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  1. #251
    At TRU today, I saw another Elite blaster that was new to me, the Rough Cut 2x4. This is the oddest-looking blaster, it's essentially a sawed-off shotgun in the back and then the front looks the old Hornet 6-shot with 2 rows of darts. The Rough Cut however is an Elite and under the "Multishot Madness" banner as well, the gimmick is that it fires 2 darts per trigger pull, and to be honest it looks a tad awkward. $20, I say too much.

    At Target I saw another new Elite, the Retaliator - I hadn't seen it before, so it's new to me anyway. It's obviously the successor of the Recon, uses the same pistol design with a few changes, identical barrel, a new 12-shot clip which looks kinda not great and seems like a waste of resources to develop that instead of just include either 2 6ers or an 18, and it's sporting a new stock and a new forward grip.

    Also, I had been looking for the Strongarm again and just about given up when there was 1 Strongarm out of location right as I was leaving the toy area altogether, so I bought it. $13 at Target. Fully loaded, it's 14 ounces, 2 ounces lighter than my fully-loaded Maverick. While looking like a longer blaster, the Strongarm is not even a full inch longer than the Maverick. Despite the cylinder looking much smaller, it's the same diameter to the centimeter, so I guess looks can be deceiving, the 2 blasters are the same width and their widest, but the Strongarm looks sleeker.

    It looks pretty sharp, there's a lot of sculpted detail at the front simply to look nifty, and where the Maverick has a lot of sculpted flat-head screw details of differing sizes the Strongarm has hex-screw details. The Strongarm's cylinder hinge unlock button is a streamlined 3-channel design that calls back to the Maverick as well. The slide is a bit beefier than the original, although shorter top-to-bottom and there's no sculpted detail under it. The Nerf logo is on the opposite side of the slide from the Mav, as are the warning and copyright texts - the copyright date, btw, is 2011. The back of the slide and the bottom of the pistol grip both sport loops for carabiners, but I think using either would be a mistake - the slide isn't as strong as the Mav so it'll bounce around and probably ruin the slide mechanism over time, and the one on the grip a carabiner would jab into an adult's palm attached to that spot.

    The right backside of the muzzle is open, this turns out to be so that your darts don't get fully ruined if they don't clear the muzzle all the way since the cylinder rotates after each shot, this is probably also why the cylinder doesn't extend past the front of the darts.

    I'll be honest, in terms of use, in virtually every way this is an improved experience from the Maverick. The grip has a very slightly nicer ergonomics, without a pommel knob and various pronounced grip textures of the Mav, as well as a larger trigger guard area, the Strongarm is a more comfortable hold (although the Mav has a more rounded space for the middle finger under the trigger guard). The weight distribution is better too, the Mav is a tad too nose-heavy where this is balanced over the trigger guard. The trigger pull is a bit lighter, and it's about 2/3rds the distance; the slide distance is the same but a bit lighter as well, and unlike the Mav the Strongarm makes a clear click sound and feel when the slide is properly primed - I can't count the number of friends who have tried the Mav and had the slide not engage. The cylinder breaks from the body much further, where the Mav exposes just 2 dart chambers the Strongarm exposes twice that many with full access and you can see 5 chambers; the cylinder while broken out and spun also ratchets, and that ratcheting seems to be purely for the "clack clack clack" sound experience of spinning the cylinder as the mechanical elements are all handled by the body. Oh, and of course the Slamfire works great, I could not get it to misfire or misbehave no matter how fast I pumped the slide.

    With the Strongarm, perhaps the biggest functional improvements over the Maverick deserve their own section as I haven't mentioned them yet:
    - the chamber load status can be seen from the back of the cylinder when broken out, when you're spinning the cylinder it's not just for pretend anymore;
    - there are real sights instead of the crummy tac-rail sights on the Mav, here you not only get a V rear sight but a square U sight at the front of the slide, and an orange A front pin sight, so "building the castle" has never been easier, assuming you care about proper sighting with a Nerf blaster;
    - the rear of the slide exposes a slit that displays whether the blaster is primed or not via an orange panel that raises and lowers.

    Where the Maverick still has it over the Strongarm is looks with its "semi-automatic meets revolver" styling and just more detailing in general; a fully enclosed cylinder; the cylinder's outer two chambers can be reloaded without breaking the cylinder; and a cylinder that rotates with a trigger pull whether or not the blaster is primed.

    These differences come down to personal tastes whether they're good or bad changes: the Maverick is louder in priming and firing; and the Mav ain't covered in digital camo pattern.

    The Elite darts that come with the Strongarm are a big darker foam than the Triad darts and the 30-pack darts; the Strongarm darts' orange tips a bit duller than others. Also, one of the darts my Strongarm came with was a defect, had a mold flaw that looks like a big crack in the orange tip so it doesn't fly straight (although distance seems unaffected) - the crack gives it some visual style, but it's out.

    In terms of aim, the Strongarm is so accurate that when I tested it against the Triad firing at the same target, the 2 blasters' darts hit the same spot at the same time like a V, that was darn impressive. Of course, individual dart issues create individual performance issues so since there's no barrel, only a muzzle, dart issues will have free rein to do what they want, but in general it's a straight shooter.

    Overall, yes the Strongarm's not as rough and tumble-looking as the Maverick, but don't discount this blaster, it's got all of the Maverick's strengths in an Elite package and none of its performance drawbacks, all while being 2 ounces lighter and better balanced. The Strongarm also has a few features the Mav lacked, and enjoys styling cues that are direct homages to its illustrious predecessor. A definite recommend.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    Kylo Ren - came from Space Brooklyn, although he moved to Space Williamsburg before it was trendy.

    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  2. #252
    I picked my niece up an Alpha Trooper v1 on clearance at Target for $6. We played with them outside and she lost a couple darts, while I lost a handful of Elite darts because HASBRO IS SUCH A JERK FOR MAKING THESE BLUE!!! They immediately get lost in the foliage because dark blue is surprisingly similar in color to dark green, and the orange tips just don't stand out well enough. I only had access to my Maverick, Jolt, Strongarm, Triad, Vigilon, and Swarmfire - I left the Vigilon inside because I didn't want to explain to my niece that it has to be corrected for, also I suspect she'll be able to easily dodge those slow-moving disks.

    It was getting dark so we then went into the clubhouse here which turns out to be pretty good for Nerf wars. I replenished her missing darts with the 4 extra Elites I have, but this presented a problem because her Alpha Trooper could take old and new darts, while my Swarmfire couldn't, so cleanup and reloading was slow. We had a blast, but those old darts aren't much fun with requiring parabolic arcs, while the elite darts fly really fast and straight, and hurt like a mofo - I caught one in the ear, after that I wore eye protection and am buying her a pair of safety glasses as well (and a 75-pack of Elite darts ) right now.

    The clubhouse has 4 rooms off a main room - the main room is very big and has stuffed chairs and a long table with chairs, so each person can use those for cover. There's a stairwell leading down to the billiards floor which we decided not to use due to safety and not wanting to get darts from downstairs. The library room has low bookshelves and a central long table with chairs, a pass-through window to the little kitchen, but otherwise is medium-sized shoot-out doom. The kitchen is small and has a window to the library and main room, great for dishing out pain (ha ha) but we chose to leave it alone so as not to dig darts out of the sink. The TV room is small and has furniture only up against the walls, for some reason my niece kept using that corner to hide despite it being pretty pitiful. The fireplace room is very small and has only 2 chairs, but 2 openings to the main room and an opening to the TV room so it was a great pass-through to hunt from. Also, except for the Fireplace room there weren't any breakable lamps to worry about.

    The Maverick I was going to dump on her because I wanted the Strongarm, but the Mav is old and doesn't always lock when the slide is engaged so I used it as I know its quirks well enough to get around them. It performed as well as any old N-strike blaster running old darts could, and never let me down, but even running Elite darts in it is pretty sad compared to Elite blasters.

    The Strongarm in her hands hurt like a mofo, but she mostly ran it dry very quickly and had to lay it down. When it fired, it made itself known, and anytime it hit the windows it rattled 'em, it's a real game changer when it's in play. She almost exclusive used it single-shot rather than slamfire, I think because of the lack of aim its slamfire has.

    The Jolt was in her hands with an Elite dart, it was only ineffective because she used it not thinking about needing to reload after one shot, but it still hurt when contact was made. I need to teach her Derringer thinking.

    The Triad taught her Derringer thinking. It was in my hands, and it ended up my default blaster because it was quick to reload after the Mav and Swarmfire went dry. The Triad ran into 2 big flaws: A) it's limited to Elite darts, so all her darts were distraction when I went to grab some extra ammo on the run; and B) its chambers don't hold the darts strong enough during play so they fall out, I kept drawing what I believed to be a full weapon and firing only to find it empty and me exposed to fire. Despite that disastrous and common problem, the Triad's ability to just pick up darts anywhere and immediately load and fire made it the one I used most effectively.

    The Alpha Trooper was hers, and she mostly used her classic streamlines in it so she'd just deliver a parabolic rain of those shots, but since they don't hurt much and don't fly far they aren't a huge danger. That said, when I gave her a few Elite darts to put in it, they definitely made a difference - they weren't fired as far or fast as the Triad, Jolt, and Strongarm, but holy crap they would come out better than those orange streamlines and they'd raise eyebrows every time on both sides of that gun.

    The Swarmfire was my big gun, it can load Elites, but it dribbles them out like they were any crap dart-tag dart or whistler! Nothing more frustrating than that big, loud gun looking intimidating full of expensive new Elites and then having a 30 foot range of ineffective fire. Its system is also horrible for single shots in rapid succession, so it's either auto fire which is crap, or single fire which is slow crap. The Swarmfire is not worth its weight to lug around, which actually made it a good equalizer because my niece isn't as adept at using these things as I have become. But it also left me with a gun I couldn't really use, so I'd deliver the rain and then toss it aside for a smaller blaster every time.

    She wants to do this again soon, so I'm thinking I'm going to dig out the Stampede, my Alpha Trooper, and 1 or both Raiders (I have the non-slamfire defective model they let me keep) and we'll load up those various clips with only Elites, then go to war. I don't have enough darts to actually fill both 35 drums, both 18 drums, both 18 clips, and the 4 or 5 six-dart clips, so we probably use the darts from the Triad and Strongarm for the clips instead of running more blasters. My sister showed interest in joining us so I figure the Stampede's shield and grip, the stocks from the Raiders and my Recon, and the light beam unit, maybe the flip-up sight although I can't actually see that being effective.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    Kylo Ren - came from Space Brooklyn, although he moved to Space Williamsburg before it was trendy.

    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  3. #253
    In advance of another Nerf battle, I gathered my arsenal up for a photo (minus the defective Raider, which I didn't bother digging out)

    The 75 Elite darts and second pair of safety glasses will be here today, so they didn't make the photo - had I known Amazon would get them here so quickly I would have just waited.

    225 classic orange Streamline Darts in that pile.

    The Recon chewed up a Streamline dart really bad, but like an idiot I loaded an Elite dart into it and it chewed that up too. It finally fired one, didn't do any better than a regular dart. The Recon used to be such a player in my arsenal, but once the Slamfire weapons came out it really has fallen in my eyes.

    Between the drum and clip mags, I can run 166 darts modularly. However, I'll only have about a hundred Elite darts, so there's still something to be said for running old darts - reloading less often, and easier to find them all. I'm finally starting to feel like I need to get the bandolier, it holds 4 mags and a dozen darts, and the Strongarm can be clipped to the clasps to act as a holster.

    The Stampede is not considerably better with Elites than with old darts, they come out in whatever angle they feel like, they fly farther than the Swarmfire but that's not saying much. I forgot just how loud this friggin' thing is though, it's REALLY loud and shrill, like "not entirely worth it" loud, I can see running it with earplugs. It's also so annoyingly heavy and all that weight is in the back. Honestly, this thing is more an intimidator than a useful weapon.

    The Raider is a frustrating weapon to wield after the Alpha Trooper, it's slower and more awkward and requires more force. I did notice the Elite darts did better than the old darts, but not as well as any Elite blaster or even the Alpha Trooper.

    All my gear is now in my HasbroToyShop SDCC bag, and it weighs like 50 pounds.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    Kylo Ren - came from Space Brooklyn, although he moved to Space Williamsburg before it was trendy.

    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  4. #254
    Ugh, now I'm running this thread all by myself. :erm:

    Anyway, the 75 pack of Elite Darts came, I loaded up my 2 big drum mags and slapped 'em into the Alpha Trooper. The 2nd dart jammed bad, folded in half and took a gouge on the back end, looks like the dart head was off-center. The other 74 darts worked fine though, both drums performed otherwise fine. The safety glasses are decent too. Amazon did right by me.

    Then I was at Target and noticed the weekly flyer has a 30% off 1 Nerf purchase coupon, and they had the 75 pack on sale for $18 so I got yet another one for just $12! I would have bought an Elite clip blaster instead, but to be honest, the current Elite clip blasters either suck or they're too expensive, I thought about getting the Stryfe as it also would have been $12 on sale from $20, but I hear it jams a lot and I don't really want to deal with electric motor weapons anymore.

    So the second 75 pack I reloaded the big drums with and this time put into the Stampede. The first 20 shots were good, then it jammed in a most stupid manner - the stop-gate closed on a dart. Unfortunately, it was so deep in there that I tore it up getting it free, and I guess there was a slight bend to the dart before it got ruined. After freeing it, the other darts all flew great, still at whatever angle they felt like coming out of the barrel like, but definitely makes running this beast a lot more fun to have the darts actually fly forward rather than down. So I guess both kits have 74 good darts.

    TRU had bogo50% on all Nerf, I was going to buy another Strongarm and the bandolier or a 75 kit, but their pricing on the bandolier and 75 kit are so over the top, and they only pricematch via printed ads which is f'ing stupid. So I let them keep their stuff, but I'm thinking about going back and getting a couple more Strongarms.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    Kylo Ren - came from Space Brooklyn, although he moved to Space Williamsburg before it was trendy.

    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  5. #255
    Quote Originally Posted by JediTricks View Post
    Ugh, now I'm running this thread all by myself. :erm:
    I'll help you out! I once owned TWO (count 'em, two) Nerf footballs at the same time; they were blue. And I loved the pop 'ems gun I had.

    You're welcome.
    "I went to Star Wars Celebration VII in Anaheim, and I didn't get even a lousy t-shirt."

  6. #256
    Woo, 2 Nerf footballs, you were ballin'! Were they full sized or mini? I've been thinking about getting one of the Nerf Vortex footballs to replace the twist mini football I used until its skin came off, but I hear their tails are a bit easy to break.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    Kylo Ren - came from Space Brooklyn, although he moved to Space Williamsburg before it was trendy.

    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  7. #257
    Full size; one seemed to chip and break away more than the other. Both eventually just disintegrated.
    "I went to Star Wars Celebration VII in Anaheim, and I didn't get even a lousy t-shirt."

  8. #258
    Ah, the classics. Luckily, Nerf darts don't suffer the way Nerf balls do.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    Kylo Ren - came from Space Brooklyn, although he moved to Space Williamsburg before it was trendy.

    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  9. #259
    Newest crop of N-Strike just hit my local Target.

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    I picked up the exclusive Zombie Strike Hammershot, $15 for a blaster that's only got a 5-shot cylinder and is smaller than the Maverick, but it's got nice sculpting and a cocking hammer/fanning hammer gimmick, and more paint to go with the zombie theme than I can remember in any blaster. The grip alone has 3 textures and paints, a gray "ivory" paint and sculpt on the back, a brown "wood" front with a gray painted "screw" at the top, and around the midsection a weathered gray and black "cloth wrap" paint and sculpt. It also has cardboard stencils but I'm not giving any credit there. The blaster design is very compact, has a bulky pistol feel almost like a sawed-off shotgun, and there's not even a muzzle at the front because the design is supposed to be cobbled together. On top is a long tac rail, the bottom of the grip has a standard ring. The gun is small and light, nose-heavy but light enough to get away with it. The grip is beefy, pretty much made for a medium-sized adult hand, and the hammer fits that, I can just barely reach it without releasing my grip, so a kid probably would still have to 2-hand it. The hammer system is a curved plunger, the system works great in single shot, but in fanning it can be easy to not pull back far enough and dribble a shot out. Drawing the hammer back rotates the cylinder, so this is the most accurate revolver in the N-strike system. The cylinder doesn't spin freely, it can be easily rotated to load shots but there's a constant resistance probably from the air seal.

    As for the darts, they're Elites although the package didn't specify that, and they're light green, which is fun for HVZ in theory, but in practice I can see these getting lost in the grass VERY easily.

    At $15, it's a hard sell so I can only give it a B- / B recommendation rating, I liked the idea of the single-handed hammer-cocking action enough to throw in on it, but it's too expensive for 5 shots and rapid-fire fanning is not ideal.

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    I didn't get the Sledgefire, but I did think about it. It's a true N-Strike Shotgun, firing 3 darts at once, having a removable shell, and being a breach-loader. $28, exclusive to Target as well. This one's hammer didn't seem to be a true part of the mechanism though what with its short travel, and had no try-me experience. Having only 3 shots for a weapon this big is a tad silly, even if it's 9 darts. I think the stock is removable on this blaster. The barrel is big and a rounded triangular thing. This one is definitely more for the HVZ experience than for regular war, and I can't imagine its system will make full use of the darts.

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    Z-Bombs, these were pretty lame for $10, just a 2-pack of Nerf shapes - note the football has been "torn in half and slapped on something" type of design, they're cobbled together things to throw at "zombies". There were 3 styles, one was already stolen, the store had suffered a lot of Nerf theft that day actually, lots of stolen darts in packs too.

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    Not yet appearing but tagged was the ZombieStrike Machete for $15, I dunno, didn't look like it'd be very big.

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    N-Strike Elite had the Mission App Tac-Rail accessory which you can put an iphone or ipod touch 4 or 5 into, download an app, and... something. As it says here, in-app purchases are in the app but not required. The idea of a battle camera is very cool, the idea of a touchscreen game module you buy stuff for is less so. They should just make a tac-rail camera and get it over with, we'd all buy one.

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    Finally, the N-Strike Elite Centurion, which uses MEGA Darts, new and upsized whistlers that claim to fire up to 100 feet (the box back oddly specifies that 66% will reach that distance and 34% will come up only 60 feet, since this isn't a rapid-fire blaster I cannot figure out why this would be). The body reminds me of the Longstrike/Longshot (I can't remember which and don't care) and comes with a new tac rail bipod that hinges down instead of using gimmick parts. But honestly, I don't want to change darts anymore (although this MEGA dart, which I foolishly forgot to get a scale photo of, is interesting).
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    Kylo Ren - came from Space Brooklyn, although he moved to Space Williamsburg before it was trendy.

    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  10. #260
    I felt pretty similarly about not wanting to deal with another type of darts, but I picked up the Magnus last month and it's been a lot of fun. It's the first time in awhile that it's actually stung a bit to get hit by a dart which actually gives a lot more incentive to dodge it. Certainly makes for more fun that way, though I'm not sure if I'll pick up the Centurion. I did want it for quite awhile, but the Magnus has been pretty much enough. Plus the continued lack of extra magazines, outside of a CostCo value set, is silly.
    "Hokey packaging and ancient gimmicks are no match for good detail on your figure, kid."
    "I am a Klingot from Oklahoma in human boy form."
    "We came, we saw, we conquered... We, woke up!"


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