August 29, 2017

Buzz Bee Toys 2017: Making the Old New Again (Part One)

Buzz Bee Toys is having a stellar year. In addition to having new darts for distance and precision, they've managed to infiltrate store shelves with many new blasters. In the case of Walmart, they've even managed to fill out the majority of the "Adventure Force" line with versions of their blasters.
New offerings aren't the only thing on shelves, however. Many older blasters (or in a few cases, reshells) have come back, this time with updated range claims. Surely this can't purely be a function of the darts, right? Looks like it's time to open up and compare the different versions to see what differences are inside!

Buzz Bee Gem/Adventure Force Duel Force

The differences at the low end of the updated collection are merely cosmetic. Internally, the old and new versions are the same.

Buzz Bee Wizard/Adventure Force Combat Clash

These blasters feature larger plunger tubes than the Gem, but generational differences are again in looks, not guts.

Buzz Bee Jaguar/Adventure Force Cataclysm

This blaster is where internal updates begin to appear. As detailed in an earlier post, the Jaguar's Ultra-Tek update featured a brand new plunger tube for hitting the 72' range claims. The newest version adds half an inch to the shell, as well as the plunger tube and spring.

Buzz Bee Predator/Adventure Force Alpha Rogue

Here is another blaster that has seen multiple generations. The original functioned like the classic Hunter/Hawk/Rapid Tek with its small plunger and inefficient tubing to barrel connection. The Ultra-Tek update saw a floating plunger tube sitting below and behind the dart. The newest update features an even larger (and stationary) plunger tube.

Buzz Bee Night Tek

This blaster was left behind in the update; there are no differences aside from shell aesthetics (confetti on the old shell, straight lines on the new). It would seem the lighter Long Distance darts are enough to get the 100'+ ranges. At least some of the time.

I'll be looking at the larger blasters next, comparing them to the previous entries (Champion/Reaper v. Tactical Storm, etc).

August 20, 2017

Stats Blast 2017 - Prime Time Toys Takes the Lead

I found these blasters on the way to see the eclipse. They've shown up on the website at Toysrus, but aren't supposed to be on shelves until Sept. 30. At least that's what the system flagged when I went to the checkout. Since they were already on the shelf, though...I got the manager override, followed by a call to the the back asking why they were out.

I only bought the large combo. All the new Stats Blast products say Powered by PT-DZ, etc, so Prime Time Toys is their main supplier for the in-house brand this year. Aside from carry-over products from Zuru and such, obviously.

The two smaller, slam-fire only blasters have been on the shelf for months now, and I recognize them as being on shelves perhaps seven years ago, but have yet to try them. The new take on the Flipfury/Xcess double cylinder pistol should also be interesting. $35 is high, but I'll spend it for science.

Meanwhile, the Cyclone X5 set ($20) and Tornado X2 pack ($15) all feature reshells of past Dart Zone blasters or recolors, in the case of that Trifire.

Finally, we have the Hurricane Blaster Pack, clocking in at $50. These are all blue versions of previous blasters, and frankly sit at an outrageous price. I know ToysRUs tends to have a markup, but this should be $35 at most, considering their individual prices at release. 

July 18, 2017

PrecisePro v Accustrike: The Comparison

With the arrival of Buzz Bee Toys' newest product lineup comes their overhauled dart system. As was stated back at Toy Fair, Buzz Bee split their darts according to what all their internal testing reflected. People loved their suction darts, which they do really well, but people also wanted distance and accuracy. For the last part, Buzz Bee developed and now sells PrecisePro darts. They get slightly less range than the long-distance darts, but are supposed to have superior accuracy.

And they come in cute 14-dart packs.
So how do they stack up against Hasbro's Accustrike line? Surprisingly superior!

July 9, 2017

Nerf Concept Compendium - Electric Flywheel Blasters

These blasters revolve around the use of a pair of motors to fling darts out of the blaster. Generally speaking, these motors drive two flywheels, spinning opposite each other, which grab darts as they are pushed between the wheels. This can be done manually (directly linked to trigger pull) or though the use of a motorized feeding system (Hyperfire belt, Rapidstrike pusher, etc). All of this is powered by a battery source, eliminating the need for any type of manual priming or pumping, but requiring an entirely different skill set when it comes to blaster modification.

This is not meant to be a how-to guide for modding blasters, as plenty of good ones already exist. It is meant to help understand how things work on the inside, as well as why you may see certain modifications being done. I'm also going to shy away from accessories.

March 3, 2017

Prime Time Toys, Water Warriors Update

Neither Prime Time Toys nor Buzz Bee Toys had brand new Dart Zone or Water Warriors  (respectively) on display at Toy Fair. The only clue to anything new was the painted mural at Buzz Bee's booth, which featured a boy wielding a Steady Stream X.

Turns out Dollar General has that blaster on shelves for summer. And the back of the box has pictures!

The Steady Stream X is just a reshell of a staple in BBT's arsenal. It's at least better than the standard piston-type soaker, though.

The big news, however, is info on the Drench Force! It looks like a shotgun, and sounds like it has power, with 50' range claims!

In addition to the Steady Stream X,  Dollar General is carrying a wider variety of PTT's lineup. The Quickfire Eagle was previously only part of Toysrus's Air Zone/Stats Blast collection. There are also two packs of the  Quickfire Triblast.

EDIT: after searching for more Drench Force info,  I stumbled upon a Supervalu University  presentation on market strategies for Summer 2017. Included are pictures of available water toys, including the Drench Force. Another surprise? WALKING DEAD WATER WARRIORS. They appear to be simple blasters, but we shall see in the future.