Friday, April 27, 2012

Review: Nerf N-Strike Rayven CS-18 – Let’s Light Up The Night, Baby. :P

This is a historic moment for S.O.F.T., our first-ever review on a foam dart blaster. We’re swelling up with pride… Anyway, let’s get on with it. :)

The Nerf N-Strike Rayven CS-18 was a hotly anticipated blaster amongst many a fan, with it being released here in Australia Early 2012. A clip-fed flywheel blaster, a combination of a Barricade, Stampede and Firefly capabilities in the style of a bull-pup rifle. The Rayven is certainly an exciting piece of Nerf kit, and is arguably awesome, by first impressions looking at it. We’re excited to give you our thoughts about it, and they begin now :P

One of my new favourite blasters. :)

In the box, you get your basic blaster, the Firefly Tech Clip, eighteen glow darts, and instructions. I kinda opened the box without taking a picture, sorry :P
Something's about to go DOWN... In the dark! :P

The first aspect of the Rayven that I  noticed is the whole new colour scheme, a hint of light green. It’s certainly a nice change from the traditional yellow, and we welcome it with open arms. Here’s hoping Nerf decide to use it again.

The second is that the Rayven looks like no other Nerf blaster thus far. The clip is fed from the rear, rather than the middle of the blaster. It certainly looks different, and that is what makes the Rayven looks so… awesome and unique. It takes visual cues from the Stampede as well, as seen on the top Tactical Rail, the rail on the right-hand side of the blaster, and the handle. This blaster might the most ‘original’ made by in a while, alongside the Jolt. 

The Rayven is electrically activated (powered by 4x AA batteries), by holding down the little bottom trigger to power up the flywheels, then it is a matter of pressing down on the main top trigger to fire a dart. How fast it fires, depends on your trigger finger. In other words, Semi Auto, not Full Auto. (The powering up method is exactly like the Nitron, I love it when the flywheels rev up, and start whirring dangerously. When that happens, you know something's about to go DOWN... :D)

4x AA for the blaster, 3x AA for the Firefly Clip
The clip eject button is located at the back of the blaster, near the slot where you insert the clip. I like that you have hold down the button, and then pull the clip downwards to remove it. This method prevents the Firefly clip from being damaged. The clip also has padding on the bottom, due the chances of it being knocked around a fair bit during use.
In case of a jam, the Rayven features a jam door (similar to the Nerf Recon) located on top of the clip insert. However, the Rayven cannot activate it’s flywheels until the Clip is properly inserted, and the jam door closed. I would imagine this is inserted as a safety precaution, as it is the same safety features as the Barricade.
The firing bay, lit up :P
The blaster itself has a nice weight to it, but I found it was a bit back-heavy with the clip inserted. I don’t mind this; I prefer blasters having weight rather than none. The Rayven can be dual-wielded, if you wish. :P Right-handers won’t have any problems, but if Left-handers wish to utilize a drum, you might face problems. (We pride ourselves on consumer advice. :D)
Wielding left-handed... It's my preferred choice.

From our rigorous testing trials, we can calculate with fresh batteries, the Rayven can fire up to 3.5 darts per second, and the max distance can be 15-20 metres. If you fire off multiple rounds at once, these tend to be shorter, due to time need to get the flywheels up to full speed again. It can be also quite accurate, but the darts can fly off in random directions sometimes, due the randomness of flywheel firing. :P

Onto the Rayven’s main selling point, the fancy all-new Firefly Tech clip. This clip can be seen as the downfall of the Firefly (of which I’ll probably never get my hands on to test) or, representing the hope that the Firefly hasn’t quite disappeared yet, and might see a re-release, of which I hope.

The clip itself is a great, new piece of gear. The clip contain two little LED lights, located at the top of the clip, or dart slot, (powered by 3x AA batteries) ‘charges’ the 18 glow darts full of light, actually flash when released, and create a ‘ring of light’ when the glow dart wizzes through the air. It’s quite an amazing effect, of which you need to see in person. It doesn’t capture as well on camera, as demonstrated in S.O.F.T.’s first video feature but I’ll make another video, this time with the proper equipment.

An awesome sight to behold. :D
I LOVE this logo. :D
Battle of The Clips: 18-dart VS Firefly Tech VS 6-dart
The glow darts themselves work excellent, they shoot well, and really glow brilliantly. I haven’t had many experiences with glowing thingies in my childhood, so I found them really thrilling.

Who will win? Plain Streamline VS Camo VS Glow :P
Just... Awesome. :D

The Rayven, being a Clip System blaster, is compatible with all clips and drums from the N-Strike line. Also, most accessories will fit onto the blaster. Stampede shield might be a bit difficult though :P

Rayven with 6-dart clip... Looks great. If ONLY it could hold more :P
Rayven with 18-dart clip
Rayven with 18-dart drum... Epic win. :D
Rayven with 35-dart drum... A bit impractical...
We here at S.O.F.T. LIKE/LOVE the Rayven. We love the styling, the fact that it’s a clip fed Barricade, and the Firefly Tech clip of which we highly approve. The only downside is the price, currently at $35 AUD. A bit expensive for young fans, if you want both Light It Up blasters, BUT as I always say, sacrifices must be made for awesomeness. We would recommend the Rayven to anyone looking for some night-time thrills, and a fabulous primary or side-arm. It’s a great addition to any collection.
S.O.F.T.’s Official Rating: 9.5 darts/10 darts

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to dual-wield my Barricade and Rayven like a bad-ass :P 

S.O.F.T.'s Collection - 27/04/2012

For demonstrative purposes, I've put up this short video to show you how many blasters I have currently in my possession. You can expect full reviews on them all in the next few weeks.

Did I mention I'm a huge Zelda and Pokemon fan? :P

Video Feature 1: Rayven and Lumitron Night Demo

Hello fellow members, I forgot to put up the link for our first video feature. Kinda important, being a milestone for us :P

You can expect a remake of this video in the following weeks, since then we have obtained the right equipment (e.g. tripod) for this sort of recording. Kinda hard recording with a camera in one hand and the blaster in the other :P

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Preview: S.O.F.T.'s 1st Review

Go on, have a guess :P
The first official review, conducted by S.O.F.T. will be published on the blog in a matter of days. Get excited! Oh wait, I'm writing it :P

Introduction to S.O.F.T. (Squadron of Foam Tasmania)

The official S.O.F.T. logo

Welcome, one and all, to the Squadron! It is a pleasure to bring you this blog, of which will hopefully turn into my pride and joy. Before I get ahead of myself with all this excitement... :P I should introduce the founder of S.O.F.T. for all our current members.
My name is Mr.1835Link, and I consider myself as a 'kid-adult', or 'kidult' :P I consider myself to be a normal Aussie bloke, with an interest in computers and writing. One of which, inspired this blog.
My first, or earliest experience with Nerf blasters (the main focus of this blog) was a few years ago, aged 15, when my mother bought my brother and I a Vulcan EBF-25 for Christmas. Being young and inexperienced, I thought it was a cool little toy, and we often went into the corridor of our humble abode to fire off a couple of rounds :P But, over time, the novelty wore off, and I went back to video games. But little did I know that my experiences would take off for better… or worse. It depends on your point of view. :P

We went up to a good friend's place, of which his little brother came into the possession of a Recon CS-6. When I first looked at the familiar brand on the side, I just had to give this blaster a go. And when I fired off a couple of shots, I fell in love with the thing. :P I guess I just adored the novelty and practical aspect of it. That's when the collecting began, and the rest is history. I'll type some more background up later for you to read if you're interested.

Anyway, onto S.O.F.T.; the latest Nerfing blog on the Internet. It's our goal to try and bring something different to the world of Nerfing, but we haven't quite figured that out yet. While we figure out what it'll be, we'll try to cram in as much foamy goodness into every post as we can. Here is what you can expect over the next weeks:
  • Full, comprehensive reviews on every blaster we've got our hands on thus far. We'll bring you as much information as we can, without doing your head in :P Think if it as a basic overview of the specs, and then we'll give you our thoughts, filled with loads of pretty pictures. :D
  • Full 360 Blaster Turnarounds, so you can view each blaster in glorious full 360 HD views. Hopefully, you'll be able to notice every little detail. This feature is so that if you don't currently have that blaster, you can gaze longingly at it here until you can grab one for yourself. I know, I've done this myself many times :P
  • Interesting news as well as our thoughts, rants, and funny videos can be found here, on the blog. We'll share with you, of which we think, are truly the best.
  • When S.O.F.T. becomes widespread, (of which we hope) we'll create an awesome little community of people, through our official blog, our Facebook page, and you can follow us on Twitter! You can join us at any time for discussions, regardless from what state, country, or planet you're from. :P
Well, I think that's all we've got lined up at the moment. Lots to do! The first official S.O.F.T video feature is already up on our YouTube companion channel, link at the bottom of the page. The first review, featuring the mighty Rayven CS-18, will be up in the next few days… as soon as I get time to write it :P

Anyway, thank you for reading this, and there'll be more details and blog announcements as we progress, write reviews, record video, take pictures, etc. We hope you enjoy your time here at the Squadron, as do I.