Sunday, February 20, 2005

I'd do anything. Anything? Anything, for you!

Well, been a damn long time since I posted. I guess I should explain that. First off, it's winter and as a nerfer with what now has become a full time job time constraints are evident. However, I am here and have some commentary on the happenings in Nerf over the past month when the community seems to go absolutely ape shit. What it does provide is a chance for us to collect our thoughts and spend a few more hours in the garage. So without further ado, here are winters nerf headlines.

This Christmas I got myself an N strike. I really have mixed feelings on this thing, and it goes all they way back to last January when I watched the head designer for Nerf whip out the Titan prototype. I mean, don't get me wrong, had this been 10 years ago when I was using spring loaded plastic suction cup shooters we picked up at the grocery store for 3 bucks, I'd just about cream myself at the sight of this thing. However now, it's different. Now I'm asking a lot from Hasbro. I'm basically asking them to make something better then the Crossbow, but I'll come back to this.

My feelings about the N strike, as I said, vary. On the one hand, it is a pretty neat gun. I fooled around with it in my back yard, had a couple of friends fuck around with it, shot it around at work with one of the interns on a Saturday when the building is empty and I do feel that if I was still 100% straight edge unmodded Nerfer that this thing would be spectacular. It has a lot of neat features that we as modders take for granted. The pressure gauges, the integrated triggers, different set ups and combos all with their own functions. It's an extremely versatile gun. However, for our purposes as modders, this thing is basically useless.

The Titan shows the most promise out of the three of the guns, but man, it's just scary powerful. I tried nerfing it, but at that point, there's no use. It requires a barrel replacement, which for me is a buzz kill. I like seeing what I can do with the gun without having to add a new barrel. Once you do that then you might as well go the whole nine, and if you're going the whole nine then you basically have the best long range single shot sniper around. Yes, I know, I used the S word, but if there is one gun that warrants sniper tactics it's this one.

You get one shot before you just have to run away and you need to do it at a great distance. It also has that thing on it that looks like actual sights (which by the way, with it unmodded at a close range where almost accurate, bravo Hasbro.) This doesn't mean I would allow it at any war. It's really pushing the limits of Nerf, and personally, I'm not big on pushing limits when it throws off the delicate balance of the game. Once we have one gun that's accurate within 100 feet, we'll start allowing others that can do that. The titan is an off the shelf homemade it's so powerful. Once we start getting into this range, it's no longer Nerf. Nerf is all about putting some hurt down on your buddy from 15 feet away, or doing something so ridiculous and outrageous on the field that it actually works. Nerf is charging a flag yelling "FREEDOM!" Nerf is quoting movies about brothers who kill off the wicked and then shooting a new member of your clan in the back of the head. This is what makes Nerf unique. If we're going to be shooting at each other from those ranges, let's just give up and go play paintball.

Last thing I'm going to say about the N strike is that I think all in all it's a pretty neat gun, however, I just haven't had much energy to mod it. I cut cap off my titan, and I've got that missile shooting around 60 feet flat. Lead and angled it cleared 90. I was really impressed. I think I'll take it with me to March war and use it during siege for shits and giggles. The scout just seems like silly engineering. I'm sure they have a great reason for doing it, I just think it's stupid. Guess they really want that top sliding mech. I hope someone figures out how to get some usefulness out of this thing, cause it doesn't look like Hasbro is going to be changing any time soon. I will hand it to them, it looks cool, but from the point of view of someone who actually plans on using these things, it seems dumb. The hornet is just too complexed for my taste. Too many things to go wrong, I'll pass.

I also picked up a Maverick and have some things to say about it. First off, the name struck me as weird. Look up the word maverick sometime and let the gears in your head run. Can't put my finger on it, but there's just something odd about calling this thing a dissenter. Either way, it really doesn't matter and for someone who doesn't over analyze everything, it's a pretty cool name. Definitely beats the Titan, Hornet and Scout.

My first impressions of this gun were good. It's a god damn hand cannon for one thing. My god, they made this for 6 year olds? Second, someone on that design team is a Dirty Harry fan, no doubt in my mind. (45 magnum. Most powerful hand gun in the world. So you have to ask yourself, 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya? Punk?) When it comes down to it, I opened the box and had some very boyish moments. I couldn't believe how friggin cool this gun was, and how simple the turning mech was. I couldn't believe it moved on trigger pull. I didn't care how it worked at the moment, this thing was just pure genius.

Then I opened it up. Things changed a bit in my mind. I was disappointed to see what literally is the smallest plunger tube I've ever seen. And I used to open up those dollar store guns on occasion. I mean this thing practically doesn't exist. Not to mention they're still using this dumb sliding mechanism which I can't figure out past the sliding priming is cool. Just like the N strike, this thing is all a matter of perception. I tried my best to mod it. I found it couldn't handle a larger spring, nor a spring stretch. Perhaps if I had used some epoxy putty on it to make a place to keep the whole system from being pushed forward, but everytime I strengthened the spring, it would add resistance onto the turret, which made the turrets functionality hit or miss. I will say this, the turret system is pure genius. I cannot believe this thing works so well. My god why couldn't they have made this an airgun?!

After a whole night of modding, I gave up and it's still sitting on my work bench. Perhaps someday I'll give it another shot, but for the time being, I'm buying another because unmodded, this thing is fun as hell to play with and really accurate. I like the gun, but as far as using it in wars go, I'm not really interested.

So with me picking up brand new guns for the first time in months, it got me thinking. What is it that makes a good mod gun? I thought about a few of the greats. Here's a list of the what I think the best nerf guns to date are:

Nite Finder

I think with those 6 guns you have everything you need for the rest of your life. So what makes these guns better then the N strike line? This was not an easy question. I couldn't say power, Christ, the Titan has an abundance of it. I couldn't say cool features, because anyone who could effectively use an N Strike on the field, and I'm talking like Boba Fett style, can use crazy shit gagdets completely effectively because he's super 1337 and knows exactly how to use that gun, that guy could just about clean up a group of hell cannon toating Nerfers. Lets face facts though, we all have lives and don't have time to train ourselves to use a gun like that.

That's when it hit me. Think about the US military and the weapons they've used since WW2. You basically have the M1, M14 and M16. There were tons of other weapons out there that could have been used, however, these simple rifle designs were chosen by the United States military and have proven themselves to be highly efficient and effective guns. However to say that automatically answers the question. Simplicity. The US military picks weapons that are simple to use and maintain. Think about the SMG case in WW2. We had the Thompson, which was a great gun, but horribly complexed to break down, had lots of moving parts, and was really expensive to build. So what did they do? Made the Grease Gun, aka M 40. It was simple. The thing was stamped metal and cost 15 bucks to make, while the Thompson cost a couple of hundred bucks.

So it dawned on me. Other then the at3k, which after opening up I realized everyone was making far to big of a deal about the complexity, those other guns are about as simple in design as it gets. Think about the crossbow. 3 moving parts. Trigger, Catch and plunger, that's it. Ever take a maxshot apart? Care to count the moving parts? Care to count dead Maxshots vs. Dead crossbows? I've never heard of a dead crossbow. Hell look at what Wask was able to do with one that had a huge part cut out of it's side. It's a work horse.

The Nitefinder and LNL. I would put the LNL slightly above the Nitefinder, but only because again, of simplicity. Three moving parts still.

As far as airguns go, the AT2k and 1500, which for all intensive purposes is the same gun, are simple as well. If you take care of it, and get luckily by getting a good valve and pump, you've basically got again, three moving parts. Pump, trigger, valve pin. Very little to go wrong. And if something does go wrong, you can figure out what it is rather quickly.

The AT3k of course is less then simple, but everything is screwed in, so I don't see the big deal. What's nice about it is merely getting 6 shots and only having to pump to fire the next one. What makes the 3k cool is that it did this effectively with a still simple design, that makes sense when you look at it. I was able to dissemble the thing and put it back together with not too much trouble. They were also able to do it and keep it at the perfect size for a nerf gun. So while this one may hinder my theory of simplicity, for what this gun does, they kept it suprisingly simple. I'm really glad to see it's been released again, maybe I'll give another shot at modding it. I really like that gun.

To conclude this article, I'd really like to issue a challenge to all of you I did in December. Spring is coming and the year is young. If you are reading this, and are currently active on a Nerf board, NH or NHQ, you have a duty to yourself and those who will come after you to get out and play this year. I want to see 2005 the year that the Nerf community was increasingly active. I want to hear war stories, see pictures. For god sakes, get out of the box. You don't need 20 people to have a kick ass Nerf war. I'm going to really try to lead this front. I want to see guys learning to make darts and mod their guns. Then I want to see them hit the streets and knock the living hell out of one another. Hell, maybe I'll even make up a few mod write ups with pictures to aid this. Who knows? Either way, I'll quote my good friends CXWQ and Vacc here.

Nerf on or fuck off, and for god sakes....SHOOT SOMETHING!



Anonymous Jangadance said...

Talio said: "Trigger, Catch and plunger, that's it. Ever take a maxshot apart? Care to count the moving parts? Care to count dead Maxshots vs. Dead crossbows? I've never heard of a dead crossbow. Hell look at what Wask was able to do with one that had a huge part cut out of it's side. It's a work horse."Here's a shot of the Max Shot internals.

The Max Shot may have more pieces in general, but it has about the same number of moving ones... Plunger, check. Trigger, check. Catch, check; and I wouldn't know about the safety because I disabled that in mine. The only difference is that the handle is attached to the plunger in the Xbow. On the Max Shot, the handle rolls along the plunger. This piece is indeed known to breaking, but only about as often as I've heard of Xbow plunger rods breaking.

And if your counterpoint is that the word is "dead" not "broken" Xbows vs Max Shots, remember that plunger breaks are a pain in the ass to fix, and all you need to do to bypass the handle on the Max Shot is attach a string. I've done this, and a few other Nerfers have as well.

And as far as the NF vs LnL simplicity, that seems like even more of a stretch. You've got the exact same mechanisms working there. Strip out the electronics and the air restriction and the only difference is the size of the LnL plunger tube.

I respect the message you're trying to send, and I agree with it to some extent. For instance, I can't stand the Ballzooka since all of mine have broken. My other ball blasters are working fine. Anyways, great topic Talio.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Talio said...

Janga, you're forgetting tons of parts and not to mention the fact that there have been reports of the damn thing breaking in half. I'd appreciate if before you critize my opinion you would have basis for countering it in the first place. When was the last time you played with both guns to compare, or worked to maintain both. By the way when was the last time you nerfed? Sorry to say, I think I have more of a knowledge base about this stuff. I'll open up a maxshot some day and find out exactly how many parts move. It's more then three. The top slide and the bar that holds it to the plunger make 5 right away. The saftey mech is another 3 or 4 and if you disable it and fire it with the arm in the air, it's gonna break the gun. Again, don't get in a word of words with me unless you know what you're talking about. I've used both guns extensively. The maxshot lasted 3 full scale wars, plus a handful of locals. The Crossbow has lasted more then 9, countless local wars, and is still going more then strong with no signs of stopping. Why? Because I can fixed just about anythign that goes wrong with it on the field. And your idea that it's somehow worse because a basic flaw in the design has to be undone is absurd, because the maxshot won't even shoot darts unless it's modded. Do me a favor, and drop the arguement, you've lost.


10:40 PM  
Anonymous Jangadance said...

I myself have had the pleasure of having to fix both blasters, thanks. In my experience, a broken handle on the Max Shot is much easier to deal with, since the plunger rod is still intact. On the other hand, the weak, thin plastic that is the Crossbow's rod is alot more susceptible to breaking (especially when modded). You don't have to do a full scale metal handle welded onto the plunger like Langley was working on, and with an Xbow repair it's impossible to cut corners successfully on a significant piece like the plunger rod.

Talio said: "I'll open up a maxshot some day and find out exactly how many parts move. It's more then three. The top slide and the bar that holds it to the plunger make 5 right away. The saftey mech is another 3 or 4."The bar that holds it to the plunger? Yeah, that doesn't sound like a "moving part" buddy. Just because it can come out doesn't make it a part that moves while the blaster is in use. And the safety mech has 1 moving part and a spring, yeah. And you can remove it after you put a dot of hot glue in each side. On a Crossbow you remove the air tubing and relocate the barrel, does that make it a less reliable weapon? You brought up the comparison of "Old Faithfuls" to the contemporary standard blasters. I didn't come here to try to call you out on your idea that simplicity is key, but instead to offer my input on a few issues you discussed.

1:21 AM  
Blogger Talio said...

There still is no comparisson between the Maxshot and the Crossbow. The Maxshot is a decent weapon, it's useable, but it's not even close to what the Crossbow has accomplished. Slowly the Maxshots are dying off. Problem is, like I've already said, they're too damn complicated and really prone to breaking.

Langley pointed out one huge flaw in the design. With consistant use, the front of the plunger tube will simply shatter. Yes, shatter. It's weak, every bit of plastic on this thing is weak. I've been using a Crossbow for over a year now, and never have I had one break during a war. I've never gotten through an entire war with a Maxshot. I have one now that needs to be repaired. We had a barrel jam, which was purely user error, not the guns fault. I used some lube on it, and it was below freezing and the sucker froze. One good tug and I snapped the plunger stub right off. This one's not the guns fault, but it really didn't get a proper chance to work.

Still, even when it comes to look and feel, the Crossbow is again better. Besides Janga, I think the purple brings out your eyes.

I never said the maxshot was a bad gun, but fact of the matter is, it's a shotty replacement for the crossbow. While they shoot similar, the design of the Crossbow makes it far and beyond better then the maxshot and you can't argue it. Anyone who has actually played with both guns will tell you that.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WTF? Why did you delete my comment? Is it that you hate me? Hmm? well, least you can't ban me here.

8:16 PM  
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Check out this nerf video

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