Monday, September 15, 2014

Nerf Fall 2014 Kit Arrives!

Thanks Nerf for the new supplies, expect some new reviews coming soon. Check the full gallery here.



Friday, September 12, 2014

REVIEW: Scorpion Gatling Blaster: Dart Zone/Prime Time Toys

Scorpion Gatling Blaster: Dart Zone/Prime Time Toys
By: Vas The Stampede

Size Comparison: Scorpion vs. Nerf Barrel Break and Zing Legends Bow



My firing video:
 




Basic Info:

Price: $19.99 (Wal-Mart Exclusive)
Range: Up to 70' (angled)
Includes:
"Super Darts" x 20

20 Dart Ammo Belt x 1
Instructions
Scorpion Gatling Blaster x 1




Prime Time Toys keeps the hits coming with one of their latest entries, the CovertOps Scorpion Gatling Blaster. A Wal-Mart Exclusive, this blaster is obviously inspired by some earlier similarly styled "gatling" blasters like the Punisher and Gatling Blaster. This fully automatic, 20 shot blaster proves itself a pretty good value for 20 bucks.

It requires 6 AA batteries, and that spins the barrel (purely cosmetic effect) and also powers the flywheels. There's no accelerator trigger here, once you hit the "on" button the flywheels go and all you have to do is hold the trigger down. It's pretty easy to shoot in bursts, or just empty the entire belt for maximum hilarity. The blaster is small, probably smaller than either of the earlier gatling blasters. This does make it a bit easier to carry and move quickly, although the chains do swing about, nothing new if you've ever run with a Nerf Vulcan. Unlike the Punisher, there is no ammo box, so there's a loss in aesthetic as well. Oddly enough, while the line is called Covert Ops, once this blaster is on, there is nothing covert about it. If you didn't like the noise level of a Barricade, you will definitely not like this blaster. As I suggest with any of those complaints, just wait until you're about to shoot and flick the power switch then, don't run around an entire game or scenario with your flywheels running (unless there's a strategic reason for it, as I've done in the past).

The Covert Ops line is a green and orange mash of colors, crossing toy safety and a color scheme reminiscent of the movie, "Predator." While this isn't the total minigun that some folks may want, it does pretty well all the same. To me, the plastic and build feels pretty sturdy and that it might take a drop or 2. That is only descriptive of the blaster body, though. I can't attest to the strength of the electronics and the motor if you dropped this blaster. Bottom line, it feels solid.

The amount of clearance to fit other brand darts through the Scorpion.
 I repeat, the size proves deceptive as you might not expect the power you get out of this. I was able to hit almost 50' flat and angled my shots hit about the advertised 70' range. And this was with both the proprietary "super" darts and other leading brand darts. This blaster shot just about anything I put in the ammo belts. The accuracy did leave something to be desired, but with foam ammo that tends to just be the reality of the medium. And if you're sending out about 20 shots at a time, maybe accuracy isn't your main concern!

That being said, I can't comment if chains from the earlier gatling blasters will work with the Scorpion, as I don't have either. And if I had any real complaint about this blaster, it's that additional chains aren't available to use this as a proper defensive or offensive weapon. Extra chains and the fast reload (with some practice and preloaded chains) would make for a good time in a stock blaster game. As far as I know, separate chains are not sold anywhere so you have one 20 shot belt and that's it with the Scorpion. Either check your fire or get ready to reload the same chain frequently. For $20 and only 6 AA batteries, I definitely think this blaster is worth the trip to a Wal-Mart (in the US) and adding to your inventory. It's a great price for a 20 shot blaster that hits its range and fires pretty quickly.

Thanks so much to Prime Time Toys for the sample, and to you for reading! If there's anything I missed feel free to use the contact form or make a comment below (comments are moderated, so they may not appear right away.

Don't forget to check out "Foam From Above" on Facebook. and I am also on Twitter (@vasthestampede) & Instagram (@blasterbot1984)!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

NXT Tactical Shotgun - Review!

NXT Tactical Shotgun Review
Vas The Stampede




Fact Sheet:
NXT Tactical Shotgun:
Price: $42.99 at Toys R Us
Range: 20' (flat, angled = approx. > 30')
Ages: 5+
Ammo: Foam darts (3 velcro/3 suction) - proprietary, does not match any other brand of dart. Additional ammo packs are available.
Availability: Most major retailers.
Includes: 
Tactical Shotgun x 1
Darts (3 suction type, 3 hook & loop)
Target x 1
 

Sample was provided by the manufacturer, opinions are my own.

A look at the NXT darts - they're shorter than most other brands.

The push-button breech, load the darts here.
NXT Generation Toys is a company I ran into at New York Toy Fair this year. I've seen their products at Toys R Us, but haven't picked one up before. It was an unfamiliar brand, and I can only budget so much for blasters. But, they were kind enough to send along a sample, so let's see what I've been missing out on.

FIRST OFF: I got a little background on the company, and their aim (is it were) is on target practice, giving parents another avenue to teach their child about hunting and marksmanship. They not only have shotguns, but crossbows, bows patterned after compound bows (a long bow too), and a bit of an old-time element with flintlock pistols and long rifles (see: Frontier Series).

BUT, the intended use for them is - target practice. The tactical shotgun came with a target of its own, but there are others available in the cartoon shape of animals and more traditional archery targets, reinforcing the hunting and outdoor sportsman theme.

Performance:

One of the neatest features about the tactical shotgun was the popout chamber. You push a button, out pops the dart chamber, you put the dart in, prime the shotgun, pull the trigger. It is one of the more unique ways to load a toy. However, this means it is also a single shot, and the chamber is small to accommodate their own ammo, but no other brands.

The NXT Shotgun only hit about 30' at most with the toy angled, and 20' flat after a number of shots. Compared to other brands currently, this isn't something we see nowadays, especially at their price. In this case it might be a question how much you like how it looks.

Aesthetics:

Tactical means tactical. The toy is a solid matte black, with the obligatory orange tip. It feels light, and built so that the intended market (5+) should be able to manipulate the pump, with a little help from an adult (also part of the experience of making target shooting a parent-child experience). The pump does feel pretty solid, though I have to admit the feel of the toy doesn't seem to be as robust as more recent toys. Again though, this follows with being built so a small child can use it. There's no questioning what type of firearm this is modeled after though, so yes it can shoot targets but it might also be a good purchase for cosplayers and around Halloween.

The darts - the foam doesn't match the current feel of other current brands. The foam feels lighter than other dart types, and the tips felt like they could peel off, especially if the dart got caught while pushing the chamber back into the body. 


Ultimately, is it a buy? If you really want that shotgun look and pump-action feel, then go nuts. But the ranges are low compared to what else you can get recently for a similar amount of money. In close quarters this could be fun, but you would be limited to the proprietary ammo which means you're lacking a lot of flexibility if you intend to go player vs player. As a target shooting game alone, combined with the targets and 20' of space it could be a fun experience for the young kids to learn how to aim and maybe begin familiarizing themselves with outdoor shooting. Hopefully this helps, and if I've missed anything feel free to submit a question or comment below.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Air Storm Firetek Bow Zing Toys - F2A Heads up! (Review)

Zing - Air Storm Firetek Bow
By: Vas The Stampede
Foam From Above


Price: $29.97 - Wal-Mart Exclusive
Range: Up to 145'
Includes: 
Firetek Bow x 1
"Zonic" Blaze Arrows x 3
Available now: Red & Green colors (Red sample provided by Zing Toys)
Ages: 8+

 A design similar to the Z-Tek Air Storm Bow, the Firetek Bow is another entry from Zing Toys into archery and outdoor play. Like the Z-Tek, this bow is a bit smaller than the popular Zcurve bow and may not have as much range. I could hit upwards of 200'+ with the right angle and draw on a Zcurve, the Z-Tek came close but not quite. From some of the first shots I took, it is definitely look

Just like most other Zing arrow products, the arrows hook into the rubber loops at the center of the bow, aim, pull back, and release. There is a ridged rubbery grip at near the back of the arrow that helps with the pull, but sweaty fingers may make getting full power difficult. If you have tried a zing bow before, this shouldn't be too different.

The big feature here is unlike the Z-Tek bow, the Firetek bow has a button in the grip that turns on lights in the colored portions of the bow arms; similarly the "Zonic" arrows have a switch just under the arrowhead that turns on a light inside the arrow shaft. So these arrows are a bit thicker feeling than past arrows; and the plastic shaft may feel a bit fragile. 

However, the arrow tips are a thick foam again as with most Zing products so the arrows should definitely be able to take a beating. I haven't performed a stomp test on these arrows though as I don't know if they will have separate ammo packs available. Therefore, I want to keep my Zonic arrows mostly in good condition.
The effect is pretty neat, and watching your arrow zip through a darkened sky is a different kind of experience. The lights even help see where the arrow loops are in the dark, making night shooting a little easier. The lights on the arrows also obviously made finding my shots in the dark a snap. Dare I say it was easier to find these than green colored Zartz in grass. One other feature is I was able to reach my thumb from the grip to the switch on the arrows as the arrow was hooked in, which was nice if I needed stealth. I don't know if smaller hands could do the same, but I don't see it as being impossible. Unlike the z-Tek, this now doesn't have arrow holders, users are going to have to use pockets or something else to carry around extra rounds.

In a pinch, the Zonic blaze arrows and even the bow could be used as a flashlight, but I wouldn't recommend counting on either as a replacement flashlight. They illumination is impressive, but definitely not advisable if you have other sources of light available.


I do see some great possibilities for using this particular gimmick, too. Say in a specific scenario you had to fire a signal flare in an evening gametype, or in another you had to hit a target from a distance in low light. In the right gametype this would be a fun accessory to spice things up.
As this is a Zing bow product, the real fun of this product is outside where high power and ranges are better suited to cut loose. I wouldn't recommend using this in a house or in close quarters - if you can control your draw power well enough then I leave that decision up to the player. This is definitely more for the wide open spaces, though.

So yes, the Firetek Bow has a very familiar feel to it, but the ability to test your aim in low light conditions with only these as your only light source may be enough to pique the interest of the archer in your family. I hope extra arrow packs become available as well, the idea of more than a few "flares" is something I would like to play around with and what game types may come out from that. The price is a bit high, but considering the electronics and the solid construction that isn't entirely unexpected.

I have said from the start Zing products are a solid buy and while they may not always be perfect for blaster battles they are fun to shoot targets with anyway. I consider them the "dark horse" of the projectile market, chugging along with good products while eyes are on Nerf and Mattel most of the time, Zing continues to put out something fun and tactile with impressive range. If you haven't tried out their products yet definitely consider this your introduction to their lineup, even if all you want is something to shoot targets.


Hope this helps! I will update this post with some video as well, so make sure to check back later!

Friday, August 08, 2014

HOT NEWS: BOOMco Exclusives - Toys R Us, Amazon, Target

BOOMco exclusive offers and packs - Target, Amazon, and Toys R Us
Vas The Stampede

I've been in touch with Mattel, and they have been kind enough to pass on some info about current BOOMco exclusives. So far, Target, Toys R Us, and Amazon each have specific offerings -

TOYS R US EXCLUSIVES
BOOMco. Epic Blast Pack Blasters -
List Price: $49.99

BOOMco. Ultimate Rounds Pack
MSRP: $14.99
BOOMco. Extreme Battle Pack Blaster
MSRP: $39.99



AMAZON EXCLUSIVES:
BOOMco. Extreme Battle Pack Blaster
MSRP: $39.99


TARGET EXCLUSIVES:
BOOMco. Deluxe Smart Stick Target Pack
List Price: $14.99





Thursday, August 07, 2014

Breaking news! Nerf & Dude Perfect WANT YOUR SUGGESTIONS

Nerf and Dude Perfect Team Up for First Ever Crowdsourced Trick Video
By Vas The Stampede



Dude Perfect and Nerf want YOUR sweet trick shot suggestions!

"Nerf is teaming up with Dude Perfect to create the first ever Nerf crowdsourced video featuring the N-Strike Elite Demolisher 2-in-1 blaster and the N-Strike Mega Thunderbow blaster. Nerf and Dude Perfect are asking Nerf Nation to suggest the stunts they want to see in the video by posting to Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter using the hashtag: #NERFPERFECT."

Get on it, Nerf Nation! I'll see you back here once more info becomes available later today.


And, #ThrowbackThursday - a few trick shots of my own from awhile back - http://youtu.be/FO5RAwm_Lbo



Monday, August 04, 2014

Nerf Des Plaines II - REVISITED (Illinois Tournament)

Nerf Tournament in Des Plaines, Illinois (thanks, Des Plaines Park District!)
By: Vas The Stampede

Last year, the Des Plaines Park District hosted a Nerf Tournament. Darts were fired, and fun was had. The fun was so plentiful they went for a second go recently as well! From the looks of it, there were about 30 (24 in the group shot below) who showed up to play, that's up from the (roughly) 17 in last year's group photo. Given that this is one of the few (if not only, at least as far as I know) park districts near me that uses Nerf/toy blasters as part of its programming, this is progress. (Niles, Morton Grove, Glenview, I'm looking at you.)

Here are (some of) the pics from 2014 - the day started off with some free skirmishes for the teams to get warmed up, then into round robin and eventually the knockout round.

The Des Plaines Park District set up the whole event-

The game of the day was Capture the Flag - teams would hide their flag somewhere on their half of the field, then search out the flag of the other team. If a player was tagged with a dart (and only a dart) they had to run back to their end of the field, count to 5, and jump back into play. A team only needed the other team's flag to win, if their flag was moved they just had to hustle the other team's flag back to their own base before their flag reached the other side. If a flag carrier was tagged with a dart they would drop the flag and it was to stay where it landed, a team could not move their flag back to base.

A little different was teams could only use ammo they brought into the game at the start; reloading from darts off the field was not allowed (probably to speed up the game, as teams would end up putting up strong defenses and reloading magazines. Even in a 5 minute round, this got a little slow.) If a player was hit, they were to pick up ONE dart from the ground and drop it into a bucket at their base. If there was no flag capture by the end of the 5 minute limit, whichever team had the most darts (meaning their players were tagged more) lost the game. Eye protection was mandatory, and players supplied their own ammo. Obstacles were provided by the park district, along with some loaner blasters when necessary.

Here's the gallery:



Interesting note, I didn't see any off-brand blasters. Whether it was the marketing or just preference of the players, I'm not sure. The blasters were stock (from what I could tell, and mods weren't allowed anyway) but from talking to some of the players were definitely aware of the larger community, yet here they were doing work on the field laughing and playing with stock blasters.

The players range from 6-14 (maybe? I hadn't really asked) but the kids came to play. Park staff acted as referees through each game and resolved any disputes and rules questions, and things went through pretty smoothly. The whole event took about 4 hours to complete from briefing to awards.

The kids definitely came to play, they were hustling, talking strategy, scouting other teams, all hallmarks of really wanting be competitive and put on a good show during each game. Admittedly, the games I played in the past at other meetups are a little less competitive so it was refreshing to see Nerf through the eyes of a more competitive mindsetthan I normally see. (Ask me about "Cannonball" sometime to get a feel for how I Nerf.)

I provided a little tech support (and some photographic coverage) but ultimately these kids may be the ones to pick up the hobby and continue to demonstrate that yes, blasters are still a valid toy market! Thanks again to the Des Plaines Park District for letting me be a part of this event and hope to see some of these faces again next year!
 







FOAMME FATALES

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