Nerf & Blasters Year in Review: 2018

New York Toy Fair Hasbro Showroom

THE END OF AN ERA FOR BLASTERS

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

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

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

Nerf

Nerf Blaster Wall New York Toy Fair 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zuru

Zuru XShot Swarm Seeker Bug Attack blaster

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

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

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

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

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

Dart Zone

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

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

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

– Releases this year from Dart Zone/Adventure Force:

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

Buzz Bee

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

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

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

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

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

Third Party (Amazon, Evike, eBay)

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

Blast Forward to 2019!

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

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

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

2017 Year in Review – Nerf, Buzz Bee, Zuru, and more – The Blasters, the Fails, the Wins, the Ugly

YEAR IN REVIEW: BLASTERS AND MOAR BLASTERS
Vas The Stampede

Blogger note: Each section will not encompass ALL releases for each brand. I am choosing highlights for each.

Nerf Nemesis. One highlight from 2017

NERF CONTINUES TO INNOVATE FOR 2017, BUT ALSO BLASTS YOUR WALLET.

2017. Probably one of the craziest years for blasters thus far. Nerf continues to hit some really high notes with their Rival line, continued world-building with Alien Menace, Doomlands, and hitting stride with continued products for Zombie Strike. However, they also continue to push the envelope when it comes to prices. While they are establishing themselves as the de facto blaster brand (so much that the brand has become eponymous with blaster battle play and games) they also establish with Nerf you get a premium product but also at a premium price.

The Nemesis, Regulator, Judge, Twinshock and even Dreadbolt were all 2017 releases and while impressive big blasters, the lowest of the bunch was $39.99 approximately. The Voidcaster, a semiauto spring pistol also released at around the $19.99 mark. The Raptorstrike looked great but it was another bolt-action rifle and while impressive aesthetically wasn’t functionality we hadn’t seen in previous blasters (bolt-action, magfed, accustrike ammo, etc.) The new blasters for the most part were cool in their own right –

Nerf Mega Twinshock
  • Nemesis – gravity fed hopper, 100 rounds before empty, usable with the Nerf Battery pack, overall just a great addition and a huge step for toy blaster play, although at $99.99
  • The Judge – a multishot functionality (3 dart bursts) but HUGE, and expensive.
  • Regulator – a blaster that introduced 3 dart bursts (a function also used in the Nerf Wii game a few years ago) but also a select-fire switch, a huge feature to go from burst, single, and full auto in a blaster. Bonus points for Modulus functionality to add more accessories. If the Nemesis hadn’t released this might have been my favorite from Nerf this year.
  • Voidcaster – Another semiauto blaster. Just a lot of fun and a function that needs to be used more often.
The jewel of the Nerf releases I think was clearly the continued monster offering from Nerf Rival. Higher fps, higher capacity, even at the prices it’s what the community was doing and Nerf made an offer for folks to step up their experience right out of the box. The Nemesis is costly, but that just makes blasters like the Hera, Kronos, even Khaos (with mags now sold separately) a bit more accessible and reasonable by comparison. And the Hera and Kronos were sleeper releases that weren’t a Toy Fair but were a huge hit when they came out, adding functionality to the Rival line of a semiauto flywheel Rival blaster and a 5 shot pistol with an internal magazine.
Not to even begin on the licensing for Deadpool, and Star Wars blasters that are perform pretty well (though I’ll say I wasn’t excited to see the Boba Fett Apollo kit), Nerf continues to keep the market stocked with a good amount of product for shelves. It’ll be interesting to see where Nerf goes next (and a leaked video earlier this year hinted at Bigger than a Nemesis, maybe even a Rival rifle…. a Rivle?) and with all the sub brands they have you can only expet more Nerf on the shelves for the coming year (some of which has already leaked onto shelves early, including the Mediator and Tri-Break.) If I had to nitpick anywhere, I wish there was more range out of the Judge, and maybe something new besides another rifle for Accustrike. Impressive as the lineup was in places, there is still some room for improvement and maybe some concepts I would like to see revisited. The Signature Bow was another great item, albeit not your usual blaster fare.
Toss in the additional licensed products from Sakar and Jazwares, there will be a full array of toys, accessories, and items to choose from to add on this year. Nerf continues to pave the way for other brands. And yes, there were also a bunch of smaller releases, repaints, exclusives, but these are the highlights that stuck out most for me. Dare I say it Nerf continues to set a gold standard for blasters in mass market, and whatever innovations they make definitely find their market amongst hardcore fans and casual players alike.
Don’t sleep on the competition – “Nerf or Nothin'” =/=…. Buzz Bee, Dart Zone, Zuru….

Competition is healthy! It’s so good. And when the competition is like this, the real winners are the players.

Buzz Bee came out swinging, releasing the Thermal Hunter, Zenith, Barbarian, Tactical Storm, Dwight’s Crossbow (for “The Walking Dead”)…. all for lower prices than Nerf blasters. The highlights were not only the number of pump-action blasters they made, but some accessory innovation with the Thermal Sensor (shown below!)

Buzz Bee also made magazines that were cross-compatible with Nerf blasters, new ammo types (Precision, Long Distance, in addition to sucker darts) that were compatible with Nerf blasters, even an adapter to make the Thermal Sensor usable on Nerf Tactical rails.

The Thermal Hunter was by and large the most comfortable blaster from this line for me, and the pump-action gave it the advantage over the Tactical Storm. I also have the Monorail (thanks for the sample, Buzz Bee!) but man…. the issues about it loading are pretty apparent. It does jam on me quite a bit from just the initial testings I’ve done, and considering how excited I was at Toy Fair I was a bit frustrated with the final product. Great idea, great look, but I wish the experience with the Monorail so far hadn’t left me wanting.

All the same, heck of a year for Buzz Bee releases. They really stepped up to provide an alternative dart flinger for Nerf, and at the prices they have the offerings are pretty good! If you’re a blaster player on a budget, don’t sleep on Buzz Bee toys. You definitely get what you pay for and a lot extra, I think. They still haven’t made their comparable Nerf Rival blaster, but that brings me to…
With the Thermal Hunter
Dart Zone (Covert Ops!) I used to dub Zing Toys the Dark Horse of the blaster/launcher category.
As Zing hasn’t had a new release in some time (that I’ve heard about) besides some Costco gift packs… I pass that onto Dart Zone. It wasn’t enough that they released the Enforcer, Light Command, Dartstorm, but they made a real splash this year with…. 
Much like what happened with Buzz Bee, Dart Zone has made a comparable product to Nerf Rival, but cheaper than any other offering from Nerf. $20 for the Powerball, and it’s cross-compatible with Nerf Rival ammo and magazines. The performance is comparable, in range and accuracy. No slam-fire still from these blasters but that’s not a big deal at all considering what you are getting. On top of the ability to use Nerf mags, the BallistixOps blaster comes with a gravity fed hopper, so depending on your style of play you can use either. You have choices. And buying this blaster won’t put you out against anything else except maybe the battery operated Rival blasters. And even then, there are plans for a new blaster called “The Accelerator”.
Dart Zone again makes the case for a budget buy that offers near-premium performance. You won’t go wrong giving this brand a second look in 2018. Their dart blasters are fantastically strong out of the box as well, but the BallistixOps definitely made their mark this year.
Welcome to the…. ZU (Zuru/Xshot)

Zuru by and large may arguably have the BEST value of blasters and darts. Knowing some of their manufacturing methods, their darts come in crazy packages of refills, but there is a caveat with that. While their blasters accommodate nerf darts, the darts are a little shorter than Nerf darts. In early Zuru mags, Nerf darts were way too long and weren’t cross-compatible. The Bug Attack Crossbow fixed that, but it made the magazine and Crossbow unusable with earlier smaller Xshot magazines, a huge oversight on their part in my opinion. Zuru darts however might hiccup in a Nerf magazine but they work a large part of the time. 
This year, Zuru put out the much lauded Turbo Advance and the Regenerator…. both really decent blasters. The Turbo Advance may have the advantage in my opinion though, as the blaster only needs to be reloaded via the drum while the Regenerator has two new clip styles and you have to refill those as you go. But the blasters are pump-action which I like, and in addition to the cost Zuru continues to chug along cranking out low cost products for good ranges and decent quality. Another brand that undercuts the premium pricing you find at Nerf with good options that don’t have the spectacle and aggressiveness of Nerf, but fire almost as well as anything else. Again, another brand you won’t regret saving a few bucks on.
The E-thir (Third Party companies/products)

Nerf says to use only products with the Nerf seal of approval, and there’s a litany of legal reasons they have to say that to people. Nerf’s brand has become synonymous with toy projectile play – practically anything that shoots a foam dart, arrow, ball, etc. gets referred to as a Nerf toy. Something goes wrong, like a third party dart injures a kid (anyone who used FVJs and found those uncomfortable to get hit with for instance) or some other product breaks and damages a kid’s toy, it’s Nerf who initially may get put on the hook for it. To my experience, the third party products I’ve used (Headshot ammo, shout out to them for providing a pretty decent Rival alternative) have so far been ok, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all of them will be. With the advent of 3D printing, information exchanges on the internet, and Amazon availability, the third party products available now is at a crazy level. That being said, yes, you may find some products perform better than Nerf products and that’s great. Common sense, not all Nerf products are created equal and not everything “for use with” Nerf is Nerf made nor may it be as safe as a product made by Nerf, or any other retailer that makes their products compatible for Nerf but also make their products for mass market (that means Dart Zone, Zuru, Buzz Bee). Just use common sense, read reviews, ask for recommendations, and happy hunting.
Bring me that horizon:

They’re still out there, and I hope to follow up on them at Toy Fair 2018, but Marshmallow Shooters, Paper Shooters, and Precision RBS are still out there and making products! Alternammo from foam darts are still around, so make sure to stay tuned here to find out more as I get info from them. 
Accessories! Modular battlefields!

Earlier I touched on licensed products by Jazwares, utilizing the Nerf brand (those are ok!)
Get familiar with these brands, as they offer ways to create your own adventures and battlefields in two very different ways. Battle Bunkerz offers inflatable barrels, drums, boxes, etc. that you can set up for your own purposes, like they do on Battle Universe. They look really cool aesthetically, and I do need to get these out in the field to try out for myself (it’s winter, and going outside is tough right now in Illinois! Indoor places by me are also few and far between. :P)
Fort Boards (and their sister product, Blaster Boards) are a bit costly to make a HUGE fort, but even the starter kits available can help make some decent panel obstacles for a small battlefield. The blaster board targets make for good objective and target shooting game play, while you also have the added benefit of a construction and fort building kit to add just a little more panache to your battlefield, whether indoor or out. It’s the first year I’ve seen other companies try to market directly to blaster play communities, and it’s interesting to see how everything plays out. The fact that these products exist and have an audience in this manner show that blaster play patterns are really coming to light. Yes, couches, chairs, and tables may still rule the field, but they don’t have to be the only things at risk (and these may save a lamp or two!)
WHEW! What did I miss? 2017 was a big year for blasters and associated products, feel free to sound off and let me know what you want to see in 2018! Happy new year, everyone!

GET CONNECTED!

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Year in Review Highlights: Nerf (and other Toy Blasters) – 2012!

Oh man… what a year!  2012 was a pretty big time for toy blasters.  There was just so much that came out and so many things have happened, here we are again.

Some of my fave things:

– New York Toy Fair 2012

– The Nerf Hailfire Release Party (Thanks Nerf!)

 
– BATTLE OF THE AMAZONS

The Release of the Nerf N-Strike Elite:
– Retaliator
– Rampage
– Hailfire
– Triad
– Stryfe
– Strongarm
– Elit Reflex/Eliminator (Though I don’t believe it actually has a range increase)
– Elite Rayven
– Firestrike
– RoughCut 2×4
– Stockade (outside the U.S.)

RoughCut 2×4
Nerf Hailfire
Nerf Retaliator

Nerf Rampage
Nerf Strongarm and Firestrike
Nerf Elite Rayven and Stryfe
Nerf Triad
Nerf Eliminator
Nerf Stockade and 30 pack of darts

Nerf Dart Tag:
– Snapfire 8 (outside the U.S.)

Nerf Vortex:
– PYRAGON


– Diatron

Whew!  It’s been a busy year 🙂

Nevermind that Nerf revamped the Lazer Tag line:


Buzz Bee and Air Zone/Prime Time Toys had some respectable years with new releases of their own, but the most notable was probably the Range Master, an air blaster w/pump that got good ranges and gave some folks out there a non-springer option:

But it wasn’t just the year of the foam dart blasters, not at all.  Disposable ammo is part of the game now, past the Max Force spit wads and the first run of Xploderz water pellet blasters, there’s now also BlasterPro, “X2” series Xploderz, and Vapor.

BlasterPro

Xploderz

Vapor

This branch of the toy blaster tree will definitely bear some watching come 2013.  I got a feeling we’re in for a whole new level of innovation, between Nerf upping the ante with their increased ranges from the Elite/Vortex lines, now these new companies are going to have to show what they can do next.

Definitely not least, Zing Toys is out there with some great products as well.  Definitely keep an eye out for their Air Storm line:

Zcurve bow

ZX Crossbow

Zing Shot and Pop Rocketz

Zip Bak Bow
Z-Tek Crossbow

WHAT  A YEAR, HOLY CRAP.  SO MANY TOYS.

On that note… let’s not forget the fallen.  Gone, give or take some leftover stock on the shelves.  Safe to say these brands aren’t supported in their current forms anymore:

Max Force
Light Strike

BUT… while two brands dropped out (apparently)… one more has risen.  Yup, Launch N Attack

And a more local offering, Bumpa’s Blowguns!

And that, as they say, is that!  Sorry if I missed anything, but there’s only so much one can recall!  Have a great New Year, and see you in 2013!