Author’s note: Thanks to Dart Zone for sending the free sample to review!
As I noted on social media, my sample Dart Zone Pro MkIII arrived Monday afternoon – realistically, too late to make a real review happen before the Wednesday embargo. Such is current shipping. In the meantime, before I take it to a war for better judgement, or attempt to feed multitudes of darts through it…let’s peek inside the MkIII and see what makes it tick!
Holding onto classic designs is nothing new – for example, the Nerf NStrike elite Strongarm came out in 2013, but it is still sold is some stores (and even has Amazon exclusive variants release in late 2018 / early 2019). Dart Zone has its own holdovers from the previous “design generation”, including the Quickfire 8. The original version of this, the Renegade, released on ToysRUs shelves under the Air Zone brand. When I reviewed it then, it was good compared to other pistols on shelves. Now, however, it seems antiquated, especially when Dart Zone has superior revolvers readily available. Is it still useful? Yes. Are the weaknesses more apparent? Also yes.
Here’s a fun virtual roundtable to watch! This coming Friday at 7pm EST, there’s going to be a lovely discussion about the future of HvZ on college campuses. Having an actual pandemic (and no zombies) wasn’t fun at all, and things will have to change, for clubs at private and public schools, both old and new.
While we’re on the topic of improved blasters, let’s peek at the Adventure Force Sentry X2. It was recently massively discounted on Walmart’s website (though it can still be found on shelves), and I grabbed a large box of them. Since the original review, Dart Zone has improved the blaster, both in performance and feeding. It took some time, but now the Sentry X2 is a worthy Kronos alternative!
A magazine-fed, auto loading, bow style blaster? That’s a new and novel idea, compared to past examples. Nerf had the Stratobow, which advanced a large clip. Hobbyists have made magazine-fed bow blasters in the past, but they required a separate action to load a dart. Buzz Bee, however, has found a novel way to do it, by essentially putting a slam-fire mechanism on the plunger/breech assembly. Once that flies forward and loads a dart, you just have to release the handle to fire.
It’s a system that works quite well, far better than I expected. Let’s dive in!
For those not in the loop: Buzz Bee has had some difficulties with putting the correct blaster on shelves. There were two versions of the blaster; the former had the trigger directly acting as the sear, while the latter had a standard catch mechanism. The former was not approved for production by Buzz Bee, but one of the factories in China made a production run anyway and shipped it to Walmart. That’s how several reviewers (myself included) bought blasters on shelves, only to have them break after light use (if not in the first few shots). After trying to rectify the situation and recall the unapproved blasters, the proper ones are now appearing on shelves (I bought two in Cincinnati). For a full story of the situation, see Mongoose Jake’s video here.
I did end up getting sent a new blaster…but I was already in the process of writing the review 🙂
So far, this Thundershot is actually exceeding my expectations. It’s still a weird, ergonomic mess, but it manages to be fun, effective, and a bit more versatile than the first version.
What a thing to wake up to on Saturday morning! As the October arrival of the Dart Zone Pro Mk3 moves closer, Prime Time Toys has made a post with more pics, critical info, and a price point of $129.99! That’s actually very competitive for a full auto blaster that’s hitting 150fps out of the box. Let’s review all the info from the post!