January 16, 2016

Nerf Darts and Rifled Barrels - Part One

The question of rifled Nerf barrels comes up from time to time - since Nerf darts (especially the Elite and Mega darts currently on the market) have issues with erratic flight at medium to long range, there is always the desire to fix these accuracy issues. Since many Nerf barrel attachments have rifled grooves (for cosmetic reasons only, since the faux barrel is too wide to do anything useful), modders have wondered whether grooves in a real barrel would have an effect.

Generally speaking, there hasn't been definitive proof of rifled barrels positively affecting dart flight. The first major authority on the subject would be Ben Trettel, a.k.a. Doom from the NIC. This blog post explains why rifling hasn't been shown to help darts. Basically, darts are generally already stable in flight because they are weighted more toward the front, and the center of pressure sits behind the center of mass. At most, there have been only anecdotes in support of rifled barrels. Quite simply, it's easier to fix the dart's mass and drag issues than it is to achieve spin stabilization.

But what about larger ammo, or homemade ammo? Nerf arrows, Demolisher rockets, and Titan missiles all use spin stabilization. However, these are all very lightweight for the volume they take up. Since an increase in mass would decrease ranges by a significant margin, the extra drag from spin stabilization is an acceptable tradeoff for stable flight. Meanwhile, the foam backer rod used for stefans isn't always straight, especially for the larger sizes. This area will be the focus of my current experiments.

January 14, 2016

2016 K'NEX K-FORCE Sneak Peak!

Thanks to perusing various toy industry magazines and sources, I've come across information about upcoming K-FORCE blasters. Remember how, among the NIC, we complained that all the models, regardless of size, were just Jolts mounted on frames? Yeah, that's changing.

Click to enlarge, THEN right click to open image in new tab. The full picture file is actually quite large.
Among the new blasters to be introduced at the London Toy Fair later this month are the Super Strike, a revolver-type blaster holding five darts, and the Flash Fire, the first K-FORCE clip-fed blaster (holds ten darts). There is also a K25X Rotoshot featuring "all new rotating blasting action", whatever that is supposed to mean.

It will be interesting to see exactly how these blasters operate. The clip-fed blaster would appear to be some kind of flywheel blaster. I see no plunger tube behind the orange casing, so I assume this would operate like a Stryfe. Only you physically make the dart pusher. The revolvers, meanwhile, appear to still have space for a priming rod, like previous models.

By all appearances, sales of K-FORCE items have gone well. If we're lucky, maybe K'NEX had the foresight to allow compatibility with Nerf clips. Time will tell!

January 10, 2016

Zuru Xshot Max Attack Review

During my New Year's trip to Canada, I stopped in several stores to see the inventory. I ended up seeing several interesting things at ToysRUS, including the new Xshot clip blasters. I had to pick up at least one for experimenting!

January 6, 2016

Happy 2016! A Postwar Report from Canada


After a relaxing holiday season, I had the pleasure of taking a trip up to Toronto for an NIC event. I was up there at the beginning of August, attending the area's first war in many seasons.

This time around, we had a much better showing. We had 18 people show up, with fully half of the attendees being at their first war! Even better, several of the Canadian Nerf vets were able to come out, including Forsaken_angel24, Deaddumpster, and Curly. Finally, we had a surprise visit from several Americans, including Drac and Draculina, as well as Vlad from the Toledo, OH Nerf scene.

We held the war at an indoor athletic facility in Vaughn, ON (north of Toronto). It's basically a large metal warehouse with artificial turf fields, floor hockey rinks, and other fields and courts. Due to some scheduling errors, we ended up having access to two indoor fields for play, instead of just one. That actually ended up making all the difference, in terms of both room to play and use of cover - we only had five hastily-made obstacles due to our expected supply being with a sick Nerfer, but having two fields side-by-side meant that we could also use the building's support beams as cover. It also made for more flexibility in game types, as we could add in more objective-based games (Defend the Core, Payload) and other fun things (Civil War - line up the nerfers, take turns shooting and stepping forward, and see which team is left standing).

My loadout consisted of whatever I felt like using/could fit in my trunk. In addition to a couple Doomsayers and some modified pistols, I also brought stock Mega blasters, several modded Boomco blasters, a Big Blast with parts for both 1/2" and 3/4" stefans, and a few other random things. I got to use my modified Colossal Blitz a couple rounds, which consisted of "point the blaster at an area you don't want people to be". Very effective if you can secure cover, since you're essentially holding the blaster equivalent of artillery. In addition, my Rapid Madness proved invaluable during our round of dual Defend the Core. Use my modified Burstwave to take out people at a distance, trust teammates like FA24 to pick people off where needed, then rush the core and unload the Rapid Madness into it. We won 58-3, by the way. :)

After the war, we went out to Boston Pizza for dinner, and just generally got to chat and hang out. It was a pleasure catching up with my Canadian friends, and meeting some new ones. I also got to buy a few things on that side of the border - TRU had the new Xshot clip blasters in stock, and Dollarama had brightly colored foam rod in stock in the craft section, in 1 cm, 2 cm, and 3 cm diameters. Looking like a great cheap source for oversized stefan foam!

I didn't take any war footage - I ended up helping run things part of the time, and I simply felt like enjoying my time off. Check Drac's Youtube for war footage - as of this posting, he should have footage from playing with FA24's Eyes of Fire.