Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Review: Nerf Elite XD Demolisher 2 in 1 (22m grey trigger Aus)

The Demolisher 2 in 1 is one of the first Elite blasters to be released in the "XD" line, which claims to have 22m range here in Aus, as opposed to the old 20m range claim. So does the Demo live up to this claim?

Here's the Demo box, sorry for the awful quality but it was getting late and I was really excited to open it.
Note the small display window on the right with an Elite rocket and dart showing.
Here's all the stuff out of box. The main Demo blaster, the Demo stock, the 10 dart banana clip (mag), 2 Elite Missiles (I use 'missiles' and 'rockets' interchangeably) and 10 Elite darts. Not bad considering how stingy Nerf has become with recent releases.
And all assembled, the Demo is a pretty cool looking assault rifle type blaster, with the ever popular underbarrel grenade launcher attachment, though in this case it fires rockets.

I'm not a fan of how orange it is, though to be honest I expected worse. When preliminary pictures came out it looked like the Demo was going to be full super saturated safety orange (look at the orange Stryfe), and it looked terrible. Thankfully, the main shell part of the Demo is more of a pumpkin-ish orange, which is far less damaging to the eyes. I still maintain that the regular Elite blue paintscheme is the best modern general release colour scheme, but that's just me.

The whole Demo stock is Elite grey, so while it does work fine with other blasters such as the Stryfe or EAT, it doesn't look particularly cool or standout like the Demo does. I would have liked some colour on it, but again, personal preferences.

Let's take a quick look at the new Elite Missiles, which are so far unique to the Demolisher but are available in refill packs of 3, at least in the US.
The Elite missile is a projectile far larger than an Elite dart, though by missile standards it's still small. It's shorter than Buzz Bee's quite common rockets, though the two are cross compatible which is nice. It's also significantly smaller than the old Titan rocket, which was Nerf's last attempt at a rocket blaster.

Note the construction of the rocket, specifically the head. The body of the rocket is made of pool noodle like foam, very similar to a Buzz Bee rocket. The fins are also the same style as Buzz Bee's, except they're stiffer and thicker. However, note that the head of the rocket is an extremely dense foam like material. It can take quite a beating, since in my Uni wars we've accidentally fired them into trees several times at close range, and into the tambark ground at high speed many times, and there are no marks besides very, very small cuts and holes which don't seem to affect performance.
The head is certainly tougher than that of a Buzz Bee rocket, which is good if you use them a lot, however especially at close range the very rigid head can significantly hurt, especially for younger people.
The hole through the back of the rocket is quite large, being able to drop an Elite dart into it easily. There's more than enough foam to keep the rocket quite rigid though.
These rockets perform quite well if powered correctly. The fins are angled slightly, which makes the rocket spin as it flies making it surprisingly accurate, though if any of the fins or the body are damaged this accuracy disappears.
However the rockets do possess quite a lot of kinetic energy, and so they have much more potential than darts to damage and knock over things. Definitely don't use them near fragile or easily damaged objects.

Now let's look at the Demolisher blaster itself.

Without a clip (mag) loaded or any attachments the Demolisher is very oddly shaped. While the main part of the blaster shares a similar style to the rest of the Elite blasters (particularly the very similar Stryfe), the huge rocket launcher tube and grip completely throw off the design and balance of the blaster. In particular the round shape of the rocket launcher tube is totally different in style to the usually sharp N-Strike/Elite styling.

Note the "Elite" print on the white stripe, which appears to be a new feature on new/rereleased Elite blasters.
The Demolisher is fairly chunky compared to most other Elite clip (mag) system blasters, especially when compared to blasters like the super slim Stryfe, or the reasonably slim EAT. Because of this, it completely conceals the position of the flywheel motors, whereelse in blasters like the Stryfe, you could clearly see the bulge in the shell designed for the motors.

The rocket launcher is a simple push-to-fire blaster, much like the Super Soakers Nerf has been releasing in the past few years. I personally would have much preferred a system that can be primed, and then fired by pulling a trigger, but thankfully rocket performance isn't actually that bad.
Performance is down near the bottom of the review.
The grip itself is actually huge, in a standard shotgun style grip position my hand covers at most half of the grip. It's also decently grippable, though if you have wet or oily hands you'll still slip.
Here's the Demolisher's 4AA battery box position. Again due to its chunkiness, the battery box is almost completely flush with the rest of the shell while blasters like the Stryfe and Rayven had the battery box clearly bulging out.
The Demolisher's jam door is a slide to open one, like that of a Rapidstrike and unlike that of a Stryfe. It's rather stiff for a jam door, unlike the Rapidstrike's which is extremely loose.
A close up on the trigger area. Like the Stryfe and Rapidstrike, the Demolisher is a flywheel blaster with a rev trigger (bottom right), a main firing trigger (top) and a clip (mag) release button (bottom left). The Demolisher is a semi auto blaster, so each pull of the trigger will fire one and only one dart.

It's also interesting to note that the Demolisher doesn't have the dart sensor that the Stryfe has, and so doesn't suffer from the same usability issues of jamming despite being loaded.
The Demolisher's handle is sized very decently, as you can see here my whole hand fits on it with nearly 3cm to spare.
The Demolisher has 3 sling points. Two are besides the muzzle...
...and the third is the obligatory handle loop.
The Demolisher has two tactical rails, and both are in slightly unusual positions.
The obligatory top rail is at the front of the blaster, rather than above the handle, which makes scopes and sights look weird.
The second rail is a right side one, and is similar in position to the top one. Not many attachments make sense in this position, the only ones I can think of are the Hydro Cannon's shield and any tactical lights.
I believe that the Demolisher was rumoured to have a 3rd rail, underneath the barrel while the rocket launcher would be detachable. Sadly, the rocket launcher is not detachable so there is no underbarrel rail.
The Demolisher has a barrel extension accepting muzzle, and unlike the Rapidstrike it accepts the Longstrike barrel extension.
The Demolisher also accepts stocks naturally, as it comes with its own stock. Pictured here is the LightningStorm stock.
Unfortunately due to its new orange paintjob, the Demolisher doesn't work particularly well with most of the attachments currently available, though it does work well with the old orange N-Strike Gear Up series, from which I have nothing.

Naturally as a clip (mag) system blaster the Demolisher accepts any clips (mags). Pictured here are the 12 dart clip (mag) and the 25 dart drum. I personally like the look of a curved clip (mag) most, but like all aesthetics, it's all personal preference.
The Demolisher is rather front heavy, which is to be expected since the rocket launcher is attached under the barrel. It's not quite as front heavy as say a Rapidstrike with 4 C batteries, though it's certainly more front heavy than a Stryfe. Having a decent length stock does help, though like the Rapidstrike the weight balances out quite well with your off hand holding the rocket launcher grip.
Here's the Demolisher compared to two other Elite flywheelers, the Stryfe (above) and Rapidstrike (below). In many ways the Demolisher can be considered a beefed up version of the Stryfe, and it shares many characteristics with the Stryfe, such as being semi auto flywheelers, and having similar clip (mag) release systems, though in many ways the Demolisher is its own blaster rather than just a reshell or rerelease.
It is important to note that the Stryfe appears to be styled as a pistol/SMG type blaster where the Demolisher and Rapidstrike are styled more like assault rifles.
The Demolisher and Rapidstrike are quite similar in dimensions, if you remove the Rapidstrike's stock or add a suitable length stock to the Demolisher. The Demolisher's handle is a little slimmer, which for me is more comfortable than the Rapidstrike's handle.

Let's take a quick look at the Demolisher's new and unique stock.

The Demo stock is a rather unusual design, using a construction style similar to the Stockade's stock in that it's actually mostly hollow, probably so Nerf can save on plastic. Aesthetically the Demo stock resembles that from a Super Soaker LightningStorm or Switch Shot, but nothing released in Nerf's foam blasting lines.
The stock is also entirely grey, which is extremely dull compared to any of the other stocks available. It does work ok with most blasters that accepts stocks, but I personally believe that stocks like that from a Retaliator or Stockade look far better.
Naturally as a Nerf-made stock, the Demo stock will fit on any blaster that has the stock accepting block.

Also note the grey release switch, which is due to this Demo being a grey trigger one.

The Demo stock's main feature is the ability to hold a Demo rocket in the slot. The rocket stays in fairly well if pushed in head first all the way, thanks to 3 small pieces of plastic that push against the sides of the rocket.
While it is a nice feature that the Demo can holds an extra rocket, putting the extra rocket in the stock prevents you from 'aiming down sights', as the rocket gets in the way of your head. Considering how useless sights are on Nerf blasters, this isn't a huge problem, but for us tacticool guys it is annoying.
Length wise, the Demo stock is actually surprisingly short, being between the Retaliator and Stockade stocks in length. I personally found it a little too short to be comfortable, and I expect many of you larger people will find it far too short for comfort.

In short while the Demo stock is not the best looking or most comfortable stock, having easy access to an extra rocket at a moment's notice is very useful if you use the Demo's rocket launcher.

And now a quick look at the Demolisher's unique 10 dart banana clip (mag).

The 10 dart banana clip (mag) is the first banana style clip (mag) Nerf has made, though there is a 3rd party 15 dart banana clip (mag) floating about.
As clearly evident here, the Demo's 10 dart banana clip (mag) is actually slightly longer than the 12 dart clip (mag) Nerf makes, despite its lower capacity. It also lacks the transparent right side that all of the Elite clips (mags) have.
Here's the two clips (mags) fully loaded, and as you can clearly see, the 10 dart banana clip (mag) does not use the curved section at all, which is extremely disappointing. The aforementioned 3rd party 15 dart clip (mag) actually does use its curved section.
Here's the 10 dart clip (mag) next to the 12 and 18 dart clips (mags). For its size it really is quite a low capacity.
The 10 dart banana clip (mag) is clearly inferior for practical uses compared to the 12 and 18 dart clips (mags) due to its low capacity, as well as the curve making it less compatible with clip/magazine pouches that hold 12 and 18 dart clips (mags). However, if you're looking to make your blaster look cool, the 10 dart banana clip (mag) is one of your best options purely because the curve adds an extra tacticool factor not found with straight clips (mags).
One thing to note with the Demolisher is that it seems to grind away the heads of darts that it is fed. Now I've gotten rid of basically all of my Elites, so the included 10 Elites were the only Elites I could try. I used them a fair bit in just the Demolisher, and after some time I noticed that they all had grinding marks on their tips. I had this same problem with the Rapidstrike, though not with the Stryfe or my Rayvens. I haven't seen any significant performance effects, but I don't have a chrono to say for certain that this grinding does or doesn't affect performance.

One issue my particular Demolisher has is that there are two ridges, one on either side of the magwell, that cut into the sides of any clips (mags) you load in. Here you can see the wearing off of the black paint, right in the middle of the clip (mag).
While not a huge problem, it does add significant friction to inserting/removing clips (mags), and also just flat out annoys me.

And now stock performance.
Range is the biggest concern. Does the Demolisher hit its 22m range claim?

No. No it doesn't.
In fact, it doesn't even hit the old range claim of 20m.
And it struggles to hit the even older range claim of 15m. And that's at optimum firing angle.

Ranges with the darts are abysmal, there's no other way to put it. Shouldering it naturally (ie up to a 10 degree angle above horizontal), I'm barely getting from door to door, which in my house equates to 7-8m. Heck, my old N-Strike Recon, Deploy and Maverick achieved or exceeded that range. It's totally pathetic.
The rocket performs much better, though it's entirely dependent on how strong your arm is. Because of its firing mech, the range is entirely dependent on how fast you pump. I'm achieving 12m+ ranges with a solid pump, which considering it's firing rockets is pretty good.
Yes that's right, I'm outranging a dart blaster with a high range claim with a human powered pump rocket launcher. And I'm not exactly strong either. I'm not comfortable priming an 8kg spring Longshot.
Because you need a strong pump and/or a good technique just to get a rocket off, I expect kids to struggle getting any decent range from the rocket without practice, though older persons probably have the strength to consistently fire off a decent rocket shot.

Accuracy with darts is surprisingly decent, primarily because of how weak the Demo is. They mostly fly forward and slightly to the right, but of course being Elites the darts do occasionally swerve about.
Rocket accuracy is basically non-existent out of the box, because you have to pump back to fire and that totally throws off your aim before you've had a lot of practice or a good technique. Once you begin to establish a good technique though, it's easy to get relatively straight and accurate shots off, though of course it's still no match for an Air Max blaster or say a Nitefinder with suctions.

Rate of fire is thankfully a lot more pleasing than range. Being a semi auto flywheeler, a Demolisher can pump out darts as fast as you can pull the trigger. In my Demolisher HFCBE video, I managed to empty an 18 dart clip (mag) of Elites in 1.833 seconds, giving a ROF of 9.27dps or 556.5dpm, which is absolutely insane. That beats my Stryfe, which emptied an 18 in 2.1 seconds. So basically if you absolutely must fire all your darts as fast as possible, you could empty the included 10 dart clip (mag) in just over a second. Note that this ROF will actually jam the Demo, as the flywheels don't spin back up fast enough to keep up on 4 AAs; I achieved that ROF with 2 IMR 14500s.
Rocket ROF is as expected abysmal. Because of how tightly the rocket fits onto the rocket post, it's very difficult to quickly get the rocket onto the post. It takes me several seconds just to get the rocket on the post.

One interesting thing to note is the Demolisher's troubles with Kooshes. While it would fire about two thirds of the Kooshes in the clip (mag) I loaded just fine, the remaining third would not pass through the flywheeles, and would jam. This was less of a problem when running it with IMRs, presumably because the extra speed forced the Kooshes through, but I still did encounter the occasional jam with them. Which is a shame, because I love Kooshes and don't using any stock ammo besides them.
Using green Kooshes on 2 IMRs only jams with a weak trigger pull, consistently making strong trigger pulls practically eliminates the jams.
Even with 2 IMRs a Demolisher completely jams on Streamlines because they're too short to feed correctly. This is irritating if you have to pick up ammo from the ground, and also annoying because no other Elite clip (mag) system blaster has this problem.

Should you get a Demolisher?
If you're after maximum out-of-box performance, then no, obviously not. A stock grey trigger Demolisher is one of the worst blasters I've ever come across (though I've heard orange trigger ones are quite good).
If you're looking for a good value blaster, then again no. Get a Strongarm or a Triad if you're looking for maximum value.
If you're looking for a rocket launching blaster, then the Demolisher is one of your only two options. The other is the Buzz Bee Blastzooka. The Blastzooka is a lot cheaper (at 1/4 of the Demo's price), smaller and lighter, though the Demolisher doesn't need to be pumped up, and has a built in dart blaster in case rockets aren't enough. Your choice whether you want an all round better and cheaper standalone rocket launcher or a tacticool faster firing assault rifle with underslung grenade launcher.
If you're looking for tacticool, then the Demolisher is certainly a good option. Underslung grenade launchers are super tacticool, as are banana clips (mags), regardless of their practicality. It is a little pricey though, so you may want to look at a cheaper option like the Retaliator.
If you just have money to spend and want something to display or toy around with, then the Demolisher is certainly an option. It looks awesome, and the rocket launcher is super fun to play with. It is a little expensive though, but if you have the money to spend, why not?

I personally enjoy using the Demolisher, though I'm hugely disappointed with the dart blaster part. I have no shame in saying that I'm enjoying the rocket launcher part much, much more than the dart blaster part. I'm also disappointed that Kooshes don't work particularly well, because Kooshes are my main ammo type.

In summary, the Demolisher is a blaster that looks awesome, but fails to deliver. Subpar dart ranges, a fancy 10 dart banana clip (mag) that holds less than the similarly sized 12 dart clip (mag) (though in fairness you get more darts than with a Stryfe), a slightly too short stock that holds a spare rocket for the underslung rocket launcher that totally eclipses the main blaster in fun factor and range, the Demolisher is sadly not the blaster many of us hoped it would be. Obviously modding it will make it stand up to all the other Elite blasters, but in stock grey trigger form the dart blasting is just so incredibly sad.

Naturally if you get an orange trigger version you'll probably be much more satisfied with it because you'll get significantly better ranges than the grey trigger one. 

Pros: Tacticool underslung rocket launcher which actually performs really well, detachable stock is sturdy and holds an extra rocket, 10 dart banana clip (mag) is super tacticool, ROF is excellent
Cons: Dart blasting range is awful (grey trigger version), rocket launcher is not detachable, stock is a little too short, 10 dart banana clip (mag) is impractical compared to 12 and 18 dart straight clips (mags), rocket launcher is push to fire and so isn't particularly accurate, jamming issues with Kooshes and Streamlines

Power: 2/7 (darts) 7/7 (rockets)
Accuracy: 3/5 (darts) 3.5/5 (rockets)
Value for Money: 2.5/5
Usability: 3/5
Rate of Fire: 4.5/5 (darts) 0.5/5 (rockets)

Overall: 2.89/5 (darts) 2.8/5 (rockets)

Personal Rating: 3.5/5 - the rocket launcher is ridiculously fun (though not the most practical), and the 10 dart clip (mag) is super tacticool. It performs fine with a battery upgrade and a rewire, but I'm quite sad it was so bad stock. Also the Koosh problem is annoying, because I love Kooshes, but it was easily fixed. All in all, its main problems can be fixed with some basic modding.

A link to the review I posted on BlasterHub: link



    You could do this as well.

  2. In due course, I have some other projects to complete then I'll get onto that.

  3. Very glad i imported one a few month ago it shoots very hard at 7.4 volts and the missiles are great once you improve the seal on the pump, and ive started to absolutely hat how ugly grey triggers are.

  4. it sucks how the stock dattachment thingy is grey. now that could've been orange.

  5. Yours is lemon. Demolisher won't have that pathetic ranges. You can watcch RandomShadow's Rangetest on youtube. Even it's detuned version, it won't be that weak.

  6. RS09 tests orange trigger blasters where possible, because he lives in the US. As for the "won't be that weak" thing, I have seen 2 different Aus spec demos in person, and they both have the same abysmal range. I also have word from Link of SOFT that his Aus spec Demo isn't as powerful as his Aus spec Stryfe or Rapidstrike, which already aren't very powerful.
    One or even two bad performing Demos could be written off as lemons, provided there are others who report good performance. However, Link, two of my friends and myself have all experienced bad performance, and considering the probability of all four of us having a lemon, I'm much more inclined to believe that the stock grey trigger demo sucks.
    If you can produce valid evidence that shows that all of our demos are lemons an there exists more non lemon demos in Australia, then ill accept that our demos are lemons, but until that, I'm sticking with my conclusion tht the demo is a terrible dart blaster.

  7. Pretty disappointing as I recommended this to a friend. Could it be that it needs an inordinately long 'break in' time? Would love to see it in a traditional Elite colour scheme to like the author. $59 in KMart is a bit much, so trying to be a cheapo and bid for a used one on Ebay for $30ish xD

    1. Just tested it again with 4 AAs and I was getting 8-10m ranges which is more than I got at first...but then I realised I'd removed some of the electrical rubbish inside which saps power for no good reason.
      So I'd say no, sadly it isn't a case of having a 'break in' time, I think it's just there's too many electrical parasites in the Demolisher's circuit that sap a good portion of its power.
      If $59 is too much for you, then wait for the sales when it goes down to about $48ish, which is what I got mine for from BigW. If that's too much, then you're stuck with getting second hand ones I'm afraid, as I don't think they'll drop below $48 until next year. Though I have been wrong about these sorts of sales before.

    2. I live in the us and I just got a demolisher a month ago and it shoots streamlines just fine

    3. Interesting, both the grey trigger Demos I've seen in person have failed miserably at firing Streamlines, even Kooshes, despite Kooshes being almost exactly the same length as Elites.

    4. I actually use a pseudo tactical light on the demolisher.

  8. I've got to agree with the bad ranges on everything.

    I got about 10m from elites and the launcher gets just below that.

    I went online and ordered a pair of 180's and a 2S lipo within minutes of checking ranges.

  9. But is the orange trigger one good- cause I managed to find one

    1. It should get significantly better range, at least 50-75% more if my experience with orange trigger things holds true. Besides that and the obvious trigger colour difference, I don't think there's any other difference. It still pales in comparison to any properly modified flywheeler.