Before we go any further in to this week’s post, my first real review might I add, I’ve got to give a big shout out to Hasbro Australia and the Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag association for providing me with the blaster you’ll see in a moment. Yes that’s right folks, Hasbro Australia has followed in the footsteps of Hasbro US and is actively supporting its local fan base by suppling those who do good for the community with blasters for testing and review purposes. Thanks guys!
So then, on to our first real review. This review will be split over three parts; my assessment of the stock blaster, the mods we can do to improve it, and an assessment of the modded blaster.
Sidenote: Please forgive the lack of quality photos this week. My camera is currently in China with my Mum… Phone ahoy!
The Hailfire smaller than I imagined. The logical side of me is trying to tell myself that this is a good thing, but I can’t help but feel a little disappointed at the same time. It’s by no means flimsy or dainty, I’m particularly impressed by the sturdiness of the advancing handle while we’re on the topic, but it just doesn’t seem as impressive or intimidating as the pre-release marketing spiel made it out to be.
The outer covers, or wings I guess, are just weird; I don’t like them. They look ugly, make the blaster bigger and more clumsy, and make reloading on the fly significantly harder. They survived about 15 minutes on the blaster before they came off and went in the garage.
The handle and acceleration trigger are quite comfortable and the main trigger feels nice and mechanical, very satisfying but not too hard. Even though I know I’m supposed to be holding the blaster by the advancing handle but I keep finding myself wanting to hold it under the muzzle at the front tactical rail. I’m sure I’ll get used to this the more I use it, but for the moment it just doesn’t seem quite right. When my hand has found its way to the advancing handle however, the motion feels surprisingly good. I was worried about the handle being really flimsy when the first leaked photos of the Hailfire appeared way back when. Kudos to Nerf for that.
The Hailfire fires way further than expected. I know I shouldn’t be surprised by this since I was surprised by range of both the Barricade and Rayven when I first used them, but I guess I just unintentionally downplay flywheel blasters before remembering that the current range are actually not totally terrible. With Elite darts I was getting 7-8m parallel to the ground and 14-15m angled. I know that isn’t going to amaze anyone, particular the more modding-inclined readers, but I still found it better than expected. Also this should be pretty easy to fix with a few Trustfires.
My first real problem however came once I started loading more clips into the blaster. The clip advancement mechanism worked fine with eight 6 clips, but failed pretty spectacularly with eight 18 clips; there’s just too much weight. It tries to advance as it should but either gets sort of half way then either flops back or just stalls there more often than not. With just four 18 clips it worked more often than not but still failed to advance far more than I’m happy with. Simply put, I think it’s too high a risk of the clips not advancing to justify using it regularly just yet, but something that I hope I can rectify.
Reloading of the clips to the left of the main body was possible once the outer covers were removed, (very useful) but way harder than it should have been. The small round piece at the side that holds the shoulder strap mounting point still manages to get in the way. Something will be done about this once I get around to modding.
I think the Hailfire has a lot of potential, it’s just not quite there yet. Over the next little while I will…
A) Be playing around with the voltage to find the optimal performance.
B) See if I can’t improve the reliability of the advancing clip well.
C) Remove the shoulder strap mount to allow for easier reloading on the go.
My standard weapon of choice at the moment is my minimised Stampede with two 18 clips taped together, each facing the opposite direction. The reason for this is that it gives a good mix of range and rate of fire, empty/partially full clips can be reloaded on the go, and it’s very reliable. I’m pretty confident that the Hailfire, once properly modded of course, will be able to match the range and rate of fire, still be able to be reloaded on the go *and* hold more darts. Provided I can get the reliability where I need it to be, this might just turn out to be my new ‘go to blaster’. Keep an eye out for stage two of this review soon enough where I’ll cover off some of the mods attempted.