Friday, August 31, 2012

Tactical Tag and the Nerf Hailfire

Image courtesy of Tactical Tag
One of the blasters from the new Nerf N-Strike Elite line that I won't be reviewing is the Hailfire blaster. This is not to say that I don't want to review it, but basically due to cost and the impracticality for the wars I go to, it's not really a wise investment for my already tight budget. However, I can point you in the direction of a nice hands-on style write up of the Hailfire blaster, along with a pretty amusing test video.

Both are by Bazookafied of the Tactical Tag blog (and also writer for Nerf Mods and Reviews). The write-up can be found in this magical coloured text, while the video of 'Zook going to town with 144 darts can be found in the land of link text also.

I would also like to take this quick opportunity to thank Bazookafied for the support of this blog recently, his links back to this blog have helped the readership grow and also helped this blog to finally crack the 40,000 views mark this month. While at the moment I haven't had a whole lot of time to work on this blog thanks to my job sucking up all my free time, I do still have a few things planned for next month, so do check in from time to time. -Rolley

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Iron sights and more by SlyDev

Not too long ago I reviewed a 3D printed part from SlyDev that allowed you to attach your Nerf Jolt to any Nerf tactical rail, and I thought it was pretty good, so when Joey announced that the iron sights that he'd been working on for a while were now available in the SlyDev store, I went straight on over and ordered a set. Joey also threw in some other parts to review with my order, so I'll cover those in this post as well.

In the package, I received a full iron sight kit, which includes one back piece and three front pieces for different ranges, a glue on 4cm Nerf style rail, a glue on double dart holder, a glue on an 8cm picatinny rail and a second back piece for my iron sights (I liked the idea of a black rear sight and orange front sight). All of these parts of of great quality, especially for the low price you can get them for on the store, but I'll start with the glue on rails.

Both rails can be attached to any flat surface (or rounded, if you've got some skill in glueing things) and have fantastic tolerances. The 4cm Nerf rail is ideal for tight places and holds attachments very well. I stuck mine on to the side of my rampage at an angle that the supersoaker shield would sit nicely. I tried shaking the blaster as hard as I could and neither the shield nor tactical light would fall off, so I'd say that it actually holds on to attachments better than a lot of Nerf rails. The 4cm Nerf is available for $3 +$2 shipping and an 8cm version is available for $6 +$2 postage. I haven't mounted the picatinny rail to anything yet but I did mount my red dot sight to it and it fits on there perfectly. In the past, I've played around with designing BMX parts and I know that getting tolerances right requires lots of careful measurements, and seeing this rail fit picatinny parts so well impresses me. Perhaps it might look good on my Xplorer grip Longshot... These sell for $5 +$2 postage, or a 4cm version is $3 +$2postage.

Wish the Rampage had a shield? Problem solved.
Next, the double dart holder. I think this would go right at home on any manually loaded pistol type blaster or perhaps a double barrel shotgun blaster. As with the rails, the quality is great and darts hold firmly without being crushed. This can be glued to any flt surface, just like the rails and is available for $2 +$2 postage.

Top: Rear sights.
Bottom: Front sights.
Finally, one of the sweetest aftermarket attachments available is the iron sights. Available separately or as a set, there are 3 front pieces and one back piece to chose from currently. Each of the pieces attach to a Nerf rail via a side screw. The front pieces are all a different height, no drop for high powered air blasters, medium drop for modified blasters, and high drop for stock and lightly modded blasters. The different drops mean that you automatically angle your blaster up to compensate for the fall of the dart as it travels, but you can also mount the pieces closer together to get more angle or further apart to get less, depending on what you prefer. Mine found their home on my Rampage and they look pretty mean. Individual iron sight pieces are $3 +$1 postage, or $10 for the set with $2 postage.

I can't lie, I love these sights!
These little parts are starting to shape up as some of the most innovative small parts that the scene has been needing for some time, and at prices that won't destroy your wallet too. Good news is, SlyDev now ships to the U.S for a flat rate of $13 too, so our northern buddies can get a hold of these as well. I'll bet that a few HvZ players will snap up iron sight sets and at $10 + postage, I can't see why not. For more info or to purchase any of these products and others, head to the SlyDev Store. Thanks again to Joey and SlyDev for sending my these parts for review!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Review: Nerf Elite Rampage and Retaliator

Release dates that Nerf set don't really hold much integrity anymore, especially since anyone can pick up some of the N-Strike Elite line way early from By way early, I mean, if you live in the U.S, you could have had your hands on these about a month ago, but I had to wait for longer shipping times due to me living in Australia. Oh well, sucks to be Nerf I guess. Now, I present the Rampage and Retaliator, the first announced blasters for the N-strike line. Let's start with the Retaliator.

The Retaliator is basically a remodel of the ever popular Recon. I loved the Recon, if you couldn't tell from my review of the gear-up version, So I was pretty optimistic about the Retaliator. Nerf made quite a few changes on this blaster, really the only things that are the same is the barrel shell and the blaster shell itself. It features a foregrip instead of the light, no top sight, a 12 dart mag, barrel with top and bottom rails and a totally new stock, all of which are removable. While the stock is pretty short, it is very solid, and the fitment of all parts is very good. All these attachment points mean you can build this blaster in to just about any style of blaster you see fit. Internally, it's had a massive upgrade, a direct plunger system in place of the feeble reverse plunger, similar to the Longshot's system but shrunk down to fit the shell. This increases the efficiency by a hell of a lot, more air pushed with less dead space equals more power!

"They said I could be anything I wanted, so I became awesome!"
Performance from this blaster with the new elite darts is insane for an out of the box blaster. I do have the 75ft version, and it is definitely hitting those ranges with angle. At close range it will certainly hit pretty hard with great accuracy. Longer ranges gain a fair amount of spread, but nothing like the inconsistency of the old streamlines. (This is actually taking a long time to write this post, because I keep getting distracted by the Retaliator next to me, because I keep shooting impromptu targets in the room... like coke cans and doorknobs...) The downside to the Retaliator is that it still features the same clumsy top slide priming as the Recon, but that can be fixed with this bolt handle mod, or possibly the Xplorer recon slide. Speaking of mods, there are already a few mod guides circulating YouTube and a nice write up on the Modworks blog. Aftermarket mod kits are available through Xplorer, and apparently Orange Mod Works is working on their own kit too. It's really too early to tell what sort of potential can be achieved from these blasters, but I'll say that 90ft+ is totally possible.

Now, on to the Rampage. Not unlike the Retaliator, the Rampage is also a remodel and lovers of the raider will go nuts with this. Unfortunately, Nerf opted to not include a stock, but offers a much more sensible centre feed 25 dart drum mag instead of the massive offset 35 dart drum, so you do lose a bit of capacity, but 25 darts is still a decent amount and mobility is greatly improved. Internals are pretty much the same as the Retaliator's, but it features slam fire capability and is built for side feeding of darts rather than bottom feed. The build quality is again very good, in fact I'd say this blaster's priming mechanism feels a little smoother than the Raider's.

I do feel like this is now the ultimate rush blaster, as it touts the same insane power and accuracy as the Retaliator, although slamfiring will obviously increase the spread of your darts due to the movement. For indoor wars and restricted spaces, dart spread at range wouldn't really be an issue, as the benefits of the short frame and overwhelming slamfire capability coupled with ridiculous power from stock blaster far outweigh any loss of accuracy. Mods are essentially the same as the Retaliator's, however as far as I know, no aftermarket mod kits are available yet, although that's likely to change in the near future, and again, I'd suggest that it's potential could possibly be 90ft+, but no one really knows how far this will go yet.

Both blasters are very impressive releases from Nerf, and although I had hoped that more new designs would appear rather than remodels of old basters, I can say I am very glad they revisited these two. The Recon and Rider were actually the very first Nerf blasters I had ever used, and feel a little nostalgic every time I pick the Rampage or Retaliator up. But then I pull the trigger and realize that it's halfway through 2012, and these Elite blasters mean serious business. Before anyone asks, yes that is an upside down 35 drum mag in the last picture, I find it kind of a compromise between practicality and massive ammo capacity. To find out how to do that mod, see the links below. To sum up, I need to give out a pair of scores. For the Retaliator, I'll throw out a 9.5 out of 10. I would have liked to see slamfire appear on this one and that's what makes it fall short, but really, it's still impressive as hell. The Rampage gets a 9.5 also, basically because of the lack of accessories that come with it. A shield or stock (or both) would have got it all the way home, but alas, Nerf skimped. I do look forward to seeing if Nerf come up with something totally new again in the new year apart from that god-awful Hailfire ..."thing". I can bet that these two blasters here will sell very well, and will be extremely hard to beat.

Reverse clip mod
Orange Mod Works
Xplorer Recon rapidfire grip (May fit Retaliator?)
Xplorer Xpower kit for Retaliator

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Nerf Longshot: Xplorer grip overhaul

This is my revamped Nerf Longshot. I've actually had it for a couple of years, with just the paint job, custom barrel and AR removal. Since the paintjob is not suitable for public wars, and it's ranges weren't spectacular, I only ever used it for private wars. I decided to give this battle-worn a bit of an overhaul for a party that I was told to bring a Nerf gun to because the host decided it'd be a fun idea to tell everyone to bring a Nerf gun, and see what unfolds.

Before I get to what unfolded, I'll explain the blaster first. For the internals, I cleaned up the AR removal from the dodgy drilling I did when I was just getting in to modding, improved the plunger seal, re-greased the plunger tube, added plunger padding and also lubricated any moving parts within the internals. Originally, I left the stock spring in because I wanted to keep the priming as light as possible for fast firing, but in the end I opened it back up and put a 6kg OMW recon spring in, which still primes pretty easily anyway.

On the outside, I installed the Xplorer shotgun grip and lubricated it's running track, and I have to say, I am absolutely stunned at how well made the grip is. It fits comfortably in the hand, feels incredibly durable and functions flawlessly. I also did something nifty with the mags. I used duct tape to create something similar to a Magpul, which aids in quick removal, speeding up my frequent reloads.

Duct tape magpul
So, I started out with an under-powered bolt action blaster and managed to create a blaster that can fire off darts almost as fast as a slam-fire blaster with more punch and slightly quickened reload times. Even though I didn't repaint the now quite dirty and worn paint, this is now one of my more favoured blasters. Though it's still not all that powerful when compared to a brass breeched LS with a monster pair of springs, I still feel that for the role overpowering of mid range (50ft or so), it does the job well and could compete with any slamfire blaster in that area.

Aaand it's over the fence... Whoops...
The first battle test was in fact, the party that I attended. I turned up with this blaster, a bandolier, 6 mags and around 50 darts, and was immediately greeted with the comment "Holy hell, you definitely came prepared!". The night started quietly with a few people asking questions about the blaster and a couple of other people with Nerf blasters talking about the new elite blasters. After everyone had a couple of drinks (this is an 18+ event, by the way), someone started popping a few shots of and a few brief shootouts were exchanged. An hour later, everyone had arrived, and about half had Nerf blasters for themselves and a couple to lend out. Soon after, all hell had broken loose and there was foam going EVERYWHERE, and I know I heard one person exclaim, "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU TELL PEOPLE TO BRING NERF GUNS!!!!". This was around the point that the host and I had set up a bunker in the living room while I blasted away at anything I saw. I guess it escalated pretty quickly, but after putting hundreds of darts through the blaster and holding back the most ridiculous onslaught of crazy young adults with Nerf guns without  single jam, I came to the conclusion that this blaster passed the test. I spoke to the host the next day and he tells me that he found foam darts in places you couldn't have ever thought of, but overall, he decided it was a pretty damn good night.

So there you have it. My latest addition (or rather, re-addition) to my arsenal. Future mods might include the Orange Mod Works Immortal kit for the Longshot, but that kit has been quite a long time in the making so it's probably more likely to be an Xplorer composite bolt sled, plunger tube support and an 8 or 10kg spring. Time will tell I guess, but in the mean time, I'll have fun with this as it is!

For Xplorer kits and mods, go to: