Friday, June 28, 2013

Nerf Elite Triad and Jolt review

Battle of the mini side arms: Elite edition? Today I've got the elite Jolt and Triad for review, both have very similar styling and operation, and both pack a punch in a tiny package. What do I think of them? Well I'll start with the Triad.

When I first saw pictures of the Triad, I thought it looked like some kind of franken-jolt. In person, it's larger than I had anticipated, and not nearly as ugly as I first thought. The ergonomics are a bit off though, it is definitely not the most comfortable blaster I've held. There are many edges that jut out  in to your hand, the main one being the base of the plunger tube where the screw port is. I feel like this could have been avoided if that area was smoothed out some more.

The function of this blaster definitely makes up for the poor ergonomics however. The Triad features 3 barrels, which cleverly utilise the air restrictor system to fire one dart at a time, and block off air flow to barrels that don't have a dart loaded. This means you can stick a dart in any barrel and it will fire with full power first time no matter what. So, unlike other barrel loaded blasters, you do not have to load another dart for each shot or twist a turret or barrel selector, you just cock the blaster via the rod at the base of the handle, pull the trigger and repeat for the next 2 shots. Drilling out the air restrictors would make it a pocket shotgun, making all 3 darts fire at once with reduced power.

Ranges aren't bad, considering this is a grey trigger model, it still makes 50-60 feet with elite darts, but the accuracy seems to be a little lacking when compared to the Jolt or Firestrike for some reason. Still, the Triad makes a great side arm based on range and refire rate. if it were coming up against any other barrel loaded blaster, it would stand a good chance.

On to the Elite Jolt. I'm not really sure you could actually call it an elite Jolt, to be honest. compared to the original Jolt there has only been cosmetic changes, most notably the colours, and a barrel tip. The elite jolt I have hits the exact same ranges as the original and functions no differently. I would have liked to see a dart holder or something, but I guess that defeats the purpose of being the most minimalistic blaster in the range.

But, the colours are really nice and there has been no price change. True to the Nerf Elite styling, the blaster is mainly blue, with a white stripe and grey and orange accents. What I found strange was that the Nerf logo on one side of mine was painted black, but not on the other side.

To answer something I always wondered, yes, the Triad's plunger tube is indeed bigger. This means that turning it in to a single barrel blaster would make it a kind of "super jolt", although I'm not sure anyone has attempted this yet.

Although Nerf does not make any accessories for either of these blasters, Slydev does. These include dart holders and rail connectors. Holsters for these are also available from various third parties from what I'm told, I'll update when I find these.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Review: Nerf Elite Alpha Trooper

Arguably one of the most popular N-Strike series blaster to date has been the Alpha Trooper CS-18, anyone with a decent collection will tell you they have one or several of them kicking around. It hit shelves with a brand new 18 dart drum mag, touted slam-fire with shotgun style pump action grip and great looks. I was a little disappointed when Nerf released the Elite line without a variant of the Alpha Trooper in the line-up, but fast forward a few months and rumors began to surface of an Elite Alpha Trooper CS-12. Crisis averted!

The Alpha Trooper CS-12 is the Elite variant of the N-Strike Alpha Trooper, complete with Elite style blue and white colouration. Not much has changed on this blaster really, the only differences externally being the colour and the inclusion of a 12 dart straight mag instead of an 18 dart drum. The quality of the build is, as per usual from Nerf, a great standard. I am a little disappointed that nothing changed on the shell design though, a more comfortable priming grip or iron sights or even some rails would really compliment this blaster. I'd even go so far as to say Nerf could have added a unique stock and sold this blaster at a higher price, and they'd sell even more. But, I guess the original Alpha Trooper was really a minimalistic Raider, which caught the appeal of those who didn't like the size or fancy bits of the Raider.

Even though the Elite Alpha Trooper only features a top rail and a stock adapter as the platform for customisation, it does still look pretty good with some parts on. I like using the Stockade stock, and a Max Force Shadow Hawk scope looks cool when trimmed to fit. HINT HINT NERF SOME ELITE TOP RAIL ACCESSORIES ON YOUR BLASTERS WOULD BE GREAT. Is that too subtle?

Performance? well, this is an Australian grey trigger version, so performance is pretty pathetic, but fear not, since the rest of the world gets a decent spring in theirs, I decided to swap in a US Rampage spring to negate the detuning. Performance with a US spring is more impressive, 75 feet with an angle is on par with the rest of the Elites blasters. The slamfire is smooth and fast, but burns through darts quickly so the 12 dart mag does not last long. Internally, this blaster uses the same format as the Retaliator, except with slam-fire parts in the mix. I wouldn't mind seeing a brass breeched Elite Alpha Trooper in action, since the barrel seems to be a good length to deliver some great power. But even without complex mods, some decent power can be achieved with a few of mods like spring swap, AR removal and plunger head dead space filling.

Overall, it' great to see the original Alpha Trooper get the Elite treatment and gain the same performance increases as the Rampage and Retaliator, but I still think some add on parts out of the box would be a nice and welcome addition to an already decent blaster. But don't let that stop you from picking up this great unit. I picked mine up for a mere $14.50AU, which is ridiculously good value.  -Rolley