New York Toy Fair Nerf Showroom 2018 – A Blogger Story

The Nerf Wall at New York Toy Fair

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.

Evader

Chronograph/Ammo counter

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.

Buzz Bee 2018 pricing and info!

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.
  • Target Exclusive

Thermal Hunter [MSRP $29.99; Ages 6+]: Escape 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.

K’Nex wants YOU for the K-Force Squad! See how you can win your spot!

Fresh from the folks at K’Nex, they’re looking for members of the K-Force! Do you have what it takes? See the announcement below:

K’NEX Seeks Members To Join The K-FORCE(TM) Squad

Nationwide Search Will Reward 20 Enthusiastic Blaster Fans! 
Hatfield, PA March, 2015 K’NEX, the only US construction toy company focused on Building Worlds Kids Love®, is seeking 20 enthusiastic blaster fans to join its K-FORCE Squad! The members of the squad will be the first to get their hands on the new K- FORCE Build and Blast(TM) line; the only line of blasters that you build then blast! 
The K-FORCE Build and Blast line invites kids ages 8+ to construct customized blasters, big or small, single or multi-shot, with endless possibilities the only limit is your imagination! The introductory line includes 8 different kinds of blasters, buildable targets, and foam dart packs. 
 
The nationwide search runs through March 22, 2015 and challenges blaster fans ages 13+ to submit a video, up to 60 seconds in length, explaining why they deserve to be chosen as a member of the K-FORCE Squad. The first 1,000 video entries received will be reviewed by a panel of K’NEX judges, and 20 K-FORCE Squad members will be chosen from among those entries. 
Upon confirmation of eligibility, the 20 K-FORCE Squad members will each receive exclusive access to the K-FORCE Build and Blast product line before it hits store shelves, and a chance to become the Grand Prize winner. All the Squad members have to do is build one or more K-FORCE blasters using the K-FORCE products they receive (and any other genuine K’NEX parts they may already have at home), and then create a short video that shows the Squad member using the blaster(s) he or she created to execute his or her best “trick shot”. 
K-FORCE Squad members will be required to submit their video to K’NEX by May 8, 2015 and, upon review and confirmation of qualification, will be asked to post their Best Trick Shot Video to YouTube by May 15, 2015. These videos will then be featured on the K’NEX Facebook page, and the public will be given the opportunity to vote for their favorite video. The K-FORCE Squad member whose video receives the most votes will be awarded the Grand Prize, a $500 shopping spree on knex.com, and a GoPro HERO4 Camera. 
The K-FORCE Squad contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada, except those of Puerto Rico, U.S. territories or possessions, the Province of Quebec, and where
prohibited, who are 13 years or older at the time of entry, and no purchase is necessary. For more information on K’NEX, K-FORCE, or the contest, visithttp://www.knex.com/photos-and-videos/kforce-squad/.

Look for my take on the K-Force brand later this week. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out my GALLERY!

New York Toy Fair – The Nerf Aftermath

Nerf Writeup from the American International Toy Fair in New York City, 2014
Vas The Stampede

Nerf N-Strike Elite, Nerf Rebelle, Nerf Sports, Super Soaker, Zombie Strike, Mega, 3rd party licensed electronics, Oh my!

(update!) Here’s a video of the Nerf Slingfire –

THE GALLERY:

https://photos.gstatic.com/media/slideshow.swf 2014 marked my 4th year attending the American International Toy Fair in New York City. I can’t believe it either, honestly. To walk that floor with all the brands, bigwigs, and toys, there’s almost nothing else like it. FAIR WARNING – I have a LOT to say in this post, so there’s a lot of reading (and some pics!) so more after the break –

This Fall will be a very interesting year for Nerf. The showroom had new entries for Nerf N-Strike Elite, Mega, Zombie Strike, and Rebelle. Information had been released leading up to the show (Nerf Zombie Strike Doublestrike, Nerf Cam ECS-12, Nerf Rebelle Agent Bow – Secrets & Spies, the Nerf Zombie Strke Slingfire, Nerf Demolisher 2 in 1, and Nerf Mega Thunderbow) and while all the speculation, wild chatter, and yea/nay can be fun, I always put the most weight when I have the blaster right in front of me. I already posted some firing videos on the F2A Facebook and Instagram feeds, but rest assured I have some high quality video too and that will go up on youtube shortly. As I stay at Toy Fair the whole time (it’s a lot of fun, seriously. I wouldn’t give it up for the world) there’s a lot to go through.

“Zombie Strike” and “Secrets and Spies” are Nerf’s attempts at telling a narrative, having a backstory to their blasters. These are also attempts to cash in on current pop culture (obviously) trends, but who can blame them? With certain TV shows being so popular and other game types, it was inevitable that Nerf would finally pick up on it and jump in.

Interesting note about the Rebelle for 2014 – compared to the naming schemes for last year, “Pink Crush, “Heartbreaker Bow”, and so on (I think the “Guardian” may have been the main exception) something changed. “Rapid Red”, “Agent Bow” indicate this, although “Diamondista” seems to carry over from last year. “Spylight” could just as easily have fit into the N-Strike line, though maybe as “SpylightFireUltraHyperShot REV-6.”

Word has it research showed girls imagined themselves as spies with last year’s blasters, hence the innovation towards decoders and things. Very retro tech, reminiscent of old sticker collection books I had back in the 80s.(I remember a Super Mario Bros. and Voltron one, specifically. They were awesome.)

If I can highlight some things about the Agent bow…

  • Integrated Pinpoint sight
  • It has an actual “nock” to hook onto the string, much detail, such archery. Wow.
  • It just looks great. Sleek and imposing even, and the bow arm mounted quiver is a really nice addition. (check the gallery).
  • I did ask to be shot with the Agent Arrows (under protest from my tour guide), but I had to be able to tell you what it’s like to be hit with them. Personally, I didn’t find it any worse than getting shot with a Mega Dart from a Centurion at point blank (ask BasicNerf). The heads are just as soft as Mega Dart whistler heads, the plastic shaft of the arrow is a non-issue (at least for me).
  • The Sweet Revenge was my favorite from last year, the Agent Bow might be my frontrunner out of Rebelle 2014.

Nerf N-Strike Elite though, is Nerf’s Flagship (at least in my estimation) line and the heavy hitters out of the gate are the Nerf Cam ECS-12 and the Nerf N-Strike Elite Demolisher 2 in 1.

The Nerf Cam ECS-12 is probably the most cost-prohibitive of the bunch. The MSRP is at $79.99, requires 8 AA batteries (flywheels + camera power), includes a 4 GB memory card, and is supposed to hit around 90-95′. A lot of Nerf players may already own GoPro cameras or have other arrangements by this point, so is that range bump enough to pour this much money into just one blaster? Especially given the camera is a 0.3 megapixels?

Nerf provided this video of the Cam(era), and it was honestly better than I expected.

But is it enough? We are still months from seeing a final form of this (in fact, all these blasters) so the jury is still out until the Fall release.

As for the Demolisher, the undermount alone is enough for me. Regrettably, it isn’t removable but it’s a step in that direction. It’s just odd that Nerf didn’t do this sooner considering an undermounted removable missile has been available for some time now from another brand.  While some folks also hate it is a triggerless system on the Demolisher’s mega missile launcher, I got a decent shot out of it, and the word says it will hit 50′ about. The Demolisher itself will hit approx. 90′.

So, Rebelle gets a makeover and a sweet bow, Elite gets a 90′ increase, that leaves Mega and Zombie Strike.

The Thunderbow is HUGE. About the size of my torso. And it will hit 100′. It primes like the Heartbreaker, actually. You pull back on the string, wait for the indicator to tell you you’ve pulled back enough (the arms pull back as well) and release, firing the Mega dart. You can do this up to 5 times before you are empty. Approximately 100′ out of it. My only complaint at this stage is somebody trying to pull a Legolas may suffer wear and tear on their fingers, as right now there is nothing covering the string where your fingers go.As someone who’s fired a lot of Zing arrows, I hope something gets put there before Fall, as the pull is pretty robust.

The Nerf Zombiestrike Slingfire? My favorite so far, simply because I can do this:

Whew! Alright, that’s the showroom.

ICYMI, 3rd party tech made a huge splash at Toy Fair for Nerf this year –

Tek Strike is a 3rd party game/setup that promises hit tracking, and utilizes bluetooth connectivity and requires players to be more strategic as you need specialized Nerf darts to play. See my initial writeup HERE 
Without giving too much away, these folks at Eyespy have a wonderful idea right now, and plenty more wonderful ideas to follow up. I’ll be watching them closely, as I’m genuinely excited about seeing this product and on more than one occasion listening to their pitch I was left speechless. I do have a video that I need to edit as well, so expect that soon.

https://photos.gstatic.com/media/slideshow.swf And Sakar international/Vivitar had a series of cameras, walkie talkies, and more licensed to the Nerf brand… some of which falls in with the Nerf Rebelle Secrets & Spies theme –

https://photos.gstatic.com/media/slideshow.swf My press kit didn’t have much in the way of pricing yet, but I’m in contact with Sakar at the moment trying to get some info. According to the rep I spoke with at Toy Fair, a few of these items (including the hands-free walkie talkies) were pretty new, so the info was lacking. I’ll update this post as necessary! And when I have HQ videos.

Make sure to join the discussion at the F2A Facebook page and see more firing videos on my instagram feed.

In the meantime, BIG THANK YOU to TrekkieB47 for helping me out at Toy Fair as a second cameraman (and designing those sweet business cards), and to Adult Fans of Nerf, Click Click BAMF, Basic Nerf, and Shining Foam for getting the word out there!

I’m sure there’s plenty I’ve left out, so make sure to leave a comment if there’s something you’re curious about.

ON THAT NOTE: No secret blaster. All the reveals had been done by this Toy Fair, so the Cam was probably the secret blaster at UK Toy Fair. No super secret sizzle video either like when the Hailfire was revealed. No new Nerf Dart Tag and now new Nerf N-Force (unless you want to count the Strikeblade, but that’s under the Zombie Strike brand.) While not outright saying the lines were defunct, there just aren’t any plans right now for either line, and that is indicated by the lack of new product for those lines as of New York Toy Fair.