Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Nerf Mega Mastodon: Postgame Writeup/Review

Nerf Mega Mastodon Postgame Writeup
Vas The Stampede

Testing if the Mega Mastodon gets 100' - 

Note: I will eventually add in-game footage using the Mastodon here. Watch this space for a future edit.

Range: 80'-100'
MSRP: $79.99
Capacity: 24 Mega Darts
Includes: strap, blaster, ammo

Full Auto firing capability


Took the Nerf Mega Mastodon out for some gameplay this past weekend, and had some thoughts:

Nerf went big with the Mega Mastodon, without a doubt. Pretty sure this is the highest capacity Mega blaster to date, full auto, and definitely the one of the biggest builds probably for any other Nerf blaster I've seen. It has a big handle to hold it on top, two tactical rails along the top as well, and one more under the muzzle. The 6 D batteries sit in the rear part of the blaster, with the trigger, the accelerator trigger, and the handle. There are a couple of obvious attach points for the strap, and the "cage" on the underside also doubles as a stand of sorts to help rest the Mastodon upright. The top handle moves back and forth, pivoting on the insertion point for the post it is attached to. It's wide, mainly due to the drum. But the blaster itself doesn't seem too unwieldy, all things considered. I had no problem transitioning from running/moving/to firing position, or even letting the blaster sit at my hip off the sling. It was surprisingly easy to conform to a comfortable position on my body.

From Mega Mastodon

The Mastodon is big, really big. So big in fact, I wonder how little kids may find using the blaster. From the bottom the cage on the underside of the blaster to the highest extension of the handle on top, the Mastodon measures at about 14". For me at 5'7" as an adult, I have no problem with that. The average US child maybe measures approximately 4' (source), so I don't know how easy a time they would have with this blaster, even with the strap (and factoring in the 6 D batteries). Having to hold the Mastodon at the hip also makes aiming challenging, if you are used to aiming down your sights or being able to angle a blaster down over cover trying to bunker someone, this takes some adjusting. Also, it goes without saying revving your motors before firing is a good practice to have, but the rev time seems a bit faster with the Mastodon. Also, with the nature of this blaster I didn't work too much on trying to find a range with the Mastodon parallel to the ground (flat), most of the time I had the blaster angled in game so my ranges reflect as such. 

It's also probably one of the more accurate Mega firing blasters I've used to date. The Mega Mastodon will hit close to 100', but the accuracy at that range isn't guaranteed (I say that with anything, and in the firing video above you can see the spread of the darts to the sides, in addition to the range.) Within 30-40, even 50', I was able to get hits reliably though! It required a bit of leading my target and I did have to use a couple of shots to dial in, but a little practice can go a long way with this blaster both in firing mechanics and reloading.

Naturally, as a right-handed person, I hold the Mastodon in my right hand and the rotation mech goes to my right. As such, I needed to stop periodically to reload the Mastodon either by trying to cross my body with my left hand and reload that way into the empty chambers, orient the blaster vertically, or reload the empty chambers in from left to right, starting with the chambers feeding into the Mastodon first from the left side of the blaster and trying to get into the chambers on the right. One trick I want to work on with this blaster is reloading empty chambers as they cycle around (using the strap to act as the stabilizing hand while firing, and my free hand to reload.) Still a work in progress, to say the least. Also, make sure you have a large ammo pouch! Mega darts already are big, and with the 24 dart capacity you'll eat through a lot of ammo using the Mastodon, for sure. Be prepared to carry enough to keep the Mastodon spitting.

With the strap, the Mastodon handles similarly to the RhinoFire and the Vulcan. The difference is the grip needed because of the accelerator trigger setup on the Mastodon versus the push button on the RhinoFire and the traditional trigger on the Vulcan. As a result, I found myself with my wrist on a weird angle sometimes while firing. I held the Mastodon typically at the waist, but with the handle and trigger a little past my back, which led to a touch of soreness after extended games. This was addressed by just keeping my handle hand in line with my torso. In a way, it reminded me of a Colonial Marine's posture holding a smartgun, with some obvious differences. This might make a lot more sense after you hold one.

Stay frosty, Nerfers.
Needless to say, the Mastodon needs 6 D batteries to run so the strap and using the top handle might be a necessity. While trying to one hand it might be hilarious, it can also do a number on your wrist. Between rounds, everyone made attempts to hold the Mastodon like a pistol, to hilarious effect. Personally, I'm going to use two bandoliers if ever I want to dual wield. The Mastodon didn't seem to eat batteries either, but my testing happened at a 4 hour Nerf war. The batteries I used were from the Dollar Store, and they held up fine during the day and even for my testing days before.

Running and gunning isn't incredibly easy with the this blaster, if that's surprising (which it shouldn't be) not like with more rifle and pistol oriented blasters like the Rapidstrike or Firestrike, for obvious reasons. I found myself doing more of the "stalk and shoot" approach, dodging darts as I could or crouching. Trying to aim the Mastodon well while in full sprint was not the particularly efficient I thought or effective. The volley of darts was usually enough to make folks hide and move, but I always had to keep in mind to keep cover in mind and run for a teammate if I needed to reload, assuming I even had a team. Otherwise, I'd run and hope no one noticed while I fed darts back into this monster. If I needed to move faster, I stopped aiming and just picked up the blaster and ran, it was just more efficient that way.

Left-handed? I went with the righty oriented handle placement with the pivot on the left side of the blaster, and I'm not sure if the peg to the top handle fits in the other way. It looks like it might be able to accommodate lefties in the other direction, but I don't guarantee that. If I get another Mastodon, I'll see if that works, or hopefully I can get an answer out of the design team. My left-handed friend didn't find it supremely comfortable trying to use the Mastodon the right-hand oriented way, though. I thought maybe since the rotation mech goes to the right while shooting then reloading might be easier, but she didn't find it that way. And yes, reloadi

Don't misunderstand me though! This is a SOLID build of a blaster. The raised "Mega" lettering, the top handle, the trigger, everything about it feels pretty strong. The rotation mech for the drum spins pretty easily too, but there are some caveats.

The most common issue I had with the Mastodon was trying to shoot in controlled bursts. If you go for a full 24 dart shower, the Mastodon functions wonderfully. But if you try to do groups of 3-4 shots, you might run into some jamming. What happens is the firing action, the rotation, and the feed gets out of sync if you try to group your shots and don't time a stop right, you will stop the cycle mid-feed of a dart, or in between the chambers of the blaster, so you'll suffer a misfire. I ended up having double feeds a few times trying to shoot a few darts at a time, and had to dig through the jam door to rip out a dart or push it back into the chamber. Other times, the rotation mech would be in mid-reset and would get stuck, I could not manually rotate it to load until after I resumed firing the blaster and heard it "click". With a little practice I could see this becoming less of a problem, the more someone learns about the firing cycle of the Mastodon. These instances of locking and dart jamming were on the minimal end of the scale too, not to the point where using the blaster was frustrating. But like I said, this blaster is full auto and truly excels when you rock and roll with that 24 dart payload.

All that being said, is it worth the $80? A lot will be said of its "war practicality" and "usefulness" in a stock Nerf war, but I liked it just fine. It turned me into a big(ger) moving target, cut my mobility a bit, and made aiming a bit of a challenge, but the range, the capacity, the full auto, and the aggro (people made sure to keep an eye on where I was, or if they heard my motors whirring to make sure I wasn't near them) was worth the tradeoff for me, and gosh darnit I just had a lot of fun with it! Of all the high-end items I saw at Toy Fair, this was definitely a "buzz-worthy" blaster in my book, and the one I came away wanting the most of the whole lineup from that trip. At this price it might make you cringe, but in this case I'd endorse the cost as being worth it for this foam launching monstrosity.

Questions? Comments? Did I miss something you'd want feedback on? Leave me a comment!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ours keeps jamming, the magazine won't rotate when jammed so need to use a pipe to push the bullet back into the magazine, this has damaged a couple, not sure why they keep jamming its happening on every discharge of a full magazine. Going to return the gun as its only 1 day old. Not very happy with it.