Spotted a while ago on Kmart's website by a few Redditors, the TMNT T-Blasts are a new series of blasters from Playmates Toys. A week ago, I actually stumbled upon all the blasters in ToysRUs, which doesn't have them listed yet. I went ahead and grabbed three of the four blasters (I left the crossbow blaster on the shelf).
I didn't know what to expect, seeing as these were sitting in the character toys section and not with the blasters. As indicated by the "4+" on the box, it's geared toward younger kids who watch the reincarnation of TMNT on Nickelodeon. However, it turns out these blasters have some interesting qualities and at least some modding potential.
We'll start out with the smaller ones: the Double Barrel Blaster. It's $10, and is a pull and release blaster, despite appearances. That trigger actually selects which barrel will fire! It's very odd, but so is the rest of the line. Perhaps Playmates didn't want their toys to be too much like guns? We may never know their reasoning.
Inside, you can see the plunger tube and the barrel selection mechanism. There's a spring-loaded plate with two holes that moves up and down
A small lever transmits the trigger pull to the selection plate. By default, the top barrel is selected. Holding the trigger selects the lower barrel.
Each barrel has a foam seal, as well as short barrels (notice the large slots in the side of the barrels that vent the air). This certainly helps in keeping their toys "safe", but it annoys the modder in me.
The plunger is roughly 1 1/4" in diameter, with ~2 3/4" in draw.
The $15 Quad Blaster operates similarly; pulling the trigger selects the barrel, and the blaster operates by pull and release. In this case, the trigger is connected to a turret!
The plunger has the same diameter, but 3 1/4" in draw. Strangely enough, it also has the Jolt-style plunger head that has become increasingly common in blasters. There's no catch on this blaster, but I imagine that will become a modding priority.
This blaster has an air restrictor a la the Elite Strongarm. However, in a possible nod to dart survival, there are free-floating plastic rings within the barrels. When the dart is inserted, the rings sit in the back of the barrel and engage the air restrictor valve.
Finally, the $25 Talking Shell Cannon has a six-dart clip (that's the term from the box) that loads from the top. It also has a battery compartment and a small speaker in the back, with a switch between "OFF", "DEMO", and "ON". There are three momentary switches inside that activate the various prerecorded sounds; two are engaged by the slide, the third by the plunger rod.
The internals are very interesting. The plunger has roughly 1 1/4" diameter and 2 3/4" draw.
The plunger tube has an elbow at the end, and both foam and an o-ring where it interfaces with the sliding breech.
Here you can see the ordinary air restrictor, or at least the spring for it, inside the breech barrel.
Meanwhile, a dart door at the front helps load each dart into the barrel, and is withdrawn once the slide is all the way forward.
This final bit of motion actually requires a bit of force, and small kids might need help.
But how well do these blasters perform? Well, they all averaged 55' in angled ranges, with a few darts landing as far as 65' and some as close as 45'. Ranges largely depend on how far back you can pull the plunger and release it. However, in the spirit of having "safe, soft fun!", the springs aren't really that strong. This makes aiming the blasters easier, at least. I imagine that 40' is the limit reached by little kids in product testing.
Overall, the T-Blast line is a unique addition to toy shelves. It's marketed to little kids, and would fit that role fairly well. For the rest of us, it is an overpriced line of Mega Blasters, especially compared to something like Buzz Bee's Air Max line. However, there is plenty of modding potential. Time will tell if these can be turned into far better blasters by the NIC.