Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Review: Nerf Rebelle Messenger (20m Aus grey trigger)

The Rebelle Messenger is one of Nerf's new Rebelle blasters under the Secrets and Spies subline, which revolves around sending secret messages written on the darts. The Messenger has already become fairly popular thanks to it being a "Triadstrike", that is, in essence a Firestrike with the barrel block of a Triad, though obviously in Rebelle colours and style.

 The Messenger's box, fairly standard for Rebelle style boxes, with one exception.
 The box showcases the new Secrets and Spies message darts in the bottom right corner...
...with a red pane ("decoder") revealing the messages.
Overall the box is fairly solid as usual, and isn't too hard to open cleanly.
Here's all the stuff you get in the Messenger package: the Messenger itself, the Messenger marker, 5 message darts and a 2 dart holder/decoder with a clip. Certainly much more than your average single shot.
All loaded up, with the marker in the Messenger's handle.

Let's take a look at the darts.
The message darts included are standard Elite-style fare, except with the obvious new colours of white (non-glowing) foam and light-blue tip. Besides that is the very obvious printing of the red speckling with blue messages on the foam.
The red speckling makes it harder to read the blue messages, but it isn't impossible.
The decoder is just a piece of transparent red plastic that holds two darts, with a purple belt clip type thing attached to the top.
Each message dart, besides being printed with a specific message, has the Rebelle logo printed as well.
The decoder works by making the white foam appear red, making the message clear and easy to read. Nothing especially fancy at work here, just light and physics.

Let's quickly go through the messages on the five message darts included. They are:
Surrender! (with flag)
Sneak attack! (in curly writing)
Mission Complete (in a box)
Awesome shot! (with bullseye)
and Let's meet up (in typewriter style text).

Now chances are in a Nerf game you'll probably find next to no use for the messages, since smartphones exist and those are a far more convenient method of communication. Though I guess if you're really into the roleplaying as a spy thing and have friends who like to join in, these message darts could provide some gimmicky fun.
The transparent red barrels of the Messenger allow you to read the message darts when loaded, though the viewing windows are much smaller than using the whole dart decoder.

Let's just take a quick look at the marker included with the Messenger.

The marker is just a standard blue marker inside of a grey shell with a belt clippy thing. It's pretty ordinary but it does work well at its job of writing on foam darts.

Let's go back to the Messenger itself.

The Messenger has a fairly standard Rebelle body, with smooth curves and lines and very detailed Rebelle motifs printed/painted on. Where the first Rebelle wave had white with grey/pink/purple/orange, the new wave has purple with grey/pink/orange/light blue. Of note is the new "skeleton" style grip, which I'll get to later.
The sole tactical rail, pretty standard.
The Messenger has a set of 3 barrels in an upside down triangle formation, like that of the Triad. Pictured are the dart posts, and at the end of the barrels the ARs.

From the front point of view, the Messenger cycles through its barrels counter-clockwise from the top left. From the user's point of view, it cycles clockwise from the top right.
This is different from the Triad, which from the user's point of view cycles counter-clockwise from the bottom.

The priming rod and stroke of the Messenger is pretty standard for a single shot, though it should be noted that the Messenger spring feels stronger than that of the other similar single shots (ie Pink Crush, Firestrike, Sidestrike).
Top view, you can see the lump in the middle that blocks any attempt to look down the sole tactical rail. As someone who likes some sort of iron sight (regardless of its uselessness), this is a small flaw.
Let's look at the Messenger's handle. Unlike most blasters, it has a "skeleton" design with just a few ribs and an outer frame.
While the handle is decently sized, the ribs on the handle cut into your hand when holding the blaster, which makes the Messenger much less comfortable than say the Pink Crush. This is arguably the biggest problem with the Messenger, as functionally it's pretty good.
It is fairly easy to improve the comfort of the handle by wrapping in any number of materials, such as grip tape, however it's a shame that Nerf chose to go with this uncomfortable route since most of their handles are fine (if they're large enough).
One special feature of the Messenger's handle is that it can hold the small marker. It slides in from the bottom of the handle and clips in place.
The slot in the back allows for the belt clip to fit in to place. The two small protrusions at the end of the slot apply extra friction to the end of the belt clip.
The curve of the belt clip has been shaped to fit perfectly with the handle.

Now for performance.
The grey trigger Messenger gets fairly respectable ranges, though it's not particularly consistent. My testing produced an average range of 13-15m, though I had one shot fly to 17m (ironically shot from the last barrel), and a few drop at 12m and below. The shots were very inconsistent, you could have a 16m shot followed by a 12m shot, with no way of knowing what range the next dart will get. I personally didn't see a significant difference between the 3 barrels in terms of range, though I expect you'll find a small muzzle velocity difference between them.
Accuracy is pretty poor from my testing. My usual accuracy test is conducted at the same time as my range test, firing darts down a hallway through a door 8m away from where I stand. Most blasters get about three quarters of their shots through the door, usually more. The Messenger got just over half of its darts through the door, with the rest bouncing off the door frame. For a single shot this sort of bad accuracy is quite disappointing, because most of the single shots I've seen are on the better end of the accuracy spectrum, getting most of their darts through the door with very few hitting the door frame.
The variance in range and terrible accuracy were caused by the darts swerving off course. Very few of the darts would actually travel straight, with most veering off to the sides rather than up or down.
The ROF of the Messenger is excellent for a single shot, like a Triad, however as the Messenger's stock prime is quite stiff you don't get quite as good a ROF as a Triad. I can get about 1dps consistently.
With the proliferation of different single shots you can get nowadays, does the Messenger have any extra niche?
Yes, yes it does. If you get into modding the Messenger really comes into its own. It combines the larger plunger of the Firestrike/Pink Crush with the multishot barrel block of the Triad, which gives you a large advantage over both Firestrike and Triad users.
Even in the stock world, the Messenger is a decent blaster. It has the power and multishot of the Triad with the prime and general design of a Pink Crush. Though I'd give the Triad the edge based solely on how small it is, the Messenger is more comfortable to hold if you wrap the handle with something more comfortable.

The Messenger is available for about $20 from BigW and Kmart, dropping down to as low as $15 during sales. Considering a Triad and Firestrike together would cost you at least $16 ($8 each, with Firestrike on sale), $15-20 is a decent price for what is effectively a Triad and Firestrike fused together ("Triadstrike") cleanly with Rebelle styling. I personally would save the extra few dollars to get a Sweet Revenge if I were looking for a secondary, but the Messenger is a decent blaster.

Power: 6/7
Accuracy: 2/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Usability: 3.5/5
Rate of Fire: 2/5
Overall: 3.06/5

Personal Rating: 2.5/5 - I really dislike the skeleton grip, and for some reason for me priming the Messenger feels really strange. It's a good blaster, I just don't like it.

1 comment:

  1. The orange trigger triad also has really bad accuracy