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.

As you can see, the box is vastly different to that of normal Nerf boxes, yet bears numerous distinct simularities. If interesting note is the cutaway section in the bottom right corner, which is unimportant but makes the box slightly different to its rectangular prism cousins.

The Bow pictured below has been partially assembled. The arrow holders come detached, the bow arm wheels are not attached, and the bow arms are in two pieces (the orange and black sections). It does take quite a lot of work to assemble it compared with other Nerf blasters, due to the design being that of once assembled, cannot be disassembled. This is of course possible with tools and brute force, but for the ordinary child disassembling the blaster will be all but impossible.

Although there are two identical bow arms, the black arm sections are slightly different, and as a result the arms can only attach to one point. The more horizontal black arm section can only attach to the bottom of the front handle, while the more diagonal black arm section can only attach on top.

As you can see, the bow looks quite good, but very unusual, combining a compound bow like style with an extremely strange plunger system in the centre, as well as a compound bow like faux scope which is completely ridiculous. The scope has no crosshair, and the string runs right through the centre of the scope, acting as a psuedo half crosshair.
And here the bow is with the arrows loaded. The arrow holders are quite tight on the arrows, but are still easy to pull the arrows out of.
Top-ish view of the bow. You can see here how the bow is generally quite thin, and the arrow holders protrude directly out. I personally don't like the way the arrow holders look, but they are functional for arrow users.
Here you can see the orange tinted lens of the scope. You can also see the bow string in it, and the lack of crosshair. Also of important note is how the string is not actually in the centre of the scope, due to the bow's design.
Here you can see the bow's extremely wierd priming system. The Bow works by pulling the trigger handle back to prime, pullling the trigger, and then pushing the trigger handle forward to reset. You then reload and repeat for every shot. In this way it is very much like a single shot blaster with an extra step. Imagine a Nitefinder where you have to push the plunger rod back into place. The orange piece in the slot is the plunger rod.

You can also see the bow strings stretch, which adds a bow-ish feel to the Bow. They also cause the wheels to rotate slightly but not significantly. Also of note is the way the Bow uses a pulley-like bow arm system, instead of a traditional bow arm design. This adds modern compound bow feel, but I personally find it quite wierd to see the bow strings at such an angle.

Some pics of just after firing. My hand is there to hold the trigger handle in place because the bow strings are pulling the trigger handle back into rest position. Many people say the bow strings are non-functional, and I largely agree. During a Nerf war, you don't want to have to wait for the handle to reset itself, and you'd just push it back into position. Because this is the only thing that the bow strings do, they are completely pointless from a practical perspective.
The trigger handle in rest position. In actual fact it is about 5mm too far forward, due to mods I performed, but for a picture like this you probably can't tell the difference.
Here you can see the trigger handle's displacement from the main body, easily about 10cm.
Here is the Bow compared to a Stryfe and Firestrike. You can see that with the bow arms it is extremely large, but without it really is just a fattened and longer single shot.
A comparison of the barrel, an Elite dart, and the arrow included. The arrow is drastically larger than an ordinary dart, but thanks to its fins flies straight.
As is tradition, the final pic is an FPS view.

And now for the wall of text.

The Bow is extremely comfortable to hold the front handle, as it is curved and smooth. You can see in the FPS pic that there is still a little more hand space on the front handle, so larger persons can hold it comfortably. The same cannot be said for the trigger handle. It is a lot smaller and angular than the foregrip, and thus even for me is a little uncomfortable to hold. I would liken it to a slightly larger Buzz Bee Berserker handle, which is famed for being tiny.

Priming is very smooth. The spring is much stronger than most other stock Nerf springs, but due to the design of the bow it is very easy to prime, even for children.

The blaster is quite light, and is very easy to maneuver and turn. This is always a good feature with such blasters, as you cannot solely rely on a single shot blaster during a Nerf war unless everyone else has single shots. Such lack of weight allows easy slinging of the blaster on your back, saving it for important precision shots.

I personally feel that the scope is completely and utterly useless. It aims straight, parallel with the barrel, but above it. It also has no crosshair besides the semi crosshair of the bow string. As a result, the Bow relies entirely on human perception ability. Aiming at a target through the scope does not always work, as the arrows do not fly upwards like darts from certain blasters. The arrows will always hit below what you are aiming at with the scope.
For these reasons, I suggest removing the scope entirely and replacing it if you are mod inclined, or at very least improving it.

And now of course performances.
Because the Bow has been designed to fire arrows, which are much larger than darts, it has significantly more power than a dart blaster of the similar ranges. The Bow can fire arrows a good 12m or so, which is above the 35ft range claim. Modded, it can fire darts well over 30m.
The accuracy of the bow is extremely good, due to the fin design of the arrows which cause them to spin in the air, and maintain a straight path.
ROF, as you'd expect for a single shot, is around 1 arrow per ~3 seconds, which of course will vary on the competence of the user. The convenient arrow holder placement is very helpful for ROF.

At the time of its (short) release, the Bow was around $30 AUD, the price of an AT. While it is several times the price of single shot pistols, it has significantly more power. We do not have a domestic release of other BBBs, so for some the Avengers Hawkeye Bow was the only way to get a BBB. Given its power and accuracy, and novelty value due to it being a faux bow firing arrows, the BBB can be a good choice for those looking for a fun alternative to ordinary dart blasters. For non-modders or minimal modders looking for serious war blasters, the BBB is not a good choice as it requires a full rebarrel to effectively use darts. For more experienced/skilled modders the BBB can be a very fun and effective choice, as the BBB can have a large and fast air output, allowing for pretty good ranges, as well as being moddable to accept clips (mags) and the like, allowing for a fast ROF.

In summary, for skilled modders with the materials for the job, a BBB can be a good choice. For those looking for a fun and novel blaster, the BBB is also a good choice. For non- or inexperienced modders the BBB may not be a good choice, as it requires some work to be effective. I myself did not intend on getting one, but now that I have one I would gladly get another, as the mod process is fun and more simple than a lot of mods.

Great power, accuracy is extremely good, looks cool, has bow-ish feel, can be modded for high dart firing power
ROF is slower than normal single shots due to extra priming step, use of arrows limits effective use in wars, excessively large for what it is - a single shot blaster

Power: 7/7
Accuracy: 5/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Usability: 4.5/5
Rate of Fire: 0.5/5
Overall: 3.8/5

Personal Rating: 3/5 - when modded it's quite a powerful dart slinger, but some work is required. And without more advanced mods the Bow remains a single shot.
What the BBB looks like when modded. :D


  1. outback nerf i found out that rolling up a postcard serves as a viable replacement for pvc barrel mod

  2. Your background which presents as very dark on our screen makes it hard to read the text which we would love to do....can you present it differently to allow for easier reading?

    1. I'll see what I can do, but the way I've got it set up at the moment provides a shading to articles to which the black text contrasts with.
      It is probably time for a new background though.