The Blaster In Question #0024: Captain Cassian Andor Deluxe Blaster

CAPTAIN CASSIAN ANDOR DELUXE BLASTER

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

Everything looks better in blue.  Ok, maybe not everything, but a lot of things do, and that goes for Nerf blasters.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at yet another Star Wars blaster.  This time it is the Target exclusive Captain Cassian Andor Deluxe Blaster.  Well, sort of exclusive.  I’ll explain later.  Let’s get into the review

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Captain Cassian Andor Deluxe Quite A Mouthful Blaster was released in 2016 as a tie-in product for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  This specific blaster is the Target exclusive blue recolor of the Jyn Erso Blaster from the same line.  Plus, this one’s got a bunch of accessories that Jin’s blaster doesn’t.  It’s built on the classic magazine-fed flywheel system we’ve seen on the Stryfe and other blasters.  Holding down the rev trigger spins up the flywheels and pulling the main trigger pushes a single dart into the wheels, sending it flying.  The big difference between the CCADB and the Stryfe is the inclusion of lights and sounds which activate on the trigger pull, regardless of the rev trigger being pressed.  I was actually pretty impressed with the lights on this blaster.  Every time the trigger is pulled, a series of green LEDs in the barrel light up in rapid succession giving the illusion of a laser blast traveling down the barrel.  Accompanied by the sound effects, it really does make just pulling the trigger quite satisfying.  It’s also worth noting that holding down the rev trigger turns on the blue LED in the chamber as part of the blaster’s Glowstrike feature.  The included magazine holds 12 darts and, unlike most standard N-Strike Elite magazines, is completely transparent orange on both sides.  The outer shell of the base blaster is completely new work though shared with the Jyn Erso blaster, and looks a good bit like the blaster in the film which, if anyone cares, was made with an AR-15 as the base of the prop.  Like with the Poe Dameron blaster, the use of real-world firearms parts makes holding the blaster fairly comfortable, though there is some noticeable down-scaling from the real thing, making it a little cramped in the grip.  All the included accessories with the CCADB are recolored attachments from various other blasters.  The stock comes from the N-Strike Raider CS-35, the scope comes from the Modulus Long Range Upgrade Kit, the barrel extension/suppressor comes from the N-Strike/Elite Specter REV-5, and the bumps along the sides of the magazine indicate it comes from the Modulus Flip-Clip Upgrade Kit.  In addition to the grip being a hair small, some sections of the blaster feel a little flimsier than I’m used to from Nerf.  It’s not a lot, but the grey panels on the sides of the grip and the battery tray cover do flex a good bit if you have a firm grasp on the blaster.  This CCADB is not a heavy hitter in terms of performance.  The power of the flywheels is rather limited, either by design or because the batteries also have to power the lights, sounds, and Glowstrike feature when firing.  This is an indoor blaster, no question.  It does fire reliably but shots arc more severely than most other blasters and don’t land with as much force, making it ideal for busting into your sibling’s room and emptying the mag without fear of getting in as much trouble.  The CCADB comes packaged with 12 Glowstrike Star Wars darts, a 12 round magazine, a scope, a stock, a barrel extension, and 4 AA batteries already installed.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This blaster is largely what convinced me that the addition of lights and sounds to the Star Wars Nerf lineup wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.  While the Death Trooper blaster is fine, the effects on this blaster are pretty top notch and, having seen this year’s offerings, set the standard for effects for “deluxe” blasters to follow.

Advertisements

The Blaster In Question #0023: Poe Dameron Blaster

POE DAMERON BLASTER

STAR WARS EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI

While the vast majority of the Force Friday haul was action figures for Ethan, I did manage to pick up something for myself, and, big surprise, it’s a Nerf blaster.  It is the smallest and cheapest of this year’s Star Wars releases.  I am, of course, talking about the Poe Dameron Blaster pistol.  Let’s take a look at it.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Poe Dameron Blaster was released in 2017 as part of the Force Friday lineup of new products promoting the upcoming Star Wars Episode VIII.  The blaster is about as simple as it gets, mechanically.  It is a single shot muzzle loaded pistol with a priming tab in the rear of the blaster.  The tab is a separate piece from the plunger and has its own return spring so it doesn’t stick out the back of the blaster when primed like the Nitefinder or Firestrike.  In addition to priming the action of the blaster, pulling the tab back also activates the Glowstrike feature which is part of every Star Wars branded blaster at this point.  There is a single purple LED with a clear inner barrel that “charges” up the dart so it glows in the dark when fired.  The light turns off following a trigger pull which, in turn, fires the dart and sets off the blaster’s light effect and sound.  I can’t speak for the accuracy of the sound as the film has not yet come out, but I have to say I find the light effect a little disappointing.  I wasn’t expecting the same level of light effects as are on higher end blasters, but the single light on only one side of the blaster feels a bit underwhelming.  This is only accentuated by the fact that the light stays on for almost a full second after the trigger is pulled.  Even with the lackluster setup, I would have much preferred a quick flash of light than the drawn out night light effect the blaster has.  Ultimately, it’s kind of a nit-picky criticism to make, but I know Nerf have the capability to deliver better and I wish they had done it just a little different.  The form factor of Poe’s blaster, thankfully, brings us back to the positives.  Like with most of the prop blasters in Star Wars, Poe’s blaster in the film is built on the frame of a real world firearm, in this case the Sig Sauer P226.  This won’t matter to 98% of people who buy the Nerf replica, but what it means is that the grip is exceptionally comfortable.  It may seem like a small detail, but if a blaster is genuinely pleasant to hold, even if it’s only so-so otherwise, I’m much more likely to pick it up and pew pew around my house than I am with a functionally superior but less comfortable blaster.  The handle also houses the single AA battery that powers the light, sound, and Glowstrike feature.  The little bit of extra weight in the grip also helps with comfort.  The build quality is good and everything feels solid, as you’d expect from a Nerf blaster.  Poe’s blaster has an attachment rail on the top for accessories if you really think it needs them.  Unsurprisingly, Poe’s blaster is a bit underpowered compared to the Elite series.  This is the case with just about all licensed blasters Nerf makes so it’s not surprising.  This is an indoor blaster, plain and simple.  It doesn’t pack nearly the same punch as core Nerf blasters, but that just means you’re less likely to accidentally injure your younger siblings when you burst into their room.  Besides, the glowing darts and sound effects leave enough of an impression to make up for it, especially for nighttime ambushes.  The Poe Dameron Blaster comes packaged with 3 Star Wars branded Glowstrike darts and one AA battery already installed.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

To be completely honest, I was pretty disappointed with this years selection of Star Wars Nerf.  I didn’t even buy this blaster just because I wanted it but because Target was giving away freebies if you bought something from Force Friday.  That being said, do I regret buying this blaster?  No.  It has plenty of issues and I wouldn’t put it anywhere near my top 10, but for what it is, I feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of it.  And besides, it’s just so dang comfortable.

The Blaster In Question #0022: Imperial Death Trooper Blaster

IMPERIAL DEATH TROOPER BLASTER

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

Alright guys, this is your warning: the Star Wars reviews are coming.  Lots of them.  You might be aware that recently, the “Force Friday” promotional event took place.  Well, I went to the midnight opening of the local TRU to help Ethan snag at least some of the new arrivals and boy did he snag.  Now that that’s out of the way, I figured today would be an appropriate time to take a look at one of Nerf’s offerings from the previous Force Friday.  So let’s take a look at the signature weapon of one of the most over-hyped class of trooper from Rogue One, the Imperial Death Trooper Blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Death Trooper Blaster was released in 2016 as a promotion for the film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  The blaster uses a 3-barrel smart AR with a pump action prime.  The shell of the blaster is completely original tooling and does a good job conveying the look of the E-11D blaster rifle seen in the film.  This particular series of Star Wars tie-in blasters were the first to incorporate the “Glowstrike” feature which would activate lights inside the blaster to shine on special Glowstrike darts with glow in the dark bodies.  The end result of this was having the darts themselves glow as they were fired, producing a laser blast kind of effect.  In the case of the DTB, the lights are activated when the priming slide is pulled back, and deactivated following the trigger pull.  We’ve seen similar gimmicks implemented before going all the way back to the N-Strike Firefly REV-8 but this version seems to be the best iteration we’ve had so far.  Also, new to the Star Wars branded products, starting with this line, was the added lights and sounds when the trigger is pulled, adding further to the feeling of firing a laser blaster.  Pulling the trigger of the DTB plays the sound clip of a laser blast and causes a couple red LEDs along the top of the barrel to flash in succession.  It’s nothing terribly special and I was extremely skeptical when I found out it was a feature that couldn’t be turned off, but having played with it thoroughly enough, it does add a bit of enjoyment having a blaster that makes its own sound effects instead of making them myself.  I do still make them myself from time to time, though.  The lights and sounds as well as the Glowstrike feature require 3 AAA batteries to work, which, conveniently, come installed in the blaster.  Actually firing the blaster can be done entirely without batteries, but at that point it just becomes like any other Nerf blaster.  The DTB has an attachment rail on the top of the blaster and a stock attachment in the rear.  It should be noted that mine is the standard red version, but the TRU exclusive comes with a bright green color scheme as well as matching scope and stock accessories.  As just the blaster, it has a nice compact feel, almost like it could pass as an oversized pistol.  Everything feels comfortable and solid in the hand.  Admittedly, it is still a rather large blaster for only 3 shots, and like with many tie-in products, performance is a hair below par for more core Nerf lines.  This is definitely an indoor blaster, and while it doesn’t shoot quite as far or hard as blasters from the Elite series, the flashing lights and laser sound effects leave quite an impression when bursting into your sibling’s room to dispense Imperial justice.  The red version of the Imperial Death Trooper Blaster comes with 3 Glowstrike Star Wars branded darts and 3 AAA batteries installed.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I think this particular release of Star Wars Nerf is the best example of how my opinion of something in theory can be completely different from my opinion of it in practice.  Like I said, I was expecting to hate the blasters given that they all made pew pew noises and there was no off switch for it.  Having had them for a year at this point, I can say they are some of the easiest and most fun to just pick up and pew pew around my house with.

The Blaster In Question #0021: Hammershot

HAMMERSHOT

ZOMBIE STRIKE

Zombies: everyone’s favorite guilt-free shooting target.  In just about every iteration of modern zombie fiction, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before everyone has a gun and is lighting up the undead left and right.  The fine people over at Hasbro certainly took notice of this trend when they started the Zombie Strike series of blasters back in 2013, a product line that persists to this day, which is a feat in and of itself.  So what laid the groundwork for such a line?  That’s what we’ll be looking at today with the Hammershot.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Hammershot was one of the very first Zombie Strike blasters, released in 2013 alongside the Sledgefire.  The Hammershot is a 5-round revolver style blaster, which, itself is nothing new.  What sets the Hammershot apart from other blasters like the Spectre REV-5 or even the Strongarm is its priming mechanism.  Instead of a traditional priming slide which would require a second hand to operate, the Hammershot uses, unsurprisingly, a hammer style of prime that can be operated entirely one-handed.  If you read my previous review, you’ll know that the premise of effective dual-wieldable blasters is quite alluring to me, so it should come as no surprise that I own a couple of these, thanks in part to my boy Ethan.  The outer shell of the blaster is entirely original work and has a lot of really nice layering of plastic which gives it some visual depth.  This is also helped by the use of this super cool, very subtle swirly metallic orange plastic which I believe is completely unique to this blaster.  There’s some interesting texture work going on too with the faux wood grain and faux cloth wrap on the handle.  I was skeptical of the cloth wrap at first because I thought it looked goofy and sort of out of place, but ergonomically it works just fine with no harsh lines or edges.  The handle itself is rather long, extending well past the bottom of my hand, but the extra length does provide a nice amount of surface to grip while working the priming hammer with your thumb.  As something of a side note, the distribution of weight around the trigger as well as the larger grip make it very easy and entertaining to spin the blaster around your index finger like a gunslinger.  In doing so, I’ve managed to fling mine into the floor several times without so much as a scratch, which speaks to the build quality of the blaster.  This is probably largely due to the relative simplicity of the internal mechanisms and outer construction.  Unlike blasters such as the Spectre, the Hammershot has no barrel or stock attachment points though it does have a single attachment rail along the top of the blaster.  The blaster performs admirably with shots flying far and hitting with substantial force.  I would recommend it more for outdoor play and advise caution before using it to light up your younger siblings unannounced.  The Hammershot comes packaged with 5 Zombie Strike green Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the Zombie Strike line was first announced, for me, the Hammershot took the back seat as far as my attention goes.  There had been more than a handful of revolver blasters over the years and the premise of the shotgun style Sledgefire overshadowed the Hammershot.  While it’s true the Sledgefire may be the more mechanically interesting of the two, it’s hard to deny the sheer utility of the Hammershot.

 

The Blaster In Question #0020: Voidcaster

VOIDCASTER

ALIEN MENACE

If I had to attribute my love for toy blasters to one thing, it’s wanting to recreate my favorite video games in real life, one of the most notable examples being the Halo franchise.  These two were brought together a couple years ago when Mattel gained the Halo license for its BoomCo line of blasters.  The thing is, while trying to create accurate replicas of the in-game weapons while also fitting them around recycled, but mostly functional mechanics, they ended up being pretty disappointing, not really doing a good job on either front.  Cue Hasbro who launched the Alien Menace Nerf line, seemingly as a direct counter to Boomco’s Halo branded products.  I’ve already reviewed the Ravager from the series, but today I’ll be taking a look at one of the line’s brand new additions, the Voidcaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Voidcaster was released in 2017 as part of the TRU exclusive Alien Menace line.  If you’ve read my review of the Ravager from the same line, you’ll know that one of the blaster’s highlights were the amount of fine detail and texture work put into the shell.  The same is true for the Voidcaster which sports faux ray skin, bone, and even crystalline elements throughout it’s uniquely molded shell.  Internally, the Voidcaster borrows its primary mechanism from the Snapfire 8 of the Dart Tag line.  Unlike most other blasters, the Voidcaster does not require batteries nor does it need to be manually cycled between shots.  The large trigger —which takes up almost the entire length of the grip— uses its long pull to push the plunger back, releasing it once the trigger has been compressed fully.  Aside from using stored air pressure in a tank, this is the only way I am aware of to achieve a semi-automatic blaster without the need for batteries.  The blaster has 4 barrels linked via smart AR.  The overall shape of the blaster is reminiscent of the iconic plasma rifle from the Halo series and the 8 dart holders on the bottom portion of the blaster, when fully loaded, resemble design features of the needler from the same games.  The blaster feels solid in the hand but it does suffer from a lack of secondary grip points, making one-handed firing practically the only option, however, the semi-auto nature of the blaster means that dual wielding is not a problem.  Accuracy is a bit of a weak point for the blaster.  By extending the trigger down the front of the grip, compressing the spring is much easier than with a single finger trigger, but it also means the blaster jostles around a fair bit when firing, more so if firing in rapid succession.  Because priming the blaster relies on the grip strength of the user, and because it is a toy for children, the spring driving the plunger is not especially strong and as such, power and distance are noticeably sub-par compared to more conventional blasters.  This is definitely an indoor blaster and if you can manage to get your hands on two of them, I highly recommend dual wielding for busting into your younger siblings’ rooms and blasting away.  The included darts are a little frustrating for someone like me who has to keep blasters with the darts they are meant to use.  In this case, given the 4 barrels and 8 dart holders on the blaster, I would have like it to include enough to completely fill all available spaces, but sadly it only comes packaged with 8.  Additionally, the previous 2 Alien Menace blasters came with darts that had grey bodies and purple tips.  The Voidcaster’s included darts are grey with blue tips and, as of me writing this, are the only ones with this color scheme.  Available Alien Menace dart packs only feature purple tips.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was very excited for this blaster since it was announced in Nerf’s pre-Toy Fair press release.  Between then and now, though, there had been basically no word on it.  I was caught quite off guard when I found it at a TRU in South Carolina, so much so that I bought it then and there without a second thought.  It’s a really fun snappy little blaster with some really cool aesthetics, and it’s only enhance by the addition of a second for your other hand.

The Blaster In Question #0019: Lumanate

LUMANATE

REBELLE

In general, I’m a fan of the aesthetic choices that go into most Nerf blasters.  By and large they are styled after sci-fi interpretations of regular firearms and that’s cool, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it “pretty.”  Today’s blaster is the complete opposite of that.  My initial reaction to seeing it was something along the lines of “Wow, that’s a pretty gun.”  This blaster is none other than the Lumanate, so let’s take a look.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Lumanate was released in 2016 as part of the Rebelle series.  Similar to the blasters from last week’s review, the mechanics of this blaster are really nothing new with most features being taken from blasters like the Triad or Messenger from previous years.  It uses a front loading, 3-barrel smart AR setup with an inline plunger, keeping everything pretty simple.  The real points of distinction for this blaster are the shell, first of all, and the light-up feature that works with the darts specifically provided with the blaster.  As you probably figured out, I’m a big fan of the work on the shell of this blaster.  It has a lot of really nice flowing lines and smooth surfaces as well as some eye-catching transparent blue accents on the side panel and trigger.  Sadly, only one side has the blue panel, leaving the other a plain white which is a little disappointing.  Just below the cool blue trigger is a hot pink button which activates the blaster’s light-up feature.  Truth be told, this was pretty disappointing too.  Initially, I expected the entirety of the transparent blue panel to light up when the button was pressed, but instead, there is a single UV LED in the transparent orange muzzle of the blaster.  What this does is it “charges” the special glow-in-the-dark tips of the included darts which is intended to create a kind of tracer effect when fired.  It kind of works, kind of.  Not really.  The tiny LED only exposes about a third of dart tip (not the whole dart, mind you, just the rubber piece at the end) when turned on.  It’s one of those features that technically works, but doesn’t add anything practical to the function of the blaster.  The light-up feature requires 3 AAA batteries to operate but is not integral to the function of the blaster otherwise.  Coming back to the work on the shell, the smooth curved lines make the ergonomics of the Lumanate rather enjoyable.  I can see how the hand guard in front of the grip might make holding the blaster cramped and uncomfortable for some people with larger hands, but Rebelle products consistently have smaller grips than those in the N-Strike Elite series, so it’s not surprising here.  The size of the grip does lend to the overall very compact feel of the blaster in hand.  The Lumanate has an attachment rail on the top of the blaster for accessories.  Putting the disappointing light feature aside, the actual blaster works pretty well, especially compared to other Rebelle blasters.  Darts travel a decent distance given the blaster’s size and hit with the usual amount of force.  This blaster is probably best suited for indoor use because regular darts won’t respond to the UV light, and the 3 that come with the blaster are all you can get without buying a whole new Lumanate.  If you don’t mind messing with the color scheme, though, the Glowstrike darts from the Star Wars: Rogue One series of blasters will also glow.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was really excited to pick this blaster up at first but became gradually less enthused when I discovered the extent of the “illumination.”  Even still, I was very happy with the overall looks of the blaster and feel of it in the hand.  It really reminds me of something the Asari from Mass Effect would have designed, and anything that helps me pretend I’m in Mass Effect is a winner in my book.  Honestly, my biggest pet peeve with the blaster is the name.  Why they spelled it “Lumanate” as opposed to “Luminate” I guess we’ll never know.  I guess if that’s my biggest complaint, though, that tells you my opinion of it.  It’s good.  I like it.

The Blaster In Question #0018: Glowshot & Bowstrike

GLOWSHOT & BOWSTRIKE

N-STRIKE

With a line of products as vast as Nerf’s, you know every little thing can’t be AAA gold tier amazing. So how do you make the low tier blasters stand out to potential buyers? Often a lower price point to make them more accessible, but you can also add in gimmicks. Given the functional and punctual similarities, I will be reviewing two such blasters today, so let’s take a look at the Glowshot and the Bowstrike.

THE BLASTERS THEMSELVES

The Glowshot and Bowstrike were both released in 2016 as part of the N-Strike line. Both blasters work in essentially the exact same way, omitting their respective gimmicks which I’ll get to later. They are both single-shot barrel-loading blasters which fall into the “in-line jolt” variation of the oft-copied jolt reskins. Not really a whole lot to say about it. It works, it’s simple, that’s about it. Neither blaster is really a great performer, as these were branded for the regular N-Strike line even after the Elite series had been around for a few years. They’re both definitely better suited for indoor use and/or taking pot-shots at your younger siblings. Both blasters come packaged with 3 Elite darts. Now what makes these blasters unique?

GLOWSHOT

Initially, looking at the GS, you may notice that its outer shell is a semi-transparent material (mine is white though a green variant also exists). This is critical for its gimmick which allows the blaster to light up with a few green LEDs inside the shell when the switch on the back of the grip is pressed. Thecolor of the outer shell does not affect the color of the lights, nor is the light-up feature needed to make the blaster shoot. It’s purely aesthetic and requires 2 AA batteries to make it work. The grip on the GS is a little small and my pinky just barely fits onto the handle. The light switch can dig into the webbing of your hand a little but neither of these are surprising nor are they deal-breakers given the price point.

BOWSTRIKE

The BS takes a slightly different approach to its gimmick, which does not require any batteries at all as it is purely mechanical. Like the GS, it’s completely for looks only but is activated upon priming the blaster. When the priming handle is pulled back, the grey “bow” arms and sight pop up. They then lay flat again once the blaster has been fired. The BS also features a much smaller than usual grip with all the same issues as the GS as well as needed a bit more sculpting to accommodate the thumb. As it stands, there’s something of an edge that can become irritating if the blaster is held for any considerable amount of time.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with most of my reviews, I like to drive home the point that these toys are still a lot of fun even with their problems. You really have to take the whole picture into account. These aren’t meant to be competition-grade laser guns. They’re goofy little plinkers, and in that regard, I think they do a great job. Plus, I’m always for making Nerf more accessible.

The Blaster In Question #0017: Motofury Rapid Rally Set

MOTOFURY RAPID RALLY

NITRO

One of the most prominent trends in Nerf marketing is the considerable groundswell surrounding the release of a new type of ammunition.  It happened with Vortex, it happened with Elite darts, it happened with Accustrike.  This makes the substantial lack of hype for the new Nitro series curious.  Ok, maybe not that curious once you realize that Nitro is doing something completely different from the Nerf dart blaster lines.  That something is cars.  I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really grabbed by the premise of Nitro, but the launchers themselves were similar enough to the dart blasters that I was willing to give it a try, so today I’m looking at the Motofury Rapid Rally set.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Motofury Rapid Rally set was released in 2017 as the flagship of the Nerf Nitro line of car launchers.  It uses a flywheel system to fire the foam cars, much like any of the numerous flywheel Nerf blasters, however, it only uses a single wheel as opposed to the pair of wheels seen in blasters.  I guess in a sense, you could say this is the Stryfe of the Nitro line, but the comparisons really stop after the use of flywheel propulsion.  As with all of the Nitro launchers, the underside of the launcher is flat and designed in such a way that prevents a car from being fired if its not on a flat surface.  At least, that’s the idea.  It’s not difficult at all to press in the rev switch on the bottom of the grip with one hand while holding the launcher with the other, although I’m not really sure why you would want to.  It should be pretty obvious that cars handle rolling along the ground much better than being unceremoniously chucked through the air.  Keeping its intended position in mind, the Motofury feels solid in the hand, or rather, on the floor.  This is the only of the Nitro launchers to use a detachable magazine to feed cars into the firing mechanism as well as the only electronic launcher.  It does feel a little weird getting prone on the floor in order to shoulder and aim the launcher as instructed, but there’s nothing stopping you from launching cars from a regular seated position.  Speaking of aiming, the Motofury features a flip up sight for maybe aiming, I guess.  It’s just a single sight with nothing else to align it with so it’s effectively useless, but you do feel a little like a sniper lining up a shot if you bother with the sight at all.  For the most part, launched cars travel pretty straight and at high enough velocity to be fun, but not enough that you’ll hurt anybody or damage anything.  One complaint I have with firing the cars is that there is a considerable delay between when the trigger is pulled and when the car actually exits the launcher.  For someone used to the quick, snappy response of Nerf blasters, this delay can seem like a misfire and pulling the trigger again before the first car has been launched can result in a jam fairly easily.  The MotoFury requires 4 AA batteries to work and comes with 9 cars in 3 styles, and a 9-car magazine.  Now that would be fine and dandy if it were just the launcher, but what makes this a set is the extras that come with it.  Included in the box are 4 red barrels, 4 crates, 4 tire stacks, a high jump ramp, and a long jump ramp.  The random obstacles are pretty plain.  You can set them up and crash cars into them and that’s about it.  The ramps, however, are quite fun as they dramatically affect the trajectory of cars that reach them.  As you can imagine, the long jump ramp makes the cars fly pretty far through the air and the high jump ramp gives them considerable height.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was an impulse buy for me.  I was at a local TRU with my boy Ethan looking for any of the newest wave of Nerf blasters.  I didn’t find any of them, but there was a sale specifically for Nitro products.  I was curious about the line and the extra 20% off was enough to get me to pick up the Motofury and I’m glad I did.  It’s not a Nerf blaster, but it’s a lot of fun.  I don’t see myself getting any more Nitro after this, so I don’t mind splurging just a little to get the top of the line.

The Blaster In Question #0016: Deploy CS-6

DEPLOY CS-6

N-STRIKE

This may come as a bit of a surprise to you but I love Nerf blasters.  Shocking, I know.  As such, I like to keep up with the Nerf community of fans, while perhaps not in person, but at least for news and updates.  If I have one problem with the Nerf community (sweeping generalization) it’s the seemingly arbitrary hatred most members have for certain blasters.  If you read my review of the Crossbolt, you probably picked up on some of that.  This week, I’ll be looking at another widely hated blaster, the Deploy CS-6.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Deploy CS-6 was released in 2010 in the N-Strike line, not Elite, just regular.  As with most clip-system blasters of that era, the internals are largely identical from one to the next.  The Deploy’s selling point was its unique collapsible design that allowed it to be stored or carried in its more compact “flashlight mode,” a design choice that I suspect was made in response to the growing hype surrounding the real world firearm, the FMG9 from Magpul.  In flashlight mode, there are only 2 controls.  The first is the on/off switch for the single tiny red LED which comprises the flashlight portion of the blaster.  The second control is the deploy button on the top side of the carry handle.  This is where it gets interesting.  Pressing the button causes the flashlight/magazine well portion of the blaster to swing down to the left, and the stock portion to shoot backward, exposing the grip and trigger.  This was very exciting for me the first time I saw it because, at the time, I was deeply invested in the game Mass Effect which features, among many other things, folding/collapsible guns.  Also, things that fold up are just cool.  That’s a fact.  It’s clear that the design of the Deploy was intended to be compact so some dimensions like the length of the stock feel a little small, but still perfectly usable.  The sideways-facing magazine is a little finicky and not quite as smooth to operate as the Raider CS-35 but it just takes a little practice.  The blaster can also still be used with the magazine well facing up although this does block the sights.  I only have 2 real complaints about the function of the blaster, the first being that said magazine well does not lock into the downward position, so running around with a big old drum magazine sticking out the side means it’s going to bounce quite a bit.  Second is just a problem inherent with the material, it creaks an awful lot, but with that many external moving parts, it’s not really surprising and is certainly not the deal breaker I’ve heard it described as.  For its time, the Deploy’s performance was respectable.  Nowadays, particularly since the launch of the Elite series, it doesn’t quite hold up.  Darts hit moderately hard at close range but quickly lose momentum and end up diving into the ground.  This probably isn’t helped by the ammo as clip-system blasters were still using Streamline darts.  Take all my complaints about Elite darts and cut the range back to a third and that’s Streamlines.  To be honest, I doubt you’d get much of a response from busting into your siblings room and blasting away with this.  It’s definitely an indoor blaster.  The Deploy comes packaged with a 6-round magazine, 6 Streamline darts, and a sling.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Deploy has its problems, that’s true.  But none of these are enough to make me say it’s a bad blaster.  In fact, back in my collegiate Humans vs Zombies days, this blaster saved my figurative life a number of times thanks to it’s folding design which meant it could be tucked into a backpack with relative ease.  So no, I don’t agree with the Nerf Community on this one.  If you really don’t like the Deploy, send it to me, don’t chop it up with an axe and blow up the remains.

 

The Blaster In Question #0015: Apollo XV-700

APOLLO XV-700

RIVAL

I don’t think there was ever a more anticipated Nerf release than there was for the 2015 debut of the Rival line of blasters.  The N-Strike Elite series was already considered to be the performance driven group of blasters with just a few gimmicks here and there.  Rival took that even further with entirely new hardware built from the ground up with zero gimmicks to provide what is likely the best out-of-the-box foam blaster performance available.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of the two premier blasters from the Rival line, the Apollo XV-700.  Let’s get right into it.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Apollo hit retail in 2015 alongside the Zeus MXV-1200 to kick off the Rival brand.  I mentioned earlier that these blasters were entirely new and I meant entirely. They fire the golf-ball inspired High-Impact Rounds instead of traditional darts, which greatly contributes to their performance potential.  The magazines were also completely new, unsurprisingly, which in the case of the Apollo, meant we got the first magazine-fed Nerf blaster that loaded through the grip like a proper pistol.  Holding the Apollo in hand really gives away the fact that Nerf was really gearing these products toward an older demographic than their typical audience.  The grip is large and solidly made.  The priming handle on the top of the blaster requires a considerable amount of force to cycle it but it does make a very satisfying racking sound like cocking a shotgun, and it gives you a good idea of exactly how powerful the blaster is even before you fire it.  The Apollo has a short attachment rail at the front of the blaster for accessories, although it should be noted that it is a proprietary Rival rail and not the traditional Nerf rail found on dart- firing blasters.  The body of the Apollo extends a good ways behind the grip and can be effectively shouldered like a stock, which makes it odd in my opinion that the designers behind the blaster didn’t put one in.  That is one of my two very minor complaints about the Apollo, the other being that the priming handle prevents any kind of sighting along the top of the blaster unless you happen to have one of the awesome Rival Red Dot Sight attachments (sold separately) on hand.  Either way, these are petty complaints that do very little to sway my opinion of the blaster overall.  Being released alongside the Zeus, the Apollo definitely feels like it was intended as a sidearm and it can work as one of those if you should choose, but it can also hold its own as a primary if you feel like running it as one.  Reloading is super fast with the Rival magazines and with a little practice, you can fire off rounds in pretty rapid succession.  As with pretty much all Rival blasters, the Apollo is an outside blaster.  Shots travel fast and far and hit hard when they land.  Unless you have very very forgiving siblings, I would recommend not busting into their rooms and opening fire with this one.  It kinda speaks to the power of the blaster when Nerf feels the need to release full face masks for the Rival line.  The Apollo comes packaged with a 7-round magazine and 7 Rival High-Impact Rounds.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ll be completely honest, I was expecting this review to be one of those counterintuitive moments where the blaster is awesome but the review is kinda dull cause it’s just me going on and on about how great the thing is.  Hopefully I didn’t bore you too badly.  When Rival first started hitting shelves, they were just about impossible to find anywhere in my area.  My boy Ethan managed to pick up a Zeus for me fairly early on, but the Apollo took me a good month or so of regular Target, TRU, and Walmart stops to find one.  The whole ordeal was a major pain, but I gotta say, it was super worth it.