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!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Setups: Elite Alpha Trooper

It's been a while since I've posted, and even longer since I did a "setups" post. If you missed the first two, they were the Gear up Recon and the Elite Rampage. So let's dive in to setting up the remake of one of Nerf's most popular blasters, shall we?

Right, first up, the Alpha Trooper is pretty minimalistic in it's stock form, so obviously you can't load the hell out of this thing. There's other blasters for that. The Elite Alpha Trooper's strength is it's slamfire capability and it's compact size. You want to only add to the blaster in areas that will aid you and nothing else, otherwise you'll end up losing the compact size advantages. So bandoliers are out, as you'll want to be on the move all the time anyway. To combat the dart consumption of slamfire and lack or mags available to you, I suggest some "tactical tape". A pair of 12rd mags taped together gives you 24 dart capacity and easy reloading, as well as the option to pick up darts as you go and put them in the bottom mag. This means you don't need a tactical vest or bandolier and this frees you up to move quicker.

Accuracy is also another sore point of Slamfire blasters, so to help remedy this try a sturdy stock, like lightning storm's stock, and a single attachment point sight like a red dot sight, or if you've scoured the earth to almost no end to obtain, an elite pinpoint sight (Thank you Dninja!). Zoom sights are bit pointless on a blaster where you'll be doing most of your engaging at less than 60 feet, so really, any non-zoom sight that can utilise just the single rail will help you lock on to your target in combination with a decent stock.

Internally, go for reliability and ease of prime. An OMW 5kg spring will be just fine in this blaster with locks removed. you could probably go crazy and do a brass breech, but I'm not sure how effective this would be Vs. the gain.

With this setup, you can easily go for capture points in games of capture the flag or similar, since you'll be able to move quicker than anyone else without anything weighing you down, and you have the option of laying out a fair amount of darts in short slamfire bursts, but prolonged situations are probably something to avoid when possible

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Firing video: Remedy Metal Longshot

A few of my friends keep asking me to show them a video of my Remedy Metal Longshot, featured in this post so they can see the power of this thing. Well, recently I picked up a handy little mountable camera, so I decided to go ahead and make a firing demo video. I don't do videos often but I might have anothr in the works soon, depending on the free time I have available. Anyway, enjoy!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Nerf "Elite" Reflex review

One of the old mini N-strike blasters that carried over into the new elite colour scheme is the Nerf Reflex,and these have recently popped up here in target stores in Australia, so I thought I'd pick one up and give it a shot.

At $8, this unit sits at the same price point as the Nerf Triad. They essentially fill similar roles, but the Triad and Reflex have a few different features from each other. First off, the Reflex is kind of like a really small and simple recon pistol. It features a top tactical rail and slide cocking mechanism, striking blue, white and orange colour scheme and sling loop on the handle. Unfortunately, the handle is very small. I couldn't find a way to hold this blaster comfortably. It's also only a single shot blaster with no extra dart storage, but is packaged with 3 elite darts. It does look rad in elite colours, and it's size is perfect to carry around in your pocket. But then again, a Triad or Jolt also fits in your pocket...

Designed for people with 2 fingers and a thumb.

Performance of this blaster was something that really disappointed me. There has been no change to the internals when carried over to the elite range from the original N-strike line. So it still barely fires a dart more than 25 feet, and is unreliable. I found I had to squash the dart in to the barrel a little to make sure it fired properly The reason for this is that the reverse plunger system inside is actually tiny. At first it looks like a sizable reverse plunger system, then you look at where the catch is and figure out that if that's the length of the draw, then the actual plunger tube is only half of what you see. The back half is only to guide the spring and to function as a priming indicator out the back of the blaster. Needless to say, modifying this unit is a waste of time. For the sake of trialing the theory, I removed the air restrictor and improved the seal on mine. I didn't get any extra range, but I was able to fire any Nerf dart.

See that plunger tube? only half of that is actually plunger tube.

Overall, the elite Reflex is still a Reflex, just with new colours. Since the Reflex's first release, a number of other small blasters have hit the scene which really out do this Blaster in every way, like the Firestrike of Triad. I would avoid this blaster unless you're like me and are collecting the entire blue elite range.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Spudfiles gets a facelift!

Long running potato cannon forum Spudfiles has recieved a major overhaul and now includes a Nerf showcase, and discussion section. I was lucky enough to kick off the Nerf showcase with the Remedy Metal Longshot #2.

Spudfiles was my first port of call while I was learning to build potato cannons and is probably the richest source of information on available for that type of thing. The community there is supportive of progress and a few individuals are constantly pushing the envelope for what can be done to shoot various projectiles using air or combustion power (or in the case of mad scientists, both). Safety is also strong message pushed by spudfiles community which is really great, senior forum members often steer less clued-up users in the right direction so that everyone can enjoy spudding without any worries.

If you're in to potato cannons, air guns, or Nerf basters, do check out the newly refreshed Spudfiles and join the community. I have been a part of the forum since before I even touched a Nerf gun, and I think it will be interesting seeing the hardcore spudders' input in to the Nerf sections, perhaps we will see some direction of progression that no one has ever tried before?

Edit: Posting this at 2am? Yes, that is correct. I finished work an hour ago. This is one of the reasons why I don't post regularly.