Interview – Australian Blaster Enthusiasts – Part One

Hello blaster enthusiasts of Australia and the world! Today marks a special occasion that I was hoping to bring out to celebrate my 20,000th view. The theory was to conduct an interview with all of the powers that be throughout Australia in the blaster community.(Un)Fortunately, readership picked up over the past month or so and I hit that milestone far sooner than expected (29/10/12 @ 11:05 if you were curious). Sooo… you all get a slightly belated view into the Australian blaster scene instead!

For those of you outside of Australia, please take the opportunity here to see how people outside of your community play. Notice the similarities and differences and hopefully you’ll learn something you can apply within your own community. For my fellow Australians (said in a suspiciously POTUS voice…) have a look at what the other states and groups around the country are doing. We’re a relatively small country population wise but I think we punch well about our weight in the international blaster community. It’s time to give up with the infighting, yeah?

So with all that out of the way, lets introduce you to today’s interviewees.

From New South Wales we have Matt, admin with Sydney Nerf Wars (Facebook and Forums), and Chris, admin with Riverina Dart Tag.
From Victoria we have Grep, State Lead Organiser on Australian Nerf (AN).
From Tasmania we have Alex, admin on Squadron of Foam Tasmania (S.O.F.T.).
From South Australia we have FaytZero and Winterstrike, both Admins on Australian Nerf, and AJ, admin on Foam Sports.
From West Australia we have Mohrlock, admin with West Nerf, and Stawsonia, State Lead Organiser on Australian Nerf.
Nobody I could find in the Northern Territory 😦
From Queensland we have Rolley from Street Tag Warfare, Clunk of Clunk Weapons Co and an admin on OzNerf, and Girly Gamer from Nerfenstein (Blog, Facebook, and Twitter).
And from my home here in the Australian Capital Territory we have Neil, admin with Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag and Chris from Combustible Props.

Each respondent was sent a series of 10 questions regarding their blaster usage and their thoughts on the Australian community. I know I sure found some of the responses particularly interesting and I hope you do too. Big thanks to all those who gave their time in responding; I really hope it improves our little corner of the world.

I had originally planned to run this as one post, but given that I’m currently well over 9000 words (closer to 12,000 for those of you playing at home), I think I’ll split this over two weeks. Be sure to check back next week for questions 6-10!
Cheers,
Joe

 

How did you first get into the hobby? When?

What do you think most attracted you to it originally?

Matt – Sydney Nerf Wars
It’s hard to say really. I was probably about 10 years old when I got my first Nerf Blaster (one of those old school SwitchShot Max things that did water and foam), but I’d wanted to play with Nerf blasters well before then. I believe my interest was sparked by the advertisements on TV showcasing how “awesome” Nerf really was. My parents didn’t want to spoil me too much though, so it took them a couple of years to buy me my first one. I lost interest in Nerf when I was about 12, but picked it back up again when I started my retail job and saw how much the blasters had changed. That was when I was 18!

Originally, I just liked the idea of shooting projectiles. Being a 10 year old, you generally don’t think of much else with a gun shaped toy in your hand. If it shoots, that’s great! If it shoots far, that’s even better! When I was 18, it was more the look of the blasters that piqued my curiosity. They’d evolved into something that looked and felt more real. I liked that.

FaytZero – SA AN
I have been Nerfing for just over 5 years now, I started when I was 18 back in 2008. I turned up to my first war with a stock Long-Shot and AR’d Nite-Finder with rubber bands attached to the plunger rod to give it more power. I tagged along with 4 of my other friends who also had never played before, one of us found OZNerf and saw that there was a war is SA and well it took off from there.

I always liked the concept of Nerf, same as paintball and Air-Soft but since Air-Soft is illegal and paintball was so expensive Nerfing was just a natural progression. I’m keen on projectile sports that involve tactics, team work and encourage physical activity. I was and am still very interested in the engineering aspect of Nerf, opening a blaster and seeing what you can do to improve it beyond it’s original design. There’s nothing more satisfying than spending a few hours crafting a masterpiece then using it in a war and seeing your hard work paying off.


Chris – Combustible Props
My first nerf blaster was a ‘Ye Old Maverick’ from ThinkGeek. When they were first released on that site (5-6 years ago) myself and a number of co-workers did a group buy of them so we could have a little fun in the office. I *really* got into the whole modding aspect when I bought my first Stampede for an Aliens M41A Pulse rifle prop I started about 2 years back (Note that this Pulse rifle still isn’t finished!). And by coincidence that was the time I started down the path to being a prop building.

I have now worked on local movie called Theatre of the Dead and a large number of theatre productions with the ultimate aim of having my own small prop making business.

I think at that time the nerf brand was limited to balls and things so seeing this cool little revolver style nerf blaster was sweet! That and the idea we all had to have inter-office wars.

Rolley – Street Tag Warfare
I think I first got in to it properly a few years ago when I stumbled upon the SG Nerf blog, and after reading about the tons of different blasters out there I was immediately like “WHOAH! There’s so many!” and started collecting!

I think the ability to mod the hell out of them and the out of the box customisation is what really attracted me. I love working with my hands so modding was only a natural path to follow.

Mohrlock – West Nerf
It’s kinda a two-tailed story. I first got into Nerf sixteen years ago when my friend had got the original Nerf Bow & Arrow for his birthday. Naturally I had to get my hands on one that summer as well.

I truly got into Nerf about 4 years ago by tangent searching the internet at work (as you do). Being the geek that I know I am, I ended up stumbling across the Humans Vs. Zombies forum and got hooked on the idea of eventually running the game in Western Australia. I’d already been into playing Dart Tag with velcro darts some years ago, but never heard of playing with Nerf on such a level. I started buying into the N-Strike range and things started to spiral out of control.

I’m huge on RPGs of all varieties and have been for almost two decades now. I think the aspect of bringing Live Action Role Play (LARP) into a post-apocalyptic setting with foam blasters that are (generally) clip-fed said it all.

Clunk – Clunk Weapons Co
I came in to the hobby fairly late in life. I was bought a Vulcan for my 30th birthday in 2010. Typically, I have to know how things work, and after a bit of googling, I came across OzNerf and NerfHaven.

I’m a guy – we all like shooting stuff!! Really though, it’s the hands-on of modding that really sucked me in, which stems from my background as a rigger/boiler-maker.

Grep – Victoria SLO AN
About two years ago, my two oldest kids, both boys, wanted to buy Nerf guns to play real-life Counterstrike or similar at home. After arriving home and looking up “nerf guns australia” on the internet, they discovered (semi-)organised groups, which they then pestered me to take them to. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, and having a chance to spend time (a) outdoors and (b) with my teenage sons, I bought a Maverick, shortly followed by an Alpha Trooper, and joined in.

Winterstrike – SA AN
I’m not sure what did it, and it was about 6 years ago. I think we were just looking for an alternative to paintball/airsoft. I joined Oznerf about 3 months after it was created and talking with a few people on there got me to start modding.

Something that I could play with my nephews and friends that was available. Again, if airsoft/paintball were available for 6 year olds, I would have gone down that path.

Swatsonia – WA SLO AN
I first got into the hobby while researching alternative forms of combat sports, like paintball and airsoft. This was back at the start of ’09. My first “real” war was in the middle of 2010 with a group of guys that we rounded up together. Finally, in the December of 2010, the West Nerf team finally started up, and had the first “Official” war, which was a blast.

What originally attracted me was the ability to be able to play in a far wider variety of locations for cheaper than continually playing paintball or even laser tag. Always being a big fan of milsim, the useage of clips and slightly more realistic shapes also played into my involvement.

Chris – Riverina Dart Tag
Through a mate who was organising the now defunct CSU HvZ Group, Ash, about 4 1/2 – 5 years ago.

The struggle to survive, and just how normal it felt to wander through public areas covered in foamy goodness.

Neil – Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag
Back in early 2010 I was down the coast (Bateman’s Bay) with some friends for a few days and the brother of one of the girls brought down a Vulcan. It got a lot of use over the long weekend, and before I’d even left the coast I’d bought two from the local Kmart.

Referring back to the first question the Vulcan seemed a lot of fun. It was big and pretty cool looking. But after a couple of weeks of the missus and I blasting each other and our respective house mates, it all got a bit boring. That’s when I started thinking ‘there must be more you can do with these’. A bit of internet searching later and I’d come across the OzNerf forums, and half a dozen noob questions later I’d found out about something called ‘HvZ’. Not only that but there was game coming up the following weekend at the Australian National University. By then I had a Raider too, so with that and my Vulcan I pitched up to the game. I had no idea what to expect, and realistically I had a pretty bad game my first time out, but it was enough to ‘catch the bug’.

Girly Gamer – Nerfenstein
I bought my first Nerf back in July / August 2011. I got into modding them aesthetically a couple of weeks later when I thought it would be fun to try and paint a Tek blaster (didn’t want to ruin any of the Nerf lol).

There was a big Nerf sale on and I thought my family would have fun if I bought a few…. I was right!

AJ – Foam Sports
I started back in early 2008, so almost 5 years ago now. The Recon had just hit Australian shores and a friend of mine showed me after he bought it. I went out and bought 2 recons and we had some good fun just shooting each other around the house. The same friend mentioned that he’d heard there was a website that showed you how to make them shoot further, and after a bit of searching I stumbled upon Nerfhaven and NHQ where my realy ‘nerf’ journey began.
Nerf blasters have an intrinsic ‘cool’ quality about them; people generally think blasters are cool or novelty, but beyond that for me I liked the challenge of making the blasters perform beyond what they were designed to do. Adelaide Nerf Wars and any kind of social or competitive aspect really didn’t exist when I started, so it was all about modding the guns as best as possible and trash talking on American nerf forums.

If I was just modding blasters on my own I really don’t think I would have kept it up for 5 years, so I’d like the take the time to mention and thank two guys – Tidge (or The Inventor Guy) and Chaos Blades (screen names obviously). They’ve both been into nerf for way longer than me, and I met them through Nerf Haven and started hanging out with them after I got into nerf. They took me in, taught me how to do some mods and are solely responsible for curing my ‘noobness’. We found a few more adelaide guys and started to have wars down here.

Tidge and CB did dart hire before that was really a ‘thing’, they would let us borrow blasters because ours sucked.. it would inspire you to try harder, get better at modding and really helped the community get off the ground. This was right around the time OZnerf started getting more users and this ‘Adelaide Resurgence’ got a lot of attention and made other people start lifting their game, which grew over time into the Australia wide organised nerf scene we have today.

Nerf without a community would be a sad thing, so I want to acknowledge these guys for their contributions both personally to my growth as a serious nerfer and modder, and also to the current overall scene which I believe is really built upon the foundations of their efforts back in 08/09.

Alex – SOFT
It’s actually a bit of a long story but I’ll *try* to keep it trim. I went to a relatives’ Christmas party in 2010. His son got a Nerf Vulcan, Maverick and a Nitefinder, and some kids around his age had some Mav’s and NF’s as well. My brother and I joined in for a backyard battle… and we were hooked xD
But it wasn’t until about a month later in 2011 some of my friends came over to my place and we all discussed how we’d seen them at Xmas time… next thing I knew we were all out in the ute, filling the boot with Nerf loot 😛
Another aproximate-month passed and I found online communities, forums, and discovered modding. This combined with finding and joining a local Nerfing community that had just started up – it all snowballed (in a good way) from there on 😀

In the beginning stages I feel it was the novelty of having a unique kind of toy that I didn’t get to experience when I was a kid. In addition they are *toy guns* that actually fire *safe* projectiles; it doesn’t get much cooler than that for me! Although I enjoy laser skirmish based games, I constantly get frustrated with not being able to see epic headshots that I scored, or being able to tell who hit me from where… Nerf blasters changed this perspective for me, and furthermore proved to be a great sports activity with friends.


 

What’s your favourite thing about the hobby now?

Matt – Sydney Nerf Wars
Something that Nerf is great with is bringing like-minded people together. I’m really enjoying the community aspect of Nerf right now. The community in Sydney is flourishing, with a fairly diverse set of members ranging from 12 years old to well into their 50’s. It’s really the people that I’ve met and the bonds that I’ve developed that have really made Nerf one of the big things in my life.


FaytZero – SA AN
It hasn’t really changed, I still enjoying the team work and tactics behind this sport as well as that satisfying feeling when you have completed a long and hard modification then using it a game to great effect. The only thing that has changed since I first started is that now I have gotten to know my community I also go to enjoy their company, going to meet with them is as fun and exciting as Nerfing itself.


Chris – Combustible Props
It’s now hit a critical mass of awesome. There are so many groups all over the world playing and modding nerf blasters! I think my fav thing would be the sheer amount of talent out there for modding and the enthusiasm for playing HvZ/team games help keep the excitement there.
Rolley – Street Tag Warfare
The community and going to wars! They’re so much fun!

Mohrlock – West Nerf
The community. I love how a common interest has built this ever-growing large group of people who have become friends over the last few years. It’s a really positive thing to be a part of.

Clunk – Clunk Weapons Co
2 things really – The NIC is a fairly big part of my life now, and I enjoy the social networking via the web. And probably the biggest enjoyment is seeing the finished product of a modification/commission.

Grep – Victoria SLO AN
I’m a geek, I spend 40+ hours in an office in front of a computer. This hobby gives me a chance to get out into the fresh air, get some exercise, and meet real people interested in the same (non-computer) stuff that I’m interested in. And the point above about time with my kids is important to me too — I’m mid-40s, and they’re teenagers, so (based on my own experience) we’ve only a few years left to enjoy being together and doing things together.

Winterstrike – SA AN
The variety in which one can modify blasters/ammunition. No other sport I know of can one mould their tools so specifically to tailor one’s needs. Neither paintball/airsoft has this and the fact that nerf introduced this to me is serendipity.

Swatsonia – WA SLO AN
My favourite thing about the hobby now is experimenting with different forms of the hobby. I started on homemades at the beginning of 2011, and then over the last half year or so I have developed Australianised versions of American concepts, like hoppers and slugs. I also started being far more involved in our local milsim organisation, Tactical Skirmish Perth.

Chris – Riverina Dart Tag
My favorite thing about the hobby now would either be scaring the new zombies by running at them, rather then away, or the friendships that have developed in our club.

Neil – Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag
For me now it’s about spending time with friends, having a laugh and introducing noobs to the hobby.

Girly Gamer – Nerfenstein
The people I’ve met / connected with through my Facebook page (Nerfenstein) and various forums. The Nerf community is a truly great community, I’ve never had a problem, can’t rate it highly enough.

AJ – Foam Sports
For me nerf now exists as both a ‘hobby’ (modding etc) and a ‘sport’ (competitive play etc). I’m growing more and more passionate about the ‘sport’ side, but as far as pure ‘hobby’ or modding stuff goes I still love complex springers and homemade springers – I think airguns are too easy, so I like the challenge springers present, especially when you try and add other mechanical components like linked breeches, auto-rotating turrets etc.

Alex – SOFT
The more I got into Nerf blaster collecting / battling, the more I found just how much it really meant to me; for a long time I’ve always felt like I’ve had to conform to ‘the norm’ of what others expected of me (even though I’ve always been a bit on the quirky side) – I mean really, to the average bloke having a twenty-something year old tell them they play *and* collect *and* modify kids toy guns… it was embarrassing for a while…

But by getting into Nerf and discovering where it could (and did) lead me it really shattered those boundaries and made me feel like I had my own sense of identity, goals, confidence and (without sounding cheesy) independance, along with all the new friends I’ve made through this hobby.


 

How would you describe your main usage of blasters? Do you take part in organised games, mess around with friends, just enjoy modding, mostly in it for the collecting, etc? Why?

Matt – Sydney Nerf Wars
I love Nerf wars. I feel it’s the ultimate purpose of Nerf, whether or not that’s what the line of toys was designed for. Here in Sydney, we’ve got a pretty strong warring community where we host organised events, which can get just that little bit competitive. And then there’s the HvZ community that’s growing out of Sydney University. We can’t forget them and the work that they’ve just begun!

FaytZero – SA AN
I do equal parts of modding and warring in organized games. Being one of the head members in SA I also take tame out to organize games and events so that we can keep a stable and prospering community. The SA Nerf community of one of the oldest with us having member who have actively Nerfed for over 6 years! That kind of community doesn’t just appear and hang around it take a lot of effort by it’s members to keep it going as smoothly as we have.

Chris – Combustible Props
I am one of the moderators for Canberra dart tag so tend to be at most of our organized games. I also mod blasters to use myself and when making props so collecting isn’t really my thing. I have been making props for about 2 years and am currently putting the finishing touches on a Warhammer 40k themed Recon kit. I will eventually move to solid replica props but having something that looks like your fav movie/game prop that fires nerf darts is awesome 😀

Rolley – Street Tag Warfare
Although I’d love to be out at a war every weekend, my work takes up large chunks of my time so really the main usage is collecting and messing around. Sometimes I’ll pick up a blaster to just pop a couple of shots, but then it turns in to half an hour of screwing around and targeting my unsuspecting girlfriend. I would like to spend more time on doing more complex mods in the future though.

Mohrlock – West Nerf
Fun? That’s probably the best way to describe my main usage of blasters. I’m actually a casualty to everything mentioned above. I love taking part in and organising games/events, certainly enjoy messing around with friends (how it all started), love the modding aspect of the scene and once had a fairly prolific collection.

The social aspect of organising games and watching something you’ve created on paper become a living, breathing game that people not only enjoy but keep asking to play is a great feeling. Modding is great to see what a little tinkering, blood, sweat and multiple profanities can produce from what is “intended” to be a kid’s toy. And the collecting, I’m just one of those obsessive compulsive collector types.

Clunk – Clunk Weapons Co
Living in a small rural town, there’s not many Nerf enthusiasts close to my own age, so organised games are extremely limited. Foremost I’m a modder, and take great pleasure in supplying commission pieces to people all over the country. I also do a bit of vintage collecting, but that’s just a sideline.

Grep – Victoria SLO AN
I have a few blasters from the N-strike range, because that’s what was available when I started. I’ve bought a few clone non-brand blasters too — I don’t have any particular brand loyalty, but I like the look and styling of the Nerf brand.

I seem to have fallen into the role of Victorian State Organiser on Australian Nerf, so I’m trying to host a war at least once a month, and trying to get to every war. Living an hour or so away from the suburbs means that we don’t have many people to be able to recruit and play with up here (although we’re trying), so apart from a very occasional war in the front yard with friends, it’s all at organised game events.

Winterstrike – SA AN
Nerf wars. I don’t use them at all for cosmetic reasons nor do I mod accordingly. Everything I make has the full intent to be dropped, stepped on, beaten or thrown so they have to be durable and perform well. Since I am the primary war organiser for events in SA, I take part in all organised events. As to why, I simply enjoy the sport that much.

Swatsonia – WA SLO AN
My main usage of blasters depends on the war. In the high-power wars I run, I normally use my Crossbow or my reshelled Snapbow Mk5. Otherwise I mainly use my upspringed Longshot, until my Magpul Retaliator project is completed. I mix up between the two depending on terrain and the ranges needed. I have almost always used my Scout as my sidearm, and it’s seen a lot of action at my side over the last 2 years.

Chris – Riverina Dart Tag
My main usage for blasters was for the most part the collecting, though now, I have reached that limit that I can only really justify buying new ones if they are cool/useful/or to mod it in some way.

Neil – Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag
I’ve always been an ‘eventer’. It’s all about the games to me. Either attending or running them. I wouldn’t classify myself as a collector, serious modder or ‘apartment warrior’.

Girly Gamer – Nerfenstein
The main use of my blasters is aesthetically modding them, however I do have a whole collection that is just for playing with around the house, at parties with family and friends etc. As for why, I find modding them a great creative outlet and I also enjoy doing commissions for people who want a certain style but can’t do it themselves for whatever reason.

AJ – Foam Sports
I’ve done pretty much all of the above at some point – I started messing around with friends, then got serious for mostly modding reasons. My collection eventually swelled to over 170 blasters, including a lot of rare/old school stuff, but has since shrunk back down to a more managable size. I now mostly take part in organised games and maintain my blaster collection as a means to an end for those games.

Alex – SOFT
I am now one of the key leaders and game organisers of the Hobart Nerf Squadron; I usually organise a day of games every few weeks. My brother frequently drops by my place to hang out and occasionally have a muck-around with our latest additions to our collections 😛 and on occasions mod some of his blasters for him.
I do a fair amount of modding actually; even setup my own shed and miniature workshop for just that reason :P. And of course… I collect one too many blasters 😡 seriously I need more limbs just to carry and use them all…

 

Do you mod your blasters? Why/why not?

Matt – Sydney Nerf Wars
I do modify my blasters. I do it because I know some blasters have far more potential to be awesome compared to what they’re like out of the box. I like to push those blasters to their limits and achieve the very best results possible while not compromising the safety of the community members. I also gain that little bit of satisfaction out of being able to improve on something with my own skill and ingenuity. It isn’t often we get the chance to do such things in this day and age.

FaytZero – SA AN
Yes, of course! In SA we highly promote and use modified blasters, we don’t have anything against stock blaster but feel that you can get more out of the sport with modified blasters. Now we of course take safety into account and we take special care to ensure that all blasters and darts being used are safe and are not capable of causing and serious damage.


Chris – Combustible Props
Almost every blaster I use is modded as stock ranges/powers make puppies cry.
Rolley – Street Tag Warfare
Sure do! I just like having an extra bit of power, but I don’t usually have the time to do major cosmetic mods or custom breeches.

Mohrlock – West Nerf
I do and I don’t. I mod pretty much every Recon that comes into (and out of) my possession. I’ve done the odd Nitefinder as well and do the occassional mods for friends as well. I like modding for others more than myself though. My Black Tactical Recon has been super reliable and range-producing so I enjoy keeping most of my other blasters stock. I’ve been lucky with stock blasters like my Furyfire and Strikefire – those things get ridiculous stock ranges for some reason. And it’s always fun playing competively with a stock Longstrike.

Clunk – Clunk Weapons Co
Yep, see above. The only stock blasters in my workshop are set aside for either commissions or parts for modding. Even my 3 y.o. daughter’s blasters have been modded (cosmetically) and include a scout, stampede and reflex.

Grep – Victoria SLO AN
I do, but not as enthusiastically as some others. Most of my modding is painting and highlighting details.

It’s nice to be able to get better performance (range, rate of fire) from a blaster, but in the end, we do this for fun; it really doesn’t matter if I can’t shoot as far or as fast as everyone else; being older and more fragile, I don’t mind that much if I get “out” early and can sit and have a rest for a while.

Winterstrike – SA AN
Of course and the answer is obvious; performance and durability. A stock gun not only shoots worse but is far more fragile. I buy all nerf guns with the assumption that they are “broken” out of the box and I need to fix them.

Swatsonia – WA SLO AN
I originally didn’t mod my blasters, instead relying upon my ability to run around. However, as WestNerf developed, this was no longer as effective as it used to be. Once I developed the taste for modifications, I haven’t stopped.

Chris – Riverina Dart Tag
Yes, I think I may have 3 blasters that are not modded, an AT that is still in the box, a whiteout long strike, still in the box, and my all time fav, a 1999 mint bnib Power clip.

Neil – Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag
Yes, but usually only to AR removed level or bit of extra voltage. I’ve got a couple of uber-modded blasters but I use them very rarely. With playing a lot of HvZ and indoor games where the effective ranges are very short it becomes a safety issue. As we always says when people ask us about mods they can use in our games: “If you’re happy to be shot in the face at point blank range with it, then we’ll allow it”

Girly Gamer – Nerfenstein
As above, I mod blasters externally for fun, I would like to get into internal modding as I find the entire process fascinating, but just haven’t had the time.

AJ – Foam Sports
Yes, quite often pretty serious mods too – complete re-shells, homemade internals, scratch built blasters etc I really enjoy the personal challenge and like designing and building new things. For me modding is about pushing boundries, not just the final range, so I often fail, but a few times I’ve succeeded (megaraider, bathplug plunger heads, conduit breeches etc) and these successes have gone on to be used by other nerfers to do even cooler things, which inspires me to keep trying, failing and spending ungodly ammounts of money in the plumbing section of bunnings.

Super high powered blasters are not appropriate for all (or most) settings though, so even though I love to mod, I maintain a stock kit and modded blasters at different power levels to cater for different wars, game types, player classes etc.

Alex – SOFT
Yes I modify most of my blasters. Some I keep in ‘stock’ form either due to A) lack of modding potential, B) they perform fine as they are, or C) for indoor, venue hire or ‘safe-rules’ games where modded blasters are excessive or not allowed.
But the main reasons why I DO modify certain blasters is because;

– In most outdoor or long-range conditions, most blasters right off the shelves don’t always cut the mustard
– Some blasters have great potential in them to perform better, or contain design flaws which impede on the overall enjoyment factor (for example; the Hail-Fire performs well in terms of firing and range, but the clip rack rotation device being so unwieldly and unreliable was not a great design and caused several firing and reloading problems – yet with some modding it can be resolved.)
– It personalises my blasters; they are *mine* – different from anyone elses. They become unique to me; I become more familiar and more comfortable with them and adjust them to suit my play-style or for a type of game mode I’m playing.
– It teaches me A LOT about how they work, how to fix broken parts and how to improve them or create ‘make-shift’ components. But the flipside is it teaches me quite a few life skills; how different simple mechanics and technologies work, how to use different tools for different purposes, how to expand my mind in terms of puzzles and problem solving, and opening my eyes to different creative possibilities.

I’m not pulling this out of the fancy ‘show-off and up-myself’ hat; there have been many “real-life” situations where my modding experiences have helped me and others out greatly. One memorable time is my wife lost one of her favourite (and expensive) earrings down the bathroom sink hole. I ‘modified’ our Dyson vacuum cleaner with drinking straws, wire, disposable drinking cups, hot glue, a pair of stockings (to catch the earring), a sealable plastic bag (to prevent the water from frying the vacuum cleaner) and a fistful of confidence that rescued it and saved us from either abandoning it to a sludgy doom or getting an expensive plumber to retrieve it @_@

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