17 March 2013

REVIEW: Air Storm Z-Curve Bow

Little bow peep

Think about it – its always the cool kids that use bows. Obviously there was Robin Hood (who used his archery set to encourage a fairer method of medieval wealth distribution), but there was also Rambo. Rambo was so badass, that in a situation when his enemies were using machine guns, he was totally confident of entering the fray armed only with the humble bow. That is because bows are awesome, and what is even more awesome is that now we have a bow that won't kill anyone. Phew.

The Z-Curve Bow is a part of the Air Storm series of toys which, like the very well-known Nerf brand, are weapons that shoot foam darts and balls. Unlike Nerf, which seems to be all about air-compression these days, Air Storm toys use good old fashioned muscle power to launch their projectiles, with a view to getting children off the couch (and their smartphones!), spark the imagination, and promote physical coordination and play. But once our lazy backsides were off said sofa, what did we make of it?

Having grown up using weapons such as this it was a real pleasure to peel the Z-Curve Bow from it's packaging prison. It's light – but not flimsy – and well sized to cater for children of all ages, even those with children of their own. The overall design is pretty good and we weren't put off by the bright orange plastic as it goes well with the black hand grip and details. Included with the bow itself are three arrows – two “Zonic” darts, that make a whistling noise when flung through the air, and one suction cup dart.

One thing that must be made clear is that the Z-Curve Bow is not actually a bow. WHAT? BUT YOU SAID...? We know, we know, but although it looks like a bow and is called a bow, if you gave it to Robin Hood himself he'd just give you a funny look. Then mug you for your lunch money. The Z-Curve Bow is actually a kind of sling-shot, as are the other weapons in the Air Storm range. Instead of a bowstring and a flexible curve, you get a very thick and sturdy pair of rubber bands that are fastened to the tips of the “bow”. The darts are hooked to the ends of the bands and pulled back to shoot. Its basically a vertical sling-shot, but still one we enjoyed playing with very much.

The box boasts an effective range of up to 125 feet, which at first we scoffed at. “Scoff, scoff,” said we on first inspecting the weapon. “It'll never make it that far.” We were wrong. Although no true and accurate measuring device was deployed to record the results, we were certain that at least the boastful range had been achieved when we had to ask the neighbours for our dart back. Pretty impressive.

Of course we're big chaps with arms of solid oaken muscle (ahem) so we were able to pull the sling-shot back to its absolute maximum capacity. Younger kids might have difficulty doing so, as the rubber bands are quite tough. However, that surely is a good point – had they been too loose we would have expected an early grave for the bow, as surely they would have snapped.

The Zonic darts are pretty good (but to be honest we got a little annoyed of the wailing scream they make when fired) and the suction cup dart is excellent, perfectly sticking itself onto the neighbours greenhouse. Another trip next door followed. Should your ammo go similarly AWOL, extra darts are available.

We had a lot of fun with the Air Storm Z-Curve Bow. We liked the sling-shot design, enabling even the youngest of hoodlums to have a go, but we do have some concerns over the longevity of the toy. To be fair we gave the thing quite a going over, but at the end of a fun-packed day, during which the neighbours swore at us several times, we discovered that the rubber band seemed slightly longer. Maybe it was just our manly enthusiasm that stretched it slightly, but still it is a concern indeed. Having said that, if your tempestuous tyke is looking for a new way to do battle with friends, and wants something that no other kid on the street might yet have, we recommend the Z-Curve Bow.

Just warn your neighbours first.


Available from  www.argos.co.uk

      Check out other cool things from re:creation at www.recreationltd.co.uk

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