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.

 

#1360: Invisible Woman

INVISIBLE WOMAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With HERBIE by her side, Sue Storm uses psionic energy to suit up as the incredible hero, Invisible Woman!”

Fantastic Four Marvel Legends?  It’s a Christmas miracle!  Or something.

The poor FF has fallen out of fashion in recent years, in no small part due to the lackluster-to-atrocious quality of their live-action films and the fact that their film rights aren’t currently with Marvel proper (it also doesn’t help that creative teams who actually know what to do with the characters are a dying breed, meaning their comic hasn’t really been selling well either).  On the plus side, it looks like things are on the upturn for the Fab Four, with a triumphant return to the toy aisles, starting with Sue Richards, aka the Invisible Woman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Invisible Woman is the latest Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends figure.  This marks only the second time that Sue’s been offered as a single figure in the Legends line. Unlike prior Walgreens exclusives, Sue’s not attached to any other particular series.  Instead, she’s the first of a sub-set of FF figures exclusive to Walgreens, and she’ll be joined by her brother Johnny later this year.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She’s built on the new base female body (seen previously on the likes of Phoenix, Kitty Pryde, and Kate-Guy), which is, as always, a welcome choice.  It’s a pretty solid base overall, and serves as a good starting point for Sue.  She also gets a new head, which is just a, pardon the phrase, fantastic piece.  Easily one of my favorite head sculpts from Legends as of late.  Definitely Hasbro’s best female, and that’s saying something, given their recent track record.  Sue’s had a number of hair-dos over the years, and a lot of them have been really period-specific.  The one they’ve gone with is pretty timeless and true to the character.  I like that the face is calm and friendly, as Sue should be, rather than being too bland or intense.  The paint on Sue is pretty decent, but there are a few things that seem a little off.  The overall application is really sharp and bold.  The face is particularly clean, as is the emblem.  The emblem being all in grey is a little different than I was expecting, but I can’t say I dislike it.  The only real issue I have is how they’ve implemented her powers.  The actual work isn’t bad; her right arm starts full color and slowly fades out.  It’s a cool effect, and very well rendered.  The real issue is that there’s no option to swap the arm out, meaning she’s always stuck like that.  Still, that’s a pretty minor issue.  Sue *does* include an extra hand, that’s done up to match the right arm, so that’s cool.  And, since it’s going to be a little while before the rest of her teammates are released, Sue also includes a HERBIE pack-in figure to keep her company.  Believe it or not, this is actually HERBIE’s third time as an action figure, and second as a Marvel Legend.  He’s about 3 inches tall and has a joint as the neck, as well as a removable flight stand to let him hover.  His sculpt is pretty awesome, and his paint is nice and clean.  He’s just an all-around awesome inclusion.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Here’s a shock: I got this Walgreens exclusive figure at Walgreens.  I know.  Thrilling.  In all honestly, I’ve been patiently waiting for this figure ever since Toy Biz released Reed back in Series 5 of the original line.  14 years is a lot of waiting.  Ultimately, I’m glad I waited, because this is best Invisible Woman figure ever released.  I can’t wait to get the rest of the team to match!

#1358: Star-Lord

STAR-LORD

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (HASBRO)

“When the fate of the universe hangs in the balance, Peter Quill is ready to defeat interstellar evil!”

With the recent release of Spider-Man: Homecoming just last week, and a whole other slew of summer blockbusters in the last month or so, it’s easy to forget that this year’s summer blockbuster season was kicked off by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.  That’s a shame, because I really, really loved Guardians 2.  Like a whole lot.  I have yet to find the second assortment of Marvel Legends from the film (I’ve seen remnants at stores, but I’m hoping for a full set), but I’m sort of bridging the gap with some of the non-Legends stuff that’s hit in the mean time.  Much like Spider-Man: Homecoming, there was a slightly smaller, slightly less high-end line of figures based on the Guardians and a few of their supporting players.  Today, I’ll be looking at Star-Lord!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Star-Lord is from the first series of the smaller Guardians of the Galaxy line of figures, which hit sometime last year, I believe.  The figure stands just a little over 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  It’s a bit of a shame that he hasn’t got any knee movement, but I do really like the mobility of the arms.  Now, you’ll recall that in my review of the Homecoming Spider-Man figure, I mentioned that his scale was a little hard to place; that’s less an issue with this guy.  He’s right about in line with the mid-to-late ‘90s figures from Toy Biz in terms of scaling, which is quite cool, since Peter was never privy to a figure from TB.  Obviously, he’ll fit in better with some figures than others, but he’s a nice fit.  In terms of design, he’s based on Peter’s appearance in the Guardians animated series from the last few years.  The show is itself borrowing a lot of its designs from the movies, but the characters are a little more angular and simplistic.  This is another point in favor of compatibility with the older figures, since it means he’s not quite as hyper detailed as more recent figures have become.  Even as an animated sculpt, there’s actually a lot of really sharp detail work, especially on the helmet.  For the price point of this line, I was pleasantly surprised by how clear the details were.  The paintwork is pretty straightforward color work; what’s there is mostly pretty clean, and it’s all pretty bright.  He does look a little washed out to my eyes, but that’s really just a symptom of the design he’s based on.  Peter is packed with his two element guns.  They’re pretty well sculpted, but completely un-painted.  Also, they aren’t compatible with his sculpted holsters in the slightest bit, which is rather perplexing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really kept meaning to pick this guy up to give the line a try.  I saw him so many times in the store and came so close to buying him, but just never did.  What finally got me to crack was finding him on clearance at Barnes & Noble and also having a gift card, meaning he cost me nothing.  Honestly, at full price, I still would have been very happy with this figure.  Obviously, he’s not on par with a Marvel Legend or anything, but as I noted, he’s a great fit with the old TB stuff, and just a pretty fun figure in general.  This is the style of figure that got me into collecting, and I’m happy to see it back!

#1357: Kit Fisto

KIT FISTO

STAR WARS HERO MASHERS

Hey, look guys!  A Mashers review.  I haven’t done one of these in a good long while.  It’s probably got something to do with me not actually being that into the line, or, more likely, it’s that the whole concept appears to have been abandoned by Hasbro.  That’s a good way of getting me to stop buying something.  Well, in theory.  Less in practice, as you can see, since I still got another one.  Without further ado, here’s Kit Fisto!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kit Fisto was part of the first series of the basic line of Star Wars Hero Mashers…which is a little strange, when you consider that this series was released to coincide with all the Force Awakens stuff, and Fisto was barely even relevant during the trilogy that he was actually a part of, but whatever.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 18 points of articulation.  As with all the Mashers, Kit Fisto’s been stylized a bit.  He’s a little bit less removed from the source, since it appears they followed the design from the 3-D Clone Wars show more than his live-action look.  I have no issues with this, since I’ve always found the animated look to be the superior design.  Anyway, he’s been made extra angular and chunky, which I think works very well for a more alien design such as Kit.  I really dig the open-palmed hand for the left hand; it’s a nice change when compared to the other figures.  Just like every other Mashers release, Kit can be disassembled at the neck, elbows, hips, and knees, allowing for swapping with other figures in the line.  Still can’t say I completely understand the concept in general, but there it is.  He’s also got an assortment of ports and the like, allowing for various accessories to be plugged in, though Kit himself doesn’t include any real parts to do this with.  He does include his lightsaber, which is a pretty awesome piece itself.  On the paint front, Kit’s fairly decent. Not the most exciting color scheme in the world, but it’s clean, and fairly accurate to the character.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Why’d you get another Mashers figure, Ethan?  Why’d you do it?  You keep complaining about them, so why do you keep getting more?  In this case?  Price.  Super Awesome Girlfriend and I found him on clearance for like $2 at a Walgreens.  I’ve always had a soft spot for Kit Fisto, so I figured why not, right?  Honestly, he’s one of the best Mashers I’ve gotten, right up there with the basic Vader.

The Blaster In Question #0013: Dual-Strike

DUAL-STRIKE

N-STRIKE ELITE

Variety is the spice of life or something.  It keeps things interesting.  But what if you’re in the middle of a foam conflict and you find yourself thinking, “Something new and/or exciting better happen right now or I’m gonna lose it”?  The answer is simple.  Use the selector switch.  What does that mean?  Well, I’ll tell you.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Nerf Dual-Strike was released in 2016 as part of the N-Strike Elite series.  The mechanics present in the Dual-Strike are mostly reused with one big exception that I will get into later.  The blaster fires from one of two sets of three barrels linked via a smart AR system.  The interesting part is that one set of barrels fires standard Elite darts while the other fires Mega dartsOn top of that, you can manually control which type of ammo you want to use via the previously mentioned selector switch on the right side of the blaster.  The switch is quite clearly labeled so you know which setting it’s on.  It’s actually pretty impressive that the switch works as well as it does since it’s not uncommon for more complex smart AR setups to want to eject darts prematurely if there’s even the slightest increase in air pressure.  Since I’ve had the DS, I haven’t experienced any air interference from one barrel group to the other, so kudos to Nerf on the engineering behind that.  Now on the other hand, I do have a few mostly subjective complaints about the exterior of the blaster.  I’m not a fan of the style of priming handle on the DS.  I realize it’s simple and just works, but I really don’t like how it sticks way out the back of the blaster when it’s primed.  There are other Nerf blasters that use this same method of priming and I don’t like it on any of them either, all the way back to the Nitefinder.  I just wish there had been a more elegant solution because I know it’s possible.  Also, while the grip is mostly fine, the notch just below the trigger where your middle finger is supposed to sit is way too narrow for my hand, so instead of my finger getting a secure, comfortable hold on the blaster, I have one finger sitting on a random raised edge.  It would have been better if this had either been moved down slightly or just removed entirely.  Again, mostly just my personal preferences, but I figure you must at least slightly value my opinions since you’re most of the way through this post, and if you are, I appreciate that.  There’s also a single attachment rail on the top of the blaster.  As far as functionality is concerned, at it’s most basic, the DS is a more complicated than usual 6-shot pistol which is pretty oddly proportioned to boot.   The Elite darts fly reasonably far and hit as hard as you’d expect a blaster in the Elite series to hit.  The Mega darts, however, don’t have the power behind them that they would have in a dedicated Mega blaster, so shots leave just a little to be desired.  Overall, I’d say the DS is best suited to indoor use for those times when you can’t decide just how mean you want to be to your younger siblings.  The Dual-Strike comes packaged with 3 Elite darts and 3 Mega darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Dual-Strike is one of those kind of hard to place blasters.  It felt more like a proof of concept rather than a product made to fill a niche in the market.  That being said, it’s plenty of fun for just messing around.  I just see the idea behind it having more potential than the final product we got in the end.  Add that to all this switch and DS talk and I feel like I’m writing up a Nintendo press release.

#1343: Imperial Death Trooper

IMPERIAL DEATH TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The elite soldiers of Imperial Intelligence, Death Troopers are encased in specialized stormtrooper armor with a dark, ominous gleam and serve as bodyguards and enforcers for Director Krennic.”

Man, for being so elite, these guys didn’t exactly amount to much, did they?  Well, it’a not really their fault, I guess.  At their core, they’re still just Imperial Stormtroopers, aren’t they?  And these guys do manage to hit at least a few of their targets.  Good for them.  Like any good faceless Star Wars troop, they also make for really great toy fodder, so hey, here’s another Imperial Death Trooper figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial Death Trooper is part of the small, four figure assortment of Rogue One-themed small scale Star Wars: The Black Series figures, which were released exclusively at Walmart back at the end of last year.  This is one of the two troop builders in the assortment, which makes it slightly more difficult to find (though not as difficult as the Shoretrooper, let me tell you).  The figure stands just over 4 inches tall and has 26 points of articulation.  As with all of the figures in this assortment, the articulation is a marked improvement over the Force Awakens figures from the prior year, especially on the legs.  That being said, I did find the Death Trooper to be the most difficult to pose of the three I’ve got.  It’s possible that’s due to the character design, though.  The sculpt is all-new to this particular figure, and it’s a pretty great rendition of the unique Death Trooper armor from the movie.  The lankiness of the character is a little more down-played here, which I think is for the best.  There’s an add-on with a pauldron and web gear, denoting that this guy’s a slightly different variation of the Death Trooper than I’ve looked at before.  I believe this makes him a squad leader.  Anyway, the extra gear is pretty cool, and adds something new to this guy.  It’s also easily removable, should you just want a basic Death Trooper, which makes him really great for army building.  The paint on this guy is pretty straight forward; for the most part, he’s just molded in black, but there’s some slight detailing here and there to help break things up a bit.  The application is all pretty clean, and he looks like he does in the movie.  The Death Trooper includes his standard larger blaster, as well as the smaller blaster pistol we saw with the larger Black Series figure as well.  Both are pretty well sculpted pieces, though he does have a little trouble holding the rifle (though it’s nowhere near as bad as the First Order Stormtrooper from Series 2).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in my reviews of Jyn and Cassian, when I didn’t find any of these guys back in December/January, I had resigned myself to never getting them.  When I found the other two, I still resigned myself to never getting either of the troopers, since the army builders would have no doubt cleaned out all of the supplies long ago.  But, while in Seattle with Super Awesome Girlfriend and her family, I found this guy at one of the nearby Walmarts.  He’s pretty cool, and like the other two, I think he’s the best version of the character out there.  Now, if I could just find the Shoretrooper….

The Blaster In Question #0012: Rey Jakku Blaster

REY JAKKU BLASTER

STAR WARS

Why does everyone want to go back to Jakku?  It does’t make sense to me, especially in regards to today’s review.  Yes, Rey is from Jakku, and yes, she uses this blaster, but she never has the blaster ON Jakku.  Why is it named the Rey Jakku Blaster, then?  Beats me, but let’s get past that and take a look at the thing.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Rey Jakku Blaster was released in 2016 as a tie-in to the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.  The shell of the blaster is completely original but the internals are identical to the Han Solo Blaster which was released at the same time.  Both of these blaster, in turn, are largely the same as the Mega series Magnus, just chambered for standard Elite darts and holding 4 rounds instead of 3.  Due to it being a licensed product, it is entirely devoid of any Nerf branding aside from a mention on the box, opting for the Star Wars logo as well as the crest of the rebel alliance.  The blaster is based off of the NN-14 blaster that Rey receives from Han on Takodana, AFTER they have fled Jakku.  The toy is substantially larger than the blaster in the film and, sadly, is not chrome but simply white.  Additionally, there is a sizable grey boxy part that sticks out the back of the Nerf blaster that is not present on the original from the film.  I understand that it needs to be there in order to house the internal mechanism, but it does alter the form factor quite a bit from that of its inspiration.  It seems like the proportions as a whole had a rough time being translated to a functional Nerf blaster.  Even the grip feels oddly oversized.  It’s not terrible, but it definitely doesn’t help, especially with such pronounced edges along the profile.  I’m also not sure why, but there’s an attachment rail on the underside of the blaster if you really wanted to accessorize, I guess.  Functionally, the blaster works just fine.  In fact, I might say it feels better to operate than the Magnus because the loading port on the RJB is long enough to fit a dart without having to bend it or load it at an angle.  The prime is also a good bit smoother than that of the Magnus, but this may be because of the severely weaker spring.  As such, operation is fine, but performance is pretty flaccid.  This shouldn’t be surprising since Nerf needs to keep its core products competitive, but it’s still a little disappointing.  The range from the RJB is laughably short if you see it fired outside, but even indoors, it’ll hit the floor about 10 feet short of a target across the room.  It’s fun for plinking and playing pretend, but unfortunately not much beyond that.  The RJB comes packaged with 4 blue Star Wars branded Elite darts that have transparent tips which is kinda cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t know if this has come across, but I have quite an interest in weapon design.  After seeing The Force Awakens, I do remember liking the little silver pistol that Rey has and thinking it would be easy to throw together my own prop version.  Then Nerf came along and handled it for me.  Sure, it’s not perfect, but I enjoy it, mainly for the novelty of having a Star Wars gun that actually shoots, and sometimes that’s all you need.

#1335: Rex “The Doctor” Lewis

REX “THE DOCTOR” LEWIS

GI JOE: RISE OF COBRA

“Rex is the chief experimental doctor for M.A.R.S. Industries and developer of advanced nanotechnology. Disfigured in an explosion, he relies on life support equipment as he launches a diabolical plan to satisfy his thirst for power and revenge. ”

G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra isn’t a particularly well-regarded movie.  It definitely took some…different approaches to the source material.  I myself kind of enjoyed the movie, but with the caveat that I liked it as it’s own, separate thing.  It’s a good spy-flick, but the Joe label is a bit misplaced.  Misplacing of labels seems to have gone around a lot in this movie.  I absolutely loved Joseph Gordon Levitt’s turn as Doctor Mindbender.  The only problem is that as it turns out, the mysteriously named “The Doctor,” despite checking off every mark for Mindbender (including the character’s signature monocle), is actually Cobra Commander.  Odd choice.  But hey, cool action figures, though!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rex “The Doctor” Lewis was released in the third series of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra tie-in line, which hit a little while after the film’s release.  Presumably, he was in a later assortment so that the reveal that he was Baroness’s not-quite-dead brother Rex could be kept secret.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  The sculpt for the Doctor was all-new to him, and as far as I know, it’s not been re-used (well, apart from the labcoat, which has shown up on a few figures).  The sculpt is certainly different.  Hasbro opted to not be 100% faithful to the film’s version of Rex, who dressed more like an actual scientist (well, apart from the headgear).  This figure has some sort of  Edward Scissorhands get-up.  Which, with the addition of the jacket, ends up looking about the same as the movie design anyway, so I guess it didn’t really matter.  The head stays pretty faithful, apart from the loss of the monocle thing.  The hair and breathing apparatus are both removable, allowing you to view the fully unmasked Rex, who actually looks a fair bit like Levitt in the scar make-up from the film.  Despite being removable, the hair and rebreather fit pretty tightly to the head, and look pretty decent overall, and they also both stay in place really well, which is a definite plus.  The paint on the Doctor is largely confined to the head (everything else is mostly black plastic).  The detail work is actually pretty great, and they convey the scarred nature of his skin quite nicely.  The Doctor is packed with a pair of claw gloves, a giant nanite-injector claw-thing, a pistol, a rifle, a briefcase with three containers of nanites, and a display stand with “THE DOCTOR” printed on it.  Not a bad assortment of extras!  The case with the nanites and the claw gloves are definitely my favorites, but they’re all pretty fun extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Doctor was one of my favorite parts of Rise of Cobra, so I was a little dismayed that he wasn’t out when the film hit.  I patiently waited for his release, and ended up finding him at the local Walmart while grabbing some Christmas decorations with my Dad.  He’s one of the better entries in the Rise of Cobra line, and one of my favorite modern-era Joes in general.  Not bad for a figure from a movie nobody likes!

The Blaster In Question #0011: Crossbolt

CROSSBOLT

N-STRIKE ELITE

I’ve mentioned before that the vast majority of the bow and crossbow type Nerf blasters fall under the Rebelle series.  Every so often, however, one of the other lines will get a bow of some sort, and that is the case for this week’s blaster, the Crossbolt.  This blaster in particular also fits into the category of blasters that I greatly enjoy but is fairly widely disliked by other Nerfers.  I can maybe understand some of the more common complaints, but not enough for it to ruin the blaster for me.  I’ll get to that in a little bit.  Let’s take a look at the blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Crossbolt was released in 2015 as part of the N-Strike Elite series.  It is a magazine-fed, elastic powered crossbow type blaster, which makes it very unique among Elite blasters as there are no other crossbows or “stringer” blasters in the line.  Additionally, it is one of the only two blasters to feature a bullpup configuration (firing mechanism behind the trigger) along with the Rayven.  Aside from this, the blaster is entirely original.  The main 3 of the aforementioned complaints about the Crossbolt focus around the ergonomics of the blaster.  The first issue concerns the bow arms protruding into the path one’s hand might take traveling from a forward grip to the priming slide at the top of the blaster.  While this is admittedly a hurdle few other blasters have, a simple twist of the firing-hand wrist solves the problem quite nicely.  This is also achieved without any of the straight up goofy flailing and fumbling I’ve seen some people do while trying to illustrate that plastic is solid and hands can’t go through it.  The second issue it the magazine release.  This, I can understand a little more because it is true that the placement and style of the magazine release make it fairly easy to accidentally bump the mag so that it falls out of the blaster.  I’ve even found that the release button doesn’t necessarily need to be pressed to cause the magazine to come loose.  The conclusion I came to was that the back of the blaster is not, in fact, a stock and that the blaster is not intended to be shouldered, a theory i felt was supported by how hard it is to line up the sights if it’s shouldered.  Could Nerf have designed it better to avoid this problem?  Yes, but it’s really the kind of problem you learn to avoid pretty quickly, so it’s still not a deal breaker.  Lastly, a lot of grown-up Nerfers like myself (but not including myself in this instance) complained that the dimensions of the thumb-hole grip were cramped and left parts of the blaster digging into their hands and/or wrists.  This, I absolutely don’t get.  Maybe I have weirdly perfect Crossbolt hands.  Either way, I’ve had zero problems with the grip and actually find it quite comfortable for such a compact blaster.  As I said, the Crossbolt features some fairly basic sights along the top as well as not one, but two jam access doors due to the slightly more complex internal structure of the blaster.  There is also an attachment rail on the underside of the barrel for accessories.  As with other stringer blasters, firing the Crossbolt is very quiet compared to an air plunger blaster, although priming each shot does make a good bit of noise as there are plenty of catches and latches along the stroke.  The string in the Crossbolt seems to have a noticeable amount more tension than with other stringer blasters and this definitely shows in performance as darts fly far and fast, hitting with good, solid impact, making this more of an outdoor blaster.  The Crossbolt comes packaged with a 12-round magazine and 12 Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I felt it was important to highlight the fact that this is a really fun, unique blaster because I remember, after it came out, seeing reviews with goofballs smacking their hands into the bow arms intentionally in an attempt to make their point like a cheesy infomercial.  I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite blaster, but it is entertaining in its own right, and entirely undeserving of the bad wrap it’s gotten over the years.

#1330: Arc Trooper

ARC TROOPER

STAR WARS: CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“Through the creative vision of Lucasfilm Ltd. and the Cartoon Network, the Clone Wars are brought to life in an exciting new series of short animated chapters. A unique animation style captures the drama of this epic period in galactic history along with its outstanding heroes and adversaries. Noble Jedi warriors lead Clone Troopers into battle against the evil Separatist forces and their droid armies. Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda and their comrades struggle against the rising power of the dark side and confront personal challenges against a backdrop of war-torn planets”

Easily the best thing to come out of the Star Wars prequels is Genndy Tartakovsky’s Star Wars: Clone Wars micro series, released in the period between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.  It was the most fun that Star Wars had been since the original trilogy.  There were a couple of cool new ideas introduced by the series, including the Advanced Recon Commando Troopers, or ARC Troopers, an advanced group of clones personally trained by Jango Fett before his demise.  I’ll be taking a look at one of them today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The ARC Trooper was released in the 2005 assortment of Hasbro’s animated-style Star Wars: Clone Wars line.  Though the figure is simply named “ARC Trooper,” he appears to be specifically based on Captain Fordo, the lead ARC Trooper from the series.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall (he’d be closer to 4 if he were standing upright) and he has 4 points of articulation.  This line was specifically based on Tartakovsky’s line-art from the series.  He’s style is very fluid, which means the figures are rather limited on the articulation front.  A number of figures opted for a more static pose, but the ARC Trooper was actually sculpted in a rather pre-posed manner.  He’s mid-stride, with his right outstretched in a commanding motion and his left down by his side holding a blaster.  While I’m generally not a huge fan of pre-posing on action figures, this is definitely one time where it really works, because it aids in capturing that fluid style I was talking about.  The sculpt does an overall pretty solid job of capturing the distinctive design of the clones from the cartoon.  The only slightly off part is the helmet; on the show, the helmets bowed inward at the bottom, but here it flares out.  It doesn’t result in a super different look or anything, but it’s ever so slightly off.  Still, it’s quite a nice sculpt.  The paintwork on this guy is pretty straightforward.  It’s just flat colors, as it should be.  The application is mostly pretty clean, though there’s a bit of slop on the edges of the kama.  Fordo included a pair of blasters, which can either be held or stowed in his fully-functioning holsters.  He also included the same black display stand included with all of the Clone Wars figures, though, surprisingly, he doesn’t really need it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Captain Fordo was my first Clone Wars figure.  I was always interested in the line, but all the figures I wanted were in hot demand at the time, so I could never find them in stores.  I ended up getting this guy while on a day trip with my dad and my brother.  We had gone to a small comic show, which had been a bust in terms of action figures, so my dad took us to a Target on the way back and let us each pick something out.  Christian got an Anakin and I got this guy.  He’s not a super complex figure or anything, but I still really like him, and he reminds me that I should really track down more of this line.