Thursday, November 21, 2013

Shell in a Shell (2)

So I've really been hitting the drawing board more than my workbench recently because I'm really at a loss of what direction to go with this idea.  Figured I'd keep sharking the ideas with you guys here not only as a way for me to sort them out as well as gauge opinions from you about them.

When we last left our heroes, we were thinking about this concept of building a laser tag rifle AROUND an existing blaster like the LTAR.  This is still the concept I'm sticking with, but now the question is how to approach it and what platform to use for it.  With the LTAR, the idea would obviously be to still work the blaster into the shell by not interfering with the internals and switches too much... but then the question comes to be about how integrated it'll actually be?  I know I want to keep the sensor housing construction intact and the motherboard and batteries, but what portions would be rewired through the rest of the blaster.

I saw that hunk of red plastic known as the Centurion sitting in the corner of my workshop and thought "Hey, look at that nice big oversized shell.  It'd be really easy to fit something else inside there!"  The only trouble with using such a LARGE blaster for Laser Tag is that it can be really ineffective to use with anything BUT long range attacks.  A sniper's role really doesn't stick around for too long in our laser tag games as it's only a matter of time before your opponent is quickly in range to engage you.  If you think about effective combat radius of a Sniper-class laser tag blaster, which maxes out between 900-1100 feet, there's not a TON of space in a part to really utilize that much range.  Finding a space clear enough to hit somebody at that range is difficult.  Plus, standard blasters usually have 400-600 maximum feet of range, so it's not long before your opponent is withing range to engage you anyways.  I learned this the hard way with the M43A Sentry, pictured above.

So what if this "Shell in a Shell" concept came in the way of a blaster inside a big "accessory" blaster?  Hear me out on this one.  What if we took something like a Phoenix LTX, the backbone of the MLTA's armory, and modified a big rifle like the Centurion to fit over the LTX to plug into the Accessory Port like a Shotblast would?  Have the temporary ability to have a sniper-class blaster when you need it without the need to hang on to it for the whole game?  The user could be running around, find the Centurion Sniper Accessory, load their stock LTX into it, land some killer long-range shots, and once the opponent gets too close for that hefty rifle to be useful, disconnect the LTX from it and continue playing!

So the concept seems like it'd work, but the trouble would be executing a design like that.  The Centurion would have it's own optics in it that would transfer over to the LTX.  The sensor dome would need to be visible enough to your opponent to make things fair to take hits as you utilized the Centurion, and it'd need to be sturdy enough to be a solid rifle, but easy enough to detach in the heat of battle.  I'm not sure a design to meet all those requirements would be feasible.  What do you think?


  1. Looking at it my brain is indicating that the LTX shoud go into the space where the mag well is and have the top of the sensor dome appear there. It can then "look down" the optics in the forward portion of the Centurion shell for the longer ranges.

    The only thing I can think of is a docking port or something on the LXT that exposes the Trigger, reload and shield switches to the Centurion shell.

  2. It should be doable if a bit annoying, though building most of a shell like that from scratch would probably be much easier; as much space as you need to work with, you aren't limited to the plastic used in the Centurion's body, and you aren't limited by the type of barrel the Centurion has. I personally would build something like this out of auto-type fiberglass sheets, since they're lightweight, pretty strong and cheap in useful amounts, as well as fairly easy to work with, in my experience needing little more safety gear than spray paint does.

  3. umm, about the sensor dome. why not build an ir repeater? a dome exclusive to the shell that picks up hits and flashes them back on a led inside the shell where the primary dome can pick it up. you could also use the same idea for output optics...

  4. I'm actually in the process of tweaking my LTAR at the moment. I can see it as physically possible to get those guts into the centurion pretty easily, and the cocking bar could be integrated as the reload button, provided you put some big stops in there. It's wide enough to accommodate the dome just fine in surface real estate. But only way at the back of the magazine port…unless you REALLY want to make a special bracket to house it in the fins housing the forward sight. The squiffy part is those blasted lenses.

    As for the swap n drop idea, the old long shot would be a better platform to start that from, at that point you put the whole thing in the attachment blaster, then theoretically you install clips in the attachment point that allows another set of triggers to work.

    Prospect B being put everything in the main blaster, then install those clips in the attachment point along with a manual cut-off switch or something to allow the guts to talk to a secondary set of lenses in the sniper attachment that are designed for longer ranges.

    Personally, if you still just want to use the LTAR or LTX guts my opinion is thus. Skip the swap-n-drop system, the longshot is going to be the best shell for that, after which (as was said) home molds.
    the centurion barrel is wide enough to give you a solid lens mounting base but you'll still need to carve into it . THen run extended wires down the barrel and decided how much risk you want to put the dome in with your positioning. THat's the hard one. Finally integrating the primary and secondary triggers is cake but the tertiary reload trigger has several cosmetic options that would in all likelihood get tiresome and be exchanged for a new button installation between the magwell and trigger guard.

  5. I think what Zook was thinking about was something akin to the vintage Nerf Defender T-3, where you put the smaller gun inside of a bigger gun. The idea is to put the stock LTX inside of a larger shell (with a hole for the senor dome?) and attach it in a way so that it gets greater range but has the size and heft of a large gun. So the Centurion would be a giant shot-blast type attachment, as opposed to just being a long-range lens slapped on the front, or having the shell containing a lens which would somehow enhance the standard beam. I would imagine that the stock LTX handle would be exposed, which would be easier than trying to wire or connect the host shell's buttons to the LTX.
    Recently I have been thinking of re-shelling a few LTX into Nerf Recons and a Longstrike shell I have sitting around, and modifying the stock barrel extensions somehow so that I can A: swap lenses easily and/or B: attach a Shot Blast which may have to be custom made for fitting on the n-strike rail. If I were to make the lens arrangement contained within the barrel extension, removing the extension with a quick twist would allow for some CQC blasting. Theoretically, if I put my best lens (custom, TMB or LCVP) inside of the longstrike barrel extension, and the stock LTX lens inside of the recon barrels... than you could take any base LTX Recon and give it the right barrel for the role it will play in combat.
    Hope this invigorates some thoughts.