The first blaster in my new Dart Tag collection (wait, do the Hyperfires count? Fine, the first out of the 2011 range, to be exact) the Swarmfire is a mighty piece of kit, and we here at the HQ LOVE this blaster. Let’s discuss why.
The first version of the Swarmfire (V 1.0) was released into the world back in 2011 with the rest of the new range (Quick 16, Speedload 6 and Sharp Shot), as a means of re-inventing the humble Nerf Dart Tag line, introducing all-new blasters with unique styling, a new dart, and all new accessories. The original orange-triggered version was never released in Australia back then, but now, here in 2012, the original 2011 range blasters (minus the Quick 16) have received blue-triggers and are readily available everywhere in Australia, and the Swarmfire 2.0 and Sharp Shot 2.0 have supposed further ranges than the originals. Does this statement hold up? I’m happy to say, it doesn't disappoint.
Since this is the first Dart Tag review, let’s discuss the Dart Tag range in general. The first aspect for my thoughts is the box art. The DT boxes alter slightly from their N-Strike cousins. They still bear the same background (red, orange, yellow, white and black) but these feature borders made up of car tyres (O.o?) or some sort of barrier, players in the background wielding the other DT blasters, acting as if they are in a competition. I think this layout suits the range well; it gives off the feel in the background that they are really competing, and gives off an ‘action’ kind of vibe.
In the box (I was rubbing my hands with anticipation when mine arrived, it’s a thing I do :P) you get the Swarmfire 2.0 blaster unit, 20 of the new blue DT Velcro darts, a removable stock attachment, and your usual instructions.
I’ll say one thing before anything else, JUST LOOK AT IT. :P The Swarmfire is an awesome looking piece of kit, reminiscent of a sci-fi arm cannon (demonstrated by the following video) and is unlike anything Nerf has churned out from their deep, dark labs thus far. I, for one, LOVE the styling of the new DT range. Where the N-Strike blasters have been straight line, boxy and TUFF looking, the DT blasters are sleek, curvy, and sexy, I fondly add. :P Some say that it does look a bit awkward, but you warm up to it after a while, and accept it for what it is. I did that instantly :P
The detailing and aesthetics DO NOT disappoint. From the recognizable shape of the Dart Tag symbol/target, to the twenty ammo etching, it is pretty cool. It is known that the Swarmfire has an outer shell, so some areas are plastic, the rest are painted. These shades of yellow don’t quite match, but I didn't really mind.
To operate the Swarmfire, the beast requires six C batteries. Without them, it won’t operate. No batteries, no shootie. :P Turn her on, and let the darts fly! The battery area is located on the underside of the blaster, and is contained by a black hand grip. Fun fact, it contains the same battery dividers as the Stampede and Vulcan, as demonstrated below.
Load up your darts into the twenty slots in the barrel area, slide the switch into the ‘ON’ position (located on the top-middle area of the blaster), then aim, and fire. The Swarmfire is a full-auto blaster (hold down trigger for continuous rapid fire) or you can fire single shots, depending on how long your trigger is pressed down. It does take a little while to reload (due to the barrel loading method), take heed!
The darts themselves look awesome, and are way better than the original Orange/Black darts. Shaded in blue with white Velcro tips, they look more striking and distinguished, in my opinion.
In hand, it feels very nice and sturdy. When I first held onto the unit, it creaked a little. I suppose this is the result of the outer shell’s plastics. Other than that, it feels really comfortable, the handle is similar the Longstrike’s. It is a little front heavy (due to the weight of the batteries) but, the Swarmfire was meant as a two-handed weapon. Unless you have ‘man-arms’ and can dual-wield :P
You get a real sense of power and domination when you wield the Swarmfire. It’s big, and badass. Letting off twenty rounds is oddly VERY satisfying, and laying down the fire into your opponents. I do have a particular fondness for full auto blasters, so this maybe my new favorite? You never know.
The removable stock also it great, it adds a sense of customization, and you can remove it if you think it get's in the way. It's a little tad-fiddly to remove, but here is a tip. If you press the stock inwards into the blaster while pressing down on the 'remove' tab, you'll find it'll slide out without getting stuck.
Size-wise, it was a little smaller than I expected. I suppose this is a great aspect, no-one likes lugging around a heavy blaster without expecting some serious firepower. :P It is comparable to a Vortex Nitron to terms of size.
Onto the promise of the upgraded power. This is thanks to an all-new spring, which DOES improves distances a fair bit. I can easily say, it's one of the most powerful blasters in the S.O.F.T. arsenal. It is noted, however, that due to this version having a stronger spring, the blue triggered version fires slower than the original. (Thanks to Pocket of Urban Taggers for this info.)
In my opinion, the flagship of the Dart Tag line doesn't disappoint. If you're after a weapon that strikes fear into your opponents (or your siblings :P) the Swarmfire is for you. Be warned though, a shot from this could clearly take an eye out, so always wear protective gear, such as glasses. Highly recommended if you're after a thrill, or something new and different than N-Strike. Currently flying around everywhere in Australia for $30 - $50 bucks, so take advantage of its' arrival! :)
P.S. This review couldn’t have been possible without the fine folks of Lasoo.com.au, who sent me this unit for free, to keep and review. It’s the best thing until S.O.F.T. gets officially recognized by Nerf itself, or something. :P