Digest Issue 10

Dozens of leaked Nerf blaster listings revealed

From repaints to new lines, community members discovered a tidal wave of leaks this week

Story by Danny Ryerson

The Everest Toys listing for the Halo Chameleon blaster. All of the Halo blasters leaked this week are codenamed, with little in the way of information or images of them. (photo courtesy of Everest Toys)

/u/UtterTravesty continued to provide this week with a goldmine of new listings to pore over, including codenamed Halo blasters, new Ultra releases and two brand-new blaster lines. At the time of writing, no release date has been revealed for any of these products.

The first of those lines is the Hyper series, which comprises three new blasters and a number of refill packs at the time of writing. These blasters are the Hyper Slam 60, Hail 100 and Jab 40, and the three refill packs are listed as “Canister 50,” “Canister 100,” and “Boost Refill.” /u/UtterTravesty also found a listing for a Hyper Mask, and, according to a gamehouse.fi listing, at least one Hyper blaster will be pump-action.

None of these listings are still up on Everest Wholesale, but speculation still abounds. Some have theorized that the Hyper series is Nerf’s entry into the world of high-capacity gel ball shooters, which are popular in China and other countries where paintball and airsoft are illegal. Others think that the Hyper series could be Nerf’s take on half darts, or that the numbers on the end of the blasters’ names are multiplied by 10 like Rival blasters and indicate capacity.

The other new blaster line leaked was Elite 2.0 with a grand total of nine new blasters; the Commander RC-6, Shockwave RD-15, Echo CS-10, Warden DB-8, Volt SD-1, Trio TD-3, Phoenix CS-6, Guardian RD-6 and Turbine CS-18. Judging by their letter designations, it’s most likely that the Echo, Phoenix, and Turbine use standard N-Strike magazines, but RC, RD, TD, DB and SD are codes that Nerf hasn’t used before.

Similarly to the Hyper series, none of these blasters are still listed on Everest, but /u/PirateJohnson managed to dig up prices for all of the Elite 2.0 blasters except the Commander, Shockwave and Volt. Accessible descriptions make specific reference to existing Elite blasters, such as the Turbine being “the Nerf Elite Rapidstrike version 2.0” and the Echo being “the Nerf Elite Delta Trooper version 2.0.”

Also leaked were three Ultra listings; an Ultra Six, Ultra Seven, and Ultra Clip Refill. So far, neither images nor descriptions yet exist of the Six or Seven, but /u/UtterTravesty speculated that perhaps one or both could use a new Ultra magazine standard set by the Ultra Clip.

Next are a few Halo blasters. These listings are similar to previous Overwatch listings in that they are codenames — the Halo series uses lizard-themed names to Overwatch’s food names — so not many details are forthcoming. So far, all that’s been leaked are the Halo Chameleon, Halo Python Motorized and Halo Viper, with no description for any at the time of writing.

The two Fortnite releases that leaked this week were in a similar boat, although with a little more information on both. The Rocket Refill seems likely to be a refill pack of Demolisher missiles, which Nerf has not sold separately from a blaster since 2014. Only speculation can be made for the Fortnite DG, although the letter designation could stand for Drum Gun.

Finally, three listings for what appear to be Hammershot repaints were found on Amazon earlier this week. The Hammershot Splatter, Caution and Undead Red are priced at $17.99, about $3 more than the original Hammershot.

Stay tuned for further info on these blasters once descriptions and new listings begin to crop up throughout the year.

Coronavirus may disrupt Hasbro supply chain

Story by MrGWillickers

An artist’s rendition of the coronavirus. The coronavirus’s spread has halted production in many industries and could impact Nerf products. (photo courtesy of NBC News)

The coronavirus, which has dominated headlines recently, may even have an impact on Nerf.  

Hasbro recently made statements that their supply chain is being disrupted by the virus.  Apparently, the raw materials for making many toys are only available from Chinese distributors. One industry expert, Joe Silver, indicated that production of the Baby Yoda doll, one of Hasbro’s current most popular items, is down five to 10%.  

While the Star Wars doll is making the biggest headlines, reports indicate that this could end up affecting the vast majority of toys from Hasbro. 

“If things aren’t normal by the time June and July roll around, there will be shortages on a litany of toys,” Silver said. 

This would surely include Nerf brand blasters and products.

NY Toy Fair was two weeks ago, promising many new releases this summer and fall, and multiple new name leaks also came this week. Hasbro says they are working to make sure coronavirus doesn’t become a problem in the coming year, but exactly how is unknown at the time of writing.

Overkill Kit gives Stryfe sci-fi flair

Story by Korit’al Desalia

An overview of the Overkill Kit. The kit’s designer, /u/UncleChub, has affectionately nicknamed it the “Chub Rifle.” (photo courtesy of /u/UncleChub)

Reddit user /u/UncleChub has been working on a new Stryfe kit for Frantz Foam works called The Overkill Kit. This kit has a lot of custom designed pieces that he spent many hours tinkering on.

/u/UncleChub printed this prototype in the blue and orange of N-Strike colors, although other colors will be available. The custom stock appears to be just short of the length of the Stryfe itself. There has also been a barrel attached, giving it a rifle look. 

For a “rifle,” this blaster is rather short. The thumbhole foregrip attaches to the barrel extension and looks like it might be a bit on the small side but still comfortable. The design is rather unique, but still very usable. /u/UncleChub also added a magazine well adapter, giving the magwell a diagonal look. 

This is just a cosmetic kit; it has no internal upgrades. The Stryfe is one of the most easily moddable blasters; that’s why there are so many different cosmetic kits out there, from the Kriss Vector kit to kits with select fire. There are kits that add just a bit to the barrel to kits that make it look like a full length rifle.

/u/UncleChub mentioned that the feature he is most proud of is the hinged buttplate and battery door on the stock. It flips up to access the battery and then clicks into place. The hinge and catch are printed separately so that they can be easily replaced if they break. That is a really nice feature knowing that batteries are one of the things that will be accessed all the time, second only to the trigger and the magazine. 

The Overkill Kit is not yet available for purchase. It takes a very long time to print, so they are still working out how much it will cost. Once it is available you should be able to purchase it at https://www.facebook.com/FFoamWorks/.


Community Spotlight

Mod of the Week: Veles

Story by Danny Ryerson

The Veles with a Worker collapsible stock, several Talon mags, and a small pile of darts. The Veles uses a novel pusher mechanism to fire darts from a 30 degree angle. (photo courtesy of /u/Rraijjar)

Reddit user /u/Rraijjar showed off the first prototype of the 3D printed Veles SMG on March 5, a full-auto flywheel-powered short dart-firing magazine-fed blaster. Veles is compatible with Talon mags, and its innovative pusher mechanism feeds darts from a 30 degree angle.

Visually, Veles was inspired by concept art for an SMG from an unreleased video game called Ascend.

A YouTube video published by /u/Rraijjar shows how the blaster’s pusher works. Instead of using a scotch-yoke system like a Rapidstrike pusher, Veles is powered by a gearbox attached to a rotating cam, which swings downwards to push darts into the flywheels.

He first showcased a system similar to this in May 2019. This pusher, called “run of the mill,” used micro flywheels and a 360 degree wheel pusher to fling foam from a horizontal Talon mag. Veles, however, uses a flywheel cage designed for Hurricane wheels.

Currently, the Veles fires at around 130 FPS with a single-stage cage, but /u/Rraijjar noted that a dual-stage cage is possible.

He hopes to publish files for the blaster for free and possibly sell completed builds on his Etsy page, but wants to improve the design first. He mentioned that the gearbox this prototype uses needed modification to accept a standard 130-size Nerf motor, and that some of the parts could be easier to install.

Featured Mod: MEGA conversion Strongarm

Story by Lanyx Desalia

Tripp Miller’s MEGA Strongarm conversion. The blaster uses a 3D printed cylinder that Miller designed and posted on Thingiverse in January. (photo courtesy of Tripp Miller)

Facebook Group Crew Auxiliary member Tripp Miller posted a conversion mod for the Nerf Strongarm on March 5 which allows the blaster to fire shortened MEGA darts in place of the standard Elite dart. 

The only other modification he made to the blaster was to fix the air seal to get a proper shot. Miller says that with the fixed air seal and the stock spring, the blaster gets 45 FPS, and with an upgraded 4.5 kg spring, Miller estimates it should average around 75 FPS, which is completely respectable.

This modification is a wonderful innovation if you want to run a secondary or sidearm option with shield-busting or super zombie-busting capabilities but don’t want to carry a blaster as big as the MEGA Cycloneshock. It also offers greater capacity over things like the MEGA HotShock, BigShock, and Talon which are simple single shot blasters.

Featured Mod: Homemade Rival air blaster

Story by Danny Ryerson

/u/farcticox’s homemade Rival blaster. The blaster was made to fire single Rival rounds from a rotating breech made from a 3/4 inch ball valve. (photo courtesy of /u/farcticox)

On March 7, Reddit user /u/farcticox showed off an interesting single-shot Rival blaster on /r/Nerf.

The blaster, which started its life as a .177 caliber pellet gun, was repurposed to take Rival ammo for /u/farcticox’s grandchildren. It uses an innovative modified 3/4 inch ball valve to breech-load single rounds.

/u/farcticox has used this method to effect on other creations, such as an air-powered flintlock pistol that fires 1/4 inch ball bearings.

He has not yet released FPS figures or a range test at the time of writing, stating instead that he will wait until the weather is better to publish an overview video of the blaster.

Another Rival creation of his was able to achieve ranges up to 200 feet with a tailwind.


Opinions and Editorials

OPINION: The hobby’s identity crisis

Story by Ryleh_Yacht_Club

Nerf was first — there’s no argument about that. There were gun-shaped toys before Nerf — cracking off caps or BBs or just electronic laser sounds — but there was nothing that shot foam darts the way Nerf did. Nerf was the first toy to do what Nerf did, but they certainly aren’t the only ones now. 

Buzzbee, Boomco, Zuru, Adventure Force, Dart Zone and more have all emerged in the 30 years between us and the Blast-a-Ball. Each brand has brought some new angle to the basic concept of Nerf blasters depending on the decade — more gimmicks, more commercial tie-ins or whatever else seemed hot in the market at that time. 

Since around 2008, though, the trend has been towards performance in Nerf proper, the off-brands and the modding scene. Homemades mixed with 3D printers, and we got the Caliburn and the FDL. Nerf moved from the gimmicky Dart Tag into its refined cousin, N-Strike Elite. And now we have the Dart Zone Pro — a plain-faced hobby-grade blaster injection molded by a proper manufacturer. 

As the availability of high-performance equipment has increased , so have game types morphed for our hobby. We aren’t just 14-year-olds hiding behind couches anymore. Now we have the QuikFlag scene in Singapore, Make Test Battle’s “Dartsoft” milsim style games in Australia and the growing Foam Pro tour in America. 

The thirty-year-long trek started by the 90s modding scene has been realised. We are a sport. But with all of that comes an identity crisis, one probably best summarized by our common name of Nerf and Nerfers. 

Again, Nerf is the brand that started it, but it’s no longer the main brand that propels us. The credit for our momentum belongs to everyone listed above. If Nerf still had exclusive dominance in the market, we’d all be switching out for Ultra Darts this year. By the mercy of the fates, we are no longer so cornered by Hasbro. 

Now, these cheaper and punchier dart blasters on the market gave us options — but always within the Nerf limits. Zuru has been making knock-off Mavericks and Recons that shoot about 20% hotter on average, but still ultimately are just variants on the Nerf theme. In that reality, continuing to call ourselves Nerfers has made sense. We were just living on variants of Nerf’s grand design. 

We no longer live in the restrictions of the Nerf system, and that’s best seen with the Dart Zone Pro. Now, there have been third-party kits from Worker for years prior to the DZP that were also grown-up powerhouses, but they could never be sold on a Target shelf as a toy — they had way too many joules behind their darts (or so the traditional wisdom went). But the DZP has somehow sidestepped this issue. 

As of last month, the DZP is being sold on Target’s website. The way it has sidestepped toy regulations is not entirely clear, as it is still listed as a toy blaster. However, it has opened the discussion to selling the hard-hitting pro equipment as sporting equipment — similar to how Airsoft or Paintball is contended with in certain places. 

This could impose limits on purchasing ages but would allow effectively pre-modded blasters onto local shelves. If that were to become the norm, then the argument that we are a “post-Nerf” community may be complete because we are no longer just shopping for slightly spicier Nerf Blasters.

Or, if not “post-Nerf”, one could at least argue that the community is splitting. It has had schisms before. The most notable of the last 10 years was the College Humans Vs. Zombies games and the Nerf Internet Community-type games. The former favors stock or lightly modded blasters for an all-ages LARP setting, and the latter favors heavily modded age-restricted war games. 

Those two communities grew in parallel and, by 2015, were so cross-pollinated they merged into a cohesive group again. The schism that a sporting designation might create is arguably different than that, though. As we start down the road to widely-available high-priced powerhouses in sporting settings, we will necessarily need to age-restrict and maybe even arena-restrict like airsoft and paintball. 

We would then be outside the realm of Nerf and into a variant projectile sport more comparable to paintball or airsoft. For some, that will be good news and for others, that will be bad. If nothing else, it changes who we are from a silly group of engineers monkeying with toys to a sport running similar game types to other shooting sports. That, or it splits the scene into classic Nerfers and athletes. 

It would also fundamentally change the nature of a Nerf war. Not in a way that I necessarily oppose, but with every change comes compromise and loss. Airsoft is a good comparison for this point. Airsoft has settled into effectively the same AEG mechanism across all guns (basically a refined Nerf Stampede). They have prefabricated parts that you can swap out for durability or a bit of a performance boost, similar to aftermarket car parts. However, they all shoot within the same range and FPS. 

This high-performance homogeneity leads to gameplay similar to a real firefight — where the key is coordinated movement and cover. Consequently, Airsoft tends to be a burst-and-wait style of play. On the other hand, Nerfing tends to be a faster-paced close quarters combat style of play that, because of slower and more visible projectiles, doesn’t so readily discourage breaking from cover. My experiences of dragging my Airsoft friends into Nerf wars is they are winded within a round. 

Contrary to the internet’s chest puffing, Nerf’s limitations have created a unique style of play that is much faster-paced. But, the higher blasters’ capacity and the ranges, the more Nerf wars become — as MTB has dubbed it — dartsoft. Sporting equipment models create a different game altogether that only ties back to traditional Nerfing by way of a common ammunition type.  

The question at the core of the new equipment & its availability and the new game styles that support it is: Are we really Nerfers anymore? 

Nerf, as a brand, has little to do with these changes or this new-ish scene. That moniker was chosen at a time when they were the dominant force. Consequently, it has become associated with a style of play and age dynamic that simply isn’t true enough to be appropriate for the whole community these days. 

I am not trying to draw lines in the sand that needn’t be there — nor am I lamenting or criticizing our changes — but a line is growing clearer and with it comes an identity crisis. In other words, what should we call ourselves? Not for pedantic reasons, but because identity is contained in a name. 

As “Nerfer” starts to fit less, communities will seek out more effective terms. That term cannot be decided by any one person and will thrive on its ability to be used comfortably by our community while still being recognizable to curious outsiders. 

The only advice I feel compelled to give while we search is that whatever term we end up using, let it be only one term. If we split up our titles, I think we will split the community in a concrete and irreversible way — language really is that powerfully tribal (as we can observe in extreme examples like Rwanda). 

I don’t know what term captures this modern group best, but let’s find something that pulls the old school and new school together into one big nerdy sporty mess and ends the identity crisis as neatly as possible.


Credits

Owner/Operators – FoamBlast Adrianna & Meishel

Editor-in-Chief/Main Story Boarder – Lanyx Desalia

Section Editor – Danny Ryerson

Reporter – MrGWillickers

Reporter — Korit’al Desalia

Columnist — Ryleh_Yacht_Club