A Good Blaster at Your Side: Modifying the Nerf Han Solo Blaster

IMG_2160

If you have already seen my imgur post on the Nerf sub-reddit, then most of this will be review. That said, I will be going over the mods I’ve done, so far, on my Han Solo blaster, as well as my opinion of the blaster, and my future plans for it.

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Review: Blastersmiths UK Big Bag O’ Blasters (aka Big B.O.B.)

If you have ever seen The Mummy, then you probably remember the scene where Rick O’Connell, played by Brendan Fraser, pulls out his roll of weaponry. If you are anything like me, the first thought that occurred to you was, something to the effect of, “I want one of those.” For this reason, I was compelled to purchase the Big Bag O’ Blasters (or Big B.O.B.) from Blastersmiths UK (BSUK). BSUK is a company, based in the United Kingdom, that offers bespoke Nerf tactical gear as well as upgrade kits and parts for certain Nerf blasters.

BOB 3

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Nerf Rival: Gimmick or Game Changer

I promised my overall opinion of the Nerf Rival line, and here it is. As a disclaimer, I must admit that I only have first hand experience with the Apollo. After much deliberation, I have chosen not to purchase a Nerf Rival Zeus MXV-1200 at this time.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea of a magazine fed flywheel Rival blaster, and I hope Hasbro makes more. However, the limited magazine size (12 rounds) and the awkward magazine changes make the Zeus unsuitable as a primary, in my opinion.

As an aside, my regular readers have probably noticed that I do not review every new blaster as it comes out. I leave that to the Youtube reviewers who get free promotional PR packages, and/or have a larger budget than I do. As my hobby budget is limited, I have to be selective of the blasters that I purchase.

Both the Apollo and the Zeus serve as excellent “proofs-of-concept.” With these blasters, Hasbro has proven that the technology is there. Higher velocity, more accurate, “off the shelf” blasters are a reality. The Rival blasters prove that they are not just another gimmick (i.e. Modulus, Elite-XD, etc.), chiefly because they live up to their claims. What is needed next is refinement, specifically in the areas of ammo capacity, ergonomics, and usability.

To be specific, I would like to see an ergonomic, high capacity (18+ rounds), pump action or flywheel primary, with a mag change as smooth as the Apollo’s.

Second, I would like to see a Rival side arm that is as functional and holster-able as the Hammershot. (I would be willing to sacrifice a bit of velocity for a compact secondary blaster.)

Most of all, I want to see a sniper style blaster that lives up to its looks. I’m not asking for a miracle. I just want something that is capable of accurate shots over 50 feet, and looks as cool as a Longstrike.

Whether, or not, Nerfers will be willing to trade in their darts for “high impact rounds” remains to be seen. However, initial reception seems to be enthusiastic.

Ultimately, the success of the line hinges on what Hasbro does next.

Thanks for reading.

Review: The Nerf Rival Apollo XV-700

Apollo Box 1

Today I’ll be breaking down my thoughts and observations of the new Nerf Rival Apollo XV-700. (Come on, Hasbro. That’s no name for a blaster, that’s a name for a rocket.) I picked this one up at my local Target.

The box design for the Rival line is unique. Gone are the child models. In fact, the front of the box simply showcases the blaster itself and the new ammo (aka High Impact Rounds). We are told that the blaster is spring powered, boasts a velocity of 100fps (feet-per-second), and is accurate.

Apollo Box 2

The back of the box has the same information as the front, with the addition of the standard blaster feature diagram, and a bit on the red vs blue marketing campaign. Notice the Rival logo. “Rival” is printed much larger than “Nerf”. Hasbro seems to want a clear distinction between Rival and their other Nerf lines.

The blaster’s name seems to adhere to Hasbro’s usual naming conventions. We have the common name of the blaster, “Apollo,” followed by a couple of letters that hint at some feature of the blaster, “XV,” (my theory is that XV stands for eXtreme Velocity) and finally we have a number indicating ammo capacity, in this case “700” denotes an ammo capacity of 7. I think calling it the Apollo XV7 would have sounded cooler, and made more sense, but I digress.

Apollo Box 3

As an aside, the back of the box seems to depict a pre-production/prototype version of the Rival Zeus MXV-1200. Notice the differently shaped fore grip and muzzle. Personally, I think the production model looks much better.

Over all, I dig the simplified, professional, “more grown up” feel of the box design. Hasbro’s marketing team nailed this one, but I didn’t buy this blaster for the packaging. Let’s take a look inside the box.

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What’s Up and What’s Coming.

I’ll admit that I’ve been slacking a bit on the blog posts lately. I assure you that it is not because I have nothing to post about. On the contrary, I have a small back log of projects and reviews to post on. However, preparing for WyvaCon has me pretty busy at the moment. Throw in work, family, and other obligations, and July is going to be packed. I should be back to my normal, once-a-week, posting schedule come August. In the mean time, I’ll try to post when I can.

In other news, I have closed my online store. It was a fun experiment, but it seems my readers are much more interested in commissions, than one-off blaster re-paints. All remaining inventory will be on sale at WyvaCon for drastically reduced prices! What doesn’t sell at the convention will, subsequently, be placed on ebay.

At WyvaCon, along with the old inventory, I will have a few custom modified blasters for sale, and a few scratch built replica props as well. I’m also bringing some cool demo pieces for my Nerf modification panel. I hope to see some of my readers there. For more info check out the WyvaCon site.

Expect some fun stuff in August. I can’t wait to review the new Nerf Rival and Nerf Doomlands 2069 blasters! Thanks for reading.

A Message from Orange Mod Works

Last week after writing my review, I decided to send OMW an e-mail briefly restating my thoughts. Here is what I wrote:

Dear Orange Mod Works,
Yesterday, I received my O-Tac Hammershot S1 kit, and I have to say that it is everything that you all promised it would be. I did an install and review post for my blog at remedyarms.wordpress.com. I would be honored if you would check it out.

I have been a costumer and a fan since the Recon Unleashed Stage 1, and I think this latest kit is the most professional and most polished kit yet. I appreciate the risks that you guys take. Making a 6 shot hammershot that works, no one else is even trying stuff like that.

That said, I’ve heard a lot of frustration in the blaster community over the delays and lack of communication. I realize that engineering and testing take time, and I have found your products to be worth the wait. However, the lack of communication is damaging your relationship with the Nerf community.

I just don’t want to see a company, who’s products I enjoy, loose business over bad PR.

Sincerely,
Matthew D. Lundy

The following is the reply that I received. (Out of respect, I asked permission before sharing this with my blog readers.)

Hi,

Thank you for your kind words and your concern. For the past two years we sort of dropped off the grid as far as being visible in the community because Jim and I were spending all of our time focused on the manufacturing and logistics of our product while hoping the kits and parts would speak for themselves. We know now that that attitude is not sustainable and the goal now is to keep people up to date with the whole process instead of just updating when we have good news. We will do this primarily using facebook and the idea is that by bringing everyone along for the ride we can revitalize the sense of community that was there at the beginning of OMW.

We missed a great opportunity to connect with our fans during the production of the hammershot kit. We realized too late that it would have been the perfect opportunity to open our doors and show off our vacuum molding setup and all of the hand work that goes into the kit but we may still do that while I’m in Taiwan next month.

I really enjoyed your review and your criticisms were very fair. I exaggerated the texture on the hammer with the idea that it would wear over time and become less aggressive without fully wearing out but may have over did it. If we do a texture for grip in the future it will be toned down.

Regards,

-Jun

Support Team

What do you all think? Can OMW redeem themselves in the eyes of the Nerfing community? I, for one hope it is not too late.

Thanks for reading.