The D-Dart Tempest was one of the most unique things on display at Toy Fair. A handheld gauntlet blaster that features full auto and 28 darts? Based purely on that, you’d expect a great blaster. The reality isn’t quite so great. It’s certainly not bad – far from it. But, given a few key issues, you may want to think about it before buying it (currently available at Target).
The Tempest features a large plastic handle, surrounded by a rotating drum. An on/off switch sits at the front of the blaster, above the trigger. Above that is a covered set of flywheels. It’s a compact, sturdy setup, and is far smaller than you’d expect. Even so, it’ll fit most hands, either adult or child.
Four AAA batteries go into a tray at the front of the grip – simply loosen one screw and pop open the door.
Meanwhile, the back of the cylinder shows exactly how the blaster fires – on rotation, a plastic extension “hammers” a dart forward into the flywheels. It then is pushed back by teeth on the back of the cylinder, until lining up with the next barrel. The entire length of plastic “hammer” essentially acts as a spring. In order to reload (and not jam darts into the flywheels while doing so), there is a circular tab that holds back the plastic arm when engaged.
There is, however, one major flaw in this design. The Tempest comes with 28 darts, all of which are shorter than standard darts. In addition, a ridge at the front of the cylinder, designed to keep darts from popping loose out of their barrels, is spaced specifically for this length of dart. As a result, in stock form, only the included darts and Xshot darts can be used. Nerf? Dart Zone? Buzz Bee? Generic darts ordered online from China? None of those will work.
Of course, you could modify the blaster to fix this issue. But if you’re simply buying the blaster for you and your kids, not being able to use so many common darts is a major problem. At least (for the most part) Xshot blasters are able to accept most dart types, even if their darts are shorter. This blaster? Not so much.
The D-Dart Tempest has a decent rate of fire for only four AAA batteries. It shoots three darts per second (and as WalcomS7 notes, you can manually spin the cylinder for a silly burst of ammo). However, the blaster with its wide flywheel setting only manages 53fps average velocities. That’s significantly lower than lots of blasters. Certainly not bad, but for $30 I would hope for better.
A few people have already taken apart and examined the blaster, noting the internals. For the blaster to be usable for beyond stock wars and such, it will need a custom flywheel cage made (as well as rewiring, etc). At the moment, I’ve only heard rumors, but will update with a link if someone does design a cage for the blaster. There’s also room in the handle for a small lipo battery, like you’d use in a Stryfe battery tray.
The biggest issue, however, will be redesigning that dart retention ridge. We simply need more room for regular darts.
The D-Dart Tempest is a cool concept, and is executed well in terms of all the parts working together. The dart compatibility issue, however, is a major area of concern. The blaster is also underpowered, running off of just 4 AAA batteries. Keep those things in mind if you do decide to drop $30 on one.