Thursday, October 31, 2013

October Wraps Up!

Whether you're blasting Zombies (but not in the face, according to Nerf), getting candy from neighbors, or out at a party, have a great Halloween, everyone!!

The Scavenger Hunt will conclude today, so if you haven't done that yet, give it a shot.  Also, I've got some mods coming up for November that should be fun.  Thanks to a mix-up with OMW, I ended up getting that Longshot Immortal kit I had once ordered long ago in a galaxy far far away.  I've also got a game back up at "The Base" for our laser tag group that's sure to please, as well as some mods on the way with the help of LazerBait's lenses and Eleri's Lens Adapters.

So there's a lot on the way!  Keep it here for another fun month of mods, games, and reviews!  Happy Halloween, everybody!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Scavenger Hunt! One Day Left!

On the one hand, I'm quite surprised with how many folks have been trying their hand at this contest.  On the other, I'm shocked no-one has had a perfect score for the 20 items to find!  That means the game is still on if you wanna win yourself a... oh... well, I shouldn't tell you since it's one of the answers to the scavenger hunt.  Go and check it out and win yourself something, ok?  If there's still no perfect score by Halloween time, I'll go with the person who has the CLOSEST results and who submitted it earliest, in which case I currently know who would win it.


Monday, October 28, 2013

LTAR Barrel Adapters!!

Well, it's taken us awhile, but the first version of the LTAR Barrel Adapter, designed by Eleri at'Xalien of the MLTA, is now available for purchase!

This part directly replaces the orange muzzle on an LTAR blaster so that you can attach a home-made custom lens arrangement (like the ones LazerBait makes) to easily extend the range of your blaster.  The part leaves the normal IFF Emitter underneath the main barrel to it's factory specifications while the top portion is flat with three holes.  The center hole is where you would run the wires from the LTAR's IR LED into the new lens arrangement.  The holes to the right and left are for screws to secure the lens arrangement to this new housing.  It's an identical version of what is used on Eleri's custom LTAR blaster, which has served as the testbed for these adapter products that we've been working on.

There are more products still in-development that we will eventually publicize and make available for the LTAR including a Weaver Rail adapter and Stock Adapter.

You can purchase your own LTAR Barrel Adapter part from Shapeways by following the link below.
LTAR Barrel Adapter

Halloween Game: 2013!

Had our Halloween Laser Tag game last night and I must say, it was a rousing success!  I actually think this was the best year for costumes and turnout wasn't half bad, either!  I had my Ghostbusters geddup, my fiance stole her dad's Air Force flight suit, Sundawg dressed up as Jayne from Firefly, and there was a guy in a full ghille suit that looked like a shrub most of the time!  Also starring mini Captain America, Gas Mask Man, the Brawny Paper Towels guy, even a Lumberjack.  The group photo isn't exactly complete, as we had a few folks show up late.  Final count for attendance was 18 players.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Scavenger Hunt: Day #1

Well we've had a few good tries so far, but no-one has managed to go 20 for 20.  A Perfect Score will end the game with whomever gets it first, but if there's still no perfect score by Halloween, I'll choose the person who A: submitted the most right answers in B: the shortest amount of time.  For instance, if you submitted your answers last night but you got 3 wrong and someone submits answers today who got 1 wrong, they'd be the winner.

It's been close though!  I'm impressed with how many right answers I've seen come in.  Have you had your try at it yet?

Tactical Tag Scavenger Hunt!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Contest!

Thought I'd do something fun for readers of the blog by holding another contest.  It won't be easy to get it though, and you'll have to do it quick!  It's a scavenger hunt, Tactical Tag style!  With the resources on this blog, the Facebook Page, and the YouTube Channel, I figured I'd give a list of things to find that span all 3 sites.  Here's how it works.

There's a clue for each number on the list.  Your job, if you wanna win, is to find the link and post it as your answer.  For instance:
Item #1: A Picture of a close call up against some BuzzBee Suction Darts
So then you'd go find the link to this picture on the Facebook Group

There are probably going to be multiple right answers for some of these questions, so as long as you get 'em right, it'll work for ya.  As far as scoring goes: this contest will end one of two ways.  The first being that someone finds all of the items FIRST.  If in the next 24 hours someone has already completed the scavenger hunt, the contest would be over provided they found everything correctly.  HOWEVER, if it's tough and there's a bunch that are CLOSE but not quite correct, I'll choose the most accurate one on October 31st, or more commonly known as Halloween in the US.  Post your findings as a comment below.  I won't publish your answers until I've found a winner!

Now then, I bet you're all wondering what the prize is.  Well, the answer to the first item to find is what you'll be getting if you win!  The list is after the jump.  Good luck, everyone!  Happy Hunting!

Lens Testing Results

Been awhile since I did a video, so I put a stop to that drought.  Here's a look at stuff we tested out at our Mod Night to prepare for our next game... and then some.

Really excited to use some of these lenses as the backbone to some new blasters.  Plus, once we get that LTAR Lens Adapter Kit produced, it'll be easier than ever to upgrade stock blasters!  See the video after the jump!

Friday, October 25, 2013

MEGA: Take Two

Well Nerf is pumping up the release of their next piece of the wildly successful N-Strike Elite MEGA lineup.  If you missed the hint of sarcasm there, you must not have seen my review of the Centurion.  Nerf just went public with the blaster on their Facebook Page.

To save you the trouble, my favorite part about the Centurion was the folding bi-pod.  While the MEGA Magnus looks to have a lower rail that could use said bi-pod... I worry it'll suffer from the same problem it's big brother did: those DARTS.  Sure the Centurion chewed 5 of the 6 darts it came with, but when it WAS working, the shots were incredibly inconsistent.  So, unless Nerf has addressed this flaw in their darts for the MEGA lineup, the Magnus will just be another bulky piece of red plastic tacti-cool-ness for your collection... collecting dust.

Who knows, maybe Nerf improved their MEGA darts, but I'll let someone else find out.  I already bit the bullet with the Centurion before, so I'm not so keen to rinse and repeat.

Mod Night! Halloween Style

Having a Mod Night tonight just shy of our next Lazer Tag game.  There's a couple of things that have needed to be done that we finally have the time to get to!  First and foremost, we've got some more lenses from LazerBait to test out.  You'll recall these long-range lenses that have been reaching out and tagging even our best players thanks to the immense range and accuracy of these custom-built lens arrangements.

The nice part about it is that, because they're all built from the same size piping, swapping out different lenses is actually quite easy.  Once you've made the adapter for the back portion of the lens, you can remove the tube and lens off the front and swap in a different one.  Different magnifications on the glass lenses that LazerBait uses denote how each arrangement is essentially "tuned".

With Laser Tag, it's all about how that IR Light is being focused.  You can focus a beam to be incredibly tight for long range but need incredible accuracy to land your shots.  On the flip side, having them slightly out of focus, or creating a "halo" effect with a strong center beam with a bit of a spread around it will work well for most kinds of general combat.  Pinpoint accuracy and deadly range only work for a little while.  And, considering that a stock laser tag blaster has a 500-600 ft range, it's tough to find a line-of-sight shot that exceeds that, decreasing your area of usable distance.

These lenses are all tuned differently, as we've found in range tests and actual in-game use.  The two links below show different lens focus types as well as the results of one of our nighttime range tests.  Both posts show videos displaying the kinds of effect focusing light can have.
Long Range Lens Testing
LazerBait LTX Lenses

We'll also be doing some aesthetic stuff to blasters in preparation for the Halloween Game.  I know one of my buddies is going as Jayne from Firefly... which probably means some kind of "Vera" is in the works.  I'll also be working on my Ghostbusters Costume and hopefully making some kinda blaster for that with a link to a makeshift Proton Pack.  I'm not sure what others are going as, so matching costume blasters for them may not be as important.  We'll see what we get for the Mod Night tonight!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Who ya gonna call?

Khaki Flight Suit?  Check.  Name badge & logo patch?  Check.  Proton-Pack Laser Tag Pistol?  Yeah, that's what I've gotta do this week.

After a few ideas thrown around about a costume for this year's annual Halloween Laser Tag Game (October 27th), I landed on an old favorite of mine.  Heck, the last time I remember dressing up like this was in Kindergarten when I had this awesome jumpsuit with screen-printed logos on it that I'd wear to school on occasion.  Yeah, it's about time I was a Ghostbuster again.  I can't for the life of me figure out how I didn't arrive at this juncture sooner.  I mean, Ghosts... it's Halloween.  Perfect fit!  Proton guns shooting streams of light AT said ghosts?  Well, that just screams laser tag.

This week we've got a Mod Night, too.  Should hopefully allow me to put some work in on some "equipment" for this.  As it stands, it's just a tan jumpsuit with some screen-accurate patches.  It'll work, but I'm a completionist.  Gotta go the extra mile (or at least try to).  Then again... trying to aim a blaster like the ones the Ghostbusters use might be quite the hinderance during games, so it might work against me to go movie-prop worthy with this.

I've got a few options for it, but one thing is for sure.  Anyone who shows up to this game as a ghost, ghoul, or goblin might be going home in a trap.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pre-MEGA Darts

Someone pointed this out to me in a photo I like to use.  This oversized Vulcan is quite silly looking, but my friend said "Hey, are those MEGA Darts?" as he pointed to the pile of ammo sitting next to this behemoth.  Although I'm sure this photo and this blaster came out long before the MEGA series was even in it's planning stages, I couldn't help but think "everything has to start somewhere".  Only trouble is, I have no idea what this photo is from.  Is it part of some oversized gimmicky toy at a Convention?  Did Nerf actually build this thing?  It was quite embarrassing realizing how little I knew about this photo and where it came from.

So... anyone know where it's from?  If those darts it used were functional?  I really could care less if the darts are actually what led to the MEGA Darts, since I don't like how they perform anyways.  ...but now it's got me thinking.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Red Stryfe Spotted

Blurry Photographic Evidence!
Just like a Loch Ness Sighting!
It's always nice to wake up to some nice Nerf News I can sink my teeth into.  The detectives over at Southern Brisbane Nerf Club (SBNC) have discovered a Red-colored N-Strike Elite Stryfe.  In keeping with my tradition of trying to pour cold water on all our hopes and dreams, I'd like to point out one possible issue with this sighting that I would love nothing more than to be proven wrong on.  Nevertheless, I'm still going to point it out.

Where's the orange?  If this Stryfe is anything like the N-Strike "Red Strike" series that was A: a Wal-Mart Exclusive years ago and B: a highly sought-after color scheme from Nerf, it'd have some orange bits to it.  The photo above, edited and flipped by SBNC, was taken with a White Rough Cut (which has been confirmed for a Target Exclusive).  I'm assuming that the details on the Rough Cut are orange, like in other photos.  In this comparison picture, it's a little tough to tell the difference between the orange markings on the Rough Cut and the "Red" that's on the Stryfe.

Since we have confirmed photos of the Rough Cut's orange coloration... this leaves us with a few options to pull from what little evidence we have of this Stryfe.  It could be that the entire blaster is actually orange and that the photo just doesn't reflect this well.  It could be that the entire blaster is actually red, including triggers... which would be a first for Nerf.  Or... because we can't quite tell anything other than this blaster is covered in red... that it's a phony.  Since this photo is taken next to a legitimate confirmed blaster, I'm going to go ahead and rule that possibility (mostly) out.

What do you guys think?  Info to pull from this photo makes it tough to come up with any solid solutions.  Either a new/better photo needs to surface, or we risk swimming in speculation land for all eternity.  ...Minus the "for all eternity" bit.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Immortal? Why now?

Two years ago, when the Orange Mod Works company was taking pre-orders for their coveted "Longshot Immortal Kit", I signed up right away.  Well, one thing led to another and after delays and problems of my own with the OMW Massacre Kit for the Longstrike, I ended up cancelling my order.  ...Or so I thought.

Although I've been moved in to my new home for 2 months and have changed over all my shipping and billing addresses, mail still manages to make it to my old home every now and then.  Usually it's junk mail, but this time... it was something I never expected.  Remember when I said I had cancelled my Immortal Kit?  Well, it's here.  Very very late, but it's here.  I have incredibly mixed feelings about this.  Somewhere between pre-ordering, cancelling, and everyone else getting their kits months ago, I ended up with one.

There's no question about it, though.  I'm gonna put this in a Longshot.  It's gonna get tested to see if my faith can be restored after getting frustrated with my Longstrike kit and the delays with the Immortal kit.  My hopes are high that this will deliver the performance and quality that the lengthy development time should have granted it.  I'll give it a shot.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Where's the "Big 3"?

They were large and in charge... but "Where are they now"?
As I reflected on this blog after passing the 600k mark, I started to think about why I started and who inspired me.  At the time, my inspiration was in what I would later call the "Big 3".  They were the 3 most influential blogs at the time: Nerf Mods & Reviews headed up by Jerm781, SG Nerf based out of Singapore, and Urban Taggers led by Pocket Esq.  Well, as of now... that scene has changed quite a bit.

In March of 2012, jerm781 left the scene of Nerf Mods & Reviews, though he handed things off to myself, JetCell, and Triangle to manage things. He didn't really "say" anything to folks outside of those that he left to manage the massive fanbase he earned.  We just couldn't keep up like he had before.  Then a number of other contributors, after seeing the decline in activity on NM&R, started showing up.  Coop, Psyk, Darth Rambo, & RS09 (just to name a few) started making their mark on the blog.  As time has chugged on, the blog has still lost quite a bit of steam.  Ask anyone in the Nerf blog scene and across the board, the result is "NM&R just isn't the same".  I think it's because no-one really truly "claimed" this blog as their own... and taking mental ownership of something can really be the difference between being an "author" and holding your entire reputation and standard of quality on it.  It's a shame, but it's reality.

SG Nerf, while never really known for being the most active blog in the world, has yet to really "wow" us with their usual inside scoop for news and high-level reviews in awhile.  2013 looks to be an all-time low for posts, as the years leading up to it were averaging about 50-60 posts per year.  They currently sit at a whopping 17 posts on the year with 2 and a half months left to go.  Focus has clearly shifted from their usual earth-shattering news and clean-as-can-be modifications to more of a "these are events that are happening... every now and then".  Again, it's really become quite an archive of sorts like NM&R.  Plenty of history and valuable content on previous blasters, but nothing really "new" to speak of.

This summer, my good friend Pocket Esq at Urban Taggers gracefully finished things out on his blog.  He still participates on Facebook, gives feedback, and contributes, but I miss the days of checking my Blogger Dashboard and seeing some awesome Pic Spam or some sweet news from UT.  The thing that has really set Pocket apart from the other "Big 3" is that it was more than just a great source for news or a cool review on a blaster, but there was an aesthetic appeal, almost an art to how things were approached visually with UT.  And I'm talking more about the hot chicks he gave some camo and blasters to.  The pictures were always great, taken with care, and always with the best effort to show us what he found interesting.  Pocket wrote in a similar fashion as I do (including his awesome rants) so I really identified with him from the start.  He's also the only one of the "Big 3" that actually put an <END> point on his blog whereas SG and NM&R have just continued to "exist" with spurts of contributions from time to time.

So, as it stands, those blogs are essentially either MIA, Second-Hand, or all done with their work.  Fan-based contributions always move in waves, so maybe it's time I figure out what my new "Big 3" will be.  There's still great blogs out there, but will I cash in on a blog only to see it phase out again like the others?  Or will one of the dormant superpowers revitalize itself and liven things up?  Or maybe something completely different we don't even see coming?  Where do you think our beloved Nerf Blogs are headed?  I'm serious, weigh in on where we're at as a blogging community.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

600k Pageviews!!

Well, in the 2 and a half years I've been running Tactical Tag, I've managed to reel in some fantastic readers.  600,000 pageviews is just another milestone that's continued by your great feedback and support!  I don't want any of you to think that I take this for granted, as it's YOU that fuel my continued interest in these hobbies.  

Even when I'm busy, or when I'm struggling to keep up with news or reviews, it's the readers here and on Facebook that keep me going.  Thanks for all your contributions, submissions, ideas, and insight that make me look forward to checking in on this every day.

Oh Crap... COSTUME??

Every year we do our Halloween Laser Tag game and, as a result, I end up getting some cool costume together for it.  The past two years in a row I've A: shared the costume build with this blog and B: happened to be Captain America.  Well, I think two years of the same character might be enough... but I've been so busy that I've forgotten to get something going for Halloween this year!

Been thinking of some options that wouldn't take super long.  With the new "Star Trek: Into Darkness" movie out recently, I was thinking of being a redshirt from that (since I get killed all the time in Laser Tag anyways).  I've always got my "Colonial Marine" costume on the back burner... but development on that M41A Project hit a brick wall about a year-and-a-half ago, sadly.  I KNOW I won't have time to get that thing running AND get some armor together.  I've always loved the Back To The Future movies, so maybe getting an orange vest to pull off the "Marty" look would be easy to do.  Then again, when was the last time you saw Marty McFly shooting a gun?  That, and an orange vest will make me an easy target during the games.  Maybe a GhostBuster?  I've always been a fan of them too... hook up a "Proton Pack" to a Phoenix LTX or something?  That might be nifty/easy to do.

Well, I've gotta come up with something QUICK.  The Halloween game is on the 27th, so the clock is ticking down.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Centurion & CrossFire News!

Thanks to a tip from Mr. Raccoon, there's a Centurion with a little extra ammo included.  What's not to like about doubling your chances of hitting the broad side of a barn, right?

The blaster's boxing seems odd...especially considering how big the Centurion already is.  In the normal packaging, the main barrel is removed to reduce the size.  However, in this configuration, the blaster is fully assembled and is sitting in an open-air box, which you usually only see on smaller blasters like the Firestrike and Strongarm.  It's a Costco exclusive from what I've been able to tell.

Also, from the looks of Baidu (and a bunch of awesome blogs that have already reported on the matter), someone's got their hands on the highly-anticipated ZombieStrike CrossFire.  Whether you like the green or not, this is the first Crossbow for the Nerf lineup in a long while.  Pictures show 4 clear positions for darts up-front and the usual attachment points for accessories.

It's a little smaller than I thought, just a hair shorter than a RoughCut 2x4, but put a shoulder stock on this and you've got the chance to lay down some accurate and steady shots.  I'm not sure how many darts it'll fire at once, as it almost looks like it's another multi-shot blaster.  However, constantly front-loading a rifle-style blaster might make this a bit of a pain to use in games.  Reload time is a crucial element in fast-paced games, so it'll be interesting to see if it is a front-loader... or if there's more to this blaster than we've seen so far.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Practice makes Ka-POWEE

You know, it's those darned ZombieStrike blasters I always find myself having the most fun with recently... and I think I've figured out why: I want to get BETTER at using them... and they're just not quite perfect enough if the user hasn't spent some time perfecting how they make it most effective.  There are motions, tricks, and quirks about these blasters that can be manipulated with a little practice.

When firing a blaster becomes a craft you can work towards, I'm a fan.  This morning I tried to unload my HammerShot by holding down the trigger and doing a "Cowboy Style" left-handed hammer pull with my hand... and I failed (miserably).  I figured "hey, if I knew what I was doing, that could've worked."  The other week when I tried reloading a SledgeFire cartridge as quickly as I could and the empty cartridge flew out of the barrel I thought the same thing as before.  Practice.

So while I try and figure out some techniques that work well with these blasters, any pointers you guys have figured out about these two ZombieStrike blasters?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Mod it NAOW!! - HammerShot

So I'm starting up a new Mini-Series for Tactical Tag.  These are videos that will be shot via my iPod "in the field" of moments when I just needed to upgrade my blaster... and FAST.  Today, that moment was in an active warzone known as my office.  I've talked about getting a blaster specifically for fending off coworkers and the HammerShot has proven to be an effective ally.  It's portable, it's easily primed with one hand, and it's small enough to store in a drawer.  So, as darts flew past my camera, I managed to upgrade it quickly in a couple minutes to have a bit of a leg-up on the competition.

After the jump is the first of many "Mod it NAOW!!" videos, soon to be a part of Tactical Tag's regular repertoire.