Last year, Prime Time Toys jumped on the gel ball bandwagon with the Hydro Strike line at Walmart. That’s not to say it wasn’t good; in fact, I really liked the Nebula Pro as well as the Pulsar Pro. It just seemed to initially come out of nowhere. Now, though, given just how many companies have entered the space (Hasbro included), it seems like they made a great choice.
Hydro Strike, however, was Walmart excusive. For Target, this year introduces the Gel Zone line of blasters. And the initial flagship, the Hydrax, fills the same niche as the original Gel Blaster. It’s near the same price point, and has similar performance. And while it has some hiccups when filled full, the Hydrax overall performs as well as you’d expect for a spray and pray motorized blaster.
Author’s note: since CC was out of stock as of this posting, you might try placing an order with Out of Darts!
This review is an odd one for me. Usually, I leave the “outside” brands alone, in favor of things you can find on store shelves and/or Amazon. After seeing that Containment Crew had some in stock, though, I jumped at the chance to have a Harrier. Given just how many “pro” blasters of this form factor exist, it seemed fitting to actually grab a Harrier for comparison.
As of this writing? The Harrier is absolutely a worthy competitor in this space, but more so if you’re willing to pay a premium price to not have to do the work for higher dart velocity.
Just a short bit of news; after expanding patent and trademark searches worldwide, I found out that Dart Zone has been applying for patents at the World Intellectual Property Organization, which allows you to take an initial patent application and, within 12 months, file it at one of their offices to start the process for multiple countries worldwide, providing some level of protection while allowing time to formalize filings, fees, etc. in the countries you choose to pursue the patent in.
In the case of this patent, WO 2023/003517 A2, a Provisional Patent Application was filed in July of 2021 in the US (a simplified process for making an invention “patent pending” with the intent of filing for a full patent in 12 months). Those aren’t publicly searchable. 12 months later, a non-provisional (official) application was made, based off the previous filing, and that patent was published on January 26th of this year.
Given the fact that their vertical drum-fed blasters could become cumbersome at high capacity (looking at you, Tomahawk 60), Dart Zone is looking at a top-mounted pan magazine option instead. The images are pretty bland, but the important thing is that the mechanism A) exists, and B) had enough merit for Dart Zone to continue the process this long. For reference, the WIPO document for the Vulcanator has the same plain design, focusing on how it works, not the design of the final product. So don’t worry about the looks. Just know that it’s coming.
Buzz Bee Toys. They aren’t the largest blaster manufacturer out there. But they have a habit of trying new things, whether those things are gimmicks or brand new/weird ways of doing things. Some attempts, like the Air Warriors Tornado, aren’t the most successful. Others, like the Compound Bow, are a pleasant and entertaining surprise.
The Adventure Force Spinshot falls in the latter category. It’s not a blaster fit for combat – using hard plastic ammo precludes that possibility. But it’s fun to use, has a unique mechanism in this age of blasters, and gets great distances to boot.
If you’re looking for a competitive blaster, this isn’t it. If you want somethings that’s simply fun to shoot, though, the Spinshot fits the bill perfectly.
In a little over two months, the Maryland Foam Alliance, along with UMBC HvZ, will be hosting a weekend with tournament games, HvZ, and plain old Nerf battles! Mark your calendars for April 14-16, 2023, and if you have time, head down to the Baltimore area for some fun!
I would normally be going to large events like this anyway, but with it being one of the first East Coast competitions of the year, the Eh Team is planning on making it for the competition on Friday! So showing up is mandatory 🙂
Hope to see more of you there! Check the website for information, registration to play over the weekend (needed for ALL people coming), and to possibly sign up for one of the remaining tournament spots!
New York Toy Fair has been moved to the fall, starting with this year. However, other Toy Fairs are still happening, including the one in Nuremburg, Germany! To that end, Blaster Time was kind enough to send along some pictures and info from the fair. Info after the jump!
And be sure to check out the Blaster Time website, especially if you’re in Europe!