Due to the highly subjective nature of this post, I’m specifically creating an “Opinion” category. Coincidentally, it also opens up potential future posts from outside writers about issues in foam flinging in general. For now, though, I’ll attempt to keep things relatively light.
The RevReaper is leaving shelves, after a seemingly solid run in stores. It offered a unique take on flywheel blasters not seen since the days of the Buzzsaw or Gyrostrike – human-powered flywheels. It also somehow got past me completely in terms of reviews – I’ve used it a lot, modded mine to shoot harder, and yet I never actually posted a review. Seeing as it’s a bit late to review an item on clearance, I’ll instead just examine my experiences with it and the general reactions.
The Revreaper is simple in concept – pulling the charging handle spins up a gear system – at the end of this gear train are the two flywheels for spitting out darts. The very end of the handle pull throws a pusher arm forward to load the dart between the wheels. Moving the charging handle back forward causes a clutch to skip, allowing the user to maintain some energy while firing darts in rapid succession.
In many ways, it’s the flywheel answer to dart blasters like the Air Warriors Sidewinder, which rely on manual power to both compress the air in the plunger tube and rotate the dart drum. Unlike those blasters, the RevReaper can be fed with dart magazines, making it a far more useful blaster – even if loading drums is your thing, swapping blasters is still faster.
Manual blasters always have a learning curve – since you’re trying to aim and arm the blaster at the same time, it’s automatically a less stable platform. So while you can (in theory) top out at 100fps with a stock blaster by pulling the handle really hard, you’ll sacrifice a lot of accuracy trying to do that. At first.
Practice (And Trimming) Make Perfect
The RevReaper didn’t take me very long to pick up, but I’m used to wielding weird blasters. The best comparison I can think of is, in NIC play, using a modified Bow N Arrow with a hopper or RSCB. Inherently, it’s a far less stable platform than using something like a Doomsayer, but if you’re willing to put in the practice with it and work around the quirks (as well as run a bit more), you can make it work.
It’s also a blaster that has room built in for improvement. As you can see from the picture, there were two backstops for the charging handle – in stock form, the handle doesn’t extend all the way back in its channel. Furthermore, there used to be another tab in the moving plastic piece in the middle. In my mind, it’s an artifact from blaster development – it’s similar to how Vortex blasters had multiple channels on the throwing arms for placing the torsion spring. In this case, the extra backstop was added in, and the extra tab was put in to take up the same amount of space in the pusher mechanism. Remove both of those and put the foam/rubber pads in their new positions, and suddenly you can break 100fps fairly easily. You just have to get the practice part down.
There are some annoyances to the RevReaper. The jam door just sits there, held down by gravity. So waving the blaster around in any capacity makes the door move. The main and charging handles are both a bit on the loose side, which will annoy other users. The top-mounted magazine was never an issue for me, but it obviously makes aiming in the usual fashion a lot harder. I’ve seen some people hold the blaster in a somewhat awkward fashion, but I still think it’s best used firing from the hip. Once you’ve practiced enough, you can aim in the general direction and let muscle memory do the rest.
It’s Not a Deploy
The RevReaper may not be the “ideal” platform for Nerf (read as “Stryfe”), but that’s no reason to suggest it’s the third worst blaster of the year, especially when you can be so effective with it. There are obvious issues for younger an inexperienced users not being able to get high velocities or accuracy. Older and more experienced users, however, can get superstock performance out of a stock blaster, which is completely unheard of. It’s a blaster I use quite a bit, both in standard Nerf wars (versus everything from Stryfes to Caliburns) and in Humans v Zombies settings. And every time I show up with one, people (at least the ones who haven’t played with me) look at me and ask why I’m using such a terrible blaster.
Every time, it’s because it’s a stupid fun blaster to use, regardless of how practical it may or may not be.
It just so happens that it can be very practical.