Rapidstrike CS-18 Review

OK, I’m calling it. I got the first RapidStrike CS-18 in the UK outside of Hasbro or any official channels. Delivered express from the Entertainer, here’s my review of it so far. This first part only covers the external bits. Those looking for internals can see the photo dumps for images and I’ll do a walk through once me and Steve are done with stripping it down.

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First impressions: it’s a fantastic form factor. I thought nothing could top the Stampede but this is a lovely profile, has the nice centre release magazine button found in the Stryfe and a good sized collapsible stock.

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My version is the 22m version shipped to the UK and comes with 1 18 clear 18 dart magazine. The clear ABS look pretty and is not as gimmicky as I first suspected. Steve had to check it against a plain 18 dart magazine because the clear ABS made it look longer. Actually, they’re just the same length, the transparency did some weird foreshortening.

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The blaster itself is lovely to hold, it has a wonderful foregrip and is much lighter than the Stampede. I was suprised to find it only needed 4 C batteries for a total of 6V which makes RM2 motor upgrades the perfect choice. I’m thinking at the moment of getting some AA to C converters and 4 IMR lithium batteries and really making this thing scream. I have a spare pair of Barricade motors around that will make for shiny new flywheel motors.

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Rate of fire is 3-4 a second. Steve did some mathematical voodoo on the cam system when it arrived and calculated a stock ROF of 3.69RPS based on the assumption the 130 motor at the back is turning at 13300RPM. The choice of cam and worm gear is a new one for Hasbro and we have some concerns of its viability under load. It does, however, present some interesting opportunities were people to rebuild that system.

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The back mechanism internals. There are some nifty little features here.
¬†Notice the smaller cam system, it’s half the size of the Nitron’s cam system and very clever to boot.

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Just looking at the outside of the Nitron, you can see how much they’ve managed to downgrade the size of this thing.

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Opening the cam piece itself was a little tricky, it’s clearly designed not to be opened again. I’ve snapped both of these off deliberately. It’s held together by screws so they’re a little surplus to requirements.

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imageBottom and top of the cam pusher system. It’s an innovative design that’s been scaled down and the included little vertical pusher on the head is a good little idea. I’ll get a more close up picture of that in a second.

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It’s notable that the team have reverted to the ‘curtain’ breech gate as opposed to the doors seen in the Stryfe.

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A good number of the switches are now held in place using a clip of some form or another which is a new development.

Generally speaking, Hasbro have upped their game. The engineering design quality in this Rapidstrike CS-18 is much, much better than anything we’ve seen in a while. There are sane little quirks and features that we’ve noticed as we’ve stripped this down - Steve has agreed to do a seperate post detailing most of those along with a full circuit diagram, just as soon as he’s done with finding the spring that made a break for freedom when we opened it. :D

From my point of view, Rapidstrike CS-18 isn’t going to get much use in the HvZ community as long as the Stampede sticks around. LARP and NIC wars, it has a lot of potential, however. For example, many LARP systems it will take 3 hits to kill a monster: the Rapidstrike could easily be modded to spit 4 darts in the time it takes a monster to take 2 paces toward you. NIC, we’ve already seen range mods take this beauty to new heights. Why do I think the Stampede is going to stick about? Simple answer: semi-automatic fire. The Rapidstrike feels a lot more difficult to control, you can empty a magazine very easily because as soon as the flywheels are spun up, you’re golden - it’ll fire instantly. There’s a short delay in the Stampede’s firing mechanism which makes it very easy to adapt to the semi-automatic fire you in need in HvZ. That and flywheels will scream.

In all, a brilliant blaster that looks very nice. HvZ players would be better off sticking to the Alpha Trooper or Stampede families but everyone else, go get one when they come back in stock in the UK. :)

EDIT: I’ve just run this around the Blastersmiths office a few times and I’m impressed by how easy it is to control the number of rounds being fired. Granted, I’m a BUZAN veteran of 2 and a half years but with the correct mentality in place, the RS does actually compete with the Stampede in terms of burst fire. The key factor is still teaching that fire discipline to a newbie, there’s more impetus here to squeeze and point rather than to actively measure your shots and survive.

EDIT 2: Thought I’d record my batch number here for posterity: 31051/#A3901

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Armourer: One who fixes the blasters that others break

We're all about HvZ, fixing broken stuff and documenting our learning process as we go from clueless to semi-clueless! :)

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