Monday, 29 April 2013

Avengers Hawkeye Bow (BBB) Review

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Bow featured in the pictures below HAS BEEN MODIFIED. The draw has been increased inwards slightly and the AR clearly removed. In general you'll only spot these modifications if you're already familiar the the BBB or you have a very, very keen eye. They don't make a significant difference to the way the Bow looks however.
The Big Bad Bow is an extremely old Nerf blaster dating back at least 10 (?) years, and has been released and re-released in several colours, in chronological order: purple, red, yellow, purple (Avengers). Despite this they have not changed significantly, with merely the range claims changing from 40ft to 35ft, though whether or not the blaster itself was unchanged is a different story. The BBB is popular among the modding community due to its large plunger tube, allowing for good ranges with some simple mods, but enough of that, on to the review.
You will notice that this particular unit is called the "Avenger's Hawkeye Bow", not a Big Bad Bow. This is simply an Avengers branded re-release of the BBB, and is otherwise identical to the BBB. For ease of typing I'll refer to it as simply the Bow or BBB.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Nerf Elite Stryfe Review (75ft orange trigger)

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Stryfe in the pictures is missing the notorious dart sensor. This is not evident in any of the photos below, and pictures of it can be seen from an earlier post.
First up in a string of reviews, I am reviewing the orange triggered Stryfe. Down here in Aus, we still haven't sighted the Stryfe in stores, so I was lucky enough to pick up one of these (and other things) from overseas. The Stryfe is a very simple kit, with just itself, 6 Elites and a 6 clip (mag). The box itself was very thin, with merely cardboard supports and not even the cardboard tray you usually see.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Nerf Dart Tag Swarmfire Usage Tips

Some usage tips for the biggest DT blaster so far. I don't actually own one, but I'm taking care of one for a friend.
  1. Make sure you use as good batteries as possible. The Swarmfire, being full auto and electronic, is reliant on battery power for its ROF. With the upgraded spring, the Swarmfire's ROF isn't very good compared to a lot of other blasters, so having the best possible batteries maximises your ROF. You probably still won't match most rapid fire blasters, but any increase in ROF for this blaster is appreciated, especially considering the capacity of 20 darts.
  2. Keep at least 10 darts in it at any one time. Because the Swarmfire is full auto it can be very easy to spray off several darts. This is particularly useful when encountering a group of enemies or sudden encounters. For situations like this you'll need to use a number of darts to account for Swarmfire firing delay and inaccuracy, but in most cases you'll be able to take out people with 3-4 shots, so 10 is enough for up to a group of 3-4 people, which is the most you'll encounter in smaller Nerf wars.
  3. Always fire in bursts. With full auto blasters like the Swarmfire, it's easy to fire off a few darts instead of just one. This is particularly important in Nerf due to the inherent inaccuracy of most Nerf blasters. Because one shot has a low chance of hitting, firing off several is a much better choice and drastically increases your chances of hitting your target(s). This is relevant to a lot of blasters, but full auto blasters like the Swarmfire in particular.
  4. Know which way the turret rotates. This will allow for effective reloading.
  5. Know which barrel is 'active', to save yourself from the humiliation of a dry fire.
  6. Remember that the Swarmfire has a short fire delay. Remembering to pull the trigger a split second before the intended shot time is key to effective Swarmfire use, because in that delay someone with a manual springer can get a shot off at you.
  7. Remember that the Swarmfire is not a clip/mag system blaster. Sure 20 darts might sound like a lot, but after a few seconds of sustained fire you'll be pretty much empty, and then you'll have to worry about reloading. Unlike a clip/mag system blaster, which can just have the clip/mag swapped, the Swarmfire must have each barrel individually loaded so make sure to have backup when reloading.

Nerf Dart Tag Snapfire 8 Usage Tips

Returning back to a post type I haven't written for ages, I present to you the usage tips for the Snapfire 8, the first Nerf blaster to be spring powered as well as semi auto.
  1. Keep the Snapfire on 'Power' mode. I find that although the extra trigger pull resistance vs extra range vs loss of accuracy isn't great (+ lots of resistance, + a little range, - some accuracy), the trigger pull isn't actually that hard, and in 'Speed' mode misfires are more common. Also, because the Snapfire is semi auto, accuracy isn't great anyway. Besides, it's good finger exercise. NOTE: If you do not have much finger strength, use 'Speed' mode. For those who have weaker trigger fingers, the strain of power mode can be very, very painful.
  2. Keep the Snapfire fully loaded. Why not? It's easy because the Snapfire is an open turret blaster, and as a semi auto blaster you can potentially empty out the Snapfire quite quickly. To make maximum use of the rapid fire semi auto, you'll need at least 4 to 6 darts, but as always a full 8 is always good because after your short spray you'll still have darts left over for stragglers.
  3. Revert the Snapfire to 'Speed' mode for storage. Because 'Power' mode pre-tensions the spring, leaving it stored in 'Power' mode will slowly weaken the spring and cause its default phase to be pre-stretched.
  4. Don't use the Snapfire as a primary. It doesn't have the accuracy or capacity to back up its reasonable range in the same way that other blasters such as the Alpha Trooper do. If you do use it as a primary in an ordinary round, chances are your inferior capacity, reload speed and accuracy will cause you to get pinned down or taken out quickly.
  5. Only one hand is needed to use a Snapfire. The other can therefore be used to do other things, like reload the Snapfire, pick up darts, or hold a flag for CTF.
  6. Dual wielding is effective. Doubling your capacity to 16 and doubling your ROF to potentially 4-6dps is a force to be reckoned with, and Snapfires are easy to handle with one hand, assuming your trigger finger is up for it.
  7. The Snapfire is effective for around-the-corner shots. Because the Snapfire is spring powered, there is no flywheel whine to give away your position, and because it is semi auto it means you can fire off several shots around a corner without exposing yourself. This is a particularly useful feature in urban/CQC situations where there are lots of corners and walls.
  8. Don't fiddle with the Power-Speed knob during combat. It takes too long and doesn't make enough of a difference to drastically change the blaster's capabilities.
  9. Know which way the turret rotates. This will allow for more effective reloading and prevent the embarressment of a dry fire.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Flywheelers - Our Opinion

Since Tactical Tag posted, prompting many in the Nerf community to contribute their opinions on flywheel blasters, I thought we might as well post our opinions on the matter.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Nerf Elite Stryfe Usage Tips

Some usage tips for my new favourite blaster.
  1. Remove/tape down the dart sensor. Seriously, it inhibits usage so much that this is the first ever time when I have put a mod in the usage tips, as I try to refrain from doing so. The dart sensor, although it sounds like a good idea, actually tends to lock up the trigger when you try rapid firing, and also tends to not work with Streamlines, particularly with older clips (mags). In a battle you don't want these sorts of things happening, so just disable the sensor by taping it so it thinks it's permanently loaded, or remove it altogether.
  2. Use the jam door to quickly decelerate your motors. If for whatever reason you need to suddenly be quiet, opening the jam door is the fastest way.
  3. Don't use a barrel extension, except for supporting other attachments. The extra barrel length reduces your range and only slightly increases accuracy. It also makes the Stryfe significantly longer than it needs to be. Remember that as a semi auto flywheeler the Stryfe is not a rifle, but rather an SMG/large pistol that should be used for burst fire or rapid fire, not single accurate shots. As such, accuracy is not necessarily needed, and the small size of the Stryfe is an advantage, allowing you to maneuver into tight spaces and let off a number of darts. Adding a barrel extension will rob you of this advantage, and add unnecessary accuracy.
  4. Use a stock if the Stryfe is your primary. Because you should be using the Stryfe most often, the stock will allow for more stable rapid fire, improving the chances of a hit. If the Stryfe is not your primary, do not attach a stock. If the Stryfe is a secondary/tertiary you'll want to be able to pull it out quickly a let loose a spray of darts. A stock will make it harder to pull out quickly, and if it's a backup blaster you'll be using it to dissuade opponents and buy yourself breathing space, not take them all out with an accurate spray. Therefore the stability offered by a stock is unnecessary.
  5. When you fire, fire several darts. Because of the inaccuracy offered by fast spinning flywheels, you can't rely on the Stryfe for accuracy. Therefore to compensate you should fire several darts in roughly the right direction. This will drastically increase your chances of a hit.
Besides those, refer to the Rayven's usage tips for more flywheel related notes.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Loadouts 6: Personal Loadouts Part 1

Although there have been a large number of loadouts already featured previously, none of them have actually been designed specifically for ourselves, but rather for an ordinary Nerfer. Some of these may suit some of you out there, but chances are you'll have to tweak them slightly for your own needs.

Scenario Description: Loadouts that we use.
Keys to Victory: N/A
Unnecessary Burdens: N/A

Clip (Mag) System 1 (General use)

Primary: N-Strike Alpha Trooper CS-18 (Pinpoint Sight, Retal/Barricade stock, 12/18 dart clip [mag], Secret Strike Pocket Shotgun on custom side tac rail, no AR, OMW spring)
Secondary: Spectre REV-5/Snapfire 8/Elite Firestrike
Gear: N-Strike Tactical Vest
Ammo: 12/18 dart clips (mag), whatever suitable darts (most likely to be stefans or Elite darts)
Purpose: To provide well rounded, tacticool and generally awesome clip (mag) system-ness.
Strengths: Range (primary), ROF, reloading is fast, SSPS provides emergency/spread shots at reasonable range, secondary is good and reliable, jamming is rare
Weaknesses: Accuracy (unless use of stefans, primary specific), primary is useless while reloading, reloading Firestrike
Description: It's no secret that the AT is my go-to blaster and one of my all-time favourites, so it's only fitting that it features first. The AT is somewhat low profile, has slam-fire, a great stock seal and great ranges, as well as a decent amount of customisation. Accuracy is somewhat lacking, but because everyone uses clip (mag) system blasters it's not a disadvantage. The SSPS is for backup shots, and I rarely use it (which is good), but it has been very helpful. The secondary is for use when I lack the ability to reload my clips (mags) when they're empty. Expect an update on this loadout when I get an Elite AT.

Clip (Mags) System 2 (General use)

Primary: N-Strike Rayven CS-18 (whatever attachments I feel like, 12/18 dart clips [mags], 2 or 3 14500s, rewired)
Secondary: Spectre REV-5/Snapfire 8/Elite Firestrike
Gear: N-Strike Tactical Vest
Ammo: 12/18 dart clips (mags), whatever suitable darts (most likely to be stefans or Elite darts)
Purpose: To provide tacticool flywheel goodness, which gives easy to get high ranges and spammability
Strengths: Range (primary), ROF, reloading is super fast, secondary is good and reliable, practically no chance of jams
Weaknesses: Accuracy (unless use of stefans, primary specific), primary must be revved up for max range, rapid fire reduces range temporarily, range lost over time due to draining of batteries, reloading Firestrike
Description: Besides the AT, the only other CS blaster I would consider using that I have used (until my Longshot gets fixed up) is the Rayven (and to a certain extent, the Retaliator). No other blaster I've used has had the same blend of range, ROF, spammability and awesome factor, which is provided by flywheeling goodness. In particular, the Stryfe also offers what I consider to be the greatest tacticool potential of any blaster so far, featuring a stock attachment point, barrel extension muzzle, 2 tac rails (one on top, one on bottom) and clip (mag) compatability. Despite having to rev up (which I consider to be a firing delay) I still find the Rayven and its cousins to be really fun to use. Admittedly as of writing this post I've only used the N-Strike Rayven, but the Elite Rayven is essentially the same (if not better), and many, many people say the Stryfe is awesome so expect an update of this loadout in the future.

Clip (Mag) System 3 (WIP, Sniper)

Primary: N-Strike Longshot CS-6 (brass breech [which must be fixed], +AT spring, whatever tacticool I feel like, 12 dart clips [mags])
Secondary: Spectre REV-5/Snapfire 8
Gear: N-Strike Tactical Vest
Ammo: 12 dart clips (mags), stefans
Purpose: To provide high power, high accuracy clip (mag) fed goodness from the revered Longshot.
Strengths: Range (primary), reloading, blaster can still be loaded while reloading, accuracy, can have shotgun effect by double/triple feeding
Weaknesses: ROF is lacking, Longshot is quite bulky
Description: My current Longshot has been brass breeched badly, and is not getting the range or accuracy it should. I intend to rectify this ASAP by getting replacement brass, allowing it to reach maximum potential. Longshots are reknowned for their huge plunger tubes which result in awesome ranges with strong springs and good stefans, and I intend to use a somewhat watered down version more suitable to my wars. The Longshot's one key weakness is lack of ROF, which most other clip (mag) system blasters have, but the sheer power of the Longshot gives it an advantage to hide its disadvantage. A special feature of using a brass breech is that you can double or even triple feed, yet have all the darts leave the barrel at a reasonable velocity (obviously reduced from a single shot but still usable), effectively turning the Longshot into a shotgun. This sort of makes up for the lack of ROF, in that multi-shots can be just as deadly in close quarters as rapid fire.

Clip (Mag) System 4 (CQC)

Primary: Elite Retaliator (no attachment or just Retal stock, 12 dart clip [mag])
Secondary: Elite Jolt
Gear: None
Ammo: 12 dart clips (mags), Elite darts/stefans
Purpose: To allow for maneuverability in close quarters while still providing good blasting ability
Strengths: Range (primary), reloading, ROF, extremely light, maneuverability
Weaknesses: Vulnerability when reloading, accuracy (with Elite darts)
Description: A number of the wars I have are hosted in a house, so ranges aren't totally necessary and maneuverability is much more important. Thus I crafted this super easy to get loadout which is powerful and rapid fire, but light and small so I don't knock any walls or doorframes, chairs, vases etc. The Retal gets good ranges and can fire reasonably quickly when required, and is light and easily maneuverable. The Jolt and spare 12 clip(s) (mags) fit easily in a number of pockets in my various pants, so I have no need for the tac vest. Also because most of these battles are quite short, I have no need to scavange darts and store them for future use.
This loadout is not too well suited for larger wars I have at the playgrounds you see in many of my war vids, because one of my Retals is stock, and the other only lightly modded and thus lack the range of the above blasters, and the Elite Jolt is not powerful compared to say, my Firestrike.

Vortex 1 (General Use)
Primary: Vortex Pyragon (40 disc drum)
Secondary: Spectre REV-5/Snapfire 8/Elite Firestrike
Gear: Vortex Ammo Belt
Ammo: 10 disc mags, darts for secondary
Purpose: To provide high range and accuracy which can be spammed about, and make maximum use of Vortex discs
Strengths: Range (primary), reloading, blaster can still be loaded when reloading, accuracy, capacity (primary)
Weaknesses: Discs vulnerable to wind and rain, discs curve, reloading Firestrike
Description: The Pyragon is widely accepted as the best Vortex blaster so far, boasting a ridiculous capacity of 40 discs in a huge drum, ranges beyond that of ordinary vortex, consistent disc curving (and thus accuracy) and an insane ROF of nearly 7 discs per second. I've used this to great effect, once taking out an entire team on my own with Pyragon slam fire, which won us the game (it was CTF). The secondary is merely for dart usage, since Vortex is still far inferior in terms of appearance on the battlefield.

Single Shot 1 (Sniper)
Primary: Avengers Hawkeye Bow (modded to fire darts)
Secondary: Elite Stryfe (12/18 dart clip [mag], on bandolier, 2 or 3 14500s, rewired)
Gear: N-Strike Tac Vest
Ammo: 12/18 dart clips (mags), suitable darts (Elites or Stefans)
Purpose: To provide high range and accuracy firepower, with clip (mag) fed rapid fire backup
Strengths: Range (primary), accuracy (primary), rapid fire (secondary), reloading (secondary)
Weaknesses: Reloading (primary), accuracy (secondary)
Description: The idea of being a sniper is that you can hit your opponents from ranges that their blasters cannot reach. With the BBB's huge plunger tube, this is easy with some simple mods. With high power single shots also comes a slow reload time, so for close quarter battles or for when the BBB is not loaded, the Stryfe can be pulled out to deliver a small wall of foam into your opponent's face at a reasonably close range. Notice that the strengths and weaknesses of the blasters are contrasting, so as to provide maximum scenario coverage.

Nerf Stryfe Dart Sensor - Updated Again?

When the Stryfe first came out, many people criticised its dart sensor tooth thingy, which although seemed like a good idea, blocking the trigger if it was not loaded, actually caused a lot more trouble, by jamming up the trigger frequently and not detecting darts loaded in non-Elite clips (mags).
This problem was rectified with a new dart sensor design, as showcased by BasicNerf's post here. The video, made by "Duke Wintermaul" on Youtube, shows that the new dart sensor is larger than the original, but could still be easily be attacked with, for example, pliers. The serial number for these Stryfes ended with an "a".
I picked up my Stryfe from Malaysia. Worried that this might be an original troublesome Stryfe, I took it back to the place I was staying at, threw in some batteries and sprayed off the 6 darts that came with the Stryfe. To my relief, they fired out very quickly, and the trigger didn't lock up. Noting that it was different to the Stryfes with a serial number ending in an 'a', I looked at the engraved serial number and noted it ended with a 'b'.