March 3, 2014

Citiwell International UFO Destroyer Review

After the initial run of Launch N' Attack blasters, Citiwell International (the parent company for Dee Bee Toys/Eye Spy Toys) has another blaster on shelves at ToysRUs. Simply named the UFO Destroyer, it ditches the flywheels from the previous line for a manually primed six shooter. The rip-cord disc launcher has also been replaced with an electric mini-UFO.


The idea is interesting enough, but while the previous generation worked as advertised, the new changes aren't quite there yet in terms of usability.
First, I present the internals for your viewing pleasure!


As you can see, the UFO Destroyer is a spring-based blaster. Upon priming, the entire plunger assembly moves back until the plunger hits the catch. Meanwhile, a post jutting out from the plunger tube meshes with the turret gears to rotate to the next barrel.

The back contains all the electrical components. The batter tray slides out, holding a total of 4 AA alkaline batteries. 

How does this work? The white tabs at the top rear of the blaster have contacts, which line up with contacts on the underside of the UFO. When you complete the circuit, the UFO's LED flashes red to indicate charging the onboard battery. By pressing the blue trigger, you retract the electrical contacts. This break in the circuit triggers the UFO and starts the propeller, launching it into the air for target practice.

So, how did it fare? Not so good. The blaster fires (although Elite darts work better than the darts it came with), and the UFO launches. However, hitting the UFO with a dart (or the UFO hitting the ceiling, for that matter) usually didn't cause the UFO to shut down as advertised. In addition, the launch is a pain to get right. You have to hold the blaster perfectly level, or the UFO wanders away. The tabs don't actually secure the UFO to the blaster while charging, so a light jostle or bump can result in a premature ejection.

Stop your snickering!

Finally, there are easily identifiable structural problems. First, the tab on the plunger that's held by the catch is really thin. Any sort of spring upgrade is just asking for your blaster to break. In addition, the moving plunger tube design (and its connection to the rotation mech) severely limits modification potential, aside from gutting the internals completely.

I'm going to remove the air restrictors and see how far I can push the ranges on this, but I've been getting only 30' flat so far. Unless I've overlooked something, this blaster is simply not worth the $25 you gave to TRU.

BONUS - if you go to the website on the box, you'll see the page replaced by the advertisement for the Nerf Tek Strike gaming system! Yep, this company is making the pseudo-video game screens and darts you've seen on various blogs across the web. See the blog post over at Foam From Above for info Vas got at the Toy Fair.

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