIVAL foam rounds. Available at most major toy retailers and at HasbroToyShop.com.
NERF RIVAL Red Dot Sight Accessory
(Ages 14 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $14.99/Available: Spring 2017)
In the heat of battle, take aim with the NERF RIVAL Red Dot Sight accessory. Players simply look through the lens and align the red dot with their target for precision battling. The sight features die cast details, is adjustable and is held securely in place with a quick-release camlock mechanism. Compatible with NERF RIVAL blasters, sold separately. Requires 2 AAA batteries, not included. Available at most major toy retailers and at HasbroToyShop.com.
NERF RIVAL Flashlight Grip Accessory
(Ages 14 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $29.99/Available: Spring 2017)
Illuminate NERF RIVAL blaster battle with the LED Flashlight Grip accessory. The light features die cast details, a removable grip, and quick-release camlock that holds it in place. Attach the Flashlight Grip accessory to any compatible NERF RIVAL blaster (sold separately) and light up the action! Requires 3 AAA batteries, not included. Available at most major toy retailers and at HasbroToyShop.com.
NERF RIVAL Rechargeable Battery Pack
(Ages 14 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $29.99/Available: Fall 2016)

Amp up your battle with the NERF RIVAL Rechargeable Battery Pack! The first rechargeable battery in the NERF RIVAL line, fans can use this lightweight battery pack with the NERF RIVAL KHAOS MXVI-4000 blaster (sold separately) instead of batteries to increase the blaster’s rate of fire. Includes wall charger. For use with NERF RIVAL products only; not compatible with the NERF RIVAL ZEUS MXV-1200 blaster. Includes rechargeable battery and wall charger. Available at most major toy retailers and at HasbroToyShop.com.

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.

Nerf Mega Mastodon – Firing video from New York Toy Fair

Nerf Mega Mastodon Firing Video from New York Toy Fair
VasTheStampede

Took me wayyy too long to get this edit done! But, here it is, hope you still garner some enjoyment from it. The upcoming Nerf Mega Mastodon, and my firing it during New York Toy Fair 2016. I’ll have more to say when I get the final production samples later this year, but for the moment I’m going to reserve my judgment. It’s a HUGE blaster, though! I’ll have a few more older Nerf videos to post, so there’s more on the way!

Precision RBS – Part 2! Exclusive Q&A with the Inventor

F2A Exclusive: Q&A with Ben Stack, Inventor of the Precision RBS
Vas The Stampede

Many thanks again to Super Impulse and Precision RBS for the samples, and this Q&A with Ben Stack, the inventor of the Precision RBS Launchers! I met Ben at New York Toy Fair, and followed up in email with a series of questions. I thank him for the time he took to answer them. His responses are in bold.

Ben on the right, at New York Toy Fair

– What did you study? Feel free to share a little info about yourself such as hobbies and experience in toy industry.

I most recently went to school for product design, but I had a bit of a background before that in engineering from various hobbies and jobs making things. I’ve dabbled in robotics, carpentry, soft goods, and yes, many years of projectile launchers and other homemade entertainment.

– How long was RBS  in development?

It’s hard to say when Precision RBS as a potential product line really started. I’ve been launching rubberbands since I was about 6 when my brother and I made clothespin launchers with my father. That’s when I accidentally discovered the “rifling” or “spinning” technique that Precision RBS still uses today.

In high school, after making dozens of launchers in middle school, I set out to really perfect a modular, high performance series of launchers. In college, I took the concept to a more finished state as my thesis project, where I was connected to SI and we then spent another busy few months converting the line to a robust injection moldable ABS design. Taking out the off years in between, I’d say there’s at least 5 years of my own development work in these 3 products we have now.

The core pistols of Precision RBS launchers

– Can you talk about what inspiration you drew on for the look of the RBS shooters?

Precision RBS from the start was conceived as a skill toy that you could actually use safely in public without any worries. This meant throwing the visual concept of a “gun” out the window and really striving for something cool that wasn’t threatening. Science fiction and sports equipment was the only place you could find that. I went through hundreds of renderings, color combinations, and graphical applications before settling on what we have today.

– Why rubber band ammo? What advantages do you find there vs other mediums, and how is RBS different from what is out there currently, including among other rubber band shooters? 

The Hyperion: note the included pack of all three rubber band sizes.

Rubber bands are cheap, plentiful, multi-use, accessible to anyone anywhere, versatile, but most of all accurate! What fun is trying build your skills launching projectiles if you’re not going to reliably hit what you’re aiming at? Rubber bands are just the most amazing indoor target practice ammo. Rubber bands don’t bounce and roll away into dark corners either, to be forever lost. Rubber bands don’t get crushed if you step on them. They actually are affected by wind less than foam too, as the cross section density is higher.

The main thing holding back rubber bands all these years has been accuracy and range, and I think we’ve finally cracked it. When properly “rifled”, 117 rubber bands can reach out to 50 ft with a shot grouping well inside a standing silhouette. Inside of 30 feet, the grouping gets down to about 6 inches across. Fly hunting starts happening at around 8 feet.

Finally, and this is one that tends to get overlooked, escapement rubber band launchers basically act like a beautiful hybrid between flywheel and springer launchers: high rate of fire without any rev-up time or pumping. Your ROF is practically unlimited, it’s however fast you can pull the trigger. Just like flywheel blasters, you never have to readjust your sight picture until your launcher is empty.

I want to emphasize: Rubber bands shine when the target is behind cover and the window of opportunity is short.

As for other rubber band launchers out there, we’re committed to using all standard sized rubber bands so you have the option of refilling in bulk at office supply stores. On top of that, we’ve packed in just so many features unique to my rubber band launchers I’ve designed over my life, like the ability to always launch and store multiple sizes of rubber band, and the modular “barrel” lengths (wow, a barrel that actually does something?).

– Do you recommend certain shooters for certain ages?

Not really! It’s the band size that makes the difference. All of our precision RBS launchers are safety tested for ages 8+ and have been play tested by all ages, but loading size 117 bands can be more difficult for young kids. It’s not that it takes a great amount of force to draw the band back, but more that it is a long draw length, almost 24 inches. It usually just means younger kids have to brace the launcher against the ground to load it.

What’s really awesome with rubber bands is the size of the band really makes a performance difference.

Size 117 bands reduce the number you can load at one time down to 6, but increase range out to 50 feet with high accuracy. The size 33 is the sweet spot for indoor play in the middle, giving medium range, about 35 feet, and around 8-10 in loading capacity. Size 16s are for quantity over quality, giving you up to 12 shots with around 30 feet of range and close-in accuracy.

– How many designs do you have in mind past the launch?

Oh wow, so many. I have a lifetime of folders for this stuff. These first 3 are the basic, “standard issue” series, and we’re starting to get more specialized in next year’s line.

– I noticed a holster, will those be available as well in the future?

I definitely had holsters in mind when I designed the core “pistol” style launcher, but we’re not sure how it would fit in the line yet. It might be soon, it might be later. We’ll see how it works out.

– What is your favorite feature about any of the blasters?

The Chiron

I have a soft spot for Chiron in general as it was the first Precision RBS launcher that I concepted in high school for high speed play. It’s designed to be versatile, able to take on both long ranged Hyperion and high capacity dual wielders by maximizing size 33 reload rate with the Quick Loader, and able to launch the 117 bands with the hand launcher. Masters of the hand launcher should be able to pickup, load, and launch 117 bands in a single motion, which can overwhelm the slower-to- load Hyperion, and out-range the smaller two bands.

Lots of info and insight, thanks again to Ben for taking the time to answer my questions! I’ll be updating this post later today with some additional video on the Precision RBS launchers, but until then see you next time. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out Part 1 here.

Precision RBS Firing video playlist here: