The Blaster In Question #0007: Roughcut 2×4

ROUGHCUT 2X4

N-STRIKE ELITE

Shotguns are kind of a weird area for Nerf.  There are plenty of blasters available that do a decent job replicating the look and feel of a shotgun, but it’s a rarer thing to find one that actually functions like one i.e. actually firing a spread of darts.  One of the more successful implementations of this feature came to us in the form of the Roughcut 2×4.  While the name evokes a plank of wood, the actual blaster is a lot more interesting, unless you’re one of those lumber fanatics, in which case, no judgement, more power to you.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Roughcut 2×4 was released in 2013 as one of the first original blasters in the N-Strike Elite line.  It was also one of 2 blasters in the very short-lived Multi-Shot Madness collection alongside the Diatron from the disk-based Vortex series.  Mechanically, the blaster borrows heavily from the Barrel Break IX-2, featuring 2 separate plunger systems side by side.  If your trigger finger is very precise, this setup allows the user to fire either one barrel at a time or both at once.  Even the grips of both blasters are severely inclined, almost parallel with the barrels.  The main difference is that the Roughcut opted for a more straightforward front loading design with 8 barrels arranged in 2 columns of 4 (hence the name) as opposed to the Barrel Break’s weird breach-loading action and only 2 barrels.  Additionally, the Roughcut is pump-operated, so successive shots can be fired off much faster.  Aside from the aforementioned grip, the blaster is pretty run-of-the-mill in terms of how it feels.  Everything that’s supposed to move moves well, and everything that isn’t feels sturdy.  The Roughcut features some sights, although they do strike me as a little more of an after-the-fact addition than on a lot of other blasters.  There’s also a rail along the top of the blaster for attachments.  Being part of the core N-Strike Elite series, performance is strong.  Darts fly a good distance and land with a solid impact.  Decent range paired with a fairly compact form-factor and the ability to shotgun darts makes the Roughcut great for either ranged outdoor battles or just to keep handy for close encounters.  Just try not to hit anything fragile like your mom’s china or someone’s face.  The Roughcut 2×4 comes packaged with 8 Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Man, do I love shotguns.  Practically every shotgun-type blaster that Nerf has released in the last 15 years has been a favorite of mine.  The Hornet AS-6 was great apart from its cumbersome cocking and pumping mechanism.  The Barrel Break IX-2 was great apart from its awkward slide and break breach mechanism.  The Sledgefire was great apart from its finicky— you see the pattern.  To be fair, when working with Nerf darts, making an actual shotgun that works well in all aspects is difficult and things can get complicated very quickly.  Just goes to show that, in the case of the Roughcut, simplicity pays off

The Blaster In Question #0006: Allegiant Blaster

ALLEGIANT BLASTER

REBELLE

If you’ve read the title of this review, you can probably tell that I’m a big fan of Divergent. I especially liked the part where Katniss has to play Nerve because she’s made of grenades— what’s that?… I’m being told that’s not in Divergent. Are you sure? Well, I mean, that’s just, like, your opinion, man. Ok ok ok, I don’t actually know or care much about the Divergent series but they did get a couple Nerf blaster tie-ins and I do care about those. So let’s take a look at the biggest blaster from the bunch, the Allegiant Blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Allegiant Blaster was released in 2016 as a promotional item for the new Allegiant movie from the Divergent series. The blaster itself is a recolor of the Rapid Glow, also in the Rebelle line, which in turn is essentially a reskin of the Recon or Retaliator which are built on the Bucky Cap body. Wait, scratch that last part. Differing from the Rapid Glow is the magazine which is the same type used in the Rapid Red, though also recolored. As with many blasters in the Rebelle line, the proportions on this blaster almost seem like they’ve been shrunken down, which I don’t entirely understand. I know Rebelle is targeted to girls, and statistically speaking, girls tend to be slightly smaller than boys, but the size difference on things like the grip and stock versus core N-Strike equivalents is kind of absurd. As such, the grip feels very cramped for me and my adult hands, and the stock is almost entirely cosmetic with no practical use. However, despite its size, the overall shape of the blaster is very smooth with rounded edges and flowing lines, which do add a little bit to the ergonomics. I just wish the dang thing were bigger. The magazine holds 12 darts and is completely interchangeable with other Nerf magazines. The blaster doesn’t feature and sights but has a single attachment rail on the slide. In addition to being typically smaller, most Rebelle blasters perform just slightly worse than core N-Strike Elite and this is also the case here. It’s not the kind of difference that will make or break the blaster for most people, but side by side, it is noticeable, making it more suited for indoor play. This is doubly true if you are like me and have to keep all the original darts with the gun since it comes with its own custom assortment of colors. The blaster comes packed with the magazine and 12 “collectible” darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Several of my friends and myself volunteer as tribute (like in Divergent) to help run a local convention every year. I purchased this blaster from Amazon so I could arm them to help enforce some of the rules. Unfortunately, the blaster didn’t arrive in time, so I was forced to bring a selection of other blasters in my arsenal. All in all it didn’t seem to affect our ability to lay down the law, Judge Dredd style, and either way, I got a new blaster out of it. While it’s not a standout blaster in any measurable sense, one of my favorite things about it is the aesthetics with the nice color scheme and the pictures of the mockingjays. And with that, I’m gonna end the review before actual Divergent fans start throwing things.

 

P.S. What day is it today? Thursday? Good gods, it seems like I missed my regularly scheduled time slot. I hope you don’t mind too much since the last weekend almost killed me with school work. Regular posts will resume Saturday, so don’t worry.

The Blaster In Question #0005: Magnus

MAGNUS

N-STRIKE ELITE (MEGA)

That ain’t no dart, this is a dart.  Ah, yes, the Mega series, Nerf’s go at the “bigger is better” trope.  The line started back in 2013 with the equally giant Centurion.  After that, the next obvious step was something a little on the smaller side, while still using the bigger Mega darts.  Give it a year, and thats when we were given today’s blaster, the Magnus.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Magnus was released in 2014 as the second blaster in the Mega series.  At the time of its release, it was entirely original.  Since then, the internal magazine and general operation have been reused in a couple of the licensed Star Wars blasters albeit chambered for the standard sized Elite darts.  This style of magazine works much in the same way as the Speedload 6 or Quick 16 from the Dart Tag line in that it is not removable and loads from the top, but does this while being in line with the center go the blaster and without all those extra dart pushing parts.  Given the size of the darts relative to the blaster, the Magnus only holds 3 rounds, which some might argue is too few to be worth the complexity of the design but I don’t have a problem with it.  You may have noticed that I have 2 of this particular blaster and that is for a couple reasons, but more one than the other.  Primarily, my first Magnus, the red one, is busted.  I’m not sure exactly the reason but 75% of shots fall limply out of the barrel rather than flying at my siblings like I intend.  This gave me reason enough to seek out a replacement, and what better than the ToysRUs exclusive “Sonic Ice” version.  The color doesn’t affect the performance assuming you’re comparing fully functional blasters.  One thing I found surprising about the Magnus was the grip.  It has a nice texture to it that does indeed add some traction, but it’s also fairly slim, especially for a Mega blaster.  It doesn’t ruin the blaster or anything, it just struck me as an odd balance of proportions.  The Magnus features some very rudimentary, although still appreciated, sights on the top of the blaster and an attachment rail on the underside.  In line with the rest of the Mega series, the Magnus packs a decent punch, hitting noticeably harder than many Elite blasters and with larger, heavier darts to boot.  As such, the Magnus is probably better suited for outdoor play.  Shooting from farther away also lets potential targets hear the darts coming at them as Mega darts whistle when fired.  The Magnus comes packaged with 3 Mega darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My initial Magnus came about from a combination of odd circumstances all overlapping.  The first and foremost being that there was a current Nerf blaster that I did not yet own.  The second is my aunt knowing that I wanted it, and third, knowing exactly which blaster it was.  Put all that together and you get the only Nerf blaster I’ve received for Christmas in the last decade.  It was really a shame to find out that mine wasn’t working properly, but my recent birthday was enough to convince me to get a replacement.  And who knows, maybe with a little more tinkering, I can get the original up and running.

The Blaster In Question #0004: Speedload 6

SPEEDLOAD 6

DART TAG

For all the fun, random quirks that have appeared in Nerf blasters over the years, the one avenue that has always remained is the competitive aspect.  Nerf has gone through many iterations and just as many product lines trying to corner competitive play.  Recently they’ve made some moves that a lot of people consider game changing in the competitive arena, but this wasn’t always the case, as with the off-and-on-again Dart Tag line.  Today I’ll be looking at the mid-class Speedload 6, so let’s load up the review… quickly.  Speedily.  A speedy load- forget it, here’s the blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Speedload 6 was released in 2011 as part of the revival of the Dart Tag line.  As you may note, mine has an orange trigger, whereas the second wave Dart Tag blasters featured blue triggers, signifying slightly improved internals.  As with just about every repeating blaster at the time, the SL6 uses a reverse plunger mechanism which should irritate you if you’re a seasoned modder, or mean absolutely nothing to you if you aren’t.  The SL6 and its bigger brother, the Quick 16, both share a fairly unique loading mechanism.  They both feature integrated magazines that can be constantly topped off while a series of cams and levers pull darts sideways into the chamber to be fired.  (The only other blaster that has anything even resembling this mechanic is the Vortex/Zombiestrike crossover Fusefire, but Vortex is a whole different story so let’s leave it at that.)  Not only this, but both of these blasters fire Dart Tag velcro-whistle darts, which is impressive in and of itself for a magazine-fed blaster.  The SL6 is deceptively large.  When I first saw images of it, in my mind, it would replace the Maverick REV-6 as the goto 6-round pistol, and it might have if the it wasn’t quite so large.  Don’t get me wrong, the size isn’t a problem, it makes operation of the blaster very easy and comfortable even for a grown adult.  The blaster is solidly built and shooting it feels nice and snappy.  At the time, Streamline darts were notoriously unreliable so having a magazine-fed blaster that used more stable “broadheads” was quite an advantage, just so long as you had plenty of time to reload the fixed magazine.  It’s also important to make sure you fully cycle the priming slide while firing.  I’ve had a number of instances of the blaster trying to chamber multiple darts due to partial priming.  Admittedly, it is user error, and I’m sure someone could get used to it if they were dedicated, but it’s just different enough from other slide-primed blasters that it can throw you off if you aren’t using it regularly.  Being targeted to competitive players, the SL6 has decent performance, although I must add a caveat.  My SL6 has been modified to boost performance, and it was done long enough ago that I can’t say I really remember it before then.  Granted, it was also long enough ago that my skill as a modder probably didn’t add too much.  Nevertheless, in its current state, my SL6 shoots just marginally weaker than stock Nerf blasters available today.  The Speedload 6 came packaged with 6 Dart Tag darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I bought the Speedload 6 right around the time I was way into Humans Vs Zombies on my college campus.  At the time, it served very well as a sidearm and occasionally a compact primary, but sadly, since the introduction to the Elite series and now Accustrike, many of the advantages of using the SL6 have become irrelevant.  If there’s anything I can give it credit for today, it is the engineering behind the wacky loading mechanism and the blaster’s overall durability.  I loaned mine to a friend to use on a week long HVZ game, and for all he put it through, it still works perfectly fine.  Not bad.

The Blaster In Question #0003: Ravager

RAVAGER

ALIEN MENACE

If you follow nerf even a little bit, you’ve probably noticed the trend of blasters moving toward the “tacti-cool” militaristic types of designs with scopes and magazines and attachments out the wazoo, and thats great for when you wanna play that way, but sometimes you don’t wanna get to serious about it.  That’s when you need a big goofy, gimmicky blaster.  That’s where the Ravager comes in.  Ok, ok, the name sounds intimidating and all, but don’t let that fool you.  This blaster has goofiness for days, so let’s take a look.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The ravager was released in Fall 2016 as the secondary blaster in the first wave of the Alien Menace series (again with the super serious names).  As far as I can tell, the Ravager is mostly original in terms of mechanics.  The forward fang/claw-type handle primes the blaster like just about any pump-action blaster with the added distinction of being absolutely buttery smooth.  This may be an odd point to harp on about, but I’m serious.  This blaster has one of the smoothest most satisfying pump-actions I’ve ever felt.  I wish every Nerf blaster felt this good to prime, but thats enough about that.  Firing, the blaster works like a big revolver, however, it’s unique in that the big goofy claw cylinder (which is far from cylindrical) holds 2 shots on each claw arm, releasing only one dart at a time via smart air-restrictor.  Effectively, what this means is that the cylinder has to complete 2 full rotations to fire all 8 darts.  On a side note, I’ve seen other people firing the Ravager and I believe mine might have a slight defect with one of the catches which are supposed to stop the claw cylinder in the right place to fire another round.  The blaster is still useable, it just has a tendency to rotate the cylinder back to the previous position if I try to fire it too quickly.  That might just be mine, but let’s move onto where the Ravager really shines.  My god, the design of this blaster is just something else.  At first glance, yes, its a funky shape, but looking closer, there’s a ton of really nice texture work.  The grey areas have a bumpy, pseudo-rayskin feel, whereas the purple and white have a grain to them, kind of like bone or chitin.  Where there isn’t texture, theres cool transparent purple on the back section of the blaster.  All together, the design makes the Ravager feel like a proper alien weapon.  Someone on the Nerf design team was having a good day when they were working on this.  The blaster feels pretty good in hand, though the aforementioned forward grip takes a little getting used to.  There aren’t any sights to speak of, but then again, maybe aliens don’t have conventional eyes, or like, use the Force or something.  The Ravager hits a little on the softer side, but nothing deal-breaking.  It’s probably slightly better suited for indoor play for that reason and because the 8 Elite darts that come packaged are a dark grey and purple, making them much easier to lose in grass and such.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Ravager was actually a birthday present from the infamous Enabler (some call her the “Super Awesome Girlfriend”) while on a ToysRUs run with my boy Ethan.  Funnily enough, it was a TRU run for his birthday whereupon I bought him the Marvel Legends Black Panther.  The Enabler, upon realizing that my own birthday was several months past, forcibly grabbed the Ravager from my stack of Nerf purchases-to-be and bought it herself.  I mean, she did, then, give it back as a belated gift, but still, the nerve of some people.  I am glad to have it, and though mine might be a bit of a lemon, it’s still plenty of fun to run around the house with, making pew pew noises.

*All kidding aside, Jess is pretty cool, but “Super Awesome Platonic Friend” didn’t quite roll off the tongue.

The Blaster in Question #0002: Disruptor

DISRUPTOR

N-STRIKE ELITE

I don’t know what I expected when I heard the name of an upcoming Nerf blaster was the Disruptor. What I definitely did not expect was a revision of the classic 6-shot revolver, a staple in the average toy blaster arsenal, but that’s exactly what we got. It’s not uncommon for Nerf to reuse designs and make a few tweaks here and there (jolt reskins, anbody?), so if you’re a fan of the Maverick or the Strongarm, then you’ll be fine with Disruptor, I guess. So let’s take a look at it.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Disruptor was released in January of 2017 as part of the core N-Strike Elite line. It measures 12 1/2 inches long, 6 inches tall, and 2 1/2 inches wide. As I mentioned earlier, the blaster works in much the same way as the Strongarm, the other elite series revolver, with one main difference. The Disrtuptor’s rotating cylinder does not pop out the side of the blaster. Instead, the front of the blaster has been redesigned to be more open, allowing easier access to the cylinder for reloading. While it does make the overall blaster smaller and somewhat more solid than the Strongarm, it does sacrifice the ability to spin the cylinder by hand, Russian roulette style. It sits comfortably in the hand, although it does feel like the upper part of the grip, near the trigger, is a little wider than at the bottom. It’s not a big deal but it might make the blaster a bit more prone to slipping out of your hand if you’re a crazy person who plays Nerf in a rainstorm or something. Along the top of the blaster are a set of sights which almost certainly don’t help with aiming but are appreciated nonetheless, and an attachment rail for accessories. If you’ve read my review of the Falconfire, you’ll know that standard Nerf Elite darts are plagued by inaccuracy and that’s true of the darts packed with the Disruptor as well. The blaster shoots pretty hard, as to be expected with the Elite series, suitable for indoor and outdoor play. As with most revolvers, reliability isn’t much of a concern as jams are rare even when using slam fire. I suspect the design of the grip and the priming slide are intended to facilitate dual weilding, similar to the Firestrike, but I can’t easily test this as I only have the one blaster for now. The Disruptor comes packaged with 6 Elite darts and instructions.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I purchased the Disruptor from Target on the same visit to Ethan when I got the Falconfire. Initially I hadn’t planned on getting it but after spending enough time setting up the BIQ, I figured I should get more material to review while I was there. Never mind the fact that the action figure guy and the Nerf guy tend to wind up buying toys when we hang out. As far as the blaster goes, if you’re not a completionist Nerf collector and you already have the Strongarm, you can probably give this one a pass. On the other hand, if your arsenal is missing a trusty sidearm, this is a good candidate.

The Blaster in Question #0001: Falconfire


FALCONFIRE

NERF ACCUSTRIKE SERIES

What’s this? It’s not an action figure? No, today I am kicking off my series of toy blaster reviews. Given my extensive knowledge and collection of Nerf blasters in particular, this seemed like a logical addition to The Figure in Question network. Will it work? Will it be interesting? The answer is a resounding maybe. But enough intro, get into cover and yell “NOT IN THE FACE! NOT IN THE FACE!” because here comes the foam.

Birds. That’s what you think of when talking about accuracy, right? Well the fine folks at Hasbro certainly do, as evidenced by the naming convention used on the Accustrike series of blasters. So let’s kick things off with a look at the smallest blaster in the series thus far, the Falconfire. Caw caw!

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Falconfire was released right around January 2017 along with its bigger brother, the Alphahawk (caw) as one of the first blasters in the Accustrike series. While neither of these blasters provided much new material in terms of operation, they did usher in the latest in foam dart technology i.e. the Accustrike darts. These darts, in comparison to standard Nerf Elite darts, feature a redesigned tip which is supposed to impart a sort of rifling effect upon the dart as it flies, providing a much more consistent trajectory. Long story short, they work. The inaccuracy of Elite darts beyond maybe 20 feet was a well known gripe in the Nerf community and I have to give props to Hasbro for the solution they came up with. Not only are the new darts a marked improvement over the last generation, but they’re entirely cross compatible with existing Nerf blasters. This point is clearly demonstrated upon inspection of the Falconfire blaster itself. As I mentioned earlier, functionally, the blaster is nothing new. The Falconfire is 13 inches long, 6 inches tall, and 1 1/2 inches wide and is built on the same mechanics as the Sharpfire from the N-Strike line, and the Ionfire from the Modulus line. Admittedly, it’s a little over-complicated of a mechanism for a single shot blaster. Nevertheless, it’s fun to mess with and the breech-loading does lend itself to playing sniper if you’re into that sort of imagination thing. There is also an attachment rail on the underside for accessories. The blaster feels nice and solid in hand. The handle in particular is exceptionally comfortable compared to many other Nerf blasters (I’m looking at you, Modulus). The barrel is largely useless in terms of accuracy but it does fit with the aesthetics of the blaster, and the hole is large enough that it doesn’t detract from the blaster’s performance. I am a fan of Nerf adding sights to their more recent blasters and this holds true for the Falconfire, though they may have gone just a little overboard. I mean, it works, but 3 rear sights and 2 front sights including the great big ring seems a tad much. Maybe that’s just me. Being as simple as it is, jams and malfunctions are extremely rare. Performance is decent but nothing to write home about. It does seem to shoot softer than most of the larger blasters and even some pistols, but for indoor plinking, it serves just fine. The Falconfire comes packed with 6 Accustrike darts and instructions for operation.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up the Falconfire at a Target while I was visiting my boy Ethan. Fun fact, the whole idea for The Blaster in Question has been in the pipeline for quite some time and after some pestering, Ethan convinced me to write up the first review now while I have the blaster in hand. So here we are. Overall, I quite enjoy the Falconfire, despite not being top tier in terms of performance. I especially appreciate the new darts and am excited to see what new releases Nerf will cook up for the series. If they stick with the same naming convention, I’m sure we can all look forward to the Eagleshot, Ospreyblast, Vulture Pew Pew, and BLAM Chickadee.