Friday, April 29, 2011

More from Johnson Arms

You may remember not too long ago, I posted up some custom paint works from Johnson Arms. I've had a ton of positive feedback from friends about that post but I also received a comment from the Mr. Johnson himself a couple of days ago, pointing me in the direction of his Deviant Art gallery, here. I've said it before, I love custom paint work. just yesterday I finished doing a custom paintjob on my bike, but that's a different story for a different blog. I feel, however, that the best custom paint I have ever seen in terms of Nerf or Airsoft has come from Johnson Arms.

Like this. Of course, Airsoft is illegal here in Australia, but not in some other countries. This is the Johnson Arms Airsoft silenced p90. I spotted this on the DA gallery, and absolutely love it. For some reason I like orange and black colour schemes almost as much as I love red and black (as you can probably guess by the look of the blog...) Seeing paint work with such great effort and skill put in to achieve this fantastic end result
is always inspiring. I really should find some time one day to put this much time in to my own Nerf collection.

If you have a spare moment, do yourself a favour, and have  look at the Deviant Art Gallery of Johnson Arms, or have a look at the Johnson Arms Wordpress. It will be worth your while. 

Anyway, that's all for now. -Rolley.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blog: Tactical Tag

Normally, it's unusual for me to find another blog that is based on laser tag, let alone find one with really interesting stuff in it to do with laser tag. But on my searching today, particularly on the Urban Taggers blog, that's what I found. This looks like a relatively new blog, called Tactical Tag, run by someone that goes by the name of Bazookafied. It's a blog mostly about laser tag and Nerf, including mods. One in particular involves turning a Nerf Stampede into a laser tag gun, which I think is pretty damn cool and I might try this one myself if I can get a hold of some laser tag guns over here. Anyway, I'm adding this one to my following list, and I encourage you to check out this blog.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nerf Vortex reveal video 2

I spotted this literally minutes ago, and I'm stoked. this video is a ton clearer, and in the beginning shows some n-strike blasters in "gear up" colours, and then continues to show the new Vortex disc blasters. Then you see someone load what I presume to be the smallest, single shot version, and fire it at a cup, and hit it. Then a bunch of Vortex blasters being loaded. see for yourself, and tell me what you think.

Edit: also found this. Quoted from the nerf facebook: "Another awesome feature we can confirm about the new Nerf Vortex line? Most incorporate the same Tactical Rail system as Nerf N-Strike blasters – meaning that your Vortex and N-Strike accessories will be compatible with both lines. Get ready to take your Nerf collection to the next level. Keep your eyes on the page for more official info reveals on the Vortex lineup...there's much more to come."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Piloted piston valves explained

In my review of the Nerf Hornet AS-6, I briefly explained how the valves in the internals of the blaster work to fire the darts. I felt it might have still left some people wondering more about how piloted valves work, so I've decided to visually explain how a piston valve works in order to clear a few things up and go a little deeper in to this subject. I'm still not yet an expert with these, but I do understand the basic function quite well.

The 2D images used in this are drafted as cut-away views from the top, as if you cut the whole setup in half along the horizontal plane. The type of valve used is called a coaxial piston valve, which means the setup is all operating along the same axis. There are a few parts, the chamber (white), the piston (red) and the exhaust port (yellow). In the case of a Nerf blaster, the exhaust port is the barrel. The area on the left of the piston is called the pilot volume, and the whole system is filled via the hole in the left side of the chamber called an inlet port. The other space on the right of the piston, surrounding the exhaust port is the chamber volume. the black bit is an o-ring, to seal off the pilot and chamber from each other. Below, is a 3D image of the whole lot, but with just the chamber cut in half.

I'm using Autodesk AutoCAD 2011 to draft all this. Though, I'm not putting in much detail at all, partly because I'm feeling a bit lazy, but also because I don't want to clutter it up too much and confuse you guys. Anyway, If you are studying drafting or graphics then I highly suggest you get a student licence for AutoCAD 2011, or 2008. Or if you aren't a student but have oodles of money, go for a full licence. Both aren't bad but 2011 is a little more student friendly. In my personal opinion 2010 is rubbish, but I've not tried 2009. 

OK! right, so, in the first 2D picture here, we have the valve setup. priming the valve is done by filling with air or CO2 or whatever stable gas (green) through the fill port. In this case, the same port doubles as the pilot port. The air fills up the pilot chamber and pushes the piston (red) forward until it contacts the back of the exhaust port (yellow), making a seal and preventing gas from flowing through. The part of the piston that contacts the back of the exhaust port is called the sealing face, and the back of the exhaust port that contacts the piston is called the seat. This is a common problem area in home made piston valves, because if the sealing face doesn't make a good seal with the seat, air will leak through the exhaust port and the valve simply won't work.

Once the piston can't go any further, pressure starts to build in the pilot area. (dark green). The air then needs to fill the chamber area. This usually happens by air leaking past the piston, or through pipe leading from the pilot to the chamber with a check valve (one way valve) in the middle (not shown). For the valve to work, more are must be let out of the pilot than what can leak back into the pilot from the chamber side of the piston. Ideally, an o-ring makes a perfect seal and air can only enter on way through a check valve, and can't come back at all. Anyway the chambers keep building pressure until the maximum desired pressure is achieved and filling is stopped. the chambers equalize the pressure between themselves holding the piston still.

Finally, the system is triggered by piloting, or letting the air flow back out of the pilot side of the valve. This means that there will suddenly be less pressure on the pilot side of the piston as there is on the chamber side. The high pressure on the chamber side forces the piston back away from the exhaust port, which means the air in the chamber can then flow out the exhaust port, pushing out whatever is in the barrel along with it. All the air pressure drops, and it's all over very quickly. The cycle can then repeat.

There are a few factors that effect the performance of a piloted valve. first, piston weight. the lighter it is, the faster it can be accelerated, shortening the opening time of the valve and dumping more air at once. next, the seals and friction. Perfect seals makes it more efficient, but excessive friction on the piston slows opening time. Finally, pilot volume and pilot valve flow. the smaller the pilot volume, the better, because there is less air to be let out to drop the pressure, but not too small so that it doesn't allow the valve to fully open. Also, the higher flow the pilot valve has, the more air can be dumped at once, speeding up opening time.

So that's it. This knowledge can be applied to all sorts of things, Nerf has been using this sort of tech for years (though I think the valves Nerf uses are more like some sort of piloted spool valve) you could your own small piston valve and mod it in to a Nerf blaster, or even build your own vortex launcher, provided you live in a place where that sort of thing is legal...

...just food for thought. -Rolley

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Review: Nerf Hornet AS-6 AND semi-auto fix

Many people have called this blaster, the Nerf Hornet AS-6, a lot of things, not a lot of them good. from what I've heard, they are rubbish, terrible, a waste of time, useless, and even the worst Nerf blaster ever made. This made me pretty reluctant to hunt one down, however I was given one to have a look at, and I did kind of want to find out for myself. Plus, I actually have not found a decent write up of these either.

The Hornet comes as a part of the Nerf Unity Power System, and clips on the the bottom of the Titan. Because of this, it does not feature a rail for attachments where one probably would be. Size is quite short in length but fairly wide. 6 darts can be loaded in the front of the blaster manually, and after sliding the front piece forward and back once and about 20 pumps they can be fired all at once by pressing the big orange side buttons or they can be fired one at a time in semi auto mode via the trigger. This is where most people have troubles. From factory, most of these don't work properly and seem to have a faulty semi auto mode which doesn't work at all. The fix for this is tricky, but simple in theory. I'll get to that later.

Range is actually quite good when the darts are all launched at once, probably about 35 feet, a little more with some angle. Semi auto, even when fixed is a bit dismal though, but there is a reason for that. have a look at the internals picture. When I first opened the hornet up, I was pretty astounded by the complexity. But, it can be explained.

The six whit parts behind the dart barrels, are some form of piloted dump valve. How these work, is they store pressurised air when filled up, and when the air pressure on the fill side of the valve drops, the valve releases it's stored air upon the dart. Well, that's the simplest explanation I can give. Just try asking about piloted piston valves on the Spudfiles pneumatic forums, your brain might melt. Ok, so that's how it fire,s right? the way it fills is either via the pump on the bottom or through the the little orange inlet port when it's connected to the bottom of the Titan, so it can be filled by pumping the back of the Titan. The air fills the system, up to where the orange plunger is.

This plunger is actually the most important part of the semi auto function. The reason the top slide has to be cocked forward and back before pumping is to slide the plunger all the way out, allowing the air to access the tubes that fill the valves behind the barrels. The way this system is piloted (or the way the valves are triggered) all at once, is by the release valve that looks like a plus sign. That's what the big orange buttons press. When pressed, the air escapes around the valve and BAM, the valves lose their pilot pressure from the fill side and are triggered to release their stored pressure. Semi auto is achieved by the trigger pulling on a catch which makes the orange piston progress back a little at a time, releasing the pilot air pressure from one of the 6 valves at a time. Of course, there is pressure still in the system from the 5 remaining valves, which tries to push the orange piston forward again. Pointed out by the arrow, there is a catch above the plunger that  is supposed to stop the plunger from being pushed forward again under pressure. BUT, something has obviously gone wrong during production with these blasters and the catch is not in the correct position, stopping it from doing it's job, allowing the plunger to move forward under pressure so that the the lower catch won't pick up the next notch on the plunger, so the blaster can never fire more than just the first dart.

THE FIX! The picture below shows the position it needs to go back in to (with the the cocking slide back), to allow it to do it's job. The tricky part is getting the shell back together without that little part popping out of place again, bending the top of the spring in helps a bit, but no matter what it's going to test your patience.

So now, all going well, semi auto mode works on your Nerf Hornet AS-6, and you now hopefully understand how it all works inside. If you plan on opening up this blaster, print off these pictures and use them for reference. Hope this helps!


Nerf Vortex Reveal!

I'm not first on this, The blogs I follow have already posted their 2 cents, but I'm going to post mine anyway. Here it is, the first look at Nerf's new Vortex line, from Nerf Nation

The good news it that they look like clip fed blasters... and what's different is that they use discs. according to the blurb they use never-before-seen XLR disc technology, and will offer progressive styles, enhanced performance, and unparalleled Nerf power.

I could not get the video to embedfor some reason, so if you would like to watch the video, go here:

Otherwise, speculate over these screenshots.
Stampede rival perhaps?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Custom painted dart blasters by Miles

I've been meaning to get some photos and post these up here for a while. These custom painted blasters are by a mate of mine, Miles. It's not the first of his works, somehow he manages to pull off some really awesome looking paint jobs just by doing some careful masking or dry brushing. His latest work, is a Nerf Longshot, a Nerf Alpha Trooper, and a Lanard Triple Shot. All are now a bit battle worn, but still look great.

First, the Longshot. while the black and silver on a well prepared shell makes this thing stand out, it's not the only detail about this blaster that's different. Miles did an almost seamless integration of the front gun into the longshot main body, and to fire uses a ring pull on string that is the perfect length to line up with the existing longshot trigger, so both can be fired at once, or just one at a time.
Very sleek
Interestingly, instead of just discarding the top half of the front gun after the integration, Miles cleaned it up and painted it in the same colours to be used with the blaster. It also has a Tasco red dot scope on a custom made mount attached to the top rail.
Note the convenient ring-pull trigger
Without the custom barrel
Internally, only the air restrictor has been removed, no extra spring was added. Also, none of the internal parts were painted, so as not to increase wear and early breakdown. Performance? Well, there's been plenty of times I've been hit out of nowhere with a dart that originated from this blaster. Though, a red dot sight on any Nerf blaster is pretty useless, it's still way better than using a Nerf sight.

The Alpha Trooper is my favourite. It looks unreal in my opinion with the Raider stock and custom made sight. The sight was made using the base of a recon flip up sight, and a recycled lens body from the light on the Nerf Nitefinder. Again, no internal parts were painted, and only the air restrictor was removed. It maintains full slam-fire function with no jams.Performance is not lacking at all. Seeing Miles pop up with these generally means you rethink your strategy haha.
Trigger and barrel tip was left orange
to not scare the neighbours
The sight is still compatible with other blasters
quite a photogenic blaster really...
 Finally, there is the Lanard Triple Shot. Going for a more camo look on this one, still with no internals painted. This is also modded, with the turret removed and a buzz bee shell integrated in the front to be able to only take single darts. The upside of this (or rather downside for the other team) is that this blaster now yields incredible ranges. It actually has a significant recoil for a spring powered foam dart blaster. So, with this paint work suits someone in a ghillie suit.

I've been Nerf sniped with this more times than I can count
In closing, I'd like to thank Miles for letting me do a write up on these blasters. I felt that they deserved their own post, and I'm positive there's plenty more custom blasters out there that could get there own spot on this blog. If you would like to see your blasters up here, please email me some decent quality photos with details of the blasters, and your name (unless you want to go anonymous).

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Nerf Vortex line

I'm probably last on this news, as both Nerf Mods and Reviews and Urban Taggers have already posted this news (if you haven't already checked out those two blogs, I strongly suggest that you do), but the latest top secret works by Nerf will be revealed on the Nerf Nation facebook page in a few short days. It's about the upcoming Vortex line, which I'm sure Nerf fans are wetting themselves to find out about.

This announcement will be made on the 11th of April (U.S time i'm assuming, so probably late that night or early hours of the 12th for us). Apparently, it will include media of photos and videos of the entire line. I'm hoping it's some kind of vortex launcher line, and not just a bunch of different recoloured mini vortex (vortexes, vortices... whatever you want to call the plural...) If it is, I'll probably just build a low powered potato cannon and shove a vortex down the barrel. Don't do that at home, I'm an experienced nutter.
Ahh the good old Vortex. Apparently, about to become revamped!

I will try my best to deliver the info as soon as I can, for the small audience I have at the moment.

Review: Nerf Stampede ECS

The Nerf Stampede ECS, was easily last year's most anticipated new release from Hasbro, and in my opinion lived up to the hype, and quickly became one of the most popular foam dart blasters of all time. It is now about 6 months on from the initial release, and it has been one of those Nerf blasters that totally change the way Nerf wars and dart tag is played.

Gotta love macro lenses and Nerf blasters...
In all honesty, I was one of the ones really amped about a fully automatic, clip fed, easily portable blaster. While "full auto" Nerf and Buzz Bee blasters have already been done in the form of the Vulcan and the Auto Tommy 20 respectively, The Stampede promised to be much more portable than the Vulcan, and a lot meaner looking than the tommy 20. So what came in the box? You actually get a fair bit, you receive the blaster, a clip on front shield thing, a really awesome fore grip that turns into a bipod at the press of a button, THREE 18 dart clips, and for some reason, a six dart clip. But not batteries. It requires 6 D-cell 1.5v batteries.

The blaster on it's own is killer, it features a sight built in to the top rail/handle, so if you want to you can add your own scope, 2 side rails to fit lights or ammo holders, another rail on top for the shield (though nothing else fits there, other than a flip up sight which is a bit counter productive...) and 2 rails below the barrel for different positions of the grip/bipod. To turn it on, it has a number of safety features, first it has a switch which looks like a fire select switch on a real gun. then, it will not fire unless both the jam door is closed, and a clip is inserted properly. Once the trigger is pulled, it has a rate of fire of about 3 darts per second max at a range of 30 to 35 feet, which isn't bad. The strange thing is the way it operates. the bolt is open when not firing, when the trigger is pulled it moves forward, loading a dart, then releases the piston and fires the dart once bolt reaches the closed position, then retracts back open and repeats.

The standard setup.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Simple Mod Guide: Nerf Nitefinder Ex-3

While many people somehow completely skip taking a short while to mod a Nerf Nitefinder, it is what I think to be the first that you should try to mod before anything else, as most of the basics of foam dart blaster modding can be learned from this blaster with just a screwdriver, a drill, and an extra spring. The Nerf Nitefinder was the first blaster I ever modified, and since then I have modded a few more. But, believe it or not, my first $12 Nitefinder is still working, and is now making the rounds with a few friends who can't get over how far it can fire a foam dart.

Let's make a start shall we? This mod guide will cover disassembly, removal of air restrictors, adding a spring and putting it all back together again. I'm going to break this down as much as I can and throw in some handy advice along the way. First, you'll need a clean space. I use my pool table because it's nice and flat, and has edges to stop screws from falling off. Next, you will need a phillips head screwdriver (otherwise know as a cross or + head) and you want it to be a good fit. too large or too small and you run a large risk of rounding out the heads of the screws, if you do, you probably won't be able to get them out at all.

15 screws on the outside in total

Remove all of the screws marked in the photo above and place them in order somewhere. there are 14 marked with red arrows which are visible from the top, and one more marked with white which holds the battery cover on. If it's your first time modding, print this out for reference, and even poke the screws through the corresponding arrows on the picture to remember where they go back in.

Internals: print this for reference.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Gearing Up for Paintball: Part 2

Today I sat my firearm safety course, as the first step towards obtaining my firearms licence to be able to own my own paintball marker. The course was held at Belmont rifle range on the south side of brisbane and was run by the Queensland Millatary Rifle Club. I have to say, it is a course I highly recommend for anyone wishing to sit their firearm safety course.

The bulk of the course was theory, and covered laws involving safe storage, purchase, transport and licencing in the first part, of which most was common sense. What i didn't know, and found pretty surprising, is the definition of "firearm" in terms of the law is basically anything that can cause injury to someone, and also means (believe it or not) a deodorant can when used to cause harm, becomes classified as a firearm in the eyes of the law. By extension, if you purposely shot someone with a nerf blaster to deliberately cause harm to someone, then it's possible it could be classed as a firearm if anything legal happened about it.

Next we were shown the ins and outs of all kinds of guns, including air rifles, and were also shown how to make a firearm safe, and identify whether a gun is safe or loaded. We were also shown different firing positions and the advantages and disadvantages of them. sounds easy? It is. Even if you have absolutely zero knowledge of guns at all, you'll be competent by the end. All of the instructors were absolutely great. Very engaging and willing to help and answer any question, no matter how simple the question might be.

a couple of tests, and we were off to the range for a practical exam. We were shown again up at the range how to operate our guns and how to make them safe. Obviously, they weren't going to hand over a high powered rifles to us freshly clued in noobs to have a blast with, so we were allowed to use a Savage mark II rifle. It's a .22 caliber, bolt action with a 5 round box magazine, no scope, just iron sights.

Savage mark II .22 caliber that was used in the prac exam

Friday, April 1, 2011

Gearing Up for Paintball: Part 1

If you live in Australia (particularly Queensland), then this ongoing article is for you. This article is about 2 of my friends and I getting what we need to start playing paintball practice days and comps, without the need for equipment hire or paying insane prices for ammo, but mainly to own our own markers customized to the way want.

So, where do I start? from the very beginning i guess. I first played paintball a few years ago, and loved it. at first i was a bit worried about how much it might hurt, but once I started playing it was great! I got hit a fair few times, and the only one that really stung was one to the inner thigh, but to be honest I have had far worse happen with my other sport, BMX. It did hurt a lot, but it was nothing compared to slipping a pedal and having it tear up your shin. I have massive scarring on my shins from BMX, but i still ride anyway, so a bruise that goes away and stings a bit its nothing. So I was hooked.
A Tippmann X7, most likely my choice of marker.