I've never really been certain about flywheel blasters- on one hand they are pretty noisy and obviously give away your position almost immediately (especially in an indoors sneaking-around-the-apartment kinda environment) but on the other they seem to have sort of fallen into the "SMG" class of the Nerf blaster world with their compact size but relatively powerful semi automatic firing (in the Barricade, Rayven and Stockade) which I do like as far as the 'tacticicool' tilt is concerned. Nerf have addressed both of these elements in the form of the new N-Strike Elite Stryfe and after playing with it for a week or so, I have to say it's definitely now become one of my real favourites.
Here's why:) More after the jump.
The N-Strike Elite Stryfe comes in a very slimline box; it was surprisingly light with next to no packaging inside of the box. Inside you get the blaster, manual, a six round Elite clip and six elite darts.
The N-Strike Elite Stryfe is a flywheel mechanism powered, semi automatic clip fed blaster. It's easily likened to several other blasters in the Nerf line; initially one would suggest it's like a Barricade/Stockade but with a clip fed ammo system, or it's a forward loading Rayven but there's much about the Stryfe that shows Nerf have basically designed a whole new blaster in its own right.
Without a clip, the Stryfe does look like an oversized pistol, similar sized to the Maverick. It's actually quite slim, so rather than just modifying a Barricade, it feels lighter and sleeker and looks different. The grip is a little shorter than the Barricade/Stockade which wasn't as much of a problem for me and my girly hands, but may be for you bigger fellas. It's lightweight but quite solid at the same time as you'd expect from dem smart cookies at Nerf.
The Stryfe is an all new mould- the blaster sports the new N-Strike Elite colours of blue, white and orange and with the name plate clearly in black on the side.
The trigger area (here shown in orange, but Australian models will be grey) as you can see also sports two other buttoms beneath the trigger guard- the one on the grip is the accelerator trigger that activates the fly wheels (similar to the way the Rayven performs) while the button at the front is actually the clip release catch, unlike previous clip system blasters where the clip release has been on the side.
It takes a lil to get used to but it's quite intuitive and allows for quick release and loading while on the run.
The Stryfe takes 4 AA batteries to power up the flywheels- unlike the Barricade/Stockade, the battery door is on the right hand side of the gun, not the left.
Other subtle differences- the jam door on the Stryfe is a flip up/forward door rather than a slide as in the Barricade or Stockade. This can be a bit of a sticking issue if you've got a sight mounted on the top tactical rails and you're trying to clear a jam- at times you have to remove the sight to do so. Which is a lil frustrating.
The Stryfe has a few "intelligent" features that may just annoy some users but modders seem to have already gotten around these; 1) the motor won't start if there's no clip loaded or the jam door is open, 2) the trigger won't operate if the clip is empty and 3) the slight difference in clips means the regular older N-Strike clips kinda.. aren't recognised by the Stryfe. I've only been using Elite clips with it anyway so this wasn't an issue for me personally, but I've heard this to be a problem out there in Nerf land.
Performance wise, it's pretty darn good. The Stryfe is in true form to the N-Strike Elite improved ranges, clearing that 15m mark flat though we'll obviously be seeing detuned power for our grey trigger domestic release. I still find the Stockade was more consistent in making it to the 20m mark, but it was much the muchness, however the Stryfe's ability to take clips is a massive win for it for gameplay lastability. And it looks cool:)
The motors are also quieter than the original Barricade but I suspect very similar if not identical to the Stockade/updated Rayven, and I've been told doesn't do too badly with the odd voltage mod:) So far I haven't experienced any jams to date which is fantastic.
Customisation is a big thing with the Stryfe- It's a blaster that like the Retaliator/Recon (or the Spectre REV-5) has been blessed with ability to add a stock, sight AND barrel attachment which really does change the way the Stryfe looks.
The Stryfe also has a secondary tactical rail under the muzzle which is awesome but effectively only for front grips, as the Recon tactical light is too long to fit.. I think this is a shame, but it does seem to be the trend for the N-Strike Elite blasters (the Hailfire was the same)
|The Stryfe out of the box...|
It's quite cool how different the Stryfe can look once you start playing around with attachments- it should be compatible with almost all stocks, sights and barrel attachments..
Personally, I think the Stryfe looks the best with the Retaliator's 12 round clip. Not too big or small..
Add a front grip from the Retaliator, and you're definitely in SMG tacticool territory:)
Now chuck on a pinpoint sight (thanks Neil!) and I'm really liking the look of this blaster..
I personally don't really think it needs a barrel attachment, and I tend to not use them as I find they interfere with the blaster's performance, but as you can see, it looks a bootload different now with a Retaliator barrel attachment and a Stockade stock..
And for something different, the Retaliator stock with a Super Soaker Shotblast scope, Stampede bipod and 18round Elite clip.
Now, THIS is my favourite config. for the Stryfe, if only the Spectre stock was also matching the Elite scheme..
And there it is again cos I think it looks mad:D
Here it is with a Spectre barrel as well. Still looks tough..
|Compared to the Stockade|
I still think flywheel blasters are noisy, but to be honest, I really don't care at this stage, the Stryfe is an all round piece of awesome kit. I love it, it adorns my coffee table atm as my blaster of choice for this holiday season. Do get one if you get the chance to unless you're really DEAD against flywheel blasters- I think you'll enjoy it:)
|Compared to the Stockade|
We'll be expecting these domestically mid 2013 which is kinda a long way away, but they are available through Amazon.com atm if you can't wait!