That's right! With a little luck and a lotta leg work we were able to get our hands on the Nerf Rival Apollo fresh from Target (check out our DPCI post for more info)! Big shoutout to Shawn and Blood Angel for comin' through on the legwork and getting these in hand super quick!
We know some of you prefer reading about our exploits, and we like to save a little somethin' just for the blog every now and then. So here's a quick overview of our first impressions of the blaster, as well as internals pics, and some ammo details.
**Warning: Pic Heavy Post**
First off I have to say how refreshing it was for us all to be so surprised by this blaster. We've seen Hasbro make a lot of claims over the years, but this time they really stepped up their game and delivered.
These are solid blasters. It really feels like they were built with different ideas from the ground up. Hasbro is really pushing for that teen community, and it shows. From the black packaging, to the size and inclusion of a safety, these things don't feel like your ordinary Nerf blasters.
Also the box is pretty good about letting you know what you're getting. There's no range claims that can be easily inflated by angling a blaster. Instead the box boasts the velocity, which is a nice change up, and shows that they are aiming toward a more mature audience with these.
Although we initially thought this might be more of a sidearm, with the Zeus taking the primary position, this thing is way too big to really fit the bill. It's certainly it's own blaster, and in many ways may end up outdoing it's larger, more expensive sibling.
Hasbro claims up to 100 FPS/30MPS, and that's not far off from what we were able to find. The improved claims of "accuracy" on the box are actually very noticeable, and not just a little better than stock elite. We're talkin' at least as good as FVJs. At 30 feet, only one shot was missed on the first P.A.T. by both B.F.U. and Shawn.
The handle was a bit big for me, but will be great for regular sized people. B.F.U. and Shawn seemed to enjoy it. I really like the magazine loading into the handle. I feel that that is going to make me prefer this over the Zeus ever time.
That being said, we did find some strange inconsistency in the ammo density and weight. Some were noticeably softer than others, and they were anywhere from 1.7g-2.2g which seems like a pretty huge discrepancy. Also, without a cheap alternative, this will be a pretty expensive ecosystem to get into.
It does use some gears to help prime the hefty spring, though we didn't look much further under the hood. We'll leave that to other reviewers/modders that are much more talented than us. Still, we're interested to see what the community will do with these. The gear system may keep them from being upgraded too heavily, but I'm sure that Zeus will get volt modded right out the gate and there will be some crazy stuff done in that realm.
Yet, not everything is rainbows and fairy dust. The occlusion of a jam door could be a problem (we didn't experience any jams, but other blogs have reported as much.) and the magazine drop button could be in a slightly better position, although that's just getting nit-picky. Also, this could have been great with a stock, or at least a flat back. The slight angle makes it feel like it's trying to ride up and slip over my shoulder when I'm priming it.
Still, there needs to be some room for improvement to sell more blasters in the line. I'm sure that as an initial offering, these will do amazingly well, and hopefully we'll continue to get more innovative blasters from Rival. An under barrel prime (although surprisingly the top isn't bad) and stocks/attachments would be a great way to get us consumers to buy into the new ecosystem and embrace the line.
All in all, the Apollo is a great blaster. Well worth the $25 you'll spend on one. If you are looking for some of the best performance we've seen straight out of the box, this may give you the most bang for your buck. I'll be interested to see the Zeus in action, but I think that will be more fun once some work has been put into it.