July 25, 2014

New Xploderz Blasters On The Way!

People like myself have wondered about the sustainability of the Xploderz line. They're certainly unique, filling a strange niche between dart blasters and water guns. As of recently, though, I've seen most Xploderz blasters drop off shelves or go on clearance. Turns out that the line isn't dead yet! And it's gone for a "mature" look, to boot.

More information after the jump!

July 21, 2014

Westminster Toys Cross Dart Review

The Cross Dart is a shooting toy I've seen in various forms and places. Cracker Barrel, Amazon, Walmart, and now Toys R Us. After finding one on sale for $10, I decided to grab one and see how well it performed. I was pleasantly surprised!

Looks can be deceiving!

July 19, 2014

Buzz Bee Updates - My Thoughts, and Availability News!

In case anyone missed the scoops on blogs the past few months, Buzz Bee Toys has lots of new products in the works. They've now updated their website accordingly! Blasterlabs had the privilege of getting high-resolution images of many of the new blasters, as well as prices. Many of the new blasters are just $10, including the new Blastzooka rocket launcher. In addition, Buzz Bee is joining the rush to market blasters for girls with their "WINGZ" product line.

In addition, after searching through several customs declarations, I can confirm where some of the blasters will appear! Note that this list is not indicating exclusivity - the Predator isn't going to to only be at Kmart, for instance. We just know it's going to be there.

Target Corporation
DPCI-ITEM# 086080333 STYLE# 85000 WINGZ - ROCKET
DPCI-ITEM# 086080336 STYLE# 47100 WINGZ - LONG BOW

Kmart Corporation
GUNSMOKE PO: B0GC3 ITEM: 260079874921 REF: 801M DEPT: 004

Personally, I'm excited for all the new offerings. Looking at this purely from a marketing standpoint, blasters like Gunsmoke, Predator, and Vampire Hunter should be solid sellers, with their "gimmicks" actually adding to their appeal, especially for the cosplay crowd (as well as younger kids). The Vampire Hunter and Blastzooka are both pressurized air blasters that should please modders out there in addition to the child target audience.

With the smashing success of Nerf Rebelle, I'm not surprised by the appearance of the WINGZ line, although I do question how well it will fare in sales.  In terms of performance, the Dart Launcher (a Stunt dart launcher clone) should be an excellent value, since the original blaster could easily hit 50' flat, in a small package, for only $6. The Long Bow might also be great for shooting darts; unlike the Nerf Heartbreaker Bow, this blaster looks to have an actual plunger that you pull on. That should make it both easier to aim and easier to fire.

While many of these offerings will not be competitive in an NIC-type organized war, they should be a ton of fun as stock blasters. And that's perfectly fine! It just means modders like myself will have to be creative :)

July 12, 2014

Buzz Bee Air Max Tank Expansion Mod

The Air Max blaster line, a favorite of myself and others, consists of several back-pressure blasters boasting up to 60 ft. ranges. While they pack a punch, the firing tanks are small and can only propel darts so far, even if firing pressures are increased (plugging the pump, etc).

This guide will serve as an easy way to expand an Air Max tank's capacity, while maintaining both the stock appearance of the blaster and its efficient pneumatic characteristics. Considering the empty shell space that tends to come with these blasters, this mod should be easy to install!

July 8, 2014

Rebarreling for Boomco Darts!

Mattel's BoomCo line of blasters uses a unique, proprietary dart. While the darts have excellent flight characteristics and Smart Stick material covering the heads, they're also incompatible with existing blasters. While foam darts are generally .50" in diameter, BoomCo darts are .40" in diameter. Turns out we need a different barrel material!

As a simple test, I used a 2.5" length of 7/16", 0.015" wall brass tubing as a barrel. This tubing gives a nice, tight fit for the straw-like body of the dart and stops right at the head of the dart. This is important - the rubbery material on the dart head does not play nice with long barrels, even loose-fitting ones. So for the moment, it looks as though these darts can only be front-loaded into their respective barrels or clips.

Performance, however, was amazing. Using a stock Air Zone Panther (original, large air tank) with the AR pushed back by the barrel insert, BoomCo darts were easily passing 100' with both accuracy and precision. Even at that distance, I was hitting within a few feet of my human target (if not hitting him). The darts do wobble a bit coming out of the barrel, due to the compressed air still coming out, but they corrected themselves in flight and didn't appear to suffer in the same manner as Nerf Elite darts would.

July 5, 2014

Mattel BoomCo Rapid Madness Review and Modification

As most of you know, Mattel has officially entered the blaster market with the BoomCo line! Between their Smart Stick darts and targets, industrial looks, and heavy promotion of team gaming, Mattel hopes to grab some of Hasbro's long-secure market share. How does the flagship blaster hold up, then? It's certainly not the greatest value blaster ever, but it's plenty of fun, performs as advertised, and can be improved with a bit of modding!

Say hello to my little friend!

To see another good review, look over at Blaster Labs. For further thoughts, look after the break!

July 1, 2014

My Blog's Been Cited as Evidence in a Lawsuit! Sweet!

Thanks to Robert Lewis Webbe (aka Duxburian) for bringing this to my attention!

Earlier this year, I made a lengthy post about upcoming blasters spotted online and in stores. Included in this update was documentation of several Swimways soakers that used the same molds as both current and older Super Soaker and Water Warriors toys.

That post (and thus this blog) was cited by Buzz Bee Toys in a bid for a preliminary injunction against Swimways and Target, it turns out! A copy of the judge's opinion in Buzz Bee Toys Inc. v. Swimways Corporation can be found here.

To quote page 12 of the opinion:

As evidence of the similarity between Buzz Bee’s and Swimways’ products, Plaintiff provided a February 12, 2014 post from the “BUFFDADDY NERF” blog, in which the blogger “ma[de] a large post covering air and water blasters . . . .” (Id. Ex. Z at 1.) The blogger provided pictures of Swimways products he had recently seen at Target and said that Swimways’ AVALANCE was “[a] close copy of the Water Warriors Xenon,” Swimways’ TSUNAMI was “[a] copy of the Water Warriors Argon,” Swimways’ STRYKER units were “[r]eshells of one of the original Water Warriors Kwik Grips XL,” and “there was also a piston blaster virtually identical to the Water Warriors Avenger.” (Id. at 3-4.) The blogger noted that Swimways’ toys “appear to use old blaster molds. However, they appear to have either pinch triggers, or some sort of alternative valve mechanism . . . .”

My favorite passage from the opinion:

As discussed supra, the products look very similar and, particularly when considering the similarity between each offering in the WATER WARRIORS and FLOOD FORCE product lines, this factor strongly weighs in Plaintiff’s favor. Defendant notes that the “BUFFDADDY NERF” blogger noted that Swimways’ toys “appear to have either pinch triggers, or some sort of alternative valve mechanism . . . .” (Id. at 3.) The different triggers and valve mechanisms do not diminish the high degree of similarity between Buzz Bee’s WATER WARRIORS and Swimways’ FLOOD FORCE product lines, particularly because the “BUFFDADDY NERF” blogger is likely more sophisticated than the average consumer.

Well, it's good to know I'm smarter than the average bear!