Here’s everything we learned from the invite-only event!
On Wednesday, June 18th we had the unique opportunity to participate in a Google Hangouts Q&A session with Hasbro’s Nerf marketing and design teams (reportedly, the first one ever). And while we’ll always have more questions than time (or confidentiality) will allow us to ask, we nonetheless came away answers to some of your questions, as well as teasers for a few items we can expect to see and hear more about later this year.
The first hands-on measurements of the new BOOMco Smart Stick darts from Mattel.
We recently posted the first in-depth North American review of a BOOMco product from Mattel, the BOOMco Farshot (Dual Defenders). Since then, we have received numerous requests for more detailed measurements of the BOOMco Smart Stick darts themselves, as few of them have yet to reach retail in the states.
We’ve fired-up our American Weigh Scales AWS-100 precision scale (with 0.01g resolution and calibrated with a 100g weight), our Carrera Precision CP5906 digital calipers (with accuracy from .001″ to 6”), and our Competition Electronics Pro Chrono (with a velocity range of 21-7,000 feet per second and accuracy of +/- 1%) to provide the NIC with the most in-depth measurements of the new BOOMco Smart Stick darts currently available. What we found might be a little surprising.
In the minds of most consumers, the words “water gun” typically conjure up images of traditional squirt guns, or perhaps some of the newer piston, air-pressure, or battery-powered designs. And while underdog favorite Buzz Bee Toys has produced no shortage of water weaponry using each of these more traditional systems, since 2006, they’ve also produced a handful of spring-assisted water guns that have demonstrated some unique capabilities.
The most recent spring-powered water gun to come from Buzz Bee is the Water Warriors Steady Stream 2. Released in 2012, the Steady Stream 2 is an update of the original Steady Stream blaster that was brought to market in 2007 (and re-released in an updated color scheme in 2008). With the Steady Stream 2 already being a personal favorite among some of our staff, the recent arrival of an additional sample unit from our friends at Buzz Bee gave us reason to finally give this blaster the full review it deserved.
Though fun in its own right, this one flies in the shadow of another great Zing product.
By now, most of our readers know we’re huge fans of Zing Toys. From our initial eye-opening experience with them at Toy Fair, though our quick look at their unique X6 Zoom Rocketz Launcher, all the way to our highest-scoring product review to-date, the Sky Ripperz, we just can’t get enough of the fantastically simple, high-performing products from Zing. So this time around, we thought we’d give their Sky Gliderz a try.
The Sky Gliderz share a lot in common with the Sky Ripperz we just reviewed, mostly notably the same primary launch mechanism: the Rip Zip Launcher. Essentially a simple bungee-type launch loop mounted to a plastic handle, this uncomplicated device is the “secret sauce” behind the Sky Gliderz, giving them much of the same performance potential as the Sky Ripperz, but with more of an emphasis on aerial acrobatics than all-out distance.
Still a fun, high performing blaster, despite some minor quality issues.
A couple months ago, we gave a fairly gushing review of the Buzz Bee Air Warriors Extreme Air Max 6, a moderately-sized air-powered blaster that was really fun to use. It was a welcome change-of-pace from the spring and flywheel-based models we typically test, and pumping the blaster provided a very tactile, engaging experience that is absent in the competition’s models.
Unfortunately, in our attempts to reach the distance claims advertised by Buzz Bee, we ended up breaking the pump handle in our sample, which negatively impacted our review. The folks at Buzz Bee advised that their customer service team has never had any reports of this issue, and they were kind enough to send us another sample of the Air Warriors Extreme Air Max 6 for our own use, even though the review had already been posted. We thought it appropriate, therefore, to update our readers on our experience with this second example.
We made no secret of the fact that one of our favorite experiences at Toy Fair 2014 came from our time with the folks at Zing Toys. Among all of the products we got to try out at their booth, there was one item in particular that impressed the heck out of us—the humble Sky Ripperz rockets with Rip Zip launcher. This modestly-priced toy is claimed to have a 250’+ firing distance, with nothing more than a pull of a bungee loop and a flick of the wrist for propulsion. Naturally, we could hardly wait to verify this ourselves.
With summer finally upon us, and a holiday weekend at-hand, the arrival of a small package from our friends at Zing earlier this week came just in time. Here, finally, was our chance to test out the Sky Ripperz for ourselves. And we’re happy to report, the Sky Ripperz and Rip Zip Launcher is everything we had hoped, and more. In fact, it could be the most fun we’ve had with a toy this simple in a very, very long time!
The Water Warriors Colossus 2 from Buzz Bee Toys is, as its name would imply, a follow-up to the first-generation Colossus released in 2012, the original version of which was one of the biggest water blasters to ever hit the market. Both that original Colossus and this second-generation model are unique in having an individual air pressure chamber, a 3-position nozzle, huge water reservoirs, and a claimed range of 40 feet. They also share controversial styling, questionable ergonomics, and a few gimmicky features.
There’s no question that in the eyes of many consumers, “bigger is better.” And with packaging that boldly proclaims “Blasts up to 40 ft.; Holds up to 74 oz. of water; Around 6 ½ pounds when filled,” Buzz Bee is banking on superlatives to make the Colossus 2 the king of the water blaster jungle. But when you go beyond the marketing bullet points, does the big boy actually deliver?