Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy Nerf Year!

Last night, a buncha friends put together a "Happy Nerf Year" indoor game that closed out 2013 in a blaze of foam-dart glory!  Lots of familiar faces with some new folks to meet, lots of blasters to choose from, and a few different gametypes that made things interesting.  We had 12 folks total (11 pictured) that played from 6pm until about 10, so it was a full night of Nerf!!

We did our basic team elimination games for a few rounds.  Upstairs vs downstairs, with a no-mans-land around the entrance of the home and a choke-point at the staircase.  I kept forgetting that the fireplace in one of the rooms actually is open to the other side, so a few folks got caught off-guard when they were tagged out through that.  The last full-house team elimination game we did ended in a bit of a landslide, as my team cleverly utilized the staircase to the basement to our advantage.  The other games were only separated by a couple of points, so it was fairly even otherwise.  We cut off the basement for the last couple of games and shortened the field of play.  Games were a little more fast paced with quicker respawns and closer-ranged combat in general made things quite interesting.

I personally started off the night with a RapidStrike CS-18, but ended up switching to a HammerShot and a Snapfire 8 with a pouch fulla darts for the rest of the evening.  In the close-quarters situations we were in, burning through ammo with a RapidStrike just wasn't working well.  Plus the flywheel lag bugged me in a couple of situations where I needed a quick trigger pull instead of waiting for those wheels to get up to speed.  The HammerShot delivered and was probably the most solid blaster I used all night.  The Snapfire 8 proved to be a good secondary when I needed to lay down more firepower.  Both were much easier to load than the clip-fed RapidStrike and seemed much more accurate, too.

One of my friends brought his two MagStrikes and I always forget about how awesome these blasters are.  For Hallway-to-hallway situations, the sheer volume of darts they can sling out in a quick second is amazingly terrifying.  The look on this guy's face reads the pure satisfaction you get after burning through that 10-round Magazine.  These blasters ended up getting used in those do-or-die situations (or when you were tired of missing with your single shots), but because they took so long to reload and pump up, they never really remained anyone's main weapon.  One MagStrike was given to each side to help even things out and it was fun to see them utilized every now and then to turn the tides in some nitty-gritty standoff situations.

If it weren't for the breakdown it had midway through the night, I think the modded Stampede would still take the cake.  It's powerful direct-plunger system with an upgraded spring and suped-up rechargeable battery pack made it almost as fearsome as the MagStrike.  We decided not to count blaster-hits, so of course he loaded up that iconic shield and made the house rules eat their words.  Around corners, if you were up against the Stampede, you were probably losing that battle real quick.

The last set of games we did, we had a bit of a competition built in.  There was a large empty room in the center of the field with a small wooden Christmas Tree cutout on a round pedestal.  The first team to knock it over with a dart would win the match.  Unlimited Respawns, the room itself was off-limits, so you had to nail the Christmas Tree at a distance of at least 20 feet.  We'd fight for position to take shots at the tree, miss, get hit, and have to run back to respawn, reload, and retry hitting that darned little tree.  It was fun trying to knock that fella over with pistols, but the last couple of games, guys would just clear out the area and then unload 18 round mags they had in their pockets and vests until it got knocked over.  I kinda liked keeping it to single shooters or small pistols, as it tested your accuracy a little more as opposed to the spray-and-pray methodology that was used to win the last few games.

Overall, GREAT night of NERF and a fantastic way to close out 2013!  We've got an outdoor Laser Tag game planned for "The Base" next week, so a lot of these guys here are stoked to join in with that game, too.  From indoor Nerf to outdoor Laser Tag, we're covering both my bases in two weekends!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mod Guide: Sidestrike

In preparation for a Nerf Game I'll be going to later today, I started going through blasters that were still stock to do some simple mods on them to get 'em ready.  Spring replacements, Air Restrictor removals, Voltage mods, just getting the armory ready to share with the other players.  I dove into the ZombieStrike Sidestrike and actually ended up spending more time on the video review and pictures than the mods themselves.  It was stupid-simple easy to do, and very similar to the Firestrike.  Still seemed a tad easier on this one, so I'd say if you're looking for a quick blaster to mod, the Sidestrike is yet another candidate to consider!  Video after the jump!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Crossfire Bow Internals

So I took a peek inside my Crossfire Bow to see what all the hoopla was about.  Turns out there isn't much to this blaster.  Just a simple trigger, single plunger tube (looks to be about the size of a Firestrike), and this mess of orange that has all those lovely dart sensors built in that allow for the sequential firing.

Although it's use of Air Restrictors is identical to that of the Triad and RoughCut 2x4, there isn't any gear-driven priming like the RoughCut had... so doing a spring mod in this won't eat up the teeth in that gear system.  It's the only way to get more power out of this blaster.

I also took apart the blaster's shell, which separates into 3 colors for 6 pieces total (3 on each side).  There are small plastic clips on the inside of the blaster that can be released to detach these pieces from eachother.  This should make for some EASY repainting!

To release the clips, the blaster has to be in two separate halves.  Use a flathead screwdriver to push the clip through.  Don't force them, or else you'll risk damaging the shell.  Just use a little patience and start detaching the clips from one end and move to the other.  The Orange front portion comes out easy, but for the back shell, I suggest starting from the middle and then work your way towards the Nerf logo near the back of the blaster.

Friday, December 27, 2013

N-Strike Elite Accessory Guide

I was doing some work on Nerf Mods & Reviews and saw that one of the most popular posts is the Accessory guide for the N-Strike Lineup.  As I was starting to update that and tweak it a bit, I thought I should make a new one for the N-Strike Elite lineup.

Below is a listing of all accessories that work with the N-Strike Elite lineup.  There are some accessories that aren't Elite-specific that I've listed anyways as I have seen them used on blasters.  It includes Barrel Extensions, Stock Attachments, and Tactical Rail Accessories.  They are organized in that order to help you if you're looking for something specific.

Listings will include the accessory's features as well as how to get it (if it came with a set or if it was sold separately).

Monday, December 23, 2013

N-Strike Elite MEGA Magnus Review

Got the Magnus... and I'm happy.  Really happy that there's hope for the MEGA lineup and that this blaster is more of a compliment to the N-Strike Elite lineup than a big overpriced hunk of plastic like it's brother before it.  It's a lengthy review, one of my longer ones, just because this covers more than the blaster and it's functions.  I go in-depth with my opinions of why I'd choose this blaster over the Centurion and how it could benefit someone as a secondary in a few different ways.

See the video review after the jump!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

New Product Photo Galleries

Thought I'd point out that, if you've missed it, there are Photo Galleries of new products posted on the Tactical Tag Facebook Page.  This week, I added photos of the SideStrike, Crossfire Bow, and Magnus.  All 3 will eventually get reviews (the Crossfire Bow already has one, actually) before 2013 is done.

There have been a lot of new blasters for 2013 and I've enjoyed covering them.  I look forward to seeing what the new ones have in store for us!

Also, I'll be adding photos of an upcoming Indoor Nerf Game that's scheduled just before the end of the month.  All 3 of these new blasters, as well as other ones that I've been working on, will be combat tested during these games.  It's been awhile since I've had the opportunity to actually use these blasters in combat, so I'm excited to see if they live up to the hype.  Office Warfare doesn't really count since it's just playful pointless skirmishes.  Many of the new products can talk the talk, but testing them in an actual game will show me if they can walk the walk.  Tacticool < Tactical Usefulness

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

ZombieStrike Crossfire Bow Review

I've been looking forward to the ZombieStrike Crossfire Bow since all those ZS blaster pictures were leaked in the summer of 2013, so I was on the hunt to find one when I heard they had started reaching retailers here in the US.  I found one and immediately started messing around with it until I learned that, aside from this looking like a Crossbow, there's really not a lot about this blaster that works like the legendary Nerf Crossbow from the 90s.  I sort of already knew that, but I suppose I was hoping this blaster would be special and stand out from the rest of the line of dart-slingers Nerf has been coming out with.  Aside from it's Crossbow-like function, this is really just a half-capacity version of an N-Strike Elite RoughCut 2x4 that can use a stock attachment.

Well, you be the judge!  The video review is after the jump!

Predicting the Future

In the wake of losing another great Nerf blog, I started reading through stuff that had slipped under my radar from the Southern Brisbane Nerf Club (SBNC) site.  I came across this box art that I had missed, which shows the ZombieStrike Crossfire Bow in it's green colors but with an N-Strike Elite-designed box.  On the right of the box there's a "Zombie Strike" logo and some undead dudes wandering around.  SBNC weighed in on with interpretation of this odd box art.

What we've seen is a gradual progression from concepts to stay the course for N-Strike Elite towards this ZombieStrike lineup.  The ZS gear started off as a Target Exclusive with only the HammerShot and SledgeFire in the lineup.  It's been speculated that the rest of the ZombieStrike blasters we're seeing were originally intended to add to the N-Strike Elite and Vortex lineups respectively.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Fräulein Fusefire!

Going along with the "Mein Magnus" theme, the guys at DartBlasterDE have a look at the ZombieStrike Fusefire!  It's a nifty Vortex blaster that's like a Proton and a Lumitron "fused" together.  They've also got a Ricochet to review as well!  Get comfy, because it's a 17 minute video covering both blasters in great detail!

Thanks again to DartBlasterDE for sharing this info!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Reviews on the Way!

So as I was doing some testing for the HammerShot vs Snapfire dual wielding testing, I managed to find some new blasters at local retailers.  Big thanks to those on the Facebook Page who had reported their findings that gave me hope!  There's a lot of Nerf on my table, so I'll be cranking out reviews in the next week or so.  Here's my To-Do list (in no particular release order)
  • Review: SideStrike
  • Review: Crossfire Bow
  • Review: Magnus
  • Re-Review: Mission App
  • "Dual Wielding Duel"
If I were at my old job, I'd have the time to crank these out one-per-day over the next week, but I'll try to get 'em all out quickly.  Just wanted to know something before I dive into the reviews.  I've done two styles of reviews before: in-depth and quick showcase.  Some folks have liked the fast-n-easy reviews that cover all the functions of the blaster in a minute or two while others prefer the analyzed take on the equipment and how it can be best utilized.  A recent example would be the Rapidstrike CS-18 covered in just over a minute versus the Snapfire 8 that took a little over 5 minutes to look at.  Which approach do you prefer?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Give the Gift: YOUR Gift

 Most of you who read this are interested not only in Nerf and Laser Tag, but the modifications that revolve around those two hobbies.  I've made it my goal to share what I do on Tactical Tag, as well as feature other works that I find notable to share.  Well, we're knee-deep into the "Season of Giving" so today I thought I'd propose an idea that I look forward to seeing possible results of.

This time of year, gift giving is quite appropriate, but all too often the idea of a "gift" is something that is purchased.  A Gift can also refer to one's talents, as in saying that Picasso was a gifted artist.  So, for this holiday season, I figured I'd encourage those who modify Nerf and Laser Tag blasters to extend that gift to someone you know.

Today, while I was visiting with Russ, a good friend of mine who works on Subarus, I noticed a Raider CS-35 and a Maverick REV-6 on one of the tool boxes.  He has talked with me about modifying these before, but he's a busy guy.  I figured, as I was waiting, I'd modify it for him as a way of saying "thanks" for all the time he's taken to help me out.  It wasn't much, just clearing out the ARs and doing the Penny mod to the spring, but he seemed surprised and happy with the performance increase in the blaster.  It felt good to use my knowledge of modifications as a quick gift for him to enjoy, so now I'm encouraging the rest of you to do the same!

As always, I'd be happy if you would share your experiences with this.  Whether it be to help out a fellow Nerfer or to reach out to someone who has wondered about modifying their Laser Tag blaster, do something nice for them and spread the gift: YOUR gift!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Coming Up: Dual-Wielding Duel

Well, from the looks of comments on the blog, YouTube, and Facebook Page, I'll be pitting two of Nerf's newest "dual-wield-able" blasters against eachother in a head-to-head showdown.  The Nerf ZombieStrike HammerShot will go up against the Nerf Dart Tag Snapfire 8!  It's truly a Dual-Wielding Duel to see which blaster can sling 'em the best.  Range, Size, Features, Cost, Capacity, Reliability, and Ease-of-use will all play major factors in this shootout to see what would fair better.

I'll be testing the blasters alongside eachother as well as being dual wielded with their own twins, so the test will require two HammerShot blasters and two Snapfire 8 blasters to complete.  Testing will be quite thorough, so with my busy weekend schedule ahead, I don't expect it'll be done within the next day or so.  Just thought I'd toss up a preview of what's to come and gather some more thoughts I might want to take into consideration before going forward with the tests.  All of the tests and comparisons I've done have been that much easier to do thanks to your insight and advice, so if you've got something to say, speak up!

In the meantime, I'll be wearing out both of my trigger fingers.  Oh, and if you were a fan of my MEGA Centurion review (it seemed to be more comical than anything based on folks responses), you may wanna check out the Snapfire Review.  Just sayin'!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dart Tag - Snapfire 8 Review

This is a blaster that I started off thinking "Oh man, gotta get that thing!"  Somewhere between the not-sold-in-the-US issue and "OMG N-Strike ELITE!!" this fella skipped off my radar and I didn't come across it until I was actually looking for something else.  Toys R Us didn't have the SideStrike in stock yet (I had seen someone in Arizona found one), but they did have the Dart Tag Snapfire 8!  Thought I'd pick one up and review it.  I'll let you be the judge on this one, as it's a quirky blaster that may not work for everyone... or work how they thought it would to begin with.

See the video after the jump!

Monday, December 2, 2013

ZombieStrike Availability ::UPDATED::

I wasn't expecting to find this!  Upon looking through the Toys R Us website for some Cyber Monday deals, I found this link to a "NER Zombie Strike Sidestrike".  No image provided, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out what they're talking about.  I was under the impression that the ZombieStrike lineup was a Target Exclusive so... either I missed some critical news, or the "infection is spreading".

Considering that Toys R Us actually had Humans vs Zombies blasters on their shelves (though they were just rebranded AirZone blasters), it's not a huge surprise other than the fact that ZombieStrike, since it came out, has been a Target-only series.  I decided to dig further.

Nowhere on the box does the Sidestrike sport the "Target Exclusive" logo.  The Crossfire Bow also lacks this feature.  Upon investigating at, the site lists all the other ZombieStrike goodies as "Only at Target" with the exception of the Sidestrike, those Point Break water pistols, and Crossfire Bow.  The packaging characteristics of the Sidestrike and Crossfire are uniqe to the ZombieStrike lineup in that they have the blue background in the corner with the Nerf logo (similar to the blue seen on Elite blasters) whereas the other products do not share this.

This could mean a couple of things.  First, that Toys R Us might be getting some Zombie Strike blasters.  I don't see why you'd want to pay 3 bucks more for the same product available at Target, but whatever.  The bigger picture would mean that ZombieStrike blasters could start being available at ALL retailers who carry Nerf products, which would make them much easier for folks to get.

Could be interesting to see how things proceed from here!


RandomShadow09 has discovered the Sidestrike online for Wal-Mart.  Apparently, he found it using the UPC code on the Toys R Us page and was able to track down a listing for this blaster at Wal-Mart.  It's certainly looking like the rest of the ZombieStrike lineup that we've seen unveiled (remember that flood of new products we saw a few months ago?) is going to be more than just a Target Exclusive.  At this time, the HammerShot and SledgeFire look to be the only store-exclusive blasters.

Tek Recon: Another Lesson Not Learned

Roughly 3 months ago, a new kind of blaster hit retailer shelves called "Tek Recon".  Featuring unique tacti-cool looking blasters, round ammo, and optional smartphone integration, this project started off as a KickStarter.  Admittedly, I haven't really paid much attention to it for a couple of reasons, of which I will share with you.

I'll start with a question.  In the last couple of years, has there been a new breakaway product that has taken the projectile-based blaster market by storm that hasn't fired a foam dart?  Xploderz had water-based gel pod things.  MaxForce had precision spit-wads.  Yet, after less than a year into their release, Xploderz has flat-lined without much following and Jakks Pacific pulled the plug on the MaxForce lineup.  Perhaps I'm blind to it, but I don't see Tek Recon having any better of a result than those two.

Now take a look at App-Based gaming.  Many have tried it, Nerf included, but that feature hasn't really taken off either.  While Tek Recon isn't reliant on the App functionality, as they have been advertising their product with and without the App (which Lazer Tag should've done), it's not a strong enough feature to carry the lineup.  They're great blasters with excellent performance and nifty features, but something is missing.

Here's the bigger hurdle I see... and why I think Tek Recon hasn't caught on.  Fans who are likely to be interested in a product like this don't want to start from scratch.  If you're starting out in a game like Airsoft, you can get an AEG and join up with other folks who already have 'em.  It's been a popular game for many years, so products are readily available and there are long-standing communities built around them.  If you're starting out in a game like Tek Recon, you and everyone else who want to join in need to start from scratch.  There's no following to promote it... but it's gotta start somewhere.  Often times, where it starts is on a small scale that just doesn't get off the ground.  How many MaxForce groups did you see meeting up each week to compete in target practice?  The non-standard ammo keeps something like this from taking off as a legitimate contender in its' market.

A better question would be "how did Nerf, Airsoft, and Paintball get started?" and honestly, I don't have a good answer for that.  I have no idea how these types of shooting games got popular and continue to have a strong following.  Then again, didn't people think that by the year 2015 we'd have flying cars?  Somehow, in the next couple of years, I don't see Marty McFly boarding his hover-converted DMC-12 DeLorean any time soon.  What happens with most industries, and with society in general, is we get used to replacing one thing with the same thing.  Familiarity is preferred over change.  In order to REALLY jump out, you've gotta have a product that meets a need other products can't.  That's why alternative projectile-based blasters haven't been successful. It's the same concept as a Nerf dart blaster, so why not just stick with Nerf?  Oh wait, yeah.  I'll just stick with Nerf.  That's what happens.

It's partially what has hurt Laser Tag's ability to be a bigger contender than it is.  Unlike Nerf, where it doesn't matter who built your dart blaster as long as it can shoot darts, there's no cross-compatibility with the signals that Laser Tag blasters send and receive.  In order to play along, you've gotta have a blaster that will work with the others in the game.  A player with a Light Strike blaster can't join a Battle Tag game because the signals and features of that system aren't the same.  However, Laser Tag is different enough in concept from a projectile-based shooting game like Nerf, Paintball, or Airsoft because it's an electronic system that focuses coded infrared light into a beam that can travel hundreds of feet to be received by another player's equipment.  This is why I think there's a lot of potential to make Laser Tag as a whole (not as a company-by-company product) very successful.  The trouble is getting companies to be okay with their product being used on the same field as another.  Nerf vs AirZone.  Tippman vs Spyder.  CYMA vs G&G.  These brands can be played on the same field because they have interchangeable ammo, options, and the game can be played out the same way.  It's the same shooting concept for Laser Tag, but we go from physical matter being hurled forward to a suped-up version of Flashlight Tag.  If manufacturers, Laser Tag or otherwise, could realize these big points, they'd likely not bother wasting time on their current endeavors.

Back to our friends of Tek Recon, I think it's a neat product, don't get me wrong... but there's a reason I haven't even purchased a blaster to check out and review.  It's a lost cause with a game that won't catch on because it's too similar to what fans already have.  In the short run, yeah.  I bet they've sold a bunch of blasters, but there's no good long-term plan for this.  To me, there's value to a game that can be enjoyed long into the future.  Part of the reason I made the heart-wrenching decision to go from Laser Challenge-brand to Lazer Tag-brand was because there was a foreseeable future of cross-compatible blasters.  Nerf and Laser Tag are different enough to me to be enjoyed apart from eachother whereas adding Tek Recon to that list would really just serve well as a YouTube Review and maybe a laser tag recasing later on.  That might happen when the Havok goes on clearance like the MaxForce Shadowhawk did a year ago.  In the meantime, I just hope I can get proven wrong about this whole thing.  It'd be nice to have a flying Subaru!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Hunt is ON

Well, December is here.  Shelves of your favorite blasters are A: getting stocked more frequently and B: subsequently getting depleted more frequently as that Gift-Giving time of the year bears down on us.  Somewhere between the Barbie-aisle Rebelle gear and the "did anyone actually use it" TekRecon products, I'm hoping to find a ZombieStrike Crossfire Bow.  Not to be confused with the Crossfire, which was a Dart Tag blaster... because seriously, Nerf needs to double back and make sure they don't re-use blaster names.

Of course, the fact that I'm looking for this blaster already narrows my search to one retailer: Target.  Both the HammerShot and SledgeFire have become instant favorites of mine (despite their goofy colors) and the Crossfire Bow looks to continue that trend.  I've yet to see someone do a firing demonstration of this blaster, although I wouldn't be surprised if there was one out there I missed.  There's shots of the actual blaster, but no reviews I can find yet.  My general rule of thumb has recently been "If RS09 hasn't gotten his hands on it, I probably can't either".

Oh, and if I happen to find the SideStrike while I'm at it, that'd be an added bonus.  Still, the Crossfire Bow (like many fellow fans) is at the top of my Wishlist this season.  Only difference between me and some of those fans is that I'll have to go out and buy it instead of get it under a tree.  Under that, I'll have something exciting like tube socks instead.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

From the Right, Sundawg, Bazookafied, Eleri, Duncan
Wanted to wish all my US-based fans a Happy Thanksgiving!  I'm very thankful for the support and interest of my readers here that keep me going.  I'm also thankful for the many great friends I've made through my hobbies.  Recently, I got a great surprise from one of my good friends over in Australia.  Yesterday I got a great surprise from one of my good friends at CTDYNE!  Duncan MacKinnon of Custom Tag Dynamics was in town yesterday visiting family and made a quick stop by where I work.

For me, having Duncan stop by is like having Psyk or Bobololo run into a fellow Nerfer in their hometown.  Usually I get an e-mail from him saying he'll be in town, so I was not prepared for this appearance.  I probably squealed like a fanboy a few too many times, so I hope I didnt' scare him off.  Just another reminder of why I'm thankful for these hobbies that I've made so many great friends through!  Hope all of you have a great day with family and friends!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tactical Ties

So most of you know that I recently purchased a new home.  There are fun things that go along with that and some troubles.  One of the issues I learned quickly was that my "shipping address" changed, so my previous home was getting much of my mail.  Well yesterday, I got a letter (though it arrived here months ago) that had been sent from a good friend across the pond.  It's from one of my good ties from Australia and, while I won't disclose his name on the blog, it was a nice surprise to get from him!  Enclosed, with a hand-written letter, was a set of dog tags that had "Tactical Tag" stamped on them.  I suppose you could say they're "Tactical Tags"!

Just a reminder of the many great connections I've made through this blog's history so far.  It's such a thoughtful gift I thought I'd take the time to thank him publicly for this.  I wish I had gotten them sooner, but I almost preferred getting something like this around this busy holiday season.  It also gives me something new to report amidst my ever-increasingly busy schedule that comes with this time of year.

Thanks, buddy!  Your friendship is invaluable and it was great hearing from you!

Now the next trick: figuring out how to repay his kindness!  Challenge accepted!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Shell in a Shell (2)

So I've really been hitting the drawing board more than my workbench recently because I'm really at a loss of what direction to go with this idea.  Figured I'd keep sharking the ideas with you guys here not only as a way for me to sort them out as well as gauge opinions from you about them.

When we last left our heroes, we were thinking about this concept of building a laser tag rifle AROUND an existing blaster like the LTAR.  This is still the concept I'm sticking with, but now the question is how to approach it and what platform to use for it.  With the LTAR, the idea would obviously be to still work the blaster into the shell by not interfering with the internals and switches too much... but then the question comes to be about how integrated it'll actually be?  I know I want to keep the sensor housing construction intact and the motherboard and batteries, but what portions would be rewired through the rest of the blaster.

I saw that hunk of red plastic known as the Centurion sitting in the corner of my workshop and thought "Hey, look at that nice big oversized shell.  It'd be really easy to fit something else inside there!"  The only trouble with using such a LARGE blaster for Laser Tag is that it can be really ineffective to use with anything BUT long range attacks.  A sniper's role really doesn't stick around for too long in our laser tag games as it's only a matter of time before your opponent is quickly in range to engage you.  If you think about effective combat radius of a Sniper-class laser tag blaster, which maxes out between 900-1100 feet, there's not a TON of space in a part to really utilize that much range.  Finding a space clear enough to hit somebody at that range is difficult.  Plus, standard blasters usually have 400-600 maximum feet of range, so it's not long before your opponent is withing range to engage you anyways.  I learned this the hard way with the M43A Sentry, pictured above.

So what if this "Shell in a Shell" concept came in the way of a blaster inside a big "accessory" blaster?  Hear me out on this one.  What if we took something like a Phoenix LTX, the backbone of the MLTA's armory, and modified a big rifle like the Centurion to fit over the LTX to plug into the Accessory Port like a Shotblast would?  Have the temporary ability to have a sniper-class blaster when you need it without the need to hang on to it for the whole game?  The user could be running around, find the Centurion Sniper Accessory, load their stock LTX into it, land some killer long-range shots, and once the opponent gets too close for that hefty rifle to be useful, disconnect the LTX from it and continue playing!

So the concept seems like it'd work, but the trouble would be executing a design like that.  The Centurion would have it's own optics in it that would transfer over to the LTX.  The sensor dome would need to be visible enough to your opponent to make things fair to take hits as you utilized the Centurion, and it'd need to be sturdy enough to be a solid rifle, but easy enough to detach in the heat of battle.  I'm not sure a design to meet all those requirements would be feasible.  What do you think?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Barrel Extensions: Part 2 (Final)

With all the data out there, it simply comes down to usage of these Barrel Extensions.  I've read LOTS of great articles and gone through a lot of testing on my own to come to the conclusion that there are certain unavoidable facts that either make these accessories useful to you or if they really just get in the way.

Probably the most helpful/indepth analysis I've found was by noneother than torukmakto4.  His findings can be viewed here.  In a pinch, his findings are quite clear although they only pertain to the N-Strike Elite Retaliator barrel.  It's best summed up in this comment he posted.
"It is a given that "guide barrels" can only act as a velocity reducing device. Usually, velocity and range can be considered the same parameter, so the usual observation that the smaller-bore extensions reduce range test results makes sense.  Effective range and accuracy effects are more complex, though. If you are going to properly quantify them, you must account for the instability of many of our darts at higher velocities; in a very common situation such as a 100fps Retaliator or Stryfe, nerfing the muzzle velocity slightly will often itself yield an accuracy increase independent of any other effect (such as correcting initial yaw, or reducing the effects of muzzle blast on projectiles, which have both been theorized about with these barrel extensions)."
Then there's other types of barrels, namely the Longstrike and Spectre barrels that have a larger diameter bore.  I think most folks would argue that the Spectre barrel is more for looks as it is very short and has no ability to add accessories to it (which is often an advantage for other barrels), but the Longstrike barrel has quite a bit of length.  irishknots came to the same conclusion I had... the wider diameter barrels don't do as much to accuracy/range with these darts.  I think that's probably why I prefer the Longstrike barrel (that and I think it looks killer).

I'd say that barrel extensions like the Longshot and Recon are probably a waste at this point.  Longstrike and Spectre barrels haven't really done a lot to effect much of anything because of their diameter.  Numbers have been crunched on the Retaliator's controversial "rifled" barrel enough to be helpful for stock AND modded blasters.  So if you are going to use one, use one that's useful to you.

In the end... it seems like if accuracy is really your thing... a clip-fed blaster that uses barrel extensions is probably not for you anyways.  Singled blasters always seem to have a leg up on straightline accuracy and power over that of one in a chamber.  What this information REALLY does is make sure that high-capacity users who favor clip-fed blasters know what variables they're facing when they utilize accessories like a Barrel Extension.

As with anything, certain choices can add a feature while sacrificing another.  It's up to the user to utilize the information out there (and there's a lot) to figure out what works best for them.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Barrel Extensions Part "Oops"

So somehow I forgot about this Barrel Extension thing.  I'll get to Part Two soon, but I've got a busy weekend ahead of me visiting relatives out-of-town.  Anyways, thought I'd plug it once more to get a few more angles on this matter!

Part 2 will include all of your input plus my "final" verdict on these accessories.  COMING NOVEMBER 18th!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Shell in a Shell

Something dawned on me as I was going through some ideas for a Lazer Tag Augmented Reality recasing the other night... and I hope it's something that can actually work.  As I build more blasters for our laser tag group, the one thing I battle is their longevity.  The LTX DMR, after finally solving it's power supply issues, has been an electronic nightmare to work on.  Even my newer LTX EF5 suddenly has a sensor dome that doesn't receive hits.  Both would need quite the diagnostic analysis to find the problems and it may not even be something that's able to be solved.

Recasings are a wiring nightmare most of the time.  Their internals can become frail very easily if things aren't anchored just right or if the blaster is dropped or jolted that breaks something free.  It's mostly because those internals, that were once nice and secure inside the stock blaster shell, are where they're supposed to be and are designed for the long-haul.  Which brings me to this idea with the LTAR...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New! Well... sorta

Looks like there's another heaping hand of "New" coming to shelves for Nerf.  The overload of products from Hasbro continues with the Magnus (which we all know about), a repainted Jolt (surprise!), an Ice-Cube Super Soaker (which has been done before), and the "RipShot" for the ZombieStrike Lineup.  Well... it's not much too new for us, but we'll take it.

Thanks to a tip from "Mr Raccoon", there's a link to Baidu showing off the latest Nerf products to hit shelves.  Which one are you most looking forward to?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Darts with a Book

So this is an interesting move, especially considering it includes a dart design I thought I had seen on a "Double Your Darts" promo at Toys R Us that proved unfruitful.  Nerf has a book out that includes some special Elite Darts.  I suppose these are the tricks we must resort to get kids reading books again?

Gotta wonder how thorough it is... though I'd imagine it's just N-Strike stuff.  A book with all the Nerf Blasters they've made would be quite epic, now that I think about it.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Magnus for Real

Man, I love the intel we get from our Australian friends!  Saw this link on SBNC that listed a LOT of goodies, but this one stuck out to me.  Psyk's "PWND" series has an unboxing of the new N-Strike Elite MEGA Magnus pistol.  As a hefty pistol-sized, direct plunger, in-built magazine, MEGA dart-slinging blaster... I've personally got high hopes that this will be better than that Centurion I picked up at summer's end.  Sometimes I wonder if we like the Magnus because we need it to be better than an overpriced bi-pod blaster.

HOWEVER... as you watch the review, skip ahead to the actual loading of the in-built magazine on the Magnus.  It's about 9 minutes into the video.  This loading system looks troublesome for the Magnus.  I don't anticipate this being good for the darts.  Now Psyk, in his review, notes that the Mega darts feel a little stiffer and more ridgid than the original ones... so I wonder if they really are going to be improving the Mega darts as the line continues.  You'll remember how Nerf kept tweaking the Streamline Dart when those first made their debut with the Longshot.

Psyk also loaded the Mega darts with Elite Darts, something which didn't work well on the Centurion.  While they work, his testing of this trick didn't look to have good results just yet.  More to come on this blaster later, as I am interested in personally testing this video out.

Barrel Extensions: Part 1

Over the years, I've read a lot about N-Strike Barrel Extensions and how they decrease range or increase accuracy.  There's a bunch of different "studies" that enthusiasts of Nerf have conducted with their findings, but there seems to still be a divide between opinions.  Well, I'd like to put those opinions to rest with some cold-hard facts.  Trouble is... there are so many "Facts" out there, that it can be difficult to pin down a concrete answer.

So, for Part 1 of our fact-finding mission, I'll be gathering information both from sources online and from your comments.  Be it opinions, personal experience, or the results of tests you've conducted, I wanna get a good collection of info on this so we can start drawing some clearer lines in this debate.  Part 2 will show the collected information as well as the conclusion this information will point to.  Get to work, detectives!  We've got a score to settle with Nerf's most misunderstood accessory!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Triangle Wins!

Well, I gotta say I was surprised that no-one got a perfect score on the scavenger hunt... but not surprised that this guy got it the most amount of "right".  Triangle is the winner for the Scavenger Hunt Prize: a ZombieStrike HammerShot.  Thanks to everyone who participated!

What did you guys think?  Was that a better way to do giveaway stuff, or is there another format I've done before (or that I haven't done) that you'd prefer.  Just curious!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

October Wraps Up!

Whether you're blasting Zombies (but not in the face, according to Nerf), getting candy from neighbors, or out at a party, have a great Halloween, everyone!!

The Scavenger Hunt will conclude today, so if you haven't done that yet, give it a shot.  Also, I've got some mods coming up for November that should be fun.  Thanks to a mix-up with OMW, I ended up getting that Longshot Immortal kit I had once ordered long ago in a galaxy far far away.  I've also got a game back up at "The Base" for our laser tag group that's sure to please, as well as some mods on the way with the help of LazerBait's lenses and Eleri's Lens Adapters.

So there's a lot on the way!  Keep it here for another fun month of mods, games, and reviews!  Happy Halloween, everybody!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Scavenger Hunt! One Day Left!

On the one hand, I'm quite surprised with how many folks have been trying their hand at this contest.  On the other, I'm shocked no-one has had a perfect score for the 20 items to find!  That means the game is still on if you wanna win yourself a... oh... well, I shouldn't tell you since it's one of the answers to the scavenger hunt.  Go and check it out and win yourself something, ok?  If there's still no perfect score by Halloween time, I'll go with the person who has the CLOSEST results and who submitted it earliest, in which case I currently know who would win it.