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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Gearing Up! BlasterSmiths UK 1812 and 612 mag pouches

Not terribly long ago, in a country that seems increasingly near thanks to the jet and information ages... It is a period of unrest. Human survivors, striking out from secure shelters are winning minor victories against the shambling undead that wish to feast on thier delicious brains. During this conflict, blastersmiths and armorers have managed to engineer gear to make human fighters more effective in dealing with the living impaired, a force multiplier for humanity. Pursued by brain-munching zombies, humanity's fighters race from their fortifications to gather much needed supplies to sustain humanity in the face of those that death forgot....

It wasn’t that long ago that carrying extra mags for your Nerf blasters at a Humans vs Zombies game meant stuffing cargo pants with 6 round mags and hoping to not get caught reloading. With the advent of the Raider’s slamfire and 35 round drum, along with 18 round mags coming with the Stampede, things changed. Fire rates increased and competitive magazines no longer fit into the leg pockets of a pair of trousers. With this several different approaches came. Some stuck with thier 6 round mags, others started carrying their 18 round mags and drums in large ill fitting pouches, while still others re-purposed airsoft or military surplus gear to carry thier gear. A few others started engineering their own solutions, and some of those decided to sell their solutions to other players.

Monday, December 16, 2013

DIY: Dirt Cheap IFF patches

I was at Walmart browsing the craft section restocking my Velcro (I might have gone a little bit mad with power), then I spotted some colored outdoor gear patches, for patching raincoats, tents and the like.  It occurred to me that as easy as I had found it to add Velcro to things with fusibles, that I could probably make some team patches with those, by adding a little ingenuity.  After all the industrial strength Velcro I use has adhesive backing and so do the nylon patches.  All that was left was to attach them to my chosen battle apparel, which was easy, so I thought I would go ahead and make a tutorial of it.  For the tutorial I'm only making one color set of patches, but the process can be repeated to make as many color sets as you have material for!

1.  Gather your materials.  As with everything there are other ways to go about making these, but to make them the way I made them you will need:

6" self adhesive 2" width industrial strength Velcro for each color set of patches you intend to make.
1 roll of 2" width Stitch Witchery
1 pack multi color Bondex Pressure Sensitive Nylon Patches
1 garment to attach patches to (I used a hoodie)
Ironing Board
Iron
Scissors
Cloth you don't mind potentially ruining

2. Cut Velcro into 3" sections, two for each color of patch you are making

3. Grab a nylon patch, and two sections of hook side Velcro.

4.  Remove backing from the nylon and the Velcro.

5. Carefully place Velcro sections on the nylon, sticky side to sticky side.  Use a rolling motion starting at one end of the Velcro to reduce air bubbles.

6.  Cut them out and throw away excess nylon.

7. You're done making the patches, repeat for other colors.  Continue for instructions mounting the loop Velcro to your chosen battle garment.

8. Grab your Stitch Witchery and your loop side Velcro!

9. Peel the backing off of your Velcro.

10. Slap your Velcro onto your Stitch Witchery.  Congrats you've just made iron on Velcro!

11.  Follow the instructions of your iron on adhesive to mount the Velcro about 2' below the shoulder seam.

12.  Slap a colored patch onto your chosen battle garment! Enjoy

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Gearing Up!: Condor 25 Round Shotgun Reload Platform

When I started with the Gearing Up! project I knew from the outset that the mission was to take on some of the risk of trying out existing accessories.  Try them out so you don't have to so to speak.  Some things work, others don't, and others are still a little more complicated.  The Condor 25 Round Shotgun Reload platform is one of those things.  As such this won't be as much a review of the product itself as information on how to adapt the product's concept to foam warfare

The platform mounts very securely and unobtrusively to MOLLE platforms, and as such will also mount to most belts simply by feeding the belt through the loop created when the MOLLE straps are properly woven.  I like the orientation of the shell holders and love the way the pouch stays out of the way when not being used but holds ammo ready to be retrieved.  Such a thing makes all the difference in the world when the undead are after your brains.

The platform obviously wasn't designed to work with Elite darts, and this is where we run into trouble.  Shotgun shells are shorter, thicker, harder and heavier than Elite darts.  This means a few things for us:


    BuzzBee Shells standing in
    for shotgun shells
The loops are spaced for the shorter shotgun shells, leaving the elite darts overlapping the rows.  When I load mine I skip the middle row on each side of the pouch and still run into some spacing issues.  This means of course that the pouch is dependent on you view, too short for 3 rows or too long for 2 rows.  With them spaced out from each other it can be a fumbling experience to find your darts when you need them in that excess real estate.

The loops are about 50% wider than one would expect for an Elite dart.  And under most circumstances this is not a bad thing.  The loops are tight enough to hold a dart without risking crushing and deforming the dart.  However the loop spacing isn't the most consistent thing in the world, meaning that some of the loops are a bit wider, taking the dart fit from just right to too loose.  This wouldn't be too bad at all if the rows were spaced a the right distance for elites, then they would just sit on top of one another inside their cozy loops.  With the excess space however they can fall out of the loops.  The spacing however is less critical for a shotgun shell because it can be held far tighter due to is hard shell and dense innards.

If you're the local BuzzBee aficionado
you're in luck.
And this brings us to the weight issue.  Shotgun shells are much heavier than Elite darts.  I don't think it would be stretching much if at all to say an order of magnitude heavier.  The upper portion of the outer section of the pouch is designed to flop down when opened, hanging four shells to the outside of the pouch where they can be easily grabbed.  Our problem here is of course that our darts aren't heavy enough to hang that way on weight alone.  I have a solution to this that I'll get to in a bit.  Additionally once you use the upper eight darts, those on the flap and those on the upper row of the back of the pouch, you have to rip the velcro of the rest of the pouch open to get to any further shells.  This leaves the outer side of the pouch flopping around below, without enough weigh on it to stabilize it when you want to access two thirds of the darts in the pouch.

Hook fastener to hold the flap open
My solution to the lack of weight is fairly simple.  Add hook side velcro to the outside of the pouch front, and divide the pouch front into three sections instead of the current two.  This way when the pouch is opened, the outer section can be secured against the outside of the pouch, and when the first section is emptied, the outside can be pulled down further to reveal the second rows of ammo.  This would also leave less flopping around when one goes for the last rows.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Gearing Up!: Some Assembly Required

Ladies and Gents, thanks for tuning in once again to Animal's Rock Block... Ah screw that I'm a terrible DJ.  Welcome one and all to another chance for Animal to stand foolishly upon a soapbox.  Today we're talking about chest rigs and vests, more specifically why I use one, and a little about how one lays their pouches out on one.

"Firebirds" (1990)  I promise you it makes sense in context.
Before we go any further I should go ahead and share a little personal information:  Due to the genetic lottery, I'm right handed like most of you.  Unlike most of ya I'm left eye dominant.  Unless you use some sort of monocular device like a scope, night vision, or head mounted display you can go your entire life without ever being impacted by eye dominance.  For an example in media of how this might impact you, check out the 1990 film "Firebirds" with Nicholas Cage and Tommy Lee Jones.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

An Open Letter to Cottage Gear Makers

Hello,

My name is Owen Atkin, you may know me as Animal from Coastal Bend Action Sports. If not it doesn’t matter. Though this letter will often refer to me and my decision making, this letter as a whole is not about me. This letter is about how to get my patronage, and through that my money. Listening to me won’t necessarily guarantee getting into my wallet, since there is still competition between makers to consider, but its a start and makes you a contender for my cash.

As a writer for a blog that focuses on gear that supports the use of blasters, rather than blasters themselves, I spend a chunk of time looking at both repurposing items from other sports and at the cottage industry that is making custom Nerf tactical gear. And of course I have to decide what to buy and not buy and who to buy it from. Some items are exclusive and others not.

When I purchase airsoft tactical gear from online airsoft mega-stores such as Airsoft GI and Evike, I generally accept a couple risks, such as the fact that my gear might not fit into it, and that is a risk I’m willing to take as a reviewer. I take the risk to find out what works, what doesn’t, and what’s garbage. They have wide selections, in dizzying arrays of colors, and in some cases sizes, all neatly categorized for browsing and indexed (to varying degrees of functionality) for searching. While it may not work for us as a community I can find the thing I was looking for.

Accompanying these of course are ads on the front pages all meant to draw customers to one item set or another, or advertise a special. These are signs that the website has a pulse, a sign that should i toss a few items in my basket and pony up my credit card information or PayPal (which is a proxy for ponying up financials), that I will receive goods in return.

I consider these two things to be absolute minimums for me to consider doing business with a website. Ease of finding the thing I’m looking for, and signs of currency. Nobody tries to go into a store when the lights are out and they haven’t been on in months. If there are signs of life I might chance looking about picking out a few items, and checking out with them, or I may simply ask questions about them to make decisions later. Having someone home to answer questions in a reasonably prompt fashion (yes I know you’re busy, give it a week), gives a store a leg up on the competition.

Facebook, with exception of appropriate apps, is not a store, nor is it a blog. Social media is for quick information and generation of interest in your products. Pictures meant to showcase a product in development, or to generate interest in a product now in stock, belong on your Facebook page. Quick notes or questions about products, setbacks, development, all good stuff but useless if not followed up on with a place to go where the customer can find out more! Link customers to your blog or store.

Blogs are not stores, they are places to share well thought out information about projects and products. Nor are they social media, something I have been a couple times guilty of forgetting. More information and pictures, explaining a bit about the product and what it does in particular, and how one might use it. Respond to comments, because the comment doesn’t just go to the person who wrote it, it goes to everyone that reads comments after them. Particularly make sure to link to the place from which your product can be purchased, whether thats a form that generates an email to you, the maker, an on site store front, or another store such as an Ecwid, Etsy or Ebay account.

Stores make it easy to find and buy the product. It should be easy to find the product you want, read a little about it to make sure it’s the right one, select options if any, and how much it costs. From there it should be easy to pull the trigger on an order. In short, your store is for people who already know what they want. If the order doesn’t go through the customer may want to talk to you about it, check your emails! Respond to them. And for heavens sake if it’s going to take more than a few weeks to get someone their stuff, communicate and ask if they are willing to wait that long.

To summarize the uses of social media, your blog/website, and your store are respectively: Show us the precious, Tell us about the precious, Give us the precious!

Sincerely,
Animal

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Condor MA2 Ammo/Dump Pouch

Source: Airsoft GI
Friends, Nerfers, Airsofters, countrymen, and those more distant than that, lend me your ears, for it it once again time that Animal got off his duff and wrote something. Or according to the lady that runs the counter at my local surplus store, bought something. I didn’t think that such a bad idea, since I had found a couple items I figured might be useful. Their prices are a little inflated, but the inflation is less than the cost of shipping, and I get to walk away with the product immediately instead of aggravating my compulsion to stare at package tracking pages obsessively.
So I grabbed a Condor Shotgun Reload Pouch and a Condor MA2 Ammo/Dump Pouch. I’ll talk about the shotgun pouch later, it’s an interesting piece, but not the kind of thing everyone can use near universally. The MA2 is that sort of thing.

Part II - Molle and Pals - A Triumphant Ending - Sun Mountain Dojo

Part II - Molle and Pals - A Triumphant Ending - Sun Mountain Dojo:

'via Blog this'

Molle and Pals - A Tragic Beginning - Part I - Sun Mountain Dojo

Molle and Pals - A Tragic Beginning - Part I - Sun Mountain Dojo:  Just a fun little story i found while looking around and researching.  Was actually looking for a place that I could buy PALS panels to sew or bond into other gear for organization.

'via Blog this'

Friday, November 22, 2013

For a Few Dollars More...

Yes, I know, the title of an old spaghetti western is a cheesy title for a blog post on a comparison of the two most recent model revolvers of the Elite generation. I could have gone with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, but that is so very cliched by now.

A few months ago, a pair of new blasters came onto the market with relatively little official fanfare, but much anticipated and one of them much talked about by the community that likes to get their undies in a twist about anything remade in pink. These blasters of course are the Hammershot and the Sweet Revenge, both part of new sub-lines launched in 2013, Zombie Strike and Rebelle respectively.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

New Direction? Future Plans?

Not Really. Some ideas Animal and I have been knocking back and forth are going to be going into effect. I figured i'd clue our TWO followers and few readers in.

Something I've been thinking about for a couple of months now, and Basic Nerf just sorta put boot to butt to get me to make the change. As of this moment, this blog will also be covering other things. Currently, Shooters, specifically Co-Op. Ultimately, i'd like to see a "what can we take away front his and apply to our Action Sports Games. But between Cash flow issues, Hasbro's glacial release schedule, and work (Animal and I both work full time, and Yaz's schedule is always crazy, especially with Black Friday and Christmas coming up), we just don't have enough material to keep up.

Also, we're going to be getting some promotional items out to help support the blog, and hopefully, get a related business off the ground. He's working up something with Cafe Press, and we're designing a logo to be used for other things, like Ranger Bracelets (also called Survival Bracelets) and Keychains.  Once the business is up and running, part of the proceeds for that will be going, directly or indirectly, back into the blog as well.

Also, please folks, Give us your ideas. What do you want to see? What do you want to hear about? More Mods? more Reviews? what of? I'll get Animal to set up a page to submit ideas.

And Finally, our insane little family will be growing again. She'll get her own intro post later on, but we will shortly have an official Blaster Glamour Girl. Be nice, guys, she's my little sister (adopted), and she's almost as important to Animal and Yaz.

Just Touching base with people.

Gotta Bounce:
        Rebound

Hasbro: Just Missing the Goalposts

The below is a guest post written by our friend in Houston, JP Roth.  Editting and formatting by Animal.

Lately, Nerf has been on a bit of a roll when it comes to the more “casual” games. While they are never going to be able to compete with homemade blasters, things like the Rapidstrike, Stryfe, and Elite Alpha Trooper have been very well-received by the HvZ crowd and presumably by Nerf’s traditional target audience as well. It’s very easy to say that, outside of the fiasco that is the unfortunate Centurion, Nerf has never been better.

Not that Rapid Strike, the other one
Source: SBNC
And yet, they still have managed to fail to adequately address one vital area of, well, Nerf (foamsports, HvZ, RvB, what-have-you) that has left people spending money elsewhere. Hasbro would undoubtedly like to increase their profits, which makes this lapse even more baffling. I’m talking about “gear” and accessories here, people.

(Author’s Note: It should be made blatantly apparent that virtually none of this applies to NIC-style wars, where actual Nerf-brand products don’t feature much if at all, and where a single pump-action hoppered primary is really all a player will ever need barring breakages.)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Holiday Chea-- I mean Cheer!

With the Holiday season coming upon us with ominous certainty like a zombie horde, I figured I’d share a little info on how to save yourself a little bit of cheese on your gear. Not quite the same as shiny new blasters under the tree or what ever you do, but you’ll appreciate it when having quick access to your mags keeps your brain from being under the the Christmas tree of the undead.

If like me you have been doing a lot of online shopping to find gear that fits our big orange magazines, you’ve noticed that you can’t seem to get everything in the same place. That’s okay, the marketplace wasn’t made for us.

Those of you who remember my Golem and Dragonspine reviews will remember that I got them through Airsoft GI. These items and more can be had for 20% off during the holiday season with coupon code “holiday20”.

And more recently I reviewed a pair of holsters from Evike. Both of these units can be had for 25% off using coupon code “epicdeals”.

Right now I don’t have any further recommendations, but I will list deals pages for other sites below.
Airsplat
Airsoft Megastore is running a Fall clearance sale till the 30th. Could net yourself some cheap gear.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Blastersmiths UK, Development Blog: First Look: MkI 'Juliet' Tactical Vest

Blastersmiths UK, Development Blog: First Look: MkI 'Juliet' Tactical Vest: Mike gives us a first peek at the much whispered about Juliet LARP plate carrier.  I've been looking forward to this system since I first spyed mention of it on the Blastersmiths UK blog months ago.

Juliet will be available for purchase Nov 27

Saturday, November 16, 2013

BSUK switch upgrade kit, explained!

The well spoken and technically gent from Foam Data Services, tries out Blastersmiths UK's Rapidstrike switch upgrade kit, and explains the proper wiring of this kit high performance kit.

Things are starting to get exciting in the Rapidstrike accessories field!

Click here to get your own Rapidstrike switch upgrade kit!

Slick Kit: Rapidstrike Intelligent Fire Control

When browsing the Books of Faces I found a very interesting discussion in my feed, started by a member of the Corpus Christi Nerf Group, in another group entirely. How that ended up on my feed I don’t know, I’m not shy in my admission of not really knowing of caring how facebook works. I went many years without an account, and only got one when my roommates irritated me enough to get one. But I digress

The conversation started oddly enough, with the member asking if anyone had done a semi-auto conversion on a Rapidstrike. This of course was met with the sensible suggestion that the mod in question was called “Buying a Stryfe.” Beyond that the conversation turned more serious, with various ideas on how to achieve the goal. Most weren’t terribly productive until a fellow, that I would later find out I knew previously from a certain nerf chat room, suggested that he had access to an electronics lab and might be able to fashion such a system onto a PCB using a timer and MOSFET.

I was now paying attention. Someone sounded like they knew what they were talking about, and dammit I was going to keep reading. As I continued discussions came up of using this system, on a PCB with a 3d printed switch cap, to give the Stryfe’s big brother selectable fire modes (Safe, Semi, Burst, Full Auto). He also made mention of the fact that such a PCB would require minimal soldering skills. Hooray for easy added utility!

Now I had to have one, and I don’t even own a Rapidstrike! So I contacted him via Teh Facebooks to ask for more information. Turns out that he could make such units for around 40 dollars (his number plus some padding because I like to be conservative with numbers) "dependent on volume", but had not yet in the less than 24 hours before I contacted him yet laid the PCB out so details could not yet be had. Those interested in the system can contact email him to inquire. I’ll be ordering one when the system is
ready, for installation into a friend's Rapidstrike, because I enjoy playing games more when my opponents are also well equipped.  I also like to fund good ideas.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Dart Zone: [Mod] Swarmfire Reliability

The Dart Zone: [Mod] Swarmfire Reliability: Up now: how to set up a Swarmfire rotation system to handle high-rate full auto, worn parts and adverse conditions without skipping a beat. ...

Friday, November 8, 2013

Gearing Up!: Holsters

Sorry this has taken a while to be written and offered up folks, been a busy few weeks. This week I bring a couple of reviews of holsters. When looking around for what holsters people use for their gear there was one name that kept coming up: Matrix Tactical Tornado Universal Drop Thigh Holster . Since I was looking for a solution to carrying my Hammershot, and had recently acquired a tactical belt from which to hang such a holster I took a chance on ordering a Tornado, as well as one other holster that was a bit more of a stretch, but would likely fit a particular blaster I had in mind.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Gearing Up!: MOLLE Logic

The polite Canadian gents over at ModernIntel.ca share a couple of the finer points of chest rig and vest arrangement.



Interestingly their paintball mags are of a similar size and round count to our dart mags!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gearing Up!: Gryffon Dragonspine tactical belt

And so children, gather 'round for it is once again time to regail your ears and eyes with another tail of product, ordered and tried. Ordered from Airsoft GI I did, a belt most frugal with which to keep my gear secure(d). When in half a fortnight's time it did arrive, I was thrilled as my gear it did not spill.

Source: Airsoft GI
Alright, thats quite enough of that! As you clever folks have no doubt figured out by now I'm talking about the Gryffon Dragonspine tactical belt. Being a fan of vests and chest rigs I wasn't expecting much from this belt, manufactured by the same folks that make the Golem chest rig I previously reviewed and decided to make my own, after all it's a belt, not a rig.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Gearing Up!: Tactical Performance Hydration Pack

Source: drlaurathompson.com's article on dehydration
Hydrate or Die. Seems a bit of an extreme way of reminding one to carry and drink plenty of water, but an accurate one. A frequent mistake of many varieties of athletes and/or people engaging in leisure activities such as hiking or camping is forgetting to bring with them an adequate supply of water. Whether this is simply because it never occurred to them that they would be without it where they were going or an innocent ignorance of the importance of keeping hydrated varies from person to person. It is not however a mistake often made twice because dehydration tends to be a rather unpleasant experience with symptoms that run from headaches similar to a hangover, to dizziness, fainting, and even if untreated DEATH. It's important enough that it is among the first things drilled into the minds of new military recruits and one of the last things ever forgotten.

Hydration systems range from pouches for water bottles, to canteens, to pouches and packs with dedicated water bladders and drinking tubes. I tend to favor the latter as hydration packs often have the additional utility of carrying additional stuff. That's more space to carry ammo for what ever type of game you are participating in, some food to sustain your energy for a long day in the field, some tools for maintenance, or even some video equipment to document your wacky adventures. All of that is generally held back out of the way while you do your work, held by straps that distribute the load over your body to minimize the impact of carrying it.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tactical Tag: Mod it NAOW!! - HammerShot

Tactical Tag: Mod it NAOW!! - HammerShot: So I'm starting up a new Mini-Series for Tactical Tag.  These are videos that will be shot via my iPod "in the field" of mom...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Zombiestrike Sledgefire, From a different angle

It's been a few weeks since the Sledgefire hit shelves stateside, so i thought it was time to finally sit down and try to put my thoughts on it to text. My opinion on it is rather multi-facetted as I will lay out over the course of this article, presuming of course I can keep my mind on track.

It bears mentioning that the wars i participate in are not the usual fare of most of the NIC, a group to which re refuse to be lumped despite multiple claims that simply blogging on Nerf makes me a member. The types of situations found in indoor tactical style games appear in no other form. In humans Vs Zombies you can come close, and it would only really apply in the early stages of the game, when zombies are few and shooting one effectively eliminates the threat if only for a short time. Popular wisdom that this blaster is utterly worthless in the face of a slavering horde of undead intent on feasting on your delicious brains is rather on the money.  It should also be said that we use a two hit elimination, not a single hit, as it encourages harder fighting.  In that light the benefits of a multi-dart blaster become quite obvious, as hitting someone with two or more darts is an instant elimination.

It is in such games that the Sledgefire finds its place, as a weapon for ambushing of one person to eliminate them from the field of play. It should be noted however that as with all other forms of play that the limited number of shells, and thier less than speedy reloading, makes for a weapon that should be used with discretion with a more conventional backup weapon. Pop around a corner, eliminate opposition, drop it to your sling and draw something else. Reload between encounters.

Lack of availability of extra shells does hurt the utility of this blaster, but I have found with the Barrel Break's dart carrier mounted to the rail, reloading the shells placed in the stock is easily done on the move. Keeping darts handy in that carrier will make your life far easier in the absence of refill packs.

On a more fun note I've found this thing nearly impossible to NOT twirl on reloads. It's just so well balanced and snaps shut so cleanly. It is impossible not to feel like a bonafide badass, even if you don't look it with your blue and orange blaster. Of course in practice with it on a sling it's impossible to twirl it, so your mileage may vary.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

GearingUp!: Battle Ready on a Budget

A little over a week ago I had an idea, inspired by Basic Nerf's review of the Condor chest rig he had been using. The idea of course was to do more reviews of airsoft gear re-purposed to Nerf, with an eye toward budget. With that in mind I laid out a couple standards for myself: the complete kit must of course with little to no modifications hold Nerf Magazines, and must be reasonably priced to get a new player out into the field with one blaster and a reasonable number of mags, with gear for 100 US Dollars (not counting shipping), the gear should also be able to accommodate an expanded load out of at least four magazines, with little to no modification.

For instance a Stryfe (20), 3 18rnd mags (30), 30 darts to account for dart loss (10). That leaves 40 bucks for ways to carry that gear. I wasn't expecting a lot for those prices, but I was surprised what a quick perusal of Airsoft GI found me.

So what was the first thing I ordered? Read more after the fold.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Foam Vs....

A few weeks ago we had some guys join our Nerf Facebook group, specifically to cause trouble. Interestingly, this caused our most active night ever among actual established members, having more discussions than any day previous. So, Thanks for that!

This did however put to motion a series of thoughts in my chaotic little mind. There's no doubt that we here enjoy our tactical flavored Nerf games, and could we ever get games together with people who aren't dickbags we would enjoy airsoft as well. I thought about the barriers to entry, and perks of foam over airsoft, and vice versa. Then I realized it had nothing to do with that.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Guest Post: Mega Centurion

The below is a guest post written by our friend in Australia, Trent
About a week ago I was walking through the local shopping center after going to the bank and decided to swing by the Toy Kingdom that I passed, next to the Elite blasters I expected on the shelves were a few things that caught my eye. Firstly a Zing Bow double pack for $50 and below that a few UMBs priced around $30. Funnily enough also on the shelf was a Rebelle dart refill pack but no other Rebelle products, What really was unexpected though was the stack of Centurions for $80 each just sitting on the shelf 5 deep. Living in Australia means sometimes blaster release dates can be a bit weird (I am still yet to see a RapidStrike or Stryfe on the shelves near me) but here in front of me was a Centurion with my name on it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

So, Pistols...

I bought some new ones. Not really big news but i thought I'd toss out some opinions on them, since I haven't written anything new in a while. I wanted to write on the Rapidstrike but really didn't find it that exceptional, though i'm sure that is going to draw some ire from all of our one readers. I would refer those readers to THIS article wherein I discuss how the Rapidstrike isn't really a game changer.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Rapidstrike CS-18 - Game Changer or Gimmick Gun?

Lots of other people have already covered the new Rapidstrike, but We havnt yet, and I need to start posting again. I'm composing this on my tablet at work, so I will blame any and all weirdness and/or errors on my favorite scapgoat, autocorrect.
Lets start with Style and segue from there. I'll give this one a A for Awesome. They only thing they could have done to mak me like  this one any more would have been to go all out and give it a SCAR stock, and paint the stupid stripe white. The muzzle is strongly reminiscent of the SCAR QCB, the stock is exceedingly comfortable (and thats saying something. I'm the proverbial "big guy". I usually feel like Agent J being issued the noisy cricket) and collapses enough to make a real difference in transport and handyness. I also switch shoot (ah the joys of ambidexterity coupled with dyslexia), and this feels much more snappy to swap from one stance to the other than my old standby, the 'Peede. It IS Less conducive to the one handed Schwarzenegger style of shooting that I enjoy so much.
Reliability takes a hit. The breech mechanism does tend to cause jams, though not frequently in my admittedly limited experience.  I also ran into a couple of other issues. The forward magwell safety hangs and causes a no power situation. There also seems to be a short that periodically cuts the power as well. I'll be looking into that when I dig into the guts of it.
Innovation is impressive, though im dissapointed that I wont be able to just drop the pusher mech into a stryfe. The pusher is smooth and consistant, and the dual voltage circuitry is a great idea that im going to be dropping into my stryfes. To expound, there is aperently a reisister in the primary power circuit bringing the voltage down when you spin it up with the acceleration trigger, and pulling the main trigger bypasses this part of the circuit,  allowing the motors to spin up to full just before you stuff a dart between the flywheels. Balance is much better than I expected with the forward battery compartment, though I use really cheap off brand c cells that have a very short life span and are very light to begin with. I honestly don't feel it would be that bad with Duracells. I also haven't found a barrel extention that works on it, though the only ones I've tried are one of Animal's homemades and the longstrike extention. I'll try a retaliator extention later, and a specter suppressor when I pick up an elite specter.
I have yet to battle test it, because its not a battle with 2 or 3 people, in my opinion. Thats just a skirmish, or possibly a scuffle. So no opinion there.
Lets see, to recap, on a 5 point scale:
Style: 5,
Comfort: 5,
Reliability: 2,
Innovation: 4.5,
Compatibility: D.
No score for battleworthyness.
That gives an Aggregate Score of  4.12 ish.,
note: Compatability gets a letter grade and isnt part of the aggregate score. I feel its important, but a low score doesn't affect the overall desirability.
For comparison, the Stampede would score around 4.75. S:5, C:4.5, R:4.5, I:5.
Overall, I Like the blaster, or will if I can get its issues sorted out. It also goes well with its stablemate, the Stryfe. Not stealthy, but sometimes thats not a drawback. I see lots of potential here,  and I hope I get to help tap it.
Later Yall,
          Rebound
                       'bound
                                 'bound

Edit: So, I tried to open the thing up to fix the issues I addressed above. Others have posted about this one, but it seems Hasbro is welding the Rapidstrike together. There are 2 spot welds on either side, on the faux dust cover thats above the pistol grip. I'll update again when I figure out the best way to open the thing.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Science: FIELD TRIP!!!

So here I sit, again, bored out of my mind looking form something to write about and out of the blue, like an errant tennis ball to the back of the head it hits me. A few months ago I did an article, comparing the fire rates of various blasters for the purpose of debunking the claim that the Rapidstrike (which is out in the wild now by the way) in its stock for was faster than a well modded Stampede. This study turned out some nice empirical data, but also did so in a vacuum, only shining a light on one aspect of the blasters tested.

Somewhere in the next few weeks I will try to get some friends together to do a comparison of what I would consider Primary Combat Blasters. Tests will be done in a building with a few targets in tight quarters, to test rate of fire, ease of reload, range, accuracy and ease of handling. Some of these are very hard to test, but by having a panel of people run the gauntlet with a variety of blasters, hopefully we can come up with some interesting findings.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Urban Taggers 2010-2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013

More zombie strike

Found this posted on SG Nerfs facebook page: this will be expanded on when I have a bit more time.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

And our family grows...

BIG welcome to my very old friend Otto Blix of Studio 187. He's a game designer, among other things, and will most likely be posting things from that perspective. Hes also come up with something called "Rogue Chess", which I can totally see as a "prop" for larp, this being enough for it to be here.
Take a bow, Blix, And welcome to this insane little family of mine.

The Dart Zone: [Rant] Range test witchcraft.

The Dart Zone: [Rant] Range test witchcraft.: Jump if you want to read this. Warning: Science content, frustration, and criticism of the NIC mainstream inside.

Monday, July 8, 2013

So England has very small doors.....

A bit late but UK Nerf War finally sent me a photo of him with a good portion of his gear, along with his spanking new Rapidstrike.  Looks quite compact, and by his account works well with 4 Trustfires.  He's having feed issues with the clear mag though.  Other mags work fine, drums not so much.  More to come later.
British homes have tiny doors?

The Document, Revisited

So.. This happened.  After a year in the abyss that is not the blog-o-sphere, A Gray House has returned to the land of the living like a less impressive cousin of a phoenix.  You may recall a previous post of mine, admittedly less even-handed than I had initially set out to do, highlighting a few of what I saw as potential problems for The Document.  Among that list was the lack of any of the secondary classes mentioned in the class document.  Shortly after I made that post, Gray House released those classes as well as his existing weapon class breakdown list.  And I'm here now to give my thoughts on these new classes.  The new classes are numerous, greatly varied and offer a variety of options to new players with not much experience, weaponry or ammo.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Rebelle: Can't Please Everyone....

No matter what one does, someone will be unhappy with it. Possibly a bit misanthropic, but such has been my experience with life. Whether it be people with worldviews based entirely in nonsense, people who get their news second hand, the knee jerk reaction crowd, or those that miss the point completely. I'm not sure what Buzzfeed Staffer Ashley Perez is, but after reading her article railing against sexism in the new Nerf Rebelle line I thought it would be worth while to deconstruct and respond to the points in her article. I rather hate those who get their traffic out of sensationalism like radio pundits, and this is either that or I have massively underestimated Ashley's level of bat-shit crazy. Here we go folks.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Quick tip on night games.

In the realm of action sports, games tend to go anywhere... as long as the law isn't involved. This goes without saying, but sometimes, there are conflicts with scheduling times and good locations during the day are almost always barred from use at night.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Gearing Up! Spotlight: UK Nerf War

I write today to highlight a friend of the blog's loadout.  Today we turn our collective eyes toward our buddy UKNerfWar.  Like us UKNerfWar has a tactical sweet tooth, favoring the paradoxically dynamic play created by a play space comprised of existing static barriers.

Like myself UKNW is by no measure a small man, yet he confounds me with his love of rushing.  However thier rules are different.  Rather than our two hit elimination rules, they run single hit elimination.  Neither is better than the other, and they give very different play experiences.  For instance, "DoubleTap!" as we call it tends to dicourage rushing, as the two hit elimination encourages players to stand their ground.  However both lend themselves to tight teamwork, coordinated movement, and smart flanking.

At first glance UKNW's loadout is less than optimal, even by his own experience.  His weapons are fairly standard, a pair of drop thigh holstered Strongarms, and a slung Elite Alpha Trooper (lucky bastard).  Extra ammo is carried on his back in a rucksack, with magazines arranged to peek out the top so that he can reach back and grab one as neccesary.  The ruck however has its share of problems, with magazines shifting as he runs, falling down into the pack, making them a bit less available than he'd like at times.

The place this loadout shines however is that it allows UKNW's battle-buddy to resupply out of UKNW's ruck.  His battle buddy can also get into the pack and sort it out for UKNW, and grab a couple mags while he's at it.

UKNW is still searching and tweaking for a better way to carry his gear, and while his loadout leave things to be desired in individual player utility it does much to bolster his teammates and never leave him without someone covering his back during his suicidal rushes.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

App Based Tacos

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tactical Tag: State of the LTAR: Part 1

Since we don't have a writer on our staff for the sport of Lazer Tag, I thought it would be worth while to post this here.  Especially as my four LTAR blasters sit idle.

Tactical Tag: State of the LTAR: Part 1: We're nearing a full year that the latest generation of Lazer Tag hit the shelves.  In August of 2012, Hasbro released the Lazer Tag AR...

The Document, Unstapled

Friday, June 7, 2013

Twitter, we have it.

We now have a twitter feed, click the button below to view and subscribe.  I don't see what twitter does that other services don't do better, but it's popular and I won't begrudge people who see more value in it than I do.  It's just a repackaging of the RSS feed from this website, but enjoy!!!!!!
twitter

Medic!!!



Another week, another article that I'm frankly unsure where to go with. Another odyssey into the weird and wonderful world of action sports. This time I'm setting out to talk about something you should have but hope to never use: First Aid Kits!

https://www.sordusa.com/image.php?type=P&id=16
Yeah, that'll do.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Of Rapidstrike and Markdowns

Monday, June 3, 2013

Is happiness a pistol at your side?

Well, here we are again.  It's always such a pleasure.  Here we are today to talk about a rather polarizing subject in foamsports: sidearms.  Whether you carry one or not, sidearms have a long standing significance predating foam sport.  In times long passed the sidearm was a symbol of authority, the provenance of gentlemen and officers.  Predating the firearm they were commonly swords and daggers, but that's a little further back than I intend to go.  In later years it came not only to refer to the pistol or cavalry saber but also to the service pistol of the common soldier, and that sets the stage for today's discussion.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Gearing Up! Airsoft part 2

Picking right up from where we left off last time, I mentioned safety should be a priority as well as affordability. In the realm of airsoft, there is one thing that is a NECESSARY to protect. Anyone taking guesses? That's right, its your eyes. In airsoft, battle situations can get so hectic that one errant BB gets caught in the wind and can blind someone to the point of disability (in a worst case scenario). Don't worry, there are plenty of options on how you protect yourself from those hazards.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Gear Up: Larp Edition

Ok, Yaz has Airsoft, Animal's got Nerf (partly because i've been concentrating on getting my kit together more than how to carry it), So, i'll take LARP.  Now, for those of you who aren't In The Know, LARP is an acronym for Live Action Role Playing.  White Wolf's Mind's Eye Theater, is an example, though I personally prefer Live Combat variants (it's more satisfying to hit someone with a padded stick than to play rock, paper, scissors with them).  Hmm, all this explaining makes me think we need to add a Glossary Page. Anyway, on with the article. We have some ground to cover, since unlike Yaz and Animal, i have to cover different genre's as well, though you can reference them for modern to near future stuff.  Also, this is all written from the point of view of being done in South Texas with all the heat and humidity that entails. Your milage and environment may vary.  Also, all images used in this article belong to someone else and are used without permission, and their use here is in no way intended to indicate ownership. I just sourced them from google.



Friday, May 24, 2013

YAY!! We Has Followers!!!

Sorry, im still a newb, so i get excited about little stuff, but i'm sorry, when someone as well known as Bazookafied and MLD shows up in my Followed list, i get a little giddy. Anyway, welcome, and hope you enjoy our View Askew (to borrow a Kevin Smiths company name)

Gearing Up! A trip to the surplus store


Here we are again, time for another article.  This time another in the Gear Up! series of articles, aimed at reviewing and recommending items to help player carry their gear.  This time, we talk about a couple basic items that make up my present loadout.

First up: Pouches!  Pouches are interesting things, coming in many many shapes sizes and uses.  Each has an intended use in their design, and each can be used in other interesting and unintended way.  However I believe the pouches being discussed today are being used in their originally intended method.  Both of them are made by Condor Outdoor.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gearing Up! Airsoft edition? Part 1

Sorry Animal, kinda stealing your thunder for this one. Airsoft gearing isn't any different than any other action sport. Yeah, that vest may look sexy, but can you really run that fully loaded all day without giving yourself a mild stroke? That rifle may be nice, but are you going to use it more than once? If your building up an arsenal so you can have a community cache, than ignore the rest of these ramblings.


Still here? Okay! First thing you'll need to look at is the dreaded "B" word in this day and age, budget. Do you spend the $400 for a really nice, epic gun that might just end up as a wall ornament or a paper weight since your afraid of dropping it? That same money could be used to gear yourself up with a decent rifle, a sidearm and even ammunition with spare magazines.

Secondly, you need comfort. I hear it now, "Yaz, what in the heck are you talking about?" Simple. If your barely pushing 5", don't try running around with a replica of a full sized anti tank rifle (as entertaining OR scary as that would be if you pulled it off).Look for a weapon system that fits how you move in any combat situation. Some people like using DMRs, some prefer carbines.
Myself, I'm more of a, "As long as I can sling or holster" type guy.

Thirdly, Use or role. Depending on how you play and where you play will factor into what style gun you get. If you live in a "frozen wasteland", you'll more than likely not want a CO2 powered weapon that is fully automatic. In that same token, if your playing out in the middle of a desert, you might want to reconsider using an electric powered gun for too long. In terms of role, being a support gunner using an MP5 style weapon system isn't going to work all that well UNLESS it is a back up weapon.

Got that all down? Sweet! Now for the fun part, clothing. Some teams or communities like uniforms, and thats fine (and even adds to the fun sometimes). My personal recommendation is keep it light and tight. You need it to breathe so you won't die of heat exhaustion, but you don't need it so loose that you can run the risk of your pants falling off or you becoming a kite if the wind blows. My personal loadout can change depending on what I'm planning, but for the most part I use a MOLLE belt rig system with drop leg holsters and shoulder holsters to keep everything in place.

In conclusion(for this installment anyway), have a plan and keep it simple. Budget it to fit what your wallet can handle or save up to get it to be multi-purpose. Without weapons, my rig set up costs about $80 after all of the modifications installed so I can use it for both NERF and airsoft.

Yaz out

Syndicated Goodness!!!

Some have asked for an RSS feed.  Ask and if within the power of the regional deity Animal it shall be done!!

Our RSS Feed  Can be found here while I work on integrating it into the sites widgets to make it nice and sweet and sexy 
RSS Icons are up and ready to serve!  Might get updated to a feedburner later, but straight RSS should do for now.
Also corrected the email links while i was at it.

Zombiestrike and Hasbro/Nerf Colusion/Conspiracy Theory: Or Advertising on the cheap

Recently, MyLastDart posted This. Apparently RandomShadow09 once again acquired an early release for testing. Follow the link for more info on that. What i'm posting on is this particular tidbit: MLD says, and i quote "I spoke to Hasbro asking when I might get my hands on it to review - they said that this is not an official release, nor should anyone have this at all. They were aware of the items being leaked in China and were investigating this apparent black market"..... Ok, now this has my bullshit meter going off. Now, before I go ANY further, let me state this:  I have NO INSIDE KNOWLEDGE, this is ALL WILD ASS CONJECTURE (tm) on my part, so the following is nothing more than MY OPINION!!! Also, I'm not claiming that any part of the NIC is knowingly participating in the actions. This is, again, opinion and conjecture, based on a kneejerk response to things that are happening.

I know some of you out there in the NIC are product/beta testers, and I know some of you might even be alpha testers.  We have a fair certainty that most, if not all, Nerf related blogs are being followed by the company. This, to me, Is a "GOOD THING" (tm) because we are, by and large, the audience with the most direct purchase input, if not the largest target audience . IE, most of us in the NIC don't have to ask mom and dad to buy me that toy, we go pick up what we want.

See, I'm wondering if Hasbro/NERF is looking for a broader sample. Or if this is simply a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing, as events over the past couple years have shown can happen, and which will not be rehashed here.  I've been noticing a trend of "early release" or "unauthorized prerelease" lately in Nerf. Now, I haven't been into nerf as long as some, but I've been following it since N-Strike first came out. I miss my matched first release Mavericks dearly. But this "trend" has been getting stronger and stronger.  It's starting to smell rather strongly of collusion. This feels like officially unofficial testing. A Random Sample Backdoor beta group, so to speak.  These things are going out one door or another, and that means they're being put in a place where they CAN go out the door, and people are being given the opportunity to do so. 

In conclusion, while I am SERIOUSLY looking forward to all the new stuff that has been "leaked", the Zombie strike being at the top of my list, stylistically (the rapidstrike, tactically), This really smells of back room "Wink, Wink, Nudge, Nudge, Say no more" dealing with some executive out of the loop somewhere along the way. I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing, however. This sort of stuff, especially with the cloak and dagger, plausible deniability thing is SOOOOoo going to drive up interest in the line. They couldn't PAY for this sort of advertising, and, well, they're not. And i'll happily continue to pimp out one of my favorite hobbies for free, because, its no fun to Nerf alone, so you gotta have interest to have more participants.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I'm BaaaaAAAAAAAaaaaack!

Well, mostly. I wont go into my problems here, suffice to say I found out I had more and better friends thanni knew. My thanks to all of you, and special thanks to Animal and Deadman for dragging me kicking and screaming out tonight.

You see, tonight, I found something. I stumbled onto a time machine. A time machine named Metal Shop. It took me back in time, back to when I didn't care because because I didnt have to, when I looked forward to being an adult. They are an awesome 80s tribute band, with an even more awesome stage presence.

To make a long story short, I had a blast with my friends, rocked my freaking ass off, and am generally ready to get back to work on this blog, and NERF in general.

To make this semi on topic, I have a project im working on as soon as I get my hands a heat gun, which will be generating a tutorial.

Edit: Found their website,   www.metalshopdallas.com

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

FoamSport! Red Vs Blue

As I sit here to write this the first thing that comes to mind is "where to start?".  The numerous form which FoamSport takes are great and varied.  I suppose I should note that I've never been to an "NIC War" if that can be said to be a unified thing at all.  I have watched videos of them, and for the most part outdoor wars as they are played in the videos I've seen strike me as rather unappealing affairs.  While I claim no extensive knowledge, the idea of a wide open field where victory comes down to blaster performance as the prime factor might as well be a target range.  Plain old indoor gymnasium or fellowship hall games strike me as bland, but not unpalatable.  I rather enjoy the use of cover and the teamwork necessitated by the space.  And that's what it boils down to for me.

I'm in FoamSports for fun and camaraderie.  Tactics and teamwork are the very things that make this sport appealing to me.  And when a game breaks out of a fellowship hall and into the property proper, with hallways doors and rooms making the playscape a varied thing is when I believe it comes into its own.  From here on out I'll be referring to this as Red Vs Blue (RVB) type play, in reference to Humans Vs Zombies (HVZ) .  The example that comes to mind most readily to me would be the indoor church wars that BasicNerf holds.  Roughly equal sized teams, either trying to accomplish an objective or eliminate the other team, or a mix thereof.



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

MilSim and Speedball- Part Two

Here we are for part two of this little informational piece on these two styles of play in the world of action sports. Here's a list of reasons why people like the two types, and the actual pros and cons that I've witnessed between the two.

MilSim Pros:
-Diversity in gametypes depending on how many players are present.
-Story driven option
-Perks systems (More on that in a second)
-"Class" style play (Think Battlefield)
-Depending on the field, you can actually use hybrid forms of play (Airsoft guns, NERF melee, paint grenades, ect.)

MilSim Cons:
-HIGH chances of cheating (or "Lack of Honor" as some put it)
-"Class" style play can be used AGAINST the players
-Stricter rules of engagements for safety concerns can lead to more accidents due to human reflexes.
-Unless there are refs on the field remaining unbiased, tendencies of arguements are higher in this style

Now, the perks system in MilSim style play is used by the team commanders to further engage the players to think on their feet versus just standing there shooting into the wind. These can be anything from simulated carpet bombs to getting an actual mortor system to deploy on the field. One field I've personally played in allowed a Tactical Osprey drop behind enemy lines that came complete with the ref using an LMG to simulate chopper cover for the insertion team. If you like big firefights with ALOT of people, MilSim is tending to be the style that dominates in terms of numbers.

However, that isn't to say Speedball isn't growing in terms of numbers or times it is played. Even here in South Texas, the MilSim groups still play speedball style to keep things fresh and everyone on their toes.

Speedball Pros:
-Less planning involved for fields to be in use.
-Less numbers required
-Rules can be agreed upon at game creation

Speedball cons:
-If not done well, people will get bored
-High number of people involved tends to over complicate the games
-Higher chances to lose items out in the field, resulting in possible theft or loss of item.

The last con on the list is possible in MilSim play, don't get me wrong. If your out in the middle of the jungle and you drop your phone, good luck finding it without having the ringer on full blast and a search party. However, in a typical speedball event, the field is small enough for people to trample over things that they will pick it up, pocket it and forget they have it. Its happened to Animal more than once with either weapons, gear or a combination.

Yaz Out.

Urban Taggers.: More Rapidstrike internals on Baidu

Urban Taggers.: More Rapidstrike internals on Baidu: Naturally, "have blaster will mod" is a common stance for many- even for those who get these blasters way early:) On Baidu th...

Of Zombies and Femme Fatales


So a little background for this piece, so that when someone reads this in a year they have some idea what i'm rambling about.  A few months ago, we begin seeing the first images of the Nerf Rebelle line from toy fairs.  There was some booing, and some rejoicing.  Some gnashed their teeth and called the line sexist others applauded the forward empowerment of females, and others just didn't quite see a point to it.  All that is beside the point of this piece however.  Just last night I began seeing the first images of a leaked pistol, that looks awfully similar to the Rebelle Wildshot, the Zombie Strike line's Hammershot.
Wildshot Source: UK Nerf

Hammershot Source: UK Nerf

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

"MilSim" and "Speedball"? Part 1

Hey everyone, (does anyone even care who I am?) Yaz here. Everytime I've personally heard someone bring up this topic of which is better and why, SOMEONE gets offended or takes it the wrong way. First thing, to be perfectly clear, is that these are play TYPES and not play GROUPS.

That said, what are the differences? Well, heres a brief breakdown.(Someone is going to throw a brick at me)

Military Simulations, or "MilSim", tend to be common scenario based games. Typically, people call them "war games" since its some form of epic stand off, some even have a story that is told every year. While it is encouraged to do things, like uniforms, gear, ect... it isn't always a requirement for these types of games. The main thing about a MilSim style game is there are commanders of teams, breaking down objectives to a squad or even a single person for the major win at the end of the day or scenario.



What is "Speedball"? This is a thrown about term, but its used loosely here to be more of a codeword for something other than MilSim. Speedball is generally things like Team Deathmatch, capture the flag or just flat out "Go flail swords akimbo at each other and see who hits someone first".  Most people,when they say Speedball, are refering to a game type that is two teams enter a field from opposing ends and just fire at each other while popping from cover to cover. Games like that last anywhere from seconds to about ten minutes, usually. Fun, exciting and simple.

There are groups out there over this big planet who take pride in saying, "We are a MilSim group! WE RULE!", and this is fine. However, when someone who has no clue what they mean by this hears it, they usually take it the wrong way and assume that they are classifying themselves as something that is not entirely correct. They are a group who play with MilSim rules. Nothing more to it than that.

Yaz out.
 

Special Thanks

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