Friday, 28 April 2017

Review: Star Wars Jyn Erso Deluxe Blaster

The release of Rogue One brought with it, among other merchandise, a new set of Star Wars Nerf blasters. The Jyn Erso blaster is the most expensive general release one, and the only one of the three that offered any practical potential use. Due to its insanely high retail price, I put off buying it until they were discounted to half price at my local BigW. Is it worth it, even at half price?
The Box

Standard open box type fare, nothing special.

The A280-CFE Blaster
The Jyn Erso blaster is based off of the A280-CFE, a modular blaster rifle. It has been designed to resemble only the main body of the blaster, lacking a stock, scope or extended barrel. The Cassian Andor Deluxe blaster includes blue coloured versions of all of these, however is not available in Australia.

The Star Wars Darts
A quick note about these new Star Wars darts. All of the blasters in the Rogue One lineup use these darts, with a white body and green tip. This doesn't match up with their respective laser colours however as all the blasters in-universe fire red blaster bolts. The incorrect colouring has a reason however, and that is...
...they glow in the dark! Like with other GITD darts, these Star Wars darts do not hold their "charge" for very long, and are not particularly bright, however it is still a neat effect, especially in the dark.

The 6 Dart Mag
A quick note about the included mag, which is a full trans-orange 6 dart Elite style mag, which is new. The fully transparent body allows for the best charging of the GITD darts, as standard Elite mags have one side opaque.

The Jyn Erso Blaster

The Jyn Erso blaster is a relatively large one, with quite a long barrel and handguard. It has a number of molded details, and the grey parts are all grey plastic inserts rather than paint. Those of you more familiar with firearms may notice a number of distinct, familiar features, such as the faux shell ejection port on the right side. This is because the A280-CFE blaster rifle (and its fellow A280 variants), the Jyn Erso blaster's in-universe counterpart, is built from real-life firearms.
The top of the Jyn Erso blaster is quite thin, however the rest of the body has a fair amount of bulk, particularly around the flywheel cage.
The blaster features a single tactical rail, on top in front of the jam door. This is an unusually forward placement of a tac rail, however corresponds to the scope placement of the A280-CFE.

The Jyn Erso blaster accepts Nerf stocks and barrel attachments, however most barrels will be very loose and wobbly due to the lack of a locking divot below the muzzle. There is also a distinct lack of supporting plastic around the muzzle for barrel attachments.


The jam door of the blaster is a hinged one right above the magwell, however due to the thinness of the body in that area, the jam door aperture is quite small and tight. Additionally, the jam door's placement directly behind the tac rail can prevent its use with certain scopes and sights. This makes it extremely difficult to use the jam door to actually clear jams.

The front end of the Jyn Erso blaster is quite tall, housing a number of important features. The bulk of it is rounded as a foregrip, while the upper section is dedicated to a lighting system and a speaker.
The lights and sound system activate whenever the trigger is pulled, causing the barrel to light up in sequence as if actually firing a blaster bolt. This feature is testable while the blaster is still in box, as the blaster is supplied with batteries.
The round foregrip is quite comfortable to hold, being of decent length and width to provide a stable grip. It is however very far forward, a good ~11cm in front of the magwell, far more forward than most foregrips on Nerf blasters. I personally find it too far forward to use comfortably in a typical two-handed grip, however it is appropriately placed given the design of the source material.

The foregrip also contains the battery tray of the Jyn Erso blaster. It uses 4 AAs housed in a 2x2 arrangement, providing a fair amount of extra weight to the front of the blaster.
Between the magwell and foregrip are a series of rectangular protrusions. These protrusions attempt to replicate part of the A280-CFE's design, however form a very uncomfortable area to grip. As I mentioned before, I find the foregrip too far forward to use comfortably, preferring to have my off hand just in front of the magwell. These rectangular shapes make such a grip position uncomfortable and awkward.


The handle of the Jyn Erso blaster is quite different to typical Nerf design, instead emulating a more realistic style appropriate for its source material. It sports two textured grey inserts on the sides, which adds a nice grippy feel. The handle is however fairly small. While I find it fairly comfortable to hold, users with larger hands may find it too small.
The magwell is an odd design, almost but not quite lining up with the faux magwell design on the shell. It is compatible with all Nerf mags and drums without issue.
The mag release is a button on the right hand side. The mag is removed by holding down this button, and pulling out the mag with your off hand. The magwell has more than enough friction to hold in the lighter mags even without the mag release lock.
Interestingly, like the Longshot, there is no mag release button on the left hand sides. As such, left-handers will have a much harder time reloading the Jyn Erso blaster than right-handers, especially when compared to most of Nerf's other mag fed blasters.
This mag release button design has a distinct advantage over the central lever mag release design that is quite popular in the community. It is much, much harder to accidentally actuate than a lever release, making accidental mag drops almost impossible. However its high placement on just one side of the blaster makes it very difficult to remove mags using just your off hand.
Revving up the blaster by holding the acceleration trigger also turns on two LEDs in the magwell. These LEDs charge up any GITD darts that are loaded in the top of the mag.

As mentioned previously, the Jyn Erso blaster is actually quite large, eclipsing the Stryfe and even beating the Rapidstrike for barrel legnth. Making matters worse, the battery tray placement in the foregrip makes the blaster quite front heavy and unbalanced, especially in the absence of a stock.

Performance

How does the Jyn Erso Blaster perform? Does it keep up with Elite-era blasters?
Range is pretty poor, averaging only around 7-9m flat with near-full-charge batteries and the included Star Wars darts. Muzzle velocity is unimpressive, averaging around 50fps with those same batteries (data can be found here). About on par with other semi-auto grey trigger flywheelers.
Accuracy is nothing special, with a number of darts failing to make it through my usual testing doorway at ~8m. I'd estimate it at slightly worse than a typical Elite blaster, though with such little power it's hard to really compare.
Rate of fire is naturally its best attribute. By virtue of being a semi-auto flywheeler, a rate of fire of 5+dps is achievable with good technique, however will very quickly jam up a stock blaster from flywheel deceleration. About one dart per second is the most you can get while maintaining range.

Game Utility
As is per usual for a stock semi-auto flywheeler, the Jyn Erso blaster is best suited for closer range combat. At this range, its spin-up time is less of an issue, and its high ROF can be used to maximum advantage. Note that the blaster's length may pose an issue with maneuverability with close quarters, at least compared to shorter blasters like the Stryfe or Desolator. It suffers significantly at longer ranged combat due to its lack of power and long spin-up time. As is usual for a stock blaster, I personally find springers to be all round more effective, however there is no denying the dominance of flywheelers in "superstock" games.

Value and Summary
The typical retail price of the Jyn Erso blaster in Australia is around 90AUD. Sales can take them down to around 60AUD, however I bought mine at half price (45AUD) from BigW. Even for what I paid, I feel that it wasn't a particularly good deal. Sure the light and sound system adds some neat features to the blaster, however fundamentally it is just a standard semi-auto flywheeler, with no significant extras. This blaster is another victim of Star Wars price gouging, considering the Stryfe retailed at a mere 25AUD. Unless you are a die-hard Star Wars fan or absolutely love its design, I would recommend saving your money for other blasters.

Power: 2.5/7
Accuracy: 2.5/5
Rate of Fire: 4.5/5
Usability: 2.5/5
Value for Money: 1/5
Overall: 2.46/5

Personal Rating: 2.5/5 - besides the (rather fun) light and sound system, its Star Wars branding and design, the Jyn Erso blaster doesn't have a whole lot going for it compared to other semi-auto flywheelers.


Besides the lights and sound system, the Jyn Erso blaster internally is very similar to the Stryfe, or any other semi-auto flywheeler. If the lights and sound system is not a concern, the blaster can be overhauled in the standard way without issue, easily achieving the standard 110+fps with a full overhaul that a good flywheel setup can achieve. Safely running the lights and sound system off an upgraded power supply requires some method of voltage reduction, which is not difficult as the system is not an especially demanding one power wise. The method I will likely use is simply a voltage regulator, fitted into any one of the decently sized spaces in the shell. Some RF suppression may be necessary for the upgraded motors to keep interference to a minimum.

A link to the same post on BlasterHub: link

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