Sunday, 22 July 2018

Review: Nerf Modulus Mediator (Aus grey trigger)

The Mediator is one of the more practical 2018 blasters, combining the compact form factor of the Recon/Retaliator with the pump action and side magwell of the Raider/Rampage. I was intending to grab one, but then held off when I saw the retail price. I managed to snag this one for a reasonable price second hand.

The Mediator Blaster
The Mediator has been designed with compact functionality in mind. It is just about the smallest a pump-action blaster can be while retaining full-length mag compatability, and is quite light overall. In many ways it is just a mini Rampage.
As is standard nowadays, it is lacking paint on the left side of the shell, which looks significantly more boring than the right.
Ignoring the side magwell, the Mediator is actually a fairly slim blaster.

The Mediator is the first pump-action mag-fed blaster to support both barrel and stock attachments, and just the second pump-action since the BattleScout to do so.

It also has two tac rails, one on top and one on the side.

The Mediator's main handle is fairly large and nicely curved. I find it quite comfortable to hold personally.

On the other hand, I'm not so much a fan of the pump grip. It's not as large as the main handle, so may present an issue for people with larger hands. I don't like that the grip is completely vertical, I would have much preferred an angled or even flat pump grip.
The pump grip is also situated a fair distance below the rest of the body, and I feel that it would have been more comfortable if it were higher up.

 The Mediator has a side facing magwell, practically identical to the Raider and Rampage. I generally consider this to be inferior to a downwards facing magwell. It is a disadvantage when turning left around corners in close quarters, as a larger mag can introduce a lot of horizontal bulk. It is also much more difficult for a left-hander to use , since it faces directly away from them.

The mag release is the same, fine for stick-style mags but inconvenient for drums.
There is a small button directly behind the magwell. If the blaster has been primed and chambered, the pump is locked in forward position. Pressing this button unlocks the pump, which can be useful for clearing jams.

Again like the Raider/Rampage, the Mediator has a slide-open jam door on the right side, that is locked unless the pump is all the way back.

As mentioned before, the Mediator has a focus on attachment compatability, taking barrels, stocks and tac rail attachments. It can get a little silly, but it works reasonably well, especially with the Mediator barrel and stock (which I have yet to acquire).
This setup however emphasis just how clunky a larger mag can get in the Mediator's side magwell, sticking way out and just asking to bash into obstacles like corners and trees.

As mentioned before, the Mediator is a pretty compact blaster. It is significantly bulkier than a base Retaliator or Stryfe thanks to its low pump and side magwell, but is very close in length.

Mediator Performance

With lightly used Elite-type darts, my Mediator was averaging about 57fps, a little bit above average for a grey trigger Elite-era blaster. This translates roughly into 9-11m ranges flat, about normal for a grey trigger blaster.
Accuracy is alright, not the best I've seen from a blaster but certainly not the worst either. Most darts made it through my usual testing doorway. As usual, it is rather dependent on dart type, and with a better dart than Elites, the Mediator would fare much better.

Rate of fire is very respectable, the best I've achieved is about 6 darts per second. Slam-fire and a decent pump help the Mediator immensely in this category. It is worth noting however that reaching and maintaining this ROF is highly impractical. It is very strenuous, and has awful accuracy and stability. Additionally, I was seeing a lot of misfires and poor shots at that ROF.

Game Utility
The Mediator is a solid all-rounder blaster. It has comparable power to other similar blasters, and having pump-action and slam-fire allow it to have a higher than average ROF. Its compactness would lead well to close-quarters use, however the side magwell, when using larger mags, can become an obstacle in itself. Nonetheless, it is a fairly light and rather complete blaster, so will serve fairly well in most situations.

Value and Summary
The Mediator retails for 35-40AUD, which is quite high when the NS/EAT retailed for 30AUD, and the Retaliator for 30-35AUD. In my opinion, the Mediator does not offer enough over the aforementioned blasters to justify its price. While it is a good blaster, it is not at all exceptional, and for the money, I'd rather get a Retaliator and put the change towards a good pump grip. I would only recommend picking up the Mediator if significantly discounted.

Power: 4.5/7
Accuracy: 3/5
Rate of Fire: 4.5/5
Usability: 3.5/5
Value for Money: 2/5
Overall: 3.24/5

Personal Rating: 3.5/5 - a surprisingly nice and rather decent blaster, however side magwell is always annoying, and I'm not a fan of the low vertical pump grip. Retail price is also obnoxiously high.

Internals and Mod Potential
The Mediator's pump attaches on to a single loop, and sits in a track on either side of the shell.
The stock attachment point is different to what is usually seen in Nerf's mag-fed springers, but it performs the same role.

The Mediator's internals are pretty standard if you're familiar with typical Nerf internals.

The only functional difference is a ratchet in the pump area.

This ratchet prevents the pump from moving the wrong way - it only allows backwards movement if the blaster is unprimed, and forward movement if it is primed but not chambered. It helps to prevent double-priming and double-feeding, but is not particularly necessary, and it is very loud. I have removed it with no issues.
The Mediator's stock spring is a little longer than that of any similar blaster (e.g. Retaliator), but it takes the same upgrade springs just fine.

You can also find the review on BlasterHub.

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