Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Plans for the Centurion

The N-Strike MEGA Centurion is coming to store shelves late summer/early fall of 2013.  With this blaster, we have new ammo, new color scheme (unless you remember the Red Strike series), and new ranges to aim for.  If you've missed RS09's video review and firing test of the Centurion... you start to wonder... is this blaster worth it?  What kind of work would be needed to fix it's accuracy... consistency... or even push those Reverse Plunger internals further?

As most of you know, I have two hobbies that I cover on here: Nerf & Laser Tag.  The two often cross into eachother... so when a new blaster comes out, I already have two ideas for it.  The First is obvious - MOD IT.  Make it perform better, tweak it's features, simplify it if there's lots of safety mechanisms that clunk up it's performance.  Perhaps even mod it to use normal-sized ammo so that way it's easier to use in games.  I worry that, just like Vortex, non-standard ammo use in this blaster will be a distinct disadvantage for it's users.  Of course, you could argue that if you modify it to have deadly range and accuracy, you only need a couple of shots to do major damage to the other team's feeble attempts to reach you.  This is definitely a blaster for use outdoors, as I don't know of many ranges indoors that requite 100 ft ranges.  75-80 is just fine for me, which is why I really like the Elite lineup.

The second option is one that I doubt any Nerf fans would consider - GUT IT.  The Centurion is, admittedly, one of the meanest looking blasters Nerf has made to-date.  With a repaint, it'd look awesome as a prop for any Sci-Fi theme.  I can think of a couple different ways this could work its way into a Sci-Fi convention or something like that.  However, when I usually gut a Nerf blaster... it's not for a prop.  It's for laser tag.  As a Nerf Blaster, the Centurion is listed for 100 ft ranges.  As a laser tag blaster, I could easily get 1000 ft of range out of it with the right magnification and lens setup.  Thanks to the larger diameter of the MEGA darts, the barrel is much larger and can easily accommodate a lens to get those kinds of ranges.  As I consider this option... I can't help but be reminded of a certain blaster I built a few years ago that earned itself an interesting nickname.  They called it the "Compensator".  I called it the M-43A Sentry... and it was a laser tag rifle built into a Longshot, complete with the front gun extension.

It was big, had an 800 ft range, and pretty much impossible to aim without two hands.  We had a 9x magnify scope on there that allowed me to make the most of that range during games.  The only trouble I had was... well... it was a big pain-in-the-rear to use when you were using it for general combat.  Pistols and small rifles would mop me up because it was just tougher to steady my shot and run around with a huge rifle.  Most of the combat my laser tag group sees occurs between 400 and 600 feet tops... so sniping your opponent doesn't last very long.

The Centurion is the obvious successor to the Longshot from a size perspective.  Being that it is SO much larger, I wonder if it's worth going to all that trouble to make a dedicated sniper rifle for laser tag.  The MLTA has already proven that potent range can still be utilized well with smaller blasters like my LTX EF5 or the Ultimate LTX... so it seems like bigger wouldn't be better with this idea.

That being said... neither plan really seems like a good idea.  While, at first, this blaster really had me excited, it's really just come down to being a great looking blaster without too much help for either hobby I have.  As a Nerf Blaster, there's work to be done to make the range accurate and worth it.  As a Laser Tag blaster, it'd likely be too much work to achieve the same ranges that smaller, more nimble blasters could achieve.  So... do I buy it for it's looks alone?  Or do I sink some serious work into it for marginal results?


  1. To be honest, I prefer the Longshot, no mods are needed for it to fire sans barrel extension, short primer travel means higher ROF, uses standard Nerf ammo and it's direct plunger. I don't see how a blaster the Centurion's size could be practical in a war or HvZ game. I have a $10 blaster with 2 simple mods (tape on flywheels and voltage increase) and I can get 112 feet out of it. So I'm good.

    112 foot range blaster:

    1. You know that if you just tape down the locks on the Centurion, you can fire it without the barrel. Without the barrel it is about the same length as a Longstrike, just a little longer.