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Member Since 02 Apr 2005
Offline Last Active Jun 19 2006 04:52 PM

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Office Nerfing Review: Firefly (& Vs. Dart Tag)

29 August 2005 - 03:37 PM

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I needed to kill time so I dropped into Toys 'R Us. Imagine my surprise to see the NERF N-Strike "FireFly" on the shelves! Up until recently the FireFly was only sold at WalMart (not to mention sold out).

As you've heard me share before, here in the office we standardize on the Nerf Maverick Rev-6. It is an excellent starter weapon with 6 rounds. You cock the gun's slider, and then you fire. Each time you fire, the barrel automatically rotates to bring the next foam dart in line with the air stream and out the dart goes and gets some helpless employee, so you get to see him/her twitch into body configurations not normally seen in a professional setting (just don't do that when clients/customers are actually on the premises!)

When some of us heard of the Rev-8 Firefly we wanted it badly. Some of us are Stargate SG-1 fans so the P90-style configuration immediately had an appeal. Having an 8-shot capacity would naturally be superior to only having 6-shots. Then when we first saw a photo some of us went, "Well... it's a bit bulky looking.... looks a little silly and toyish but okay, I still have to have the 8 shots."

Hasbro, the manufacturer of NERF guns, announced the FireFly would be out late Summer. However, the FireFly's release in Toy's R Us was preceded by the Dart Tag. (Note: technically the FireFly was out several weeks back but here in our area there is only one WalMart and it's location isn't entirely convenient, whereas there are many Toys 'R Us stores in our metropolitan area.) The Dart Tag is an approximately $40 investment for two guns, each of them 10-shot. We acquired some for the office and our Nerf wars escalated in proprotion to our greed for greater firepower. But more on that later.

First the FireFly review, from an Office Nerfer's viewpoint. We are adults, mind you. But just because we're all between 25-45 years old, it doesn't mean that there isn't a dweeby childlike side to us. We love Nerf. The only difference between us and teenagers is that many of us have aching joints, arthritis, tendonitis, fatigue, fat, or a complete lack of exercise. But we still like to have fun. Office Nerfing is a very good way of relieving stress and increasing the company's team dynamic, increasing productivity and internal communication. It bolsters confidence and quality of each nerfers core competencies. I write all this in corporate lingo so any of you dubious managers out there who think I'm full of nonsense can identify (I am a Marketing Manager).

The N-Strike family of NERF guns are a very handsome and sporty envisionment of futuristic firearms. The colors are primarily a sporting orange, yellow, publish-blue, bright orange and gray. The advantage of these looks is that the guns look hella cool (okay I sound like a kid even though I'll be 40 in a few years) and there's no mistaking these guns for real firearms should cops ever show up to look into your activities. The FireFly is not so much a cousin to the Maverick but more like a Big Brother. A big honking huge bigger brother.

First, aesthetics and handling. The FireFly handles like a dream. It fits very snugly against my biceps. It's not too heavy or unwieldly. I have medium sized hands, and I applaud Hasbro for making these adult friendly, since grownups will likely play with kids (attention grownups: make sure everyone wears eye protection. Darts in the eye sting like crazy!) Again it looks hella cool and bespeaks power. People around the office immediately become more intimidated because it's bigger and bolder-looking. The FireFly's looks definitely reinforce the color and design scheme established for the Maverick Rev-6 as well as the single shot Nite Finder.

There are some cons, however, to the design. First, the natural tendency is to do something with your second hand, i.e. grip something on the front to steady your fire. As this is a NERF gun there is no recoil. However there is nothing to grip like on a real P90 assault weapon. There is a tiny area under the trigger. I think that your second hand will instead be cocking the gun's topmost orange slider so that you can fire the darts.

The FireFly, again, supports 8 foam darts in the barrel, and interestingly the barrel is transparent. Adding batteries to a compartment and activating a switch causes a lightbulb within the gun to turn on, thereby exposing darts to light. Why? So that at night you can have some fun with glowing darts. From a marketing standpoint, this is ingenious but this is where the execution falls short somewhat. The suction cup tips of the white darts do glow in the dark, but not the white foam darts themselves. Instead, Hasbro ships the FireFly with some sticky labels that you roll and adhere to the dart's foam, and the labels themselves glow-in-the-dark. Now for us adults this might end up being a total waste of time. Unless a label is essential for describing the function of a gun (e.g. the RapidFire 20's "full auto" versus "select fire" modes) then we adults may not go as far as sticking every single sticker on a product that ships with it.

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The stock has a depressed area that holds 4 rounds on either side. This can be useful because it sucks to run out of ammo in an office fight. Normally we just wait to be fired at and we pick up the opponents' darts off the floor, stick them in our gun, and fire them back. Usually we don't need to carry extra ammo. (Don't carry them in your pocket. If you forget and you sit down, you'll scrunch up the foam.)

The barrel is opened and while the darts that ship with the gun do fit in snugly, there is a slight chance they'll side out of the barrel onto the floor. But this disadvantage applies to almost all Nerf guns, with the exeception of the Maverick Rev-6.

The stock has a little plastic bar that looks like it would have supported a hook for a strap. But ideally there should have been a second hook so that if you found such a harness to wear, the gun could remain horizontal and your darts wouldn't slide out onto the ground, but unfortunately Hasbro didn't execute on that. Having such a feature would allow you to have the FireFly as a primary weapon and a holstered Maverick as a backup. With that firepower you could take on someone with a Dart Tag. Because you can't effectively use two cock-and-fire guns at the same time, after you deplete one gun you can go to the next.

Now the range. Our current office champion - the Dart Tag - wowed us with its range. From an Office Nerfing perspective, when discussing a Nerf gun's range, most people will fire straight, leaping out from behind cubicle walls. You're lucky if a dart goes 12-15 feet or more. But it's not an impressive distance but then again you might not need it to go that far. In order to get that annoying employee farther away, you do have to angle your gun somewhat. When you see people's reviews on the web on how a Nerf dart went 80-120 feet and you wonder why you can't replicate that in the office, well there are factors involved: wind speed and direction, and are they holding the gun up at a 45 degree angle? Bear in mind that if you do any Office Nerfing there is this thing called the ceiling.

So here are some tests I ran.

Initially I was concerned with the range of the FireFly when fired just dead straight. It didn't seem to be that much more than a Maverick. But I didn't want to give up on it just yet. When I used Whistler Micro Darts (these are round-headed darts that have a hole that when fired create a whistling sound that make employees duck for cover) the more aerodynamic design allows the dart to go farther. Angling the FireFly up slightly I managed to fire a Whistler into the CEO's office, achieving a respectable distance of approx. 35-40 feet. Now that was impressive. Firing the suction-cup tipped darts didn't achieve nearly that range.

When I used a microdart in a Dart Tag, thet Dart Tag achieved a 30-35 foot range. Bear in mind that darts aren't very accurate. Some will fly higher or lower than you intended per any deformations or bends in the foam. So it's very difficult to get an accurate apples-to-apples comparison of ranges.

Then I realized why we liked the Dart Tag. The micro-velcro-tipped darts are round-headed and more aerodynamic and thus have greater range than a Maverick using suction-cupped tipped darts. We've used Whistler ammo in Mavericks and have had great range. (Warning, don't get shot in the eye like I did with a velcro tipped darts. We may be decommissioning such ammo and will be mostly using Whistlers for range and for the fun sound.)

Followup tests showed that the FireFly consistently fired Whistler ammo farther than Mavericks. The darts seemed to not flail around but go on a relatively unwavering path. Aiming is not as easy as with a pistol but you get used to "guesstimates" quite nicely.

The barrel appears to be of similar design to that of the Maverick. Those into modifications will notice similar kind of springs and stems as the Maverick and will likely attempt to remove them to increase the airflow. The annoying part of these objects (or obstacles) is that if a Nerf dart's foam is slightly too narrow, it won't stay in the chamber and the spring will cause it to stick out like a sore thumb; it won't fire.

Like the Maverick, a Whistler dart that is not fully inserted but pops out could cause the gun to jam. This is easily remedied - just stuffing the round deeper into its chamber. It's open design allows you to easily replenish the barrel with darts lying around the ground.

In conclusion, I think the FireFly is a great buy. It may be 2 rounds short of the 10-round Dart Tag, but it has superior looks to the Dart Tag and superior range. It wields well, and seems reasonably accurate. For office Nerfing there is no need to modify this gun to have a lot of fun. If you're like me and work some evenings or weekends, you probably don't have much free time to modify the toy gun in any way. I'm satisfied with the FireFly as it is though I might consider an attachment near the front that will allow me to hook up a harness at both ends of the gun so I can then fall back to a Maverick. But at the rate we fire darts at each other in the office, a backup weapon isn't necessarily needed.




History Behind Nerf Design

15 June 2005 - 02:29 PM

Here's for some interesting reading. Lonnie Johnson is the inventor of the Super Soaker. He founded a company called
Johnson Research & Development Co., Inc. (http://www.johnsonrd.com/) and here's some interesting tidbits of information that give us a better view of the industry at large.

"The Super Soaker® brand name has captured approximately eighty five percent of the worldwide water gun market. Sales for this remarkable toy reached an impressive $200 million in 1992. "

That's a lot of money.

On the Company Profile page it explains: "After several false starts, the Super Soaker® was licensed in 1989 to Larami Corporation. In 1995, Larami sold Super Soaker® to Hasbro Corporation.... The competitive advantage of this toy has been maintained worldwide by an array of intellectual property rights owned by Lonnie Johnson."

It further states "Johnson Research has another license agreement with Hasbro which covers the design, engineering and development of NERF® soft foam dart guns."

Prettying interesting history.

Various Nerf-style Bows

15 June 2005 - 01:45 PM


Pardon the UK-based link. I came across this bow and arrow set in a Disney Store in a shopping mall here in CA and couldn't resist buying it. "Sir, are you buying this for a child?" Yes, I'm buying it for myself. :cry:

I believe this is a repackaged/OEM version of a Lanard "Blast Bow". It appears to be identical in profile but with colors changed to fit Buzz Lightyear.

So here are a few notes of observation.

1. The "Toy Story Bow and Arrow" comes with 4 yellow missles that look like the old Arrowstorm arrows. I have not yet tested it on my classic Arrowstorm (I keep it here at work to ward off evil employees, muhahahaha). I'll follow up with you all once I bring the Bow to work.

2. The arrow seems to go anywhere from 12-20 feet (of course, as with most Nerf guns, the dart or projectile will go farther if you angle the weapon higher).

3. The air tube where the arrow is slipped over has a grill. After removing it with some pliers to remove any possible restriction of air, it doesn't seem to have improved the performance much if at all. However a Nerf Microdart will fit in there pretty well, it seems.

4. The system gives you a missle holder where you can hold the remaining 3 with 1 on the firing tube, totalling 4. The missle holder can be placed on either side, but it has a bad tendency of coming off. You have to determine which side you want to permanently mount it on and then use some superglue to keep it in place.

5. Unless you have a very steady hand, it's not terribly accurate. Keeping it steady as you pull the bowstring, and then keeping it steady once again as you release it is a challenge. The arrow's fins are angled so that the missle will rotate through the air, but that might cause the arrow to not go perfectly straight.

Because a Nerf Microdart fit in the air tube, it led me to think that this was an OEM of a Hasbro Nerf product, but clearly it's a Lanard as I have a picture of the Lanard "Blast Bow" and the design is identical.

A deeper web search showed these products also:


(Click on the image for a larger one. It seems to use hooks instead of hydraulics.)



Rev-8 Firefly - It's Summer! Where Is It?

14 June 2005 - 05:55 PM

Hi there, your friendly officenerfer here. I was wondering if anyone knew when the N-Strike Rev-8 Firefly is coming out. It's summer already, and Hasbro's put out their top-of-the-line super soaker backpacks and cannons, and kids are all water fodder. But what happened to the Rev-8 we were all nuts about a few months ago?

Any insight is appreciated.

The Jackie Chan Disarming Move Works!

06 April 2005 - 01:24 AM

Anyone watch Rush Hour? There is a scene when Lee (Jackie Chan) and Carter (Chris Tucker) argue over whose daddy would whoop whose daddy while eating Chinese food takeout. Then later Lee teaches Carter a gun disarming move that looks like this:

Carter holds a gun out, with arm outstretched. Lee then takes both hands and rotates/folds the gun with the mouth now pointing at Carter and somehow takes it out of his hand. It's over quickly. Snap-take!

A friend today at the office held his Nerf Maverick at me and was going to shoot me point blank. I lifted up my hands. "I'm unarmed!" I said.

"I don't care!" he said with a grin.

So suddenly I do the Jackie Chan move. I turn the barrel away from me ---

--- towards him ---

and with the other turn the rear of his gun forward.

Now with the gun pointing at him I put my index finger into the trigger.



Office laughs.