Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Link's Customisation Corner - Omega Trooper CS-25

(Link) Hey Squaddies, time for a bit of awesomeness. We are all familiar with the story of the EAT (Elite Alpha Trooper) right? It received a rather lacklustre reception here in Australia. :(

Thanks to our Head of Intel, Crispy, I managed to get a UK EAT. :D Great deal? Yep, considering it was FREE :P But when I recieved it, there was a few aesthetic details missing, and I was a little disappointed. So, I thought I might take this matter into my own hands. 

Squaddies. I'd like to introduce you to the...

OMEGA Trooper CS-25. :D (Epic Reveal Music activate!) :P

Expect to see a review on the Omega Trooper (and the Elite Pinpoint Sight) soon. :D






What do you think? Pretty cool, eh? Bearing in mind I only had book labels at my disposal at the time. :P

Friday, July 26, 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

S.O.F.T. EXCLUSIVE: InterNerf - Saulsbury St. Studios

(Link) Hey Squaddies! This post has been a long time in the making. Wondering what it is? Well, I'll explain.

I thought about giving interviews with some of the big name bloggers/personalities a go after seeing some examples from our friends on the NIC. And who better to start off with than the fine fellas from Saulsbury St. Studios, the creators behind the popular 'The Great Nerf War' web-series. So, I shot them a few question via FB, and they got back to me today! :D 

Link: First off, I'll say: what a massive honour this is for us, and it's a pleasure to have you guys here with us today. Could you introduce yourselves, and what you do?

Austin: Well actually, this is Austin Hill, I play Edgar in the series and am the co-founder/caretaker of the YouTube channel, Saulsbury St. Studios!

Austin (Cpt. Sullivan Edgar)
Link: For those new to The Great Nerf War, could you give the Squaddies a quick synopsis?

Austin: The Great Nerf War is a web-series that takes place in a world where Nerf weapons are the only weapons and a civil war has broken out between the rising threat, The Belligerwitch, and The Peace-Bull.


Link: In case you guys don't know, we here at the Squadron are massive fans of your work. What was your inspiration to kick start this great series? (A huge love of Nerf, we ALL know that :P)



Austin: Well thank you very much! Well I actually created the series from a pretty humble and almost silly moment. I was playing Call of Duty: World at War (Btw, I'm a pretty big WWII history buff) and I would glance occasionally at the Nerf gun in the corner of the room which was a gift from a friend who has yet to appear onscreen! The idea just started brewing That rifle is the same one Edgar almost always uses; we call it Baby Blue. The night I shared the idea with my best friend - who plays Baineswolf - we filmed the Unofficial Training Video!


Link: When you first started, did you ever think that your series would reach this level of popularity in the NIC (Nerf Internet Community)/YouTube? I know for a fact, those first days of starting something new are a bit all over the place. 



Austin: No, definitely not. I am still shocked at its success! The training video got a much bigger response among our friends then any of our previous videos and that was really the start of it.


Link: The series has come a long way since 'Rescue Cue', hasn't it? 11 episodes, 2 seasons, and going strong. Do you have any favourite behind-the-scenes memories while filming? And any particular episodes that stand out?



Austin: Well each episode is very special. Everyone puts a LOT of heart and work into each one. I don't know if I can really slim down to really one favorite moment or episode but I can give a few OF my favs, lol. I love the journey/story that "Deceased Feast" reaches, it's our longest episode and was the hardest to make but it also packs the most in. During "Lost in Frost," one of the Bulls comes in on a sled and that wasn't easy to choreograph and at one point he flew right past the camera! Luckily we were recording! "Fight by Candlelight" will always be a very special episode to me personally, even though it is our lowest view count lol. We were just trying different things and the series changed a lot in that episode. There are literally hundreds of phenomenal memories/moments of filming!

TGNW: Rusted Trust
Link: What makes the series so great is the characters, in my opinion. Their personalities, the in-jokes, their struggles against each other, and of course, their signature blaster of choice The people that star in your videos, are they all friends, locals, or volunteers? (All united by a love of Nerf, I reckon. :P) And do they choose how they want to portray their characters?



Austin: Yup, they are all friends! I am a theater major in college so I have been blessed to be surrounded by tons of talented folks. They all kindly come out to help me. Earlier on, I had specific ideas for characters and approached people with who I wanted them to play, like New Mexico, Nhine, McSaint, or Soloman for example. Others were the creation of certain people but they had to run it by me at least lol.


Link: Do you ever get questions asking whether how good Commander Nhine or Firefly would be in a fire fight? 



Austin: Do I get asked that? Lol, well sure. I never wanted Nhine to even really touch a gun because I thought it would break the illusion we built for him and Firefly... I don't know lol.


Link: Two questions in one now, if that's okay. Do you guys film at locations locally, and how do you pick them? I love the episodes set in the snowy forests.



Austin: Yeah locations are a big deal to me. There are literally thousands of videos with Nerf fights in people's backyards and I am all about showing an audience something they have never seen before. I can never tell you where we are though lol, only because I want our fans to place us wherever they like. I have heard so many different ideas of locations that I think it would break the magic of not knowing. Yeah the snow ones are a blast, and twice as hard to film but twice as rewarding once we wrap!


Link: What sort of camera and editing software do you guys use? I would imagine it would take a while to get everything just right for publishing.



Austin: Well sometimes I edit and sometimes some of our cast have edited. We have filmed with several great cameras but the main one we've been using lately is from Florentine himself! He and his family have been essential in helping make TGNW the series the way it is today.



TGNW: Fight By Candlelight


Link: How does the making of an episode process go? (I would imagine it would start off with pen and paper/keyboard) And do you ever find yourselves improvising? (Making it up on the go) How do you guys come up with such awesome names for your episodes? There have been some real creative ones. 



Austin: Well I usually plan the episodes several in advance. I actually wrote all the initial episode scripts except for "Convoy Ploy" (which was written and directed by Florentine), "Fight by Candlelight" was co-written with Captain Harry and "Deceased Feast" was largely comprised of ideas from our cast. I plan a film day about a month in advance, rally up as much as I can and usually we just take a day to film. A couple of our episodes have required re-shoots but the bulk is always done in one day. We improvise some, I'm always open to new ideas so my cast knows they can contribute something if time is permitting lol. Yeah a lot of thought goes into those titles lol. We just try to find titles that correspond with the events of the episodes and go from there, ya know? Like "Fate Ain't Late," stemmed from me speaking out loud to the frustrations with uploading "Lost in Frost;" boom. Title. lol!


Link: The music of each episode is a highlight for many. Now, I do know you guys feature a band on your channel as well, 'The Jones Noir'. Do you have an awesome time writing and featuring your own music?



Austin: I am very glad to hear the music is a highlight! The composition and playing is me as well, actually. We record with the very very kind Florentine and his father (who is also a character in the series). The Jones Noir is actually me and the character who plays The Lion, and "Apparition's Mission" was the first time we combined forces - wait, actually that's not true. We wrote a tune for "Deceased Feast" that never got recorded. However, a lot of the score in that episode are the riffs from that song; kind of like the AM tune is sort of played throughout and then you hear the actual tune at the end.


Link: And just one quick general Nerf question: Is there a favourite blaster between your cast and crew? It can be any blaster. And are there any upcoming blasters you'd love to feature in future episodes?



Austin: Well Captain Harry loves that Optimus Prime blaster, I love Baby Blue. The Strife has been a big hit among us and I think more than a couple of the cast were frustrated that I put the Hail-Fire on the shelf like I did because they all wanted to use it! I'm actually a huge fan/supporter of the Vortex line and the Ravyn is always popular. Flo loves his duel-wielding of course, ingeniously cocking both without putting them down. I have recently seen that Elite RapidStrike - I think it looks pretty boss.



TGNW: Almost Ghost
Link: Any chance of a hint of what is set for the next series?



Austin: Well the war is supremely changing so expect some major changes to the series (in a good way of course), there will be lots of surprises. There is a new Belligerwitch leader, and she is pretty darn intense! We also are currently filming our five-part web series, "I, Batman" which I am very excited about!



Link: Well, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today mate. And of course, we'll be looking forward to Season 3. 



Austin: Thank you very much, Link! This was really cool and you asked some really great and thoughtful questions. Feel free to ask anything else! I don't know if our series would have continued had it not been for such great fans like yourself. So thank YOU. 

- Austin (Cpt. Sullivan Edgar)



So there you have it, S.O.F.T.'s first interview! What did you guys think? :P If you and your blog/website/YouTube Channel/yadda yadda yadda :P would like to be featured in an interview, send me a message at 1835link@gmail.com and we'll sort something out! :D

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Australian Safety Standard: Confused?


(Crispy)

So after finding out that they Aus. version Centurion will be capable of ranges up to 23 metres, it got me thinking. Fair to say i was very distracted at work that day.

I had a memory of seeing something in stores that had a 100ft range. Who remembers the old Max Force Shadow Hawk 100?

                                 shadow-hawk-100-15

This is where the Safety Standards make no sense. This blaster can be sold in Australia, unchanged, but the Centurion gets scrutinized? Yes, the ammo types are different, but at a close range, a soaked paper pellet is still going to hurt.

I am unsure what velocities these 2 blasters are capable of, but I assume this is what the Standard looks into, more than anything else.

Or, does it come down to the fact that Hasbro/Nerf is a multi-billion dollar corporation, whereas Max Force isn't, and doesn’t get pressured the way Hasbro does?

Target lists the Shadow Hawk as reaching 22 metres, but BigW has it reaching 30 metres.
Does anyone own a Shadow Hawk who can help shed some light on this issue? Does it actually achieve the range claim? And does the ammo hurt at close range?

Or does anyone know how the Safety Standard applies in this situation?

Let me know your thoughts!

Monday, July 15, 2013

[Review] Nerf N-Strike Elite Stockade -- FINALLY!

[Alex] Hey Squaddies :D I have finally completed the video review on the Stockade as I promised WAYYYY too long ago xD



The Stockade has been an interesting blaster for me to use both casually and at HNS Nerf Wars, but also to modify and review based on my experiences with it... infact it took me about four attempts that I wasn't happy with before I came to this final take :D I've certainly learned more about making shorter / more interesting vidoes ... I hope! D:

I (again) apologise that it has been so long since I've done any significant written or video material; I've had a lot going on in my personal life, things to catch up on and deal with, as well as running my own local Nerf community, the Hobart Nerf Squadron (HNS) which on occasion tends to take priority of my free time :P

On the other hand, I have a couple more videos to come, as well as a "new plan" that I intend on adhering to; one video per month, with smaller written articles frequently in-between :P

I also plan on doing some personalised vids specifically on my Hobart Nerf Squadron Wars and Events, as well as my own personal modded blasters and going over how and why I modded specific ones - especially the cosmetic mods like I did on my "Longunov" and "Iron Kurtain" -- so I'm excited to do that too!

I hope you all enjoy this review, and as always please feel free to comment here, on the Facebook page, or on the YouTube channel what you think about the Stockade or the review in general :D

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The S.O.F.T. Show - Nerf News 4/07 & Elite Strongarm Review


(Link) The new monthly review is live! In this presentation, I try my hand at reading the news, and deliver the long overdue Strongarm review! Hope you guys enjoy, and sorry for the wait. :D

Bunker Talk - The MEGA Centurion WITH Link and Alex

(Link) G'day mates! Time for something a little NEW here at the Squadron. (It was Alex's idea, actually.) Every month, Alex and I will come together and have an online meeting/clash of the minds over Facebook, and discuss (until it melts) ONE Nerf-related topic until ALL of them are done and dusted. (Kinda similar to Hamish and Andy's Business Brunch, if you need more clarification.) Our dialogue/conversation is contained below, for you all to read. If you'd like to leave your own opinions about a topic, then go on right ahead. :D

This month, it's all about the upcoming MEGA blaster, the Centurion. My dialogue will be written normally, Alex's in Italics. Enjoy! :D

Alrighty! if between now and next week, take some notes on each blaster / series of what you think (like, dislike, effect on Nerf community) and I'll do the same, although I may add some extra Nerf War and modding elements to it - then we'll try and have like a Facebook messaging conference together, record the conversation, and edit it into a inter-review xD (This is how it was born, nice job Alex) :D

Ok, first off; what do you think about the Nerf Centurion? Lets start with what you LIKE about it.

Well, thank you for that MARVELOUS question Alex.

I have a certain respect for Nerf, and the quality of their products. But when they decide to make something this HUGE, my excitement goes through the roof. When I first saw the leaked pictures and a demo from Tony Stark, I hadn't experienced that same feeling since I bought my faithful Longshot. I just have a certain respect for tall/long things, being tall myself. I know the size isn't practical, but it does help with the 'WTF is Dat' factor. Also, it's set to be the next generation of the Longshot, so I am PRETTY keen. How about you?


(off the record: lol dat intro :P)

Well, leading on the fact that it is essentially the successor to the Longshot in terms of being big, sniper-rifle-esque and, hopefully, powerful.

I'm a fan of the red with white stripe colour, and I think it's a smart move in terms of not being Elite colours, nor the old N-Strike yellow. A lot of people were keen on the Red Strike limited edition Longshot, and I think the Centurion in Red suits very well.

So now, what do you DISLIKE about the Centurion from what you've seen thus far?


At this stage, I'm pretty much liking what I am seeing. Except, when you introduce a new Ammo type, there's that SLOW, agonizing wait for refill packs, and addition clips to be released. Six shots ISN'T much, until Nerf released refill packs. But this issue hopefully should resolve itself with time, as more MEGA blasters and interchangeable parts are announced.


Well, I recall somewhere that there will be refill packs and clips released, but whether or not they come out at the same time as the Centurion, we'll have to wait and see (although it did happen with the Hail-Fire and the extra 4x 6-dart clips and darts if I'm not mistaken? Or at least they weren't too far behind)

As I recall, it took a fair while for the Vortex refills to arrive here in Tasmania, or in my neck of the woods, anyway. Also, I'm still waiting on my orange disc refills, Nerf... I do make a valid point though, right?

Oh yeah, definitely - although the Hail Fire is a more recent example.

Anyways, back to where I was going with it.

Two things I dislike about the Centurion itself (aside from the extra darts and clips issue) is that it doesn't come with an aesthetically pleasing scope (although the only scope Nerf ever made which was of any use or accuracy was the pin point sight xD) but more to tie it in with the sniper-esque feel.

Secondly (from what Tom found on some Italian Nerf forum) the Centurion dislodges its clip by pushing the priming bar FORWARDS from the middle position. Pulling it BACKWARDS from the middle position primes the blaster. I can foresee this may lead to some jamming / accidental clip release issues, however I need to verify this.


Overall, the aesthetics certainly sing out to me especially the grip and shoulder stock area that is very reminiscent of the Stampede / Rayven grips and the Longshot-style shoulder stock.

Certainly, the aesthetics scream 'GET ME, I MEAN BUSINESS' (like Shining Foam said, it looks like something that was plucked out of Mass Effect, which'll look awesome with my N7 hoodie), but since it is confirmed when you DO attach the barrel extension, it WON'T come off, similar to the Longstrike's stock. Slightly disappointing, and it will get in the way when it boils down to CQC, when agility and maneuverability is the key.

I've always seen Nerf (well, in my life anyway) as more of a casual collector's hobby, and not so much SERIOUS FACE WAR toys. With the Centurion, I feel it is going to be more of a casual blaster, due to it's size and darts used.

We'll be adding more to this post as it gets closer to the release date for the Centurion, due October 2013 here in Aus. If you have any thoughts about the Centurion that we didn't cover and would like to share, post a comment below! :D 

Battle of The Blasters 2013: Round 4

(Link) Seems like you guys weren't keen on voting for either the Speedload 6 or Speedswarm. :( But thanks to any ONE vote, the Speedload 6 took out Round 3. Come on guys, I expected better! :P Anyway, time for the next round! 


That's right, it is the Firestrike VS Triad. Oh, a tricky one? :O Think hard, and vote for your favourite, either by commenting below or Facebook. :D

So far, our victors are:
1: Vortex Pyragon
2: N-Strike Spectre REV-5
3: Dart Tag Speedload 6

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Arts and Crafts - The Bunker Target Range

(Link) Hey guys, the Strongarm will be uploaded onto YouTube in the next 24 hours, so keep an eye out for that. While you guys are waiting, thought I might share this pic of my bunker target range. :D


Cool, eh? :D