Thursday 26 July 2012

Nerf N-Strike Elite Stockade Review

So I noticed that Argos have released their new catalogue. Being the inquisitive fellow that I am, I decided to have a look. Of course I couldn't simply thumb through the glossy pages of the catalogue, that is sooo last century. I decided instead to use the handy dandy computerised ordering doo-dad they have in store to have a look at the Nerf goodies. All the Elite series were there and were unsurprisingly advertised as "Available August 2012". All except the Stockade, this said "2 in Stock" so I bought one.

The first thing you'll notice is the big shiny 20m range sticker on the box. Anyone with a calculator will know that this equates to 65', 10 short of what we expected. Disappointing I know but it sure gives the Barricade RV-10 a swift kick in the trouser furniture.

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On the back of the box, the small print states that the Stockade has a max range of 22m which is a much more pleasing 72' but as we all know, this will have been measured from an angled shot.

We get inside the box and it all becomes a bit more exciting.

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The stock looks the business. It has a brilliant new style dart holder which is very easy to use and grips the darts firmly without damaging them. The stock also features an ambidextrous release switch which is really useful if you're an awkward lefty like me. Unfortunately, as many people are experiencing with the Retaliator, the stock is far too short for a big manly man like me but then, it is designed for 8 year olds. My next mission might be to lengthen it somehow.

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As we have seen with the other Elite blasters, from the outside the Stockade looks exactly like the Barricade in every way, just with a nifty new paint job. It still takes 3 AA cells so no improvement on the voltage from Hasbro. It would seem however, the internals have had a bit of a reboot.

Starting it up with the switch on the side of the handle (again, the same as the Barricade), you'll notice immediately that you won't need earplugs to use the Stockade. It is much, much quieter than it's predecessor and even a bit quieter than the Rayven. This however, might simply be down to the fact that the Stockade runs at a lower voltage to the Rayven.

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We open the Stockade up and again, it's a similar story to the Barricade. Subtle differences include a new style dart pusher and a larger trigger spring in the Stockade. Otherwise, nothing much to report with the trigger assembly or turret but things are a bit more interesting up at the front.

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You'll notice that the flywheels on the Stockade are new and similar in design to the Rayven. They have a smooth surface and a larger circumference compared to the Barricades smaller, toothed flywheels. This alone will account for the improved performance. A larger circumference will mean that the surface if the flywheel is travelling at a higher speed. It also appears that the Stockade is also packing the same motors as the Rayven. This seems to be the reason for the reduction in noise from the blaster.

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The Stockade also has what appears to be a dart tooth between the turret and the flywheels. At first I couldn't fathom what purpose this served as it didn't seem to lock in position like conventional dart teeth (not to mention the fact that they are useless on flywheel blasters). Instead, this mechanism has sprung fingers on either side of the barrel that centeralise the dart as it is fed into the flywheels. This innovative idea seems to really improve the blaster's accuracy and is another of the suttle differences that make the Stockade so much better than it's predecesor.

Better bearings, higher revs and a larger flywheel are the main reasons why this thing spits darts as far as it does. Couple this with the improved design of the Elite darts and you can see why Nerf feel the need to revamp old blasters. Getting the most out of blasters without the cost of designing and retooling is fine by me. It all helps to keep the price down. I got rid of all of my RV-10s because they are ugly, because of their terrible performance and of course, to avoid going deaf and whilst I'm not going all weak at the knees about the Stockade, it is just so much better than the Barricade. I'm not saying that it's amazing, it's still ugly, cumbersome and fiddly to reload but it is a step in the right direction. Well done Nerf.

Test firing the Stockade was a real pleasure. It purrs like a kitten as it revs up and rattles and vibration are at a minimum thanks to the new motors. The trigger pull is a little stiff and clunky but then, nothing has changed with the mechanism.

So, on to the ranges.

I tested the Stockade alongside the Barricade for the best possible direct comparison. Both blasters were using the same brand new batteries, loaded with 10 elite darts and fired PTG. The following ranges are the average distance over 10 darts.

Elite Stockade - 14.7m (48 feet)
Barricade - 8.2m (27 feet)

The results speak for themselves, the Stockade clocks nearly twice the range of the Barricade, but does that make it twice as good? To be honest, I'm not sure. I like it but I don't love it.

So, what do you think? Will you be buying one? Personally, I wouldn't bother. You'd be much better off saving your money for the Retaliator.


  1. im getting this! hoping it will be good! :)

  2. This stockade is more powerful than the stryfe