One of the odder things I spotted at Toy Fair was a launcher for rubbery “Slimeballs”. When I spotted it, I went into the booth and talked with the sales rep, and tried out the prototype. IT WAS AMAZING. Ever since then, I’ve been waiting for it to appear on store shelves, with only passing mentions in online literature. Now, it’s sitting on Target shelves for $20, and the final product is every bit as pleasing as the original.
NOTE: This review is heavily skewed toward the modding community. With most large air blasters now off shelves, this presents an exciting option for future projects. Please be aware of this bias as your read the review.
Several companies have tried to do Nerf experiments better than the original, with varied results. Nerf’s Rebelle line hit with instant success; Lanard Total Crush and Buzz Bee Wingz did not. Nerf’s Mega series is still going strong; Buzz Bee’s Air Max line, despite being better in many ways, fell to the wayside.
Now there’s a blaster from Prime Time Toys meant to compete with Rival. All things considered, it’s a wonderful entry for testing the waters. It’s flawed, but it’s fixable. And in the end, it works great.
Firstly, a slightly late update on a San Diego Comic Con reveal. In following recent trends in movie promotion Hasbro has decided on another movie-themed blaster. This time, it’s Deadpool! Because if you’re going to have a movie tie-in, why not do it with a property that’s both massively popular and involves a main character that blasts away his enemies?
Interestingly, the Kronos name was trademarked by Hasbro (serial number 87261837) in December of last year, but only under “Toy action figures and accessories for use therewith”, not specifically for blasters.
NERF RIVAL DEADPOOL KRONOS XVIII-500 2 Pack
(Ages 14 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $59.99/Available: Spring 2018)
Intensity. Attitude. Tacos. It’s Nerf Rival meets Deadpool, and that means the battle will never, ever be the same. These 2 blasters have the look — and the snarkiness — of Deadpool, that don’t-call-me-a-hero bad boy from Marvel Comics. Open the breech to load 5 high-impact rounds into each blaster, then prime them with the spring-action cocking mechanism, take aim, and blam go the badder guys! Each blaster sends the rounds blasting into battle at 90 feet per second (27 meters per second). The blasters also have a trigger lock and tactical rail. The special edition box captures the personality of Deadpool with scribbled comments and cross-outs “written” on the box as if by Deadpool himself, and is designed for displaying and storing the blasters, rounds, and taco-shaped instructions. Experience the intensity and attitude of the Nerf Rival Deadpool Kronos XVIII-500 blaster 2-pack! Available Spring 2018 exclusively at GameStop and Best Buy.
In Other News…
In addition, after buying most of the new versions of darts now available (Buzz Bee, Dart Zone, etc), I’m proud to announce that it’s time for a new dart comparison test! Note that this will not reflect the prices, or the availability of bulk darts from off-brand sources (for example, Accustrike darts are expensive. Off brand Chinese copies have been seen for as little as $45 for 1000). It will also reflect STOCK performance for the most part, simply because there are so many additional factors that can contribute to dart behavior when modded blasters become involved. ESPECIALLY with flywheel blasters.
Finally, I have lots of footage to sort through, both from HvZ events and from my visit to the SENC! It’s been a long while since I got to use my NIC-style blasters, and the long trip was well worth it. In addition, this past weekend’s Youngstown State University HvZ Intivational was one of the best I’ve ever attended. The zombies played great, the humans didn’t make any obscenely stupid moves, and the game progressed wonderfully to a technically winnable final stand. Naturally, the zombies overwhelmed the few humans left. But we put up a great fight trying to complete the objectives and elected to just go down shooting when the last two (myself and Jesse from Red Team) found themselves still alive.
The Nerf fall lineup is just starting to appear on shelves, as well as online at retailers like Walmart and Amazon. Among those entries is the newest member of the Modulus family, the Regulator. Its main selling point is select fire; a switch changes between single shots, three round burst, and fully automatic firing modes. In addition, many new attachments are included. The end result is a product with lots of promise but occasionally mixed results.
I first got a hold of the Regulator on a trip to Canada, and brought it with me to a war with the Naptown Nerf group. In addition to the main blaster, the Regulator came with clips, a stock with storage, two barrel attachments, and a modular carry handle/extension. The barrel attachments can also serve as faux scopes, if the user feels so inclined.
As usual, the plastic quality is excellent. In addition, the stock is a vast improvement over the original Modulus stock. It is relatively short (keep in mind I am adult reviewing a toy), but it’s also very sturdy. The magazine well sits farther forward compared to other blasters (Stryfe, Rapidstrike, etc), requiring a minute to adjust in terms of hand placement. The magazine release sits directly in front of the firing trigger. For large fingers, that will be extremely awkward. The fire select switch sits farther in front of that, and can be toggled by your trigger finger or your off hand.
Dart, Dart, Dart Dart Dart, DAAARRRTTTTTSSSS
Results out of the box were less than stellar at first. Strangely, I was having trouble feeding the included darts from the included magazines! Using other magazines solved that problem. I may have simply had a bit of bad luck; I hope that isn’t a common occurrence. It should be noted that if the darts don’t advance in the magazine within a few seconds, the unbroken IR beam within the shell will be interpreted as meaning “empty magazine”, and the light on the back with flash red. In addition, the belt will have been running for several seconds. So if you’re in a quiet or low light environment, all attempts at stealth are futile.
The trigger responds to the engaged setting. On single dart and burst fire, simply tapping the main trigger is enough. Even if you release the trigger, the blaster will continue cycling until the right number of darts have been fired. There is a noticeable lag in firing, due to the on-board chip having to process the commands before engaging the belt.
When working correctly, the Regulator does its job adequately. Singled shots can hit up to 100′ at an angle, as can the first parts of three round bursts. Firing several rounds consecutively will, however, bog down the flywheel motors. Like the Hyperfire before it, the Regulator has a high rate-of-fire feeding mechanism (belt) but a low rate-of-fire firing mechanism. Previous full-auto blasters like the Rapidstrike may have fired more slowly, but they could handle it. With these belt-fed dart blasters, you can really hear the stock motors struggling.
Thus we hit the real problem Hasbro faces with belt-fed dart blasters: higher torque motors are a necessity, but common alkaline batteries simply can’t supply enough current. It’s possible that Hasbro could offer a smaller version of the Rival NiMH rechargeable battery pack, but that would require adding bulk to the shell, with future blasters featuring a removable alkaline battery tray. I really don’t see that happening any time soon.
The Regulator is a fine blaster platform, and its features work as advertised. So on the basis of meeting claims, I can’t help but give it a recommendation. The attachments are solidly built and (in the case of the stock) better than previous versions. The various fire settings all work. The warning light for empty magazines and the slow trigger response are annoying, but they’re not dealbreakers.
Casual Nerf fans and little kids will love this. But the modder in me sees the ways in which the blaster could have been fully improved, and realizes that no matter how annoying those things might be, I have to accept some blasters as they are.
I won’t be using it in a war or HvZ event anytime soon, not without extensive work. But your mileage may vary.
We had a great turnout at MHvZ today, which resulted in some rather impressive hordes. We also tried out some new gamemodes. This Nerf Game Report goes into particular detail about the new gamemodes.
The Dreadbolt is an odd entry for Nerf’s 2017 Fall lineup. Until now, nearly all of the “arrow” blasters have been in the Rebelle line, fired almost exclusively from bows. The flight characteristics weren’t perfect, but they worked well enough. They also took advantage of the bow craze that happened alongside movies such as The Hunger Games. Now, however, most Rebelle blasters have been phased out, with arrow launchers largely gone.