Thursday, June 30, 2011

Max Force Shadow Hawk review!

In my hot, not-so-little hands today, is the Shadow Hawk, part of the Max force line by Jakks Pacific. It's a blaster I've been keeping my eye on the release of since it was first starting to appear on blogs and other sites. It's not a foam dart shooter, instead, it shoots a kind of water soaked paper bullet called "soft splat ammo", which is claimed to reach ranges of 100 feet, much further than any stock foam dart blaster available at the moment, which is a big claim.

So, how did this spit-ball sniper rifle turn out? Well, when I got the Shadow Hawk out of the box and set it up, my first impression was that this is a seriously good looking piece of tagging awesomeness. Before I put some test shots through it, I took the time to check out the build quality, and found that it is very well built. It feels nice and solid, has no excessive plastic squeaks and no rattles. Everything fits together quite well and stays in place. The only part I found to be a little flimsy was the bipod legs, but these are designed to come off their mount if they are knocked to prevent them from snapping if they get snagged up, so not too much of an issue there.

Max Force Shadow Hawk: The spit-ball sniper

In the box, you get mission glasses, 120 paper pellets, a clip and an ammo container. It also comes a removable barrel extension, stock, and scope. I think this makes room for more customization options later on, a big plus in my books, after all, that's one of the things that makes the Nerf N-strike line so great. The scope is essentially a plastic tube with cross-hairs inside, and while it sounds as useless as a Nerf scope, It's actually kind of useful. I found myself lining up shots with it and usually hitting what I aimed for. The scope can fit on a  Nerf rail, but it's a bit of a tight squeeze. Likewise the other way around, you can't really slide Nerf accessories on to the rail, you have to wriggle it on to the rail until the sides lock in. This could be solved by shaving down the locking pin on the base of the Nerf accessory.

The first tagger to be deserving of a scope?

Now, to the good stuff, loading and firing. The way I loaded my ammo was by first pushing the ammo into the clip and then soaking the clip in water for 10 seconds or so, but you can also pre-soak the ammo. Once soaked, you push the clip in from the left, then push the bolt forward and down to lock in the first paper bullet ready for firing. Then, you pull back the pump handle, and let it go to fire. The next pellet is loaded by lifting the bolt up, back, forward, then down, just like a real bolt action gun. To be honest, I love this feature. It feels very solid, and just like real bolt action. Another massive plus for me. Performance wise, It fulfills the 100 foot claim, and it's much, much harder to dodge than a Nerf dart. Accuracy is pretty good, but beyond about 60 feet, wind and the spin or tumble of the ammo mid flight can sometimes take over. That said, the paper bullets are still more accurate than Nerf darts at comparable ranges.

The bolt loading mechanism feels perfect!

As a long range blaster it fares really well, and even at short range without the extended barrel, the Max Force Shadow Hawk is a force to be reckoned with, though the process of using the bolt then pulling back the pump handle and letting go repeatedly is a bit slow, so if you were caught off guard  by someone with a slam-fire or full auto Nerf blaster, you would be in a tough spot for sure. Luckily, the optional flex ammo belt (sold separately) also fits this blaster, so digging in for a long time in a tagging war is certainly an option (and is an option I'll totally go for).

Even fantastic as a marksman tagger

In summary, the Max Force Shadow Hawk is a brilliant piece of work, I was impressed right from the start with this blaster, I looked forward to it's release, and was not disappointed at all. There are so many good things about this very powerful spit-ball launcher, and many promising signs for the progression of Max Force. The build quality is brilliant, the range and accuracy is amazing, the Shadow Hawk even has it right in the looks department. In fact, the only drawback I can think of is the fact it does not feature a trigger mechanism, however, this is most likely due to the strength of the spring powering this bad boy. Still, that doesn't stop me from being really happy with the Shadow Hawk. I would definitely recommend this blaster, and though I haven't yet had the chance to use it in tagger wars yet, I have a feeling this blaster will do really well. Than you very much to Jakks Pacific for giving me the opportunity to review this great piece of kit. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the Max Force line grows, and I'll definitely be picking up the rest of the Max Force line when I can. for more on the Max Force line, including the online store, go to the Max Force home page.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Drac explains Humans vs. Zombies

This is a link to a video on the Nerf mods and reviews made by Drac, which explains quite well, the way the Nerf based game "Humans vs Zombies" (or HvZ) is played.

I have never played this style of game before, reason being is that it's really big in the US but not so much here, but by the sounds of it, it's a really fun game style that can be played almost anywhere for any length of time.  I'll probably get into more in the summer months, because at the moment it's the middle of winter and apart from being cold all day, there aren't too many hours left in a day after work. Links below.

->Humans vs Zombies explanation by Drac
And:
->Humans vs Zombies homepage

Friday, June 24, 2011

Max Force commercial - pretty extreme!

The last couple of months, Max Force has been working away at getting information about their new line of blasters out to the public. What better way is there to do that, than producing an advertisement that's just a tad more extreme than anything else? Seriously, I saw this commercial last night and was pretty stunned, there's a guy that frontflips over a barrel, blasts out more Max Force ammo than you can imagine in about 2 seconds flat, and then there's a shot of a water balloon being burst by a paper bullet with what seems like a decent amount of force (pun intended)... I think that their marketing department have done pretty well to show off these products and get people really excited about them, so they certainly deserve this post.

video

For some reason, blogger reduced the quality a fair bit from the original file, but hopefully it will give anyone who is a bit uninformed about these blasters an idea of what they are and how they work. Definitely worth watching in my books!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Custom Nerf Nitefinder

In between writing for this blog, riding and working, I've also been moving house, so I have been really busy. The upside of this, Is that I've found well over 100 Nerf darts (from places you wouldn't even think of looking), and this, my custom Nitefinder. I did a review on these and also a mod guide a while ago, but I had no idea where this one was to include it in the pictures or write up.


Anyway, This was the very first Nerf gun I owned and modded. It started out as a simple stretched spring, then later I decided to drill the restrictor out, and I got some great ranges out of it. But, me being me, I wanted more power. So, I added an extra spring to work inside the original one. And then I went further, and added a stock fabricated from a piece of L bar and a short piece of box section steel. I cut a small section out of one side of each L bar piece so that it could be screwed flat to the side of the Nitefinder's body. This stock gave me added stability in Nerf wars to be able to hit 80 foot ranges with decent accuracy. A while later, I bought a Longshot and attached the scope to this, and did my first painting attempt .

2 bolts either side secure the stock
This Nitefinder is one Nerf gun that I can say I'll sill keep using for a while, though not one of my best modding jobs, it looks OK in my opinion, I do like the minimalistic stock look. Performance is still quite good, it's short, so very easy to get around with, powerful enough to get good ranges, and pretty accurate for a Nerf gun. The downside is that it is slow to reload and quite loud. But, like I said, I'll still be using this blast from the past.

Max Force: A new contender?

Over the last few weeks, quite a number of blogs and other news sources have been lighting up about a new line of "spitball" launchers. This is the Max Force line by Jakks Pacific. While normally, many die-hard Nerf fans seemingly won't give anything other than dart shooters a chance, one thing I've noticed is that a decent portion of these fans are actually quite impressed with these new blasters. One only needs to look at what Max Force claim to be able to do, to be figure out why this is the case.

The Shadow Hawk 100
Take this as an example. The Max Force Shadow Hawk 100. On the box, there are similar claims to what it can do as the rest of the line. It can apparently reach ranges of 100 feet (over 30 metres), and accurately, with a kind of biodegradable ammo that resembles a spitball, sticks to it's targets, and wipes of easily for cleaning up. That's 3 times further than a stock Nerf Longshot, and as far as a heavily modded one, and Nerf darts are not accurate at that sort of range. For outdoor wars, you wouldn't have to worry about cleaning up, because the ammo will decompose. Now, if you ask me, that is seriously impressive if it lives up to that. The best part is, IT DOES, according to Jerm from Nerf Mods and Reviews, who wrote this Review. I have not personally been able to get my hands on one in my area of south-east Queensland yet, but i after seeing the following video, you can be sure I'm trying my best to acquire one.


And then there is Max Force's answer to Nerf's slamfire, The Terrornator 85 (pic below). It works similar to slamfire, except it fires both when you push the handle forward, AND when you pull the handle back. It also comes with an extendable ammo belt that according to Jakks Pacific also works in their other clip fed guns. 85 foot ranges, fast firing, and an extendable ammo belt probably makes this one of the most desirable taggers out there right now.

Terrornator 85
So, does this mean that finally, Nerf has some formidable competition? I think so. After all, if you go to the Max Force site, there is a banner at the top that clearly states "Graduate from foam". With accurate ranges way over what Nerf can achieve, This might be a fair statement. So far, the only downside I've heard of is the lack of a trigger on these blasters. This doesn't bother me too much, but I would prefer to see a trigger mechanism incorporated anyway. Again, I still Don't have one of these to review, I can't find them anywhere yet but I'm so eager to get my hands on this line to try it out it's not funny.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review and visual guide: OMW stage 1 Recon mod kit

Orange Mod Works, about a month ago now started taking pre-orders for a kit they had developed that would enhance the power of the good old Nerf Recon blaster, at a reasonable price. They named the kit the Nerf Recon: stage 1 kit. For roughly $23AU delivered, I could not resist, so I ordered a kit, and had to wait a fair while until it was delivered (thanks again, Australia post).

The kit turned up today (finally), so when I got home from work I went right ahead and dug up my Recon from the monstrous pile of boxes I have from moving on the weekend and set myself up to do this swap over of parts. Please note that the Recon in this picture below already has the safety locks removed, the air restrictor drilled out, and it is also left hand bolt modded. For the guide on how to do the bolt mod (the bolt handle mounted on the cocking slide) CLICK HERE. Anyway, below is what I started with.


First of all, it comes packaged in a nice little black box, and inside the parts are protected with bubble wrap and  plastic sleeves. In the stage 1 kit, you receive a short installation guide, metal trigger catch and stronger catch spring, a vastly more powerful main spring, and a metal reinforcement plate that goes in the stock mount. I'm not overly sure of how necessary this plate is, but as far as I can figure out, it might serve a double purpose and act as a spacer to give the stage 2 kit plunger enough room if the back of the plunger is thicker than the original. Installed, it makes your Recon quite powerful. I was surprised at how stiff the spring actually is, and after doing a couple of test fires and losing some darts over the back fence, I am now really excited to use this in a Nerf war.


To install this kit is really simple. If you've modded a Recon before, you won't have any trouble at all. First, remove all the screws (including the two hidden at the front under the cocking slide, take the black stock mount off, and split the top half of the shell from the rest of the blaster. Below, is the internals minus a couple of safety locks. I also had a spring from a Longstrike in there as the main spring, and a plunger from a longstrike since this blaster was originally missing the main spring and had a broken plunger when I first got it.


Take out the stock trigger catch and catch spring, and also the stock spring. keep these as spares if you want, the spring from the Recon can also be used in a Longstrike, Raider, and Alpha Trooper. I wouldn't be surprised if they also fit the Quick 16 and Speedload 6 Dart Tag blasters either. Next, place the new spring on the plunger, then slide the new trigger catch (with the stronger catch spring placed on) over the top, and set it all back in place. Then, place the reinforcement plate in the stock mount, it only goes on way, it will drop straight in if you get it right, if it doesn't, flip it around until it does. It should now look like the picture below.


 Put the shell back on and screw everything back together. Annnd that's it! Installing this kit is really that simple. I haven't yet range tested, but I must be getting 60+ feet. I still need to replace the teflon tape under the O-ring and glue up the air release hole, and I'm still considering whether or not I will pack a spacer on the plunger to add even more compression to the new spring but at the moment I'm going to see how things go.

Summing up, these kits are well worth the money, and do not disappoint. go to www.orangemodworks.com to order yours.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

STW Mobile

just a very brief post to let everyone know, particularly those reading this on PC who also view this blog on the go, that I have updated the blog to use a mobile template when viewed by a mobile device. Hopefully you'll find this easier on iPhone etc. and less impacting on load times and data usage. If you have any feedback for this, it's greatly appreciated whether positive or negative.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Nerf gone mental!

I saw this on the Urban Taggers blog, and thought it was WAY too awesome to not post!

Nerf Alpha Trooper custom rebuild: part 2

Continuing on with my rebuild of my Nerf Alpha Trooper from parts, I had a bit of spare time to come up with a solution for the lack of fitting barrel tip, and also added an attachment rail to the left side.


The previous barrel tip was the end of the inner barrel from the "front gun" barrel extension that comes with the Nerf Longshot, and I though it didn't really look right. So, wondering what the Alpha Trooper would look like with the Spectre "silencer" barrel, I decided to do something to incorporate one. The one thing I didn't want to do was make it permanent, though. So, with a ton of grinding down, I was able to get a barrel adapter piece from my old Longstrike to sit in place quite well and line up with the inner barrel tube tube perfectly, so i hot glued it in place on one side of the blaster shell. After putting it back together with the silencer barrel on, I thought it looked pretty good, but i was worried the extra barrel length would have an effect on range, so I tested it out, and found I only lost 1-2 feet on average.


The side rail was the next thing to do, and I already had a spare Nerf Recon top slide that I could use to obtain a clean, flat rail from. I cut directly on the crease and then used a bench grinder to clean up the cuts. placing it on, I used hot glue again to fill in any grooves under the rail and it now seems really solid. I wasn't sure what side I should put it on at first, but eventually I decided I would just put it on the left for now and try to find another Recon slide to cut up and put on the other side as well.

With all of the attachments on, it looks a little bulky, but very cool, and nothing gets in the way. The weight is still way less than a stampede, and better yet, it can still be stripped right down to be just the blaster if needed.  I still need to put the right hand side rail on, find a dart jam door, clean up the hot glue a bit and add some paint. I'm looking for suggestions for colour schemes, and comments on this setup, so feel free to suggest and comment away!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Orange Mod Works Recon mod kit 2 pre-order

Ever wanted bullet proof strength internals for your Nerf Recon? Well, over at wwworangemodworks.com you can now pre-order the stage 2 mod kit for your Recon!

"Our stage 2 kit replaces the original breech and bolt carrier group with our own Orange Breech, aluminum bolt sled, and plunger. The Orange Breech is unique in that it gives you the advantage of precision-cut metal tubing while preserving the original function of the blaster. With the dart to breech fit being a near perfect seal, distance and accuracy are greatly increased."



Coupled with the stage 1 kit (which already yields ranges of 65ft flat), I wouldn't doubt that getting over 75ft ranges is possible. I can tell you, that makes the good old Nerf Recon much more valuable!

price for the stage 1 kit from the website is US$16.99 +shipping, and the stage 2 kit is US$24.99 +shipping, so for well under 50 bucks plus shipping, you have yourself a pretty damn epic Nerf blaster!

-Rolley