Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Review: Nerf Elite Spectre REV-5

The Elite Spectre REV-5 is an Elite remake of the old N-Strike Spectre REV-5. The N-Strike Spectre was welcomed as a decent blaster as it fixed many of the flaws that the other revolver, the Maverick, suffered from. However, the release of the Elite Strongarm has also solved many of the Maverick's problems, so does the Elite Spectre still have a place as an Elite revolver?
Here's the Elite Spectre's flattened box, pretty standard stuff.

Here's all the bits you get with the Elite Spectre. Besides the blaster itself, you get a Suppressor style barrel extension, a folding stock and 5 Elite darts. I've pictured Koosh darts because I've gotten rid of all my Elites.
Here's the Spectre fully assembled. It's quite a bit more of a handful than any other pistol sized revolver, being more of a carbine size.

Let's look at the base blaster first.

The Elite Spectre is very similar aesthetically to the N-Strike Spectre, the main difference being the length of the cylinder. The Elite Spectre's cylinder is shorter as it contains no ARs, instead there is just one AR on the plunger assembly.
The Spectre is quite a thin blaster, besides the cylinder and slide it's a straight, slim blaster.
The Spectre is a 5-shot revolver with a pop out cylinder. The grey (orange on orange trigger models) button on the right releases the cylinder, which you can push out easily from the right side.

Popping out the cylinder exposes 2.5 barrels, so with some dexterity and a little dart squishing you could fit in 3 darts at a time. The cylinder pops into position so that it is always in line with the plunger outlet, and it locks into place even when popped out, which makes rotating the cylinder to load in more darts easier. The end of the barrels is wider than the barrels themselves, allowing use of fat head darts such as Whistlers.
The cylinder is quite small for the number of darts it holds, most other cylinders are more round and larger.

The Spectre is a slide primed revolver, requisiting two hand operation. Once the slide is pulled to primed position, the plunger rod catches in place, and releasing the slide will cause it to spring back into rest position. It's decently comfortable to grip, though it's not huge.
The prime also rotates the cylinder. The cylinder rotation mech is quite solid so misfires and misrotations are quite rare.
Note the hot glue and the metal rod, those were not in the original Spectre I received.

It's very important to note that the Spectre I got was actually broken, which is why I bought it off my friend I've heard that many people have had that their Elite Spectres have broken, though I'm not sure exactly where. I haven't actually seen a non-broken Spectre, so I don't know exactly what's broken, however from the way it came to me I'm assuming it's the slide. From the original owner, I've heard that it broke on the day it was opened, so considering the amount of breakages I've seen/heard of, I'd say there's certainly something fundamentally wrong with the Elite Spectre's design.

The N-Strike Spectre did not have any glaring design flaws, as I haven't heard of any N-Strike Spectre breakages, so having the Elite version introduce such a glaring design flaw is a quite disappointing.
Here's the handle and trigger, pretty standard for an Elite blaster.
The handle is like that of the original Spectre, being smaller than usual. I personally find it reasonably comfortable, though if you have larger hands you may find it too small for comfort.
More importantly, the trigger slot is smaller than usual. This causes your trigger finger to scrape against the bottom of the trigger slot when you pull the trigger, which can cause some irritation to your trigger finger.
Note the sling point at the bottom of the handle, as per usual.
The Spectre accepts barrel extensions, and includes its own unique barrel extension.
The Spectre also accepts stocks and again includes its own unique stock.
The Spectre has a single tactical rail, but sadly doesn't come with a tac rail attachment.

Let's take a look at the Spectre's barrel extension.
The Spectre's barrel extension is (rather fittingly) a suppressor style, though naturally it has no suppressing abilities. It's the shortest barrel extension available.
As the N-Strike Spectre used Whistler darts (ironically enough), the faux barrel of the Spectre barrel is significantly wider than that of a Retaliator/Recon/Longshot barrel extension. That combined with its short length result in the Spectre barrel reducing blaster performance the least of all barrel extensions. On most stock blasters, it reduces ranges by barely a metre, while on more powerful blasters often the Spectre barrel has no effect on performance.

This combination of having minimal impact on performance and looking awesome result in the Spectre barrel being one of the most sought after barrel attachments.

Let's now look at the Spectre's stock.

The Spectre's stock is similar in design to the N-Strike Recon's stock, in that it's wiry rather than solid. It's one of the longer stocks Nerf makes.

The Spectre's stock is unique in that it's the only stock that folds. You can have it deployed as a stock, and then fold it back against the body of the blaster.
Starting from the deployed position, notice the black padlock on red sticker in the hole. This indicates that the stock is locked in position.
To unlock the stock, you simply need to pull it outwards.
Then you can swing it around... the other position.
To lock it in, simply push the stock inwards so the padlock shows again.

And here's the stock deployed and folded on the Spectre.
The Spectre stock is quite neat. You can deploy it fo take more stable and accurate potshots, then fold it up for mobility and storage.
Sadly where the Spectre stock falls down is stability. The locking mechanism isn't particularly solid, and the stock itself is fairly flimsy as it's a wire stock made from plastic. Also taking into account its length, and you have a stock that bends very easily, and doesn't feel very stable.
It's definitely a very tacticool stock because of its folding feature, but in practical use you're better off just using a more solid stock such as a Raider stock, even if it doesn't fold away.

So now for performance. Does the Elite Spectre perform like an Elite blaster?
Ranges with the Elite Spectre range from 9-12m, averaging around 11m. This is about average for a grey trigger Elite blaster. Nothing special, but not bad.
Accuracy is decent but it doesn't compare to the N-Strike Spectre. Because the Elite Spectre uses Elite darts, some shots tend to veer off, which brings down the accuracy rating. The shots that don't veer away have a decent group, but certainly not the best.
Rate of fire is about 2-3dps, depending on how good your priming technique is. This is decent for a slide primed blaster, but it doesn't compare to the Strongarm's slam fire.

The N-Strike Spectre was quite a popular revolver choice over the Maverick, as it improved in many ways over the Maverick's many flaws. However, the Elite Spectre has to compete with the Strongarm, a vast improvement over the Maverick, and the Hammershot/Sweet Revenge, which are great blasters in their own right. So how does the Elite Spectre stack up in the Elite era revolver world?

The easiest factor to cover is tacticool. The Strongarm, Hammershot and Sweet Revenge all have just one tactical rail, while the Spectre has a tactical rail, and accepts both barrel extensions and stock attachments, making it the most customisable. So if you're looking for a revolver rifle of sime kind or some over tacticool revolver, the Spectre is a great base to start from.
Range wise all of the blasters are largely the same, with grey trigger models achieving 11-13m ranges with Elite type darts.
However the Spectre begins to fall down against the Strongarm in most other categories. While both are slide primed revolvers, The Strongarm packs an extra shot, has slam fire whic helps throw out darts even faster, and most importantly is significantly cheaper. In Australia you can get a Strongarm for about 1/4 the price of the Elite Spectre, and so for pretty much all practical uses, the Strongarm is superior to the Spectre as a revolver sidearm.
The key advantage of the Hammershot/Sweet Revenge is the ability to prime them with one hand, and one-hand primability is very useful for a sidearm/backup. They're also slightly easier to reload, as there's no need to pop out the cylinder. There's no significant disadvantage to using a HS/SR over the Elite Spectre, so I'd say that they're also superior to the Spectre as revolver sidearms.

So the Elite Spectre isn't a great revolver, but it's not the worst revolver ever. It's quite easy to find revolvers that are worse, though not necessarily in Nerf's recent releases. However, the Spectre's biggest flaw is its tendency to break. It's the only modern blaster I know of that has these sorts of breaking issues, and considering the quality of the blasters Nerf has recently released (physical design quality), this is not excusable at all. My fix for the break took a little bit of hot glue, and a thin metal rod, and this could very easily have been implemented in the Elite Spectre design from the start. I've had this fix in for over 2 months, and it's been used in several of my Uni games, and used casually for 2 months, and has shown no signs of stress or breaking.

While the Elite Spectre is a decent blaster when fixed, and does come with some awesomely tacticool stuff, I simply cannot recommend getting it on the basis that the out-of-box Spectre is highly prone to breaking. In Australia the Elite Spectre is an exclusive to Toys R Us and Toyworld, and so you'll have to pay a non-sale price of 40AUD, which is quite extortionate. The original Spectre was a Target exclusive and cost only 24AUD. 40AUD for a blaster that breaks and its two attachments that were available for far less only a few years ago make the Elite Spectre a very bad deal. Sales can take the Elite Spectre down to 28AUD, which is much more reasonable but still fairly high.
I got mine second hand for much cheaper and broken, however as a modder the problem was easy to fix, so for me it was a good deal. I'd recommend that if you really want to get an Elite Spectre or its attachments, get them second hand and be prepared to reinforce/repair the Spectre.
But if you're just after a revolver sidearm you're much better off with a Strongarm or Hammershot/Sweet Revenge.

Pros: Attachments are super tacticool, direct plunger upgrade from N-Strike Spectre, more reliable than N-Strike Spectre
Cons: Doesn't match up to the Strongarm in performance or capacity, stock is still fairly flimsy, accuracy and consistency lost through use of Elites, trigger slot is slightly too small, breakage rates are too high

Power: 5.5/7
Accuracy: 3.5/5
Value for Money: 1.5/5
Usability: 1/5 - common breaking issues mean I can't give it higher
Rate of Fire: 3.5/5
Overall: 2.69/5

Personal Rating: 3/5 - A working, fixed Elite Spectre is a decent blaster, though certainly not the best revolver available. The suppressor attachment looks fantastic and doesn't detract significantly from a blaster's performance, and the folding stock is neat and fun, though not necessarily the most practical.


  1. Replies
    1. No, slam-firing will simply rotate the cylinder without firing.

    2. What about releasing the slide when pulled back with the trigger held?

    3. Pretty sure it's not gonna work, the plunger will have to drag along the slide as well as trying to fire a dart.

  2. Replies
    1. Like I said twice before, any slam-fire like motion is probably not gonna fire off any darts, at least not with usable power.