I recently saw the new NERF Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow at Hasbro's Christmas in July event last month. It's a nice looking thing but I was a little underwhelmed with it's performance. I was in the middle of writing a review of it when Seiryuu over on the Britnerf forum managed to get his hands on one early from Argos.
His review is pretty good and he also had the chance to open it up and include some internal pics. Find out what Seiryuu thinks after the jump.
Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow. Review by Seiryuu.
"As a massive bow fan I've been dying to get my hands on this one for a while and it would seem I got there first. So, without further ado, the blaster in all its packaged glory:
And the back of the box:
But you didn't come here for that now, did you? You can get box shots anywhere so here's something a tad more unique:
And, for those who want to see my arm, get ready:
And finally, the darts:
That spotty one's a little weird IMO but the others are a nice touch.
So, about the blaster.
The front grip is relatively comfortable and accommodates both left and right hands equally well, something I feel is important on bows since I'm not entirely sure which hand I prefer to use them with. Personally, I find the index finger housing a little cramped but that may just be due to the way my finger curls. Others may not experience this problem. I will say, however, that there is no extra space on the grip. If your hands are even the slightest bit bigger than mine (check the photo), you will not be comfortable with this blaster.
The pull grip will not take a full hand but, as anyone experienced with a bow should be able to guess, it's not meant to. It looks to be designed for 3 fingers but I find only two fit and, since that's the proper number for pulling back an arrow, I think it's probably better that way. It's perfectly comfortable when used like this.
The finger grip spins freely but I don't really get why that would matter.
The dart holder comes clipped to the bow, making it look like a permanent fixture. Contrary to this, it is in fact a standard tactical rail attachment and it will fit even the smallest of tactical rails, sliding on and off with ease while still gripping firmly. Darts can be a little tough to slide in and will probably be distorted if left in the holder but they can be pulled out easily and will not fall out at any angle, regardless of how hard I shake them. If you're not put off by pink, this is a great piece and I strongly recommend it.
The arms of the bow are strong and rigid. The will not break under use but it would seem they are not what provides the tension. Also, they can twist surprisingly easily if mistreated.
The string is elasticated. I doubt it provides much tension either. In fact, I don't feel much tension at all up until the last inch or so of the draw. I will look into the cause of this when I open it up later.
The AR system is the same as that of the Elite Jolt or Firestrike, with a similar hole near the front of the barrel. In my early tests, it failed to depress properly, causing a misfire about half the time. As such, it will definitely need to come out.
Speaking of tests, my initial estimates put its range at somewhere between 20 and 30 feet. Truly pitiful for something claiming 75. They did seem to improve as time went on, however, suggesting the blaster may need some breaking in before it can achieve its full potential. I will return with updates on this section.
As for the decorative design, I don't really like it. I was OK with the pink and black I saw online but the pink and indigo I'm seeing now is far from great and the lower section just looks like it's been scribbled on.
One definite positive point though is that the string attaching the pull handle to the main body allows the bow to be drawn non-straight without the fear of damage, meaning far less care need go into it than my plunger based 'Frankenbow' monstrosity.
A shot of the blaster opened up and a closer look at the internals:
Pretty pathetic really.
First off, we have a spring in a bow. No string power here fellas. None of that "REAL BOW ACTION!" we were promised. Just standard blaster action. Second, let's look at that string return mechanism. Is that a 'Beyblade' string launcher part? I think it is. So, Hasbro, you can reuse that part in Nerf blasters but you won't re-release it for Beyblades? Where's the logic? Why do they have it in here? So that they can have a draw longer than the plunger tube of course (hence the tension only being in the last bit). And why would they need that? Well, just look for yourself:
That's right. The plunger is literally just a catch removed Firestrike plunger. Pathetic. Truly pathetic Hasbro. So, why the bad ranges? Well, just take the catch out your Firestrike and see what happens!
The only thing new about the internals of this blaster is this piece:
What is it you ask? Why, that's the latest model of the tactical rail button. No more springs, instead it uses the tension of the plastic like the Jolt trigger did. Personally, I think this is a great improvement but it's not enough to make up for the lack of innovation anywhere else in the blaster.
For the non-'bladers' out there, here's what the inside of a string launcher looks like. Inside is a wheel around which the string winds and then it tethers to one side:
On the other side is a metal coil with a slight U-bend. This sits on the peg and acts as the return spring for the string:
Interestingly, this means the plunger spring will come right off, making that side of the modding so much easier. I don't, however, have any idea how to improve the string return mech to match."
I have to say, I was expecting great things from the Heartbreaker Bow. It is comfy to hold and quite 'pretty' but my main problem was with the blasters operation.
You have to pull the handle right back so that a little coloured piece is shown at the back, where the string enters the plunger tube . If you do not pull back far enough, the dart will pretty much tumble out the end of the barrel. It took a few shots for me to get the knack but I got there eventually. Once you have your technique down, the darts hit a respectable distance but don't seem to hit as hard as any of the Elite blasters. My guess would be because the drag from the string is slowing down the release of the spring. Play with one and you'll see what I mean.
For me, the big down side of the Heartbreaker Bow seems to be accuracy. Pulling back on the string forces the bow to pivot about your wrist and makes it quite awkward to fire. Now, I don't have particularly weak wrists but it was quite a struggle to counter this movement. I put 30 odd darts through this thing and I only managed to hit the target less than 10m away a hand full of times.
All in all, I like the Heartbreaker Bow aesthetically but practically, I can't see it being used much in wars. Having said that, it is designed for kids to run around the garden with. I'd say for that purpose, this thing will be pretty popular!
I'd like to thank Seiryuu for allowing me to post his review. It would seem that we share some disappointment in the Heartbreaker bow. For a range of blasters boasting innovation, it would seem that the only thing that is innovative is the colour schemes.