Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rebelle Guardian Crossbow Internals

I've been meaning to get these up for quite some time, but with so much other news and planning games I just couldn't seem to find the time to open this gal up and nab some pictures. Here they are now, and as most people have noted the internals seem to be similar to a Strongarm, but I didn't have one on hand to compare it to.  I left things all stock, I'll leave the modding to more talented people.
**Warning picture heavy post after the break**

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Hammershot Showdown

Chris James over at Jangular Productions had an amazing idea for a fun little Hammershot video. We had a blast helping him film it and think the final product is awesome! Check out his blog and YouTube for even more foam fun!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Nerfcast Episode 20: The Game's The Thing

By request, Josh and Shawn discuss some of their favorite game types, tips and ideas.

Podcast Powered By Podbean

YouTube video after the break.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Tek Recon Revisited: Hammer Head and Havok

Well.. This looks familiar
Well, we got our package in from Tek Recon the day after they spoke with us. As always they were friendly and quick to respond. So, once we got our hands on both the Hammer Head AND the Havok, we knew we'd have to do more than just a review, we'd have to show you! A video with the test fire and full article after the break.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rebelle Guardian Crossbow: Diamond in the Rough

It really looks quite nice without the arms.
The Nerf Rebelle Guardian Crossbow, one of the newest and most anticipated blasters in the Rebelle line; mainly because the blaster is basically a new design, and not a re-shell of something we’ve seen before.  I was actually not super excited about this blaster initially, and when I saw it on the shelves I debated picking it up to review at all. However, once I got this gal home and opened it up I was rather surprised. I really like the design of this thing!

As you can see once it snaps in...
First off, the bow arms: still not a fan. The blaster itself looks much sleeker and more streamlined (obviously) without them. Once they click into place they’re a pain to get back off, but it’s doable with a flat bladed screw driver. Maybe if these were more easily removable once attached it’d be something I wouldn’t gripe about as much. Also, because the bow is there we have a small nub on the top of the blaster. Now apparently it’s supposed to be a rear sight, whilst the bow arms have a front sight to line it up with. This rear sight is directly connected to the priming mechanism of the blaster, and the bow string goes through it. So if this is supposed to be a sight, it moves when you fire the blaster. Not a great idea, but hey, it does actually pull the bow arms back when you prime. I haven’t opened this blaster up yet to see if it’s removable without cutting.

The rear sight and string puller.
The ergonomics on the blaster are nice! My hand easily fits on the grip with some room to spare, and my fingers fit in the grooves nicely. It’s like my Rough Cut and my Strongarm had a baby. The size is just right to be bigger than a pistol and the under barrel shotgun style prime is smooth.  I didn't have any problems with this under barrel grip or priming. I know some people have taken issue with the Alpha Trooper primer, and the small bar beneath it making it hard to hold with those with larger hands. This is very reminiscent of the Rough Cut, easy to grip and prime both for single shot and slam fire.

The shotgun style priming grip
The stock does leave much to be desired, however. It’s not quite long enough for us big kids and the butt of the stock is tiny… Even for me! I can’t really shoulder this blaster, it’s much too small of a surface to plant in my shoulder comfortably, and if I try, the length is too short. I really wish that Nerf had made this a removable stock! Since the priming is all internal, they could have used a small stock attachment like they did on the Spectre, no need for a long tube like many blasters have. It would have minimized size for those who would like to use it without a stock. This would give this blaster so much versatility!

Each dart is different, gotta catch 'em all!
Other than that the priming is solid, ranges are stock elite and on par with the Strongarm. A few tweaks could have really made this one of my favorite blasters to hit shelves recently. Still it is solid, but with a price of $24.99 it’s tough for me to recommend this blaster. Even at $19.99 it’d at least be on par with the Stryfe and the Rough Cut when it first came out. Hopefully like the Rough Cut it will drop in price soon and really make it worth picking up. Not exactly sure what’s pushing up the price point on this blaster, the Heartbreaker Bow is only $19.99. Maybe because this is larger and holds more darts than most of the other blasters in the Rebelle line it was the natural next price up.  Or it’s just those “collectible darts,” maybe there’s a rare one you can only get with this blaster. :P All in all, it’s fun solid blaster that’s a little over priced at the moment. Borrow a friend’s to try out if you can before making the plunge.


More pictures after the break.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Tek Recon Update

Hey Taggers! Just a quick update, the folks at Tek Recon were kind enough to get in touch with us regarding our review of the Hammer Head. They believe that our severely stunted ranges and performance is an isolated incident and will be shipping us a replacement! We'll hold off on our video review until we get this. But expect something soon.

As always Tek Recon continues to be great with communication and feedback from the community. They even addressed the issue of these blasters hitting shelves before KickStarter backers on their Facebook page:
"TRibe and Kickstarter Backers - It seems like some retailers may have jumped the gun and expedited product shipments. We are looking into the issue right now and will be following up on Monday as soon as we have all the facts. Our intention has always been and remains for Kickstarter backers to receive product first.
We apologize and appreciate your support."

Then again, with this email going out to all their KickStarter backers:
"TRibe we are listening and we hear the disappointment of many of you loud and clear. It has always been our intention to plan to make sure that our kickstarter backers receive product ahead of retail availability. The development took longer than expected and were faced with the difficult decision to either ship some retail inventory first or lose the retail placement for the year based on contractual obligations. Ultimately the Tek Recon project could not succeed without being at retailers. We regret that this did not allow us to get your shipments out first and we are truly sorry. To all of our backers we appreciate your patience and support while we get out of the starting gate. The main focus of our kickstarter campaign was designed to help fund the building of a robust APP and thanks to your we have delivered. The good news is that product will begin to ship early next week and as a good gesture to our backers, each blaster will have an extra supply of NRG Rounds. We are committed to continuous improvement and value your feedback' we are listening and want the Tek recon experience to be nothing short of awesome. Please contact us at to make yourself heard."
Once again, Tek Recon is showing some real love for the community with their desire to keep communications up and open. We love getting feedback from a company as much as we love giving it, and Tek Recon has been on their game every step of the way with responsiveness. Likewise we'll keep you all informed once we've got more to report.

Happy Tagging!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Tek Recon: Flea Market Special

Comes with all this, except I lost most the NRG rounds.

Tek Recon, where do I begin? I started out with no enthusiasm at all, and slowly began to get more excited as information came out.  Being frustrated with Hasbro for lack of information, and even denying products existed, it was refreshing to find a company that was actively reaching out to the community and interacting with it. The app kept sounding better and better, and while I was still not totally sold on the ammo, I was willing to give it a shot.

It’s tough to think of when I’ve been this disappointed in a blaster before, it borders on betrayal.  First off, in hopes of a company really potentially being made for my age group and having the potential to grow into a competitor for Nerf I donated to the KickStarter campaign.  For $60 I would receive a Hammer Head and a Havok. I wanted to test both blasters, and Shawn got a kit that included four Hammer Heads targets, and some other cool lookin’ accessories so we could promote it to our Nerf/blaster enthusiast friends.  Tek Recon was good with sending updates on their Facebook page, and via e-mail. Like this beauty I received August 6th:

“We're in our final stages of our APP development and we'll be releasing it in late-August. We are incredibly excited to unveil the App but want to make sure it's just right first! Thanks to all our fans for your continued interest in Tek Recon. We'll be posting on FB when our APP will be released. 

 In other news - we're hoping to be getting our KickStarter rewards into our office soon! We'll let you know when they arrive & we will start shipping out the rewards as SOON as we can!”

So when they announced not long after that the app was available for download on iOS I was ecstatic! I even updated my iPhone from iOS5 to iOS6, something I’d not wanted to do for various reasons. I made the sacrifice for the Tek Recon App though. Sure none of my friends had iPhones, so we couldn’t really test it out, but the app was satisfying. It delivered mostly what they had promised and gave us a taste of things to come, not only with app updates, but hopefully with the blasters.

Hm... No mention of ranges on the front...
Then it happened. I was at Kmart of all places. KMART! It was just sitting there on a shelf, inconspicuously mismarked with another toy’s price tag beneath it for $14.99: a Hammer Head. I quickly purchased it and of course it rang up at it’s actual price of $19.99.  No problem right? I still found this guy, in a retail store, my excitement was palpable. I would get a look before all people online, who donated to the KickStarter. On the drive home it started to sink in. I FOUND IT IN A RETAIL STORE!!! Waitaminute! I donated on KickStarter, they just sent me an e-mail saying that they were just getting their KickStarter rewards into their office. If they had these babies shouldn’t they have shipped them to US?! Those of us who had faith in and backed the company from the beginning?! I’m sure Kmart put them on shelves before they were intended to be there, but the fact that people, not even myself, were not receiving these for their donations was pretty infuriating. Sure, maybe they were waiting for all of the products to ship to them to send out their KickStarter so people could get complete packages, but there were folks who donated just to get one Hammer Head! I hadn’t heard of them receiving anything yet! That was the whole point of the KickStarter, to be able to get these things before the masses! But the disappointment doesn’t end their dear readers, not by a Longshot (See what I did there? It’s capitalized because it’s the name of a Nerf blaster! =P).
...Or the back.

So, I get the thing home, and open it up.  First obvious thing I noticed is this thing feels CHEAP! Second thing I realized is it only comes with 15NRG rounds. THE BLASTER HOLDS 25! It’s emblazoned in huge letters on the front of the box! Where most blasters advertise the distance, it tells you capacity. In fact, speaking of distance, I couldn’t find a single spot on the box where the distance was advertised. The front just says “Max Distance” like that’s supposed to mean something.  Come on, Nerf at least gives me enough ammo to fill up whatever magazine comes with any given blaster! Darts are at least large enough to recover, these things are going to be getting lost left and right and you can’t even give me enough to fill up my $20 blaster?! Bad form guys, bad form. 

It's a little hard to load these things
The ammo is a little difficult to load up but one of the only satisfying features about this blaster is inserting and releasing the magazine. It clicks in very reminiscent of a real firearm, and the ambidextrous magazine release is located in what I feel is a good spot in the bottom of the trigger guard. When you release the magazine it doesn’t fall out, but rather pops out an inch or so. There’s a spring that pushes it out a little, and while it will come out easily if you’re running and holding it vertical, if you hold it horizontal while replacing the mag it’ won’t fall. It’s just a snazzy little feature that actually feels cool.  If you were waiting to get to all the positives, you can pretty much leave now.

The trigger is way too far away from the handle. I have small hands, but I can barely get the tip of my pointer finger in position to fire this thing. It’s definitely not as satisfying as being able to wrap your finger around a trigger and exert a firm, full amount of pressure per shot, and you need to with this blaster. I have small hands, but I have much larger friends than I, and they all agreed with me on this point.  It’s uncomfortable, and with an “Ages 8+” on the box you have to wonder how kids will be able to wield this thing without using two hands.
Look at this reach!

Next up: The “pump action trigger” beneath the barrel. The regular trigger is referred to as the “rapid blast trigger” on the box, when it takes much longer to operate than the “pump action trigger” for some reason. I guess they just couldn’t think of any good “cool” names (hint: call it a “trigger”! It doesn’t need any cool name!) Regardless of what they call it, the pump feels grossly out of place, especially on a pistol. It would have made much more sense to put a “slam fire” like feature on the “slide” of the blaster. This at least would have felt better. The pump itself is supposed to look like some sort of tacticool accessory like a flashlight or laser pointer. Why not just make this a rail so you can attach accessories like that to the blaster?! Instead, with a bulky pump grip on this pistol, you can forget about trying to holster this thing. Since it doesn’t prime then shoot like a Nerf blaster, if you do try to put this in a holster with any substantial grip the blaster will go off.  You don’t need to hold down the trigger while pumping; just the simple act of pumping fires the blaster. This is a feature better suited to rifle type blasters with considerable more length, and even then I do like needing to pull the trigger to set this off.

The top of the phone mount.
The “real action recoil” is a joke.  While trying to be innovative, it comes off as feeling gimmicky and cheap.  The ergonomics wouldn’t be terrible if that trigger was closer. The Phone mount while it seems to hold my phone (with case) rather sturdy, it feels like there’s a lot of potential for things to go wrong.  I don’t like the Nerf app, but at least their mount holds firm AND protects your valuable electronic devices.  The muzzle looks weirdly huge. This is due to the phone mount. They could have chopped down a bunch of extra space, made the whole thing a bit more streamlined and used a rail to attach the phone mount instead of adding height to the front of the blaster, then not filling in the barrel and leaving you with a hole that looks like you’re going to blast golf balls out of this thing. The ammo is tiny, easily lost and hard to feel when you've been tagged. Oh yeah, also the “stylus” attachment that is supposed to work with the recoil to tap your screen so the app registers when a round is fired is terrible. Simply put, it doesn’t work. While vertical adjustment of the phone mount is easy, the horizontal adjustment is difficult, and the stylus seems to be either constantly touching the screen, or just out of reach.  Also, the app assumes you loaded a full magazine, which, OH YEAH YOU ONLY GAVE ME 15 ROUNDS!  Then you have to tap the screen to show that you’ve reloaded. WHATS THE POINT?! In game I want to reload quickly and efficiently. I don’t want to have to find the corner of my screen and tap it to signify I’ve just put in a fresh mag. That’s the problem with this being a physical to virtual conversion. If you plugged the phone into the blaster you could relay this information like shots fired and reloads electronically and not have to worry about hiding a stylus in a thinly veiled attempted to achieve “realistic recoil”.

The bottom device mount and stylus.
Finally, the NRG rounds.  I saw a few iterations of these throughout the process and honestly wish we had gotten the fat doughnut shaped ones instead of these things. They aren’t quite rubber bands, but they lack the mass some of the prototypes seemed like they had. As for ranges, well I want to say they are getting ranges as advertised, but again there’s NOTHING on the box that says anything about ranges.  So, in not advertising them I suppose you can’t complain.  I’m hitting about 30ft flat on “low power”. Now here’s where things get interesting. The “power selector” doesn’t actually put more power behind the round to give you more distance. Instead it just ARCS THE SHOT FOR YOU! Yes, if you put it up to full power, the round springs out and, instead of going straight forward, arcs in the air (potentially missing a target in front of you) to get the max distance it can.  Thanks guys. THANKS! I had no idea if I arced it they would go farther! DUUUUH! It’s a horrible feature that should have never been included. If you can only get 30ft, either go back to the drawing board or say that you get 30ft.

All in all I can’t find anything that would make me want to run this blaster in ANY game EVER. If/when my Havok comes in, I’ll likely play with it and give a quick review, but I can’t imagine that things will be much different from this guy.  Ranges can’t really be increased or decreased since the potential power comes from the round and not a spring or something that is upgradeable, so we’re pretty much seeing max performance here.  For those of you who donated to the KickStarter like myself, all I can say is I’m sorry. I think the app is cool and I’ll likely be using it with a Nerf blaster. I really feel like they are doing something no one else is with this app, but it’ll stop being supported when the blaster line inevitable fails. Maybe they could focus on their app and just charge for it and have 99¢ in-app power ups for purchase. But really, it’s not worth it to buy these blasters just to see the app do well. Maybe they can sell the technology to Hasbro and the Nerf app can offer actual features. But seriously guys, don’t buy this, I feel like I’ve been swindled. 


**Range test video coming soon... if we can find enough NRG rounds -_-**

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Nerfcast Episode 19: Rapid-Redux

Josh and Shawn talk about their experiences and thoughts on the Rapidstrike at it's first full game.

Podcast Powered By Podbean

YouTube link after the break.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Bay Area Nerf Exclusive: Buccaneer and Gladiator swords!

It looks like Buzz Bee has entered the foam melee arena with their new offering: the Air Warriors Buccaneer and Gladiator swords. While checking for more random DPCIs at Target to see if we could uncover any new or unannounced blasters we came across these. The Target inventory listing was a cryptic "Foam Swords" under DPCI 087-11-0346 for $9.99. When they pulled these out of the backroom, it surely wasn't what we were expecting.

The foam itself is very lightweight, but not as soft and squishy as most of the Nerf weaponry we've seen so far. It's more akin to the Marauder Long Sword, but much lighter. Each sword measures in at roughly 2 feet from pommel to point, with the blades coming in a little under 19 inches. The "blades" are thinner than most of the melee offerings from Nerf (although we haven't been able to  check out the new Zombie Strike Machete). The handles are only meant for one handed use, but aren't so small that those with bigger hands will find the grip too short. The swords themselves feel fairly sturdy, and with the foam being more dense than some of Hasbro's melee alternatives, they may last a bit longer than their competitor. Hopefully field test will yield more conclusive results, specifically against some zombie hordes.

What do you think? Is this a smart move on Buzz Bee? Will you give these a shot? How do you feel about the color scheme? Let us know in the comments below!

More pictures after the break.