Late last year I was gifted the then yet to be released in Australia Nerf Hailfire by the Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag group and Hasbro Australia and decided to make a three part review of it. The first was on the performance of the stock blaster, the second on how to modify it, and the third on how it performed in game. We’ve already covered off the first two and given that I don’t yet have an internet connection in the new house as yet and am writing this on my phone, today seemed like the perfect time to post my final reflection piece on the flagship of the new elite line up.
So what did I think of it, post modification? Better, but still not good enough.
The clip rotation mods were a godsend; no doubt about it. Being able to consistently pull that advancement handle and be met with a fresh clip with new darts was such an improvement over stock it wasn’t funny. I know to some people out there this won’t seem like as much of an improvement as the increased range but misfires and jams from inconsistent blasters will lose you games. Generally, I’d much rather a blaster that consistently fires 15m over one that fires 20m ‘most of the time’. The shortened centre turret transformed this blaster for me. It wasn’t the easiest mod to do and took a fair amount of trial and error to get it just right, but the dividends were everything they were supposed to be. Being able to take 8×18 clips allows you to pack a hell of a lot of firepower into just one blaster.
The minimisation mods that allowed reloading on the fly were a nice touch. There was many a time where this fact saved me mid-game and there were times where I specifically grabbed the Hailfire because I knew it was going to be a long game and reloading/capacity would be key. However on its own, it wouldn’t make me say this is a great blaster simply because it had the ability to reload as you went, but that’s only because there are other ways of achieving similar results on standard blasters. Taping multiple clips together achieves almost as much functionality and is then usable on most clip based blasters. A solid feature by all means, just not ground-breaking.
Finally the voltage mods. There’s really not much to say here is there? It shoots further; what more do you want. OK, the range is quite nice. I know I’ve said this before but I am genuinely impressed with the range of the current Nerf flywheel blasters with a simple voltage upgrade. For such a simple mod of jamming a different battery in your blaster, anyone can get pretty decent ranges practically out of the box. I spent a fair amount of tossing up between 12v vs 8v and ultimately I think I prefer 8v. Range is a little less, accuracy is a little higher, and the noise is less stupid. There’s really very little in it though.
Overall then, why is the Hailfire coming out of the standard game bag? Mostly because I simply prefer my Stampede and I don’t see enough difference between the two to warrant bringing both. Maybe it’s a plunger vs flywheels thing, maybe it’s that I’ve spent more time with the Stampy so I’m more used to it; there’s not really a quantitative reason that says the Hailfire is worse, I just don’t like it as much. If I had to specifically pick an area where it’s worse than the Stampede it would have to be weight, particularly when fully loaded. Extra weight really doesn’t suit my ‘run a bunch’ play-style but then the different isn’t horrendous either. Maybe it would be better suited to a ‘stand and fight’ play-style, or maybe I’m just looking for an excuse not to like the thing.
TLDR: Significantly improved, reliable, decent range, amazing capacity, great rate of fire; a good blaster that isn’t a Stampede. Would I buy one? Sure. Would I then mod it in this way? Undoubtedly. Will I keep using it? No.
And to demonstrate just how much I mean that, this very Hailfire will become my very first give away. In honour of its HvZ capabilities, and as a thank you to the Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag group who gave me the blaster in the first place, I’ll be giving this blaster away at the end of the HvZ game this weekend. To win, simply be the most awesome player throughout the day, as decided by the game admins. I’ll make sure to report back with lots of photos.