Tuesday, October 30, 2012

LTAR: 90 Second TV Spot

Got this from TagFerret, the lead developer of the LTAR:
"Here is the full-length (90 seconds) commercial for LTAR which will begin airing immediately, online at first but I think also in broadcast as Christmas gets closer.

It was filmed in Prague, Czech Republic.

Personally I love it -- really nice work everybody who had a hand in it!"

Pretty intense commercial!  Awhile back a few friends and I filmed our own LTAR Promotional Commercial.  You be the judge!  (No, I won't be offended if you liked the real one more!)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Laser Tag: Recap

Just finished up our annual Halloween Laser Tag game and, despite the cold, we had great turnout and played for a little over 3 hours!  Thanks to a full moon, the park was well lit even at full nightfall and we made good use of this to get lots of great games in before calling it a night.
What an awesome set of games, though!  We experimented with a few different settings for team, zombie, and Alpha Zombie games that were all a lot of fun.  We also got to debut a lot of newer customized gear.  From a sight mounted on an LTAR to the Tactical Tag 200,000 Pageviews blaster to my Captain America LTAR, there were quite a few new ones running around.  Costumes ranged from Mass Effect to Dr. Who.  While we had our usual "I'm in camo" costumes that don't quite count in my books, it was still a fun time.  Actually, I was probably one of the more easily spotted players in the whole group thanks to my primary colors.  To the left are a few of my favorite shots taken during the games.  14 total players made it out and we didn't have any gear malfunctions thanks to the Mod Night held the week before to prepare the battered LTX armory.
My costume held up quite well too, and it was really easy to move around in.  The UnderArmour kept me plenty warm and I didn't get any snags at all!  The Shield kinda helped me power through some tough branches and bushes and I kinda wish I had worked on my blaster a little more (could've used a better iron sight) but in the end, Captain America did pretty well considering how easy I was to spot during the games!  I'm looking forward to getting some more use out of this costume in the days to come.
So I'd say the whole evening was a huge success.  Fun costumes, great games, no problems, and some decent photos to prove it all!  On November 1st I'll have an announcement that most of my readers should enjoy.  Until then, I've got a few busy days ahead, so I'll probably take it easy on the hobby side until then. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ready to Roll - Captain America

Weather for our annual Halloween Laser Tag game looks to be a bit cold.  I specifically designed my Captain America costume to be more lightweight this year which, on the surface, seems like a bad idea.  But underneath I'll be armed with my trusty UnderArmour Cold Gear that should keep me more than warm for the evening's festivities. 
On the plus side, it means that for the indoor parties I'll use this costume for in the coming days, I won't be getting cooked inside a thick leather jacket (like I was last year).  I'm really excited to do this game tomorrow not just because I look forward to seeing everyone in costume having a good time, but because I'm anxious to see if my efforts to make this year's costume more "agile" will work in my favor.  Last year, even though I was plenty warm tucked away inside the motorcycle jacket-based costume, it was tough to move around in. 
What I'm most worried about is the durability of the new lightweight "Avengers" version of this costume, as I fear that the materials might snag on the bare branches at the park we'll play at.  The leather jacket from last year not only negated any snags, but gave me a little more confidence to rush through cover that I would otherwise think twice about jetting through.  On Monday, expect a full report on the game, how the costume held up, and an announcement that Tactical Tag faithful should be psyched about.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Messing around at Mod Night

Our goal for the Mod Night was to get the 18-unit LTX Armory in tip-top shape for our upcoming Halloween Laser Tag game.  Myself and 5 other volunteers went through checking batteries and fixing reload switches in anticipation of the turnout expected for this event.  Once we were all done, we had a little fun watching some episodes of our favorite web series as well as having a bit of a Nerf war.  Nothing serious, quite the opposite!  Below is a quick clip shot when one of our guys was holed up in a storage room while 3 of us waited for him to come out.  He got some unexpected help!

Star Spangled LTAR

Worked up a nice simple paintjob on a white LTAR just in time for my Halloween costume.  The upper reciever is all blue while there's a red arc following panel lines to break up the rest of the stock paint job.  I also swapped out the orange reload bar for a white one off of the orange LTAR set to give the lower portion of the blaster a striped look that mimicks the Captain America costume it'll accompany.
I may have other modifications internally for this as I experiement with the LTAR, a blaster I have yet to do any modifications with as of yet.  I may attempt to put a toggle switch that would turn the Beacon IR LEDs on and off for a "Stealth" mode.  The LTAR is known for making all kinds of noise when it interacts with other LTAR blasters like lock-on and hit notifications.  Disabling the beacon would mean silencing those warnings that can sometimes get in the way during combat.

In any case, I'm pretty much ready for our Halloween Laser Tag game set for this Sunday, October 28th.  Tonight the MLTA has scheduled a "mod night" that'll allow us to get the general armory up and running in tip-top shape as well as fix a few of our member's customized blasters.  Should be a good time!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Elite News Breakdown ::UPDATED::

So a lot has happened recently with "Elite Fakes" and "Firefly Tech Hoaxes" making their way around the 'net right now.  As of October 23rd, there's all kinds of information out there that pretty much nail down some rumors that I had originally dismissed as being fan-made or fake... but I'm simoutaneously happy and disappointed that I was likely wrong about those.

Thanks to my "Big 3" blogs (SG Nerf, Urban Taggers, NM&R), we've got more than enough evidence and information that confirms a few things for us... at least in MY books.  The N-Strike Elite lineup was said to include a blaster called the "Stryfe" that we now have an image of courtesy of the box for an Elite Firefly Tech Clip set.  There's also been high-definition photos of the Elite Jolt and Elite Reflex that have been broken down and inspected by fans that I have come to trust.

Elite Firefly Tech Clip (on the left)
compared to the normal one
The reason I had originally dismissed most of this stuff as "Fake" was based on what we've seen from the Elite lineup so far.  I expected N-Strike Elite logos and renamed blasters to be the lay of the land when a blaster's legitimacy was in question.  However, with these blasters that I previously doubted now being seen alongside other legitimate information, it can only mean one thing: this stuff is happening... somehow!
This also means we're getting a repainted Rayven too.  While I'm not sure if there will be internal differences with these simply renamed blasters, it is neat that some of my favorite blasters, plus some really nice looking new ones will be coming out.  The Firestrike too, that I've mentioned in this earlier post, is one I'm especially looking forward to.

So while nothing has been exactly confirmed, it's looking like Christmas is coming early for those who love Nerf News!

There's been a flood of new information about all of these new Elite products.  Nerf Mods & Reviews has an excellent breakdown of everything coming out and SG Nerf has news on the Elite Pinpoint Sight that's in Singapore.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Staged or not, she gives the orders in this relationship.


Well, it looks like the Firestrike's design has been finalized.  It's a tad different color-wise from the Teaser on the Elite boxes we've seen so far, but the structure is the same.  I personally cannot WAIT for this, as I think it's the best looking pistol design I've seen in awhile.  I love the beefy tactical light, I love the color, the flat top tactical rail, and we all know it'll have great power with that NiteFinder plunger that's obviously in there. 

The question this blaster now throws up in the air is the legitimacy of things like the Elite Jolt and such.  This guy's bedspread has been the background for many questioned blasters.  However, I believe this Firestrike to be the real deal.  Does this mean the Elite Firefly Tech clip and the Elite Jolt are the real deal too?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Arm Guards Progress

Captain America's gloves have an armored gauntlet on the forearms that I really like.  At first, I attempted to repaint an old pair of shin guards and adapt them for being worn on the forearm.  As it turns out, the plastic doesn't like to hold paint very evenly (has lots of spots and such show up, regardless of the exterior finish). 
I've resorted to covering one of the shin guards in some left-over fabric I have from making the jacket.  Turned out pretty nice, so I'll be doing the same to the other one.  Should be ready to rock next Sunday.  Next up is my blaster, a modified LTAR.  Gonna try a few things like disabling the Beacon in the dome and perhaps a stock.  We'll see!

Unload the Pyragon!

So when the Pyragon first came out, I did a firing test on it to see how quickly I could dish out all 4 of it's disks using it's Slam Fire function.  I feel silly for not even noticing, but a few days later, Nerf released a very similar video.

In the recent wake of realizing the Clip-fed backpack system from my Endless Thunderstorm idea, it's just funny seeing things that I've done that are so similar.

Just curious... what's your best time?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Elite Fakes: Digging deeper

Color inverted to reveal detail
Gavin on the Tactical Tag Facebook Page sent a bit of evidence that has me scratching my head along with the rest of Nerf Nation.  This "Elite Reflex", while most have dismissed it as fake (myself included) does have some legitimate-ness to it.

"By the powers of Photoshop (Negative + "dodge" the words)
It says ©2011 hasbro, on the Elite Relfex... Hmm... This is beginning to look more legit."

Hmm indeed, Gavin! While it still doesn't check out for me personally... that's an awful lot of work to be done on a fake blaster just to fool some Nerf fans.

I still have my doubts about this guy, or the "Elite Jolt" for that matter, because of what we've seen from Nerf so far. Elite Blasters have different names, no "IX", "CS", or "EX" designations or model numbers, and have redone shells with the N-Strike Elite logo on them. Nerf has gone out of their way to redo these parts on blasters that have been rehashed into the Elite lineup, so why stop now?

Another "Whoops" for Lazer Tag

I've mentioned it a bit before with the "Apple Attacks" post when the iPhone 5 was unveiled.  It's been a little while to let the crazed fans around Apple settle down a bit, but I thought I'd project a bit of a lesson that should be learned... and should've been learned before by Hasbro's marketing folks.

In 2008 when the Tiger Electronics (owned by Hasbro) Lazer Tag Phoenix LTX came out, one of the promotions for it was a "TV Game" that could plug into your blaster and let you use it as a light gun on your tv. While a nifty idea, the TV Game attachment was largely a flop since it was designed to work with older style TVs in an age where flat screen LCDs were really starting to dominate the market.  The LTX's launch wasn't nearly as successful as it should've been, largely due to the timing of it's introduction into the market.  It was more expensive than it's compettitors and the TV Game was outdated the second it was released.

And yet, it seems like the folks at Hasbro thought they could still catch on to a growing trend: mobile devices.  Utilizing the next system, the Lazer Tag Augmented Reality (LTAR) system, to get ahead of the curve, they developed a Lazer Tag App to be used with the iPod Touch and iPhone as a heads up display for interactive gaming.  Less than a few months out from the LTAR's release in August of 2012, Apple released their iPhone 5 design, which was larger than the standardized size of the iPhone and iPod Touch that the cradle on the LTAR was designed to use.  Already, the technology the LTAR was designed to use has been outdated.  The marketing all over the box for the LTAR promotes it's use to be integrated with an iOS device and there's only one mention in fine print on the side of the box that states the blaster can be used on it's own.  Marketing has been completely focused on promoting the iDevice, which I fear might lead to another Lazer Tag flop.

OMW: Longshot Immortal Resumes

While I'm pretty much burnt out on Orange Mod Works, it is at least good to see progress (instead of congress) on the Longshot Immortal kit.  Got the e-mail this morning.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Captain America Progress

Made QUITE a bit of progress on my costume!  A lot more than I was expecting, too!  As of right now, the shirt/jacket is complete minus a few tweaks I need to make.  The guards on the gloves are nearly complete too, so I should be ready to rock 'n roll with this costume pretty quickly.
I sanded down the shin guards I'm using for the armor on these gloves.  They've turned out pretty well, but the plastic used for these has been a bit of a pain to work with.  I had to redo the first one I did, and it took a LOT of time getting the Krylon Fusion off of it to do a clean retake on it.   These paired with my red gloves and some red fabric left over from the stripes on the torso should look nice.
Probably the most tedious work was the stripes along the front.  Getting them measured and coming up with a way to affix them without stretching the fabrics I used was a bit of a pain.  In the end, it was easier to just turn this full-zip jacket into a 1/4th zip at the top and close things up where the red stripe goes through the center.  Not what we had originally intended, but it works.  It also means the top left half of the star in the middle is only velcro-ed on, with the right side stitched to the jacket.  Getting in and out of this is a bit of a challenge, but it's a welcome change from the heavy leather jacket in my TFA costume from last year.
Next up is the blaster and finishing up other details.  The major work on this costume, as you can see, is behind me!

Updating the Captain

Broke a lot of ground this morning getting things ready for Captain America's modernization.  There are a lot of different parts from his World War II-era combat suit seen in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and the new revamped uniform in The Avengers (2012).  Since I'm using this in a laser tagging event on October 28th, I wanted to make the costume accurate but also keep mobility in mind.  That being said, the heavy leather jacket used in my costume from last year has been replaced with a lightweight track jacket.  I also don't have to worry about mounting any sensors on my costume since we're using LTX and LTAR blasters for this match.  The white blaster above is what I'm working with.  I've already swapped the orange reload paddle for a white one off of the other Orange/yellow LTAR I had.  I have a few mods in mind for this blaster, both aesthetic and electronic in mind.  Those will likely get hammered out next week. 
The big parts I'm trying to finish before that is the jacket and gloves/gauntlets.  Here you can see a shin guard that I'll be re-appropriating as an armored gauntlet for Cap's gloves.  It'll be painted red and should work nicely for that solid armored look that I love about them.  Major work still needs to be done on the jacket, but I'll post some progress pictures for the build on it.
The only elements getting directly re-used from last year's costume is the shield and the pants.  I tried looking for new blue long athletic pants, that might match the texture on my jacket a little more, but you'd be surprised how hard it is to track blue pants down!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"You here with a mission, sir?"

When I began looking for a place to start with the new "jacket" for the Captain America costume for The Avengers, I couldn't help but remember how heavy my previous costume was.  It was a leather jacket with plenty of other parts sewn on and it was kinda tough to do indoor parties with since it got so hot.  I decided to base this new costume off of a lightweight sports pullover.  I'll be making alterations and adding the iconic silver star to turn this fella into a much more breathable costume.  The best part about making a lightweight variant is that if I do need it to be warmer, I can layer underneath with my UnderArmour Cold Gear that I already own.  During games, having this more flexible and mobile jacket to work with will be much easier to get around in for our Halloween Laser Tag game.

Costume Changes

Well, I'm about 95% certain that my window to work on my Colonial Marine costume has run out.  Without the help of my programming genius friend, I can't get the Pulse Rifle operational.  Which means I fall back to Plan B:  Captain America.  I'll be making a new jacket to match that of the one used in The Avengers.  Not only that, but I'll be painting up an LTAR "Captain America Style" as well as having a few friends go as the other members of the team.  One of them might even have a "bow" laser tag blaster for his Hawkeye costume, so I hope we can complete the team in the little time we have left.  In any case, it should be a fun game!

I have time on Thursday that I plan on devoting to much of this costume's construction.  It's a lot to get together, but I've already got the shield and blue pans for this.  My focus will be the jacket and gloves/gauntlets for this.  If all else fails, I can always just re-use last year's costume, but I'd rather not do that if I don't have to.  Wish me luck!

Monday, October 15, 2012

MLTA Recap 10-14-12

It's been awhile since I've had time for a good solid outdoor game during the Midwest Laser Tag Association's off season, but we finally got one in.  With the leaves crunchy, the cover thinning, and the space limited, long-range really had a leg up on this match.  Blasters like my LTX-EF5, Sundawg's Ultimate LTX, and the CTDYNE LTX, matches came down to who was more accurate.

Having good cover was tough to come by.  Almost everyone was in some form of camouflage so utilizing what cover we had was imperative to surviving in these games.  It was difficult getting reads on where you were getting hit from, which made for some extremely unorganized attacks for some teams during the course of the evening.

We had 12 people total show up for this game, which wasn't bad considering the RSVP for the Facebook event was only sitting at 6 the day before the match.  It was a great evening and my LTX-EF5 got some good kills during the course of the 4 matches we played.  I'll be finishing it up now that I've got a little more spare time ahead of me.
Next up is our Halloween Game, which means I've got some major work to do on my costume.  I'm about 90% certain that the Pulse Rifle will not be ready for the match since my programming guy is busy.  I'll likely be revamping my Captain America costume and a few of us will go as the Avengers for the game.  Either way, I've got plenty of costume stuff to get either my Colonial Marine or Cap together for it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

LazerBait's LTX

LazerBait has been making excellent accessories and modifications for laser tag blasters for awhile now.  Most of the long-range lenses we use in our most accurate sniper rifles were built by him.  Around this time last year Mike Yates of CTDYNE developed the "LTX Combo Mount".  While it was as much of a work of art as it was an excellent accessory to the LTX, it was expensive to develop.  LazerBait developed a much cheaper cost-efficient variant of the Combo Mount, seen above on his Phoenix LTX.  With the stock providing excellent stability, the lens magnified with precision to hit targets well over 1,000 feet away, and the sight mounted on a weaver rail above to line up each shot, this blaster is certainly a threat from afar!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Endless Thunderstorm in production?

Last summer, I came up with the idea to integrate a hydration pack into a clip-system Super Soaker to give the user nearly unlimited ammo.  I called it the "Endless Thunderstorm", and it's made it's way around the web once or twice.  Later, Super Soaker released it's massive drum magazine that pretty much trumped my original idea, but it was very front-heavy as a result of this.  Now Urban Taggers (with the help of Chenanio) has spotted something that I can't help but feel is oddly familiar to my idea last summer.  You be the judge.
I'm not trying to be one of those "Nerf stole my idea and owes me money" folks.  Instead, it's just interesting that an idea I came up with is actually going to be a legitimate product.  Cool!

Trigger colors!

Urban Taggers noticed it with the "more powerful" versions of the Dart Tag gear being identified by their Blue Triggers and now we have another way to see the difference between the US Release of Elite blasters and the "watered down" versions that they had reported.  You'll recall that Nerf announced that lower-range versions of the Elite blasters were slated for international release for safety reasons, and now it appears there's an aesthetic change on top of the power difference.

Gray triggers on Urban Tagger's Australian-based Elite Blasters are the surefire way to tell what kind of blaster you've got.  Personally, I like the gray plastic trigger better.  Using a gray trigger in a repainted blaster would look better than painting a trigger gray or black only to have the paint wear off. 
So it looks like we've got a basic visual way to tell the difference between different strengths in blasters.  Blue triggers on Dart Tag gear are better while Orange triggers on Elite gear denote the stronger performance.  ...interesting!
Gotta love UT's attentio to detail!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Elite Fakes: All too Easy!

Attention to detail will go a long way and save some over-enthusiastic Nerf Fans some trouble.  I've made it abundantly clear before that my Elite Longshot and my Elite Nitefinder are fan-made blasters that, while designed to mimic the look of those blasters, aren't claiming to be a legitimate part of the lineup.  I just like the way Elite blasters look so I took two of my favorite blasters and made 'em "Elite" looking.

Recently, a photo of this "Elite Jolt" has surfaced and, ironically enough, I received this very image as a submission to Nerf Mods & Reviews.  In my busy schedule I just flat-out forgot to publish the photo.  To my delight, Nerf fans over at SG Nerf have been going bonkers about this photo.  While some have already correctly identified the points that make this blaster "fake", others continue to be hopeful that it's real.  While the blaster's repaint is VERY convincing, there are two points that are obvious giveaways about it's "fake"-ness.

  1. The blaster is still called the "Jolt".  Nerf has already confirmed the name will be "Triad" and it will likely be slightly different in design, not a repaint like the one above.
  2. The N-Strike logo is the normal one, not an Elite logo.  Even the blasters that have been revamped for the Elite lineup like the Recon (Retaliator) and Raider (Rampage) have Elite logos on them.
So while the paint job is great looking, it's not a legitimate N-Strike Elite blaster.  In my experience with the hundreds of comments I got about my Elite Longshot, even IF the facts are out there, folks will still overreact and freak out about it, but I figured having some solid info floating around out there might help lesser-informed fans.  In the meantime, we can anxiously await the Strongarm, Triad, and other new Elite blasters coming out in the months to come!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

No News is Bad News

No, it's not "Game over, man!"  Ever since I decided to move forward with my Halloween costume idea for a Colonial Marine, I've been dead in the water with the construction of my Pulse Rifle.  My friend who is the mastermind behind it's Arduino programming has been very busy with work and hasn't had time to devote to help complete the M41A and get it running.  I've still got a bit of time to try to pull something together, but at least I've got my Captain America costume as a fall back.  Still, I'd rather do something new for this year and I was hoping to have this costume propel my Pulse Rifle into completion... so "no news" in regards to this project is "bad news".

The main issue we had before, which I covered waaay back in May, is programming.  Wiring is pretty much complete for this unless part of the reason the programming isn't working the way it should be is because of a wiring problem.  I might try to complete the Colonial Marines outfit anyways and just paint up a USCM-themed blaster for the game anyways, but the Pulse Rifle and that armor just go together, you know?

You'll know something about this project once I have some forward progress on this to report.  Until then, I'm seriously considering plans to bankrupt my friend's place of employment so he can have some spare time!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Indoor Gameplay footage!

Did this game awhile ago, but finally had time to throw a little vid of it together.  You can see my initial post on this event here.

I was hoping for some better footage, but this is all I've got: some photos, a few quick battles on film, kickass music, and a bit of a fail to close it all out.  ENJOY!