Southern Brisbane Nerf Club

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Open Letter to Buzz Bee

After several attempts to contact Buzz Bee's PR department and failing, I've decided to compose an open letter to them instead.

Dear Buzz Bee Toys INC,

Firstly, thanks for your contribution to the foam dart blaster hobby. Your designs are good and the internals of your blasters are quite durable. However, I get the feeling that you're holding back for some reason... why?

I love the idea of ejecting shells, while not practical, it is very fun. And the lever action of the Rapid Fire Tek really appeals to one's masculinity. The Extreme line is nice too. But, why not make your blasters perform on par with Hasbro's Nerf line? Surely doing such wouldn't be a big task. You are the closest thing to a competitor Hasbro has right now and I have to say, you're not doing a really good job at it.

I say that because, well, firstly you seem to be fixated on using suction darts (which are aerodynamically bad) made of two foam compounds. The balance of the denser foam (I find) is a bit off. The softer compound is more in-line with what other blaster manufacturers use but the suction cap and the length is off putting for me. If you were to make darts of the same length as Hasbro, and refine your blaster designs to accept them, I do see your blasters selling better. I also think, you simply have too many blasters available at the moment. As of me writing this you have 29 blasters, I think you might be spreading your resources a little too thinly. Maybe reducing the number of blasters will allow you to focus on the best sellers and develop them further.

And on the subject of development. Why use inefficient internals? Perfect example is the Rapid Fire Tek.


The tube running from the plunger to the breech would be causing a lot of resistance and slowing the flow of air, especially with all of those elbow joints. Surely you know this. If the plunger's orientation was reversed, then you wouldn't need the hose limiting the performance of an otherwise good blaster. So, why?

Now the Air Max Extreme series. I like the aesthetics, the colour and the fact that their an air tank type blaster when Hasbro don't make these anymore. This was a good decision on your part, to make something that people want but can't get from the mainstream brand. But, I think some work could be done on the Extreme blasters none the less. I own an Air Max 6 and no matter how many times I pump, I can't break the 30 foot mark. So, it's either a reduced performance Australian version (which to my knowledge you don't do) or, there is a flaw in your design somewhere. Also, I feel like the pump is inefficient, the draw is quite short and the cylinder too narrow.

I like how you've come with with new designs for dart magazines too. The Jaguar for example. I'll be honest, not my favorite blaster...


But the design for the dart chamber advancement I think (while inventive) isn't needed and the time spent developing that could've been put to better use elsewhere.

I also think that not putting a range on your blaster's boxes (Automatic 20) is not a good sign of things to expect from a blaster. I bought an Automatic 20 and owned it for 4 hours (would've been fewer but I had to wait until my lunch break at work) before I returned to to the retailer. It jammed a lot, the rate of fire was bad and I was lucky to get 6 feet of range out of it. I'm told this blaster really shines when it's modified, but for blaster that costs $50, I want it to perform out-of-the-box.

I think you should choose a unified colour scheme too. And maybe drop a few of the brighter colours like the green, blue and yellow. The dark green I think should go too. I quite like the grey of the Extreme line. I also like the design of the Extreme line. Hard lines and angles where previously you'd have had curves, The Extreme line looks good, if you could somehow (tastefully) migrate that design into some of the other blasters, I do see them selling more.

On the subject of selling, why are Buzz Bee blasters so hard to come by, especially here in Australia. Are you just not pushing them as hard as Hasbro, or, are retailers genuinely not interested in committing too much shelf space to your stuff?

Lastly, why don't you want people to know who you are? No official Facebook page or Twitter account. And a seemingly non-existent PR department. You have fans out there. I'm one of them, I just wish you'd realise your full potential and start making blasters that make others sit up and take notice of you. I can understand if you have cold feet after Hasbro took you to court, but that was three years ago now. And not even about dart basters.

Buzz Bee, I like you, but, for this relationship to work out, you need to get your finger out and start making some good blasters and a Facebook page so people know what you're up to. Or you'll just linger in the background forever watching Hasbro have the spotlight. Email me, "CONTACT" link on the right, K?

~ Rob

6 comments:

  1. I agree with a lot of this! The shells are really cool, they are the only people making air powered blasters and occasionally make a real classic. I found it amazingly ironic that Nerf had to settle for the non payment on some of the copyrights they took bb to court on with the inventor!
    I wish they would sort out what they want. I got a prompt response when I contacted them about spare glo missiles

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  2. Agree 100 percent. I myself have an air max 6. Thing will throw elite darts better then my other elite blasters. I love the Air Max line. However, I do agree, Buzz Bee could truly bring out some great blasters. With all these elite blasters coming out, nobody is gonna want to buy a blaster that doesn't go the distance.

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  3. Some thing i have thought buzz bee should make is a direct plunger pump action shotgun style blaster that takes advantage of the shells and uses a tube feed magazine. I have wanted a pump action shotgun that ejects shells for the longest time.

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  4. Absolutely! Well stated! I own at least 4 Buzz Bee blasters out of a collection of 40 and love that 4. However, there's much to be desired in both design and marketing especially with 4 lines from one manufacturer boasting 75' ranges. I would love to see Buzz Bee or some brand like Zuru's X-Shot compete with said performance. If they were more assertive, they'd take up more than a meager 10% of my collection.

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  5. I think buzzbee should start rattling the cage and up their game.It is about time nerf got some serious competition so we can see some serious advances in blaster technology and variety.

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  6. They listened and made the ultra-tek line!!!

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