Sunday, October 16, 2011

Arsenal Toys Mortar and Rifle

Another one from 'Arsenal Toys' is the Mortar and Rifle (which we'll call the M+R as of now) , which is a combo unit that incorporates a pump air pressure "mortar" on top of a six shooter dart blaster. It features the classic Arsenal Toys quirky "minimimalist" styling and like the Machine Pistol we reviewed earlier, it looks more like a prototype concept unit rather than a finished product. That all being said, in a classic case of "it's what's inside that counts", we've got ourselves another unit that had very surprising performances..          

Like the Machine Pistol, the M+R comes on in an open card packaging with two oversized foam 'mortar' shells and six suction cap darts. The instructions are on the card and the blaster is held in place by twisty ties. Does look quite cheap, however the blaster itself is quite solid and well made with very simple design lines and a large handgrip.

On the "Rifle" side, the cocking mechanism uses an interesting spring loaded side mechanism that you cock by pulling a soft-ish blue handle on the left side of the blaster. Unlike a bolt action, it does spring back by itself, so I guess it's like a Maverick's cocking mechanism..but on the side. (I know, how technical of me!) It's novel but awkward and uncomfortable to use, and I found to stop my fingertips from dragging against the side of the gun I was bracing it by using my thumb against the back of the M+R. It's also a stiff spring too so the overall motion isn't particularly fluid for rapid cocking.

The M+R is a six round dart shooter, and uses a rotating barrel that revolves when you cock the blaster. It's as simple as inserting the darts; it's compatible with most Nerf compatible darts (suction caps, whistlers, dart tag).

 On the "Mortar" side, the M+R uses an air pressure pump to shoot off one oversized foam shell (the blaster comes with two of these). The packaging does say it's also compatible with oversized marshmallows, which makes sense as the mechanism is very much the same as air pressure marshmallow blasters. The whole mortar mechanism is totally separate from the dart shooting side and is essentially just another unit attached to the blaster. I don't think this is a problem though.

The pump sticks out the back and takes about 15 pumps to get to capacity. It's a pretty fluid pump and there is nothing complex about it.

 A small switch on the left side of the mortar muzzle sticks out; simply push it in after pumping and you release the foam shell.

Personally, I had much better results with large marshmallows (created a better seal and was weightier) than the provided mortar foam shells. Inserting the foam shells just felt like they weren't in correctly and were prone to just falling out; they're also not readily available so if you lose them, you're sorta out of luck so alternative ammo is a good thing. For the record the enclosed darts are also pretty poor quality so you'll get much better results with Nerf whistlers or suckers.

Performance time. As with the Machine Pistol, this M+R is a bit of a sleeper hit for us. Using the enclosed darts, we found it was quite similar in performances to early Lanard/Air Zone blasters- ie nothing to write home about. However once we replaced the darts with Nerf whistlers and suction cap darts, we found the ranges stock were pretty damn cool. We were hitting those 35-40ft ranges pretty easily, and for some reason even further using streamlines (though with less accuracy). The mortar of course isn't fabulous, but it's more for a bit of fun more than anything else and if you get yourself some large marshmallows, distances are pretty good for what it is.

The M+R is not without its flaws, but again we're sold on the novel aspect of the blaster and how decent it performed out of the box. The design issues with how it primes does stop it from being a true contender in actual foam war situations, but I'm thinking it's the kind of thing modders would be thinking "hmmmm".. if they could of course be bothered with such an understated looking blaster:) Aesthetic modders will probably think it lacking in decent lines to work with, but it's Duplo-esque styling makes it kinda fun in itself.

I had a lot of fun with this and I think we all said "sh*t!" a lot in surprise at how decent the ranges really were:) Video to come.


  1. Where did you get these from?

  2. China; you can find them on Taobao as well.

  3. Do you have an extra set? Or links to where I could get them? Or are you willing to sell this? I'm from South East Asia btw :)