Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Unloading 144 Darts!

Alright, I need a new trigger finger.  Anyone got one they can loan me?  But I digress... I decided to load up my newly acquired Hailfire with 144 darts.  I don't have 8 of the 18 Dart Clips lying around, so I cheated by putting an extra dart in a 35 round drum and used 6 other 18 round Clips.  Unfortunately, during the test, the Firefly Tech clip decided to not feed correctly, so I didn't get a 100% accurate test.  Still, if you've got the stamina in your trigger finger and nothing jams and you can swap from clip to clip with no problems, you can dish out 144 darts in just under a minute.  While I realize that there's no combat situation where you would need to do such a thing, it's really just a testament to how long you could last in a game armed to the teeth with this Hailfire.

Below is a video of this test.  Now, if you'll excuse me... I have one hundred and forty four darts to go pick up.

Hailfire: Crunching Numbers

Last night I finally decided to pick up the Elite Hailfire, the flagship of the N-Strike Elite lineup.  It's been out for a little while and I didn't really have an interest in it.  However, the completionist in me wanted to finish my Elite collection, so I picked it up to see what all the fuss was about.

Ever since I opened the box and started messing around with different loadouts in the Hailfire's 8-clip rotating loading system, I've been experimenting with combinations of various clip sizes that have really shown me how versatile this blaster can be.  This is certainly a fun blaster for folks who enjoy tinkering with the multitude of clip sizes Nerf has made over the past few years.  While the blaster is not free of flaws that keep it from really being "The Pinnacle of Nerf Innovation", there is much potential in this blaster to meet the needs of many.

First, let's crunch some numbers.

Monday, August 27, 2012

LT Website comes up short

Hasbro has launched the "official" Lazer Tag website.  While it's good to have online presence, the website itself overlooks a major factor that I see as a marketing flaw that is reflected in their advertisements abroad, including the box.  Take a look around the website and what you'll find is a complete lack of anything indicating that this can be used without the iOS device.  To show you how confident I am, I'll give an LTAR blaster to the first person who can show me on the website where they show the LTAR being used without an iOS Cradle.  Even in the videos, if you can find a screenshot of the blaster without an iOS, I'll gladly send you your own LTAR.
The only mention of the LTAR being able to function without an iPod or iPhone is in small white text on the side of the box.  Nowhere on the website or in any commercial is there ANY mention of using the blaster like this.  Even in the FAQ section they completely glaze over the fact that the LTAR works without the iOS, which seems to be the main deterrence for sales of this new system.

Making Elite Accessories

Do they improve performance?  No, not really.  Do they look awesome in photos?  You bet!  I've been a fan of working on blaster aesthetics for awhile.  From the Yellow Longstrike barrel I made to the Whiteout Spectre, a lot of my mods have been aimed at making them look stock... and tricked out.  Today I tried doing a little more with Elite Accessories.  I already made an "Elite" stock out of a Raider and the Super Soaker stock, so I decided to give similar treatment to my Longstrike Barrel and a blue Longshot scope.

I actually stopped mid-way through working on the scope because I just didn't really like how it turned out.  I painted all the yellow spots on the sight white and started working on detailing, but I just stopped.  The hue is a bit too dark to match the rest of the blaster anyways.  You'll notice I didn't even bother finishing painting the yellow bit behind the fake orange knob on the sight.  I may try to add some dark gray in there to help make this accessory not quite so... ugly.  However, I'm not really motivated to do much with it since it doesn't match well with the blaster's blue color anyways.

The Longstrike barrel, on the other hand, looks great!  I blackened out the yellow Nerf logo on it and added a white stripe that lines up with the Retaliator's paintjob.  Up close, you can tell that the colors aren't quite exact, as the Nerf paint is a bit brighter than the Kyrlon Fusion I used.  Still, I really like how it turned out.  I've always liked the look of the Longstrike barrel on a Recon anyways.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Requirement for the Nerf Party was apparently
 looking like a JC Penny model.
So last week I saw a Hailfire on local shelves.  Not only did I realize that I hadn't really been looking for it, but even when I DID find it, I didn't have enough interest in it to buy it at the time.  Just seems awfully expensive for a blaster of it's size and for the accessories (or lack thereof) that it comes with.

On the one hand, the tinkerer in me wants to see how this rotating clip thing works.  However, I'm finding that's really the only reason I'm remotely interested in picking one up.  There's already a lot of great reviews out there and I'm not really a fan of repeating old news... so here's my charge to you:

I'll pick up the Hailfire if YOU can think of some tests I could do with it that haven't been done yet.  That'd really be the only thing that would motivate me to drop ~50 dollars on the flagship of the Elite Lineup.

Oh, and where have I been the last week?  My girlfriend is finally back in town, getting my schedule set up for my new job and my music gigs/shows coming up, chasing storms, and having fun with Subarus.  Consider last week my "Vacation" from hobbies!  I'll be back with something on Monday (August 27th).

Monday, August 20, 2012

Blog > YouTube

Not to bash any of my subscribers, viewers, and commentators on my YouTube channel, but ever since the "Nerf Retaliator vs Elite Longshot" video seemingly went Viral... I've had a flurry of comments asking where I bought the Elite Longshot, condemning me that the Elite Longshot isn't real, and just general abusive comments that I rarely see on this blog.

I suppose I can't completely blame the widespread ignorance about this blaster, since I did toy with Nerf Nation a bit by posting a doctored up picture that WingMaster made of it on the Facebook wall.  That, and I never really made a video explaining how I made the paintjob on it that has so many folks convinced that it's real.  My blog readers got a full post on that, which is another reason I probably haven't seen any outlandish statements about it.

I'd like to thank everyone who's been following the blog, defending the Elite Longshot on YouTube and just for your general support.  I'll keep trying to educate folks on the fact that the Elite Longshot is just a mod I made, nothing real.  On the one hand, I guess it's a compliment that so many folks are fooled by it's appearances.  However, in the fame that this video has picked up, it's been kind of annoying seeing all the hate out there, so I appreciate those who have been trying to save me the trouble of correcting the incorrect assumptions and condemnations that I'm a fraud somehow.

So thank you, Tactical Tag readers, for being smart, supportive, and sane.  It's been refreshing!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

What's on the Docket?

Across the board, things have been kinda quiet.  Not just on my blog, but my "Big 3" (SG Nerf, NM&R, Urban Taggers) have been kinda slow recently.  The reason?  Probably just that there's not a whole lot of new Nerf stuff out there and it's a transitional time.  Season is changing, kids are going back to school, and football nuts going to be living off of ESPN and Pepsi Max for awhile.  What am I up to?  Good question!

Right now, the MLTA (which I run) has just concluded it's 7th Summer Season and is now in "Off-Season" mode.  While we'll still have games every now and then, the focus shifts to MODS.  I really wanna get back to a few things that I had hoped to finish, like the Pulse Rifle, LTX EF5, and rewiring/repairing the LTX DMR to prep it for it's new owner.

I'm also working on a few things for our next Nerf game.  While my Elite Longshot is still likely going to be my primary for these games, the Elite Retaliator is really starting to grow on me.  It's been fun messing with different strength springs and testing stuff out, nothing set in stone, so I'll be sharing more info on that soon too.

Things in my personal life will be getting busier too.  My girlfriend (not married yet!  Rumor control!) has been studying abroad in Austria for the past 6 weeks.  Admittedly, I've had a lot more free time to spend on my hobbies to help distract me from the fact that she's been gone for so long.  She returns Wednesday which is great for me, not so much for my blog.  I'll also be getting a new job come September 1st, which will be taking a bit more of my time than my current job has.  While it's great for my wallet, I will have considerably less free time to shoot videos, do tests, and other blog-tastic stuff.

So that's where I'm at right now!  I've also got a big surprise for you guys coming up in early September, so while things might not be as busy as they have been in the past month or so, you might wanna keep tabs on the blog for that announcement that I'm kinda-sorta-really looking forward to.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

MLTA's 7th Summer Season Concludes

What an awesome way to end the season!  Although Mother Nature still managed to land the hottest day of the week on our game yet again, it's still better than other games we've had this summer.  The extreme heat felt through the midwest certainly fatigued even our most seasoned players, but in the end, it's another successful run that I'm proud to have been a part of.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

They've found me. Is that good?

So recently I've noticed that my YouTube channel has been getting exponentially more views, subscribers, and comments.  With this increased exposure, I've also noticed a distinct rise in immature comments ranging from a simple disagreement with a test I've run to flat out cursing for little reason.  It doesn't really phase me much, but it makes me wonder... if this is what happens when you become "famous", why are so many folks seemingly obsessed with the idea of becoming "famous"?

Prepare for a rant!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wanna Play?

The Midwest Laser Tag Association is wrapping up it's 7th Summer Season of laser tag.  It's been another great year and we've really had a lot of fun with the new LTAR too.  While the summer's heat has been record-setting and... really... REALLY... getting old, the fun we've had this season more than makes up for it.

Most of the combat is much more ranged than what you see here, but since you can't really see it much on the video, I left most of those scenes out.  I might take more footage at our game on Wednesday so you can get a feel for what it's like with our normal 20-30 player turnout games.

Also, the LTX EF5 is nearly complete.  Keep it here for an update on that project.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bandolier Comparisons

So someone just asked in a comment on the previous post if the Elite Bandolier was shorter than the original one.  I kinda thought it was a silly question but then thought... you know... it did seem a little odd to have it out a full length and still feel like I should've had more space.  In going through pictures I took, it seemed like the Elite one at full extension was still not quite fitting like I remembered my tried and true Original one.

It was a legitimate question.  Here's the facts:

Raising the Bar

For those who use an iPod Touch, getting 3 bars of Wifi is always good.  For those who use N-Strike blasters that are clip-fed, 3 bars of Elite options is pretty nice!

After about a month or so of fiddling around with the Retaliator, Rampage, and the darts and accessories that go along with them, I'm becoming a bigger fan of the Elite gear by the day.  I especially like the clip size options that we have.  Granted, the only new size pictured is the 12 round clip, but I feel like it really helps round out your options.

Really, other than the new Direct Plunger Systems in the Retaliator and Rampage, there is't a whole lot of "new" concepts in the Elite lineup... so I'm surprised I've taken to them so quickly.  If you haven't caught on by now though, I like blue.  Like... a lot.  And I really think that's been a driving force behind my enthusiasm for the Elite lineup.  Blue darts, blue Bandoleer, Blue blasters... it's just a good time to like Blue and be a Nerf fan.

Elite Dart Testing: Air Tank Blasters

This is my final series on Elite Dart Testing.  I've gone through Plunger blasters, Flywheels, and now I'm finishing strong with one of my favorite blasters at the helm: the Magstrike.  Oddly enough... this is about the ONLY Air Blaster I've really taken a liking to.  It's pretty much the "instant kill" blaster in our games.  Few manage to escape the flurry of 10 darts screaming right at them.

So I've covered the 3 major types of Nerf blaster firing systems and how Elite Darts work with them. The final diagnosis is clear: these Elite darts are the best stock darts you can get for your blaster.
With the completion of this test, I've covered the 3 major blaster types that Nerf uses.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Digging into the Range Master

Got around to opening up my Range Master.  For some reason I'm less afraid of screwing up this blaster as far as mods go... maybe because it's less expensive?  Anyways, here's a shot of internals as well as some external mods I've done.

First things first, I've simplified the loading mech.  Instead of that noisy clunky door that helps you load darts in, I just flat-out removed the whole mechanism.  You get a more reliable seal if you just load the dart in all the way yourself anyways... and speed isn't a factor for the Range Master in the first place.  Also cut out that ridiculously oversized muzzle for it.  I'll probably clean this up a little more.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Elite Dart Testing: Flywheels

A few folks have been nipping at my heels for this review, so I decided to quit stalling and get to work on it.  This comprehensive test uses a Nerf Rayven, 12 round clip, 6 Streamlines and 6 Elite Darts to check performance differences between the two types of ammo for clip system blasters.  Previous tests have shown that Elite darts are an improvement over the Streamline dart.  More than enough improvement (in my opinion) to switch over to them.

These tests are not just comprehensive in that I test these darts up against eachother, but I also do 3 different voltages on these.  First stock voltage, then Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries (which have been proven to give a little more punch in electronic blasters) and finally Ultrafires.

See how the Elites matched up against the Streamlines in the video below!

SlyDev: Custom Accessories

How'd that get on there?  Hmmm...
Saw this stuff at Street Tag Warfare a little while back and he's got an update on new stuff from them.  From iron sights to accessory rails and dart holders, I'm becoming increasingly interested in SlyDev.

This Australian-based site has a multitude of accessories for your N-Strike blaster and STW has made excellent use of them already.  Check out his review of some of their products on his blog.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Range Master aims for Elite

So the big thing for the Summer of 2012 was the N-Strike Elite lineup.  At the head of this new lineup was the promise of 75 ft "Elite" ranges.  While this has proved to be a bit of a let-down in terms of delivery (blasters typically get 50 feet flat, 75 ft angled) the Buzzbee Air Warriors line has a contender that's aiming to gain your business.

This is where the Range Master comes in.  It's a "Sniper Rifle" design that actually lives up to it's looks.  The Nerf N-Strike Longstrike CS-6, while it looked the part of a long-range dart-slinger, got the same if not worse ranges when compared to other standard N-Strike clip-fed blasters.  However, to get that range, the Range Master relies on the good ol' air tank... something the Nerf brand seems to have abandoned at this point.

Where most folks will jump at the 60 ft range claims (which are accurate) there's an Achilles heel to the Range Master that still gives the Elite blasters an edge: priming.  With it's manual prime, the Range Master is easily outgunned by anything in the Elite lineup in terms of dishing out foam darts. Manually loading each dart on top of pumping 5-6 times in between each shot kills the Range Master's Rate of Fire.

It's clear that the Range Master was targeted towards the Nerf N-Strike Elite line as far as range goes, and it certainly does that well.  However, when it comes to using these blasters in games, scales tip towards the faster Rate of Fire that the Elite lineup has where this clumsy bolt-action air blaster fails to keep up.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Upon checking my usual blogs this morning, I saw a link from a not-so-usual contender.  Portal's Portal had taken a closer look at an Ad found by SG Nerf that shows us a nice front-shot of the Firestrike (totally called that layout), the extremely expensive Strongarm, and even the Rampage with that shield we had seen earlier.  I didn't expect so much news swirling around the Elite lineup post-release but here we are still scratching our heads and staying engaged with all the latest news.  Not sure if Hasbro planned it that way or not, but it's certainly making for a fun ride for those of us waist deep in speculation.

Now then, I don't mean to "Toot my own horn", but I'm getting increasingly confident that the massive waste of space inside the Rampage box that I noted in an earlier post is space for that top-rail mounted shield.

So now the Elite Lineup is looking a lot bigger than we thought.  Here's what we've got from what we've seen.

  • Retaliator
  • Rampage
  • Hailfire
  • Stockade
  • Firestrike
  • Strongarm
  • Elite Jolt (No name confirmed)
...that's quite the lineup already and it's certainly looking to replace the original N-Strike lineup at this rate.

Still, I'm curious as to your thoughts on this recent influx of information.  There's some crazy stuff out there.  Rampages with shields, Firestrikes with decent-looking Tac Lights, and a Grandma on eBay getting a Strongarm sold for over $1,000.  What's your thoughts on all this Elite-ist-ness?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

REMATCH: Battle of the Elites

Recently I pitted my Elite Longshot up against a stock N-Strike Elite Retaliator to see what had the better ranges.  However, now I've lightly modded my Retaliator and it's been surprising me.  I thought it would only be fair for a rematch between the two blasters.

I used the same parameters, even the same range space to test the two from the last time.  6 Elite Darts each, flat ranges.  Hitting that fence is roughly 75 feet, so clearing that fence is even further than that.  The mods in the Retaliator were about as basic as those in my Longshot.  AR is out, better seal, and a stronger spring.

Will my Elite Longshot continue it's reign as champion?  Or will the Retaliator give it a run for it's money?

LTX EF5: Update 7

So far the LTX EF5 has seen two full games.  One was just after Update #6 while it was still unpainted and another just last night at one of the MLTA's events.  This blaster's range and accuracy are it's strongest points.  Unfortunately, I forget these strong points and try to go in gunslinging as if I were using a Shotblast-equipped LTX and end up getting myself into trouble on the battlefield.  It's a mental state that's hard to break, as I've never really been the true "sniper" type.  This blaster, when completed, will likely go to one of my MLTA veterans who can make better use of it's pinpoint accuracy.

That being said, the paintjob on it is looking great.  Just a few other things to finish up as well as completing the power switch and this project is complete!  Below are a few close-up shots of the paintjob so far as well as a video outlining the progress made.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

LTAR goes WayBack

Flux at the Auburn Lazer Tag Club (ALTC) made this awesome video for the LTAR.  Though if you haven't seen the original Lazer Tag commercial from "Worlds of Wonder", it might not make as much sense.  So I've listed both the original commercial from the '80s and then Flux's take on it with the new LTAR.