Another blaster that Lanard Toys have released in their clear series is their ball-projectile X-Stream Air Tri-Blaster. As with all of the X-Stream Air clear blasters, they sort of popped out of nowhere and aren't even listed on the Lanard website so it was just one of those "well that's interesting" moments that just got me curious and after walking past the shelves of Myer several times this past few weeks, I finally decided to pick one up.
I have to say, this is a first for me as I have NEVER bought a ball blaster before; I was tempted a few times to pick up a Nerf Reactor but even as a completionist collector I was still able to ignore it due to the crap performance and lack of trigger. This one from Lanard however finally reeled me in- a rotating triple barrel 9 shooter with a funky cocking mechanism and a trigger? ooooh, lemme see..
|Back of the Tri-Blaster packaging. That's the extent of the instructions too:)|
The Tri-Blaster comes in an open card box packaging and includes the blaster and 9 lightweight soft balls. Given I've never had a ball blaster before, I'm not sure if they're compatible with the balls from other blasters like the Nerf Reactor (or ever awesomely named 'Cosmic Thruster':P..) but the balls are pretty safe, being not spongey or particularly bouncy. I haven't seen the Tri-Blaster before in its traditional paint let alone clear but Lanard doesn't have the biggest presence down here in Australia.
What drew me to this blaster is the fact that other than shooting balls, it had a similar feel to a dart firing blaster. It has a pull back cocking mechanism that you prime before you fire, and a trigger to pull. It's solid in hand, and uses the same durable translucent plastic as the others we've reviewed in the series. It's also in the same green and orange accents with only stickers to identify it as a Lanard X-Stream Air blaster (assumably so it can be rebadged as an Air-Zone blaster or something in the future) Also, I actually quite like the look of it, and basically bought it for the aesthetics because the other 3 blasters in the line (X-8, X-6 + Triple shot) were pretty ordinary performance-wise so I wasn't expecting much there at all. And come on, it shoots balls!
Loading is pretty simple- pushing the balls into the three barrels till they're full- which is 3 per tube. Once they're in, it's kind of difficult to get them back out again unless you shoot them out..just sayin:)
What I thought was cool is the barrels rotate when you cock the Tri-Blaster, so it shoots one ball from each. It doesn't really affect anything performance-wise, but I just thought it was pretty cool:)
There is a flip up aiming sight on top of the blaster, but it's pretty flimsy and could be mistaken for a paperclip:P
The cocking mechanism is also very novel- there's a hinged grip on the back of the blaster that you hold onto, and pull back the primer-sled thingy and then push back in again. Once you've done this, a ball is primed and ready to go:)
Now the all important thing- performance. Going into this, I really had VERY low expectations which is often in the favour of the Tri-Blaster- I'd never owned a ball blaster before to compare it against, the Lanard gear I'd owned to date was pretty ordinary performance wise, and I'd always heard ball blasters were pretty useless. With that sort of "hype", there wasn't really much to expect other than it maybe being a good "review and throw away" unit. But to be honest, I found it was actually.. pretty cool and has given me an afternoon of pretty hilarious fun..
Let's remember it IS a ball blaster, so out of the box it's not like it's going to be the outperforming a Longshot or anything, but as a ball blaster, it's really not bad. The box claims just under 8 metres/25 feet, and while it might be a tad generous, it's not far off. It sets off a pretty loud "crack" when you fire it, and it was considerably more powerful that I was expecting which I found left me quite satisfied when I watched the ball glide through the air. Being a ball, it does curve and dip pretty fast over distances more than a few metres, but accuracy wise in close quarters I hit targets I was aiming at (ie the girlfriend) and the cocking mechanism and rotating barrels just made it just that bit cooler. Obviously the balls could probably be thrown harder and further manually.. but where's the fun in that?:)
Now, not wanting to make the mistake of hyping this up TOO much so you think it's gonna be awesome (like..err..other hype this week!!:P..) I'll straight away and play down the Tri-Blaster by saying at $19.95 AUS I still think it's a bit over-priced and I probably wouldn't recommend it to someone as a primary blaster or who wanted to be taken seriously..
BUT.. as far as office warfare or in close quarters apartment style battles, it's pretty damn fun. It looks cool and the satisfying "CHOCK" noise it makes on squeezing the trigger kind of makes you laugh, as does when a ball soars thru the air and hits your target's head:) Personally, I admit I actually really like it:)
It also comes in a two pack with a clear Triple Shot and extra ammo and ammo holder for $59.95 which I personally thought was a tad excessive..
|Size Comparison to a Nitefinder|