Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Foam Storm Rising

Fifteen years ago, the height of the Nerf arsenal was called the Missilestorm. It held four foam arrows on flimsy launching rods and cost parents a whopping 20 USD. The arrows were too large to be aerodynamic, and the firing mechanism—a rear handle that was drawn out of the weapon to be rammed back in and thus force air out behind the arrow—destroyed accuracy. Smaller kids couldn’t even get good distance out of the thing.

By 2001 there existed a wider-ranging and more-developed Nerf arsenal relying on more practical foam darts. But the cheaper guns, such as the “BlastFire” five-shot, still had clumsy mechanics that led to poor firing and quick breakage, while the more expensive guns—including the prized, fully-automatic “PowerClip”—were, well, expensive.

Today the introduction of a cheap, cool-looking, and virtually-foolproof design spells the stronger-than-ever return of Nerf combat. It is the “Maverick Rev-6,” a large six-shot revolver. Though each shot is powered by an easy-to-compress internal spring, the weapon has very decent range and accuracy. And at 8 USD in Wal-Marts across the land, it is inspiring both young newcomers and poor college kids who wish such a good piece had been on the market when they were smaller.

ABOVE: "The Samaritan," the author's personal Nerf® Maverick, serial no. 71341

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