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.

The Blaster In Question #0014: Spider-Man Rapid Reload Blaster

RAPID-RELOAD BLASTER

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING

Spider-gun, spider-gun, radioactive spider-gun. Ok, so it’s not radioactive, and the proper term is blaster, but it is indeed a Spider-Man blaster. Nerf and Hasbro in general have had several iterations over the years with varying mechanics and degrees of commercial success. Given the recent release of the Spider-Man: Homecoming film, I thought it was appropriate to review the tie-in Rapid-Reload Blaster, so let’s get right into it.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Spider-Man: Homecoming Rapid-Reload Blaster was released in summer of 2017 to coincide with the July release of the movie. The exterior of the blaster is completely original and deco’d up to look like a part of Spider-Man’s costume, complete with straps for mounting to the user’s wrist. The internal mechanics are a mix of old and new, using a smart AR system arranged in a unique setup. The actual barrels that hold the darts are part of the detachable 3-round clips that let you reload quickly from the included clip holster, hence the name. The priming slide serves two purposes, first being to prime the blaster, obviously. It should be noted that the priming pull is very short, but I’ll get back to that in a bit. The slide also functions as the ejector for the clips by pushing it towards the front of the blaster. The blaster is one of the chunkier Spider-Man blasters I’m aware of, given the complexity of the internal mechanisms. The barrels protrude far enough forward that they cover the user’s palm, making grasping anything else while wearing the blaster clumsy and practically impossible for larger objects. This eliminates the use of this as a tactical backup blaster for Nerf wars and such, which was a popular use of the previous model of Spider-Man and Venom themed blasters. The rapid reload feature, while novel, doesn’t work quite as smoothly as I might like. The idea of jamming the blaster onto the clip holster to load a clip as the instructions suggest falls apart when you realize how much hand-eye coordination it must take to accomplish that effectively. As I mentioned earlier, the priming pull is exceptionally short, and fairly light, which means performance from the blaster is mediocre at best, and laughable at worst. Clunky form factor, awkward loading, and disappointing performance, that leaves just one thing left to consider. While this was clearly not designed as a competitive, performance driven blaster, it works quite well as a playing pretend kind of toy. Sure, you’re not gonna be sniping people from 50 feet, but you can still bust into your siblings’ rooms pretending to be Spider-Man and give them a sound pestering. I think that should be the main use of a blaster like this. All that matters is that it shoots something. The Spider-Man: Homecoming Rapid-Reload Blaster comes packaged with a clip holster, 2 3-round clips, and 6 funky Spider-Man darts, which even feature uniquely molded dart tips.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

You may have gathered that this isn’t my favorite blaster out there. It has plenty of issues, but that’s not to say I hate it either. It still has a decent potential for fun, just as long as you know exactly what type of play the blaster is suited for. Once I found that out, I began enjoying it a good deal more. Can it swing from a web? I don’t know. That’s a really odd question to ask. You’re weird for asking it. If I had to guess, though, probably not.

 

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.

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.

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.

The Blaster In Question #0010: Stryfe

STRYFE

N-STRIKE ELITE

If you’re a regular Nerf-er, you probably looked at the title of this weeks review and thought “what could this chuckle-head possibly have to say about the Stryfe that hasn’t already been said?”  The answer is this: the Stryfe is vanilla ice cream.  Feel free to quote me on that. Lost?  That’s ok.  Stick around and I’ll explain it to you.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Stryfe was released in 2013 as part of the N-Strike Elite series, which is Nerf’s core product line.  It is an electronic, semi-automatic, magazine-fed, flywheel blaster, much like the Rayven before it.  Really the only functional difference between the Stryfe and the Rayven is the position of the magazine.  Now, allow me to explain the vanilla ice cream.  The Stryfe is really nothing new (especially at time of writing this).  It doesn’t offer any huge breakthroughs in dart blaster tech.  Out of the box, it’s not a game-changer by any stretch of the imagination.  In this sense, it’s kind of plain, vanilla, if you will.  Now, this is not to say it’s bad either.  Vanilla is still a tasty flavor, and as such, the Stryfe is a perfectly fine blaster.  The grip is comfortable in-hand, magazines can be changed out quickly and easily and it only takes a couple seconds to rev up before firing.  Once revved up, darts fly pretty well and hit with some considerable force, just so long as it has fresh batteries.  Simple and mostly functional, but it doesn’t stand out in any real way, in fact, without some light modification, there’s a mechanical lock that prevents the trigger from being pulled if there isn’t a dart loaded and this lock doesn’t always work correctly.  The result can be a fully loaded blaster that refuses to fire, but this starts to get into where the Stryfe really shines.  I would say, tasty as it is, relatively few people eat vanilla ice cream entirely on its own.  This applies to the Stryfe as well.  While the blaster is serviceable out-of-the-box, the potential for modification is monumental and allows just about anyone to get in on it.  The Stryfe features one attachment rail on the top of the blaster and one on the underside of the barrel.  Additionally, the muzzle sports a barrel attachment lug, and there’s a connector to attach a stock as well.  When it was released, there were a handful or so attachments that could be fitted to the Stryfe and that number has increased many fold thanks, in no small part, to the launch of the Modulus line.  Throw some sprinkles on that ice cream.  Of course, these are all external modifications only and don’t really add to the basic performance of the Stryfe, but what if you’re looking for a more serious upgrade?  If you fancy yourself handy with a soldering iron, there’s no shortage of tutorials out there on how to rewire a Stryfe to increase voltage, swap out switches, use rechargeable LiPo batteries and so on.  Now you’re looking at a decent little sundae with hot fudge or whipped cream or whatever, but there’s even more than that.  Thanks to companies like Worker and a slew of others, there is a growing market for 3rd party modification kits, many of which are geared specifically for the Stryfe and they can get pretty in depth.  If you’re looking to dress a Stryfe up like real-steel firearm or replace the flywheels to rifle the darts as you fire them, there are kits for just about anything.  Now you’ve gone and stuck a brownie in with the ice cream.  A regular, unmodified Stryfe requires 4 AA batteries and comes packaged with a 6-round magazine and 6 Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After all that talking-up of the potential modification options for the Stryfe, it may be a little surprising to know that I’ve only ever modified them to the point of removing that irritating lock.  Maybe if I had more free time and money to spend on kits, I might have gotten more involved, but given the assortment of stuff available, I think it is more a question of when I get into more serious mods rather that if.  And for the record, I totally eat vanilla by itself.

 

The Blaster In Question #0009: Fair Fortune Crossbow

FAIR FORTUNE CROSSBOW

REBELLE (CHARMED)

If there’s one thing the Rebelle line can’t get enough of, it’s bows.  Early on in the series, these were mostly just regular air-chamber blasters dressed up to look and operate more like a conventional bow.  It took a couple releases before Nerf finally released an assortment of “stringer” elastic powered blasters that took another step toward proper bow mechanics.  Of course, with all these bows, you have to be able to distinguish them from each other otherwise the market gets flooded.  Today, we’ll be looking at one of the more visually unique bow (well, crossbow, but you understand) blasters from Rebelle, the Fair Fortune Crossbow.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Fair Fortune Crossbow was released in 2014 as part of the Charmed subset of Rebelle blasters.  It uses the same elastic chord system that first appeared on the Rebelle Diamodista, except instead of being a single shot blaster, the FFC features a 6 round rotating cylinder.  Given the unique aesthetics of the blaster, it shouldn’t be a surprise that all the hardware is original.  The ornateness of the faux filigree paired with the unusual upholstered patterning on the grip and slide gives the blaster a feel very reminiscent of something from the Bayonetta video game series, something I am rather fond of.  This point is further driven home when you attach the included charm bracelet (hence the Charmed moniker) to the blaster, adding a little bit of sparkle accompanied by a satisfying jingling sound.  The bracelets in particular surprised me.  When I initially heard about the upcoming release of this line, I thought it sounded gimmicky and pointless, and I guess I was kinda right.  However, the bracelets themselves are metal and so have a decent heft to them.  Additionally, the charms on each of the bracelets (which are all unique to their specific blaster) are well designed and eye-catching.  The one problem with the bracelets is their size.  I have two much younger sisters, and even they struggled getting the bracelets around their wrists.  Alright, enough about that, back to the blaster.  The grip on the FFC is a little odd.  First of all, it’s severely inclined, almost parallel with the body of the blaster.  Second, it has a loop for your middle finger just below the trigger, so only very specific ways of holding it are comfortable.  Once you’ve worked out how to hold the darn thing, it feels pretty good in the hand.  The aforementioned upholstery-like texture provide a decent amount of traction.  The plastic that surrounds the cylinder is a little on the thin side, but it’s not vital to the structure of the blaster so it’s fine.  The FFC has no sights of any kind, and I normally wouldn’t bother talking about what the blaster doesn’t  have, but the priming slide sticks up enough on the top of the blaster that it actually obscures your view, so it’s worth noting.  Because it uses the elastic to fire darts as opposed to an air plunger, the blaster is very quiet when firing.  It hits a little on the soft side of Nerf blasters and, in my experience, it seems like standard Rebelle and Elite darts are more prone to swerving than when fired from a more traditional blaster.  Taking these things into account, the FFC is definitely an indoor blaster, especially if you’re particularly attached to the collectible Rebelle darts that come packaged.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I think this blaster is a good example of one that, while it doesn’t necessarily perform terribly well in comparison to others, is a lot of fun despite it’s shortcomings.  Personally, what attracts me to a blaster is often how easily I can fit it in with a particular pretend-play and the FFC has a lot of potential in this regard.  Whenever I pick it up, I can very easily form a story around it, and admittedly, this has occasionally included playing “Fly Me to the Moon (Climax Remix)” while making a number of stylish poses.

The Blaster In Question #0008: Star-Lord Quad Blaster

STAR-LORD QUAD BLASTER

MARVEL

It is a well known fact that the Guardians of the Galaxy movies are awesome.  No one disputes this, it’s just true.  As with just about every Marvel movie to come out in the last decade (yeah, Iron Man was in 2008, I had to look it up) there’s been a decent amount of merchandise out there.  Regulars to the site will likely have seen at least one of Ethan’s numerous GotG figure reviews, but what if you’re one of those people who would rather be Star-Lord rather than just have him on your shelf?  Thats where we get the subject of today’s review.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Star-Lord Quad Blaster was released in 2014 as a Marvel tie-in product to coincide with the release of the first GotG movie.  Interestingly, there is no Nerf branding anywhere on the blaster, but just a quick mention on the box.  Aside from using a “smart air-restrictor” setup found in a plethora of other Nerf blasters, the Quad Blaster is completely original.  The blaster is operated by priming one or both of the slides on the rear and pulling the trigger.  Unlike the Roughcut and other similar blasters, the Quad Blaster does not have a staggered trigger, if both barrels are primed, both will fire simultaneously.  In addition, the smaller secondary trigger just below the firing trigger releases the latches holding the spring-loaded front ends, causing them to snap back, revealing two extra barrels.  In all honesty, this feature was 85% of the reason I got this blaster.  It’s just a ton of fun fiddling with even if you’re not actively firing the blaster, and if you flick your wrist just right, you can reset the barrel covers without touching them.  Opening the front covers is required to fire the second barrels on the top and bottom.  The blaster is very sleek and definitely has an appropriate sci-fi feel to it, almost like one of the plasma weapons from Halo.  The grip could maybe stand to be a little bigger as I could see someone with larger hands feeling cramped while holding it, but it’s forgivable when you remember the target audience.  The main body of the blaster feels on par with other Nerf blasters in terms of structural integrity, but it is worth noting that the plastic for the priming slides feels a little thin, and the front covers are a smoother, slightly more rubbery plastic than the rest of the blaster.  The priming stroke on the Quad Blaster is very short and not terribly heavy, as such, the performance is limited.  It’s still fine for running around the house, blasting your friends, but even on longer indoor distances, the darts tend to drop off a little sooner than I might like and the impacts can feel kinda flaccid.  Again, I can understand this decision given this is meant for children, and Nerf has to keep it’s own core products competitive, but it’s still a bit of a bummer.  The Star-Lord Quad Blaster comes with 4 Elite darts but with black bodies instead of the traditional blue.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find all 4 of mine but I got 2 and some regular Elites for comparison.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s become sort of a recurring event in my life where every time Chris Pratt is in a movie or tv show (Gotg, Jurassic World, Parks and Rec) people tell me that his character reminds them of myself.  Normally I wouldn’t really take this to heart, but when my own mom is one of the most vocal people on this opinion, I figured I would just roll with it.  I mean, it’s no surprise that I would buy a Nerf blaster, but being attributed with Star-Lord (WHO?!) just moved it up my priority list.

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