Sunday, November 27, 2011

New York Toy Fair upcoming - make your voice heard!

New York Toy Fair is in February, so let's let our voices be heard!  This is our chance to give a heads up to the toy industry about what's worked and hasn't worked; the toys have been nominated but what did you like from 2011?  Vote for your favorite toys in select categories, and then ultimately put in a vote for Toy of the Year!  Last year's winner?  The Nerf Stampede ECS.  For starters, check out the "Outdoor Play" category where Nerf, Xploderz, and other toys are featured.  Cast your vote in this category, and then check the other categories!  Have a say in picking the winners!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Holiday Buying Guide - Dart Tag! (PT 1) to follow: Nerf N-Strike, Vortex, N-Force,

Man!  Here we go with what's out and my thoughts on some blasters currently out there on the market to give people a heads up on what to think about when looking for a toy for your kid.  As I work mostly out of pocket, I can't provide an opinion on EVERYTHING, but I'll do what I can.  As Nerf's been one of the more forthcoming companies providing samples and info, here they are.

2011 was HUGE for Nerf.  They released something for all their current lines:  Dart Tag, N-Force, N-Strike, and their newest addition to the Nerf blaster family, the Vortex.

Nerf Dart Tag used new blasters in their tournament this past summer, and the line got a revamp.  The Swarmfire, Quick 16, Sharp Shot, and Speedload 6 are what the Dart Tag line looks like now, and they're all pretty good additions.  Quick note: STREAMLINES DO NOT FUNCTION IN DART TAG BLASTERS.  THEY DO NOT FIT THE BARRELS PROPERLY.

The Swarmfire is a battery-operated turret blaster, loaded up to 20 darts at max capacity.  It was surprisingly strong right out of the box, definitely on the high end of the 30' you could estimate for ranges on this blaster.  While reload is a pain in the butt, the rate of fire and range balance it out.  You can find it for $29.99 at most retailers.  It comes with ammo, removable stock, and runs on 6 "C" batteries (not included.)  It can fire pretty much any type of dart, but streamlines I've seen have the worst performance. 

The Quick 16 is my favorite blaster of the Dart Tag line.  I'd already done a review of this blaster earlier, for your reference here it is:  FOAM FROM ABOVE - QUICK 16!
$19.99 at most retailers, and between the ergomonics and the solid construction, is a fine gift.

The Speedload 6 is what you could say is mid-level blaster, having only 6 shots before emptying.  At $12.99 is not a bad price, but considering you get similar ranges and 7 more dollars will get you 10 more shots per reload it's a toss up which blaster you want to get.  Ultimately what it boils down to is whether you like the slide priming mech on the back like a Nerf N-Strike Recon, or the foregrip/slam-fire action like an N-Strike Alpha Trooper or Raider.  Depending on your preference, that should determine your final decision.  I like the Speedload's heft, but it is definitely a tough blaster to holster and use as a sidearm.

The Sharp Shot is the pistol-type blaster of the Dart Tag line.  Not much to report, it's a single-shot blaster that has a slide on the back of he blaster you use to prime it.  It comes with 3 darts, and costs $7.99.  If you've seen one pistol, don't expect too much different out of this.

There are some additional bells and whistles, like individually sold eye protection vision gear in orange, black, and white at $4.99, and a separate "official" jersey just like you've seen in the Nerf Dart Tag League videos and commercials, for $15.99.

A good start so you can purchase though is the two-player starter for $29.99.  It comes with darts, two Sharp Shots, two pairs of vision gear, and a couple of dart tag jerseys (different from the ones sold separately).  If your kid's looking for a friend to play with, this is a good way to have supplies to get started!
 My favorite thing about the Dart Tag line in general is the reloading mech.  Some people really don't like it, preferring the fast-reload of the N-Strike clips when under fire.  I found once you get the knack for it, using the integrated clips on the Speedload or Quick 16 is just as effective, especially since it eliminates fumbling with extra pouches to accommodate additional clips.  Keep feeding your clip a steady stream of darts between bursts and all you need is to carry your blaster and your ammo.  The Swarmfire does have its reload-on-the-fly issues being a turreted blaster, but the ranges are amazingly good right out of the box.  Angled, I was surprising a good number of people who used modded blasters.  For what they were priced, I was pretty satisfied with what I got.  Happy hunting!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Muuuuch better!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Between the holiday and working Chicago Toy and Game Fair, things have been a little hectic!  Expect reviews and a look at CHI TAG next week.   Also working on the annual write up, and a buyer's guide.  Enjoy your holiday, see you soon!

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

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Chicago Toy and Game Fair

Hanging out at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair this weekend!  Mostly board games and things like that, but Razor is here with the atlas 250!

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Nerf Pop Up tents, Blockade line

Worlds Apart extends deal with Hasbro | Toy Industry | News by ToyNews

Some pics of these were circulated a couple of months ago, clicking the link will bring you to the full article.  To paraphrase, Hasbro and Nerf inked a deal to bring out a series of three pop up tents/obstacles with view holes and targets for kids, enhancing the make-believe element of the Nerf brand.  Looks eurocentric in availability, but I will see if I can get any solid info.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

REVIEW: Quickfire 12 - Prime Time Toys!

The Quickfire 12 is one offering from Prime Time Toys.  I first found out about Prime Time at New York Toy Fair (last year, finding out these were the folks behind a number of Air Zone Toys R Us blasters like the “Punisher” and “Powerstrike 48.”  
The Quickfire 12 is a revolver-style six shot blaster.  It comes with twelve darts and two revolver clips, 6 chambers each.  Similar in function to a Nerf Maverick, but with one radical twist.  Press a button on top of the blaster and the front-end of the blaster flips down, allowing a user to quickly swap a full clip for an empty one.  It primes by pulling back the grey slide on the top-back of the blaster, and fires by trigger pull.  

Range wise, you can expect 20’-30’, as with most other foam blasters.  The second clip secures to the underside of the blaster, and it is a relatively easy matter to pull it off the holder when it is time to reload.  The holder under the blaster won't easily drop the clip, no matter how much your shake or run with it.  
It is an interesting design, for sure!  I like a speedloader, but the advantage is only temporary, unless you have multiple Quickfire revolver clips.  The clips are not sold separately, so unless you buy multiple Quickfire 12s you only have one fast reload before you reload the blaster chamber by chamber, like other revolvers out there now.

Using this blaster during dart tag games, you have to be careful of the release on the top.  If you’re using two blasters at once you might trip the button and release your clip prematurely.  If you’re just packing the Quickfire on its own, this isn’t an issue.  It fired reliably though, and it would take all kinds of ammo, not just necessarily the Prime Time only ammo.  The handguard makes the blaster a bit tricky to holster, but it’s easy enough to handle on its own, say during a pistols-only round or something like that.  Worth a shot?  I think so.  If you can get your hands on’em they’re worth a look if you’re in the market for a pistol you can reload faster than most other types out there.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

finally! nerf 18 round drum!

Sold separately of the nerf n strike alpha trooper, $9.99, only at Target.

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Monday, November 07, 2011

COMING UP: Where it all started - Chicago Toy And Game Fair!

So, this is pretty much where my journey began, even with Nerf experience and all that, I needed to make a jump to a proper toy industry event to cut my journalistic(heh) teeth.  The Chicago Toy and Game Fair - Hasbro was there, Razor, and a whole bunch of other great companies.  It is also one of, and I think the only place where toy industry people make themselves available to the public in a focus group/market testing kinda format.  You can try before you buy, and meet a whole bunch of great people and game inventors.  Seriously, you should check it out.

THAT BEING SAID, this week I'll give away a FREE family pass to The Chicago Toy and Game Fair!  Just shoot me  an email: foamfromabove at g m a i l . c o m and I'll randomly select a winner a week until the event, the weekend of NOVEMBER 19 AND 20.

Come on and check it out, you'll have fun and be glad you did :)

Friday, November 04, 2011

Nerf Vortex Nitron value pack - WalMart exclusive!

Found for $38.99 (as opposed to the regular $44), Nerf Vortex Nitron value pack.  What is the value?  An extra 20 round disc magazine and 20 more vortex discs to put in it!  The Vortex Nitron was not my fave blaster of the line (The Praxis took that honor) but I dug the automatic capability, good for anybody who likes to lay down that much foam. 

If you were on the fence about the Nitron, this pack is worth a look in both pricing and the extra clip.  Far as I can tell, the only separate disc mags available are the ten round magazines, and an extra 20 might just be the difference between a miss and a tag.  Choose wisely, chummer.

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