Hasbro to Eliminate Plastic Packaging
Story by Korit’al Desalia
Hasbro said Tuesday that it’s going to start eliminating plastic in all it’s packaging. By the end of 2022 the company would like to be completely plastic free. They have stated that they will begin by phasing out polybags, elastic bands, shrink wrap, window sheets and blister packs next year. Hasbro Chairman and CEO Brian Goldner said in a news release “Removing plastic from our packaging is the latest advancement in our more than decade-long journey to create a more sustainable future for our business and our world.” The company eliminated wire ties in 2010 and added instructions for recycling in 2016, to the use of plant-based bioPET in 2018. They have also launched a toy recycling program through terracycle.com, where customers are able to send in their old plastic toys. Hasbro recently announced the expansion of the program to France, Germany, and Brazil, and plans to expand the program to additional markets with the goal of ensuring all Hasbro toys and games are recyclable in the major markets where it does business. TerraCycle, a global leader in product recycling, who will recycle the toys into materials to be used in the construction of play spaces, flowerpots, park benches, and other innovative uses. This process is forcing Hasbro to redesign all of the packaging, which is a very complex process. This process will not affect the toys made of plastic although Hasbro is trying to find an alternative material that is safe for kids and still looks like plastic. Well done Hasbro for helping improve the world.
Roundhouse and Ultra 2 on Shelves
Story by Lanyx Desalia
The Rival Roundhouse is available at certain Walmart and Target locations and is also available for sale on Amazon. This long awaited edition to the Rival lineup will cost you $25 USD, only five dollars more than the Rival Kronos for three times the capacity. This massive hand cannon style blaster uses five integrated three round magazine in a rotating turnstyle to deliver the hits in a manner very reminiscent of the Maverick Rev-6. Perhaps this callback to the earlier days of Nerfing nostalgia (Nerfstalgia?) is why this blaster has been so eagerly anticipated. The blaster may not be available to everyone just yet, but the rollout is expected to be complete before the end of the week.
Speaking of overly massive hand cannons, the Ultra 2 is also available on select shelves and on the web at Walmart.com. There are already several reviews on this blaster as well as a couple of basic modification guides, including a video by our very own FoamBlast. People are very eager to take this blaster and make it fire something better than Ultra darts. From the videos we can tell that the blaster itself fires very well, with a crisp mechanical click on the trigger pull. Stay tuned to FoamBlast’s YouTube channel to check out an Elite conversion, and upgraded flywheel cage and motors.
Science Proves Ultra Gimmick and Homemade “Ultima” Darts
Story by Ryleh_Yacht_Club
New evidence proves the Ultra line is flawed
Evidence emerged this week that the widely-reported performance problems of the Ultra line roots in the dart itself. The most detailed evidence comes with a YouTube video posted on February 09, 2020 by the channel “Engineering After Hours”. The channel—which is not a Nerf-specific channel—examines engineering in a multitude of items and conducts analyses to quantify aspects of those items’ engineering. The host of the video opens by stating that the video began with the assumption that the Ultra dart had good design. They assumed the darts unstable flight paths were rooted in the flywheel systems. They do admit that an HPA setup lead to much straighter flight paths—which may have been why they assumed that the flywheels were the issue. However, “Engineering After Hours” conclusion post-analysis was that the darts themselves were the issue.
The video focused on the aerofin technology that Nerf advertises. Aerofins are designed to stabilize projectiles by directing air pressure in particular ways. The video runs several simulations on the Ultra dart and compares it to traditional rocket fins and a fin-less cylinder. There was no significant difference found in the ability for the Ultra dart and the fin-less cylinder to self-correct their flight path (whereas the rocket fins could). That means if an Ultra dart flies out at an angle to its target, it will not straighten any better than a tube with no aerofin technology. Given that aerodynamic fins are exclusively designed to correct for that, it is not clear the purpose of the Ultra’s aerofin design.
The video goes on to explain that the fins are not just irrelevant, but they are likely the actual cause of the unstable flight paths. The host highlights that the cheap foam of the Ultra dart chips, holds dents, and just does not hold fine features—like small fins—well. This leads to observed manufacturing defects, the flywheels chewing off the edges of some fins, and other damage that creates aerodynamic drag points. More consequentially, these defects lead to an inconsistent connection between the darts and both flywheels—similar to having an uneven number of paddles between two sides of a rowboat that leads to a sideways drift in the current. This would mean that the dart’s main design feature—it’s fins—are actually reducing stability in the flight path, not assisting it.
If this evidence holds true, it is damning for the entire Ultra line. A blaster can not compensate for failures of a dart. It is proven already that the Ultra range claims of 120 feet are inaccurate. However, even if the range claims held up, a far flying but inaccurate dart is unlikely to have a function in a Nerf war. This evidence establishes that the Ultra dart is highly unlikely to be accurate regardless of the blaster used. The video concludes that the darts are less accurate than others (such as Rival), prone to defects, expensive, and have design features that offer no advantage, thus “there’s no value to the Ultra Dart”.
The Nerf community had already concluded that the Ultra dart presented poor value—based on anecdotal experience—prior to the “Engineering After Hours” video. Consequently, there has been an effort to return to methods pioneered in the late 90’s and early 2000’s when Nerf darts were posing similar performance issues. The first instance of a homemade Ultra dart—dubbed the “Ultima”—was posted to Reddit by user Messinger91 on February 11th, 2020, covered in our Digest Issue 03. The design is a urethane head glued to foam backer rod—similar to older homemade dart designs such as an SENC Slug, a Gumdrop, or even a Stefan dart. The post included a YouTube video demonstrating the process. The process requires a 3D printed mold for the dart tips, Vytaflex 40 urethane, felt pads, foam backer rod, and hot glue. As this design was a proof-of-concept project, there are no official performance numbers yet, but Messinger91 reported the darts were cheaper and more consistent than nerf-branded Ultra darts. It appeared that Ultima darts would still require a person to disable the lock that Ultra blasters have to prevent using other dart styles as the Ultima does not have the required rigid notch like the Ultra dart. Nonetheless, between the new findings on Ultra darts fundamental design flaws and the development of cheaper homemade options, it was a bad week for the Ultra dart.
The Flyte Takes Flight
Story by Lanyx Desalia
In a rare dispute between Adrianna and Lanyx the Nerf Alpha Strike Flyte was found in a Walmart, prior to its official release to store shelves and we are of two separate opinions on this particular blaster. A special thanks to Sometimesawesome36 on Reddit r/Nerf for finding and posting this.
I personally love the overall look of this blaster. It reminds me of gory, violent video games from my childhood. Games like Quake, Duke Nukem and Rise of the Triad immediately spring to mind. Of course, the game that most strongly comes to mind is that game you can’t play without the ability to fluently curse – Doom. I loved playing Doom as a kid, and still do enjoy the classic edition from time to time; even my Nerf LongShot is affectionately named “Reaper” after the main character of the movie based on the game.
I suppose I can see the resemblance, but the Flyte’s design is a bulge here, a block there, and little doodles over the rest of the body. It could have been better as a smooth and sleek Reaper.
Let’s break down the issues one at a time. First, the battery box; admittedly this blaster’s battery box is a little boxy and locating it at the front of the blaster could be potentially problematic for the balance. However some of the most beloved blasters of all time use a front loading battery tray; blasters like the Rapid Strike and the Rapid Red at the forefront. I do enjoy the fact that the battery door is held closed with a tension clip, as opposed to a screw, but I also do realize that when that breaks off duct-tape is going to be one of your only options.
This battery box really is just a box. If they’ve tried to make it a grip, I think they failed. The Rapidstrike was an amazing example of how to integrate the batteries to the front in a beautiful way. I’m also very wary of the lifespan of the clips. I wonder how many times you can open it?
Secondly the solid grip, which incidentally matches the grip on the Hammerstorm, is showing that Nerf is in fact taking us seriously and has chosen to take a step in the right direction regarding the line of Alpha Strike Blasters.
Third issue; the mag release being inside the trigger well. This is an old problem with some Nerf blasters, especially blasters where it seems like they are trying to save space. As bulky looking as the Flyte seems to be, it doesn’t make sense to place the release button in this location.
Next on the list is the flywheel cage, as pointed out by Adrianna, held together by two screws and some plastic tension clips. Plastic clips are never a good idea where you require a device to remain mechanically sound. It seems to me that if Hasbro were attempting to save money on production by cheaping out certain parts of the Alpha Strike blasters, the flywheel cage integrity is one area they shouldn’t have messed with. Especially as you can, in fact, acquire a Stryfe for only a dollar more.
Lastly the stock – aside from likely being too short, but who are we kidding, at this point we’re used to it – the half solid/half skeletal look is not a good one. At least the back end of the stock isn’t skeletal as well, like other blasters from this line. I’m a perfectionist, obsessed with symmetry as a concept and I love dual-wielding; the asymmetry of this blaster’s stock would bother me.
A lot of the issues with this blaster could have been avoided if they had just fully shelled the stock and put the battery area inside it. However that probably would have made it seem too much like the Doomlands Desolator. Thankfully I own a number of saws with various sized teeth and possess a decent working knowledge of how to use epoxy putty and a Dremel.
The Stryfe is only $1 more on Amazon. Just sayin’.
Stock Blaster of the Week: The Stryfe
Story by Lanyx Desalia
Are you looking for a decent semi-auto flywheel pistol? Stryfe. How about a rifle? Stryfe. Maybe an SMG is more your style? You guessed it, Stryfe. The Nerf Stryfe has been around for a long time. The blaster has survived the move from regular N-Strike to N-Strike Elite, as well as being upgraded to the CQ series, the Battle Camo Series and is the basis for just about every flywheel powered, semi-auto blaster out there. From the Modulus line (besides the Modulus ECS-10 there’s even a Modulus specific Stryfe) to Doomlands, to Rebelle, the Fortnite series, the Stryfe has even touched the Zombie Strike series, notorious for being springer only. Seriously the only other flywheel blaster in the entire Zombie Strike line is the RevReaper, and while it is flywheel powered, it is manually actuated where the Revoltinator is a bigger Stryfe in a fancier package. In fact, the only Doomlands blaster with flywheels is the Impact Zone Desolator.
Complete with N-Strike “Tacti-cool” rails, a stock attachment point and a barrel attachment lug this blaster is just about the most customizable, sought after and modded blaster out there. Long ago in the early days of Nerfing yore we really only had a few attachments, however with the advent of new blasters, new accessories and the introduction of 3D printing to our hobby the possibilities for modding, or just simply adding external parts to, the Stryfe are practically endless. There’s even a few mods to take the blaster from semi-auto to full auto. If you really want a fancy colored one, feel free to pay more for it at Walmart, Target, Amazon or just about anywhere else that sells Nerf products in bulk. However if you’re a modder, and you’re just going to paint the blaster anyway just pick up an N-Strike Elite Stryfe (Orange edition) on Amazon for a little more than $20 USD.
Editorial: Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children?!
Story by Ryleh_Yacht_Club
I’ll cut straight to the point: we must stop making excuses for the Ultra line. The most common excuse I have heard is that Hasbro is a corporation, a corporation is designed to make money, and the Ultra line is a way to regain money lost to third-party dart manufacturers. There is no arguing with that fact, but it’s uttered as if it’s a reasonable excuse for this barn-fire of a product. So, I’ll add this: capitalism functions on capital creation, but it is justified on agreements with mutual value. In other words, capitalism is about making money, but the argument for that being an ethical way to approach the distribution of goods is that both parties—the buyer and the seller—walk away feeling like they have gained some desired value. For example, if I grow apples, and my neighbor grows pears, then exchanging some of my surplus of apples for their surplus of pears means both of us gained something from the exchange. I can make a pear puree and they can make apple pie, when we couldn’t before the deal. So, for 60 of my big red apples, what is Hasbro handing us? Or, more importantly, what was Hasbro promising us—given that’s what we are basing a Nerf Ultra purchase on? Because, in the overall accounting, not every deal winds up how a buyer wants—but that’s usually on the buyer. This is not the case with the Ultra—a lie of a line that delivers low to no value.
Lie is a strong word—likely to ruffle some feathers—so let’s do a quick recap on the ways that the Ultra line is a lie. Nerf Ultra claimed to hit ranges of up to 120 feet, but no one—no one—has come close to duplicating that under any condition. Nerf Ultra claimed the aerofin technology would lead to a stable projectile, but we have definitively seen this week that the fins actually hurt its stability. Nerf Ultra was marketed as a performance piece explicitly designed for a Nerf war setting (see: the TV ads, etc.) but it under-performs in those settings compared to almost the entire modern line of Nerf products—including Zombie Strike, N-Strike Elite, and Rival (their actual performance line). These are not just moments of pushing the truth. This isn’t a yogurt company implying that probiotic yogurt—which has some benefit for your gut—might solve all your stomach ailments. These are lies. If you bought an Ultra blaster to get the value of those claims, you will find you have none of those values in your hand. Understand me clearly here: Not less value than you assumed—none of the values are there. That is a lie, not just a marketing stretch.
What consequence is this to me, you may wonder. Honestly, it is not of much consequence to me because I am an adult that did his research. I know—like many Nerfers of the age of reason know—that this line has no value. Nerf knew we weren’t going to fall in with this tripe—hence the tiny cramped grips. Because you know who would like small grips? The small hands of children not of the age of reason. Trusting children excited by Nerf—watching our videos about performance blasters well out of their reach for reasons of skill, safety, or price. In other words, the Nerf Ultra line is about tricking children into wasting money on low-grade garbage on the belief it may deliver something like the modded Stryfes they see on YouTube but cannot obtain. That might sound downright conspiratorial in its reach, but the blasters are plainly made for young children and what type of child is concerned with performance claims but the ones watching our videos? If these were for regular kids it would be gimmicky—like in the 90’s—and make no fuss about the performance. They would market them like the Star Wars or Fortnite lines. It would just be about the fun. It is my strongly held opinion this line is about manipulating kids interested in modding but not yet old enough to do it.
Yes, I can hear it already: all children’s toy advertising is about manipulating young children. Of course, that’s true. However, if Lego sells a kid on a new set, the kid still gets Lego that works as Lego. A Barbie is the doll that is shown in the advertisement. A Transformer transforms. Those brands are making money by manipulating kids in one sense, but the kids still walk away with some semblance of the value they were promised. They are happy with their silly plastic. Their imaginations grow with those things. The companies make money, but the children also walk away with something they wanted. Nerf Ultra manipulates those children with lies to leave them with disappointment.
Imagine you saw those ads on so many channels in the run up to Christmas. Maybe you wanted to join in on a small Nerf war some kids in your elementary school run. You come from a working-class family and you get one big ask for Christmas because you & your parents can only afford so much. You bet your bank on Hasbro’s good word—knowing the brand is respected. You open the Ultra One at Christmas, run into the park, and what did you get? Wobbling darts farting out after 50 feet. Now, you’re bitter. Your attempt to join the hobby was stonewalled. Then, as you wander around collecting ammo after losing battle after battle, you find about half the darts snapped under people’s feet. If you want to replace them, you’re looking at a month’s allowance in many cases. And who knows how long it will be until you can purchase a blaster of value.
See, that’s what it means to be given something without value. Staying in the abstract removes us from the heartbreak this cynical garbage brings. Toys matter to kids for genuine social and mental reasons. That Hasbro has a will to make money doesn’t recuse them from still providing value—especially when they promised it so specifically. And that is why we must stop making excuses for the Ultra line or in anyway legitimizing it. Kids believe what they hear, so we have an ethical obligation as older, wiser Nerfers to make sure they hear the truth. Drac—to his great credit—has been unequivocal about his condemnation of this line. Let’s follow his lead. Barring some great change in the Ultra dart design and better designs in the blasters, let’s think of the children and stop making excuses for this line.
Mod of the Week: Full Auto Caliburn
Story by Lanyx Desalia
“I have sinned. And I enjoyed the sinning so much that I may be beyond Nerf redemption.” ~u/airzonesama on Reddit r/Nerf
Such is the opening line of this week’s Mod of the Week, and let me tell you we enjoyed the “Sin” probably as much as the Sinner. Captain Slug, of course, designed the Caliburn to be a high performance homemade springer, but airzonesama decided that this one needed a little flywheel power. Printing a standard Caliburn, he then added a Dual-stage HyCon (T19) flywheel cage, with Brotherhobby R6 2205 motors. The sear, or catch mechanism that holds a traditional firearm at cock or half-cock, is still present, and activates a microswitch, which in turn activates a solenoid pusher.
The perfect sin was not yet achieved, oh no, not until adding a select fire switch for single shot, burst shot, and full auto. All of this glorious tech is controlled by a Narfduino controller, with a Bluetooth com for making the system run smoothly. Finally a 4s lipo battery to provide a monstrous amount of power to this…monster. Airzonesama claims that running the wires was challenging and he had to sheath all of the connecting cables to prevent them from being severed. This beast is so hungry for souls, it will even devour its own.
Not only does his post on Reddit include pictures of the Auto Caliburn, and it’s whole blaster family, but a link to a video on airzonesama’s YouTube as well, in which he gave a frightening demonstration of the amount of power he can bring to bear. Even in single shot mode, the flywheels (activated by simply pulling the trigger) scream at near deafening levels. The solenoid being actuated sounds like an angry robot punching through a solid wall to grasp its next victim. At full auto setting the solenoid sounds vaguely like a fully loaded combat helicopter bearing down on you, and my poor (unupgraded) speakers on my laptop had trouble keeping up with the chopping.
The creator claims the operation to be as straight forward as possible, aim, pull trigger, devastate. This one is his, and he fully intends to keep it, however he has stated that as soon as he fixes “a few things” (what are you going to do, make it even scarier?) he will make the files available. Well done, airzonesama, you definitely earned your spot as Mod of the Week.
Featured Mod: M.K. Pump Shot
Story by Korit’al Desalia
Reddit r/Nerf user u/maskyBoi4456_Sparten has created Celestia, which is a Nerf Longshot with a 3D printed pump kit on it, and 3D printed the bolt sled as well as upgrading with metal inserts. The files for the pump kit will be on thingeverse next week. This version is a pump only grip and he is working on another file that keeps the bolt in use. They then set up a brass sleeper brech, turning a dart in the blaster into something simaler to a cork in a bottle. They used a random medium spring to upgrade the plunger tube to help this blaster shoot about 200 fps. Without a Scar barrel the accuracy is very good.
Featured Mod: Destiny Vanguard Swordfish
Story by Alpha
Hello Ladies and Gents, this is Alpha, here with another mod for you. This is a worker swordfish that has been done up beautifully by Reddit user Throwsxcz213. It has a vector kit, a custom expanded battery tray, and a nice sleek motor cover. Hidden behind that battery tray is a really nicely integrated voltmeter. It is flush against the shell, and fits in perfectly with the rest of the shell. He has not revealed the internals at this point, but he did say that it could hit 150fps with short darts, which makes me think he may have neo hellcats with an extremely high crush cage inside there… Really like this build, and hope to see many more from him as time goes by.
That’s all for now. Alpha.
Ab initio usque ad finem. “From beginning to end.”
Featured Mod: HMI-R Retalioid Kit
Story by Korit’al Desalia
MODBROS is selling a new HMI-R kit for Retaliator platform blasters; Recon, Recon MK2, Retaliator, Jet Blaster Ceda and the Worker Prophecy. This kit has a boltless design that seals into a metal plunger tube giving the kit more air volume than a Nerf Longshot. The base design comes with the 62 Hillman spring boasting numbers of more than 220 fps with additional versions available for the worker 28N and 25N springs as well as the Blaster Tech BT27 spring and the Ceda spring. The kit is ready to be installed out of the box. There are only three colors; red, black, or white; available right now, but as demand grows they will offer other colors. Also there are two plunger rod options, the O-ring or the Skirt seal. This kit is for sale for $55 USD, they also have a just hardware kit for sale $25 USD.
Featured Mod: The Hephaestus
Story by Korit’al Desalia
In classical Greek mythology Hephaestus is the god of the forge using lava to craft his weapons for the gods. Sounds like a beast? Well this blaster is. Instagram user jace.sarcanine has taken this desolator and upgraded it to the max. He rewired the entire blaster for a 3s battery to power Kraken motors attached to Inferno Flywheels from Containment Crew. Inferno flywheels have an awesome fireball on the side of them matching the theme of this blaster perfectly. They are the same diameter as Containment Crew’s famous Cyclone flywheels, but the Inferno flywheels have three grooves down the center for improved accuracy. One thing jace.sarcanine said is the flywheel cage faces the opposite direction to the Stryfe, so the cage and wheels are visible in the window – which he rewired for LED lighting – making this blaster cool in the dark as well as during the day. He wired an external battery pack for the LEDs that can also be used as a phone charger for game day filming. This is awesome work and we hope to see more from you soon.
Disclaimer: All inaccurate descriptions of any powers the Greek god of fire, metalworking, stone masonry, forges, and sculpture, Hephaestus may or may not have had are not the opinions of the Staff of this Digest, but a direct quote from the modifier of this blaster. For instance, to the Editor’s knowledge, Hephaestus never once “forged lava” the Modder was probably thinking of Hephaestus’s Roman Counterpart “Vulcan” who, while bearing many of the same titles, is also credited as the god of volcanoes and deserts, among other things. While Hephaestus and Vulcan were, or are, widely believed to be the same legend, as one comes from Greece, and the other from Rome (two people who absolutely hated each other) and many stories about them are similar there are also distinct differences.
Owner/Operators – FoamBlast Adrianna & Meishel
Editor in Chief/Main Story Boarder – Lanyx Desalia
Reporter – Korit’al Desalia
Reporter – Alpha
Reporter – Ryleh_Yacht_Club