September 25, 2015

Nerf Perks Rewards Program

Earlier today, while browsing Target and ToysRUs, I came across Nerf boxes with stickers on them for "Nerf Perks". So I went online, and found an interesting development I hadn't seen anywhere else!

If you go to, you can create an account and begin uploading pictures of your purchases since the end of August to earn points. Specifically, the store receipt. You can then use your points on anything from computer wallpapers to blasters and ammo. 

There will also be various promotions for earning extra points, including a Blaster of the Month that is worth double.

THIS is the eligible list of products you can redeem points for, as of September 2015.

So, if your group is in need of a particular blaster or ten, buy a few and get some points while you're at it!

September 18, 2015

BoomCo Burstwave Review

One of the new BoomCo blasters that has been out for a few weeks, the Burstwave, is a ToysRUs exclusive. Available for $25, it's a tad pricey. However, it performs its function very effectively, and has serious modding potential.

In terms of use, it feels like the new-style Supermaxx 1500. Pump the blaster about three times until the OPRV engages, fire, rotate turret, and repeat. In this case, however, you're launching a salvo of four darts.

Inside the shell, we see the tank is roughly the same volume as the SM1500, but the internal layout is somewhat different. The tank has a push-button trigger, activated by a lever. In addition, the OPRV is on the tank, instead of within the pump.

Looking at the turret rotation gears, you can see there's a thick spring there. The turret won't move unless you want it to.

This tab is the extra bit that helps keep the turret in place, as well as hold it against the air outlet.

This is the trigger. Pulling it moves the lever arm, which acts as a force multiplier over the short distance required to depress the valve.

The OPRV on the air tank is secured by a plastic cover and two screws. Nothing special here in terms of function.

When you remove the bottom cover of the tank, you can see the o-ring/gasket that seals the trigger button. This is still a pin-valve tank, it just turns out you're pushing it from the front, instead of pulling from the back. One interesting note: even with all of the screws around the tank, the plastic is still solvent-welded together. It's made to handle a decent amount of air pressure.

Each shotgun section is composed of a few pieces, with a rubber piece sandwiched between to seal things up nicely.

In terms of performance, I was getting the advertised 50' ranges with at least two of the darts each time, if not more. The darts also had a spread of two or three feet in diameter. With a replacement spring in the OPRV, allowing six pumps before it activates, I could get angled ranges of 80'-100'. The spread was around five feet in diameter at that point, The Burstwave does its job well, and would be suitable for both close quarters and for long range targets grouped closely together - you should at least get one of them!

Out of interest, I temporarily removed the turret and added a CPVC barrel to the air outlet. With the right dart fit, I was hitting 90' ranges firing parallel to the ground. So this blaster may as well be a Supermaxx 1500. I can't wait to see what people do with it.

September 9, 2015

Buzz Bee Gunsmoke Pistol Review

Here's a fun find from my recent trip to Canada! Turns out my weekend up in Mississauga was the same weekend that various stores were pushing new merchandise onto shelves. At Walmart, one of the blasters of interest was one I hadn't seen any news on before, save for a design patent out of Hong Kong. I present the Gunsmoke Pistol!

In my review for the first Gunsmoke blaster, I gave it an excellent review, based mainly from the perspective that it was in its own category, and that it should be judged by how well it does its job. Now that we have more than one Gunsmoke product, however, performance will have to be a consideration. Fortunately, the Gunsmoke pistol can stand on its own, although it's still just shy of a Strongarm in performance.

This blaster takes three AA batteries to power the smoke circuit. Let's open this up and see why it's such a wide blaster, eh?
Note: you need to slice the barrel cap and "hammer" each in half, otherwise you warp the shell trying to pull things loose.
The screws and the internals sit on the same side of the shell. Once you remove the screws, turn the blaster over, lift off the other half of the shell, and WTF IS GOING ON HERE?

Remember how the first Gunsmoke blaster was essentially a Double Shot, but with one plunger powering the smoke instead of launching a dart? In the pistol, we have two plunger tubes sitting side by side. The larger one (larger than your typical Nerf Elite plunger tube, at least) goes to the turret via air restrictor. The other connects to the smoke mechanism.

A better view of the plunger tubes for comparison. The seals on the plungers are very good.

When the blaster fires, the secondary plunger compresses the air and opens this slow-bleeding valve. The tiny plunger makes contact with a switch, which then sends current to the smoke emitter up front. The slow bleeding air follows yet another tube and carries the rather acrid vapor up into the blaster's faux barrel.

 But how does the blaster perform? While I don't have chronograph numbers at the moment, average (angled) ranges were poor with the included sucker darts, but 65' with Elite streamlines and Knex darts. Without the air restrictor, the average was 75'. The plunger and spring are more than sufficient for Elite ranges. If the dart barrels were longer, this blaster would have the same ranges as similar blasters.

In any case, the Gunsmoke pistol performs much better than its predecessor, and should serve as a fun prop as well as a fun modding project. Even if you ditch the smoke emitter, you have another plunger to experiment with. And that valve/switch setup could be interesting to reconfigure as a pressure indicator...

August 28, 2015

Zuru Xshot Bug Attack Eliminator Review

Previously I reviewed Zuru's Xshot Bug Attack Rapid Fire, giving it a good grade. At long last, I found its companion blaster in the line, the Eliminator. For $15 at Kmart, it seemed like a good buy. In reality, it's just ok, especially since the pistol is available.

The shell itself is very high quality. with faux wood texturing on the stock, rough bumps and surfaces on the grips for both hands, and smooth blue "bug juice" pieces on the outside. It's possibly the most impressive blaster shell I've seen to date from Zuru. The trigger guard might be too small for bigger hands, but it is its own piece and can be removed if you so desire.

Initially, the setup appears to be the same as that of the Lanard Double Barrel Blaster. In fact, the entire handle of the Eliminator is part of the plunger, making it extra mass for the spring to move.

In addition, the DBB had a revolving plunger tube as its barrel selection mechanism. In the Eliminator, the gray plastic arm underneath the barrels connects to a selection mechanism in front of the plunger tube. It consists of a spinning wheel with 6 positions; every other position has a hole to permit airflow. It's actually nearly the same as the mechanism in Zuru's Xshot Vigilante.

It's an effective solution, but the layout within the Eliminator adds quite a bit of dead space. In addition, there's nothing sealing up the barrel selecting mechanism - any obstruction in the barrel, including darts, causes air to leak out this area. Sadly, that limits how much power and the length of barrels you can use when modding this blaster. It won't stop me from trying, though.

The plunger tube measures roughly 1 7/16" in diameter, and has a draw just short of 2 1/2". So by all appearances, this could be turned into a primary of sorts.

The barrels and the tubing make a tight friction fit together. This is also where the two air restrictors sit. They were removed in this picture.

So, how does it perform? With the included Excel darts, I was hitting speeds of about 61 feet per second, and 70 fps without the ARs. With Elite streamlines, it was 58 fps with AR and 65 without.

In the end, the Eliminator slings darts about as well as the Rapid Fire. However, it has 4 fewer shots before reloading is needed, and is $3 than the pistol on the shelf beside it ($5 if you skip Kmart and grab the pistol at Dollar General). In its stock form, I can't recommend the Eliminator. But it has plenty of unrealized potential going for it if you want to put the time in.

EDIT: Depending on how well the Eliminator performs once modded, I may raise its rating to a B.

August 24, 2015

Dart Zone Powerbolt Belt Blaster Review

Among Nerf's many competitors, there are a few that have upped the ante in terms of blaster quality. Prime Time Toys, with their Dart Zone Covert Ops blasters, is in that group. The Powerbolt Belt Blaster only reached Target shelves within the last month, and even then has (as of this posting) reached only 15% of stores nationwide in the US. It's a shame, because the Powerbolt is both fun to use and decently powerful, all for only $20.