February 28, 2014

Tax Returns and ToysRUs!

Hooray, Uncle Sam finally sent that check he owed me. So I decided to splurge a little bit on items I don't expect to have decent performance and see what I can do with them. Updates coming soon!

Air Zone Stryker paintball marker (pull and release, trigger simply loads the next paintball)

Dee Bee Toys UFO Destroyer (manual priming, six dart turret, launches a UFO)

February 24, 2014

Toys R US - What The Hell?

After looking through the newest entries into the Air Zone line, I have to say I'm generally unimpressed. There are a few gems - the Xtreme Dart Bow and Xtreme Darts, for example - but the general trend seems to be toward the relabeling of inferior products. For example, the Pump Rockets are a rebranded Ja-Ru toy. Yes, the company which makes the cheap plastic toys at your dollar and discount stores is now making official TRU toys. They also make the pop rockets - the nose compresses on impact, forces air into a sheet of paper, and rips through it to make the popping sound. That is, if the rocket doesn't break on the first throw.
$5 well spent! ....not.
The fins aren't that sturdy. Trust me.
That's just the start of it. Go past the jump for more.

February 23, 2014

Ghostbusters Marshmallow Shooters!

In the process of checking blaster websites for updates, I ran across this slide on Marshmallow Fun Company's website.

Well, if that isn't a product branding that makes sense, then I don't know what is. Turns out this year is the 30th anniversary of the original Ghostbusters movie. So I'd expect other promotional toys to appear on shelves.

Anyway, further research led to this article from the Dallas Morning News.
Marshmallow Fun co-founder Beaver Raymond will be selling the Ghostbusters toys to retailers next week at the annual Toy Fair in New York. The Ghostbusters license has big potential for sales outside the U.S. because American movies, and this one in particular, are often big hits overseas.

Raymond said he’s already heard from retailers in the U.K. and Dubai. But not all cultures have marshmallows on their store shelves. At some point, he will have to overcome that issue, so he’s working on another form of soft ammo... 
...Raymond has more products in the works, including new animal character blasters. When you pull the critter’s tail, marshmallows shoot out. The first one is a beaver, and an alligator and a donkey are next.
Animal blasters? Non-sugary ammo? In a later, related article over at PRWeb, we get this bit of information:
The animal shooters will feature interchangeable ammo types, a first for the company.

The first animal shooter released will be the Beaver Blaster. When you pull back the on its tail, you spring load a small foam ball or marshmallow. After releasing the tail, you can launch the object up to 30 feet. Marshmallow Fun has a lot more exciting critters coming soon.

Small foam balls are going to become an option? Sounds like a good thing to me. The animal blasters might be more gimmicky than the NIC would like, but it's nice to see something really new coming from these guys.

Finally, we once again have an extremely relevant xkcd.

February 22, 2014

Test-Firing the Modded Nerf Centurion

Just thought I'd give an update on an earlier post about the new plunger tube I made for my Centurion. I went ahead and took a video to show it works (I used the Spy Gear Panosphere 360 again, so I could test how well I could shop the video for best results).

I'm finding that with the new ~100% plunger seal, the Mega Darts do fly more erratically than usual. My homemade 3/4" stefans, however, fire just fine - I made some at similar dimensions to stock darts, but with more weight in the front. I really couldn't use those in this video, though. Since I'm still tweaking my video editing skills, I opted to use the more visible red color of the stock darts. I'll have official ranges soon. But when the darts fly straight, I'm hitting the basement wall ~50' away with minimal drop. So all signs are good!

February 21, 2014

Spy Gear Panosphere 360 Review

The Spy Gear brand, made by Spin Master, has popped up on the NIC's radar on occasion. For example, they introduced the Spy Gear Signal Launcher (SGSL) and Rocket Launcher (SGRL), both of which were essentially reshelled Buzz Bee Big Blasts (BBBB, or 4B). A few days ago, I found one of their camera items on clearance for $14 in a Target store. So I decided to test it out a little, and I've been moderately pleased.

February 16, 2014

Hasbro Gearing Up for 3D Printing for Kids

According to an article from the Motley Fool, Hasbro is teaming up with 3D Systems in a venture involving 3D printing for kids. As per the press release, the two companies want "to co-develop, co-venture and deliver new immersive, creative play experiences powered by 3D printing for children and their families later this year."
As always, there's a relevant xkcd.
As we all know, Hasbro owns Nerf. So, will this mean that (eventually) blaster fans with 3D printers could make their own Nerf accessories or blasters with Hasbro's approval? I guess we'll see.

February 13, 2014

Buzz Bee Water Warriors Charger, and its Implications for Nerfing and Soaking

Myself, along with several other people on the internet, have discovered the Buzz Bee Water Warriors Charger, a new entry in this year's arsenal. Interestingly, it claims a "dual chamber system for maximum water blasting". After further research, I believe I may have discovered what exactly powers this blaster, and it's not TOTALLY new, but used in a different way.

Before the jump, let's give one diagram from patent US20130192576 to whet your appetite! (Also, patent US20130193161)

February 12, 2014

Obscenely Oversized Off-brand Update!

Ok guys, thanks to various website updates, in-store sightings, and a bit of research, I'm making a large post covering air and water blasters that will be making their appearance this year.

Buzz Bee Toys

  • Air Warriors Flying Toys

Stunt Darts
  • Launch stunt darts 20-30 feet in the air
  • Includes launch blaster and three stunt darts
  • Three different flight patterns
  • Crazy corkscrew spins
  • Loops & spins
  • Wild Stunt maneuvers
  • Great indoors and outdoors

Falcon Foam Glider ("Falcon" has been trademarked a few years. It finally surfaces!)
  • Foam glider flies up to 60 feet
  • Easy pull back launcher
  • Adjustable flight patterns
  • Two assorted styles

February 9, 2014

Experiments with a Flash Blast

I've had a Super Soaker Flash Blast sitting on my shelf for over a year, unused and in need of love. Since Hasbro is selling a recolor of it this year, I figured I'd try to at least make something useful out of it.

Take away the screws, and you get the crappy internals - the plunger is tiny, and largely useless for any real water blaster fight. Ditch the tubing and slice off the front of the PT.

The PT is actually the perfect size for putting PETG barrel tubing into. Take a 1" long piece, and super glue it into the end (but only a little bit). I wrapped the gap in E-tape for extra security.

Note that I've removed the o-ring from the plunger. Since we're going to directly push the dart, a seal no longer matters. Speed is the goal. By the way, go ahead and remove the front ridge that formerly retained the o-ring. Otherwise, your plunger will attempt to jam itself into your PETG dart holder.

Right now, after removing some of the plastic at the front of the blaster, I'm getting 15-20ft. ptg out of this blaster. Still not that impressive, but it's better than before.

February 7, 2014

Centurion Mods! WHAT SORCERY IS THIS????

One of the reasons we dislike the Centurion (and there are many) is because it has a reverse plunger. A really BAD reverse plunger, at that. With so many vent holes bleeding air out of the large pressure chamber, that volume or air is being used extremely inefficiently.

The solution? Replace the plunger tube!

Ooooooooh! Shiny!

February 4, 2014

Giant ToysRUs.com Discounts - $11 Magnus, Air Zone, and More!

Thought I'd list some of the great deals TRU has online (valid as of this post, at least). All of them will be listed below, with links to their respective pages!
Feeling lucky, punk?
  1. Nerf N-Strike Elite MEGA Magnus, $11.19
  2. Air Zone Quickfire 12 Blaster, $11.24
  3. Air Zone Xtreme Dart Bow, $4.79 (I just reviewed this!)
  4. Air Zone Xtreme Dart 100 pack refill, $14.99 (Off-brand streamline, if you feel like testing them out)
  5. Air Zone Quickfire Eaglet Impact X, $10.79 (Reverse plunger, but with strong spring)
  6. Air Zone Splatterz Stryker Paintball System: Single, $10.79. Double, $20.99. (Questionable blasters, but discounted enough to warrant buying one for science)
  7. Air Zone Dual Double Xcess Twin Pack, $22.49
  8. Air Zone Rotator X-8, $7.79
  9. Air Zone Double Barrel Blaster, $8.99

February 2, 2014

Air Zone Xtreme Dart Bow + Xtreme Dart Review

Last Friday, I grabbed one of the newest Air Zone blasters from ToysRUs, the Xtreme Dart Bow, for $8. It appears that in this case, Prime Time Toys (the original maker of the blaster) beat Hasbro at their own game. See the rest of the review!
Similar style and mechanism, but the off-brand is better.