Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rant: Flywheel love

Rehashing this Photoshop manip:) 
Regardless of actual performance, traditionally flywheel blasters such as the Barricade RV-10  get a pretty bad rap with the toy blaster community, mainly due to the noise they make and hence the inability to use them in "stealth" missions. The thing is, there are PLENTY of blasters out there that you could use for a 'stealth' mission so I'm not sure why you would use a flywheel blaster for this purpose anyway whereas they make perfect sense in an open field firefight (which so many Nerf wars end up being anyway). Adding to the fact that a flywheel blaster is probably the easiest to increase performances; whether you call it 'amping', 'juicing', 'upping' or 'vodding', increasing the voltage of a motorised flywheel blaster can turn a good blaster into a great one. Our man Neil's an absolute convert now- check out his rant after the jump.

You know how the story goes. Young Barry Junior turns up to his first Nerf War. He’s got a Barricade he received for his birthday. Much sniggering ensues from the veterans toting their brass barrelled-Black Tactical kitted-front gun integrated-LongShots. Barry Junior can’t even get within effective engagement distance and is peppered with stingers and stefans. Our young hero finishes the day head hung low and begins pestering his parents immediately when he gets home..... for a LongShot.....fade out, cue music and end credits.

 Barry – son – it doesn’t have to be that way. Let me tell you why flywheel blasters are the shizz.

 Let’s get this point out of the way first: yes, a lot of the flywheel blasters released in the last 2 – 3 years have been rubbish. Buzz Bee Ultimate Rapid Blast? The Auto Tommy 20? Air Zone Dual Shot Rapid Fire? But amongst this steaming pile of cr*p are a few gems, which with a small investment, pay off with great results.

Let’s talk about Nerf’s Barricade first up. Easily the best flywheel blaster on the market. 30 feet (9 metres) straight out of the box. Takes 3 x AA batteries for a power output of 4.5 volts. Makes a bit of noise but it’s very accurate.

Now imagine if young Barry had purchased a couple of the very cheap Trustfire/Ultrafire 14500 AA batteries which pump out 4.2 volts each fully charged? Just put a couple in and leave one of those normal AA’s in there. You’ve now got a 9.9 volt Barricade and life is about to get interesting.

 First thing you'll notice when you turn it on is it's a lot noiser. The second thing you'll notice when you pull the trigger is that you have now just nearly doubled the range of your blaster. Head shots at 45 - 50 feet (12 -15 metres)? No problem. Keeping you opponents honest at 60 feet (18 metres)? Easy. Now don't be tempted to go for the Streamline darts at this stage. Stick to a heavy dart like a Dart Tag dart and you'll keep the accuracy of a stock standard Barricade.

 Any decent list of flywheel blaster A-listers has to include the Air Zone Power Strike 48. Yes, it doesn't have trigger. Yes, it sometimes fires two darts at a time rather than one. Yes, it does sound like a vacuum cleaner. Yes, the darts have some kind of plastic insert which makes them quite hard (and painful). will hit 40 feet (12 metres) straight out of the box, it has an ammo capacity of 48 shots and it performs well with Nerf darts. It takes 4 AA batteries for an output of 6 volts.

 Now considering we've got those two 4.2 volt AA batteries lying around it would be a shame not to to put them in there wouldn't it. So let's add those and keep two normal 1.5 volt AA's in there. We're now putting out 11.4 volts. It now sounds like a 4 cylinder car stuck in 2nd gear. But we're now banking 50 - 55 feet (15 -16 metres) for each one of our 48 shots. Beware though - being a pump action mechanism it needs an experienced operator. Pause slightly between shots to let the flywheels spool up, and be very smooth with that pump action slide. The '48 also has a tendency to overheat when you've increased the voltage and it basically just stops working until it cools down. Again, don't go for the Streamlines. Not only do you have to cut them to fit but you'll have to open the '48 up and put tape on the flywheels. Easiest solution is to cut the suction tips off Nerf suction darts and they'll fit in their nicely. Or alternatively cut your your carrying capacity to 36 darts and use standard Dart Tag darts. The heavier darts are always a winner with flywheels, but you won't get the accuracy with the '48 that you will get with the Barricade. Having said all that, it's a great looking blaster and with a bit of experience with it's quirks it's a lot of fun to use.
Pic courtesy of SG Nerf
A new contender on the flywheel scene is the Zecong Toys Photon Storm. Zecong Toys are probably most well known for their amusing Nerf knock-offs. The Photon Storm has the looks, and it could have been a great blaster - but it's let down by poor build quality. The Photon Storm takes 5 AA batteries for a 7.5 volt output. Range out of the box averages 25 feet (8 metres). A big positive is that it takes Nerf clips and Streamlines.

More voltage? We can do that. The 'Storm has been tested all the way up to 21 volts, but 12 volts is quite sufficient. But bear in mind with the extra voltage you'll need to add some tape to the flywheels for the flywheels to grip effectively. And that poses its own problems in the sense that you're not just dealing with screws to open up the 'Storm but also glue. Even with the tape on the flywheels performance is inconsistent. You're looking at stock (or less than) ranges all the way up to 50/60 feet (15 - 18 metres).

Unless the 'Storm is readily available at your local stockists I'd say not to worry too much about getting one. An honourable mention also to that old party piece the Air Zone Punisher. People tend to forget it's a flywheel blaster. Takes 6 D batteries (9 volts), 30 feet (9 metres) out of the box, 30 dart belt. The Punisher is a lot of fun and it likes a little tweak up to a cheeky 14 volts. Easy enough to do with our two 4.2 volt AA batteries and a couple of D battery converters. Once that rotating barrel starts spinning at that voltage people will look twice (usually while backing away).

So there you have it - fun with flywheels. For a small cost outlay of a few cheap batteries from Hong Kong and a charger (easily found on the 'net - as well as the converters) you can modify your flywheel blaster in the time it takes you to change batteries. And no one will laugh at your Barricade again.

Neil. Out. :)


  1. Nope. Still hate them.

  2. I want to be that Barricade.

    1. Anybody wondering why this country's culture is such a mess???

  3. the problem with flywheel blaster is when plunger based blasters can match them. vulcan > punisher, stampede, swarmfire, and possibly the up coming DT-10

  4. does your wife know you photo shopped that picture?

  5. Flywheels are still crap. When it surpasses the 10V marks, everybody I know has their motor burnt out.

    Stick to your stampedes and vulcans if you want ROF. Longshots, Triple Shots, is all you need. Flywheels are only good for HvZ or indoor stock wars.


  7. Bad Pocket. Esq. Never mix battery types, voltages, or even new and old batteries -- especially with unprotected lithium ion, which won't stop you.

    Also, lithium fires are bad.

  8. Wouldn't be mixing battery types personally, especially with kids who might leave it lying around for a period of time unattend. All or nothing is safer.

  9. They used to be the shizz for me, until I started doind a lot of missions where stealh and your gun not jamming were crucial.

  10. most players prefer the tactile feel or recoil of spring plunger or air tank blasters when they fire, instead of having a noisy hairdryer tossing out shots... its just not as cool :-D

  11. Oh, bring on more Photoshoped pictures! Ooh, we're ready for . So much more!

  12. porno.............................

  13. Hey,the Automatic Tommy 20 will destroy the barricade any day.

  14. Then poor Barry came to another war with his modded Baricade. It was working out until he was going to shoot his opponents from his hiding spot. He turns on his Barricade and is instantly discovered. Poor Barry is then shot by a quadshot,longshot,and stampede. End of story role credits.

  15. If Barry was stupid enough to use a Barricade in a situation where he needed to hide, he deserved to be discovered.

    And you wouldn't need firing superiority of a Quadshot, Longshot or Stampede, any blaster would suffice in that situation.

    Barricades (or any Flywheel for that matter) aren't for hiding.

  16. "most players prefer the tactile feel or recoil of spring plunger or air tank blasters when they fire, instead of having a noisy hairdryer tossing out shots... its just not as cool"

    Agreed. I think the reason why I don't like flywheels is the lack of tactile feel/recoil. It's sort of lacking in satisfaction using a flywheel.

  17. at a higher voltage trigger-to-pressure switch mods work great, on account of how the motor spins up to top speed faster.

  18. lolz i'd like to be the barricade in the top pic.

  19. Guys saying flywheels burn out at 10v? My Rayven and Photon Storm both run at 16v comfortably, and i have a mate who has run his Rayven at 18v without burning them out. Usually it'll be the switches that go before the motors anyway.

    Most people's mistake is leaving the motors reving for too long. At any voltage, if you rev them long enough, they will overheat and burn out. Save your motors and your battery charge and only rev them for each shot, letting them spool down as soon as the shot is away.

    Naturally flywheels aren't for hiding, their for attacking, which is what you should be doing anyway. Mine and my mates' flywheels have gotten such a reputation at local wars due to the range and rate of fire they put out, as well as our tactics, that most players avoid us when they hear us coming, or simply hide and wait for us to pass, to try to shoot us in the backs.