Review: Dart Zone Covert Ops Scorpion

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Prime Time Toys held a giveaway showcasing their new blaster, the Dart Zone Covert Ops Scorpion. Each week for four weeks they chose two entries at random to win a new blaster. As it turns out, I was luck number 8.

Shipping Box

Here is the shipping box as it arrived. Let’s see what’s under that packing material. Shall we?

Contest Win

What’s behind door number one… it’s a new blaster!

Scorpion in box Box Close up

The Scorpion is a belt fed, fly wheel operated, full-auto blaster. I believe that it is currently a Walmart exclusive in the US, and retails for around $20.

Box Back

Aside from the usual warnings and blaster features, the back of the box makes two very interesting claims. The first is an “up to 70 feet” range claim. The second is the claim that one can fire the “entire belt” in “under 20 seconds.” I’ll address these claims in a moment.

All you see here

Here are the contents of the package: one Scorpion blaster, one 20 dart ammo belt, 20 Dart Zone Super Darts and the instructions. The blaster is smaller than I had originally anticipated. It measures 19 inches long, and the grips are clearly designed for child sized hands. In spite of this, the blaster is relatively comfortable to hold and operate.

Battery NoteBattery Tray

The blaster requires six AA batteries in order to function. Although that seems like a lot of AAs, it ends up being a lot lighter than the hand full or C or D cells that many full-auto blasters require. The Scorpion has a dedicated on/off slide switch, located just below the battery door on the left side of the shell. This switch activates the fly wheels. There is no rev trigger. The main trigger starts up the pusher motor that feeds darts into the fly wheels, as well as a mechanism that spins the faux barrel giving the blaster the look of a “gatling gun.” It’s a fun gimmick, but has no effect on performance, except to burn through batteries.

When the switch is activated the motors spin up to full speed in under 2 seconds. That’s as fast as a stock Nerf Stryfe, and faster than a stock Rapidstrike. When the trigger is pulled, however, firing is not instantaneous. It takes a second for the pusher motor to cycle, literally one second. That brings us back to the “fire a full belt in under 20 seconds” claim. I was able to get through a belt in just over 20 seconds, with fresh batteries. That’s 20 darts in 20 seconds. The blaster has a rate-of-fire equivalent to 60 rounds per minute. In contrast, a stock Rapidstrike can go through an 18 round magazine in 6.5 seconds. That’s an effective rate-of-fire of 166 rounds per minute, more than two and a half times that of the Scorpion.

The Super Darts that the blaster comes with are not the most accurate of darts. They perform erratically at ranges over 20 feet, quite similarly to old style streamlines. I noticed a few minor quality control issues with my Super Darts. Some looked great like the one below.

Good Dart

However, a few had excess glue clinging to them, like the dart in the picture below. This was likely a contributing factor to the accuracy issues that I observed.

Bad Dart

Super Darts are a bit shorter and a bit lighter than Elite darts, but are made from similar quality foam. There is just enough clearance between the ammo belt and the fly wheel housing to allow the use of Elite darts in the Scorpion.

Here’s the good news. This thing slings foam hard! Without a chronograph I can’t tell you just how hard, but Blaster Labs clocked their test model at 95 feet per second. That is unheard of for a stock blaster. Accuracy issues not withstanding, it performs on par, if not better than, most stock Nerf fly wheel blasters, when it comes to range.

In spite of my harsh critiques, the Scorpion is hands down the best non-Nerf blaster that I have come across in recent years. It’s a fun blaster at a great price. Though gimmicky, the ammo belt and gatling barrel add an enjoyable roll play element to the mix. The Dart Zone Scorpion is just a few improvements away from being a war worthy blaster. I believe that this blaster is proof positive that Prime Time Toys has what it takes to give Hasbro some much needed competition. I am looking forward to seeing what they come up with for 2015.

Happy New Year, and thanks for reading.

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