One of the really cool things I'm liking about the toy blaster market atm is the way manufacturers are really in-tune with what the fans like and want. I've noticed this year a significant reduction in gaudy colours, with an increase in cool looking gun design. I'm also seeing new players in the market which is always pretty exciting to see what innovative new gear toy companies have come up with.
Launch N Attack is a whole new line from a group called "Eyespy Toys". The blasters shoot foam darts, but the innovative angle behind these puppies is a secondary projectile system that shoots helicopter blade-like Discs high in the air; the idea is offering the user a sort of 'skeet shooter' like experience which the line calls a 'Technical Training System'. We got our hands on the impressive looking 'Rapid Attack' kit that comes with an Eradicator blaster, remote control and seperate RC Launcher that shoots the Heli-Discs. Worth checking out or just a gimmick? Our thoughts after the jump.
The Rapid Attack kit comes in a really BIG box. There's a lot of packing material inside, and it seems they haven't quite got the hang of efficient packaging the way Nerf have, but at least there are no annoying plastic ties and clips.
The box art uses some nice looking artwork to illustrate the system with multiple languages all over the box. Interestingly enough, the line is called "Launch N Attack" from "Eyespy Toys" so I'm not quite sure what "DeeBee" is next to the barcode.
The back of the box of course promotes other products in the line. The Eradicator can be purchased on its own with its own Heli-Disc launchers, but we got ours as a part of the Rapid Attack kit.
First impressions of the Eradicator blaster itself is it feels quite solid and well made. It uses a different type of plastic once again to Nerf and it has sharper angles that make it less comfortable to hold in hand in my opinion, but it's quite well built and sturdy so I'd say it's definitely a good quality shell.
The Launch N Attack line has a distinct 'alien' look about them and reminds me quite a bit of the blasters in the film 'District-9' with the 'gas pod' looking bits sticking out at the front. I like the colour scheme; It's a sort of off white/pale grey colour with red/orange and grey accents.
These blasters do NOT have trigger guards which I don't think is a big deal. The trigger itself is quite pleasant to squeeze and relatively light/soft. The grip is probably the longest I've seen in a blaster- this is a gun that definitely will be at home with larger hand users. Theres also a little loop on the end for straps and holsters.
No room for scopes or sights, but it does come with a rather odd looking 'handle' on top which I guess could be used as a makeshift sight, or just to.. carry it:)
The Eradicator comes with two round female plugs, one on either side that would normally allow for the Heli-Disc launcher attachment, depending on whether you were left handed or right but in this particular instance, I didn't have a launcher.
The Eradicator is a semi automatic motorised blaster, with obvious comparisons to the Nerf Barricade RV-10. It uses four AA batteries (unlike the Barricade's 3) and are installed behind a battery door on the right side of the gun.
The Eradicator comes with a detachable stock- if you can call it that. It looks nice and all, but it isn't at all extendable and so it's too short to really be useful, even for wee tackers as a genuine shoulder stock. That being said being so short it doesn't really get in the way either, so it's just an aesthetic thing to personal preference.
The Launch N Attack darts look a lot like Nerf Streamlines but are a tad shorter. They're quite attractive and follow with the light grey and red colours of the blaster itself. The foam feels a tad stiffer as well compared to other foam darts; it uses a harder rubber/plastic tip rather than the squishy ones Nerf use. Quality-wise they're quite well made and I personally found they travelled through the air quite well distance wise.
Loading the blaster is similar to how you would with a Barricade. The Eradicator also takes 10 rounds which you insert in the barrel in a similar fashion to the RV-10.
An interesting thing I found was while at first I thought "great, another new blaster line with it's OWN proprietary darts" given the difference in length, but ACTUALLY the Eradicator accommodates Nerf streamline darts, and therefore Elite darts as well flawlessly. It can actually take Dart Tag and sucker darts as well, though it does tend to stick a little if you do this. (They do recommend you don't!)
Ironically I actually feel it performs better with the Elite darts; I had a few jam issues with the original Launch N Attack darts but no issues at all with the Nerf Elite ones. (They didn't jam in the Nerf Stockade though.. go figure)
Although longer,the Elite darts seem to fit pretty nicely.
The power switch is quite small, and takes a bit of time to find if you haven't read the manual first. It looks a little unfinished, like there was supposed to be a larger switch on top of it- but that's just a minor issue I had. Once you DO find it, it's as simple as flicking it on and waiting for the flywheels to power up to full speed before firing. If the blaster jams, it has an auto shut down function that powers the flywheels down so you can remove the offending dart.
Now on to the performances. I'm actually quite impressed- the Launch N Attack Eradicator's power and ranges are actually really good. We found out of the box it consistently outperformed the Nerf N-Strike Barricade RV-10 and the N-Strike Elite Stockade (grey trigger mind you) consistently with both its own darts and Elite darts in regards to distance- I have a feeling it might be due to a more powerful motor to run the flywheels, OR maybe the fact it's 4 AA's rather than 3?
Accuracy however is a little hit and miss at times- similar to a voltage modded Rayven using regular streamlines, I have a feeling the more powerful motor does tend to lend itself to light 'fish-tailing' when getting past the 12-15m mark. It is where its own darts does make it more accurate, although I found the ranges were slightly less and as stated earlier with more tendancy to jam. (This might be an operator error I'm told, but I don't know if loading foam darts SHOULD be so difficult to even allow user error!)
So the blaster is pretty decent and we give it the thumbs up, but there's another element to the Rapid Attack kit, and that's the RC Launcher; the big tube that shoots the Heli-Discs in the air. Now I'll be the first to admit I thought this was a bit of a throw away idea, but I have to admit after seeing this in action, it's actually pretty damn cool.
First of all, there's the remote, that takes two AAA batteries. The remote has a single red button on it, and attaches itself to the Eradicator in those two little female ports on either side of the gun.
Obviously, whichever hand you use to fire a blaster dictates which side you'll attach the remote to.
When you first see the RC launcher, it doesn't really look that impressive- sort of like a clear desk bin.
On the side of the launcher is another little switch to turn it on and off, and a remote sensor.
The launcher takes six AA batteries; understandably given the power it needs to run the launcher, but at the end of this process, you'll have to have 10AA's and 2AAA's to use the Rapid Attack kit!
The Heli-Discs are a soft plastic copter blade style..er..disc. The launcher comes with four of them, and while similar in size to the heli discs that come with the manual launchers, the discs do not appear to be interchangeable.
Setting up is pretty easy- you simply slide and stack the heli-discs on shaft in the middle of the launcher till all four are secured and resting on a platform. At this stage I was still thinking "hmm.. this is a lil underwhelming.."
Once you're all ready to go, just switch the launcher on and rest it down in a wide open space. I have very high ceilings in my apartment so it was good to go there. I still wasn't sure what to expect other than obviously somehow those heli-discs were going to have to be shot in the air.
To operate, it's a matter of pressing the red button on the remote and wait. You should already have your Eradicator's flywheels powered up and ready because on pressing the remote button, this is where I have to admit, I thought was pretty damn cool. The platform within the launcher kicks into gear and like a robot, makes this mad "bzzzzzzz" noise raising the first heli-disc to just above the rim of the launcher. THEN, it activates the shaft in the middle to spin like crazy for about 3 seconds till finally.. lift off- the top disc soars off into the air and essentially it's the same as a skeet shooting machine firing off a clay pigeon in the air:) Heli discs went airborne a good 6-8 metres as I fired multiple rounds at the disc trying to hit it:)
I don't know what it is about it because the concept to me sounded so weird, but it was strangely enjoyable, and so I repeated it again and again till all four heli-discs had been launched, each time the platform raising higher till it was up to the top. Once you're done, holding the remote button down for three seconds commands the platform to go down again (in similar "bzzzzt" manner) and you're ready to reload the discs again. I'm not sure how it really goes as a training tool given you spend a whole lot of time aiming UPWARDS, but then as far as hand-eye coordination goes, it's a test and kept many of us entertained throughout the day:D
We had a lot of fun with this kit; the Eradicator blaster itself may not be as refined as a Nerf Stockade or Barricade RV-10, but it does have the power to out perform it on the distances out of the box. It looks quirky and we liked the colour scheme and the fact it does accommodate other darts is a big plus in our books. It's pretty well made and it's nice to see subtle design cues on the blaster to suggest Launch N Attack have considered the older user audience with the removal of the trigger guard and larger grip (though still ok for 4yo child hands like mine!). I'll have to get back to you on how it goes WITH a voltage mod, but assuming it does ok, voltage mod fans may just have another impressive blaster to work with. Aesthetic modders may also enjoy the form factor and design of it, so I am seeing it has a more universal appeal to it.
The RC Launcher itself though won't be for everyone, but it IS actually a lot of fun, especially using the remote and gives you a moving targeting alternative when you don't have opponents or an unsuspecting family member nearby. The anticipation you get when you watch the platform raise and then start spinning the discs is just really cool and adds that extra element to targeting that you don't get from shooting a wall. Still, there is an option to buy the Eradicator by itself should you prefer to concentrate on the blaster in the traditional sense.
Not sure about the plans for them to be released in Australia just yet but I can't see why they wouldn't want to release them here. I'm really happy to see new players in the market come up with what so far looks like some decent kit.