Saturday, April 19, 2014

Photo spam requests!

So I have been receiving a couple of requests for photos of a particular blaster with different accessories, and rather than just post a single photo, I'd like to get some requests from everyone. So if you have a particular blaster that you want to see in a certain setup, request it here, and if I have everything, I'll take some shots and post them in a separate post next week. Think creative and don't hesitate for multiple requests!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mega Review: Centurion and Magnus

If you've followed the Nerf Mega line since it's birth a few months ago you'll have found some pretty mxed reviews of both the Centurion and Magnus blasters. Frankly, I found it hard to find an honest review out there, as all I could find was reviews where the reviewer had quite obviously been given a care package from hasbro to sweeten them up, or reviews that were the exact opposite because they were overshadowed by the reviewer's emotion. So, I had to drop the cash on both the Centurion and the Magnus.

First out was the Centurion, apparently the successor to the ever popular Nerf Longshot. It's an absolutely massive blaster. It definitely fits the image of a powerful anti-material rifle, and it feels really empowering to hold. Features on the blaster are pretty minimal though, it has a couple of sling loops and a top tactical rail towards the back half of the blaster, a rail under the barrel which supports the foldable bipod that comes with the blaster. I guess there isn't much more you'd want with this blaster anyway, a funtional scope wouldn't go astray though. Unfortunately, the barrel isn't removable unless you mod it first by removing the locks.  It also comes with a 6-dart angled bottom magazine, which cannot yet be bought seperately.

So what's the main difference between this successor and the Longshot? The ammo. The Centurion fires a huge whistler dart, 20x92mm to be exact, much larger than the standard 12.5x72.5 elite dart. The massive dart carries a lot of energy compared to elite darts but doesn't sting like an elite due to the larger surface area on impact. The wall thickness of the foam is not much thicker than an elite dart's however, which does lead to faster deterioration, not very handy when these darts are hard to come by, and only come in packs of 10. Many people shun this type of new ammo, but personally I think some nerfers can be a stubborn bunch who are hard to convince. Mega darts are a type of specialized ammo for a specialized class of player.

Right, so how does it perform? Out of the box it isn't bad, it does out range other blasters by a small amount, but in't what you expect. There is a satisfying 2-stage KA-CHUNK firing sound and notable recoil. The reason for this, the internals. When you first open up this blaster, you think "oh god, what the hell is this?". The priming mechanism is very different from anything else. Pulling back the bolt handle operates a gear system which pushes the bolt forward, loading the dart and preloading the spring, as the plunger is already locked up. pushing the bolt handle forward unlocks all the safety mechanisms, making the blaster ready to fire. Pulling the trigger releases the plunger, which upon finishing it's travel unlocks the bolt from the closed position by pushing the latch up, and then the whole assembly slides back thanks to a return spring, and the plunger is locked up on the trigger again. The system is a pretty cool way of making the blaster feel like it has recoil and gives it a really cool firing sound, but unfortunately the plunger setup is a reverse plunger configuration. this means tons of dead space, limited plunger volume and poor efficiency overall. This is where most people's gripes are, and although I do see their side, I do like to remind people that a few years ago a large portion of Nerf's line-up were reverse plungered and didn't fire more than 30 feet out of the box, and the whole bolt return mechanism wouldn't work with a direct plunger, so I think we have to cut the designers a little slack, 70 to 80 feet isn't that bad. And of course, if you want extreme ranges, you're better of replacing the internals, regardless of the blaster, and the Centurion offers A LOT of room for a full internals replacement, probably enough to house a cleverly laid out air blaster system.

Ok, onto the Magnus. This pistol is pretty huge too, and just like the Centurion, it feels empowering to hold. It's definitely the Desert Eagle of the Nerf world. Again, it is minimalistic. It features an underbarrel tactical rail, and iron sights on top. In a nice touch of innovation it features something almost no dart pistol has: an internal magazine. Yep, pull the top slide back, load up 3 darts and you can rock and roll. This keeps the overall look very clean, and functional too.

Again, it fires the new Mega darts. And with huge punch for a multi-shot pistol, too. 85 feet out of the box is a range claim that stands up, and combined with the extra kinetic energy of the Mega darts, it feels like a hand held cannon when firing it. Accuracy out of the Magnus is also decent, and the ability to fire two more follow up shots seals the deal for me as a favourite pistol. Better yet? unlike it's much larger counterpart, it's a direct plunger system, and modding for more power is as simple as adding a nitefinder spring in combination with the stock spring.

Since performing this mod on my Magnus, I have not yet put it aside. It's a fun blaster that is satisfying to fire, and performs quite well. For under $20 AU it's well worth adding to the collection, especially if you're looking for a unique pistol. As for the Centurion, I wouldn't recommend picking on up at the going rate of $70+ right now, unless you're willing to drop some decent money, time and effort to replace the internals. It is definitely a great candidate for this treatment, the vast amount of space inside the shell and striking looks outside allow for a keen modder's imagination to really get cranking. I have my plans, but time isn't really on my side just now.

I don't know why it's so red in this photo, blogger does this to me sometimes.

Final note: This is what I deal with taking photos at night. A brush tail possum decided to see what was going on. These guys aren't quite as friendly as ring tail possums, so I had to pack up and head inside before it got cranky with my flash.

Don't try to feed brush tail possums apples. Trust me.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Massive year of Nerf ahead?

2013 was a good year for Nerf. Foam sports continued to grow, more and more people got involved in local clubs and Nerf war events and Nerf released a ton of cool new gear including the epic Rapidstrike CS-18 and the Elite Mega line. Albeit, the Centurion sucks, but from what I'm told the Magnus is pretty good. So 2014 should be one of those quieter years, right? NOPE. It's only January, and rumor mills and talks of prototypes are already going mental.

First off, here's the biggest thing so far, which has filled up my news feed: The Demolisher.

Look at that thing. It's a beast. It's a semi auto assault rifle style blaster with a freakin' GRENADE LAUNCHER. Good job, about time. The stock holds another grenade and is removable, there's a barrel adapter, a tactical rail on each side, the top, and under the barrel. Wait, what? That means the 'nade launcher is removable too? Yep. You certainly can shove that grenade launcher on your heavily modded and over-volted 750rpm rapidstrike, just so that you can now be even more unstoppable. The Demolisher looks really awesome without the grenade launcher too.

It even looks mean without being able to shoot grenades.

This is apparently the first new blaster of the new Elite range, which features 100ft ranges and "smart" internals with magazines that use a "smart" spring system. I have now idea what all this "smart" means, but it seems to have something to do with reliability of feeding darts and obviously more range. For the flywheel fans, there is also a new flywheel system to reach these ranges and improve on the high rate of jams and misfires too.

But that's not all, according to My Last Dart, there will also be 3 new laser sights to match this new revamped Elite range, and 1 more each for zombiestrike, vortex and dart-tag (what?). I'd say these will be sold seperately, along with banana mag packs similar to the Retaliator double 18 mag pack doing the rounds here in Big W at the moment. So, there we have it, The whole Elite line being reworked, "smart" internals and magazines, laser sights, grenade launchers, longer ranges and banana mags? looks like a pretty hge year for fans of Nerf coming up!