Monday, 8 February 2016

Review: BoomCo Breakflip (15m)

The Breakflip is one of the blasters in BoomCo's second wave of blasters, which at least means BoomCo is doing well enough to keep making new blasters (though besides the Halo line, we haven't seen anything new in Australia). The Breakflip generated some early hype from appearing to be a flick-prime clip fed blaster, so let's see if it stands up to that hype.
Front of the box, pretty standard.
Back of the box, again quite standard.

Let's take a quick look at the 8 dart clip included.

It's a very small, compact piece, smaller (though wider) than a Nerf 6 dart clip (mag), which is already quite small. This compactness is inherent to all BoomCo clips and blasters, thanks to the thin BoomCo darts.

The Breakflip is an interesting looking piece, with the front resembling a sawn-off shotgun crossed with a laser cannon. The round structure around which the handle pivots reminds me of an energy core, adding to the sci-fi aspect. The stock Breakflip image has a very light, almost yellowish fluoro green which I didn't like, but in person the green is much more greenish. I personally like the colour scheme and the overall design, besides the slightly odd handle position.
The Breakflip has a single BoomCo tac rail on top, pretty standard.
Down the top of the Breakflip, besides the transition from the cylinder to the barrel it doesn't change much in profile.

The Breakflip isn't pump action, but nevertheless has a nice fore-end grip. It's a decent size and shape, and is in a good position.

The handle is style wise the same as other BoomCo blasters, with the obvious difference of it being at a much flatter angle to facilitate flick-priming. There is one issue with it though...
...that being this front edge. This edge is sharper than ideal, and is particularly noticeable and uncomfortable after a lot of flick-priming. Had it been rounded with a larger radius, this problem would likely not exist. Unlike some Nerf blasters though, the holes in the handle don't present an issue and are hardly noticeable.

The Breakflip accepts clips into its front, just above the fore-end grip.
A look down the front better shows the mechanisms in the clipwell. The top one advances the clip, while the middle is the plunger outlet. The lower piece applies friction to reduce the chance of slipping, while another hidden piece allows firing only if a clip is loaded.

Like all other horizontal clipwell blasters, the Breakflip accepts clips from the left side, and feeds them through to the right. This is convenient for right handers, though may be an issue for left handers. Note that when inserting the included 8 dart clip, two clicks should be heard to put the clip into correct position as above. In this position, when the blaster is primed, the first dart will advance into firing position. The number of clicks will vary depending on the clip, my 20 dart clip only clicks once.

Priming the Breakflip is very simple. Simply bring the handle and body to roughly a right angle, then return the handle to its original position. The downward motion of the handle primes the spring, while the upward motion advances the clip one place.
Note that the handle will not lock after priming - even when primed you can reprime the Breakflip to advance the clip again. This lack of a lock can be an issue, as I'll elaborate on a little later.
Once primed, simply pull the trigger to fire, then repeat. Since the clip is not fully locked into place, it can be removed and replaced at any time, though note that if you switch or move clips at the wrong time, the first action of priming will also advance the clip. You can remove the clip by pulling/pushing it out the right side, or shoving it out with a new clip.
Note also that the Breakflip has slam-fire, though it isn't featured in the instructions. By design, the trigger only interacts with the catch mechanism when the handle is up, and so holding the trigger down and repeatedly priming the Breakflip will repeatedly fire and advance the clip.

There are two distinct priming methods for the Breakflip. The first one, which is the one featured in the instructions, uses a two-handed grip with an action not dissimilar to breaking open a double-barrel shotgun. This motion is quite quick, effective and reliable.
The second, more fun priming method involves flicking the Breakflip with one hand to prime it. Since you're holding the entire handle and the handle is designed to pivot, flick-priming the Breakflip is far easier than flick-priming a Slingfire. The only issue with flick priming is the aforementioned lack of a lock - if proper technique is not used, the Breakflip will often flip itself down again. This appears to be caused when the body of the blaster comes to a sudden stop at the end of the flick-prime, causing it to bounce flip itself back down. Since the downward motion primes the spring, once it is primed, there is nothing resisting the Breakflip from flipping itself except some friction. This can be avoided with some practice and good flipping technique - the technique will likely come to you naturally after some use.

Using the included 8 dart clip, the Breakflip is relatively narrow and very easy to handle. The weight of the 8 dart clip is minor, so has minimal effect on the ease and reliability of flick priming.

Switching to a 20 dart clip however presents a bit of a problem. The Breakflip becomes substantially wider (in fairness, not as wide as a Rampage/Stormtrooper Deluxe Blaster), but more importantly gains a significant amount of forward weight. This makes one-handed flick priming even worse, as the extra forward weight causes the Breakflip to flip itself down more easily. Again, technique is your best friend against this issue, but it is more difficult handling a 20 clip compared to an 8.

Here's the Breakflip next to a Stryfe and Stormtrooper Deluxe Blaster. It's not that large a blaster, probably around Roughcut size (though I haven't seen a Roughcut for a while).
Finally for performance. Note that my model has a range claim of 15m.
Range wise, the Breakflip isn't anything special. It gets around 9-10m. Unlike most Nerf blasters though, the Breakflip is extremely and ridiculously consistent. No darts varied in range more than about 25cm. Which leads nicely into accuracy.
As has been said before, BoomCo darts are far, far more accurate and stable than Nerf's Elite darts, and with the Breakflip this is especially apparent. In my range testing, I had a spread of about a 20cm diameter at full range, which by Nerf standards is ridiculously good. At full range, hitting a human sized target is practically guaranteed, and hitting small targets such as soft drink cans is not difficult with a little practice.
Rate of fire is surprisingly good for a blaster of this style. The combination of slam-fire with a relatively short draw allows the Breakflip to achieve about 4dps with practice, though the technique required is highly impractical. One-handed flipping can reliably achieve just under 2dps, depending on which clip you use.
The Breakflip is a fairly good all-round blaster, ignoring a slight range deficit compared to Elite-spec blasters. It can certainly be used effectively and competitively against similar-spec Nerf blasters. Though you won't get the same stable ROF as you would from a pump action such as an EAT (although the two-handed technique does get close), the exceptional accuracy is a massive advantage over most foam dart blasters. Additionally, its one-handability (with a bit of practice) provides extra versatility, and the exposed clip potentially allows reloading on-the-fly. I think that with a few extra clips and some practice, the Breakflip could be very usable and effective, if not just plain fun.

I purchased my Breakflip from ToysRUs in Malaysia for 108RM - at the time equivalent to 36AUD or 25USD. In Malaysia, Nerf is generally quite expensive in Malaysia, for instance the Strongarm is regularly at around 70RM (23.33AUD or 16.33USD), the Triad is usually at around 36RM (12AUD or 8.40USD) and the Cycloneshock is around 100RM (33.33AUD or 23.33USD). The Buzz Bee Blastzooka retails in TRU for 87RM (29AUD or 20.30USD), while the BoomCo Dynamag retails in TRU for 90RM (30AUD or 21USD). Compared to most blasters in Malaysia then, the Breakflip is actually pretty good value. It presents quite good performance and is relatively easy to pick up and use, but above all is also a ton of fun. Though perhaps not the most practical blaster you can get, and with a few ergonomic and usability issues, it is still quite usable and also quite different.
If you're looking for something a little different that can still be used effectively (especially when it comes to accuracy), or maybe something different that's a heap of fun, the BoomCo Breakflip is certainly something to consider.

Pros: Excellent accuracy, good one-handability, very fun to use, quite robust
Cons: Low range, one-hand flicking requires practice especially with larger clips, slower firing than pump action, ergonomics could be a little better

Power: 4/7
Accuracy: 5/5
Rate of Fire: 4/5
Usability: 4/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.07/5

Personal Rating: 4/5 - it's really nice being able to point at a target and actually hit it, and the flipping action is a lot of fun and surprisingly effective.

A link to the review I posted on BlasterHub: link

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