Tuesday, February 28, 2017

New York Toy Fair 2017 Picture Gallery is live!

Nerf Showroom Photo Gallery from TFNY 2017 is live! 
Vas The Stampede

Click the link here to view the full album.

Nerf blaster firing videos from Toy Fair are found here.

(photos taken by Leywink, she helped me out a ton during the show. Most of the video? Her work, too.)



Nerf continues to provide blasters in the higher price category, but not without good reason. The Nemesis seems to be the hallmark blaster for them this show, providing a high capacity, high rate of fire, full auto, quickly reloaded blaster. At approximately $100 this is a pretty pricey toy, but for an older age group and with possibly a bit more disposable income. Using the Rival rounds is convenient (and offers a play style similar to paintball) even further encouraged with the hopper fed firing mechanism. Even as a prototype, this blaster really sets a bar that will be tough to meet on certain criteria. Again, this is a premium priced toy, but you might possibly get your money's worth out of it.

"NERF MODULUS REGULATOR Blaster
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $59.99/Available: Fall 2017)
Bring the power of three firing modes with one epic blaster! The NERF MODULUS REGULATOR blaster features single-fire, burst-fire, and fully motorized blasting power. The REGULATOR blaster is customizable and compatible with accessories within the MODULUS system, sold separately, so fans can build their blasters and have the ultimate blasting experience. Includes two 12-dart clips and 24 MODULUS darts. Requires 4 C batteries, not included. Available at most major retailers nationwide and HasbroToyshop.com."
The Regulator, I could see that blaster being quite a bit of fun across board as well. The select fire feature, complete with 3 round burst setting, is a fascinating bit of engineering. The Nerf video game had a burst round blaster, and now art imitates life here. The fire select option worked pretty decently going between single, burst, and full auto, but given it's a prototype I don't want to get my hopes up too much until the final product. At best I can estimate performance similar to the Hyperfire (based on the batteries needed) and my own visual experience. My only real confusion with this blaster is the carrying handle, I can see that adding to the full auto feel of the blaster but it comes across to me as just unnecessary. But, given the intended market and 8 year old switching from burst to Full Auto can really get in character with the help of the muzzle handle. Even more impressive is you can still sight through the handle even when it's on. Well done for finding the Devil in the Details, Nerf.

"NERF DOOMLANDS THE JUDGE Blaster
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $59.99/Available: Fall 2017)
Bring justice to a doomed land with the DOOMLANDS THE JUDGE blaster. With an impressive 30 dart capacity, THE JUDGE blaster can fire three darts at once! This massive blaster is ready for anything the post-apocalyptic wasteland can send its way. Includes 30 DOOMLANDS Elite darts. Available at most major retailers nationwide and HasbroToyshop.com."

The Judge's size was not lost on anyone. ANYONE. This blaster is ridiculously huge, and say what you want about dead space, useless plastic, etc., this toy was still wowing and amazing people on the design. Now Nerf isn't promising full range on all three darts from each barrel, there will still be a dip in performance for each burst. That being said, this would still be on my list of things to buy just because of how insane it looks. Would I have liked slam fire? Sure. Would I have liked a stock? Maybe? Would I have liked to see 4 or 5 dart bursts? Definitely. But even this prototype at Toy Fair did a fine job of leaving an impression and should find its way into a gift box or two. I would be interested to see this play out at some of the games I go to though (blasters can count as shields there, and the players go super stock. There is also a decent amount of cover, so high range blasters get equaled out a bit more.)

"NERF N-STRIKE ELITE ACCUSTRIKE RAPTORSTRIKE Blaster
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $49.99/Available: Fall 2017)
Hone your skills and hit your mark with the NERF N-STRIKE ELITE ACCUSTRIKE RAPTORSTRIKE blaster. This clip-fed blaster with pop-up sight, adjustable stock and bipod helps players line up their shot and to aim with precision and confidence. Includes two six-dart clips and 18 ACCUSTRIKE series NERF darts. Available at most major toy retailers and at HasbroToyShop.com."
The Raptorstrike. You might not see anything with this Accustrike blaster that you haven't seen already, outside of the precision/range increase from Elite and Accustrike technology. The blaster comes with 2 six shot magazines, extendable bipod, but a flip-up sight. the sight means no top tactical rail, which is unfortunate, but it does have a neat look and a very cool feeling carry handle along the underside. Also of note is the solid priming bar, not the insert tab style on the Alphahawk. Also missing is a barrel attachment point, but the iron sights are another nice detail on the blaster that some folks should get a kick out of. The ammo storage in the stock is a neat touch, and it's one of the long type rifles that Longstrike/"sniper" fans might get a kick out of. Again, I'll reserve full judgment until it hits stores.

NERF ZOMBIE STRIKE DREADBOLT Blaster
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $49.99/Available: Fall 2017)
Outsmart and dominate the zombie hordes with the ZOMBIE STRIKE DREADBOLT blaster. The first-ever arrow-firing ZOMBIE STRIKE crossbow, the DREADBOLT blaster can take down zombies like never before. Use the detachable scope to line up the target, aim, and fire! Includes five arrows and detachable scope. Available at most major retailers nationwide and HasbroToyshop.com.

The Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt surprised me. I had not expected it to be nearly as big as it was, with previous crossbows in the line (Outbreaker, Crossfire Crossbow, etc.) and the Rebelle Courage Crossbow was supposedly a similar design, BUT SO MUCH SMALLER.

With the Dreadbolt, the blaster has a pretty sizable wingspan at the arms, and uses the soft head arrows introduced in the Rebelle line, with the Agent Bow. It's also comfortable to hold, and the priming mechanism is a wrench along the bottom to crank back the string. Nothing you haven't seen before either, but also nothing this big crossbow styled yet. I could see a few faithful users to this blaster just because of how much fun it could be. Using arrow ammo would be a pain during the usual Nerf war, but just the hilariousness of this blaster could make it worth it.

Speaking of arrows....


Really looking forward to the Signature Bow. I really hoped it would come out last year, but it looks like that was not the case, and this is why. It went rebranded to be released as part of the Dude Perfect trick shot items. I'll still get it, just because of the archery aspect. Not much to say about it, as this is essentially the Platinum Bow from last year, and I wanted to get it then too.


Nerf Nitro was in full effect as well! The cars really are a firm foam construction, and Nerf isn't kidding when they say you'll hit new heights with the cars. They launch off the ramps a lot higher than I did with Hot Wheels cars I used back when I was younger, and if they hit wood floors or furniture, the marking and dents should be minimal. It's a really neat idea and while not your usual cup of foam from Nerf, I can see why they did it. My next big question about this innovation is what does Nerf have lined up on the licensing side of things if this line takes off.


Nerf Rebelle only had a couple of new blasters to show off, the new Accustrike crossbows and then a crossbow/bow combo blaster. One might think Rebelle is getting scaled back after storming out with revolvers and other triggered blasters, but it's hard to say. There wasn't anything terribly striking from the Rebelle line this year though, unlike last year when the Corner Sight was part of the lineup. No new narrative was apparent either, unlike the "Secrets and Spies" from a couple of years ago, or the Charmed line from last year. Given how early it is in the year though, I'll definitely not be surprised if Rebelle comes out with something else later this year.

Don't forget that Jazwares will also be making new Nerf accessories for 2017! Check out the press release here.
Thanks for reading! I have plenty more booth visits to write up (Buzz Bee, Zuru will be out later this week) and some additional brands worth checking out to recommend (Whombatz and Fort Boards, I'm looking at you).

All in all, Nerf had a pretty strong showing with a couple of blasters, but stayed the course in functionality with a few others. I feel like there are still a few "buzz generating" items they're holding off on even now, and will just bear watching in the future. A few more brands came out of Toy Fair swinging, so the brand synonymous with the blaster battle activity is going to have to keep coming out strong themselves.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Nerf News from TFNY: Jazwares Gains Agreement to Make Nerf Tactical Gear & Accessories

Jazwares to Make Nerf Gear and Accessories 
Update: this video has some of the accessories in the background at 5:06.


Jazwares Gears Up for NERF Battles!

SUNRISE, FL – February 16, 2017 – "Jazwares, a leader in the toy and entertainment
marketplace, is thrilled to announce that they will be gearing up the NERF Nation community! In
collaboration with Hasbro, Jazwares is introducing an innovative NERF Toy Adjacency line that
includes targets, tactical gear, storage, and more to take NERF battles to a new level of fun,
competition, and achievement!
From Hasbro, NERF is the leading brand in the blaster category. Since launching in 1969,
NERF has become a staple in every toy store and continues to the dominate the category with
new and unique designs. NERF empowers kids everywhere to feel the rush of fun, social, active
play, and to ultimately achieve the impossible!
Jazwares is excited to collaborate with Hasbro on one of the industry’s most iconic brands,
NERF,” said Laura Zebersky, Jazwares EVP and Chief Commercial Officer. "NERF has
consistently brought products that engage children of all ages and we’re ecstatic to bring our
innovative twist on product design to the NERF line."
Jazwares will offer a wide variety of products to enhance the NERF lifestyle and blaster play.
Products will embody functionality and capacity in a cool trendy fashion. In addition, Jazwares
will also be complimenting the Nerf Sports segment with indoor & outdoor sports and games.
“We’re always listening to fans and consumers to make sure we are providing high quality,
innovative products that enhance the users play experience,” says Michael Ritchie, VP, Global
Brand Marketing, NERF Franchise. “We’re excited to reimagine new ways for fans to engage
with NERF through our latest collaboration with Jazwares.”
NERF Nation! Get ready for new gear, new battles! The Jazwares Nerf Collection coming Fall
2017, at major retailers starting in North American and EMEA."
So, this is now a thing and I found out about it yesterday. Jazwares, action figure company extraordinaire (makers of RWBY toys, Minecraft, and so many more) is going to produce storage accessories and tactical gear for Nerf. Wow. Previously, Perpetual Play Group was making similar items for Nerf, but it looks like that's no longer the case. I was not allowed pictures in the showroom, but the press release is real and verified. As soon as I am allowed pictures, I will most certainly post them to show what is in store (and I liked what I saw).

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Nerf Toy Fair Showroom Info Inbound!

Video firing the Nerf Accustrike Raptorstrike is done! Enjoy this while I work on the rest. Updating this post as I finish each one, and a writeup to follow. Thanks!

Update: Let's do this.

No big surprises at the Nerf showroom today, but I finally got my hands on a number of the products revealed over the last few weeks.

First off, thanks again to Nerf for giving me the 9 AM slot, I always appreciate the timing. Second, thanks to Michael Ritchie (VP, Global Brand Strategy & Marketing) for stopping to take a few minutes to chat with me. I hadn't known I would run into him, otherwise I would have taken a few questions from you all!

Michael and I discussed the Nerf brand as it was and where things were going, and touched base about the specificity in certain lines. ICYMI, the Elite line is still seen as the "performance" level blasters and thus are denoted with the ranges and frequencies blasters hit that range. Nerf is still very much a storyteller brand as well to foster the "unstructured play" of its market (kids) so they can create their own stories within the blasters they use. Hence, forming organized games and leagues aren't something Nerf is really invested in, but they recognize these exist. If you remember the Nerf Dart Tag League, Nerf put on these tournaments once upon a time but stopped in order to allow the fans to create their own. Think of Nerf as a sandbox, and games, leagues, teams, clubs, etc., are all castles that get built within it. We spoke about the involvement of the community in creating content (that's YOU folks), from people who have maybe under a 100 views on their videos (me) to all the other channels with way bigger followings. Also, be ready for Hascon! It's coming.

Overture, curtain lights, let's talk about the blasters.



ACCUSTRIKE. Currently, the Alphahawk and FalconFire are available, but coming in hot is the Raptorstrike, shown above. It has 1 tactical rail that the bipod is mounted on, a flip-up sight, extendable legs in the bipod, a 6 shot magazine, additional magazine storage in the stock, and a solid bolt priming handle. Unlike the Alphahawk, the Raptorstrike's bolt handle looks like the metal pin version of old. I hope to still see that on the final release. The blaster itself is LONG... so long that there's a good distance between the magazine and the trigger. But in that space there's an additional spot on the body to use as a carrying handle. Another neat feature is the placement of the mag release, it's right on the inside of the trigger guard across from the trigger but accessible to both left and right-handed users. Kudos to that, Nerf.



The Mega Twinshock is ANOTHER big blaster. 10 shots, single fire (with a staged trigger, pull it slow enough and it will shoot one dart at a time), two shots at once, or slam-fire, you have choices! There isn't much else to say, and I really enjoyed using it. Vicious simplicity.



The Regulator. Burst fire. Full Auto. Single Fire. Flywheels. An oddly included carrying handle. "Ammo Out" warning light. The Nerf Modulus Regulator has so many features integrated into it, there might be a kitchen sink Modulus accessory in the works at this point. I didn't experience any skip or interruption holding the accelerator trigger down while switching firing modes and it seemed like a seamless transition for the blaster. It runs on 6 "C" batteries, which leads me to believe it fires as fast as a Hyperfire and its sounds that way from when I tested this blaster. Again, this is a prototype and as such I can't get too excited until the final product is in hands. Was I impressed? Yes. Cautious optimism? Always.



Ok, THIS blaster caught me off guard. THE DREADBOLT IS HUGE. I thought it would be a reshelled cousin of the  Courage Crossbow, but nope. It's the same principle (bowstring power, arrows, etc.) but the Dreadbolt is a much bigger design, with a bigger shell and more comfortable stock. It has a lever action priming arm that pulls the bowstring back for each shot before you nock in the arrow, and you fire. While I can't totally get behind any blaster that uses an additional type of ammo (it makes reloading during organized games more difficult if everyone is using darts) but as a standalone toy for hilarity and mirth? Sold. I look forward to this at final release as well.



The Judge was still a little finicky at the show, but it made it through all 30 darts (in varying distances) during my firing test. The blaster is RIDICULOUSLY huge, wider than my torso (at least my head) but leaves too much of an impression to not be curious about it. The darts are going to fly different distances each burst, but hopefully this will be improved even a little bit at final release. Big cartoonish blasters like this are perfect to "build your own story" in imaginative role play, as opposed to being considered a "war worthy" blaster. It's oversized, it's silly, but I can't help wanting one based on the shock value of how massive this blaster is. Performance wise, I can't get too harsh on it as the blaster's still in prototype form.



100 shots! Hopper fed! Rival velocities! The Nerf Nemesis is huge. It's battery powered with full auto, and there's not much to say except announce how much I want one. I can't imagine how this might change the game for some groups and people who are way below the output on this blaster. The only trouble I ran into needed me to shake the blaster a bit to get the rounds to load into the feed, but that's minimal. Otherwise, the accuracy, rate of fire, and sheer madness of the blaster make it worth a buy but the price is a bit up there too ($99). As a paintball player, this blaster definitely blends worlds together, and I look forward to seeing much more of it at final release.

Questions? Comments? Let me know!



Saturday, February 18, 2017

Toy Fair 2017 - Day 1! Schedule and Preview (Buzz Bee, Dart Zone, Zuru, Precision RBS)

Toy Fair 2017 - What's to Come for 2017

UPDATE:

Here's the Rail Blaster from Buzz Bee. Inline clip, clear door to see your ammo, and rear-loading!


 


The above shows a hint of things to come for this year's Toy Fair, like that new prototype from Zuru. Also on the schedule today I have meetings with:

- Precision RBS (Rubber band shooting launchers from Super Impulse)
- Buzz Bee Toys (With word on new Walking Dead blasters)
- Zuru
- K'Nex (and maybe some new KForce builds) - it's the 25th anniversary for K'Nex today so who knows what they have in store?
- Dart Zone this afternoon - they typically don't have functional prototypes yet at Toy Fair (they save the big news for the summer reveal) but maybe they'll bring something extra this time.
- World Tech Toys  - they make some new blasters to hit the market.
- Factory Entertainment - Soft Weapons and Tactics!
- And a special event for bloggers with Playmates Toys, home of the T-Blasts 

I'll be checking in on Instagram and Facebook, don't forget to get connected!



 

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

New Nerf Blasters for 2017 - the story continues! The Road To Toy Fair.

Nerf Blaster releases for 2017 - The Story So Far
Vas The Stampede




The road to Toy Fair continues! Nerf let loose a slew of information on new releases, from Geek.Com and Popular Mechanics say hello to the newest upcoming additions to the Nerf Arsenal. Don't forget to check some of the previous release info Here and Here (some items were scheduled for 2017, but are readily available. It happens, certain areas are subject to availability.

NERF MODULUS REGULATOR Blaster
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $59.99/Available: Fall 2017)
Bring the power of three firing modes with one epic blaster! The NERF MODULUS REGULATOR blaster features single-fire, burst-fire, and fully motorized blasting power. The REGULATOR blaster is customizable and compatible with accessories within the MODULUS system, sold separately, so fans can build their blasters and have the ultimate blasting experience. Includes two 12-dart clips and 24 MODULUS darts. Requires 4 C batteries, not included. Available at most major retailers nationwide and HasbroToyshop.com.





NERF MEGA TWINSHOCK Blaster
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $39.99/Available: Fall 2017)
Experience double-barrel MEGA blasting power with the NERF MEGA TWINSHOCK blaster! The pump-action blaster shoots two MEGA darts at a time, sending darts flying up to 90 feet! Want to shoot one dart at a time? The TWINSHOCK blaster has a single-fire option. Includes 10 MEGA whistler darts. Available at most major retailers nationwide and HasbroToyshop.com.



NERF N-STRIKE ELITE ACCUSTRIKE RAPTORSTRIKE Blaster
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $49.99/Available: Fall 2017)
Hone your skills and hit your mark with the NERF N-STRIKE ELITE ACCUSTRIKE RAPTORSTRIKE blaster. This clip-fed blaster with pop-up sight, adjustable stock and bipod helps players line up their shot and to aim with precision and confidence. Includes two six-dart clips and 18 ACCUSTRIKE series NERF darts. Available at most major toy retailers and at HasbroToyShop.com.




NERF ZOMBIE STRIKE DREADBOLT Blaster
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $49.99/Available: Fall 2017)
Outsmart and dominate the zombie hordes with the ZOMBIE STRIKE DREADBOLT blaster. The first-ever arrow-firing ZOMBIE STRIKE crossbow, the DREADBOLT blaster can take down zombies like never before. Use the detachable scope to line up the target, aim, and fire! Includes five arrows and detachable scope. Available at most major retailers nationwide and HasbroToyshop.com.





NERF ALIEN MENACE VOIDCASTER Blaster
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $19.99/Available: Fall 2017)
Fight off aliens with the new ALIEN MENACE VOIDCASTER blaster! The blaster’s unique styling and pump action power gives NERF fans an edge against the intergalactic foe. The VOIDCASTER blaster fires four darts in a row without reloading and has storage for an extra four darts for easy reloading. Includes 8 ALIEN MENACE Elite darts. Available at most major retailers nationwide and HasbroToyShop.com.





Still no press release that's been sent to me on the Nemesis - but it'll be $100 in the U.S. when available. As soon as I get one, it'll get posted!

I have some opinions to post on these blasters too, they're coming up later this week.

FOAMME FATALES

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