Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 Nerf Sum Up

To conclude an exciting and awesome year, Outback Nerf wishes you a late Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays if you don't celebrate Christmas) and a Happy New Year, and also wants to congratulate you on surviving the highly anticlimactic and scientifically incorrect 2012 Mayan Apocalypse. Wait. Something's missing. Yes, the 2012 Nerf Sum-Up, where we sumarise all the new Nerf products released this year.

First up, the biggest and possibly best major Nerf release so far, the N-Strike Elite line.

N-Strike Elite

Ever since Urban Taggers first discovered the box art of the NSE(N-Strike Elite) Retaliator and the Rampage, Nerf's Elite series was the main hype of 2012, and it still is now. When initial images surfaced it appeared the Elite line was taking ordinary N-Strike blasters and making them awesome. It is now evident that this is both true and false - Elite is taking some N-Strike designs and awesome-ing them, but is also introducing all new designs, spearheaded in 2012 by the Hail-Fire. The line advertises to shoot up to 75ft/22m (approximently) and are mainly blue in colour with orange, white and grey highlights. Everyone was also introduced to new concepts in Nerf, like direct plungers fitted into old shells, new revovler tech (Strongarm's unique rotating mech), and new flywheel-tech. The Elite clips (mags) also became special because of new styling as well as a new primary feature: their right side is transparent, allowing people to easily see their remaining ammo, which is also helpful when filling/refilling clips (mags). Unfortunately because the right side is transparent, only left handers can make maximum use of this feature,while right handers (the majority of the human population) cannot see their capacity. Nevertheless, they look awesome.

Unfortunately, the countries with really strict toy firearm laws (like Australia) have to receive detuned units, identified by grey-triggers. The detuned versions advertise to shoot 15m (approx. 50ft).

Retaliator ('Elitified' Recon)
Ranges: 50-60ft (15-18m). About 2/3rds of the power for detuned ones, although mine seems pretty powerful getting 14m.
ROF: About 2-3dps. No slam fire.
Accuracy: Decent without barrel, good with barrel.
Capacity: 12 in included clip (mag)
Accessories: Barrel, stock, foregrip, 12 clip (mag), 12 darts

Rampage ('Elitified' Raider)
Ranges: 50-60ft (15-18m). About 2/3rds of the power for detuned ones.
ROF: About 2-3dps on single fire. Can achieve up to 5dps, possibly more depending on user (slam fire)
Accuracy: Very good at 10-12m. Flies off to the sides after aprox. 13-15m
Capacity: 25 in included drum
Accessories: 25 drum, 25 darts

Ranges: 45-55ft (13-17m). About 2/3rds of the power for detuned ones.
ROF: Can achieve up to 4-5dps and more dependant on user's trigger finger (semi auto)
Accuracy: Decent, but you don't use a Hail-Fire for accuracy.
Capacity: 24 in included clips (mags) (4x6 clips [mags]), value pack holds 48 (8x6 clips [mags]), can hold up to 144 (8x18 clips [mags])
Accessories: 4x6 clips (mags), 24 darts, various Hail-Fire parts (assembly required)
Stockade (Release only for countries outside US in 2012)
Ranges: 50-60ft (15m). About 2/3rds the power for detuned version.
ROF: Can achieve up to 4-5dps (semi auto).
Accuracy: Decent, much better than Barricade.
Capacity: 20. 10 in blaster, 10 in stock. Only comes with 10 darts.
Accessories: Stock, 10 darts

Additionally the Elite line had an updated Tactical Vest, with the blaster holster being designed to hold the upcoming Elite Firestrike, but otherwise being pretty much the same as the N-Strike Tac Vest.
To complement the Elite blasters, Nerf also redesigned the highly popular 18 clip (mag), and released it in its own blister package.
Nerf released a Hailfire Upgrade kit which basically has 4 more 6 clips (mags) to fill up the Hailfire.

Nerf rereleased the good old Bandolier, this time in Elite styling. It is essentially the same as the N-Strike Bandolier, but comes with Elite stuff and is slightly shorter and thinner.
In 2013 we have a number of Elite blasters to look forward to, some of which are already available in the US. This includes the Firestrike (Elite NF), Strongarm (Elite Mav/Spectre hybrid), Triad (3 shot Jolt), Elite coloured and more powerful Jolts and Reflexes with new designs, the Rough Cut 2x4 (multishot double barrel shotgun) and the Stryfe (redesigned Rayven) as well as an Elite Rayven.

Light It Up Series:
The Light It Up series was officially released on the 3rd of March, 2012 (3/3/12) and its blasters, besides having fluoro green colour have glow in the dark ammo, which is 'charged' by special mags/clips (mags). While the Lumitron is merely a repaint of the then favourite Vortex blaster, the Praxis, the Rayven was an all new design which became popular for its rapid fire and potentially ridiculous ranges capabilities.

Vortex Lumitron
Ranges: 15-18m (aprox. 50-60ft)
ROF: Up to 3dps. No slam-fire.
Accuracy: Good.
Capacity: 10 in light-up mag
Accessories: 10 disc light up mag, 10 GITD discs

N-Strike Rayven CS-18
Ranges: 11-12m (approx 36-40ft)
ROF: Up to 6-8dps, dependant on user's trigger finger (semi auto).
Accuracy: Decent for a CS blaster.
Capacity: 18 in light-up mag.
Accessories: 18 dart light up mag, 18 GITD darts
The Vortex line received an extra addition, the Pyragon. Sporting a 40 disc drum and slam fire, as well as slightly better ranges, the Pyragon quickly became a fan favourite among Nerfers.

2013 holds only one known Vortex release, the Diatron. It comes in the same awesome colour scheme as the Pyragon, and fires 2 discs at a time, and holds up to 10 discs.

The Pyragon
Ranges: 16m-20m (unusually good, even for Vortex)
ROF: Up to 8dps, dependant on user (slam fire).
Accuracy: Excellent. Curves less than other Vortex blasters.
Capacity: 40 in drum mag
Accessories: 40 disc drum, 40 discs

As a Vortex counterpart to the N-Strike/Elite Tactical Vest, Nerf also suprised us with the Vortex Ammo Belt Kit, with never-before-seen mag holders and some other awesome stuff that comes with the kit.

Dart Tag.
We Aussies also finally got the 2011 Dart Tag blasters, but with strange new BLUE triggers. The models with blue triggers have been shown to be more powerful than their standard orange trigger models, with stronger springs in all. Of course, the downside is that the electronic blasters (Swarmfire, Speedswarm) have reduced ROFs because of the extra load on the motors.

The National Dart Tag League (US) was also not held this year for some reason, though possibly to put more emphasis on the Elite line.

The non-flywheel Snapfire 8 also sneaked onto Aussie shelves, giving us a whole new concept about semi-auto blaster as well as a variable power system allowing for easier trigger pulls but lower ranges, or harder trigger pulls and higher ranges. It has now become a popular sidearm for many because of its semi auto capabilities, decent sidearm capacity and firepower, and of course its small size. It is slated to have a 2013 release in the US.

Ranges: 9-10m (speed mode), 11-13m (power mode)
Accuracy: Decent, not great
ROF: 2-3dps attainable, any more taxes the fingers and risks misfires (semi auto)
Capacity: 8 in turret
Accessories: 8 darts

Sonic Series
The most popular 2011 Vortex blasters (The Vigilon,Proton,Praxis) were also given a green reshell to compliment the other blasters.
-Sonic Praxis
Nerf Wikia pics
-Sonic Vigilon
Nerf Wikia pics
-Sonic Proton
Nerf Wikia pics

Super Soaker
We also got the 2 other motorised Super Soakers: the Lightningstorm(Thunderstorm repaint with better accessories) and the Electrostorm.
Nerf Wikia Review
Nerf Wikia Review

The were also the new promotional blasters:
-The Ninja Commando Blaster (Red Furyfire),
-And the Hawkeye Big Bad Bow (Rerelease Purple BBB)

All in all, 2012 was a great year for Nerf, with the release of some of the best blasters you can get from the Elite line, and the best Vortex blaster so far. 2013 looks to be good for Nerf as well, with so many new Elite blasters and the new 'Multishot Madness' series (with particular interest from this blog's authors in the Elite Stryfe and Triad).

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Nerf Vortex vs N-Strike Part 2

Continuing the long overdue post of N-Strike vs Vortex. In this post we'll be pitting the New Vortex Pyragon against the N-Strike Raider CS-35

Because I yet to have tested the Nitron, Stampede vs Nitron will have to be delayed until later in part 3 (which may never exist). Additionally, there will be a Barrel Break IX-2 Rough Cut 2x4 vs Diatron in part 4 (which again, may never exist).

The Pyragon somehow resembles a sci-fi laser weapon (as with most other Vortex blasters), while the Raider resembles older weapons with side magwells.
From the side, The Raider looks cool, but when you look at it from an angled view, it's really ugly.
I personally prefer the Pyragon's appearance because of the red and white colour scheme as well as its lines, but as always I don't score on aesthetics.
The Pyragon, comes with itself, a 40-disc drum, and 40 'bright orange' discs.
The Raider comes with itself, a 35-dart drum, it's special extendable stock and 35 streamline darts.
The Pyragon comes with 5 more bits of ammo and its drum holds more ammo, but the Raider comes with its own sturdy stock, thus equalising this round.
The Pyragon, being a Vortex blaster, easily hits 15m+ and has a good disc velocity, almost having the same fps as dart blasters.
The Raider, because it's an old reverse-plunged blaster, barely breaks 10m, only getting up to 8-9m. A strange difference between the blasters is that the Pyragon is still consistent in range when slam firing, while the Raider gains a metre or two in range when slam-firing.
The Pyragon obviously beats the Raider easily.
The Pyragon, as mentioned in the review, has very consistent accuracy, both in single fire and slam-fire, and seems to curve less than other Vortex blasters too (well, at least mine does)..
The Raider, on the other hand has bad accuracy, which is ordinary for clip (mag)-system blasters. Some darts spin away, and others get a straight line, but still with a twirl. Others 'helicopter' out and travel only a few metres.
The Pyragon wins, because its accuracy is far more consistent.
The Pyragon is extremely smooth to fire and to prime, especially in slam-fire. It's drum never misfeeds and most of the jams are caused by user error. So far, I haven't experienced any jams relating to the blaster. On the other hand, the Raider is notorious for jamming, because the drum can't keep up properly and misfeeds. Although it doesn't jam as badly as the old Recon, there are few good-feeding drums out there but the majority of Raiders can jam easily. Additionally, over time Raider drums wear out and its feeding slows down, thus increasing the rate of misfires and jams. I've only heard that a few defective Pyragons jam.
The Pyragon wins this round easily again.
Rate of Fire:
The Raider is capable of 4-5dps, but most Raider's drums jam very easily at high rates of fire, so it's limited to a reliable rate of 2-3dps.
The Pyragon, on the other hand is capable of over 8 dps and the drum is fast enough to keep up with the ROF.
The Pyragon once again defeats the Raider with ease.
The Pyragon holds 40 discs in its drum, but the Raider only holds 35. The Pyragon wins a again, but only by a small margin.
Value for Money/Availability:
The Raider is available at most toy stores, usually at $35 or more. The Pyragon is also available everywhere, but it's more costly at $40-$90. Both blasters are found almost everywhere, but because the Raider comes with a stock and the Pyragon has better stats overall, this round is a tie.

Overall, the Pyragon has won 5 rounds, while the Raider has won no rounds, with 2 ties. The Pyragon is by far the better blaster than the original slam-fire blaster. It's not surprising how much better the Pyragon is than the Raider, considering it just got released this year, but it's surprising that there is no category that the Raider is better then the Pyragon.

So now Vortex is catching up with N-Strike. If N-Strike can managed to win just one more round, or tie both rounds it will win. For Vortex to win it has to win both rounds.
The score is now:
N-Strike: 3 : Vortex: 2

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Comparison: Elite vs N-Strike Part 1.5: Retaliator vs Alpha Trooper CS-18

Because the Recon was such a bad match for the Retaliator, I decided to make this post. It won't count towards the Elite vs N-Strike score because the Retaliator isn't an Elite AT, but it might help those of you trying to pick a new blaster to buy.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Loadouts 5: Sniping

On smaller play areas, pretty much all Nerf blasters can fire the greatest engagement ranges required. However, on larger play fields ordinary Nerf blasters cannot fire far enough to reach most of the field. This is where snipers and modded blasters come into play, which can fire much further than ordinary blasters and with greater accuracy. There are few true sniper blasters, but those included in this loadouts post are the ones I feel are most suited to the task. Note that I have not included airguns which are extremely powerful (e.g. Titan, 4B) as they require stefans to really shine. Stock darts just get ripped apart, but the listed blasters can do well with stock darts.
Note also that where there is a "(m)" before the blaster's name, it means that the blaster must be modified to be an effective sniper.
Scenario Description: Player is relatively well concealed, behind or near cover, and can hit enemy players/targets while not being within range of enemies.
Keys to Victory: Accuracy and patience. If you can't get a good shot off, don't waste your ammo and give away your position. Sure, if you really need to fire then go ahead, but if there isn't that urgency then keep your shots for when you can guarantee hits.
Unnecessary Burdens: Large, non-sniper primary blasters. As a sniper, you should be travelling light to be able to fire, then move from cover to cover to prevent being retaliated against. Alternatively, if you're good enough, you can prevent enemies from taking your hiding place, which is good if you've found a particularly good spot for sniping. To do this you'll need lots of ammo and quite a bit of skill. If you are constantly being shot at, then either the play field is unsuited to snipers, you're not being a good sniper, or you're holding a critical position.

Nerf War 18/12/12

I had some friends come over today, and we had some Nerf wars and played some video games. I only managed to record one of the rounds, and here it is:

Monday, 17 December 2012

Nerf N-Strike vs Elite Round 1: Retaliator (Aus version) vs Recon CS-6

This post starts off a series of ongoing posts in which I compare the original N-Strike blasters to their updated Elite versions. Expect the Elite version to win, but more importantly note the differences between them.

For the first ever Elite vs N-Strike post, we'll be comparing the 'basic' blasters of the Retaliator (Aus version) and Recon.

Nerf Elite Retaliator Review (15m Aussie version)

I am proud to present the review for the Retaliator, but unfortunately I can only present the downtuned Australian version, approximately 50% weaker than the US version.
The Elite line was revealed to have claimed "75ft ranges" (approx 23m), which naturally people were skeptical of, because N-Strike's claimed ranges were a meager 35ft (approx 10.7m). The first two blasters, the Retaliator and Rampage, were shown to look similar, if not almost completely identical, to current N-Strike blasters, the Recon and Raider respectively. It became completely obvious that the Elite blasters initially revealed could not simply be Recons and Raiders with bigger springs, because not only would they reach not as spectacular ranges, but they would also not be kid friendly. Thus it was speculated that Nerf had managed to fit direct plungers into the Elite blasters, and when SG Nerf got his hands on a Rampage, he showed the new, awesome direct plunger being used instead of the reverse plungers of N-Strike blasters.

Initial range tests showed that the blasters got around 50-60ft flat, and could achieve the 75ft ranges angled. Additionally, it was shown that Elite darts are a great help for many stock blasters, increasing range and accuracy compared to Streamlines. Nevertheless, Nerf started revealing new blasters with awesome performance, and Elite suddenly became a massive hit.

I personally went for the Retaliator over the others currently available (the Rampage, Hail-Fire and Stockade) for several reasons:
  1. I dislike the Raider design, and as the Rampage uses the Raider shell I'm unlikely to get it.
  2. The Hail-Fire looks weird because of its proportions, and I just don't see a use for it except for spraying 144 darts.
  3. The Stockade is a redone Barricade and I'm not a fan of Barricades, although the Stockade stock is awesome.
  4. The Recon was the blasters that got me in to Nerf, and I've always liked the design. Because the Retaliator is a re-done Recon it follows naturally that I'd love it.

Now, on to the bulk of the review.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Last War Vids from 22/11/12

The last three war vids I recorded from the 22nd of November. All these three are a simple elimination, in a 3v1 format, where the 1 always wields the Stampede.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Two more Nerf War Videos - 22/11/12

I had a Nerf war with my friends about two weeks ago, but never got around to uploading any of the vids. Well, here's two of them, with the other ~5 to come within a few weeks.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

My Modified Recon CS-6

I'm a little late in posting this because I totally forgot, but I uploaded a video of my Recon CS-6, and why it is so special.

The upshot of it is that I'm getting 17-19m consistently with Streamlines, and around 15m with Elites.
I measured the ranges using Google Earth and it measured ~20m for Elites and 25m with Streamlines. Which doesn't really sound reasonable, but I measured the right places, so...
EDIT: Ranges probably weren't flat, so don't pay them much attention.