Monday, September 30, 2013

Backwards Rayven Colors?

Photos have finally surfaced of the Rayven Stinger and, from the box art we had seen before, I think most of us were expecting kind of a "Gear Up!" look for this blaster.  Most folks saw orange in that photo.  The current out-of-box photos we have show the Rayven Stinger clearly with that all-too-familiar N-Strike Yellow from the original lineup.  I can't help but think "isn't this backwards"?

Think back to March of 2012 when the Rayven first came out as part of the "Light It Up" series alongside the Lumitron.  It was that glowy green color and, while it had the ability to mount accessories... pretty much every accessory looked awful on it thanks to the colorscheme.  A year later, the Rayven got Elite treatment and went blue, so some accessories from that lineup matched it and made it look decent.  Now all of a sudden we seem to be back to the original N-Strike colors, which was the norm when the Rayven made it's initial debut.  

So, in a nutshell, the Rayven started off by not matching anything, then to being colored like the rest of the Elite lineup, and now it's more apt to blend in with the original N-Strike lineup that it was released with?  Doesn't make a whole lotta sense to me!

In any case, does this new Rayven Stinger with it's yellow darts mean the Elite Lineup itself is moving towards changing colorschemes?  Or is this the Rayven trying to stand out from the lineup yet again?

Prolonged Exposure

Went stargazing with my fiance last night and had a little fun with some Laser Tag blasters.  Never thought to take advantage of the "Christmas Tree Lights" adorning the Phoenix LTX like this before!  The players in the MLTA frequently call the LTX the "Christmas Tree Blaster" when nightfall hits during our games, as it makes it easier to spot your opponent unless they've modified their blaster to either cover or dim the LED displays that give your position away.

When you move quickly, you get a dotted effect from the LEDs, as they do have a slight flicker to them.  When you move slowly, the flicker blurs together and you get a longer line.  We messed around with different movements, stopping to let our "shadow" get recorded a few times.  It was a lot of fun to create these photos together!

We've got another outdoor laser tag game coming up mid-October that should be a lot of fun.  I love this time of year when the air is crisp and the leaves are crunchy!  Laser Tag just makes it that much better!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mein Magnus!

Germany... oh how I appreciate all the early photos we've sourced from you!  Thanks to Nerf Canterbury for the info, we've got the next Mega dart blaster.  The Magnus is a single-shot dart blaster designed for Mega Darts, as used in the Centurion.  Looks like it's got a top-slide prime and has a Tactical Rail along the bottom with some decent looking iron sights on top.

Any Nerf Fan who's been following the Mega series knows that there's issues with both the Centurion and the darts it fires... so I'm interested to see if the Magnus addresses those issues or if they improve the darts.  Streamline darts for the N-Strike lineup saw many different iterations to improve performance and durability, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Mega darts have the same development.

bankkroft link

A Park for Everything??

Paradise for my Hobbies
So a week or so ago I hosted the first Laser Tag game at my new house.  Since it backs up to a big park, we used the backyard as our staging area to meet up to start and end each game.  Also, since the park is really TWO parks conjoined in the middle, we were able to use different setups that forced players to change tactics with each new setting.  On top of that, there's a lot of wide-open space in the bigger park that would be ideal for a super soaker or outdoor Nerf game too!

The park layout really helps keep things fresh during games.  Unlike other parks that we've played at, there's really 3 ways you can use the area.  The southern park is called "Southridge Meadow Park".  It's got a dried up creek bed that runs through the middle with high ground on the east and west borders.  The cover in the middle is pretty decent with some nice big trees and a few bushes, but it's also got a mowed lawn all through it, so you can move pretty quickly.  The eastern edge is wide-open, a prime spot for our Laser Tag snipers to take up a position far enough away from their opponents but open enough to take a good shot.  At the northern most part of this part of the park is a bridge over the creek bed and some thick cover.  There are dirt paths woven through the middle of the north of Southridge Meadows Park and the southern part of Millard Highlands Park North (the second park) that connect the two, although it's still pretty obvious where the boundary between the two is.

Millard Highlands Park North has much of the same features as Southridge Meadows Park except that it's more like a big bowl.  There's high ground surrounding the middle and cover along those edges.  Pretty much, you go to the center of the park to die since there's no cover to take there.  The usable part of this park is a little smaller than Southridge, since there are Tennis courts and a playground up in the northern corner of it, which changes the tempo of the game.  Battles are much quicker in this park.

Because the two parks are connected and the thickest (and most fun) cover resides along the border, having teams start on either side of that border makes for a great game for larger groups.  Also, that green box on the eastern side of the park is my home.  The fence in the back yard has a gate that leads right into the park!  We now have access to all of my tools for quick repairs of equipment, bathrooms for folks to use, and just a nice place to chill out at between or after games.  If we're having a water gun war, the hose in the back makes reloading a breeze.  Nerf, Super Soakers, Laser Tag, it's all accessible with 3 different play options for the park!  I didn't realize just how versatile the park could be until that inaugural laser tag game we held.  I'm really excited to see what we're able to do now that I've got this new home.

Monday, September 23, 2013

CTDYNE: Double Whammy

Just when you thought the Stinger accessory that CTDYNE was more than enough, they build another little monster with a dual lens setup!  Appropriately named the "Double Whammy", this is an accessory attachment for a Phoenix LTX Laser Tag blaster.  No modifications to the blaster are needed to add this fella.

This is the accessory Hasbro should and could have produced for the LTX.  The reason why they could have done it is because the dual lens arrangement is actually from a Tag Master Blaster (or TMB) from the Lazer Tag Team Ops lineup, of which Hasbro owns the rights for.  It is called the Double Whammy (DW). This unit has yet to be put through its paces. The plan is to bring this to the Game at Fort Worden this month for a through field test.

The DW is designed to provide the same overall tactical advantages as the CTDYNE Stinger. Only the DW is lighter and more compact than the Stinger.  Like the Stinger the DW attaches to any LTX in seconds. No modifications to the tagger are required for installation. The DW is expected to yield enhanced range for sniper applications. The close quarter battle mode (CQB) should be helpful for close encounters.

The double lens assembly on the DW should look familiar to anyone who has utilized the excellent Hasbro TMB. Only in this application both barrels are used for IR LED emitters. No receiver barrel is needed on the LTX. For use on the DW this double barrel assembly has been modified to utilize the exclusive CTDYNE Multiple Focal length Optics (M-FLO) design concept, as seen on another CTDYNE blaster for Laser Challenge systems called the "Dragonfly".

One barrel utilizes the original TMB optic assembly including the lens, IR LED and focal length. The other barrel utilizes an optic assembly consisting of a TMB lens with a TSAL-6100 IR LED positioned at a shorter focal length. The idea here is to retain the excellent long range performance of the TMB with one barrel and at the same time provide enhanced medium range coverage with the second barrel. Both barrels on the DW fire simultaneously.

The Hasbro TMB has a reputation for excellent long range capability but one deficiency TMB users have complained of over the years is the inability of the tight pattern of the infrared light emitted from the TMB optics to be successfully utilized at medium to close range engagements. It can be difficult to land tags on a rapidly moving opponent at medium/close ranges with the TMB optics. This is where the M-FLO design concept comes in handy. Since both barrels fire simultaneously this double barrel assembly should provide excellent coverage in a variety of tactical situations.

The two IR LED's under the main barrel assemblies are the CQB mode emitters. These are selected by positioning the Sniper/CQB slide switch on the left side of the DW. Both of these IR LED's fire simultaneously. These LED's are both OED-EL-1L2 emitters. Not a lot of range with these LED's but a significant spread of IR light is available. This function should be devastating in the confined conditions encountered in the tunnels like at Fort Worden. Better bring your A game if you plan on going toe-to-toe with this fella in enclosed spaces!

See more photos of the Double Whammy at Tactical Tag's Facebook Page!

Work Warfare

It's become abundantly clear that I need to start purpose-building a blaster that will best serve me in the battlefield that I frequent every day of the week...  except for Thursday and Sunday, when I'm not scheduled.  Yes, I need to up my game if I am to survive much longer at work.  Now the question is: what blaster is compact enough to be stored in my desk at work, but powerful enough to fend off my attackers/coworkers?

Currently, the Firestrikes have been the top-shot.  Their deadly accuracy, small size, and ability to carry two other darts to quickly reload have made them popular.  My desk is frequently raided to attain my modified Firestrike, as it's able to reach out and peg the sales manager from across the showroom floor.  There are other blasters that have made their way into our fiendish hands, a Jolt, a Triad, even a Rayven, but they don't seem to hold a flame to that Firestrike (pun intended).

My SledgeFire had been a good blaster, except it's a little too large to quickly hide and the need to retrieve 3 darts to reload it has hampered my speed in-between shots.  I had my Elite Spectre stuffed in a drawer, but it is continually outgunned by the Strongarm, so I'm thinking of swapping it out with my Strongarm at home.  Still, it's a rather large blaster and doesn't quite get the range the Firestrike does.

So how can I get back in the running against my coworkers?  The Firestrike, for now, gives me some even footing... but I need a leg up on them without going with too large of a blaster.  In the words of Master Yoda: "Meditate on this, I will".  In the meantime, what's your take?

Oh, and vote on that other post while you're at it!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Back on Track!

Hello, everyone!  I've recently hit quite the busy patch in life, but I think I've got things all sorted out.  Work has been busier than usual, there are more home renovation projects than hobby projects, planning stuff for a wedding, music gigs, and some work on a car I rescued.  As a result of my short absence, I'm not exactly sure where to start back up!  Thought I'd give folks a chance to vote on a couple things I could get back into the game with!  Here's what I've got in mind.  Cast your vote as a comment and I'll get started on the ones with the most votes!

Option 1:  Finish the Elite Longshot Ver 2.0
What I need to do with this one is revisit the internals first.  The last Nerf Game I had it at, it would only fire the first dart in the clip and then it wouldn't work anymore.  It would prime, but the dart wouldn't leave the blaster.  Might be major work, might need to redo the whole internals setup, might be something simple.  Once I've got that figured out, it'll need another Internet-Confusing Elite Paintjob so all the kids can troll me and say "NERF DOSNT MAKE AN ELITE LONGSHOT YOUR A DICK!!!".  I think that's the bit I'm least excited about, as I'm still getting grief from my first Elite Longshot.

Option 2:  Custom LTAR Rifle!
Admittedly, I thought I'd already have a customized LTAR blaster running around with my Laser Tag group, but I have yet to actually go through with any of my plans for this.  I've got several designs/shells I'd like to use for it and, with the new park in my back yard being quite the success (we did our first game about a week ago, I'm just lame and didn't say anything about it) it'd be a good place to try stuff out.  The nice thing with having a laser tag park in your back yard is that, when something goes wrong, you just run back to the house and either do a quick fix or grab a spare blaster.  I know most of my fans are into Nerf, but I'm secretly hoping this one gets some votes.  Honestly, I could just say "no votes!  I'm doing this one!" but I'm gonna let the people decide!  That's the kind of person I am!

Option 3:  Attempt making the Centurion Better
I keep talking about this, but I still haven't opened that piece of junk up.  In all honesty, I'm seriously just considering gutting it and using it as a prop or some kind of handicapped Laser Tag rifle of doom.  I've just been so upset with the blaster that I've lost motivation to bother doing any good work on it.  Even when it DID work, it wasn't that great of a blaster.  I've still only got one dart left that it didn't chew up, as I don't want to buy the dart refill pack if I'm not going to use it again as a dart blaster.

So VOTE!  Make your intentions known!  Either way, I'll likely tackle all 3 of these at some point.  It's just a matter of which one I start with.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Just thought I'd chime in.  Been about a week since I've managed to post anything.  I'll have a write-up of the new park my laser tag group tested out on Friday (last week) as well as a growing list of modifications to get done.  I'm alive, just tangled up in work.

My day off is Thursday, so I plan to use that to get caught up on everything.  Just gotta hang in there until then!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Rayven Stinger?

Spotted on, there's another recolor (this is #3) for the Rayven.  This time it looks like they've done away with the glow-clip, given it a Gear-Up-esque paintjob, and special black tipped Elite darts with orange foam in a normal 12 round clip.  Essentially, it's lost 6 rounds, but performs the same.

It doesn't sound like anything special outside of the fact that it's lost the Glow-Darts and Glow-Dart Clip the Rayven once came with.  Hopefully that just means it's more affordable.  It's hosted on Amazon from AR-DISCOUNT for $28.99 USD.  As of this post, they have 11 left in stock.  Given the odd nature of this blaster showing up (this is the only place I've seen it so far) and that this site doesn't have ANY other Nerf products on their site.  Certainly makes me curious how this one snuck in under the radar... and what Nerf is planning to accomplish with this in the first place.

And, just to hush up all you nay-sayers, this kid posted up a video spotting a whole shelf full of 'em.  Thanks to Darryl for finding this!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Centurion: the Hits keep on coming!

Nerf Nation doesn't miss a beat.  Gotta love this Facebook post I saw in regards to Nerf's latest photoshopped promo.  At least I'm not the only one calling out Nerf on their overhyped claims for the N-Strike Elite MEGA Centurion.

So what have you guys done in your attempt to improve your Centurions?  I've seen some neat kits/custom work, but just curious to see anything I might have missed.

Been busy this weekend, but we've got a Laser Tag game coming up at my new park on Friday! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Labor Day weekend was apparently quite productive.  Roy on Tactical Tag's Facebook Page shared progress on his SledgeStrike, a RapidStrike with a Masterkey'd SledgeFire mounted under the barrel.  Despite the obvious "Livin' in a van down by the river" comments I anticipate, I'll just say that this mod is Vantastic.

See more after the jump, including a firing demo!