Friday, 12 July 2013

Full 2013-2014 Zombiestrike Line, My Opinion & Conjecture

NOTE: Now that all of these blasters have been released, all of this conjecture and speculation is now irrelevant.

So my blog feeds and FB have just been saturated with posts on the full Zombie Strike line for 2013 and 2014.
Original credit goes to io9, but I got my first info from Basic Nerf and FFA (links left).
EDIT: Release dates in Aus thanks to UT.
Anyway, keep reading for all the pictures and my opinions of each blaster.
NOTE 1: Much of the following is conjecture and may not be true. DO NOT USE THIS ARTICLE AS A RELIABLE REFERENCE REGARDING BLASTER PERFORMANCE OR MECHANICS. Instead use it for thought provocation and inspiration, as well as eyecandy borrowed from other sites. It could be that everything I say in this article is completely and utterly wrong.
NOTE 2: I have not actually participated in a HvZ game, but I have read a number of articles describing tactics and all that. Do not use this article as a reliable HvZ reference.
NOTE 3: In the HvZ Practicality sections, I am making the assumption that the blaster being described is the only blaster you're using, for arguments' sake. With multiple blasters there's so many possibilities that describing just a small fraction for just one blaster would take a novel to fully describe.
NOTE 4: It has been said by several people in HvZ that having a good blaster does not guarantee survival. Many have said that tactics and skill are far more important, and the same applies to standard Nerf wars. Thus this article is written with the assumption that the player has a reasonable amount of skill, but not so much as to make them an expert and able to survive with any blaster they are given.
First up, the Hammershot. We've known about it for a while - five shot, hammer primed revolver, and a name obviously taken from its hammer action and '-shot' because it's projectile related. With an RRP of 16USD (I estimate 20-25AUD), it's definitely not a cheap revolver. I'll go ahead and say such a high RRP is just stupid. For that price you could get 2 Strongarms, which not only have 1 more shot each, but also perform better. For 4USD more you could get an Elite Alpha, which is far superior to a five shot revolver statistics wise. I don't know what Hasbro was thinking when they put the Hammershot price that high, but that alone is going to lose some potential Hammershot buyers. Hammer priming means you can dual wield or prime with one hand, mimicking all your favourite action movie heroes. The Hammershot also appears to have a tac rail on the top, with strange indentations which potentially will not fit Slydev accessories. I'm not certain on this, but I believe the turret rotates on priming with the hammer. 
Aesthetics wise the Hammershot is pretty cool. It's the first blaster we've seen to feature the wood and tape aesthetic on the handle, as well as the ZS logo. That and the bright orange and grey make the Hammershot look quite good in my eyes, but I personally prefer the Rebelle Wildshot's sleeker shell. The Hammershot is quite obviously based off traditional revolvers, which are a staple in any zombie slaying show.
Is it a must buy? Probably not. Revolvers aren't anything we haven't seen before, and based on RandomShadow09's range test, some of the current revolvers outrange the Hammershot already. But hey, if you're a revolver dual wielding guy the Hammershot/Wildshot is definitely one to get. If you're looking for a fun blaster, then there are a number of other, cheaper revolvers that will do as well, if not better. If you're looking for dual wieldable revolvers there's not much choice - Hammershots/Wildshots, Barricades/Stockades or Snapfires. Barricades and Stockades are big, loud and expensive, and Snapfires aren't for everyone thanks to its tough trigger pull, so yeah, Hammershots and Wildshots are probably your best bet for dual-wieldable revolvers. Release date is August 1st in US Targets, October for Aus.

For me, the RRP is just too steep for just a revolver. I'll consider getting the Wildshot if the price isn't too steep, because it's sleeker than the Hammershot and comes with a holster
Mod potential doesn't seem great since it doesn't have a huge plunger and is hammer primed (thus spring must be reasonably weak), but the Hammershot's not really a blaster that needs mods to be useful.

HvZ practicality wise, I read a lot of things saying 'keep moving, be fit, etc' and on that basis the Hammershot is pretty good. It's small and light, meaning you can run at full speed a lot longer than if you had (say) a Stampede. as well as being one hand wieldable meaning your other hand is free to reload, pick up darts, hold random objects, throw socks, etc. Additionally not using clips/mags means no need to carry heavy and cumbersome clips/mags with you everywhere, and being a revolver presumably means full dart compatability. Again, I come back to the price, and again it's not really totally revolutionary, but it's a one-handable alternative to traditional revolvers.
As for general Nerf war practicality, the Hammershot will likely be very decent. Besides all the stuff already covered above, being able to one-hand the Hammershot means you can quick draw with one hand, or dual wield to keep your opponents at bay longer. Much of this will be stalling for time when you can reload/fix up your primary blaster, and the one-handedness means you can multitask. With dual Hammershots in holsters, you'll be able to deter most people at a close range, and still be able to fix up your primary blaster.

There really isn't much to say about the Hammershot, it's a five shot hammer action revolver for a high RRP. That statement alone sums it up nicely.
Now the Sledgefire, quite possibly a far more interesting (innovation wise for Hasbro) blaster. It's a break-open shotgun like the Barrel Break, but unlike the Barrel Break which simply has two barrels, the Sledgefire uses 3-dart shells for true shotgun action. Why they went for 'sledge' I have no clue, but '-fire' is very popular for Nerf blasters. While the Barrel Break and Roughcut use multiple barrels to achieve the multishot feature they get, the Sledgefire only has one barrel, and uses its shells to achieve a shotgun effect. What this also means is that reloading the Sledgefire is much easier than a Barrel Break or Roughcut, because you don't have to reload individual barrels, and instead simply insert a new shell.
With practice reloading a Sledgefire can be pretty quick. Nowhere near as quick as loading the next round in a clip/mag system blaster, but faster than loading 3 individual rounds. What this reloading requires is a decent supply of shells. While the Sledgefire comes with 3 shells (acceptable for casual use), for wars you simply don't have time to load each shell with new darts . For the Sledgefire to be properly useful in a Nerf war, Hasbro has to release packs of spare shells. Perhaps 2 shells and 6 darts for the price of a 12 dart pack? (~5AUD) I don't know the value of each individual shell, but selling spare shells is an imperative if Nerf wants to appeal to the more 'serious' Nerfers who use the Sledgefire (in the same way the same 'serious' Nerfers have lots of clips/mags).
A basic assumption I've made is that the emptied shell will eject when you break the Sledgefire open. I'm assuming this because it would be a pain to have to manually remove the shell from the barrel. 
EDIT: Guess not, you have to remove the shells manually.
Additionally the Sledgefire appears to have two tac rails - one on the top for traditional sights and that, and one on the bottom of the barrel for foregrips and whatnot. The hinge for the barrel is at the bottom of the body, and thus any attachment on the bottom should not hinder the break open action.
The stock holds 3 spare shells, always convenient for any blaster that uses up its load quickly. The practicality of a stock for a shotgun blaster eludes me though, especially a single shot shotgun. A shotgun's not meant to be a precision weapon, rather a close range cannon which guarantees hits with its multi shot and spread. Thus having a stock to stabilise a shotgun seems pretty pointless. Whether the Sledgefire primes on hammer or on barrel opening I do not know but it makes little difference in the time required to reload.
Aesthetic wise the Sledgefire is awesome. Having a huge barrel really gives off the 'boomstick' vibe, and being shell loaded really adds to the shotgun effect. I question the choice of the light blue, since it'll attract zombies a lot more than darker coloured blasters, but Nerf has an obligation to make their blasters brightly coloured. Also something to note is the similar styling with the Hammershot and Sledgefire, with the tape handle and hammer action. Shotguns are a major staple in zombie slaying fiction, thanks to huge amount of damage they do to flesh. The Sledgefire addresses this, as well as lack of any 'good' plunger powered shotguns currently on the market.
RRP'd at 28USD (I estimate 40AUD), the Sledgefire definitely isn't as cheap is at appears to be. Equivalent sized blasters (based off size estimation) would be around Roughcut sized (ignoring the stock), so I would have expected RRP of 22USD at most (~28AUD equiv). If you're looking for a shotgun I guess there's not really any other viable blasters unless you mod, since the Lanard/Air Zone Triple Shot is allegedly terrible, but for such a high price even then I'm not sure it's worth it. Is it a must buy? Well if you're a shotgun guy then yes, obviously. If you're looking for a fun blaster, then yes if it's within your budget. Shotguns are always fun blasters, especially break open ones, and being able to quickly reload without having to reload individual barrels is a major plus. For anyone else, probably not. Having only one burst means you have to pick your targets carefully and if you miss you're in big trouble. For the price Hasbro's asking, you could get yourself a Rampage on sale, a Retaliator, an Elite Alpha and some spare ammo, so many other statistically superior blasters which are probably more HvZ and war practical.
Again, release is August 1st in US Targets, October for Aus.

I really want to pick one up because I'm curious as to the firing mech they've used. That and I really like shotgun designs. Despite having no practical use for them, I like the idea of multi shell shotguns rather than the multi barrel psuedo shotguns Nerf has made so far. I have several airguns capable of effective and quick reload shotgun, but they're all airguns and require to be pumped back up after a single shell. Based on the assumption that the Sledgefire is plunger powered (I don't think Nerf wants to give any more airguns to the modding community), the Sledgefire will be faster reloading than any of the air shotguns I'm used to, although a measly 3 darts is quite inferior compared to my 7 dart shell. So to sum up, I'll probably get the Sledgefire, but only for fun and not for war use. I'm also curious as to whether they've used 3 small plungers, one for each dart, or (internals pics show single large plunger) one large plunger for the firing mech. Obviously the one large plunger is preferable for modders since it presents more opportunity for high power, but 3 small plungers might provide an interesting challenge. 
Mod potential wise I think the Sledgefire could be very interesting. First off the bat is having a 'slug' round like you see with actual shotguns, ie loading in a single longer ranged shot rather than a close range multi spread shot. Sure that effectively makes the Sledgefire a huge single shot, but having the choice of shot type is always fun and lets you adapt to different situations. Quite obviously the Sledgefire could potentially become just a huge single shot depending on how Nerf have designed the internals. It's not going to be replacing staple single shots like the Nitefinder or Firestrike anytime soon, partly thanks to size and price, but modders are always looking for something fun and stupid to do.

HvZ practicality wise, I'm not too sure about the Sledgefire. In HvZ games where you have to tag a zombie twice or three times to stun/take out, then sure, the Sledgefire will be useful in taking out zombies in a single burst at close/point blank range. In these times, a Sledgefire can take out zombies faster than pretty much any other non-shotgun blaster simply because it fires all 3 darts at once. For zombies with more than 3 hits, or for zombies with only one hit, the Sledgefire's multishot isn't as useful as you might think. For zombies with more than three hits, an Alpha Trooper or Stryfe can spit out 6 darts before you've gotten the second shell into the Sledgefire (unless you've constructed some kind of quick-reload mechanism), thus for those zombies most other rapid fire blasters are superior. You're more likely to survive with a rapid fire blaster than the Sledgefire for these zombies. For one hit zombies, the Sledgefire's usefulness is quite limited. If you hit a single zombie with all three darts, you've wasted two darts. From reading what some people have said about HvZ, you're very unlikely to get zombies in a close pattern where you can utilise the Sledgefire to maximum effect. In a lot of situations smart zombies work together to surround you, which presents an all around target the Sledgefire is wasteful against. You'll hit maybe one or two zombies, and then the rest will charge in and you're done for. In times when zombies do clump together, chances are you'll hit the first three with the Sledgefire, and then have to reload when the other 20 come at you, in which case you're completely screwed.
Nerf war practicality wise, again the slow reload and single burst mean you won't be able to use the Sledgefire as a primary blaster, but rather as a close range backup. At close range, I don't think anyone would want to face off against a Sledgefire. It's not as useful as say a Roughcut in CQC, because unlike the Roughcut the Sledgefire cannot fire off multiple bursts in quick succession.
Although the shell holder in the stock seems like a good idea, I question whether it will be secure or not. If it isn't secure and the shells fly about, then in Nerf wars and HvZ chances are you'll drop the stored shells while running, at which point you're totally screwed. If it is secure then it's fine.

In short summary, the Sledgefire is a fun blaster for casual use and is a unique design, but in most Nerf wars and HvZ games it's probably not a blaster you want to be relying on. Maybe for CQC with something like a Hammershot the Sledgefire will be good, but without a rapid fire backup the Sledgefire is completely vulnerable after the first shot.
Now the first of the 2014 blasters, the Crossfire Bow (left). Not to be confused with the old Dart Tag Crossfire (now named Strikefire, on right). 'Cross' is likely derived from it being a crossbow, and '-fire' because Nerf likes having fire on everything.
Based off this one picture, we can quickly see that the Crossfire Bow (CFB for short, because I'm lazy) accepts stocks and has at least one tac rail (possibly another underneath). This is the first and so far only ZS blaster to accept stocks, and for the type of blaster it is having a stock is suitable. Perhaps we'll see a new ZS stock pop up?
The CFB is said to have Elite ranges (75ft), which is kind of the norm for blasters now. Seeing the description actually say 'Elite ranges' means that other ZS blasters won't get Elite ranges. For this day and age where everything boasts 'Elite ranges', not having Elite ranges on a blaster makes it somewhat 'underperforming' compared to Nerf's new high standard.
Anyway, back to the CFB, it appears to be a single shot. Compared to Rebelle's Guardian Crossbow with a six shot Strongarm turret, a single shot crossbow is kind of underwhelming, although it does reflect the old Nerf Crossbow from 1996. The CFB boasts 'authentic pull back action' which from what I can tell just means it's a Nitefinder/Firestrike in a super fancy shell. The bow strings may or may not affect the priming action and firing, but at least it's more authentic than the Rebelle Crossbow which is pump action. Being so big means that the CFB will be a very cumbersome blaster compared to say the Hammershot, and being only single shot means the CFB will be vastly underpowered and outclassed.
The front of the CFB has what appears to be an iron sight on the top, which is always a nice feature. For tacticool guys like me, having sights is always a good thing whether or not they actually work. The bow arms appear to be quite thick, which is a good thing considering how far they stick out. Being so thick means they should survive rough play, even with thousands of primes and numerous knocks on walls and the ground.
The CFB appears to have dart storage below the barrel, although we don't have a front shot to confirm it. As a single shot this is good, but again, a single shot this big is a little pointless.
One thing to note is the N-Strike Elite logo on the handle of the CFB, perhaps to indicate its dart firing nature. It's not found on the Hammershot or Sledgefire though.
Crossbows are popular in zombie slaying fiction, sometimes simply because firearms are too loud or there are no firearms left. In any case, having a crossbow in a zombie theme is a very good idea.
Also to note is the radical difference in styling between the [Hammershot and Sledgefire], [Crossfire and Sidestrike], Fusefire and [Ripshot and Ricochet]. The first group seem to have the 'zombie' theme done well, with improvised grip made from tape, seemingly wooden handles, and sort of unrefined or unfinished designs further pushing the 'improvised design' idea. Then the CFB and Sidestrike have very clean designs, seemingly mixing the original Vortex colour scheme with Elite design, completely inconsistent with the Hammershot and Sledgefire. At least the CFB and Sidestrike have brown handles, which sort of push the 'wooden' theme, but besides that the Hammershot and Sledgefire are the only blasters that really look like they belong in the ZS line.
I haven't said this yet, and I probably should have. Damn the CFB looks awesome. Seriously, it's a crossbow. Everyone loves crossbows. It's an awesome looking crossbow with a huge shell ideal for modders.
I think the Vortex green really suits the ZS line, although I'm not a big fan of the green itself. No doubt repaints of the CFB will look amazing.
The CFB is slated for a Spring (Autumn for southerners) 2014 release with RRP of 20USD (30AUD estimate). 20USD for a huge single shot is to be expected considering the blaster's size, but for that money you could get an Elite Alpha with 12 times the shots, a much higher ROF and capacity, and still the same performance.
Seriously, 20USD for a freaking single shot? If it got 100ft ranges or was made out of titanium or something sure, but for what is probably just a Nitefinder in a fancy shell 20USD is overdoing it.
Is it a must buy? If you're an aesthetics guy or love crossbows then definitely. That shell is simply amazing and would make a great shell for integration, replacement or just for props. If not, then no way. 20USD is not worth it for a huge cumbersome single shot.

What do I think about it? It's a single shot. Pfffff. If I want to fire single darts far away I use my Longshot, BBB or airguns, all of which are likely capable of far greater ranges than the CFB. I definitely won't get it.
Mod potential? Well it's a single shot so it'll fire as far as a modded Nitefinder or Firestrike assuming similar internals, possibly further if the plunger is larger. I think most people will be interested in the shell itself though. Not only is it huge, meaning potential integration or internal replacement, but the shell itself is just amazing.

HvZ and war practicality wise, the CFB's not really very good. Any Elite blaster gets the same range as the CFB, and pretty much all of them are superior when it comes down to performance, practicality and/or value for money. A Firestrike performs the same, and is cheaper and much smaller. An Elite Alpha has much more capacity and ROF and performs the same. Unless you want to take down your opponents and zombies in style, the Crossfire Bow is simply not as suitable for war and HvZ as most other blasters.
In HvZ you'll be slowed down by the CFB's huge size, as well as presenting a larger target to zombies.
In standard Nerf wars the CFB will likely be outclassed by most other blasters in most departments - capacity, ROF, value for money, possibly even range and accuracy.

In summary, the CFB is a fantastic looking blaster with fantastic potential in the aesthetics department, but its practicality in Nerf wars is severely limited by it being a single shot.

NOTE: The above statements are based on the assumption that the CFB's plunger is not huge. If it is huge then it will become a modder's heaven and suddenly the CFB will become highly popular and I may come to respect it.

EDIT: Much of the above is untrue, as the CFB has been shown to be half a Roughcut, with the four barrels firing in succession if primed and fired four times. It has the same smart AR system as the Roughcut and Triad, making the CFB basically a really large four shot Triad. 
I sti
The last dart blaster we have a picture of, the Sidestrike. Note the Elite badge on the handle and the handle styling of an Elite blaster. It comes with itself, 6 darts and a holster.
The Sidestrike is one of the first blasters Nerf have released to come with a holster, along with the Rebelle Wildshot. Considering the only other ways to carry blasters were using the Tac Vests, Vortex Ammo Belts or bandoliers, having a Nerf made holster is great for people who don't want to buy holsters online. The Sidestrike's holster is said to hold the Sidestrike or Firestrike, as well as holding some darts. The holster is probably the Sidestrike's name inspiration, as having it in a holster means it is 'by your side', both literally and figuratively, and '-strike' possibly because the holster also fits the Firestrike.
The Sidestrike has a small tac rail at the bottom. Considering it is a single shot pistol that rail is most likely intended for a light of some kind, which would be pretty cool to see. Recently Nerf's been stingy with accessories so I'd like to see them come out with some new ones.
One thing to note is how the Sidestrike and CFB both sport Elite logos, both have Elite styled handles and both have similar paintschemes and designs.
I'm not sure single shot pistols have much place in the world of zombie slaying but hey, every line needs a single shot pistol.
The Sidestrike seems to be based off the N-Strike Scout IX-3, albeit with Elite ranges. It has a similar slide priming action and two dart storage under the barrel, as well as presumably being small (it is holsterable after all). For Scout fans this is good news because the Scout is a pistol with a number of fans hoping for an Elite version.
The Sidestrike has an RRP of 15USD (20AUD estimate), with Spring (Autumn for southerners) 2014 release. 15USD for a pistol may seem a little expensive, but when you take into account you also get a holster it's not that bad.
I personally dislike the design of the Sidestrike. Partly the colours, but partly also how far the slide section sticks out behind the blaster. Again though, each to their own preferences.
Is the Sidestrike a must buy? Probably not. If you're looking for a single shot sidearm the Sidestrike is a good choice with its holster, but besides that it's not really anything new. There are a number of single shots already out on the market, and pretty much all of them are cheaper than the Sidestrike. Also with holsters, there are a plethora of holsters out there, mostly for firearms/airsoft guns, but there are a few which can fit Nerf blasters quite well.

EDIT: Now a picture of the Sidestrike and holster. It doesn't look as bad to me as the above picture, but I'm still not a fan. We also now have a look at the holster, which has dart holders and is plastic. While I would have preferred a fabric holster for 15USD a single shot and a plastic holster isn't bad.
Also note (pointed out by TacTag) the N-Strike Elite logo next to the Zombie Strike logo on the holster.

My opinion? Another single shot? Really Nerf? We've got enough single shots as is, with the Firestrike, Triad, upcoming Pink Crush (which looks like a fancy Firestrike), NFs are still on some shelves, both N-Strike and Elite Jolts, as well as the DT Sharp Shot and Vortex Proton, not to mention other brand blasters like the Buzz Bee/Air Zone Panther. Some people will argue that it's a new design and that it comes with a holster, but I couldn't care less. I'm not forking out another 20AUD for a blaster whose role I have covered at least 8 times over.
Mod potential? Well assuming it's anything like the Scout, the Sidestrike won't have a great amount of potential without a great amount of modding. The shell is large enough for a small direct plunger, but that's about it. A Firestrike or Nitefinder has more potential, and the slide action also means the Sidestrike will be quite hard to prime with strong springs. Long story short, if you want a powerful single shot pistol a Firestrike or Nitefinder will probably do a lot better.

Where the Sidestrike does gain some respect is in the practicality department.
In HvZ, the Sidestrike's small size, low weight and holster mean you can run at full speed with both hands free to do whatever, such as pick up darts or climb a ladder. When it comes to actually facing zombies, you'll be needing to pick shots carefully, after which you run while you reload. Although this is the same as having the Sledgefire, the Sidestrike is a lot smaller and lighter, and you don't have to worry about loading shells or anything. Just slide in darts into the barrel and fire. Sure you can't take down groups of zombies like you can with say a Stampede, but with the Sidestrike you can run pretty much the entire time without worrying as much about fatigue from the extra weight and bulk, and maneuverability is not compromised whatsoever if you're used to the holster.
Alternatively (and probably more sensibly) the Sidestrike will perform excellently as a backup blaster for something like a Stampede, in case your primary blaster jams or explodes or something.
The same applies for ordinary Nerf wars. The Sidestrike could be a superlight run and gun blaster, or be a backup to something bigger and better.
At the end of the day, the Sidestrike's a single shot pistol with a holster, so there's really not much special or different about it.

Next up, the Fusefire, the first of the Vortex blasters in the line.
Aesthetic wise the Fusefire is again vastly different to any other blaster in the ZS line, with a nougat like brown, really dark red handle and a bit of traditional grey and orange from Vortex, along with that strange trans green cover on the top. It kind of resembles some kind of sci-fi laser cannon, and definitely not traditional zombie slaying weapons (unless you consider the CoD Raygun a traditional zombie slaying weapon).
Design wise the Fusefire seems to take from traditional Vortex, with sleek angular shell and curved handle and even the blatant Vortex logo, but with strange colours. Why they chose these colours is beyond me.
The Fusefire boasts a 'continuous loading system'. Since we've had no Baidu leaks or any other media regarding the Fusefire, this feature is entirely open to interpretation. The Fusefire has 5 disc storage, so chances are it's not an internal mag fed blaster. It doesn't really have space for that anyway. There are two main possibilities that come to mind. Firstly and most simply, the Fusefire is just a fancy Proton, in that the priming handle at the back also contains a disc sled in which you load the disc and fire away. The second is that Nerf has somehow made a self-feeding mechanism that allows you to load up the blaster even while you're firing. The latter is far less likely considering the shell design of the Fusefire, but it's always possible. Nerf has surprised us in the past with their tech.
Besides that the Fusefire boasts glowing ZS discs, and presumably lights them up somehow. Whether that trans green section has anything to do with it is a different story. No battery requirements were stated in the press releases, and the pictured discs are normal Vortex discs. Additionally there doesn't seem to be a slot for batteries in the Fusefire, but who knows. With just one pic and a biased Hasbro description we really don't know a huge amount about the blaster.
The Fusefire has a traditional tac rail on the trans green section. Although it may not look like a tac rail, the tell tale locking mechanism can be seen in the trans green section.
The Fusefire will RRP for 15USD (20AUD estimate) and will be released in Spring (Autumn for southerners) 2014. I believe this price is on-par with the Vigilon, so price wise it's not as bad as some of the other things from ZS.
Is it a must buy? Well without further knowledge of the 'continuous loading system' it's difficult to tell. I'm sure aesthetics people will love the blaster, as it has a great scifi feel to it, but whether or not it will be a good blaster is dependent on its loading system.

I personally don't care for the Fusefire. I'm not a huge Vortex fan (loved the Pyragon though) and unless the Fusefire has some unique high tech loading system I don't think it'll be of any use to me. I personally don't like the colour scheme or design. The nougat brown, super dark red and grey don't do it for me.
Mod potential? Well assuming it uses the standard Vortex firing mech of a flinging arm thing, not that much because the internal pieces will break too easily.

Again, because we don't know what firing mech the Fusefire I can't say anything for HvZ or war practicality.

EDIT: We now have evidence that the Fusefire has an internal horizontal mag, like a flat hopper or RSCB in the modding community, or kind of like the P90 for you firearm guys. This drastically improves the Fusefire's potential practicality, but this article is too old for me to bother updating it fully.

Ripshot, comes with 3 discs. 3 disc storage. 10USD (Spring (Autumn for southerners) 2014)
The Ripshot and Ricochet follow traditional Vortex paintscheme and design, resulting in at least 4 different paintschemes/designs in ZS so far. Why there are so many I have no clue, maybe Nerf's designers just felt like some variety.
Ricochet, comes with 2 discs. 8USD (Spring (Autumn for southerners) 2014)

Since the Ripshot and Ricochet are both Vortex single shots, I'll just put together their paragraphs.
The Ripshot and Ricochet both have an unusual 'unfinished' design to them. The dominating orange and lack of texturing leads me to believe these designs were rushed, or Nerf's designers took a break or something. They're just not as refined looking as Elite blasters, or even the Hammershot and Sledgefire. Additionally, like the CFB, Sidestrike and Fusefire, they lack the traditional zombie apocalypse styling such as the tape/cloth on the handle.
Design wise the Ripshot and Ricochet seem to take from traditional Vortex, with the trigger, slide and barrel design. They definitely don't fit the zombie theme.
Both the Ripshot and Ricochet appear to be slide primed single shot blasters. Why so? Well the Ricochet is obvious - there's just no space for a multishot mech, and because the Ripshot has disc holders rather than any feeding mech (such as a clip/mag), it can't have any mechanism besides a single shot firing mech. What makes these blasters different is that they are slide primed single shots, which have not been seen from a Vortex blaster yet.
The Ripshot will RRP for 10USD (12-15AUD estimate), which I believe is on par with the Proton. Considering it has extra disc capacity and the Proton doesn't, the Ripshot at least has one improvement over the standard Vortex line. The Ricochet will RRP for 8USD (10AUD estimate), which I believe is the cheapest Vortex blaster so far. Based on its size and design, it will probably be the Jolt of the Vortex line.
I'll be brutally honest here, the Ripshot and Ricochet are completely terrible choices for the ZS line. They have nothing to do with zombies, nor are they designed or coloured for the part. It would be far better if they were just thrown back into the Vortex line, or even back into the design stage to give them more detail and better colours.
Must buys? Unless you're collecting the ZS/Vortex line, or really need the Ricochet for a pocket Vortex pistol, no way. They're boring, lazily designed, and frankly for the most part plain stupid.

Will I get them? Please. I may get the Ricochet just to compare to the Reflex or Jolt, but besides that I have absolutely no interest in the Ripshot and Ricochet whatsoever. They just don't appeal to me, and probably won't appeal to a lot of you.
Mod potential? Probably not much. On the assumption that they use traditional Vortex firing mechs, ranges of 10ft above their stock range is possible, but anything beyond that would damage the internals too much.

For HvZ, the Ripshot is probably not that practical. It's larger than the already-large-and-hard-to-store Proton, and without significant mod ability it's not as good as a Firestrike or Nitefinder for a single shot. The Ricochet may be more useful, because it's touted as a powerful pocket pistol like the Jolt, so for backup/last resort purposes it might do fine.
The same goes for standard Nerf wars. For the size of the Ripshot you could have far better blasters, like a Spectre or Strongarm. A single shot doesn't justify the Ripshot's size, unless it has awesome mod potential. Again with the Ricochet, probably a decent last resort pocket pistol but nothing more.
Blade. 13USD (Spring (Autumn for southerners) 2014)
I'm not an N-Force or sword guy. And yes 'Blade' is the sword's name. How highly unique and inspired.
Since the decline of N-Force though, the Blade might appeal to some of you guys looking for foam swords which don't look like $2 pirate swords. As a Zombie blade, I think the Blade should have been a machete, although I somehow doubt Nerf would like to push the machete image for a toy line. Turns out I was totally and utterly wrong. Nerf has indeed made a machete/combat knife type foam sword thingy.
I have pretty much nothing to say about the Blade since it's a sword and not blaster related.

Will I get it? Probably not, since I have lightsabres perfectly suitable for melee.
Mod potential? It's not a blaster, but based off what I've heard about Nerf swords a reinforcement is probably a good idea. Besides that all sorts of strange and wacky integrations, or converting the Blade to a bayonet. I'm not a sword guy, so I wouldn't have a clue.
For HvZ I believe melee weapons are banned from a lot of HvZ games because they're ridiculously overpowered, with infinite ammo, an infinite ROF and a range just long enough to prevent zombies from tagging you.
For Nerf wars it really depends on the game type and whether or not they're allowed. Melee weapons can be useful for sneak attacks and quiet takedowns, and again because of the infinite ROF and ammo they're ridiculously OP in close combat. But again, it depends on the gametype and what the war organiser allows.

Target Set (no picture), comes with 3 darts, unnamed small blaster and target. 10USD (Spring (Autumn for southerners) 2014)
I suppose target practice makes sense when you've got your life on the line. After all, you want to be able to hit the life threatening thing before it gets to you. My guess is that the small blaster is a Zombie-fied Reflex or Jolt, something cheap they can easily modify for the line.
Is it a must buy? Who knows? If the blaster is unique and awesome, or if the target included is of incredibly high quality then yeah probably. Chances are probably not, but without a picture nothing is definite.
EDIT: A must buy? Not in my opinion, but the targets are kind of cool.

UPDATE: The little blaster's just a green painted Jolt with dart holders. pretty 'meh' for me. The targets look kind of cool though.

Will I buy it? Probably not. Though I do like pocket pistols, I don't feel the need to get the Target Set at all. I do love Jolts, but mine are good enough as is and I don't feel the need to get another one, or these targets.
Mod potential? No clue. Well it's a Jolt so not great, but it has great potential for integration.
HvZ and war practicality? Well without further information I'd assume the same as a Jolt or Reflex - a good backup pocket pistol which is easy to carry.

So in summary for the Zombie Strike line, the first two offerings, the Hammershot and Sledgefire, looked promising, unique and fun, but from there it just went downhill, with boring and pointless designs like the Ripshot.

Some pics borrowed from FFA (I'll return them later).


  1. cheese maybe you shouldn't assume that far ahead in terms of RRP because according to Hasbro Australia the roughcut RRP is $42.99 but the big w price is $34 and may be reduced. same applies for the retaliator. The KMART price for that is $35 (RRP $39.99). Maybe the price will drop here even if it is more expensive than the USA. Besides I paid $19 for my snapfire 8 and I was happy with the result. And also the fact that it is utilising an actual spring instead of a tension spring means that you can mod it more easily. the priming just requires practice and strength to do easily.
    Always look on the bright side of life.
    note I read your 4 notes

    1. Yeah I accounted for the RRP not usually being used here. If I were basing it off current RRP trends, the Hammershot would be over $30, and the Sledgefire almost $60. However because a lot of stores (BigW and Kmart namely) I chose instead to go for the non-sale cheap prices.
      As a point of reference, RoughCuts and ATs/EATs are RRP 20USD but their normal prices are consistently 30AUD at the right stores. On this basis Aus prices can be estimated to be around 1.5x that of the US.
      I know you can put strong springs in the Snapfire, but not that many *normal* people have the strength for it. I myself could handle a spring maybe 20% stronger than stock, but I'm sure there are a lot of people who could handle up to 150% stronger, and some who can barely handle 80% of stock. The fact remains though that it's not as easy to adapt to than conventional springers.

    2. Nice rant. I got my Roughie for $20 at the Big W sale, Retaliator for same price :)

    3. same guy from first post my email is and from what I can say after my last research that the roughcut's RRP was $42 (hasbro australia) and the big w normal price was $34 so that means there's a 8-10 dollar difference. so I would believe it would sell for $30-$35 bucks; $28 if we're lucky. for something that size I would believe the price is reasonable cuz the packaging is as big as the rapidstrike-cs18. And I really think that this will become practical just as soon as someone gets me info on if hasbro will separately sell the shells

    4. You can't base the difference entirely on one blaster and one store, because that could very well be an anomaly.
      Consider the general trend of RRPs:
      Australian RRP is usually around double US RRP:
      Recon (20 to 42), Retaliator (25 to 47), Rampage (30 to 60), Raider (30 to 60), Stampede (50 to 100), Vulcan (40 to 80), all case in point.
      Consider the approximate percentage difference between RRP and BigW or Kmart.
      Recon: 42RRP to 30
      Stampede: 100RRP to 60
      Strongarm: 17RRP to 10
      Retaliator: 47RRP to 35
      Firestrike: 13RRP to 8-10
      Roughcut: 43RRP to 30-35
      Pyragon: 80RRP to 60
      etc etc
      The rough average for the percentage difference is around 25% of the RRP (ie 'cheap' retail price is 75% of the RRP)
      Using these two patterns, we can estimate that the Sledgefire's Aus RRP will probably be around 28x2 = $56 AUD - likely to be a little less considering its size, so probably around $50
      75% of 56 is $42, hence a $40 estimate in BigW or Kmart, if they do get it. Considering first wave of ZS will be a US Target exclusive, we can also assume that they will be an Aus Target exclusive (although this is not certain), so I expect the Sledgefire to appear in Aus Targets for around $50, at best $45.

    5. then is the sledgefire released in China yet or something because my relatives are going back there and i want them to pick up a sledgefire or hammershot and I want to know if (a)It is released in china(b)what is the price. (apparently they are released in China)
      And what do you mean about not certain
      And I didn't have time to consider the stuff about the trends.
      and therefore would it be cheaper to buy it via amazon or to wait until it is released here and hope the price is lower.

    6. a) Is it released in China? No clue. This is an Aussie Nerf blog, not a Chinese one.
      b) Price? Again, no clue.
      c) I say not certain because until Sledgefires pop up in stores nothing price wise is definite.
      d) If you have time to comment, you have time to do research.
      e) Probably cheaper to get it shipped in based on RRP, but when the sales come they'll be cheaper to buy locally because Nerf blasters are huge and thus have huge shipping rates. Often shipping is the same price as the blaster itself.
      I'm lazy and stingy, so I'll be waiting for it to come here.

  2. 1. Hammershot expense related to priming action
    2.Sledgefire=sledge hammer, stopping power
    3. Wrong to assume Target Aus/US relationship. There is none other than logo.

    1. Not 100% sure what you mean by the first two points.

      Hammershot expense? Do you mean that the Hammershot's high price is due to the hammer action design? If so then that's entirely plausible, but the fact remains that 15USD is still a little steep for a pistol when EATs are a mere 20USD. Sure, development and new casting molds cost a ton of money but considering the relative price of the Sweet Revenge which is the same blaster and some fancy blingy stuff for only 5USD more, and the price of a Strongarm for significantly less, there isn't really any excuse for such an expensive revolver pistol.

      Sledgefire stopping power? We're talking about Nerf darts and Nerf wars here, not firearms and real life combat scenarios. As far as I'm aware it doesn't matter whether someone gets hit hard or lightly by a dart, it still counts as a hit. And since darts have so little momentum it's very hard to knock anything over that isn't super light and filled with air. And you're definitely not going to be punching through thin barriers with the Sledgefire without a ridiculously strong spring and drastically improved shells.

      As for the Aus/US Target relationship, it's true that besides logo and licensing they share nothing, but the past trend for certain exclusives has shown that if Target US gets an exclusive there's a high probability of Target Aus getting it too. A simple example is the two Alphas, both N-Strike and Elite, and both Target exclusives in US and Aus. Another less important example is the Clear Series blasters of 2010 with exclusive red darts, which were exclusive to both Targets.
      Of course there are exceptions, such as the Target US exclusive Magstrike which was available only in our Kmarts. But as a general rule of thumb Target US exclusives can be expected to be Target Aus exclusives, at least temporarily.