Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Old Longshot, New Modders

Usually when I'm psyched about a blaster, I go out of my way to get it as soon as possible.  It also usually means that there's a review up for it several minutes after I've got it home.  That's not been the case for the "New" Nerf ZombieStrike ZED Squad Longshot CS-12... but I think that's mostly because I already was psyched about this blaster when it came out several years ago under the original N-Strike lineup.  There wasn't a lot "new" with this recolor that I could see, so I held off getting it.

However, when I did finally cave in and nab one, I quickly found myself feeling nostalgic and getting pumped about modding this, especially since Nerf seemed to have already made it easier to do that.  Between the unpainted shoulder stock, the black-painted trigger grip, and the bi pod already removed for an easy install of a shotgun-grip priming handle... I was all sorts of ready to dig into this blaster.  Shortly after tooling around with it, I realized that this blaster wouldn't just be good for a Longshot fan like me... but also be good for someone who has just started modding and hasn't known the joy of working with a Longshot before.  One of my new neighbors attacks me in my garage every now and then with a Firestrike, so maybe it'd be fun to mod this new Longshot with him so he can learn.

Honestly, after picking one up and thinking about what Longshots on US Store shelves potentially means, I'm all sorts of hyped up about the possibilities and potential this has. Could I be reading too much into this?  Highly possible.  Regardless, it feels good to say "I'm gonna go mod my New Longshot".  Been YEARS since I've been able to say that!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

ThunderBOOM ::crackle::

Those crazy Brits!  Colin Furze has been know for making a video or two that are... what's the best way to say this... explosive.  While he's done more than play with fire, I certainly think some of his more entertaining videos have hit a home-run with the pyromaniac in me.  So when I saw his Thunderbow laying waste to the countryside, I thought two things instantly.  1: I gotta share this with Tactical Tag.  2: I wish this had come out in July when Fireworks were legal in my area so I could go out and rig up something similar!

While this Nerf MEGA Thunderbow isn't ACTUALLY shooting bolts of explodie goodness, the targets ARE hit-sensitive.  Any Nerf blaster with enough hitting power could probably pull off something similar, but that's really not the message I found in this.  Sometimes I get too obsessed with the tactical-side of these toy guns.  I suppose the mere name of this blog might have something to do with that.  But the reviews I've seen of the Thunderbow won't appeal to those who are looking for something that's technical.  It's just flat-out fun, as evidenced by this 24-year-old tearing up the British back country.  I've largely ignored the MEGA Thunderbow because I just thought it was silly... but it took an English Gentleman in a Tie wreaking havoc on explosive-rigged targets in the deep woods to realize that silly isn't a bad thing.

It's all too easy to get caught up in being far too serious about these blasters.  Colin certainly delivered the wake-up call of a bonkers video like this that have shaken the rust off the kid in me.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Vacation Time! (9/4 - 9/7)

Alrighty folks!  Time for Bazookafied to take a break!  I realized that I actually haven't taken a vacation since I started my new job 2 years ago... so I feel like I kind of deserve this.  That, and it's a trip with the new wife (I got married, if you missed it) to go adventuring in the Pacific Northwest!

I'll be back after the weekend!  In the meantime, geek out about the new blasters.  See you next week!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

It's NERF! Pretend it's Nothin'

If you frequent the internet for Nerf news, chances are you saw that image of new 2015 Nerf products.  If you frequent Urban Tagger's Facebook Page, where this whole thing started, you'll also notice that "Jerry" has requested that he remove the content, pretend he saw nothing, and move along.  Sound familiar?

Turn back the clocks to March 20th, 2012, when the N-Strike Elite lineup was in it's infancy, Urban Taggers was under the legal gun with a Hasbro Goon Squad showing up at his house for "leaking super-secret information about toy guns".  While this Facebook post by Mr. Jerry isn't nearly has creepy as being hunted down by legal thugs, it's the same cover-up sillyness I remember.  If you've forgotten, or missed that fiasco, give UT's article a read on the whole matter.

A quick message to Hasbro from me:  If you want to stop the flow of Level Alpha Security Information, don't go chasing down your fans that browse the ever-expanding internet.  It never ends well (and you should know this already from past experience).  Go to the source.  And... if you're really convinced that a cool guy in Australia IS the source, go visit the hospital first and have your head checked.

That being said, I really hope Mr. Jerry is the only confrontation we'll have about this.  It's kind of harmless compared to the Goon Squad stuff from the first excursion.  A slap on the wrist is always more fun than a handcuff.

In the meantime, our other Australian Nerf Representative has managed to find a less-blurry picture of the "Move Along, Nothing to See Here" picture we got yesterday!  Keep an eye on Southern Brisbane Nerf Club's blog and Facebook Page.

Monday, September 1, 2014

New MEGA "Big Shock" and more!

From "beyond the grave", we get another goodie from Urban Taggers!  Just like a Bigfoot Sighting, there's grainy photographic evidence of things we didn't think existed before.  It's a peek ath the N-Strike Elite lineup for 2015!  These came from UT's Facebook Page.

Some of these blasters we already know.  The repainted Elite blasters, the "Rhino-Fire", these aren't new contenders.  But look closer at the list, and things start to look a little... new!

Credit: Meimengshu1 

See that little sucker in the lower left?  That's a new MEGA blaster called the "Big Shock".  A Jolt-like single-fire fella that shoots Mega Darts.  Then there's a MEGA revolver called the Cyclone next to him.  On the lower right there's a blaster that sort of resembles that April Fools blaster called "The Defender".  Let's not overlook that gigantic "MODULUS" looking blaster at the bottom.

It's interesting to see the expansion of the MEGA dart lineup.  I wasn't sure if they'd be doing much with it given the Centurion's misfire with fans.  Still, that Magnus is a pretty fun blaster, so perhaps we can credit it with saving this lineup in it's infancy.

Among the non-MEGA blasters, there's a Crossbow, a Dual-canister "Flipfire", and a "Sharpshot".  Oh boy... did this photo smash us with a LOT of info and horrible resolution!  Enough to give diehard fans something to look forward to while still teasing us with a severe lack of details!

I'll be keeping an eye out for more details, as there's BOUND to be more coming from all of this.  Speculation City, here we come!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Archived Ideas

This week I actually started tooling around with plans for my Swarmfire.  To really get an idea of where improvements need to be on a blaster, I think you've gotta literally have it in your hands.  You can attach gizmos and mount hardware all you want, but at the end of the day, if the layout isn't right, it'll just clutter up the blaster and work against you.  Many times, this means a blaster isn't exactly a "one size fits all" type, and I'm sort of okay with that for one or two blasters.

As such, messing around with this Dart Tag warrior made me remember the last time I worked on one.  Back on March 11th of 2011, around the time when the Swarmfire had just hit shelves in the US, I did an "Amped" video with this blaster hooked up to a DC-Regulated Power Supply.  It was kind of my first hint at the beauty of this blaster.

I think one of the more desirable things about the Swarmfire platform is the simple fact that it combines two common methods of modding Nerf blasters.  It's got a direct plunger system, which is easy to upgrade and work with.  On top of that, it's got an electronic rotating barrel and auto-fire system that can easily be upgraded with more power.  Plunger mods and Volt mods.  It's one of the few blasters that has both of these under one shell.  I'm going to focus on making both of these elements better both performance-wise and in their ease-of-use.

The second throwback video was my "ammo storage mod" that I used.  One of my first Nerf videos I ever made, so it's a little grainy and painful for me to watch... but it's still something I find useful about the Swarmfire: all that extra space to mount stuff.  Not just darts, but helpful equipment.  Many folks utilize the Swarmfire as an extra turret or to minimize, but I plan on making use of this rifle-style design because I just enjoy using a larger rifle during games.  Maybe a reflex sight, a camera mount, perhaps even some kind of in-built holster for something tiny like a Jolt... there's a lot of space there that can be utilized.

The only trouble with the velcro ammo storage is that... well... the group I play with normally just uses Elite darts now.  The old streamlines, whistler, suction and velcro darts aren't really used anymore.  The whole advantage of using this system was for making in-game ammo pickup easier.  The idea will take some retooling if I am to make it work for current games that are mostly using nothing but Elite darts.

This week is really just planning stuff out and seeing what will fit and what will be helpful.  Then it's a matter of finding the right parts to put together on this to build it up.  ...and then I need to test the RoF out on my boss, of course.

Friday, August 22, 2014

What's Next for Nerf?

As more news surfaces of these Elite recolored blasters having better ranges... I can't help but think where all this is leading.  Two years ago, 75ft range claims were earth-shatteringly awesome for stock blasters. Now as these familiar blasters don new colors, they're upping the range on these yet again.  Aesthetic changes can be as minimal as stealing my "White Stripe RapidStrike" idea to a more aggressive Whiteout Series-looking scheme.  Most (not all) of the recolored Elite blasters are now toting those 85 and 90 foot ranges on the boxes.  There's still standard-range recolors like the White RoughCut 2x4 and the "OJ" Stryfe, but blasters like the Strongarm, Retaliator, and other previously blue Elite blasters are getting range upgrades alongside the newer products like the Cam ECS-12 and Demolisher.  The upgraded blasters are being labeled as having "XD" ranges.

On the one hand, this is great news for both the "I just wanna have fun out-of-the-box" folks AND the modding community.  Better stock ranges usually translates to better modified ranges, too.  On the flip side of this, I can't help but wonder "Where is Nerf going with this?"

New blasters that have been coming out haven't really revamped much but add a gimmick to existing N-Strike hardware.  Since the Nerf Longshot CS-6 came out, Clip-System blasters have been plentiful with new designs year after year.  Even the newest blasters to date like the Cam ECS-12, Demolisher 2-in-1, and Slingfire have the Clip System at their core with something else added to it.  The Cam adds a poor-quality video camera.  The Demolisher is a Stryfe with a pump-to-fire rocket launcher.  The Slingfire has that nifty lever-action... but none of this is really new.

On the surface, the "more range" trend works because it means my friend who has a Strongarm can go to the store and buy ANOTHER Strongarm with more than just a recolor.  It's actually a slightly-better performing blaster... and for the same price that he paid for his last one.  Marketing brilliance on the one hand... but a bit of a boring arms-race outlook for new innovations for Nerf.  There's that "TekStrike" thing that was shown at ToyFair, but I haven't seen anything on that since it's announcement more than half-a-year ago.

I'm sort of stumped with the current lineup showing no real signs of change outside of "Put something cool on what we already have".  Will the lineup continue on the same path it's been for the last 24 months?  Or is this stream of normalcy a primer to make the "next big thing" shock fans out of their seats?