Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ready to "Gear Up!"

Nerf's "Gear Up!" series N-Strike Blasters are hitting shelves here in the Midwest.  I spotted Raiders and Barricades at a local Wal-Mart.  I haven't been able to find Vortex blasters, like a few others have.  This is likely just a distributing error on the retailers part, so it would just be dumb luck if I were to find some of those around here.

Can't say I'm super psyched for a two tone Halloween Nerf blaster series of recolors, so I doubt I'll pick some of these up.  If I ever see a Whiteout series blaster though, I'll be nabbing that pretty quickly!  If you ask me, the Whiteout series should've been the colorscheme for "Gear Up!", not the construction worker blasters.

Pricing so far has been identical to the normal blasters.  I suppose if you were bummed that the Barricade doesn't come with the Raider Stock, at least it's in the same colors as the Raider now!  I have yet to spot the Maverick or Recon in these colors yet, but I'm sure they'll show up soon enough.  Nerf Mods & Reviews also has online ordering information for "Gear Up!", Whiteout, and Vortex from Wal-Mart's website.  Details here.

Season 6's last 3 Games

We're on approach to the last 3 weeks of the OLCA's 6th Summer Season.  August 1st, 8th, and 15th are the final weekly games that are scheduled.  From the looks of the weather, August 1st is on the brink of being cancelled at the hands of a Heat Index of 101.  The OLCA has already cancelled one game a few weeks ago due to dangerously hot temperatures, and I get the feeling we might be in for a second.

That being said, this season has been a hot one in general, with the Omaha area seeing record pushing temperatures for 4 weeks straight now.  As a result, we've been getting LOTS more use out of our LTTO and LTX blasters for the simple fact that A:  they work better in sunlight and B:  you don't have to wear a vest with them.  As a result, we have neglected our LC gear and some of our vets have really been missing them.

Anyways, I wanted to share a few pictures of our recent games.  Click on the picture below to view the album.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New Products Stateside

A trip to one of the Target stores near me revealed the first I've seen of Max Force on local shelves.  They had the Blowgun, Shadow Hawk, Crossbow, and Maximizer, as well as extra ammo, all in stock.  From what I could tell, they had literally just been put there, as it looked like someone was restocking shelves.  Prices for Max Force that I observed were the following:

  • Blowgun: 9.99 USD
  • Ammo:  9.99 USD
  • Maximizer: 19.99 USD
  • Crossbow: 24.99 USD
  • Shadow Hawk:  34.99 USD
These are pretty pricey for plastic spitwad guns if you ask me, but when I went to pick up the box containing the Shadow Hawk, it at least had some noticeable heft to it.  There are dozens of good reviews out there for these, so if you want to form your own opinion on whether the pricetag is worth it, check them out.  In my opinion, Urban Taggers has the most complete reviews I've seen around of these.  

From what I can tell, the Crossbow is just an aesthetically altered Maximizer.  It has the same blaster design as it if you ignore the crossbow parts.  There's even a little hook on the end of the Maximizer handle that looks like it accepts the red rubber band that would make it a Crossbow.  The Crossbow is also, mind you, a Target Exclusive.  It does claim to get 5 more feet of range over the Maximizer though, so perhaps the performance increase of that rubber band is actually worth something.  

I did not spot a Terrornator in my searches.  I was tempted to check out the Shadow Hawk had it not been for the pricetag.  The jury is still out on these for me, personally.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Light Strike Pricing so far

Light Strike has made it to shelves here in the US at Toys R Us locations so far (only store that carries them to date).  Folks have been asking about pricing information so I took some pictures of the products I've spotted thus far and recorded their prices here.  Since my intial spotting, I have also found additional accessories for this system.

  • Refractor Launch System:  14.99 USD
  • Strike Target: 11.99 USD
  • Target Vest:  29.99
  • Strikers:  34.99 USD
  • Assault Strikers:  44.99 USD

These are the only products I've been able to find so far and pricing is obviously subject to change.  Toys R Us is generally the most expensive retailer (Nerf Blasters alone are usually marked up 5 bucks or so), so these might go down when they hit other store shelves.

Unleashed Kits

Awhile back, when Nerf Mods for the N-Strike line were becoming more popular, I noticed that the ModWorks of SG Nerf had made aluminum replacement parts for some of their internals.  From a bolt sled for a Longshot to a Plunger tube on a recon, their results looked pretty legit and led to stronger and better internals for these blasters.  I started seeing those in 2009/2010.

Fast forward to '11 and now there's a site called Orange Mod Works that is developing upgrade kits for N-Strike Blasters.  These kits replace key parts with custom-fabricated aluminium parts for a better seal, stronger parts, and overall better performance.  They started out with the tried-and-true Nerf Recon CS-6 and have announced other N-Strike Blasters as well. They've begun to release these online at their website and reviews of their products I've seen thus far have been favorable.  I've been thinking of upgrading one of my own blasters, but I'll have to wait until they've released the kit for it:  the Longstrike.

Still, it's a neat site that offers products I've yet to see sold like this.  I suppose the only downside is that the prices are about that of a brand new Nerf Blaster.  The Alpha Trooper "Stage One" kit sells for 18.99.  I think my Target has Alpha Troopers on sale for 19.99/17.99 depending on the sales.  Basic modifications for AR Removal will get you a notable performance boost already, but the more I look at OMD, the more I think it's worth the investment for a great blaster.

The only trouble is that I tend to switch primary blasters pretty frequently... and I would have a hard time deciding which of my blasters to purchase this kit upgrade for!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Eagle has Landed

Looks like Light Strike is officially State-side.  Found at the Toys R Us at 76th & Dodge in Omaha, NE.

They had one type of each of the Strikers and Assault Strikers as well as sensor vests.  No add-on hardware there yet.

As usual, I'm expecting Toys R Us' prices to be the highest, so if I DO pick this up for testing, it'll be whenever it hits Wal-Mart or Target shelves.

Progress > Congress

Worked last night with the help of some friends on some laser tag gear.  Thought I'd share some of that here.  In lieu of mother nature making things unbearably hot, we cancelled our laser tag game for Monday Night and had a Mod Night instead, where friends of this hobby get together and pool our resources to work on stuff.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I just finished reading up Urban Tagger's incredibly in-depth review of Light Strike as I try to wrap my head around this new system.  There are things I like and dislike about it and I think one of my main problems is that blaster aesthetics are a big bias of mine.  Let's face it... when you're used to using blasters like this and this, going with a Paper Jamz blaster is less than desirable.  I've tried really hard to keep that factor at bay as I read reviews on it and try to gauge this system for myself without having access to purchasing it just yet.

The big issue I keep coming back to is range... or lack thereof in blasters.  Even if it wasn't the most technologically advanced laser tag system ever, if there's one good thing we saw from the Laser Challenge brand, it was great lenses and range.  The legendary Laser Challenge V2 Firestorm's lens (which can achieve ranges that exceed 1000 ft) has been regarded by Mike Yates as the best consumer-grade produced lens in a laser tag blaster.  That's saying a LOT from a guy who can build his own optics and is known for his excellent custom blasters at CTDYNE.  Several of his blasters are actually built around this epic lens, including the V-206 Maverick.

Now I know what you're going to say.  "What's the big deal of range if you're playing indoors."  And while I realize that the main focus of Light Strike is indoors, you can still at least put a lens on it.  Take the LTX or LTTO line for example.  These systems work excellent indoors and are accurate (unlike LC, which tends to spray IR everywhere indoors).  They have very focused lenses in them that allow them to achieve great accuracy.  However, these lenses also give them considerable range, which allows for them to be used outdoors as well.  I'm sure the idea of kids playing with guns OUTSIDE is much more desirable for mom and dad's nice priddy home... not to mention, outdoor laser tag is my preferred setting.

Laser Tag without lenses?  It just seems silly to me.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Milk was a Bad Choice!

It's so hot out!  Hot enough to warrant the OLCA cancelling the normal Monday-night weekly laser tag game 3 days early due to a heat advisory that is expected to peak on Monday.  With all this heat, I've been kind of glad that I delved a bit into Super Soakers.  More folks have been taking advantage of our pool in our backyard and soaker wars have broken out as a result.

My "Endless Thunderstorm" has become quite popular and I've been asked several times to make a tutorial for it.  Truth be told, it's pretty easy!
  1. Separate both halves of the Thunderstorm.
  2. Purchase a cheap Hydration Backpack
  3. Cut the end off of the Hydration bladder's tube.
  4. Connect the tube to the intake valve (where the clip used to attach)
  5. Seal the connection with Teflon Tape.
Like I said, pretty easy.  I might take it apart and do some pictures later, but it's too hot out and I'd rather enjoy the pool for the moment!

As a result of the game getting cancelled this Monday, I am having friends over to swim, soak, and have a bit of a Mod Night later.  Should be fun!  I'm planning on finally finishing the LTX DMR too!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

M41A Pulse Rifle

Work has finally resumed on this project that I started in September of 2009.  I realize that many of you are unfamiliar with this work, so I created a quick video to get you up to speed with what this project is all about.

More details of what has already been done will be coming, mixed in with new aspects of this project as it rolls along.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Modified by Bazookafied

First of all, Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans.  Happy "You lost your Colonies" day to you too, Great Britain!

Wanted to give you guys a bit of a glimpse of what myself and a few other friends of mine have been working on.  We met this past Friday for a "Mod Night" and dug in to some serious Laser Tag work.  Here's a few shots of things we got around to.

A Raider that Sundawg is converting to a Laser Challenge Blaster.
That's an LCD screen with an ammo counter built-into where the clip used to go.

Did a lot of work on my Pulse Rifle.  Video coming soon!

Here's an Arduino board designed for use as a Laser Challenge-compatible blaster

Sunday, July 3, 2011

How annoying!

So I awoke this morning to the sound of rain on my window and light rumbles of thunder.  Today is the day of our 6th Annual "Independence Eve Blast" and we were expected to see record turnout.  I hope this rain clears out and gives our park some drying time.  If all else fails, I suppose we could just have the cookout/do away with the games... but I wanna SHOOT people to celebrate this country's independence!
IEB #5, 2010 Turnout

Friday, July 1, 2011

Halfway Point

The OLCA has successfully made it halfway through their 6th Summer Season of Laser Tag.  With 7 games under their belt (would've been 8 had it not been for Mother Nature), this Season is shaping up to be another great one!  Average attendance has slipped a little bit from last year, but I think the strangely warm temperature that happen to fall on Mondays has put a bit of a dent in turnout.  The highest attendance this season has been 28.