Blasters like this are extremely hard to rate. Sure, it’s an obvious choice for a dart blaster. But after making (and delaying) the Nerf LMTD version, Hasbro releases a regular one at less than half the price?
Alas, consumer priorities are the ultimate factor here. Are you in need of a relatively inexpensive cosplay prop that you can paint? Are you a kid wanting to me Din Djarin? Do you just like quirky blasters in general? If so, it’s a nice blaster to grab. Anyone else? Perhaps not.
Introducing the Mango Mando
A little over a year ago, Hasbro made the Phase-Pulse rifle the first Nerf LMTD preorder blaster. It got delayed from the original October 2021 target date, though it eventually arrived to some less than stellar reviews from nerfers (Star Wars fans may have had a different opinion).
However, it seems Hasbro wasn’t content with a limited edition blaster. Now, we have a blaster made for store shelves and some abuse from kids using it. The most obvious sign of this is at the front of the blaster; the front prongs are flexible foam. This version is clearly seen as a toy instead of a prop. This does result in some issues with foam warping, should warm temperatures and bent prongs coincide. But for general play, it’s a much better choice.
Blaster operation is somewhat convoluted, although the various steps make sense after seeing the internals. A priming grip on front of the trigger gets pushed forward, flipping the breech open. Once you insert the dart and push the breech closed, pulling back that grip primes the blaster and loads the dart into the dart barrel. The trigger, naturally, fires the dart.
Ergonomics are…essentially out the window here. Regardless of arguments about accuracy versus the in-show prop, the toy version is horrendous to wield. The stock is far too short far anyone not in think Mandalorian armor, and requires holding your arm at an odd angle to fire via line if sight. Unless you’re Beret or myself, that’s not how anyone wants to use a blaster for long periods of time.
The blaster is mainly orange, with other colors, a vastly different color scheme compared to the original. Not that I personally mind. And the plastic feels quite sturdy in this version. There are plastic inserts covering the screws on the main body, for aesthetic purposes.
The blaster, at least in the Amazon box, arrives in two pieces, and once clipped together, stays together.
Dart velocity, however, was surprising. Several others with LMTD versions have experienced poor ranges, but my cheaper version averaged 67fps. That’s pretty acceptable for a large pretend play blaster like this.
I personally do not recommend trying to take this blaster apart. The screw covers are solvent welded in place, forcing you to drill them out. If you don’t do that perfectly, you mar the shell or damage the screw heads. All for minimal benefits.
Even so, someone has to do this for documentation! The blaster is clearly the same shell as the LMTD version, as slots exist for electronic parts. The breech rides a unique track, flipping it up for loading, then pushing the dart back into a painfully short barrel. Even with spring upgrades, you won’t get much of a boost in velocity.
This version of the Amban Phase-Pulse Rifle is certainly affordable, and more kid-abuse resistant. Even so, I think it’ll only appeal to Star Wars fans who don’t mind a noncompetitive blaster. That’s still a substantial audience, mind you. Just know what you’re getting into. I know I’d still use it in a war. 🙂