December 4, 2015

First Pictures of New Buzz Bee Water Warriors

These are all newly registered design patents from Hong Kong. Some are obvious reshells of previous designs (like the Steady Stream), while others are a bit out there.

One of the various pump and spray designs.

Another manually pumped design, with three nozzles and an ornamental trigger.

This one looks interesting, to say the least. It looks as though the trigger is functional

This is the retread of the Steady Stream blaster. The handle looks much nicer than previous versions, but the trigger is small enough that I imagine it's still ornamental in nature, and not linked to a valve.

November 29, 2015

Off-Brand Status Updates: Lanard, Buzz Bee, and MFC

Most of you know that I'm a fan of many other brands outside of Nerf. To that end, I've been keeping track of things like patents, trademarks, and general availability. So, let's go down the list!


This company's products, in terms of blasters, aren't always commonly found on shelves, and are often easier to find online (albeit at sometimes inflated prices). This past Black Friday, however, I decided to check several mall toy shops to see if they had anything interesting in stock. While I didn't see anything NEW per se, I did notice that the packaging design on many blasters has been upgraded.

November 26, 2015

Nxt Generation M1-X Crossbow Review

Nxt Generation LLC is a toy company based out of my home state of Ohio, with its products on the shelves of stores ranging from ToysRUs to Dunham's Sports. However, the M1-X Crossbow is, to my knowledge, something you will only find at Cabela's. It's a shame, because it's a fun and powerful product, despite some design flaws.

November 6, 2015

Boomco Colossal Blitz Review and Modification

After many days of long hours at work, I've finally completed my BoomCo Colossal Blitz and tested it out. And it's amazing! While the blaster is enjoyable in its stock form, it really shines when modded.

In stock form, the BCCB can hit 70' at an angle, but only in single fire. Full auto mode connects the pusher motor to the geared ammo drums, and the power required to turn them saps current away from the main flywheels. If you care to review the inner workings of the blaster, you can see my previous post on the BCCB.

October 25, 2015

Boomco Colossal Blitz Teardown

I have a review for the Colossal Blitz coming, but I first wanted to tear it apart and show how it works! This is going to be very picture intensive, so hang in there!

October 11, 2015

Boomco Halo Pistols Review

Mattel is on a roll with their Boomco line of blasters. Entering the blaster market with not only your own new brand, but with an entirely new ammo ecosystem is a huge gamble. It appears to be paying off, or at least eating enough of Hasbro's market share to justify a continued existence.

This year, Mattel is not only producing new Boomco blasters; they're signing agreements to use various licenses, including Halo (and just in time for Halo 5's arrival). Among these licensed products are two reshells of the Farshot. While $13 each (or $25 for the two pack) is a somewhat high price, they're reliable blasters with stellar performance. Plus, it's Halo!

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.

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.

August 19, 2015

Mississauga Massacre: An After Action Review

As you may have noticed, the blog hasn't been updated recently. That was for good reason, however. If I wasn't working, I was preparing things for a war in Canada. And you know how serious things can get up there!
Just wait until the moose show up.

We played at Erindale Park, in Picnic Area A (with a permit for most of the day) and had a fair bit of fun. Three members of the "old guard" were there - k9turrent, Curly, and myself. We had a grand total of eight people - certainly not the fifty-something of Canadian wars past, but a good start after a few years of no wars in the area.

As it currently stands, we hope to have a war happening every few months. As an American, I can obviously only come so often, but hopefully I can lend support when possible.

Here's footage from just a few of the many rounds we played!

Perhaps the most satisfying moment of the day came at the very end, when a family stopped by to see what we were doing - a mom, young preteen daughter, and two older brothers. We let the brothers play with some of out homemades, and the mom and daughter grabbed some of our Pistol Splats, and they had a blaster going after each other. The girl really got excited, however, when I pulled out one of my bows (in this case, a Marshmallow Crossbow with its trigger removed) and nailed her brother with it. :)

All in all, it was a fun weekend. I even managed to find some blasters that aren't here in the US yet. So I'll have lots of reviews on the way!

July 24, 2015

Buzz Bee Toys Air Max Tyrant Review

After waiting for Walmart to finally move things from their distribution center, I finally got my hands on the Buzz Bee Air Max Tyrant. It's a large blaster, meant for firing Buzz Bee's XL Distance darts, a suction cup tipped counterpart to Nerf's Mega darts. With this blaster, Buzz Bee has done what Nerf couldn't with the Centurion - make a reliable clip-fed Mega dart blaster.

July 11, 2015

Cincinnati Indoor War Footage

This is a bit late, from two weeks ago, but I tried throwing my Panosphere 360 mini camera under my modded Stampede. It worked well, but I need to make a proper mount for it using the tac rails. I also need to further refine my formatting of the fisheye lens video. That said, enjoy!

July 4, 2015

Geospace Air Archer Review

I've come across the Geospace foam rockets at various supermarkets, including Kroger. This display, however, caught my eye, since it involved more than just a push-pull launching tube. So I picked one up for $15. For science!

The Air Archer claims up to 150' ranges - a dubious claim, especially for a novelty toy company. I couldn't get anywhere near those ranges. But if you're in the mood for some fun with an oddball blaster, don't completely discount the Air Archer.

July 2, 2015

Cyber Hunter "Cooler Stryfe" Review and Mod Guide

After a work-induced hiatus, I'm back to post a backlog of reviews and updates! Starting things off will be a post that should've happened a long time ago - my review and basic mod instructions for the Cyber Hunter "Cooler Stryfe" (as dubbed by pSyk). You can find it on various "Buy China" websites like Taobao or AliExpress.

The blaster on top, to be more precise.

June 12, 2015

Ultra Tek Modding - Good And Bad News

Experiments with the Ultra Tek Champion have been rather fruitful! I've been adding and removing things, in different combinations, to see the effects on performance. First, the good news on the effects of modding!

For spring additions, you need some kind of washer to serve as support. This is limited by the 5/8" diameter of the stock spring rest and the 1.125" ID of the sliding plunger tube. The easiest thing to do is slice the ridge off of a 3/4" x 1/2" CPVC bushing and place it over the stock spring rest.

I've found that springs from Recons, Raiders, and similar N-Strike blasters are a perfect candidate for addition - they fit in with a little pre-compression, and they have sufficient clearance from both the plunger tube wall and the stock spring.

For removing the air restrictor, you simply need to punch out these three plastic supports inside the plunger tube.

It should come out pretty easily. If it doesn't, then you're doing it wrong.

Now, here were the chronograph readings for each separate modification.

  • Stock: 77 fps
  • Spring addition: 84 fps
  • AR removal: 79 fps
  • Both AR removal and spring addition: 86 fps
Here's where we hit the bad news. Either mod by itself noticeably improves performance, but there is minimal benefit from doing both. That means the stock barrel/breech is far too short under those circumstances, requiring a sealed breech a la most Longshots. Simple solution, right?

Wrong. The draw on this blaster (and presumably the other Ultra Tek blasters with clips and 72' range claims) is 3", but the minimum required for clearing the magazine and preventing dart jams is 3.25". As such, the plunger tube's forward position will need to increase by 1/4", shell adjustments will be needed, etc. On the bright side, it will leave less dead space!

I'll end this on a positive note. For the hell of it, I temporarily singled the blaster, with 7" of 9/16" brass tubing (with tightening rings) as a barrel. Chrony readings jumped to the 120s, now that a longer barrel was attached! So, at least when I'm done with a new breech, I can expect pretty good things to happen!

June 11, 2015

Looking Up Patents: The Hong Kong Files

This is more of an informational post than anything. Most people can search through patents simply by using Google. Seriously, try Google Patents.

There's one place that Google doesn't cover, for some reason. Hong Kong is important mainly for looking up the designs of off-brands like Buzz Bee.

If you go to their database website, you can search trademarks, patents, and registered designs. In the case of patents, you can come across interesting things, like Buzz Bee's patent on a blowgun triggering mechanism. Seriously, check it out. You prime and/or pressurize the toy, and blow a small shuttle piece to either trigger the plunger or hit the blast button.

You can also come across design patents, many of which are for the upcoming blasters. I'll be honest here - I've known what many of the new Buzz Bee blasters were going to look like for quite a while. The information really ism't that hard to come by. I just tend to wait for things to near the end of development/approach production before saying anything.

After all, why spoil the fun so early, especially when first impressions can be wildly incorrect?

June 8, 2015

Buzz Bee Ultra Tek Champion Review

Just when I thought I was done finding new blasters, one shows up at a newly built Dollar General. With the Ultra Tek line, Buzz Bee Toys is finally entering its "Elite" period. The $10 Champion blaster won't win any beauty contests, but the increased range over previous BBT blasters is welcome, as is its first real dart magazine a la the Nerf Recon/Retaliator. Add to that a cool new dart type and cross-compatibility with Nerf magazines, and you have a solid competitor on the field.

June 7, 2015

New and Updated Dart Zone Blasters!

While checking store websites for updates and weekly ad specials, I came across two interesting entries on Target's website: an updated Scorpion Commander blaster, and the Powerbolt Belt Blaster!
The Powerbolt, as listed, comes with two dart belts and 36 darts (18 darts per belt) and is advertised with 80' ranges. By all appearances, this is a springer similar to the antiquated Buzz Bee Belt Blaster, but with much better performance. It's nice to see PTT making extra belts available, instead of only being able to order extras online directly from them. They do appear to be made slightly different from Scorpion dart belts, though, with an extra wide ridge on one end (for air restrictors?), so they may not be cross compatible.

 Speaking of the Scorpion, there's going to be an updated version, with 18 darts as opposed to 20 in the first version. It would seem 18 darts is their new standard belt length.
 It still has the rotating barrel, of course, that does nothing for performance but still looks cool.
Both blasters retail for $19.99. Looks like Nerf's going to have some serious competition coming this summer and fall!

EDIT: Blasterlabs informed me that the official release date for these blasters is August 2nd. Be sure to check their website for updates, as product samples will soon start filtering toward the PTT offices (should be sometime this week).

June 4, 2015

Xshot Bug Attack Rapid Fire Review

Until recently, the only news we've had on Zuru's Xshot Bug Attack line has been from various posts by Blasterlabs. That changed today, with an unexpected sighting at my local shopping mall, of all places. Fresh off the truck, as the employee at ToysRUs Express told me. And not on the main TRU website, either. But here it is, the Bug Attack Rapid Fire!

Coming in at only $10, the Rapid Fire turns out to be refreshingly powerful six-shooter, as far as outside blaster lines are concerned. It feels solid, and even has some fun targets to boot. Read on for the rest of the review!

May 30, 2015

Kaos Aqua Bow Water Balloon Launcher Review

Normally, I don't review many water toys beyond a few Super Soakers and similar products. But after seeing the Kaos Aqua Bow at Walmart for $15, I decided to pick one up. It's rather unique, in that it eschews the typical slingshot or catapult setup in favor of a Zing Bow-type build. Pull back on the pouch, aim, and let go to launch the balloon.

While ranges (box claim is 150') depend on user strength and the size of your water balloon, almost all my balloons went at least 100'.

However, I didn't buy this for use with water balloons. Nerf balls, anyone???

Koosh, to be more precise.
As a person who enjoys using odd blasters and ammo during wars, I wanted to see how well the Aqua Bow could handle foam balls. Turns out that you can actually launch two at a time, at the expense of accuracy. Not good for tagging your opponents, but (assuming you're close enough) great for racking up points in Defend the Core.

Take good care of your ballsack!
In terms of actual performance with foam balls (~1.77" diameter), the bow did remarkably well, hitting max ranges of 70' at a slight angle. Aiming high, as it turns out, gets the same ranges at best, decreased range at worst. Simply put, you're firing a light but wide projectile, which will be slowed by air much faster than a dart. Firing straight ahead gets you the best ranges, at decent speed, and with the best accuracy (with some practice). Lobbing balls just increases hang time, and gives more time for things like wind and ball spin to throw off your shots.

For reference, here's a picture 80' away from the firing spot (bow is in the background).

Look closer at my balls!
This review is hard to end with a rating, seeing as I'm not using the Aqua Bow for its intended purpose (launching water balloons - which it does well). But it works wonderfully for launching ball-type ammo. Since it performs well in both cases, let's just give it an A, shall we?

May 17, 2015

Nerf Double Down Review and Modification

Among the regular N-Strike offerings currently on the market, the Nerf Double Down is a two-shot pistol styled like a sawed off shotgun. Like the Snapfire (2015), it doesn't advertise ranges. Sadly, the stock blaster is nothing to write home about. After some work, however, you can get a rather powerful blaster.

May 16, 2015

Homemade Chronograph 2.0

My previous effort, which worked very well, had a significant flaw: exposed wires. It was too easy to catch the wires on things, and eventually I ripped the legs off one of the LEDs. Therefore, I decided to add PVC piping on either side to contain all the electrical components.

I exchanged the 1.25 x 1/2 PVC bushings for 1.25 x 3/4 bushings, and used two elbows, two tees, and pipe of that size on either side. A bit excessive, but it ensured that there would be enough space inside for stuffing lengths of wire. You HAVE to thread the wire through all the PVC pipe and fittings first, and have enough extra wire sticking out to allow you to do any soldering necessary.

I used the same types of LEDs and detectors as before, but this time I used 1" x 1/4" nylon flat washers (metal ones work just as well), with LED holders placed inside. Once you place the LEDs inside, they'll stay put.

Here's the view of the LED from the front.

I placed each emitter and detector inside a PVC bushing, and used a small ring of 3/4 PVC to press them against the ridges inside the bushings. Now hook up the electronics as before, and voila!

With so much more of the wires and parts contained, this is actually more mobile, in my opinion, and easier to move. Hook it up to a tablet, and it would probably be useful to take to wars.