August 29, 2017

Buzz Bee Toys 2017: Making the Old New Again (Part One)

Buzz Bee Toys is having a stellar year. In addition to having new darts for distance and precision, they've managed to infiltrate store shelves with many new blasters. In the case of Walmart, they've even managed to fill out the majority of the "Adventure Force" line with versions of their blasters.
New offerings aren't the only thing on shelves, however. Many older blasters (or in a few cases, reshells) have come back, this time with updated range claims. Surely this can't purely be a function of the darts, right? Looks like it's time to open up and compare the different versions to see what differences are inside!

Buzz Bee Gem/Adventure Force Duel Force


The differences at the low end of the updated collection are merely cosmetic. Internally, the old and new versions are the same.

Buzz Bee Wizard/Adventure Force Combat Clash


These blasters feature larger plunger tubes than the Gem, but generational differences are again in looks, not guts.

Buzz Bee Jaguar/Adventure Force Cataclysm


This blaster is where internal updates begin to appear. As detailed in an earlier post, the Jaguar's Ultra-Tek update featured a brand new plunger tube for hitting the 72' range claims. The newest version adds half an inch to the shell, as well as the plunger tube and spring.

Buzz Bee Predator/Adventure Force Alpha Rogue


Here is another blaster that has seen multiple generations. The original functioned like the classic Hunter/Hawk/Rapid Tek with its small plunger and inefficient tubing to barrel connection. The Ultra-Tek update saw a floating plunger tube sitting below and behind the dart. The newest update features an even larger (and stationary) plunger tube.

Buzz Bee Night Tek


This blaster was left behind in the update; there are no differences aside from shell aesthetics (confetti on the old shell, straight lines on the new). It would seem the lighter Long Distance darts are enough to get the 100'+ ranges. At least some of the time.

I'll be looking at the larger blasters next, comparing them to the previous entries (Champion/Reaper v. Tactical Storm, etc).

August 20, 2017

Stats Blast 2017 - Prime Time Toys Takes the Lead

I found these blasters on the way to see the eclipse. They've shown up on the website at Toysrus, but aren't supposed to be on shelves until Sept. 30. At least that's what the system flagged when I went to the checkout. Since they were already on the shelf, though...I got the manager override, followed by a call to the the back asking why they were out.


I only bought the large combo. All the new Stats Blast products say Powered by PT-DZ, etc, so Prime Time Toys is their main supplier for the in-house brand this year. Aside from carry-over products from Zuru and such, obviously.

The two smaller, slam-fire only blasters have been on the shelf for months now, and I recognize them as being on shelves perhaps seven years ago, but have yet to try them. The new take on the Flipfury/Xcess double cylinder pistol should also be interesting. $35 is high, but I'll spend it for science.


Meanwhile, the Cyclone X5 set ($20) and Tornado X2 pack ($15) all feature reshells of past Dart Zone blasters or recolors, in the case of that Trifire.




Finally, we have the Hurricane Blaster Pack, clocking in at $50. These are all blue versions of previous blasters, and frankly sit at an outrageous price. I know ToysRUs tends to have a markup, but this should be $35 at most, considering their individual prices at release. 

July 18, 2017

PrecisePro v Accustrike: The Comparison

With the arrival of Buzz Bee Toys' newest product lineup comes their overhauled dart system. As was stated back at Toy Fair, Buzz Bee split their darts according to what all their internal testing reflected. People loved their suction darts, which they do really well, but people also wanted distance and accuracy. For the last part, Buzz Bee developed and now sells PrecisePro darts. They get slightly less range than the long-distance darts, but are supposed to have superior accuracy.

And they come in cute 14-dart packs.
So how do they stack up against Hasbro's Accustrike line? Surprisingly superior!

July 9, 2017

Nerf Concept Compendium - Electric Flywheel Blasters

These blasters revolve around the use of a pair of motors to fling darts out of the blaster. Generally speaking, these motors drive two flywheels, spinning opposite each other, which grab darts as they are pushed between the wheels. This can be done manually (directly linked to trigger pull) or though the use of a motorized feeding system (Hyperfire belt, Rapidstrike pusher, etc). All of this is powered by a battery source, eliminating the need for any type of manual priming or pumping, but requiring an entirely different skill set when it comes to blaster modification.


This is not meant to be a how-to guide for modding blasters, as plenty of good ones already exist. It is meant to help understand how things work on the inside, as well as why you may see certain modifications being done. I'm also going to shy away from accessories.

March 3, 2017

Prime Time Toys, Water Warriors Update

Neither Prime Time Toys nor Buzz Bee Toys had brand new Dart Zone or Water Warriors  (respectively) on display at Toy Fair. The only clue to anything new was the painted mural at Buzz Bee's booth, which featured a boy wielding a Steady Stream X.

Turns out Dollar General has that blaster on shelves for summer. And the back of the box has pictures!

The Steady Stream X is just a reshell of a staple in BBT's arsenal. It's at least better than the standard piston-type soaker, though.

The big news, however, is info on the Drench Force! It looks like a shotgun, and sounds like it has power, with 50' range claims!

In addition to the Steady Stream X,  Dollar General is carrying a wider variety of PTT's lineup. The Quickfire Eagle was previously only part of Toysrus's Air Zone/Stats Blast collection. There are also two packs of the  Quickfire Triblast.

EDIT: after searching for more Drench Force info,  I stumbled upon a Supervalu University  presentation on market strategies for Summer 2017. Included are pictures of available water toys, including the Drench Force. Another surprise? WALKING DEAD WATER WARRIORS. They appear to be simple blasters, but we shall see in the future.

February 19, 2017

New York Toy Fair 2017 - THE SECOND DAY

Today is a bit of a slow day in terms of new information. I did get to speak with the VP of Sales at Buzz Bee this morning, discussing changes in business after joining Alex Brands. In addition, we spoke about a few changes in blaster focus. Sad to say, Air Max will be no more.

In the meantime, I get to spend a little time on me and feed my childhood fascination with giant flying machines. The Intrepid is a short walk from the Convention Center. Update you later!

February 18, 2017

New York Toy Fair 2017 - THE FIRST DAY

Here goes nothing! I will update this post throughout the day as I see things of interest, and will do a full article/summary over on Blasterhub at the end. Repeat cycle until the fair ends.


11:30 UPDATE!

We have a contender for the next Big Blast, I think. Only the prototype was here, but it should be available in the fall for $25. It's an air blaster that launches slime balls 50'. For the more technically minded, the trigger is mounted on the pump, with a rod in the middle of the pump handle tube that moves forward. Morever, the pump has to be in the forward position for the trigger to fire the tank. Based purely on this, I would speculate that it's a large piston valve tank, with the pump check valve pulling double duty as the dump valve for the system.

Next, we have the World Tech Toy blasters we've seen the past few months. No new developments, aside from a neat blue color scheme.

11:50 UPDATE!

Editing from my phone is proving interesting, to say the least. Anyway, we have the new items from Zuru, in several blaster lines. Along with already avaluable items, we have the new crossbow. After trying it out, it's very legit. Feels smoother and better than the Nerf Crossbow in my opinion.

Next we have the Excel line. On the right, you see one of the revolvers in a coming color scheme. At the bottom, you can see their large new blaster. Or at least the box - the prototype broke, but you can still see it on the far right bottom of the previous picture. 40 darts, pump action, in two circles of 20 darts each. A selector on the side picks the set of 20 you want to fire. Fire 20 darts, flip the switch, and reload one circle while you're firing from the other. Perfect for HvZ.

Lastly, we have the Zuru answer to Modulus, and at a $20 price point to boot. It takes actual dart clips, which may disappoint some users. It's called the Regulator.

12:10pm UPDATE

Lots of ground to cover here with the Buzz Bee releases. This is just what we have on display in the booth. More blaster news will come at their event on Monday.

In the meantime, high-res pics of the line. And then pictures of the shelves. Will be filling in words throughout the day.

First, the darts. Buzz Bee, after doing their research into what people want in darts and what sells, is splitting their ammo into three streams. Normal suction, which they do really well; long distance, with a streamlined, rounded tip; and Precise pro darts, which give up a litthe range for accuracy.

Internally, I don't know of any differences. That will have to wait until a later date so that I can tear product apart.

The new blasters start on page 2, with the Blizzard being the Sidewinder/Colossal Blitz hybrid setup. Still a purely manual blaster, but has two rotating, removable drums.

The Rail Blaster has a tubular magazine, similar to an actual firearm. We wI'll have to see how well the loading mechanism plays with other dart brands, damaged darts, etc. But it could be a great scavenger-type blaster.

The Zenith is a Night Tek in function, but molded a bit differently. The Sentry appears to be like the Air Mac Baron in function, though I can't say it will be the same inside. Don't get your hopes up too much just yet.

The Tactical Storm is their kinda modular blaster, which takes magazines.

In the Walking Dead line, the big new thing is the magazine fed crossbow. I have yet to try it but will get on that.

And finally, display pictures.

UPDATE 12:30PM

KNEX is still alive with the KFORCE brand! They're opting for no-nonsense construction toy packaging, and they have two new models coming out this year. Both are Rotoshot type blasters, with five rounds each. The Barracuda is pump action, although the setup for it is a bit awkward. I guess if your blaster is long enough, it can be made pump action.

The other blaster is a lever acton revolver. You pull back the lever to prime, and then push it all the way forward to fire. No trigger here.

UPDATE 12:35PM

Marshmallow Fun Company had been busy. They've made a new version of the Blaster that just uses one handle, and depending on the model fires fabric snowballs, giant balls, etc. The Marshmallow version features break-action loading.

Some of the regular line on display.

As a natural extension from firing balls and marshmallows, some models are now pet-oriented. One Extreme Blaster model is made for tennis balls. This old-model Blaster appears to be meant for firing treats...?

In the R/C section, this baby is meant to fire small Nerf-type balls.


UPDATE 4:10pm

Seems I have bettrr information to pass on! The robot on display was a handmade prototype, with the real thing expected in July in the $160 to $170 range. It has a revolving ammo chamber on top that holds twenty Nerf Rival type rounds (the ones used on display were the blue Cornucopia version, by the look of it). It operates off of a 4S LiFePO4 battery, judging by the voltage. It also has a laser sight and fires rounds in fairly rapid succession. I'll have a firing video up later, where I was the target. They enjoyed that.


In Toysmith's display, we had fun things in their night sports section, including Capture the Flag units. When the flags are in their bases, everything glows the correct color. When taken out, the base shuts off and the flags glow the opposite color.

I got to take a look at Paper Shooters finally. I'm still not sure I would buy them, but the system works. And shooting spit balls is fun!

They have plastic molded kits coming, as well as more sci-fi looking products. Because people for some reason wanted blasters that work out of the box and not to need to assemble anything. Obviously the guys at KNEX would disagree with that point of view, but they're startan with a DIY crowd to begin with.

Marky Sparky, with their Faux Bow line expanding, looks to be adbancong well. Faux Bow Pro, in addition to being a tongue twister, features tubular safety arrows that can be used with a real bow.

Faux Bow Two Point Oh comes in more colors than the original black with red arms, and has storage space for 12 arrows. There is a 3.0 version that also supposedly shoots farther than ever.

February 16, 2017

Going to Toy Fair!

Just posting a quick update!

As of tomorrow, I'll be traveling to New York Toy Fair 2017 to see many of the new items coming to the world of foam flinging. I'm going to be reporting the goodies over on Blasterhub. In between, however, I'll be posting near-live updates on here, as well as videos on my Youtube channel.


January 20, 2017

Adventure Force Super Storm Review - The "Baby Gargantua"

Among the many offerings in this year's water blaster crop is the Adventure Force Super Storm. Available at Walmart, it is one of many blasters being produced by Prime Time Toys (the same company that makes the high-quality Dart Zone blasters). It's also one of the only Adventure Force water blasters with a working trigger - the other is a faux Gatling Gun made by Toy Things, which uses a simple pinch trigger.


The Super Storm is the only blaster in this line I'll be reviewing, simply because of its potential - it not only has a working trigger, but it also advertises constant pressure (as per its online description). In fact, if I knew nothing about blaster styling, I would swear that it was a Water Warriors blaster. And that's a good thing!