Tuesday, October 15, 2013

S.O.F.T Review - Nerf MEGA Centurion: It still has a long way to go...

[Alex] Hey Squddies, yet another over-due review from yours truly! :D

This will be my last "BIG" written review, whereas future reviews will be much shorter and more condensed :P


The Centurion has already made the rounds and been reviewed to death - almost literally - but I am still keen to *quickly* point out my opinions and ideas on the Centurion.

A quick summary about the Centurion before I leap into it:

 - First blaster of the MEGA sub-series
 - Fires the new, larger MEGA darts
 - Uses a 6-dart MEGA magazine
 - Includes a new design of Bipod
 - Features a tactical rail underneath the barrel and one on the top section of the blaster
 - Longest length blaster to-date - exceeding that of a fully assembled Longstrike



APPEARANCE AND HANDLING

Everything about the Centurion is "big" - the sheer size of it speaks for itself, as well as the new "big" darts and magazine it features. I still cannot fathom how younger, smaller kids are even supposed to carry this monster around though!

I really like the look and feel of the Centurion. It feels solid and design-wise reminds me of a mash-up of several blasters: Longshot base, Longstrike barrel and the Stampede trigger grip. The red colour is a welcome sight and the barrel's side panels design has grown on me. Holding the blaster into my shoulder feels nice and comfortable with my trigger-grip just the right distance away.

But one thing I do NOT like though is how the Nerf designers had in mind how one is supposed to hold it with my OTHER hand...



(Above) The only available large enough space for the off-hand to rest and support the size/weight of the Centurion is here: right in front of the trigger grip... it feels far too close to uphold the sheer length of the front end. But this just seems the be how Nerf envisaged the Centurion to be held :\



This is where my hand *WANTS* to go: it is a comfortable half-way distance on the blaster, without feeling like my hands are too close together.



The problem is... a magazine usually sits there to even fire the darn blaster, so my hand can't really go there. Trying to support the blaster by the bottom of the mag feels... awkward.
.

This is the only other acceptable spot for bigger guys like me; holding the front of the magazine while loaded. This still feels a bit clunky to me, but does not feel like I'm reaching too far forward either.

The Centurion would have been AWESOME if it had a bloomin' scope! Seriously; it is marketed and designed to be "like" a sniper rifle... don't give me that Call Of Duty "no scope" bull... gimme a pretty yet non-functional MEGA scope! D:<



A Longshot scope looks sweet on the Centurion... if only it was red ;_; time to get painting~



The MEGA 6-dart magazine is huge... in fact I don't like it because of its size. Even for someone with big hands it can be a struggle to un-load from the blaster, and because of its size it can be a pest to reload and carry extras around. I can understand why the magazine HAS to be so big...



...because the MEGA darts are massive too! I really like the idea of firing large caliber darts at my foes, and I am really looking forward to future MEGA blasters or mods to help improve MEGA performances - specifically "true" ranges and better accuracy (which I will cover shortly).



The new Bipod that comes with the Centurion is nice though. It folds up either front or backwards, and when deployed it makes for a good stand or support for when hiding behind wall cover or lying prone on the ground.

The only problem I find is the legs aren't quite tall enough for longer blasters like the Centurion; the back end / shoulder stock hits the ground a bit early, so you cannot aim up on an angle very high. Some have complained the legs collapse a bit easily, but I haven't had any issues with mine; it holds its position solidly unless I give it a really big intentional bump.

BLASTER OPERATION:

As many others have reported, this is where the Centurions' reputation starts to fall apart. Here is a quick list to keep it brief:

 - The priming draw action is very long - 3x that of a Longshot
 - The MEGA magazine frequently jams
 - The MEGA darts are highly inaccurate and veer off course drastically due to the lightweight tip and the two whistler holes
 - The foam tube thickness of the MEGA darts are very thin; easily prone to damage
 - The breech and loading system tends to jam / chew / tear / bend darts
 - The breech 'mouth' is made of thin and flimsy plastic. My U.S. version has already broken in two spots, and now struggles to fire darts properly.
 - The plunger tube is a reverse PT design which in short is a very inefficient system and difficult to mod without doing a complete replacement.

The biggest killer for me is that the Centurion U.S. version claims 100ft ranges (30-ish meters) ... I have only ONCE out of several hundred shots been able to get CLOSE to that. Most shots only go about half of that (even when angled up) but a few too many just splutter out. At first I thought I may have gotten a dud, or my darts had worn out, but it seems to be a familiar tale with other Centurion owners even when using brand new darts.

My breech area has already been chipped in two places simply from regular use. This happened when I took it to its first Nerf War... it didn't even last one round before it started having firing issues. I also suspect that the odd " V " shape opening in the breech is a bad design that usually bends / chews darts whenever they do not *perfectly* slide in.

One small redemption is the sound and "recoil" the Centurion makes - basically when the blaster is fired the plunger tube releases the air to fire the dart, *then* the breech snaps backwards into the open position ready to reload. This double-action gives a lovely "Ka-CHUNK!" sound and has a bit of kick behind it.

MOD POTENTIAL / IDEAS: 


This.... *thing*... seems to be designed for the sole purpose of making modders smash their heads into a brick wall of frustration. The plunger tube is near impossible to mod without breaking it open, and even then wouldn't do much to solve the issue. The MEGA darts themselves I really think it boils down to the tip being too light and those two holes for the whistle effect that causes inaccuracy. The foam tube is too thin, but possibly can be reinforced (looking into that).

What is available for "mod kit" purchasing at the moment is a simple conversion kit from Blasterparts.de to make the Centurion take regular size Streamline / Elite darts: 


BlasterParts.de Centurion Caliber Converter

There is also Xplorer's "Xarrett" kit which renovates most of the internals, including a custom plunger tube which excites me greatly :D - however at the moment you have the option of using Stefan sized darts or normal Streamline / Elite sized darts, and is a bit on the expensive side (but for good reason!): 

Xplorer Xpower kit for MEGA Centurion
So far I have yet to see a custom made kit or advanced mods that redeems the new MEGA dart system. I'd still love to use MEGA darts since the idea of firing a large caliber foam dart at an opponent for an epic Head-Shot is appealing for me -- whereas for normal size darts like Elites... that's what I have my Longshot for :P

What I plan on doing for my Centurion is foregoing the magazine system (which I find just chews and jams more than actually loading and firing...) and going for a singled approach; using a custom design breech that loads from where the jam door normally sits, and having it a proper sealed barrel system (kind of like a brass breech Longshot). My hurdles at the moment is making the MEGA darts accurate *and* fire a long distance; right now it's one OR the other, as well as finding a way to fix / replace the plunger tube system with something more powerful... maybe even a small air-tank?

CONCLUSION:


Well, it's a tough one because I really want to like the Centurion, and there are various aspects where I do. But at the end of the day it was supposed to be an awesome dart slinging machine, and instead we got a giant, unreliable, spluttering, dart chewing mess of a blaster.

From an Out-Of-The-Box-Performance view I only give it 3 out of 10 MEGA darts. I loved the look, design, feel and that recoil effect that it has, but I hate how unreliable and badly it performed.

For Nerf War Practicality (regardless of issues) it is rather impractical due to its size and limited dart capacity. *IF* it actually fired the long distances that it claimed it could *AND* be accurate, it would be a worthy foe... but since it cannot fire far or accurately, as well as the fact that mine broke during early Nerf War battle... I cannot give a dart score for War Practicality

For Modding Potential at the moment I give it a 2 out of 10 MEGA darts. Unless you want to change it to something other than MEGA darts (which even then may mean spending big bucks to do so) there isn't really anything you can mod except for taking out the Air Restrictor, which by the sounds of it doesn't help much anyways... But for me I am still determined to "get it right" somehow. The only redemption for modding is for cosmetically - I've seen some AWESOME cosmetic changes to the Centurion, like this one from JohnsonArmsProps:

JohnsonArmsProps Centurion

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Well, I hope you guys enjoyed this rather long, delayed but eventually completed review :P just to finish up on here is some low-res *slow motion* eye candy for when the Centurion actually DOES work:

~ Alex

video

2 comments:

  1. check this....xplorer Xarrett Centurions
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxWcO6aLNN0

    ReplyDelete
  2. Something I've wanted to do since getting a Centurion was strip it and install machined Longshot components. THere is an amazing amount of internal space for all sorts of reconstruction work, but I really like the idea of putting a Centurion shelll on a Longshot. Currently working on that integration which I've decided to call the "Praetor."

    Preliminary tests have proven that it really is just a Longshot with a Centurion shell. With the machined parts and 10kg (soon to be 14kg) parts, I'm getting pretty good ranges from it and acceptable accuracy too. I've drawn back the seer a good deal further to accommodate a longer PT and spring before it reaches the catch, giving it a very attractive "pffwhaa" sound due to the perfect air seal.

    Quite simply, the only redeeming factor is that it looks great. Spend the dollars on the shell, throw away the junk inside it, and turn it into a prettier upgraded Longshot (barrel extension or not).

    ReplyDelete