Monday, July 30, 2012

Shelf News: Late July/Early August

Went to my local Target since I heard they had new stuff in stock.  Here's what I found!  The "Range Master" from BuzzBee is out.  It's claims ranges of 60 feet and the barrel extension increases it's size to 3 feet in length.  Has a faux scope (that at a glance looks real) and Suction Darts that are loaded into this bolt-action blaster from the right side.  Pricetag was 17.99 USD (it was just in the wrong spot when I took this picture).

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Elite Sidearm Speculation

Recently, my "Big 3" Nerf Blogs have publicized another new blaster for the N-Strike Elite lineup: the Strongarm.  It's an aesthetically revamped Maverick with that 75 ft range claim, so one can assume it's got a Direct Plunger System (DPS).  The Firestrike, while we don't have any pictures of the full blaster yet, looks to be an aesthetically revamped Nite Finder.  It already has a DPS, so there's likely just improvements to that with a weaker Air Restrictor.  This is all just assumption and conjecture, but I thought I'd use the Strongarm as an example to strengthen my predictions for the Firestrike's features.

LTARs' Combat Run

This past weekend, a few members of the MLTA got to see their first glimpse of the LTAR in an actual game setting.  This coming Wednesday, everyone will be able to see it, but I decided to hold a small match for a few that were interested.  Everyone who wanted a go at the LTAR got a chance to use it during our small 3 on 3 matches in a great little park.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Free time Filming

After we filmed footage for the LTAR Promo Vid, we got a little bored and put a skit together that pretty much outlines why I do Nerf indoors and Laser Tag outdoors.  The end result?  We are CLEARLY nuts.



Thursday, July 26, 2012

LTAR Promo Vid!

This is a "Promo Vid" I've put together with a few other friends for the Lazer Tag Augmented Reality system.  While there are clearly scripted parts, I did actually take footage from a mock game we set up specifically to capture footage of the LTAR's locked in combat, along with some LTX's that filled out the rest of the ranks.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

LTAR: Full Review (Updated!)

While a lot of neat products have been coming out this summer, the one at the top of my list was the Lazer Tag Augmented Reality system (LTAR) slated for an August 1st Release.  As you know, almost every product with a release date shows up somewhere early and, well, I got a pair!  I'll be doing a series of reviews as well as getting some in-game footage prepared to promote the heck out of this system.  Whether you're alone at home and want a handheld FPS shooter or you want to tag it up with your friends indoors or out, the LTAR is packing fun... and I love it!

Big Sale Coming Up!

So amidst all the new stuff that I've been getting for reviews... I'm starting to feel a little crowded by my increasing collection of stuff.  Not quite "hoarder" status, but I need to clear some space and condense this gargantuan armory.  I thought a few of you might be interested in some of the stuff I'm getting rid of, both Nerf and Laser Tag equipment.  I don't have anything set up for sale officially and if there's enough interest just from my fans here, I might just complete sales on a one-on-one basis instead of putting it all up on eBay. Either way, I've got some pounds (of gear) to shed, so take a look at stuff that's on the docket so far.

Power Monger

As I've been cleaning, organizing, and preparing some things for storage, I decided to take a second to realize how many AA batteries I had running the old Laser Challenge Armory.  Since I had to take them all out to prep them for cleaning and storage anyways, I lined 'em all up and took a count.  To power the 40 Set armory, it took 224 AA batteries!

The old OLCA group in all it's loaned-out glory
Most of these batteries were donated over the past 7 years to our armory to help power our blasters.  The biggest showing is Duracell with Rayovac as a close second.  Third was Energizer and then the lesser brands like Enercell, Dynex, and Eveready fill out the smaller sets of batteries.  Still, it's not only a testament to  all the great folks who have been donating batteries to our public armory for the Midwest Laser Tag Association's games, but also of what we tend to depend on most.  Makes me wonder if I should look into a Duracell sponsorship!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pyragon Internals!

Hadn't seen anyone really dig into the Pyragon's internals.  I was just curious about how it differed from the Praxis/Lumitron as far as the Slamfire function went and I was also interested to see if there was a reason for there being slightly more power behind the Pyragon's range than the other Torsion Spring Vortex blasters.

Turns out, this blaster has a bit of an upgrade...

Slamma Time

My adventures with the Pyragon continue as I film a tutorial on loading and unloading disks from the 40 Disk Drum magazine.  I also color-code the disks as I load them and then proceed to unleash Slamfire on a helpless crate with a blanket on it to show you how quickly the Pyragon can burn through it's high capacity magazine.

Check out the video below to see how long it takes me to dish out those disks!

40 Disk Drum = Epic

I've never had this much fun with a magazine from Nerf before.  It's just a hunk of engineering awesome that I really enjoy using and messing around with.  I'm sure the questions out there of  "How's the Drum look in the (__Insert Blaster Name here__)" will undoubtedly come up, so I've taken the liberty of messing around with that.

I just realized that I didn't bother using the Lumitron... but just  imagine the Praxis in that bright green and you get the picture.

Makes a great stand, too!

60 disks on one blaster is a scary thing...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tactical Tag gets the Pyragon

It's been roughly half a year since we first broke the news to Nerf fans everywhere about the Vortex Pyragon.  The official word about it from Hasbro was hush hush up until about a month ago, but diehard fans knew it was lurking, just WAITING to go public.

It only felt right to nab the Pyragon as quickly as I could.  Not only did I think it'd be significant to purchase the blaster that gained this blog a lot of attention, but in general the concept of a Slam-fire Vortex Blaster with a massive capacity seemed like a really great idea.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Elite Dart Testing: Flywheels

A week or so ago I did lots of testing with the newest darts Nerf has made: The Elite Dart.  However, as some of you pointed out on here and on YouTube, I did not include any flywheel-driven blasters.  Since my collection focuses mainly on Nerf-brand blasters, the Barricade and Rayven are in line to test out these new darts.

As I started to run tests and began filming, I realized that there were more variables I wanted to test.  Since many of the things I wanted to test were a result of questions asked by readers and viewers, I thought I'd go over what my test schedule consists of and see if you guys had any more suggestions before I started with them.  Here's the plan so far.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

MLTA's Season Wrapping Up

Well, Summer is nearing it's end, which means the Fight Night events for the Midwest Laser Tag Association are nearly over.  We've been having great games at our home park as well as special events at other locations that have been enjoyable for everyone.  The full switch to the Lazer Tag brand (LTTO, LTX, LTAR) has been received well and our veterans continue to work on modifications and customized blasters for this new line of blasters.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pyragon Inbound!

It's been 5 months since I stumbled upon the Vortex Pyragon thanks to Hasbro's Investors Presentation slideshow, so it only seems right that I nab it as quickly as possible, right?  Well, by Tuesday of next week, I'll have a Pyragon to review and dig into of my own.  I'm kind of psyched just because it's such a neat blaster, but I also realize that it's thanks to the Pyragon that this blog gained a lot of attention that it would've otherwise missed out on.

There have been a few others that have managed to get their hands on this blaster before me and I've liked what I've seen so far.  Expect a full review including a report on it's internals compared to the Praxis/Lumitron coming up on July 24th!

The other nifty thing we get from this, if you've missed it, is a nod towards the Nitron Shield that had been speculated before.  It's got a spot on the back of the Pyragon box, so it'll be neat to see if and when that actually comes out.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

18 Dart Quick Reload Clip Review

So this kinda serves both as "Shelf News" and as a review.  Whilst at my local Toys R Us, I found the Rampage, Retaliator, and the 18 Dart Quick Reload Clip.  I already have done reviews on the Retaliator and Rampage, but I was kind of interested to see what changes (if any) they made to the Elite 18 Dart Clip compared to the ones that came with the Stampede in 2010.

I didn't even take the time to bring it inside.  Once I got home, I nabbed my camera and took a closer look at this new clip.  This clip got compared to the 12 round Clip from the Retaliator and the 18 round Clip from the Stampede.  Check out my video review below for all the details!



While you're at it, check out Urban Tagger's review on the new Elite Tactical Vest!

200,000 Pageviews!

Wow!  I can't believe this little blog has gotten here so quickly!  It's been a little over a year since I opened the doors to Tactical Tag and started sharing my Nerf and Laser Tag projects on this blog and things like THIS let me know that... somehow... I'm doing things right!  I'd like to thank everyone who has supported this blog and made checking up on this place worthwhile every day!

To commemorate this occasion, I've painted up a Tactical Tag-themed Phoenix LTX.  I'm really happy with how it turned out and it'll be going to one of our active players in the MLTA as his personal blaster.  It looks great and I hope it serves him well in the future!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

LTX EF5: Update 6

I've solved the electromagnetic shielding problem and the EF5 is ready for a test drive!  Before the scheduled Lazer Tag game today, I decided to take a quick stroll to the park to zero the Red Dot sight and see how it did in the daytime (laser tag works better at night).  Everything is working great except for the Ammo gauge.  It's not lighting up at all, which isn't the worst thing ever if I can't fix it, but it'd be nice to have it functional if I can.  What I'm most pleased with is the fact that there's no power glitches, no resets, nothing like that during my tests.  I must've run past my stationary target firing volleys of IR light as I went past 3 or 4 times on less-than-stable terrain and all the jolts and jostles the blaster got didn't phase it at all.  The LTX DMR has been prone to power glitches under such circumstances and has been something I've yet to fix on it, so the EF5 is definitely a step up in this arena.

Next up is obviously a paintjob.  I may be able to break some ground on that today, but I have a few other things I need to get done for some of our other players tonight.  Wouldn't feel right to have my blaster all nice and done while theirs sit on the sideline.  I'll have another update once painting has started and hopefully have a combat report on how she performed too.

Below is a short vid of my first outdoor firing tests on it to zero my reflex sight.  It's a really tight beam, so having a sight like this really helps since even being off by an inch or so means I miss entirely.

video


Here's the previous updates:

Blasters should be BLUE!

I always manage to mention how blue is my favorite color.  What with my Blue Team shirt, my Blue UPS that I collected, and my instant approval of the N-Strike Elite colors, it's hard to miss the fact that I like blue. So I realized just how many of my blasters are now just that: BLUE!  Here's some pictures of that collection!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Draconis: Rockets for All!

Awhile back, NM&R helped promote a Kickstarter project by the real "Drac": Draconis of Nerf Haven.  He's always been a great help to me whenever I've had questions on the Nerf IRC and has even hooked me up with some nice Laser Tag gear, so when it came time to support the project, the answer was simple.  Donate and get some rockets outta the deal!

I received 3 rockets from Draconis as well as a Titan adapter, all of which I test out in this video.  First, I do a control round of Titan rockets with a stock blaster.  Then I add the adapter and fire the Draconis rockets.  Even on a stock blaster, the power, accuracy, and range increase.  They're great rockets and I'm really happy with this reward for pitching in with the Kickstarter project.


Monday, July 16, 2012

LTAR Preorders!

Thanks to snapdragonone on the LTTO Yahoo! Group, we've got pre-orders for the Lazer Tag Augmented Reality system!  It gives us a look at the box art and another angle at the final design for the blaster itself, but there are a few more question marks raised as a result of this.

Reports told us that the LTAR was slated to hit the North American supply chain on July 8th, which was a week ago now. Initially they had stated the LTAR was slated for an August 1st release.  However, the pre-orders for Toys R Us's online store list it for an August 18th release date.

Another odd thing about this is that there's currently only pre-orders for the single player blaster.  The LTAR will be released on it's own AND as a 2 player set, but it's odd to see them only listing the blaster on it's own.

Another odd thing is that it's still being labeled as "Nerf".  Originally I remember reading that, unlike the Phoenix LTX, the LTAR would not be branded under the Nerf name.  However, it looks like a last-ditch "Stamp of Approval", since the Nerf Logo is just sitting small on the box and not seen visibly on the blaster itself.  Still, I wasn't expecting it.

The sets include the iOS cradle, the cases for either the iPod Touch or iPhone versions to hold them securely inside the blaster, and a part to cover the empty space when you remove the iOS cradle and just play with the base blaster.  Prices for the single player system is listed for preorder at Toys R Us are $39.99, which isn't much more than a high-end Nerf Blaster.  It's also Toys R Us, so I expect retail prices to be cheaper than this.  We don't know what other retailers will carry this at this present time.

Links for both versions are listed below.
NERF Lazer Tag Blaster - Orange
NERF Lazer Tag Blaster - White


As usual, I'll keep you posted on more information as it becomes available.  You can also track the latest news on the LTAR at Windjammer's LTAR site.

LTX EF5: Update 5

EF5 learning from his big brother
Broke more ground on this fella and the need for creative problem solving continues to perplex me.  While it can be frustrating, the payoff I get in finding solutions is worth it.  For example, today was pretty much devoted to final wiring/power supply stuff.  I learned from my previous wiring fiasco with the LTX DMR and used it's power supply wiring to solve my own issues with the LTX EF5.

I also figured out a clever way to mount the Strength selection switch.  This switch, used before settings are locked in before a match, designates how much "health" will be used in the game: 10 hits or 25 hits.  The switch is a simple toggle that actually sits safely inside the mounting point for the stock on this.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  You can also see the mounted Shields toggle switch forward of the trigger in this photo.

The next problem to hurdle, which you'll see in the video below, is interference from the Sensor Dome coil with the main board.  It's making it lag it's firing severely, so I need to either find a shielding solution to stop the electromagnetic interference being caused or rebuild the internal layout so that the Sensor Dome is further away from the main board.  I never faced a problem like this with the LTX DMR because the dome was relocated nearly half a foot away from the main board.  Yay problem solving!
video

I always plan to field the LTX EF5 at the next game, but hangups and issues have kept me from taking this fella for a test run.  However, with the progress made on this blaster and with a few days ahead of me to get more work done, I may actually be able to do that for our next game on July 18th.  If I can get rid of that lagging problem, the only other thing that would be left would be building the structure for the battery pack.  It's not uncommon for me to field blasters mid-way through to test out how they perform, so I'm no stranger to playing a game with an unpainted bright plastic blaster for a game or two.


Here's the previous updates:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hitting Power

I posted this up on my YouTube account yesterday, but with so much stuff going on, I flat-out forgot to do a post on it here!  I wanted to see how a stock Elite blaster matched up to a lightly modified one (AKA, my Retaliator).  To test it out, I propped up my trusty Captain America shield as a target and set the camera in front of it to record the impact the Elite darts were making.  Also to check and see if accuracy was effected at all by this mod.

The blasters used in this test were The Elite Rampage and Retlaiator.  The Rampage is stock and the Retaliator has it's AR removed and a higher tension spring.  These were fired from about 20 feet away, so don't rely on the accuracy these blasters displayed TOO much!  Still, it's fun to see and hear the obvious improvement from those simple mods.

Slydev: Jolt Rail Attachment

My buddy Rolley at Street Tag Warfare found this neat accessory for the Jolt.  It's a custom fabricated part made by Slydev through OzNerf that clips on to your Jolt and secures itself onto an N-Strike rail.  It's especially good for mounting under the barrel extension, but it could be used anywhere there's an N-Strike Rail.  Go to Street Tag Warfare for all the pictures and details!

LTX EF5: Update 4

LTX EF5 closed up for test fitting internals
Did some major much-needed work on the LTX EF5 today.  Thanks to the spare board from jerm781 and some clever wiring by my friend Sundawg, the EF5 is finally electronically functional. All that's needed now is mounting the rest of the internals, building the battery pack, and a paintjob!  My goal is to hopefully field test this at our game this Friday, so I hope to at least have the battery pack and internals done for that.  If not, it'll likely be ready for our next regularly scheduled event next week.


I'm really happy with how the trigger transplant went. Ended up using the original LTX trigger and building a structure inside for it. Works quite well! Attached is a video of the LTX EF5's internals functioning in their new home. It looks like a mess in there since A: it's complicated work and B: some things still need to be mounted internally. Once they're secure and in place, I'll prepare it for painting.



video


Here's the previous updates:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Elite Dart Testing

I'm very interested in stock darts, mainly because when I host indoor games, hundreds of darts get all mixed up and it'd be a nightmare trying to sort them all out if we were all using different kinds of customized darts.  So when the Elite lineup claimed they had a "elite design" for this new dart, I had to check it out.  It's probably the main reason I'm interested in the Elite blasters (although the new internals are certainly fun).  What I'm looking for is a good dart to replace my inaccurate and unbalanced Streamlines, and I think the Elite Darts might be the answer to that.

I tested the Elite Darts with non-Elite blasters.  The NiteFinder, the Big Bad Bow, and the Longstrike.  All three of these blasters have modifications internally but their power has often made streamlines spiral out of control or veer off at a crazy angle.  Do the Elite Darts solve these problems?  Check out my video review of this new type of ammo.

Sorry for having to take down this post for a little while.  Had to re-upload the video due to picture skipping near the end.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Retaliator Modding

So I've had my fun with the stock Retaliator.  Now it's time to see if I can get it to surpass my Elite Longshot.  75 ft flat was my target for this blaster, since I just wanted it to hit the ranges we all thought it could beforehand.  Well... turns out that a simple AR removal and a spring upgrade later that it's already hitting that and THEN some!

I was pretty surprised to see that kind of power so quickly.  The spring I used was from some old broken Buzzbee shotgun that someone wanted me to do a Laser Tag recasing with (which I never did end up doing since the shell was too unstable).  That spring was a good fit for the Retaliator... a REALLY good fit!  So not only am I going to be tinkering with my Retaliator some more, but now I've got work to do on my Elite Longshot to make sure it's still my top dog.  Then again, it wouldn't be too bad if a smaller, more versatile blaster like the Retaliator was a primary. Hmm...

Battle of the Elites

Finally got my Elite Retaliator and decided to A: test out the darts in other blasters and B: range test it against my Elite Longshot.  So... that's exactly what I did!  The video below was my first try on this, and one of my first times ever firing the Retaliator to begin with, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect from these Elite darts.  From all the reviews I had been hearing, I was pretty certain the Elite Longshot would outshoot the Retaliator, but I was really just interested to see if the Elite Darts helped it much.

LTAR: App Released! Photos!



Even though I still don't have my hands on the new Lazer Tag system, I DID download the App to see what I could check out beforehand.  While you can't get the full experience without a blaster, it was neat browsing through all the Blasters and seeing the Special Attacks.  It's a nice app, even for being the Beta version right now, so I'm stoked to hook this up to an LTAR and have at it.

Below are images of all the blasters and the two special attacks as of today. As TagFerret noted before, there will be more software updates in the future that'll expand on these, but this is what we've got for now! There are some neat looking blaster designs in there. Gotta wonder if one day some of these blasters will become a reality?

You can download the Lazer Tag App in the Apple Store right now by searching for "Lazer Tag".  It's free to download, but like I said, it's kind of a tease if you don't have the blaster to hook it up to.  You can select "no blaster mode" to play it, but I'm a tagger... so I need a, uh...um... TAGGER!

For more on how the App will function with the LTAR, follow this link.
Wanna see more?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Update time!

So I've had a busy weekend, busier than I originally planned.  Anyways, this post is really just to let you know of all the crazy fun schtuff I've got planned.  First being that the LTX EF5 is slated to be operational this week.  We've got a game planned for Friday and I've got Tuesday thru Thursday to work on it.  Pretty sure I can get her working before then thanks to parts from jerm781's LTX 3K!  I'm confident I can get it complete before the month is up, so keep it here for those updates.

Second, I'll have a full review, pictures, and possibly even a bit of a mod guide for basic stuff on the N-Strike Elite Retaliator.  I'll also be doing a lot of testing with the Elite darts to see how they perform in high performance blasters.  My Big Bad Bow, Whiteout Longstrike, and Elite Longshot will be testing these darts out to see if they're balanced better than those fishtailing streamlines.

It's gonna be a fun week!  If there's anything you'd like to see about either of these two projects, post up a comment.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

NIC meets Tactical Tag

This "Nerf Internet Community" has been good to me recently.  What with finally getting my account validated at Nerf Haven to nabbing some neat blasters from folks I respect and admire that have been in the hobby much longer than I, it's worth noting that I view the "NIC" more as a general way to talk about the community surrounding these mods, games, and people connected through the interwebs.

Today I got a few boxes of stuff that'll help both my hobbies I cover on this blog and I just wanted to thank them again on here.  The first is a nice blue Tiger-brand Phoenix LTX from the original Drac: Draconis.  I've been talking with him on and off for several years on the Nerf IRC and he's always been friendly and helpful.  I'm very appreciative that, when he got his hands on some Lazer Tag gear, he thought of my hobby.  It's in excellent shape and will serve the armory well!  The second is jerm781, the head honcho at Nerf Mods & Reviews.  We've been collaborating together on stuff for awhile now and he sent me his LTX 3K recently.  This is just such a cool blaster and it's wondeful to have a piece of NM&R history in my hands.  It also still has a functional LTX board inside, which I actually need right now!  I'll be doing a little internal work on this to clean it up, remove the unused Lazer Tag parts that I need, and do some aesthetic work on it as well.

The board out of Jerm's LTX 3K is actually going to help save my LTX EF5 project.  I'll have an update on that later this weekend, but long story short is that it needs a new board.  After getting VERY close to making the blaster functional, the EF5's board shorted and the electronic damage looks to be irreparable.  The board in the LTX 3K is getting removed to replace it so that the project may continue whilst retaining the Nerf internals Jerm installed in it.

So thanks to Draconis and jerm781 for their contributions and support of my hobbies!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

NcSTAR Sight for Nerf or Laser Tag

Whilst Urban Taggers is giving away the oh-so-coveted Nerf Pinpoint Sights, I've decided to shed some light on one of my favorite accessories that's a little more functional.  This is the NcSTAR Red Dot DP.  It's a very simple adjustable red dot reflex sight that can attach to various sizes of rails, making it ideal for both my Laser Tag and Nerf hobbies.

Functional AND Tacticool!  Take THAT, N-Strike!
The clap design can adjust widths that can be as thin as a N-Strike rail or as wide as the one on the Phoenix LTX.  No modification to the blaster is needed to fit this guy on there.  Just tighten the two screws until it's sturdy on the rail and then zero the sight with the adjustment knobs.  It's versatile, easy to use and adjust, and best of all: it's cheap!  About 10 bucks will land you this Reflex Sight, an extra battery, and a cleaning cloth for it.  It's a great deal!

As a disclaimer, obviously saying this sight will work on anything is a stretch.  I have tried a Nerf Blaster or two that has a rail that's too thin.  To fix this, you can bend the mounting points a little so that it can fit on a narrower rail.  A little ingenuity goes a long way.

Here's my video review on this great little sight!  Pick one up for your blaster today!  Here's the link to one at Amazon.com

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Boomstick

Whilst celebrating with friends and family today, I decided to do one for my loyal viewers!  Here's my latest Nerf EBF-25 Vulcan mod: the Boomstick.  All it takes is a Roman Candle, a lighter, and a supportive girlfriend to shoot HD video.


Disclaimer!  This is NOT safe to do!  I pointed mine upwards so as to not hurt anyone whilst firing this.  Do not attempt if you're an idiot.

But seriously, celebrate safely!  ...and Happy 4th of July!!