Saturday, December 20, 2014

Navigate the Holidays! Nerf Goes Big: RhinoFire & Cam ECS-12

Nerf Big Ticket Items for the Holidays:
Vas The Stampede

There are 2 big items out there for Nerf enthusiasts and those that love them this holiday season. If you haven't finished your shopping yet and have a big Nerf fan on your list, let's look at the two biggest options Nerf gives you this year. "Nerf or nothin'!"





Both Nerf blasters are at a premium price, which is a lot to ask for when it comes to selecting a toy. What exactly are you getting into?

Nerf Elite RhinoFire:

Price: Approximately $89.97 (Wal-Mart Exclusive)
RhinoFire blaster x 1
Tripod x 1
25 round ammo drums x 2
Darts x 50
90' Claimed Range
Batteries not included (6 "D" batteries)

Nerf Elite Cam ECS-12
List Price: $79.99 (currently $67.99 at Amazon.com)

Nerf Cam ECS-12 blaster x 1
18 round dart magazine x 1 (orange, not the blue as seen at Toy Fair)
Darts x 18
4 GB SD card
Alleged 90' ranges
Batteries not included (8 "AA" batteries)

How are they?

Say hello to the 2 big ticket items from Nerf this year. Let's start with the Nerf RhinoFire. A descendant of the Nerf Vulcan, the Rhino is a big blaster compared to the other recent releases. Here is your new heavy weapons turret.
Nerf Rhino Fire with some... extras.
The RhinoFire has 2 mag wells, multiple tactical rails (for accessories), and a few attach points for a sling. There is a tripod that sits on the underside of the blaster. The RhinoFire tripod fits on the older Vulcan, so it is safe to assume the opposite holds true as well. Unlike the Vulcan, the front grip handle is a bit more in line with the form of the blaster, it doesn't jut out and swivel.

The blaster is a big, double-barreled unit - the barrels alternatively pump when firing, and as some folks commented reminiscent of a turret. As such, there is a roleplay aspect to this blaster that in my opinion dictates the best practices when using the blaster.

Usage:
 
Firing the blaster is a little different from a traditional setup, there is an orange tab on the back handle that does all the work - a little pressure to start revving up the flywheels, then fully press the tab down to engage the pusher arm.... and unleash foam. It is ESSENTIAL to rev the flywheels first, otherwise your first shot is going to dribble out of the barrel.
 
So yes, the RhinoFire is essentially triggerless, but that works because of the way the grip is styled. Going back to the "turret" look of the Rhino, the grip is styled for two-hand usage but also incorporates a t-style handle for quick carrying.


Peek at the underside
Suggested Best Practices:

That's right, carrying. When I used the Nerf Vulcan during games, I wouldn't "run and gun" with it. As it was a "heavy" blaster, running with it felt awkward while trying to shoot. I would pick a spot, shoot, then pick up and relocate. Lather, rinse, repeat. I would avoid firing on the run due to the chains, and size. I was also firing from the hip, as the design of the blaster lent itself to that position. If I had to reload, it was a task switching out chains by myself and maintaining a stream of darts.

With a "turret" like the RhinoFire, it is important to separate shooting and running into separate actions. Run, pick a spot, provide fire, relocate. Lather, rinse, repeat. Additionally, firing from the hip makes accessing the firing button faster, just drop your hand onto it when you wanna shoot. A sling on the RhinoFire makes this firing technique quite easy, at least for me. One other caveat is... you're going to want to carry a lot of mags. Either conscript a friend into caddying your ammo to make a 2-person team, be ready to lug around a bag and/or pouch to dump empty mags into (unless you've formed a zen-like mentality with your gear and don't mind losing stuff.)

Ammo/magazine compatibility:
 
As far as what magazines to use... I had best luck with straight 18-round N-strike magazines. While the firepower behind two 35 round drums is impressive, the reliability just wasn't there, darts would jam or dribble out of the blaster when using those types of magazines. Jamming was much more prevalent with larger capacity/rounded mags (including the included 25 round magazines, and the 18 round drum mag from an Alpha Trooper). The reliability issues could be due to age/lack of maintenance on the older, larger drum mags, but even the 18 round straight mags from the same time frame worked no problem. Ammo wise, I checked Elite Streamline darts and Elite Suction Cup Streamline darts in straight 18 round magazines and experienced no jamming issues.

 NEXT!


The Nerf Cam ECS-12 is a bit more straightforward than the RhinoFire. As a semiautomatic blaster, there's already a myriad of similar magfed blasters out there in the Stryfe and the Rayven. The Rapidstrike is a full auto "rifle" that is still available, which makes the Cam ECS-12 a tough sell, especially at that price.

So what are you paying for? 90' range, and a 0.3 megapixel camera? The awesome aesthetics?

Let's talk about the camera. It's low-res, and if you don't already own the Nerf cradle for a mobile device, a GoPro, or some other action cam with a mount (such as the Nerf branded ones from Sakar), then this is an option. But realize there are other, less costly blasters out there.

Here are some samples of the Cam's still shots -
Inside

Outside
The camera's not the best quality. But then again, given the blaster's target audience (not including this blogger) the quality of the camera isn't so much the concern of someone looking for a gift for the Nerfer in their family. And when I discussed the camera quality with Hasbro at #NerfAllAccess this past summer, in order to keep the Cam under $100 it was necessary to use something so low in megapixels. And again, if you have a camera already, this probably isn't for you. But someone out there may get a kick out of this because it's a 2 for 1 unit. Requires no additional screws, mounts, or similar extras. And it doesn't interfere with using the sights on your blaster, as mounts tend to (unless you mount your camera under the muzzle.) This offers a streamlined camera to make recording unobtrusive.

Eeeeeexcept when it comes to noise. Unfortunately, the camera picks up a LOT of the whine from the flywheels when the Cam revs up, which can be distracting when reviewing footage and trying to edit any footage. Caveat emptor.

The range is questionable on the Cam as well. And yes, the box does detail in a handy graph on the package just how often the 90' range occurs, but I saw most of my flat/angled shots hit around the 50' mark, well below the advertised ranges. To me, it looks like it rarely hits 90' but since I Nerf stock anyway, that's not a big deal to me. If anything, I have more issues with the camera image quality and the audio pickup.

What I do like about this blaster is that while the stock isn't modular, it is definitely one of the more comfortable blasters I've used in recent history. I prefer using a foregrip on it, and it is a comfortable hold. However, I can only speak for myself. Ultimately though, I see this being more of a gift for Nerf enthusiasts just getting started in the hobby, or from relatives getting their family Nerfer a present. More hardcore enthusiasts might not find much interesting or useful, given they already own a camera or have a less expensive blaster that performs similarly.

Final verdict: If I had to choose between either blaster, I'd select the RhinoFire. It's arguably the more diverse of the two, and offers more bang for the buck. More shots per reload (depending on your loadout), different feel from a lot of the rifle/pistol variants out now, and it's overkill. While you're not as mobile with it, I see a lot more people having a lot of fun with this blaster later on long after the wrapping is tossed and the boxes are broken down.

Hope this was helpful! Enjoy the remaining days of your shopping window :)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Nerf Sharpfire released! (In Singapore?)

Nerf's new "Sharpfire" blaster (and the Slingstrike) seen in the wild in Singapore. Crazy! 2015 is.... Somewhere.

Thanks to the Blaster Shogun and the folks at NerfSG for the info!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NERF Rhino-Fire received!

Enjoy a couple pics of the Nerf Rhino-Fire - will update this post with better quality photos and a few initial thoughts on the blaster tonight.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Nerf Cycloneshock & Zombie Strike FlipFury from Nerf


Nerf 2015 Blasters - Zombie Strike FlipFury & Mega CycloneShock.
By: Vas The Stampede

2015 is coming! Nerf provided the following images on the Zombie Strike FlipFury and Mega CycloneShock, and more importantly, the "ok" to publish!


The full details are out on Amazon, and following soon on the Nerf social spots - keep your eyes open!

Much as I would love to comment on the pictures, I am going to relent. I prefer to save my observations for a blaster I actually own and judge by my own experience with it. But, enjoy the pics and see you again soon!


Friday, October 31, 2014

Marshmallow Shooters Dressed up as the Ghostbusters - Happy Halloween!

Marshmallow Shooters and the Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary - in Time for Halloween!
Vas The Stampede

Happy Halloween! Back at Toy Fair I saw that Marshmallow Shooters had managed to get the Ghostbusters license, and while I normally don't like repaints, I thought the Ghostbusters scheme (Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and all) looked pretty great. It fit, with the lines and the shapes of the Shooters being very reminiscent of the Ghostbusters own proton pack.



As it so happens, 2014 is also the 30th Anniversary of the original Ghostbusters film franchise, starring Bill Murray, Harold Ramis (rest in peace), Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson. Thirty years, a sequel, a cartoon series, a comic book, and many other forms of media later, the franchise still has a huge following and is even in talks to get a reboot for a new generation of Ghostbusters.

Marshmallow Blaster - MSRP: $28.00 (final price depends on vendor)



Marshmallow Shooters was kind enough to send along some samples of their "Stay Puft" Ghostbusters Shooters, and they look just as good as I remember. The Shooters are functionally the same, as they tend to be with every new skin. Same ranges anywhere between 30'-40' depending on the shooter you have, whether it is classic, or the blaster. I've always enjoyed the satisfying "POP!" from shooting the blaster, personally.

Some new products are the orb "Slimeball" and the "Snap Dragon"

Orb "Slime Ball"- MSRP: $16.00

Snap Dragon (note, the ammo holder in the handle) - MSRP: $11.00


And I don't remember seeing Straight Shooters before, but they're blow gun type shooters -


Not pictured in Ghostbusters colors:

the Mini Bow, the Bow & Mallow, and the Double Shooter (I have a firing video of the original Double Shooter here).

Gameplay wise, I've used Marshmallow Shooters to great hilarity during games, usually resulting in someone running up and stealing my ammo for a snack or trying to catch my ammo mid-air (NOT RECOMMENDED.) And while I've found a lack of separately available hoppers/inline cartridges affecting my reload time (as I have to stop, detach, reload, and then keep firing) the Marshmallow blaster is probably my favorite (followed by the Snap Dragon) because it doesn't require a tube to to load and fires pretty well. The Snap Dragon is not vulnerable to marshmallow build up (as happens with the breech loading shooters) interfering with the functioning of the blaster and the ammo holder is a really nice touch.

All the same, a great look from Marshmallow Shooters for the Ghostbusters. If you're a fan of the movies (and even if you're not and want Marshmallow Shooters) these would be a fun buy... now who ya gonna call?


Monday, October 13, 2014

ICYMI Monday - Wal Mart Rhino-Fire Exclusive

ICYMI (In case you missed it) Rhino-Fire Available for Preorder at Walmart!
Vas The Stampede


Post by Nerf.



As previously reported the Nerf Elite Rhino-Fire is on its way to the U.S. as a Walmart exclusive. If you happened to miss the news, it is now AVAILABLE for Preorder at Walmart, and ships out NOVEMBER 15, 2014. Click HERE to get to the Walmart site if you are interested at owning this piece of heavy foam artillery.

The price seems to be down from the originally reported $99.99, now priced at $89.97. And knowing how some things work in some areas, these might even show up on some shelves before the street date.

As far as I know, the exclusivity might only pertain to the U.S. I don't have any solid information about any other countries. Also, yes there are a number of firing videos out there, but I prefer to have the product myself. Also, those are/should be preliminary videos, and may not reflect the performance of the on-shelf toys.

Anyway, who is excited about this blaster? Gizmodo got a look at it for themselves, and now the rest of us have to wait for now. Personally, I'd like to see how 35 round drums perform in the blaster, and I hope the drums make it a little easier to run with than the chains did on a Vulcan.


Have a great week! I've got a few more posts to put up this week as well, so stay tuned :)

- Stampede

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review: BOOMco Stealth Ambush

 BOOMco Stealth Ambush product review - 
Vas The Stampede



Basic Stats:

Stealth Ambush by BOOMco

MSRP: $39.99
Range: approx. 60'
Includes: 17 Darts,10 round clip, blaster, shield, stickers, and BOOMco Smart Stick target
Available Now



The BOOMco Stealth Ambush is a different type of blaster for a couple of reasons. First, it is solely slam-fire, there is no trigger. Also, it has a "hidden" turret that launches three darts, and flips out 2 wings that act as ammo holders. The turret is primed with a handle on the back (don't prime it with the turret extended, only when concealed). There is a lock on the back that also supposedly locks the turret in until you need it, but more on that later.

The blaster:

The main barrel and the turret seemed to get 30'-40' flat, but definitely around the 50' mark and beyond with an angle to the blaster. It felt a little heavy on the back handle, but still a mobile blaster to swing around quickly if you need to adjust your aim elsewhere.

Unlike other slamfire-style blasters I've used in the past, the back handle moves to engage the firing mechanism, including the release for the hidden turret. What I've found with this style is it threw my aim off just a bit, and might take some getting used to. Also, the lack of a stock means I can't brace the blaster against my arm with the inherent shaking and moving that happens when using slam fire. Now, it is possible to not rapid fire the darts and be more controlled (especially with a 10 round clip) but in the heat of a game that sometimes just isn't possible. Be prepared to spam, and spam often, which seems to be the role of the blaster in the lineup.

That being said, the blaster also comes with a 10 round clip. That may be a low amount for folks who like to shoot more per reload, but it also accepts the 20 round clips sold separately (and with the Rapid Madness). So you can definitely expand your loadout for more ammo. While it means you have to carry clips in addition to darts, the BOOMco clips are pretty small to begin with, and if you use the BOOMco bandolier that's at least one not carried in your pocket. But, that's a play style question better answered by the player.

The Stealth Ambush also comes with a Smart Stick target shield, as most BOOMco blasters do. It mounts to the top rail on the front barrel, releases via a push-button, but ultimately I preferred my sights open and clear, and removed it as I do with other shield attachments. I will admit though, the blaster almost lends itself to being fired from the hip as opposed to at shoulder level with the sight, so some users may find the shield useful.
 
Troubleshooting (yup, a pun) -

The lock switch in question. In "locked" position here, flipping down is "open" position

I admit there was trouble with the hidden turret. The locking mechanism wasn't 100%, and the turret would pop up unexpectedly after a few shots. It happened almost after 3 or 5 shots from the main blaster, but sometimes it would stay in place firing an entire 10-shot clip. For $39.99, if a blaster has a feature, I would expect it to work properly and consistently. I hope that the one I received was the exception in that regard, and other Stealth Ambush blasters on the shelves are in fact locking and releasing as they should. The main barrel fired great though, no jams, misfires, or anything else. And while yes I lost accuracy going full blast with the slamfire, it still fired reliably.

Wrapping it up, is this worth the $40? If you are loving the BOOMco line so far, then you may like the extra fire control afforded in this semiauto blaster as opposed to the Rapid Madness. However, be aware that I can't vouch for the reliability of the turret or how accurate the blaster will be (though with more practice, that may work itself out). But the slamfire feature is fast, smooth, and does not jam. The darts and the clip design seem to reinforce that. Universal clips are always a good thing, even though they incur an additional cost and gear to carry than just packing darts and a front loading blaster. Ultimately though, that is a call the buyer has to make, and hopefully this review has been helpful! Questions? Comments? Let me know below (with comment approval) or shoot me an email via the contact form.







Thanks again to BOOMco for the sample, I continue to look forward to what they have coming next!

FOAMME FATALES

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