Friday, April 17, 2015

ICYMI: Nerf Behind the Scenes - Nerf Mega Cycloneshock

VIDEO: Nerf Behind the Scenes - Mega Cycloneshock (ICYMI)
Vas The Stampede

Nerf sent out a video for its Mega Cycloneshock, here's the scoop from the design team themselves.



Some takeaways... car design? That's something I want to look more into if/when the next chance I have to hang out with the design team (hopefully this summer).


Monday, April 06, 2015

K-Force is here! (Preview)

Thanks to K'Nex for sending along their launch line of K-Force blasters! Reviews coming soon, enjoy some photos.

Find the original post from Toy Fair Here!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Marshmallow Shooters - Orbballistics, Varmint Series, and more! (Toy Fair 2015)

Orbballistics and more from Marshmallow Shooters at New York Toy Fair
Vas The Stampede

Find the picture gallery in full here: Marshmallow Shooters at New York Toy Fair 2015

Say what you want about Marshmallow Shooters, other blaster lines have come and gone but they are among one of the constants at New York Toy Fair year after year. Last year the biggest news from them (in my opinion) were the Ghostbuster-themed shooters, they looked great and while they were still functionally the same as previous releases, the line was just in time for the big anniversary of the release of the original film.


This year, it's not a new paint job that piqued my interest, but this new line of blasters from Marshmallow Shooters, the "Orbballistics" as well as the "new" "FoamFury" line. Marshmallow Shooters is now in the business of making reusable foam ammo, as they did have some people who wondered about "wasting food" when it came to using Marshmallow ammo. While this is a concern for me as well, another problem with marshmallow ammo is degradation from heat or reuse. Squishy marshmallows loaded into barrels/hoppers usually meant residue on barrels and plunger heads. Foam ammo makes that less of a problem, thankfully. Based on the technology that they use for the "Orbball", the ammo for the Orbballistics is a hollowed out foam tube that forms kind of a hollowed out oval, something like a grape, or a mini, teeny tiny hollowed out football. I've had some fun with the Classic, Crossbow, Bow, and a variety of other shooters in the past, but the ammo wasn't optimal in the summer and I had to keep mindful about that. Also, never mind the constant consumption of my ammo from other players. Before the round, during the round, after the round, etc. Not entirely unexpected and it was all in good humor, it became the running gag any time one of us used a marshmallow shooter. Thankfully though that also gave me a lot of reasons to make s'mores and rice crispy treats as well!
 

Marshmallow Shooters is claiming 60' flat on these things (and it might be possible, haven't been able to do the video yet because of technical difficulties but there is one) so that's pretty interesting stuff. Some of the initial comments I've gotten tell me these are similar to the Vortex Koosh blasters from way back, but these are definitely more compact. I didn't have any prices at the time at New York Toy Fair, but they may be available as of 4th quarter, at least in time for the holidays.

As always, if I manage to get any samples I'll be sure to do a review right at this blog. The model I handled was a prototype, so it's way early for me to comment on handling and build strength. At most I can say that it looks sleek, and the ammo holders are always a nice touch. Past that, I am always looking forward to seeing new challengers to the foam arena.

Besides the Orbballistics, Marshmallow Shooters had "FoamFury" which is their classic shooter now firing foam "ear plug" like ammo. 20' of range, so while made for a quick release definitely not what one can expect from the Orbballistics shooters. Also, there were "Varmint Series" blasters which look hilarious. Pics of these and more can be found in the gallery.



So, thoughts? Another (this time foam) solution from Marshmallow Shooters, with more range than the original shooters and with reusable ammo. Is this something you would try out? Would you qualify it as large ammo if your games use those rules? Comment below, and let me know!

Don't forget to check me out along the social circles:

Twitter: @VasTheStampede

Instagram: Blasterbot1984
Facebook: Foam From Above


Friday, March 06, 2015

K'Nex K-Force - Overview from Toy Fair 2015

K'Nex K-Force, a new blaster approaches!
Vas The Stampede  

Don't forget, the contest to join the K-Force Squad is happening now! Only the first 1,000 submissions will be accepted!

Here are some photos from the showroom:



K'Nex's K-Force is an interesting spin on the blaster scene. I will admit, when I first heard about it I was skeptical. I had never used K'Nex construction kits before, being more a brick user. K'Nex sets seemed a little overwhelming, and I wasn't sure what to expect.

Then this happened:


That is a multi-barreled springer blaster this employee built on their own time. Each barrel has to be primed individually, but they are rigged up to fire under one trigger. It hit me. I got it.

If you can figure it out, you can build it. For years, apparently the K'Nex community has already been at work on rubber band/various other models of shooters (a quick search on YouTube will prove that) and in the interest of giving their own fans what they want, that brings us to K-Force.

The line launches with 6 blasters to start, with more on the way if the line does well.


The initial launch line for K-Force.
My main concerns with K-Force were-

1. Durability. Could the blasters withstand a drop/fall/getting banged around?

This video says yes. And the folks at the K'Nex booth couldn't be more eager to show me all the ins and outs of the blaster, what you can build, and so on. One key point to holding all the K'Nex rods and gears together is using a special fastening piece that goes over connecting points. One thing they assured me about was that they tested fully built blasters so you didn't have to move any differently than if you are using more popular blasters.


2. Could leading brand ammo be used in the blasters, and vice versa? 

Word has it K'Nex darts work in other brand blasters and vice versa. I will have to test this out after launch.

3. Accessibility how hard will it be to build a blaster right out of the box, at the loss of some instant gratification? Again, as I never used K'Nex before, this was a major concern for me spending an hour getting a blaster together.

K'Nex instructions are easy to use apparently, and color coded. While I intend to get a box of K'Nex of my own, the sets may take anywhere from 20-25 minutes to build. Even less for the smaller kits.
  
I like that the kits provide their own plunger tubes, allowing you to come up with your own trigger set ups which can lead to monsters like the blaster above. The locking mechanism for stress points is smart, and really accentuate how far into thinking the designers worked on this brand to make the initial launch easy for new users but some new parts and mechanics for veteran builders. I look forward to trying more and more of the set out just to see where this line goes.

K-FORCE Build and Blast: Mega Boom Building Set
Build 5 different blaster models and a buildable target in one set, including the double chamber Mega Boom blaster that fires up to 75 feet! The K-FORCE Build and Blast Mega Boom Building Set comes with over 300 pieces including, K'NEX rods and connectors, 2 blaster chambers, 3 skull dart holders, 2 quick fit grips, 2 preload rings that can be used to create customized blasters, 7 foam darts, and an instruction sheet to build the Mega Boom blaster. Customize and create your own K- FORCE blaster or log on to knex.com and download instructions for 4 alternate blaster builds. Most models can be built one at a time. Compatible with the entire K-FORCE Build and Blast line. All K'NEX rods and connectors are made in the USA. Suggested retail price is $44.99. Ages 8+. Available Fall 2015 on knex.com and at toy retailers nationwide.

K-FORCE Build and Blast: Dual Cross Building Set
Build 5 different blaster models and a buildable target in one set, including the double chamber Dual Cross blaster that fires up to 75 feet! Set features over 330 pieces including K'NEX rods and connectors, 2 blaster chambers, 3 skull dart holders, 2 quick fit grips, 2 preload rings that allow you to create customized blasters, 7 foam darts, and an instruction sheet to build the Dual Cross blaster. Customize and create your own K-FORCE blaster or log on to knex.com and download instructions for 4 alternate blaster builds. Most models can be built one at a time. Compatible with the entire K-FORCE Build and Blast line. All K'NEX rods and connectors are made in the USA. Suggested retail price is $44.99. Ages 8+. Available Fall 2015 on knex.com and at toy retailers nationwide.

K-FORCE Build and Blast: Battle Bow Building Set
Build 3 different blaster models that fire up to 75 feet and a buildable target in one set with the K-FORCE Build and Blast Battle Bow Building Set! Set features over 150 pieces including K'NEX rods and connectors, 1 blaster chamber, 2 skull dart holders, 1 quick fit grip, 1 preload ring to create different blasters, 5 foam darts, and an instruction sheet to build the Battle Bow blaster. Customize and create your own K-FORCE blaster or log on to knex.com and download instructions for 2 alternate blaster builds.. Compatible with the entire K-FORCE Build and Blast line. All K'NEX rods and connectors are made in the USA. Suggested retail price is $24.99. Ages 8+. Available Fall 2015 on knex.com and at toy retailers nationwide.

K-FORCE Build and Blast: K-20X Building Set
Build 3 different blaster models and a buildable target in one set with the K-FORCE Build and Blast K-20X Building Set! Set features over 140 pieces including K'NEX rods and connectors, 1 blaster chamber, 2 skull dart holders, 1 quick fit grip, 1 preload ring to create different blasters that fire up to 75 feet, 5 foam darts, and an instruction sheet to build the K-20K blaster. Customize and create your own K-FORCE blaster or log on to knex.com and download instructions for 2 alternate blaster builds. Compatible with the entire K-FORCE Build and Blast line. All K'NEX rods and connectors are made in the USA. Suggested retail price is $24.99. Ages 8+. Available Fall 2015 on knex.com and at toy retailers nationwide.

K-FORCE Build and Blast: K-10X Building Set
Build your own K-10X blaster that fires up to 75 feet! Set features over 75 pieces including, K'NEX rods and connectors, 1 blaster chamber, 1 quick fit grip, 1 preload ring and 5 foam darts. Customize and create your own K-FORCE blaster or combine with the K-FORCE Build and Blast Mini Cross Building Set for an awesome downloadable combo build! All K'NEX rods and connectors are made in the USA. Suggested retail price is $14.99. Ages 8+. Available Fall 2015 on knex.com and at toy retailers nationwide.

K-FORCE Build and Blast: Mini Cross Building Set 
Build your own Mini Cross blaster that fires up to 75 feet! Set features over 60 pieces including, K'NEX® rods and connectors, 1 blaster chamber, 1 quick fit grip, 1 preload ring and 5 foam darts. Customize and create your own K-FORCE blaster or combine with the K-FORCE Build and Blast K-10X Building Set for an awesome downloadable combo build! All K'NEX rods and connectors are made in the USA. Suggested retail price is $14.99. Ages 8+. Available Fall 2015 on knex.com and at toy retailers nationwide.

 K-FORCE Build and Blast: 30 Dart Pack and Target Building Set
This 58 piece set comes with 30 foam darts and enough K’NEX rods and connectors for you to create a buildable target. All K'NEX rods and connectors are made in the USA. Suggested retail price is $9.99. Ages 8+. Available Fall 2015 on knex.com and at toy retailers nationwide.

K-FORCE Build and Blast: 10 Dart Pack and Target Building Set
This 26 piece set comes with 10 foam darts and enough K’NEX rods and connectors for you to create a buildable target. All K'NEX rods and connectors are made in the USA. Suggested retail price is $6.99. Ages 8+. Available Fall 2015 on knex.com and at toy retailers nationwide.

Questions? Comments? Anything I Missed? Comment below!



Monday, March 02, 2015

K'Nex wants YOU for the K-Force Squad! See how you can win your spot!

Fresh from the folks at K'Nex, they're looking for members of the K-Force! Do you have what it takes? See the announcement below:

K’NEX Seeks Members To Join The K-FORCE(TM) Squad

Nationwide Search Will Reward 20 Enthusiastic Blaster Fans! 

Hatfield, PA March, 2015 K'NEX, the only US construction toy company focused on Building Worlds Kids Love®, is seeking 20 enthusiastic blaster fans to join its K-FORCE Squad! The members of the squad will be the first to get their hands on the new K- FORCE Build and Blast(TM) line; the only line of blasters that you build then blast! 

The K-FORCE Build and Blast line invites kids ages 8+ to construct customized blasters, big or small, single or multi-shot, with endless possibilities the only limit is your imagination! The introductory line includes 8 different kinds of blasters, buildable targets, and foam dart packs. 
 
The nationwide search runs through March 22, 2015 and challenges blaster fans ages 13+ to submit a video, up to 60 seconds in length, explaining why they deserve to be chosen as a member of the K-FORCE Squad. The first 1,000 video entries received will be reviewed by a panel of K’NEX judges, and 20 K-FORCE Squad members will be chosen from among those entries. 
Upon confirmation of eligibility, the 20 K-FORCE Squad members will each receive exclusive access to the K-FORCE Build and Blast product line before it hits store shelves, and a chance to become the Grand Prize winner. All the Squad members have to do is build one or more K-FORCE blasters using the K-FORCE products they receive (and any other genuine K’NEX parts they may already have at home), and then create a short video that shows the Squad member using the blaster(s) he or she created to execute his or her best “trick shot”. 
K-FORCE Squad members will be required to submit their video to K’NEX by May 8, 2015 and, upon review and confirmation of qualification, will be asked to post their Best Trick Shot Video to YouTube by May 15, 2015. These videos will then be featured on the K’NEX Facebook page, and the public will be given the opportunity to vote for their favorite video. The K-FORCE Squad member whose video receives the most votes will be awarded the Grand Prize, a $500 shopping spree on knex.com, and a GoPro HERO4 Camera. 
The K-FORCE Squad contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada, except those of Puerto Rico, U.S. territories or possessions, the Province of Quebec, and where
prohibited, who are 13 years or older at the time of entry, and no purchase is necessary. For more information on K’NEX, K-FORCE, or the contest, visit http://www.knex.com/photos-and-videos/kforce-squad/.

Look for my take on the K-Force brand later this week. In the meantime, don't forget to check out my GALLERY!

New York Toy Fair 2015 - Nerf Showroom Breakdown

New York Toy Fair Nerf Showroom Breakdown
Vas The Stampede


Nerf Rivals

The Nerf Rival Apollo & Zeus

The big news of the show for me out of the Nerf room was this line. I have my rundown of the Zeus and the Apollo (and a firing video of the Zeus) here.

 
Accessories for sale (Available Fall 2015):

50 round ammo pack - $17.99
25 round ammo pack - $9.99
12 round magazine w/16 rounds - $11.99
Face mask (red or blue) - $14.99

I'd be lying if I didn't say I was excited for this line. Supposedly 100 fps, Nerf aiming for a larger audience (given the success of Nerf Rebelle), and increased accuracy. The accuracy alone has me piqued, with Elite darts (including suction cup) and Mega darts lacking in that department (in my opinion.) I still hold Dart Tag velcro darts as some of the most accurate darts I've ever had the pleasure to use. The price is agreeable too, given Nerf's recent high value items (Terradrone, Rhino-Fire, Cam-ECS). I look forward to more on these blasters, and welcome the new tech. Although, yet another ammo type to stock up on.

Zombie Strike:

New firing modes! DOOM. DOOM. DOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!

NERF ZOMBIE STRIKE BIOSQUAD ZR-800 ABOLISHER Blaster 
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $29.99/Available: Fall 2015)

Beat back the zombie hordes using three kinds of ammo with the ZOMBIE STRIKE BIOSQUAD ZR-800 ABOLISHER blaster. This epic blaster allows fans to fight back using ZOMBIE STRIKE darts, ZOMBIE STRIKE BIOSQUAD zombie repellent or water. No matter where or how the zombies attack, NERF fans are ready to take them down with the ABOLISHER blaster. Simply attach the ZOMBIE STRIKE BIOSQUAD zombie repellent canister to the blaster and pull the trigger. Repellent canister can also be replaced with the included refillable water canister. Available at most major retailers and HasbroToyShop.com.

Abolisher on top, Eraser lower

 NERF ZOMBIE STRIKE BIOSQUAD ZR-100 ERASER Blaster 
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $19.99/Available:Fall 2015)

Take down zombies two ways with the ZOMBIE STRIKE BIOSQUAD ZR-100 ERASER blaster! Blast away the undead with ZOMBIE STRIKE darts, or unleash a steady stream of BIOSQUAD zombie repellent to keep them at bay. Simply attach the ZOMBIE STRIKE BIOSQUAD zombie repellent canister to the blaster and pull the trigger. Includes 3 ZOMBIE STRIKE darts and 1 can of ZOMBIE STRIKE BIOSQUAD zombie repellent. Available at most major retailers and HasbroToyShop.com.

As a side note, additional cans of Zombie Repellent will be available in 3.8 oz cans for $5.99
 
The addition of silly stri ZOMBIE REPELLENT is a new feature for Zombie Strike. Two blasters, the ZR-800 Abolisher and ZR-100 Eraser both use this new feature, fired by the trigger on the blaster. Each blaster fires darts much like the Demolisher launches rockets, by using a pump as the firing mechanism. While that isn't my favorite thing to hear (I find mechanisms like that throw off my aim), I'll give these blasters a chance all the same before I make a final decision. The repellent is an interesting idea, and I'm all about seeing a brand try new things, especially when it's Nerf.

That being said about the new feature, my favorite thing out of Zombie Strike this year is THE DOOMINATOR. Sure, it's yet another single shot blaster and yes it shares a similar feature as the Flipfury, but it's bigger and the design has enough of a twist that I can forgive the repetition.



"Doom"
THE DOOMINATOR. $39.99, 4 rotating drums, 6 darts apiece = 24 rounds of pump-action fury. Additionally, the foregrip handle can be relocated in different positions on the pump, if you are so inclined.

Modulus:

A quick quote on how Modulus relates to the existing Nerf N-Strike/Elite lines: 

"We have many exciting new innovations on the Nerf brand in 2015, introducing new segments and differentiated play patterns that deliver the same quality and performance consumers love. With this rapid product innovation and taking consumer feedback like more open packaging into consideration, we recognize that there is some confusion between our many segments.   We are working to enhance and evolve our branding and packaging to help minimize consumer confusion." - Nerf, in an email to me asking about why the Modulus is being labeled separately from the Elite line (but the ranges remain similar!)

The Modulus is Nerf's focused attempt at cashing in on one of the biggest trends this year (if you believe the Toy Fair chatter); customization. While past blasters in the N-Strike and N-Strke Elite lines offered tactical rails/stocks/sights for players, Modulus takes that concept and offers customization as the main focus. You start with one main blaster and add the parts on, as opposed to having the customization be secondary (and somewhat lost) in the myriad of N-Strike blasters. Modulus branding seems to draw the focus to the customizing aspect of playing with blasters. To me, that explains why the blaster itself is very similar to the Nerf Stryfe, being semiautomatic and a flywheel blaster as opposed to something with a different functionality that might minimize the impact of the custom aspect of the line.

The shield and in-stock blaster of the "Strike & Defend" pack is very nicely done (and my favorite of them all), although to some degree I think I liked the placement on the Longshot's infamous front blaster. There's just one less step in firing that shot than having to remove the stock to fire the backup in the Strike & Defend. Each of the "upgrade kits" (Flip Clip, Stealth Ops, Strike & Defend, Long Range) will be about $14.99, and the cost of the base Modulus blaster (includes scope, stock w/additional clip storage like a Recon, drop-down grip, and 10-dart banana clip) is supposed to be $49.99. All in all, that's a pretty hefty price tag if you want the complete set, even for the numerous configurations available. But the amount of custom options is now increasing for those who like their Nerf with a side order of accessories.


 

 Rebelle:

The highlight of the Nerf Rebelle showroom for me wasn't the Arrow Revolution, but the Codebreaker, seen here:

Trigger lock


 Aside from the aesthetics (another crossbow, yes, but a fine looking one) the lock on the Codebreaker is pretty smart thinking. Too often in the past I've left blasters out on my wall, table, desk, only for some cheeky guest to grab hold of it, load it up, and open fire on unsuspecting victims (me). With the Codebreaker, that ends! Or at least, it should make it less likely to happen. While I love random acts of Nerf, sometimes you just don't want people grabbing all your blasters and opening fire. Other blasters such as the Secret Shot, Tri Threat (a Super Soaker blaster), and Dolphina were on display, but those are all readily available in stores currently (if you don't see them yet, give it time, they're on the way). In short, Nerf Rebelle has really stuck with the intended audience and made an impression, so look for more blasters in the future. Whatever your feelings may be on the heavy influence of bows or the colors, the line works for Nerf and serves to expand their brand into other audiences. Other blasters such as the Courage were not on display at Toy Fair, so I can't comment on how they performed or how much I like them.

Mega:

The Nerf Mega line had a few new additions, such as the BigShock and Cycloneshock (both available now), and the Rotofury complete with slam-fire capability is due out later this year. Look for the full reveal I previously released here:



Elite:


Yes, the Crossbolt was a nice blaster, but Elite has my attention because of this - 


The dedicated "Rocket Launcher" in the Nerf N-Strike Elite Thunderblast. MSRP: $24.99, available this Fall. Shoots rockets up to 60' with a quick pump from the undermounted handle. Simple and ridiculous size ammo, which for me is a winning formula. While not quite the Titan I hoped for, the emergence of new rockets for the Nerf line (starting with the Demolisher) has added a new element to some special gametypes, and just got a little more fun in general. I loved shooting people with Titan rockets, and the new smaller rockets are a lot of fun as well. I indeed plan to support this blaster, as if it succeeds then more blasters that utilize this ammo are sure to follow.


NERF N-STRIKE ELITE CROSSBOLT Blaster
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $24.99/Available: Fall 2015) 
Real crossbow action meets N-STRIKE ELITE performance with the first-ever clip-fed NERF crossbow. The N-STRIKE ELITE CROSSBOLT blaster features a 12-dart clip and fires up to an impressive 90 feet! 
Opponents won’t stand a chance with this high capacity multi-firing blaster that sends darts flying into action!
Comes with 12 N-STRIKE ELITE darts. Available at most major toy retailers nationwide and at HasbroToyShop.com.


NERF N-STRIKE SnapFire Blaster (not shown at Toy Fair)
 
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $4.99/Available:Spring 2015)
Catch the competition off guard with the N-STRIKE SnapFire blaster! This stealth blaster comes with 2 N-STRIKE ELITEdarts that can be quickly loaded, or stored on the blaster for easy access while sneaking into position. The SnapFireblaster is made for mobile, fast-moving missions! Available at select toy retailers nationwide and at HasbroToyShop.com.



NERF N-STRIKE DOUBLEDOWN Blaster (not shown at Toy Fair, though I believe it is available already in places) 
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $9.99/Available:Spring 2015)

When battles heat up, fans can rely on the one-handed design of the N- STRIKE DOUBLEDOWN blaster. This compact blaster allows for quick reloads with one hand and will fire 2 N-STRIKE ELITE darts in a row thanks to its double tap action. Blaster includes 4 N-STRIKE ELITE darts. Available at select toy retailers and at HasbroToyShop.com. 

Most notably in these last two descriptions is the pricing, outside of the Jolt, a Reflex, or a Triad, or Doublestrike I can't recall many blasters that don't break into the $10 range, at least for Nerf. Yes, they exist but are often very small blasters. These look to be along the same lines size wise (note the Jolt-like handle on the Snapfire) but it's a bit newish, and for the right price for someone looking to buy a lot of blasters for a party or some other mass quantity reason.


To sum it all up, Nerf has been busy! Busy innovating and getting some new spins on old tricks (Flipfury on steroids in the Doominator, "repellent"/water in blasters, single shot blasters galore with new gimmicks, an easier to load Agent Bow in the Arrow Revolution, etc.) but still providing a lot of options on how to play and now along a varied range of prices. No remote controlled beasts this year or integrated tech (like the Cam-ECS), but the Rivals line is a pretty big jump, FPS wise compared to past years and a gamble at trying to attract older folks more than the current blasters already do. And nope, no new Vortex blasters along any of the lines this year (including Zombie Strike), not even a new paintjob or anything like that. Nerf hasn't said one way or another whether the Vortex line is being worked on any longer, so it's one of those "wait and see" moments; if more blasters are made for Vortex, awesome. If not, well, it was fun while it lasted (I do love dual wielding Nitrons, after all.)

Whew! Thanks for hanging in there, if you have questions on anything I mentioned here, be sure to leave it in the comments. I've got videos to work on, and an announcement later today, so be sure to come back soon, y'hear?

-Stampede

This isn't the end, not by a longshot. I've got plenty more showrooms to go through (K'Nex, Zing, Marshmallow Shooters, etc.) and will post as I get them done. Thanks again! More pictures are available in my gallery -Nerf New York Toy Fair 2015





Monday, February 23, 2015

New York Toy Fair 2015 - In A Nutshell

New York Toy Fair 2015 in a Nutshell (The Good, the Not so Good, the.... What?)
Vas The Stampede

'Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.' - Norman Vincent Peale

And there was a lot of shooting (darts, rounds, water pellets, zartz) at this year's North American International Toy Fair. This makes 5 years now I've gone to the show and as always, I come back saying, "wow." So here's a quick rundown on what I saw, and some initial impressions.

Quick note: As always, this trip is not sponsored by any of the companies. No one pays to fly me out. This is all out of pocket for me on this trip to ensure I am covering what I want and saying what I need to say.

BRANDS:
There were a LOT of blaster type/associated brands that caught my eye this year. The Story So Far (in no particular order), followed by a taste/preview of things I liked (+) and/or didn't like (-). As I intend to give each brand their own post, these tidbits are shots from the hip, what I readily recall.
  • Nerf (Hasbro)



    • DOOMINATOR +++++++++ (the amount of +s are completely arbitrary, but may relay my sense of enthusiasm) 
    •  Modulus blaster by itself - (it's a Stryfe, even if you can make additions)
    • Strike & Defend blaster (Literally, a "Stock Blaster") +
    • Rival line ++++++++++++++++
    • Zombie Strike silly s Zombie Repellant + 
    • Rebelle Codebreaker + 
    • Tek Strike +
    • Rotofury doesn't have a stock -
 
BOOMco Needler - Halo

  • BOOMco (Mattel)
    • Halo blasters ++++
    • Spinsanity +
    • One of the new blasters is another triggerless/slam-fire affair
  • Zing 
    • New airborne toys/planes +
    • Firetek Styled Zano Bows +
    • Some additional roleplay items to the "Legends" line +
    • Firetek Style Sky Ripperz+
  • XC Shot/Bug Attack (Zuru)
    • Bug Attack will have included targets for additional hilarity +
    • New blasters for XC Shot (the ones with clips) were prototypes and not firing -
    • Increased ranges for XC shot blasters + 
  • Primetime Toys
    • Not much new there, as a lot is still in the works. I did get video of the Talon, but Primetime promises some new product in the next few months. They did address some reports about the dart adhesive being problematic, and insist they have since fixed the problem. Comment below if you still find Primetime Toys streamline darts to fall apart, I'm sure they'd be interested to know. The Scorpion was one of their first forays going out of the Airzone line, and they plan to do more.
  • K'Nex +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
A springer styled shotgun of their own.

    • I mean, seriously. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 
      • With a little working knowledge, I'd be interested to see how the standing K'Nex community excels with these blasters. They're built with "regular" blaster play patterns in mind, with the intent of being able to withstand a drop/fall/hit like any other blaster currently on the market. DROP TEST HERE.
      • What makes me a believer? That one of the folks that works for K'Nex made a multi-barreled blaster (that fired on a single trigger pull after priming each individual plunger tube) out of the available kits. It took some work he said, but it worked out. To me, that spoke volumes of the potential of builds in this line. With enough plungers, connectors, rods, who knows what is possible. Also, look forward to their promotion coming this spring, to really find the best K'Nex fans out there! 
  • Marshmallow Shooters

  • Marshmallow Shooters Orballistics ammo
    • ORBALLISTICS. Reportedly going to get 50' flat, and straight no less.+++
    • Foam ammo finally. Apparently the feedback was a lot of people didn't like wasting food, so this is now a thing for their line. 
  • Discovery Kids
    • TBD: they had a number of blasters in boxes, nothing to demo. The designs looked like stuff we've seen, but if the price point is right (also, they might have some interesting licenses) I won't discount them out right.
  • Moose Toys (From what they told me, they have a blaster in the works. Not your typical fare, but I'll get more info on this later.)  
    • TBD
  •  NXT (Maya Group, from the way I see it, this is a reboot of the Xploderz line)
    • This iteration of water pellet shooters from Maya Group FINALLY HAZ A TRIGGER. After all this time, and the first run with BlasterPro, these blasters get a trigger. I will admit, I had misgivings about previous Maya Group blasters, but these seemed on point. Although, paintballers might see something very similar here (at least, the gravity fed hopper shape on top. +


  • NXT Generation (Bows, crossbows, etc)
    • Some of the most solidly-built blasters/shooters I've seen, but the ammo to me leaves something to be desired. They require a closer look from me for a determination on this next set. The shotgun I reviewed was a little expensive for what you got, but it's a new year, with a new line of products. TBD

  • Ogo Sports (had a few interesting launchers, they might be good for objective-based gameplay) (N/A, as these are more for goals and objectives, and I see them as less for PvP.)
  • Hog Wild Toys (Power Poppers)
    • What is becoming a yearly standard, while these blasters are simplistic but freakin' hilarious. +
      Honorable mention, right here! Made me think of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit".

    By my count, that's about 13 different brands that made something blaster/launcher-related.
    There's a LOT of press release info to go through, photos, and videos but I'll release them all here! Stay tuned, as I will be releasing more galleries and videos this week (piece by piece, so as to not overwhelm you:)  and if you have any questions please leave in the (moderated) comments below!

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    FOAMME FATALES

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