Saturday, August 31, 2013

2 for 1 PRODUCT REVIEW - Marshmallow Shooters! (Blaster, Double Shooter)

Before I begin - thanks to Spin Master for taking a chance on me by letting me review something a little different - Review of "My Scare Pal Sulley - Monsters University Toy"

Alright!  I've known about Marshmallow Shooters for awhile, and they have some great people working for them there.  They've been awesome enough to provide samples to review, so let's first go to the videos -



STATISTICS (Marshmallow Blaster):
  • Range: Approx 30' (angled, also depending on condition of marshmallows used.  The marshmallows in the video above were a bit stale)
  • Cost: $23.95
  • Available: Now (various retailers)
  • Capacity: Single (medium sized, NOT JUMBO) Marshmallow (breech loading)
  • Propulsion: Pump  - Trigger action



STATISTICS (Marshmallow Double Barreled Shooter):

    * Range: Approx 30' - 40' (flat, depending on condition of marshmallows used)
    * Cost: $31.95
    * Available: Now (various retailers)
    * Capacity: 50 mini Marshmallows (includes 2 tubes, 25 marshmallows each)
    * Propulsion: Pump - Push/pull

Whew!

Now right off probably, you're thinking the cost is pretty steep.  And it is, for these blasters.  BUT, I'll say it's still not a bad buy because of the simplicity and hilarity you'll have out of these.  Honestly, the big appeal for me out of the whole line is hitting someone with MARSHMALLOWS.  Firing darts/arrows/ballistic balls has a different mindset for me, but marshmallows seem even more ridiculous to shoot at someone.  Think, Ghostbusters -


Is the price worth the hijinks and the look on someone's face when you tag them with something better suited for s'mores?  I leave that to you to decide.  The Blaster and the Double Shooter both are pretty tough, resilient, reliable blasters (as of this writing, they actually went back and improved some design elements, so you know the Marshmallowville people are always working to bring better products).  I have had some issues in the past, but a lot of the new samples I've been receiving definitely function and hold together much better.  I've had the occasional broken string or had a plunger tube slide out after pulling on it, but like I said it was some time ago, and the newer models are improved.  And customer service is responsive via email AND social media; they won't leave you unattended if you have a problem (at least not in my experience.)  Not to mention, the price I am giving is the MSRP.  You do some searching, you'll probably find a competitive price to own one.

So, the Marshmallow Blaster  - trigger, breech-loaded, and a pump on the back.  When you fire it, there's an audible and satisfying "POP!".  Again, use fresh marshmallows for best  performance.  If you're used to using a stock Ultimate Missile Blast, Blast Bazooka, or some other related type of air blaster, then this isn't too far from that.  Personally, I use it as a shield buster if a game I am at allows shields and large ammo with special rules.  I find the lack of ready sling points a bit problematic when I use it for that purpose, but I make do if I just feel like playing with marshmallows that day.  Simple, elegant, and effective (with fresh 'mallows.)



Next - the Marshmallow Double Shooter!
It's a push-pull shooter, and you load each of the clear plastic tubes with up to 25 MINI marshmallows (no large ammo here).  To load, the tubes pull out of the blaster, and you can position them back in.  However, this is TIME consuming on the field, especially if the marshmallows load odd into the tube.  While the shooter still has enough air moving to push a marshmallow out if it isn't perfectly lined up, that reduces the range a bit.  Although, shooting anywhere from 3 to 5 marshmallows at time in a spread one odd marshmallow might not make a lot of difference.

If you're wondering a bit more about how it works, there's a little door that repositions itself with every pump of the handle, and the air goes into that tube.  So it switches from one to the other.  Just remember to make the motion fast, otherwise it won't fire.  But it'll fire as fast as you can go.  This one IS a bit pricier (at least MSRP, again shop the prices if that's a concern) than the Marshmallow Blaster but for about as proper a shotgun effect as you'll get out of anything out there even now this might be more your speed, but again you give up quite a bit on the reload time.  Like the Blaster, the Double Shooter doesn't have a proper sling point.  You'd have to work out some kind of holster/sling system.

THE AMMO:

Ok, so while the blasters are pretty decent, these do fire marshmallows.  In hot/rainy weather, they get soft.  In winter, they might freeze (and FROZEN MARSHMALLOWS ARE A NO NO).  They tend to degrade a bit, and in some cases the marshmallows get a bit chopped in the breech and leave marshmallow residue all over the inside of the barrel, which can reduce performance.  While you can leave the marshmallows on the ground as they are perishable food, I would NOT RECOMMEND THAT.  Pick up your marshmallows when you're done.  If anything, just to keep any wildlife safe if you are in a park and to not litter anywhere else.  At home, definitely clean up after yourself as well, as you'd hate to attract mice or something related.  Their digestive systems might not appreciate marshmallows.  One other side effect I've run into is folks like to eat my extra ammo when I'm not looking :)  In one case, I've actually had a player run up and yank the tubes of marshmallows out of my blaster (he was trolling me) cause he needed a snack.

Bonus:  If you have any marshmallows left, make s'mores!  Have hot chocolate!  Rice Krispie treats, maybe?  So there's always a case for you to get fresh marshmallows and you won't have to worry about ammo sitting around waiting to be used.  Granted, there IS a part of me thinking I hate to waste food, but there is something strangely comedic to me about tagging a friend with an air propelled marshmallow. 

So there you have it.  I know it's been awhile, but I've got more on the way and hopefully you found this helpful!  Questions?  Comments?  Either leave'em below or use the submission form on the right.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Nerf N-Strike Elite Rapidstrike CS-18, a closer look

WHOA!  TOO CLOSE!

Better!
STATS:
  • Available now at most major retailers
  • Approx. $39.99
  • Requires 4 "C" batteries (Not included, thank you to Lord Damian for catching the original error.)
  • Flywheels
  • Includes:
    • 1 x Nerf N-Strike Elite Rapidstrike CS-18
    • 1 x Clear 18 round magazine
    • 18 Nerf N-Strike Elite Streamline darts
  • Range
    • 50'-75', depending on dart quality, battery power, angle, etc.
  • Special features




    • Flip-up sight, extendable stock, various tactical rails and sling points (though I really think there's only one)
    •  
ANALYSIS:

Let's take a quick look at where we've been.  Nerf Stampede video from the VERY FIRST release party, so many years ago.



Yikes.  Nice to see the quality has (kind of?) improved since then.  

The Nerf N-Strike Elite Rapidstrike CS-18 (as seen in the video at the beginning) is a vast improvement over the Nerf N-Strike Stampede from about 3 years ago.  The Stampede had a direct plunger, but it was big, bulky, hit only 30-40' maybe, and it was a bit back heavy if you were a younger kid (6 D batteries!) and a bit slow on the rate of fire.  Personally, I found that I'd lead a target using half a magazine (9 shots, and the blaster was stock) before getting a hit.

The Rapidstrike doesn't have that problem.  It hits Elite ranges, is smaller, lighter, and fires faster.  Even though the Rapidstrike uses flywheels, I can pinpoint a bit better with this and waste less ammo.  Streamlines being streamlines, I don't expect super accuracy out of them (even Elite ones) so that's not a concern for me.  But the groupings seem pretty decent all the same, even with full auto.  I found the trigger pull responsive, and no lag like there was waiting for the Stampede to prime and fire.  It's a fraction maybe faster, but Nerf tag is a game of inches and seconds in Rate of Fire.  Every little bit helps.  Swapping out mags was smooth, and I recommend 18 round straight mags. 



That being said about magazines, here's the thing - I ran into some issues with reliability.  It got some actual gameplay (hi Des Plaines!  More on that in  another blog post) I used primarily 18 round straight magazines (like the clear one it came with and 3 others.  2 worked (includes the clear) and the others did not.  Further testing is required to see how far the rabbit hole goes about this, so expect a response video to my initial firing test.  I'll also update this blog post.  Need to test drums, and different generations of the 6 round mags too.

Also, adjusting my grip, I hit the mag release once unintentionally.  When things are moving fast, that might be an issue for some people and they will lose the magazine.  Typically the magwell has been strong enough to not drop the mag on me, but it did once so far.  Depending on your mag, it might drop.  Depending on your mag, it might jam.  In this instance, the location of the release is cool, but the classic orientation on the sides might have made more sense.

Mag release is right behind the magwell.  You might hit it trying to avoid revving the accelerator trigger.

Does that justify a $39.99 purchase?  Considering the fun I've had using this (when it works) and that stores have a return policy, maybe.  It really is a ton of fun as a blaster and having something full auto is a welcome function I've missed with the Elite line so far.  Slam Fire just isn't quite the same.  Hopefully my videos are a bit helpful in making a decision, but ultimately it rests on you as a player to see if this is your style.

Aesthetically, this blaster made me think of the carbine from "Aliens" and the adjustable stock made it either comfortable or usable for closer quarters.  Also... the accelerator trigger means dual wieldings :)  And that makes all sorts of things awesome:)  Happy hunting!

Questions?  Comments?  Did I miss something?  Need more info?  Shoot me a message!  

Friday, August 02, 2013

Nerf Zbombz and Range PAK found in Illinois

Sorry about the spam!  Turned up zbombz and  a range "pak" at a Target off Willow Rd in Glenview, IL.  Happy Nerf Hunting!

Nerf Rebelle spotted in Illinois

Found these at a Toys RUs on Golf road near Morton Grove, IL.  No other Nerf Rebelle yet.

Nerf Vortex Revonix 360 - Taking a Look (Review)

Imagine if you will, a time back in February.

I saw this:
Recorded this:



Tried again during this: (start at 0:33)



and FINALLY, recorded these:





So after a long journey that started at New York Toy Fair 2013 to July 2013 I finally saw a full production Nerf Vortex Revonix 360.

STATISTICS:

Nerf Vortex Revonix 360
  • Available Fall 2013
  • Approx. $39.99
  • Integrated drum
    • 30 Disc capacity
  • Range:  70'ish
  • Slam Fire
  • Includes:
    • Revonix 360 x 1
    • 30 XLR Vortex discs
 And there you go.  The Nerf Vortex Revonix 360.  So what of it?


Well, I like it.  I was a big fan of the Nerf Vortex Pyragon when it came out, mainly because of the level of firepower it packed.  Sure, the reliance on magazines is a sticking point for me in protracted Nerf games, but the slam fire was smooth, it looked good, and felt comfortable with a Nerf Super Soaker Lightning Storm stock.  And the Revonix?  Worth the cost.  A big blaster (almost reminiscent of a grenade launcher, honestly) good range, and comfy to use, especially with a stock.

BUT, it takes a little getting to know.  First thing, as Adult Fans of Nerf likes to say, the thing is a blaster you can reload on the run, like the Dart Tag blasters that have integrated mags (Quick 16, Speedload 6 come to mind).  And the reload takes some practice at first but if you can manage it, you've got something good here.  I always appreciate a loadout where I am boiled down to a player with a pouch full of ammo and a blaster by my side (anyone see what I did there?)  One must be familiar with the feel of their blaster to keep loading while running around, while also keeping your eyes on the field.  It's good to know where the magwell is by feel, and turrets, and so on.  Those brief seconds you spend looking down could get you tagged.  I was able to work it out with the Dart Tag blasters, I'll have to do the same here with a little more field time.  Initially, it feels easy to fumble discs or slow down to search for the loading points (especially since the mag drum freely spins around) but just keep at it if you want this to be a primary for you.

As one of the videos above shows, the Nerf Vortex Revonix 360 loads through a divot on the left or right side of the blaster, and pumping the handle primes the blaster to fire.  Holding the trigger down while pumping the handle activates Slam Fire.  Needless to say, that's basic nerf knowledge, I think.  But eventually you too will go "click click bamf!" when you light up your opponents.  Maybe.  Ultimately, the slam fire on the Pyragon felt just a bit smoother than the slam fire mode on the Revonix but I think part of that is the new mechanism (this loads discs vertically and pushes discs into position, the Pyragon discs were already horizontal and didn't need any additional adjustment from the drum mag or the firing mechanism.)  However, that is practically splitting hairs.  Both blasters send out a bunch of ammo REALLY FAST, and a cloud of discs can be a scary sight during a game.  Maybe even scarier than a cloud of darts.

Should the blaster get jammed, there's a disc release and the jam door (both pictured)  I believe Mr. K at AFON pointed out this is the first/only Vortex blaster to have one(?):




 As for the range, I was hitting 50' - 70' with discs.  Not unexpected, considering that is the deal with Vortex line, hitting high distances.  The only caveat here is the accuracy (as with most things Nerf and maybe especially Vortex) may lack a bit.  The videos above show how hard it is to hit a reliably accurate point the farther you are from the target, and that's even more noticeable with the frisbee styled vortex ammo.  Not to say I haven't had success with this blaster, but it adds a little bit more of a challenge.  However, that is also a Vortex blaster's strength to some degree, the unpredictability when trying to avoid a hit.  A duck or sidestep that would normally get you out of the way ends up sending you into the path of a disc.

That craziness is part of the reason I really like the Vortex line.



The paintjob is striking, for sure.  While the Vortex line has a new deco for 2013, all flame-styled in a way. 

And it works for me.  I honestly very rarely go "WHOA" on a blaster's paintjob but this does look cool all the same.  The main body is very vibrant with the white and orange accents, and the grey just works with it in my opinion. 

So for $39.99, is it worth the purchase?  If you prefer having the full 40 shots from a Pyragon, and prefer to not reload one at a time (even on the run) then you might not get a lot out of this blaster.  I find the reloading mechanism unique enough that when I am on the field and hurriedly running around collecting my ammo to reload, (if the round is still going) it is MUCH faster to just load a turret than load a mag, and slam it in.  Granted, you can carry smaller mags if you're using a Pyragon but then that's still additional weight you have in your loadout as opposed to just a pouch/pocket full of discs.  So, player, know thyself.  The performance was on par with the Pyragon though not as smooth on slam fire, and reloading without additional magazines is nice.  This being Vortex discs you might have accuracy questions, but the ammo output just might compensate (Spray & Pray, my friends.)

If you like your Vortex blasters those are probably the best selling points about it.  Hopefully, I've been helpful in making a decision.  If you have questions, feel free to shoot them my way, and good game!

FOAMME FATALES

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