Thursday, January 31, 2013

Xplorer Longshot Fighter Kit

I've had about a month to mess around with the Longshot Fighter kit by Xplorer and I still can't believe the power of this blaster.  With the high-load spring paired with the precision-crafted custom internals, these XDarts that I've been slinging around have been hitting hard and finding their targets with immense accuracy!

Visit Xplorer's website, see the review, and check out their other products as well!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Snow day woes!

A fresh coat of snow has covered the area where I live.  With a Nerf game and a Laser Tag game coming up this weekend, I hope at least SOME of this white stuff will stick around.  While it won't effect the Nerf game (as we're playing indoors), it is fun to have some snow on the ground during outdoor Nerf Games.  Especially when it's fresh, it can make tracking your opponent a bit more like a form of hunting.  By the time we get to Sunday (when our game is scheduled), there should've been plenty of time for local kids to have run around in the snow and mess up that opportunity.

It's been awhile since I've had a good snow day game, though.  Generally the temperatures are too cold for our batteries to last very long in the wake of a fresh set of snow.  That, and weather around here can be unpredictable, making it tough to have a decent turnout with enough of advance notice for players.  And with it getting dark out earlier in the evening, it limits the days that I can throw an impromptu snow game.

So my question is this: do you guys ever plan outdoor Nerf or Laser Tag games in the snow?  How have those events gone for you?  Just curious!

Monday, January 28, 2013

New Year, More Games!

Cold weather has thwarted my previous attempts at planning the first laser tag game of 2013 for the MLTA, but I think we've finally got a good one coming up on February 3rd!  Temperatures in the mid 40s should be just fine for our electronics and I'm itching to get out there and play a few rounds with my friends, friends of friends, and father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate (bonus points if you got that reference).

I suppose I can't complain completely, as I have hosted an indoor game for a local church recently that was quite a lot of fun.  It's something I've been doing a little more frequently with churches and colleges in the area that I quite enjoy.  It also gets quite a bit of exposure for the MLTA and for Laser Tag in general.  Many folks are still under the idea that laser tag can only be played at Roller Rinks and Shopping Malls in a stuffy arena with big bulky chest sensors.  With the LTAR on store shelves and with my group still rockin' the LTX, I'm always eager to keep this town tagging.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Amped! Series

On my YouTube channel, I've made a playlist for all the "Amped!" videos we've made.  It's just me, my buddy Sundawg, and a DC Regulated Power Supply hooked up to electronically-driven Nerf Blasters.  It's been a fun series to do so every time Nerf comes out with a new electronic blaster, we put it through it's paces in an "Amped!" test.

Tests that we've done with the Amped! series have led to more permanent modifications like my modified Vulcan EBF-25.  It's also the series that kinda launched my YouTube channel into the interwebs with the Amped Swarmfire video.  The newest one we've added is an Amped Stryfe that's a little odd compared to other tests.  Take a look if you haven't already!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

N-Strike Elite Stockade Review

Pocket over at Urban Taggers was kind enough to send me an N-Strike Elite Stockade to review!  It's especially neat for me since this is the International Spec version with a silver/gray trigger instead of the orange triggered versions.  While it denotes a lower-power blaster, I just like finally having a silver trigger without it having to be repainted or metal or anything like that.  I'm also stoked because the stock on this has quickly become my favorite one to use ever... of all time.  It trumps the Retaliator's Stock size any day of the week if you ask me.

I've got photos of the Stockade over on the Tactical Tag Facebook Page with different options on it.  See my quick review of it after the jump!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

MultiCam or MARPAT?

I've done a couple of posts on camouflage that I use as well as tests on different kinds of patterns that are useful in a number of environments.  For the past couple of years, I've been religiously using MARPAT in both it's Desert and Woodland form for outdoor games.  MARPAT, if you didn't already know, is short for Marine Pattern and is used by the United States Marine Corps.  It's a digital camouflage pattern unique to the USMC and they use two forms of it, depending on the area they are deployed.  A Desert MARPAT is obviously used in arid regions.  I use my Desert MARPAT in late autumn until things start growing again in the spring.  The rest of the time I use Woodland MARPAT, which is much better for deep wooded areas with lots of growth.  There are "civillian" versions of both Desert and Woodland MARPAT that I have compared before, but I'm a bit stingy with my stuff and only field genuine USMC-issue MARPAT.

It's never really let me down when either pattern is in season.  The only trouble I tend to have is in those "Transitional" periods.  In Spring and Fall when the colors are turning, it's tough deciding if I want more greens/dark colors or lighter tans and browns to match my surroundings.  This is where I almost wonder if investing in a third set of camouflage might help cover my bases a little more.  The best candidate that I've seen that is a bit of a mix of both is called MultiCam.  Currently fielded by the US Army, MultiCam has been often cited as a good middle-ground camouflage that works well in many different environments.  I've seen it work especially well in the seasons where my camouflage gap tends to be.

The hangup that I have about MultiCam is that I'm worried that I won't use it frequently enough to warrant pursuing a set of it.  I COULD use it year-round, but for the types of games that we normally play, Woodland MARPAT over the summer is likely going to be the best choice.  We play fewer off-season games where I would potentially use MultiCam and the Desert MARPAT can handle most of that.  In that same vein, my Desert MARPAT doesn't get used that frequently because we don't often play in the winter to begin with.  I'm almost wondering if I should replace the Desert MARPAT with MultiCam for our off-season games.

I'm open to suggestions, so chime in if you've got an idea on how to tackle this Tactical Nitpick of mine!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Stock Drought

No, not NASAQ or S&P.  I'm talking about N-Strike removable stocks.  As of late, Nerf has been pumping out lots of new blasters that incorporate modular designs.  Removable barrels, shoulder stocks, and rail-mounted accessories used to thrive in the N-Strike lineup.  However, with the new N-Strike Elite blasters, there seems to be a severe drought of accessories.  Every Elite blaster has some kind of accessory mounting point on it and yet there are only a few accessories for the lineup to use.  Yes, you could use your older N-Strike accessories on the newer N-Strike Elite blasters, but I'm an aesthetic nitpick... so my stuff has to MATCH.

The Stockade and an Elite Pinpoint Sight.
Tough stuff to find in the lower 48.
While I could care less about faux barrels and useless aiming devices on my blasters, this lack of options for the Elite lineup is effecting my blasters that lack a shoulder stock.  Most of these blasters actually have the option FOR a removable N-Strike shoulder stock, but they didn't come with one.  In the US Market, there's only one "Elite" shoulder stock: the Retaliator stock.  By many folks' measure, it's simply too stubby of a stock to really be comfortable.  While it is a solid design, it's just not quite what most fans are looking for.  The only other "Elite" shoulder stock is on the Stockade, which isn't available in the US Market.  It's actually one of the best stocks I've seen for the N-Strike or N-Strike Elite lineup and I'm quite a fan of it.

There are only a handful of accessories, period, for the N-Strike Elite lineup.  All 3 of them are from the Retaliator, with the exception of the internationally released Stockade.  There's also a limited release of the Elite Pinpoint sight, but it's incredibly hard to find.  While there are different clip sizes across the lineup (6, 12, 18, and the 25 round drum), there isn't much in the way of other accessories.  There's an overabundance of blasters being produced with the option for a shoulder stock but without an actual stock being provided.  The Stryfe, the Rampage, Elite Alpha Trooper, as well as the Vortex Pyragon, Lumitron, and Diatron all have the option but do not have a stock included.  Many fans have been using the blue Raider adjustable stock on their Elite blasters or the white Super Soaker stock from the LightningStorm for the Pyragon and Diatron, but it's still odd to see such a limited number of accessories on blasters that have plenty of options for them.

I've managed to trick out a few blasters with some Elite-esque looking accessories.  There's a Raider stock that I made with a white tube for the center section and a Longstrike barrel I've painted to look "Elite", as well as a few other accessories that look the part.  However, I can't help but think that Nerf needs to fill out their new lineup with some more options.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Box of Goodies from UT!

I've always mentioned that part of the reason I started this blog was because of Urban Taggers.  Over the past year or so I've been fortunate enough to get to know Pocket Esq and we've always had an unspoken "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" kind of relationship anyways.  This weekend I got a package from across the pond with quite a few surprises in there.  Here's a quick video plus some photos of things I'll be reviewing thanks to this box of goodies Pocket sent here.  I also explain how I plan to attempt to repay Urban Tagger's generosity with a gift of my own.
Below are links to images of the two products I'll be reviewing soon!

See the video after the Jump!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Elite Alpha Trooper: See ya, Rampage!

In the days of the original N-Strike Lineup, there were really only a few things separating the Raider CS-35 and the Alpha Trooper CS-18.  While, in my eyes, the Alpha Trooper was the better blaster, the Raider CS-35 had higher ammo capacity, came with a stock, and was available at all retailers whereas the Alpha Trooper only had 18 rounds, no stock, and could only be found at Target stores.  But now in the N-Strike Elite lineup, the Alpha Trooper has re-emerged as a powerful contender that, I think, will knock the socks off the Rampage.

Folks have always complained about comfort in the Raider/Rampage design.  The side-mounted magazine chamber is mostly to blame for that.  I also find that I enjoy the shotgun-style grip on the Alpha Trooper compared to the foregrip-style of the Raider/Rampage.  And, while it's obvious that the Elite Alpha Trooper will still have a slightly lower capacity compared to the Rampage's 25-dart Drum Magazine, I still think it's even HARDER to contend with now.

Both the Rampage and Alpha Trooper lack a stock, so they're on even terms there.  They both have the direct plunger system and, while they haven't been compared head-to-head just yet, will likely get the same amount of range performance.  So while the Rampage will still have a few more darts than the Elite Alpha Trooper, I think the comfort level easily separates the two.  To me, it's a win for the Alpha Trooper and a much harder sell for the Rampage.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Xplorer: Longshot Shotgun Grip

Phang Kuok Sing's First Gen Longshot
with the Xplorer Longshot Shotgun grip
One of the most iconic pieces of equipment released by Xplorer Dart Blaster Developments is the Longshot Shotgun grip.  It's a sturdy, ergonomically comfortable, and easy-to-install accessory that'll make priming your Longshot a breeze.  Especially useful on Longshots with a high-load spring installed, this grip is an excellent upgrade for your blaster.

See my short video review below of this fantastic accessory!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

LTAR Sale @ Wal-Mart

At least in my area, local Wal-Marts have a sale on the Lazer Tag Augmented Reality system that chops the price in half!  From $34 to $17!!  If that's not cheap enough for ya, I suppose you could enter in the Monthly Contest for January and flat-out WIN one, but this is an excellent price for a wonderful blaster!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Merging Game Concepts

Ever since I started working on my first recasing for a Laser Tag blaster, I couldn't help but think "Hey, wouldn't it be cool to mix Nerf and Laser Tag elements into one game?"  I've tossed the idea around a few times only for logic to come back in and knock it down.  Well, it's time for another bout with this crazy concept and I would really like some of your feedback and insight to these ideas I have.

There's really two main concepts I can think of to blend the two games.  One is Nerf-focused while the other is Laser Tag focused, but they both utilize an element of the other type of game to enhance the scenario.  There are challenges and potential problems that both concepts face as well.

Read my two ideas after the Jump

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Xplorer: X-Dart Mag Review

The X-Dart Mag is a product of Xplorer Blaster Developments and is an excellent yet simple piece of hardware that will give anyone using homemade darts in clip-fed blasters the edge they need.  With a wide magazine design that's ideal for storage in tactical pouches, an 18 round capacity, and a reliable build, the X-Dart Mag is just what you need for gearing up your Stefan-slinging blaster.  Here's my quick review of this new product from Xplorer!

Kronos Found the n00b!

Don't ya just hate it when you've got tunnel vision and someone manages to sneak right up on ya in the middle of a game?  The only thing that could make it worse is if there's someone behind you with a video camera who saw it all happen, and that's just what Kronos did!  Congrats to him in winning the N-Strike Elite Stryfe!  Sorry for being a few days late.  I'm up to my ears in editing/reviewing stuff for Xplorer right now.

Anywho, the next contest is now LIVE on the "Monthly Contest" page, so give that a read.  Good luck everyone, and congrats again to Kronos!