Friday, January 24, 2014

VMD: Cannon Commando

Say hello to my little friend!
While other blogs are bringing you the latest from the London Toy Fair, we figured we'd bring you a review off the beaten path. So, as our friends across the pond might say: "And now for something completely different". You really have no idea how much unsuspecting joy this thing has brought in the past few days since it was initially purchased. But I'm getting ahead of myself.  First, we need some proper introductions. This little baby is the VMD Cannon Commando. The VMD stands for "Vehicles of Mass Destruction." It's made by a company aptly named Skyrocket. It retails for around $60 (at least that's how much it was at the K-Mart we found this at). How does it fair for it's price tag? Is it a viable option for your Nerf arsenal? Let's "drive" right in!

Full review and YouTube video after the break.

Be sure the box says 50ft.
So, B.F.U. and I stumbled upon this little beauty while searching for... actually I don't even remember what at K-Mart. After taking a close look at the darts we realized they looked close to elite streamline size. We rationalized that we'd test it out, if it could not work with elites, we'd just return it. After deciding to split the cost we noticed something else; there were two versions of the blaster/vehicle! One box advertised  ranges up to 30ft (or 35ft I can't remember). We obviously opted for the version that claimed 50ft ranges and were honestly pretty excited to see what this bad boy could do. We were not disappointed.

It's a domino hunting MACHINE!
First off I want to say this thing is pretty much exactly what it looks like: a mini tank. It's pretty much like Coop's Swarmfire on a remote control car, but not nearly as fast. Then again, you don't have to put it together yourself. Also, I really dig the elite blue, makes it feel like it's made for those elite streamlines. They did a nice job with some of the smaller details, and I like that the remote control has an arming switch with a flip up cap. It's the little details like that that really make me enjoy this thing (or I just like stuff that flips and folds, your call...)

They could be cousins.
So after getting it home and buying batteries (it takes 6AA and the remote uses a 9 volt) I was ready to test this thing out. It's a relatively simple design, the cylinder auto rotates and a dart pusher shoves foam into flywheels. I quickly took out one of the supplied darts and compared it's size to an elite streamline. It's pretty close. I don't have any electronic scales at home or calipers, but they pretty much seem spot on. The head is a bit bigger and the tail goes a smidge further down inside the dart than the elites do (but not nearly as much as the old streamlines).

6AAs?! I wonder about Trustfires...
There's not much in the way of assembly, there's a small "tail" or "wheelie bar" that's supposed to keep it from tipping over, and the antennae needs to be screwed into the remote. There's an on off switch on both the vehicle and the remote, as well as three frequencies to choose from (so if you have more than one the controls won't be getting crossed) I shoved in elite streamlines and a couple of the supplied darts, it takes 16 in total, which is actually not too bad for something it's size.

Lowest setting.
Something to note, the angle at which the vehicle shoots needs to be set manually. This is really one of my only gripes about this thing. I wish this was something you could adjust on the fly, with the remote. But I'm sure that would probably double the price or something. I'd honestly recommend using it on one of it's lower settings. I tested it on the lowest angle possible and it was still hitting well over 30-40 feet. It should be hitting the advertised ranges no problem, considering when I cranked the angle all the way up, it was hitting my ceiling... That might make it a little difficult to aim at targets in front of you, hence my suggestion of leaving the angle low.

All the way up.
Still, it was really fun positioning this thing, then flipping up the "lock" on to reveal an arming switch. Once the vehicle is armed and ready to fire the light on the remote turns on and the trigger button on the top right will send the signal to start flinging foam. The speed is pretty slow (it's a tank) and rate of fire is also pretty slow, but we've seen automatic blasters performing at rates like this (check the video at the end of this review for a demo). I did have a couple jams, but they were easily cleared and were either from older darts or user error (like not shoving the darts all the way in the chamber thus impeding the rotation of the cylinder). There's no jam door, but the cylinder has a bit of play in and out as well as rotation, and the user guide recommends turning things off, tilting the vehicle down and trying this before getting out a screwdriver or needle nose pliers. I have to admit that despite my skepticism so far in the few jams I've had it's worked swimmingly.

Armed and ready sir!
So, how will it perform on the field? First off, the treads should allow for some tough terrain but I don't know if I'd expect it to work with heavy underbrush or anything too extreme. How it will perform on the field is something that is very subjective to each game and the rules therein. For example, you would have to figure out how to balance these things. Can you tag them out? Do they have specific rules? Do they perhaps serve a purpose that the admin's can only use to enhance a game type? These are things you should probably think about before introducing something like this into your games. Also, be conscious of the fact that this is indeed a small toy, and as such may be subject to breakage if stepped on or tripped over (this might be a concern for your players safety as well).

First person view.
Finally, is it worth it? This is actually hard for me to answer. If you are looking for something that will be a great asset to your load-out, I'd have to say probably not. You could probably better equip yourself for cheaper with a couple of blasters and some tactical gear. However, I don't feel that this should be purchased to replace a blaster. It's a lot of fun just messing around with it, and moderators could have a ball thinking of special rules or game types to incorporate this into their wars. That being said, it is quite an investment. I know many players enjoy the fact that Nerf is cheap, and this is by no means a staple in any arsenal. I think of it more of a desert to the meat and potatoes of blasters and games. If you can afford it and can think of a way to make use of it in your games I'd say go for it. Still, it being a $5 cheaper wouldn't hurt either. ~Josh


  1. That is painfully noisy, but I like the design.

  2. Looks fun! We saw these over the holidays for $20.00 (Amazon), so we wouldn't recommend anyone actually paying $60 for one. But at the right price, it looks like a good time... We'd love to see the red, 85-foot single-rocket version in action!

  3. This thing looks really cool, and it's something that you can actually do with a lot of different Nerf guns! I think that one of the best ones that you could integrate (albeit with heavy modding) would be the Retaliator with a modded clip.