2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Discussions of all varieties of stock water guns and water blasters.
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2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by SEAL » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:49 pm

Finally got some info on the 2018 models, courtesy of isoaker

We've already seen the Adventure Force Power Raider that BBT made for Walmart, which seems to be a fairly decent light primary, although BBT has so many of those already that it's kind of redundant. But isoaker is saying that there will be at least two more guns from BBT this year: another Adventure Force and one under their own Water Warriors brand. Now I don't know about you, but I think the fact that he has a teaser image up is a good sign. You wouldn't tease us about something crappy, would you isoaker?
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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by the oncoming storm » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:45 am

The spherical CPS patent expired last year so I expect it to have one
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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by SEAL » Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:28 pm

I wrote:You wouldn't tease us about something crappy, would you isoaker?
Well here it is.

:|

I mean, I guess it looks like it has good ergonomics... isoaker is right in that it's not a gimmick so much as it is a novel idea for nozzle selection...BUT, it's a piston gun. If it were say, spherical CPS like oncoming storm mentioned, and had like a separate trigger or button to switch nozzles, I'd be down with it. But it's not CPS. It's not even air pressure. Piston guns have always been inferior to pressurized systems; they're inaccurate and almost always weaker (with the exception of the big syringe type, which aren't extremely practical in most situations anyway). Literally the only advantage I can think of to using a piston gun is that you can keep shooting without having to worry about running out of pressure. But running out of pressure is basically a non-existent problem with an experienced user. I'm tempted to write an in-depth article explaining exactly why nobody uses piston guns. I am sort of interested in trying out the Drench Force from last year since it's like a Stream Machine with more than one shot, but their availability seems very limited.

All ranting aside, I guess there's still that other Adventure Force gun we haven't seen yet. Honestly though, my hopes aren't that high. BBT seems to have taken quite a plunge lately. Whatever happened to stuff like the Vindicator, Gorgon, Blazer, etc.? They had guns that could compete with real CPS, and now they can hardly make a 150-beater. They used to have a whole new lineup every other year, and now it's like one or two new guns a year, most of which are only available in some obscure store that nobody's ever heard of. Is BBT starting to go out of business? Maybe isoaker can shed some light if he sees this. Obviously the community shouldn't depend on stock offerings, but it is rather disheartening.

Edit: Oh, I just found the other one. The "Drench Force 2". Not sure if it's better or worse than the original, but it seems to be only available in Canada (again, what's with the weird availability?). As I said above, the Drench Force is one of the only piston guns I would actually try using in a battle, but I hope this new one is actually better than last year's, otherwise it's a waste of product development (kinda like the Colossus 2).

So the verdict on this year's BBT lineup...well it's not the worst year for them, but they bring nothing meaningful to the table. We have another light AP blaster with a tiny PC, a remake, and a piston gun. Meh.
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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by Drenchenator » Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:34 pm

Yeah, none of this is inspiring much confidence in BBT at the moment, to be frank. Given that a lot of patents have expired I'm rather perplexed as to why nobody is using them, but the answer is probably simple. Nobody cares to use them. They likely won't make much more money if they did start to use them, so it's not really in their interest to do it. Obviously I think that's wrong, because even if they sold a CPS gun at a loss I think it will help sell more smaller guns too, since the CPS gun could drum up interest. But it looks like most manufacturers have made their decision and we'll have to find a way around it (homemades, any one?).
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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by marauder » Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:41 pm

This is truly a sad moment in the history of our community...

I think manufacturers have wisened up to the fact that the return on investment just isn't there like it is with more expensive (to manufacture) dart blasters. Our local Wal Mart and Target have maybe 2 Super Soakers each... it's really a shame. So, maybe it's not even that kids don't care about the difference (I would argue that they don't know whether to care or not) but maybe they are not even interested in waterguns at all anymore?

One theory of mine is that back in the 90s and early 00s everyone had to sit and watch commercials but now kids have no idea as to what commercials are. That time period also featured a lot more commercials aimed at children. It's not just my memory, but there is actual literature out there on how marketing of children's toys has shifted over the past 3 decades. I also wonder if maybe parents don't care for kids getting wet and muddy these days. I may be completely off on that one...
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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by SEAL » Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:20 am

Yeah, I've often thought the same thing. If you go on BBT's website and click products, it takes you to the dart gun section first, rather than the water guns like it used to. It would be truly disheartening to have water guns dissolve in favor of foam guns. Like, what's more satisfying? Blasting someone with a fist-sized stream of water, or plinking them with a little foam cigarette? I wonder if that says anything about society, 'cause nerf is a lot more sedentary than water warfare. Either way, I refuse to go to nerf wars anymore. They don't need any more participants and their battles are the most boring of all wargames.

Anyway, I agree with the commercial thing. How many people even watch cable TV anymore? Usually it's some kind of internet-based TV. I don't know how children's toys are being marketed today, but the point is moot in my opinion because I don't want water guns to be children's toys. I want enthusiast equipment that you'd find in a sporting goods store, and I'm sure everyone here would agree.

But I think if we want water wars to be popular, that's in our hands. Not manufacturers. They'll only give us what we want if the interest is there. So we need to generate interest. Nobody else is going to. I actually have a few ideas, but they'll probably take some time to go into effect. I'll make a post about this in a little while.
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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by isoaker » Thu May 03, 2018 12:18 pm

You guys have a right to be upset at the limited available offering from the stock water blaster manufacturers including Buzz Bee Toys, Hasbro, etc. At the same time, as I've tried to explain before, you are complaining about the wrong part of the equation. A manufacturer like Buzz Bee Toys would be more than happy to create a high-performance rubber-bladder or even more advanced technology-based behemoth adult-sized and styled water blaster if it could sell them. It is up to retailers such as Walmart, Target, etc. to choose to carry items. There are many products that got to the concept stage that died since no retailer would carry them. Retailers remain unconvinced (likely based on sales) that water blasters priced above $20 sell enough volume to make it worth it. If you can help convince retailers to carry more expensive water blasters, I have no doubt that manufacturers would happily make the more powerful water blasters this community seeks. Barring that, for the engineers in the crowd, if you can figure out a way to reduce the cost of manufacturing to allow more powerful water blasters to be mass produced in order to fit the $20 price, that'd work, too. Anyone who wants to argue about the $20 price point can go yell at the retailers as well; that's not my preferred price. It is what manufacturers are told by the retailers.

In terms of the idea of selling at a loss to increase activity, that only works when you have enough volume and a diversified product portfolio. When it comes to water blasters, most consumers only by one or two. A company cannot afford to continually sell at losses nor would the additional sale help drive up demand. Moreover, the water blaster sold at a loss would increase overall expectations from customers ("hey, they were able to sell a CPS this cheaply, why can't everything be cheaper?")... once the sale ends because the cost to the manufacturer is too great, consumers become even more upset with the manufacturer ("Great, now the prices went up - they really are trying to gouge us for cash; I'm not buying this brand, anymore.") Unless a company can consistently afford to sell at a loss, that's a great way to put a company out of business. Typically, only retailers can sell single items at losses since they use the sale of the cheap good to entice people to come to their store and buy more expensive stuff as well.

As such, as stated above, for the enthusiast who wants high-performing water blasters today, your only real option is designing your own. If you come up with a revolutionary design and figure out a way to create more of them that seem to be demanded by everyone you show them to, you can then choose to either license your design or start your own company. All costs for making water blasters have more than doubled over the past 15 years, but prices in store have remained virtually unchanged. The current manufacturers are stuck between a rock and a hard place, but blaming them for the lack of selection and being disappointed from the dearth of higher-performance offerings is far from fair.

I will admit there is one thing that is not being done as much these days in the water blaster world and that is advertising. Unfortunately there, while advertising is a manufacturing-led initiative, the only manufacturer that can actually still afford to do advertising, namely Hasbro, is not truly serious about promoting their products these days. As such, the overall market for water blasters continues to shrink since the average consumer hears about so many other things to spend their money on and virtually nothing about water blasters.

Again, the group has a right to complain, but I'll also note that doing so only further hurts encouraging new people to try out water fights and water wars. I still believe great water fights can be had with even the current, mostly pump-action-based water blasters with the occasional pressurized water blaster still being available. Things presently seem sub-optimal for the water blaster market - ok, there is validity there. So what will you do to help change that?

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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by SEAL » Thu May 03, 2018 8:07 pm

I don't think anyone is mad at the manufacturers; it's not 2004 anymore and the membership has grown up. I think most of the frustration now (at least for me, can't speak for everyone) is that the entire hobby seems to be dying. I think the only reason we're still around is because several of us have met in person and have formed friendships, which has led to more activity.

Basically what I'm saying is, forget about the manufacturers, 'cause they only respond to interest. What we really need to do is bring the community back to life, and create that interest. Making water warfare into a popular pastime is obviously no easy feat, and you'd have to REALLY love the hobby to do it, but it's definitely possible. I'm on board if everyone else is. I still need to create that thread.

That said, I think a lot of the disappointment also stems from the fact that BBT did actually have a couple worthy blasters not too long ago. The Vindicator was just as powerful as a small CPS gun, the Gorgon was quite potent, and say nothing of the Vanquisher, Pulse Master, Waterlord, etc. How much money do guns like that cost to build? I mean yeah, piston guns are cheaper, but they can't be that much cheaper. Pretty much the same amount of material is used, the pressurized guns just have slightly more complex internals. And I hate to say it, but they probably pay people like 50 cents an hour in China to crank these things out. If the issue is that none of those aforementioned guns sold as well as the piston guns, then that goes back to needing to create more interest.
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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by isoaker » Fri May 04, 2018 7:32 pm

On models, costs, and history:
- Water Warriors Vindicator and its planned evolution: killed after Hasbro successfully sued Buzz Bee Toys, preventing them from making any rubber-bladder-based water blasters until the patent ran out
- Water Warriors Gorgon: also killed by same lawsuit
- Water Warriors Pulse Master: also killed by same lawsuit
- Water Warriors Waterlord: sold at ~$30USD; did not generate enough sales to warrant continuation

At present, it is not realistic to mass produce a decent-sized rubber-bladder or spring-based water blaster for less than $25USD (really tight margins); slightly more options if could be sold at $30, and can make more of what the community prefers if the price could be raised to $50-$60USD. Demand for anything above $20 in water blasters drops worse than a Flood Force pressurized water blaster's stream.

As for why can't they just bring back the old models? The retailers don't want "old", they want new. While labor in HK/China is relatively cheap, it is also 200% to 300% higher than it was just 10 years ago. Plastic cost has also increased similarly. Unfortunately, water blaster price points remain stuck. Moreover, the reality of actual production and shipping costs together with the demand by retailers to retain their margins and further exacerbated by the public's lack-of-interest in spending more than $20 USD for a water blaster makes creating high-performing water blasters extremely challenging. To change this, either need to find a new means to manufacture more cheaply while ensure adherence to product safety guidelines or create a new mechanism that yields the desired power, but costs less to build, or somehow convince the public to demand more and be willing to spend more to get it.

Water warfare is something that I doubt would ever completely die off; however, we are definitely in a major lull phase. Growing up, during the summer, I could count on seeing 2 to 3 water fights going on in the neighborhood each week; during hot spells, water fights would occur daily. Over the past 5 years, I think I've only seen one or two water fights in neighborhoods that were not started by me... and that's not per week, that is for the entire summer!

If you guys want to talk business, I believe the magic number is about 20,000. If we can guarantee the purchase of 20,000 units, we could get a water blaster even akin to an old Super Soaker CPS 2000 made again. Cost of the actual blaster would depend on its size and specifications, but this would need to be a guaranteed sale, therefore, money up front. The additional challenge is that if this isn't going to be sold in a retail store at first, orders would need to be shipped to the customers which would be part of the task of the person leading this project. Manufacturers generally do not ship/sell direct to customers since that tends to ruin their relationships with retailers. In essence, someone would be running their own retail business. I've been running various thoughts on how this could be achieved (yes, I know about things like KickStarter), but I don't have the time to manage such an undertaking. If anyone here thinks they'd be up for the task and are serious and entrepreneurial enough, ping me via email.

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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by DX » Sat May 05, 2018 4:48 pm

Much of the frustration is in the market, where we see water gun brands steadily decline year after year, while other brands soar to dizzying new heights, both in retail prices and in demand. Brio sets can retail for $40, 60, 100, 150. Nerf blasters can retail for $50, 60, 80, 100. Lego sets can retail for hundreds of dollars. Even Barbies can now retail for $20-30 for a single figure. Everything and its mother seems to have gone to the moon in price points, leaving water guns behind to collect dust. Other brands get to break the rules that constrain water guns - they get to put massive boxes on shelves, they get to break $20, they get to have complicated internals and experimental systems. Tek Recon, while ultimately not successful, busted right in out of nowhere. It seems like most other brands have things figured out and they've flourished.

Toys are still extremely hot...but people just don't want water guns, or to spend much money on them. I can't figure out why. It's not really competition from smartphones and games, because comparable toys are hot! If you put out an after market mod kit for certain nerf blasters, priced at $100, 200, even 300....you can sell out the batch in minutes! There are absurd amounts of money in these other hobbies.

TBH, I could see Hasbro dropping the Super Soaker brand entirely within the next 5 years. Why bother with low margins when you can sell nerf blasters like hotcakes for triple or quadruple the price point? BBT might hold on for longer, since they don't seem to have big ticket items that bring in high profit margins that way. Their dart blaster offerings have become popular now, but remain at low price points. BBT also seems to pull its best offerings from shelves early, too. Sentinels and 20 rd mags were immensely popular, to the point where they already go for twice their sticker price in secondhand markets. I guess they didn't sell well enough?

Sadly, I am already mentally prepared to accept a market where water guns of any variety beyond single piece piston-trigger squirters and the one-off piston pumper or pressurized reservoir model are no longer economically feasible to produce by major manufacturers. 3D printing has advanced enough that enthusiasts are making nerf homemades with mostly 3D printed parts, but that's still not really durable enough for a heavy soaker. However, that might be the way we end up finally producing our own outer shells, levers, and other custom components - just don't drop it when full of water :p

There are two things I believe are chiefly responsible for holding us back in production of our own soakers - trigger valve technology, and miniaturization. Over the years, people have tried to trigger using specially-configured ball valves, QEVs, hose handles, and a variety of other methods that are based off existing products. Unfortunately, those products aren't really small enough to go into an enthusiast-built shell that isn't PVC pipe or similar large, heavy material. Some people have made trigger valves out of PVC tees with blocking rods and O-rings inside. However, those designs leak pressure and water.

Components we need to invent include:

1. A reliable, 100% sealed valve that is miniaturized to the size of a conventional CPS valve or smaller, that can be actuated via a conventionally-located finger press trigger.

2. Reliable, 100% sealed pumps that are also miniaturized to the size of conventional CPS pumps and integrated into the system, while retaining user replacement or serviceability.

3. Lightweight, but strong shell or backbone material that molds to the shape of an arbitrary design and survive the abuse of being dropped with water weight inside.

4. Lightweight, but strong reservoir material that molds to the shape of an arbitrary design, including the ability to have the intake area specified and the external input to take a threaded cap of one's choosing.

5. Nozzle technology that is smooth, conical, and optimized for non-turbulent water flow.

6. Miniaturized internals in general. The check valves need to be small, the tubing needs to be small, everything needs to fit in a more conventionally-sized shell than we would normally construct when designing a homemade. This is currently achievable with existing components, but those components are expensive.
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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by SEAL » Sat May 05, 2018 7:05 pm

isoaker wrote:As for why can't they just bring back the old models? The retailers don't want "old", they want new.
This doesn't explain why they keep re-releasing certain models though. The Equalizer (known as the Outlaw now) is almost a decade old and they're still making those. There's a new color scheme for this year. Why couldn't that have been the Vindicator (now that the patent has expired)? Though of course I would prefer to see an updated version of it with better ergonomics.

But that's a moot point. Forget about Hasbro, BBT, and all the off-brands. It's all up to us. I mean I guess there's Spyra, but they sort of have their own direction going on.

I've been working on a new generation homemade, but it's slow-going. It likely won't be cheap, but it should still undercut high-quality airsoft and paintball guns, so the appeal of water wars being the cheapest war game will still hold.
DX wrote:Components we need to invent include:

1. A reliable, 100% sealed valve that is miniaturized to the size of a conventional CPS valve or smaller, that can be actuated via a conventionally-located finger press trigger.

2. Reliable, 100% sealed pumps that are also miniaturized to the size of conventional CPS pumps and integrated into the system, while retaining user replacement or serviceability.

3. Lightweight, but strong shell or backbone material that molds to the shape of an arbitrary design and survive the abuse of being dropped with water weight inside.

4. Lightweight, but strong reservoir material that molds to the shape of an arbitrary design, including the ability to have the intake area specified and the external input to take a threaded cap of one's choosing.

5. Nozzle technology that is smooth, conical, and optimized for non-turbulent water flow.

6. Miniaturized internals in general. The check valves need to be small, the tubing needs to be small, everything needs to fit in a more conventionally-sized shell than we would normally construct when designing a homemade. This is currently achievable with existing components, but those components are expensive.
1. I think there might be some industrial valves that can be used for this purpose. I need to research more. I'm not sure if it's possible to make one or not without better technology.

2. I prefer something a little bigger than conventional CPS pumps (which are way too small for their application), like 3/4" or even 1". But yeah, getting them to seal well is difficult. We need precisely made parts. Either that or think outside the box and come up with a different pressurization system.

3. A backbone is definitely easier than a shell. Shapes will be limited, but I don't think it's too big a challenge.

4. This will be harder. 3D printing might help with this, but I'm worried about strength. We're probably stuck with either backpacks or figuring out some way to incorporate a weird-shaped reservoir.

5. Nozzles are cake. Those conical brass nozzles should work, or the plastic firehose-type nozzles for larger designs.

6. This can be achieved by using rubber tubing instead of rigid pipe. They make very compact tubing check valves as well, although I'm not sure how much they cost. Again, as long as we can undercut the price of weaponry from other war games, we'd be good in my book. I don't care about the $20 price point because that's for toys, not for enthusiast equipment, which is what I'm trying to design. Kids can just use what's in stores.
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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by Drenchenator » Sun May 06, 2018 1:33 pm

There's some pretty good discussion here. It's always interesting to get more information about the business side of things. I admit I don't pay a lot of attention to it but it's important to know nonetheless.

In terms of the idea of selling at a loss to increase activity, that only works when you have enough volume and a diversified product portfolio.
This is a fair point, and I gotta admit I was thinking too hastily on it. I still think even a limited edition CPS gun would be a good idea to drum up interest, though. Even with only 1000 or so made, I think it could make a difference. I am aware that there are major manufacturing start up costs for any design, since the first 1000 built are always more expensive than the next 1000 built. But I think if they put something on the market they would be surprised at how quickly it would sell out, and they would realize there is more interest than they originally thought.

Again, the group has a right to complain, but I'll also note that doing so only further hurts encouraging new people to try out water fights and water wars. I still believe great water fights can be had with even the current, mostly pump-action-based water blasters with the occasional pressurized water blaster still being available. Things presently seem sub-optimal for the water blaster market - ok, there is validity there. So what will you do to help change that?
I agree with this completely. I first saw Super Soakers in the early to mid 90s, and because of that I (and people around my age) entered the hobby with high expectations. But that was an abnormal time, a great time but abnormal nonetheless. I realize I carry unrealistic expectations at this point. And that's why I'm hopeful that the manufacturers produce something good, but I'm not gonna rely on them. I do plan to build more homemades when the time comes around, and I hope other people do it too.

At present, it is not realistic to mass produce a decent-sized rubber-bladder or spring-based water blaster for less than $25USD (really tight margins); slightly more options if could be sold at $30, and can make more of what the community prefers if the price could be raised to $50-$60USD. Demand for anything above $20 in water blasters drops worse than a Flood Force pressurized water blaster's stream.
This is something I can never understand. Prices on everything are going up, but apparently nobody will pay more than 30 dollars for a water gun. I think if the manufacturers are being far too conservative in their volume/price analysis if they think nothing will sell over that price. I agree with DX's analysis. Nerf and Lego somehow break this "rule" all the time. I think it's about time somebody else did too.

If you guys want to talk business, I believe the magic number is about 20,000. If we can guarantee the purchase of 20,000 units, we could get a water blaster even akin to an old Super Soaker CPS 2000 made again.
This is a really interesting idea. 20 thousand is not that many, but it's still at lot. Let's assume that it costs 50 dollars to manufacturer and sell the gun. That's 1 million dollars just in manufacturing costs, not counting all the start up costs and design costs. But this likely is within an order of magnitude of the overall costs of the operation, so the entire business would need around 10 million dollars to get going (roughly). That's a lot of money, but it's probably less money than what people thought would be needed. I agree with isoaker that this seems possible but it's certainly a lot of time and effort.

Edit: All I'm trying to say here is that the amount of money needed to do this is probably not in the hundreds of millions (as someone might expect). This is just a "back of the envelope" calculation to get an order of magnitude of the amount of money needed. 10 million dollars might not be necessary, but we shouldn't be surprised if a more detailed analysis approaches that level.

Components we need to invent include:
This is a great list, DX! I agree that we should concentrate on designing homemades that try to fix these issues. The reservoir issue is especially pressing. Even after all of these years, I can't seem to find a decent material to use as a reservoir (hence none of my homemades have them!). The pump seal issue I think is solved, though miniaturization of the pump valve assembly (including the check valves) is still a major unsolved issue. I've always preferred brass valves, but they cost a lot and add a lot of weight to the overall gun. Plastic valves would be better if available in smaller sizes.
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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by isoaker » Mon May 07, 2018 7:18 am

This is a really interesting idea. 20 thousand is not that many, but it's still at lot. Let's assume that it costs 50 dollars to manufacturer and sell the gun. That's 1 million dollars just in manufacturing costs, not counting all the start up costs and design costs. But this likely is within an order of magnitude of the overall costs of the operation, so the entire business would need around 10 million dollars to get going (roughly). That's a lot of money, but it's probably less money than what people thought would be needed. I agree with isoaker that this seems possible but it's certainly a lot of time and effort.

Edit: All I'm trying to say here is that the amount of money needed to do this is probably not in the hundreds of millions (as someone might expect). This is just a "back of the envelope" calculation to get an order of magnitude of the amount of money needed. 10 million dollars might not be necessary, but we shouldn't be surprised if a more detailed analysis approaches that level.
Congrats! You've gone the other way and are now over-estimating the implied cost! :goofy:

If a mass-manufactured blaster is being priced at $50 in a store, manufacturing and shipping costs are likely between $25-$30 (max) to leave the remainder for the retailer. Unless you are trying to start a manufacturing/design company from scratch, the 20,000 threshold is to be able to place an order with an existing manufacturer who can then use its engineering and technology development groups to help turn a design into a functioning, mass-produced, safety-tested water blaster that is shipped in bulk to the US (i.e. import duties and regulations also taken care of). The challenge is that it would be unwise for a manufacturer to then be willing to distribute these products to the end-customer. This is why a person or group of people would need to serve as the "specialty retailer" to connect the manufacturer with the "last-mile" logistics to get the products in the hands of the consumer. Thus, the manufacturer would simply be doing what it does for all it's customers; manufacturers sell to the Sellers. Sellers then sell to the public consumers.

If you want to actually make a factory, then you're looking at 10s if not 100s of millions of dollars, but I really don't have good numbers for that cost estimate. I do know high-end factories can easily break the $1B mark. At the same time, *IF* you have a really good idea with a solid team to support it, money can be found/acquired. However, such a combination doesn't come easily.

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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by marauder » Mon May 07, 2018 9:09 am

isoaker wrote:A manufacturer like Buzz Bee Toys would be more than happy to create a high-performance rubber-bladder or even more advanced technology-based behemoth adult-sized and styled water blaster if it could sell them. It is up to retailers such as Walmart, Target, etc. to choose to carry items.
I stopped by Target on my commute home in an attempt to find a Stream Machine for the upcoming war. They didn't even have any Super Soakers, let alone BBT or Stream Machine. There was some kind of generic brand that actually looked like pressurized reservoir with a trigger. I am wondering if businesses are saving costs by having their own brand design and manufacture these blasters.

I was pretty shocked that Target didn't even have any Super Soakers. I am feeling really good now about purchasing all those new BBT guns from Toys R Us on sale in September of 2016.
isoaker wrote:I will admit there is one thing that is not being done as much these days in the water blaster world and that is advertising. Unfortunately there, while advertising is a manufacturing-led initiative, the only manufacturer that can actually still afford to do advertising, namely Hasbro, is not truly serious about promoting their products these days. As such, the overall market for water blasters continues to shrink since the average consumer hears about so many other things to spend their money on and virtually nothing about water blasters.
I read a really good research study on how the marketing of toys has changed over the past 30 years. I wish that I had the link to it now, but I'll try to summarize it. Essentially beginning in the late 80s toy manufacturers began blitzing TV with advertisements specifically targeted towards children. With the popularization of cable and children's TV there was a mass market that would soak up the ads. This bled over a little to the internet as well beginning around 2000 when America and Canada became increasingly connected and most people didn't have pop up blockers.

This began to quickly die off about 15 years ago due to a number of factors that ultimately shrunk the number of kids viewing advertisements.

Services that allowed you to prerecord tv shows and then fast forward through ads
Services that allowed you to skip ads on satellite tv
Ad blockers
Children increasingly using Youtube, and later aps, rather than traditional websites
Decrease in number of toy stores and children visiting toy stores

There was also a change in marketing theory around this time where businesses then shifted to advertising to parents rather than to children.


I don't know if changes in parenting have contributed to this at all, e.g. maybe parents don't want their kids getting wet and muddy before, whereas in the past parents expected their children to do this. But that may be a factor as well. In my experience kids tend to still enjoy these types of activities, but they simply don't know about them or don't think their friends will be in to them. We have two 14 year olds from Church who are coming to the next Community War. They have been beyond excited to have a watergun fight.
Drenchenator wrote:
At present, it is not realistic to mass produce a decent-sized rubber-bladder or spring-based water blaster for less than $25USD (really tight margins); slightly more options if could be sold at $30, and can make more of what the community prefers if the price could be raised to $50-$60USD. Demand for anything above $20 in water blasters drops worse than a Flood Force pressurized water blaster's stream.
This is something I can never understand. Prices on everything are going up, but apparently nobody will pay more than 30 dollars for a water gun. I think if the manufacturers are being far too conservative in their volume/price analysis if they think nothing will sell over that price. I agree with DX's analysis. Nerf and Lego somehow break this "rule" all the time. I think it's about time somebody else did too.
Unfortunately I do think there is a reason for this. Imagine the year is 1998. In 1998 there are multiple sizeable groups purchasing waterguns:

Parents picking up something cheap for their kids to play with outside
People picking up something cheap (either for kids or adults) for pool party, weekend at the lake, etc.
Older kids & adults who know about CPS and XP quality blasters and are actively seeking something powerful

Twenty years later that third group is statistically nonexistent. See my summary of the marketing paper that I read which essentially stated that children are no longer viewing advertisements. You have kids these days who don't even know what a commercial is. Many kids in 1998 would have found out through friends and not through commercials - but you had the commercials and you had the toy stores and you had the product availability that would have hooked those friends to begin with. You have none of that these days, so what you saw over the past decade and a half has been a slow decay of all of the above, which then left less and less places for these kids to be introduced to these products.

People in the first 2 groups are probably not going to want to spend over $20 on a watergun. Your Nerf and Lego example is the third group, which doesn't exist these days. Lego enthusiasts are not purchasing a Lego set for an afternoon at the pool. The Nerf analogy is trickier, but essentially they have a much much larger enthusiast population than we do, which is how they were able to survive. Enthusiasts (and I'm not only including the online community) have always been a small portion of sales with waterguns than for Nerf.
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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by DX » Mon May 07, 2018 10:10 am

Question for iSoaker: Do you know how viable it would be for a major manufacturer to break from the traditional wholesaler --> retailer ---> consumer model in 2018? Obviously, big box store deals are a tried and true method of mass distribution, but the landscape is shifting at a furious pace. In the past 5 or so years, there has been an explosion of online marketplaces, particularly in the mobile space. Even Walmart's online presence is now mostly using 3rd party marketplace offerings and fulfillment.

My thinking is that a traditional online store strategy (Company website) plus traditional targeted EDDM (Mail order) plus traditional online marketplace (Ebay, Amazon, Taobao) plus big brand online marketplace (Walmart, Facebook) plus mobile marketplace (Letgo, OfferUp, Mercari) could potentially add up to the sales volume necessary for direct to consumer sales. However, I'm not sure whether those combos add up in reality. Every company I know that sells direct is pretty small, other than something like say, Harbor Freight, which has enough mainstream appeal to maintain its own brick and mortar stores.

If it's still not commercially viable to ditch legacy retail models, then I don't see much possibility for change. Those stores will dictate what they will stock on their shelves, end of conversation.

As another thought (for iSoaker) do you have an idea of how much it costs to put an old mold design back into production? In theory, it should cost much less than designing a new mold, right? Put an old mold into production, change the colors, slap a new name on it, and presto, you have a "new" product, no? Most of the good stuff hasn't retailed for two decades, would the sales reps in stores now even remember those designs?

I don't think the issue is kids getting wet and muddy, the issue would be kids can't get wet and muddy in the house. Toys that compete with water guns can be played with indoors. Nerf, lego, brio, hot wheels, action figures, etc. can all be used inside with no mess and no fuss. I'm thinking they are used more often, seen more often, and therefore given higher value. Outdoor toys that get wet and dirty stay outdoors or in some garage bin, they'd be less valued.

Parenting has also probably changed to some extent. Helicopter parenting is more prevalent these days, as is the paradigm of clean, safe, regulated. Society is more litigious, more educated, and more risk-adverse than when I was a kid. Kids now have far less freedom to do what they want than when I was a kid, I had far less freedom than when my parents were kids, and so on and so forth.
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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by isoaker » Tue May 08, 2018 12:52 pm

Do you know how viable it would be for a major manufacturer to break from the traditional wholesaler --> retailer ---> consumer model in 2018?
Not impossible, very tricky/has notable expenses, especially for products manufactured overseas. In short, to get to consumers, need to first be in the country (we'll stick with the US for sake of argument). Thus, anything manufactured needs to be shipped and clear customs. Typical logistics means even if you can manufacture things quickly, you need to add a month for shipping and clearance. To ensure you have enough stock in the country to meet needs, you need to have enough storage space in the US to hold your reserve inventory. If you are trying to run a company that does the sourcing of manufacturing to end consumer distribution, it is do-able, but you end up with a lot of fixed costs (e.g. storage facilities) that, if your products aren't selling well during one particular year, you can easily end up in the red. Moreover, you'll need either to do advertising or hope that online sales are sufficient to attract customers, but things like water blasters are most readily purchased by the consumer in a store as a spontaneous purchase as most public consumers.

You have to remember that places like Amazon, eBay, and TaoBao do NOT manufacture their own goods (at least, not in the beginning); they are platforms that allow vendors to sell through them. Amazon made a smart investment into their warehouse and logistics services that make everyone THINK they are buying from Amazon when, in actuality, one is still usually buying from a vendor selling through Amazon, but using more and more of Amazon's storage and logistics services. eBay only handles the transaction part, relying on the Buyer and Seller to figure out how to get the sold products from one to another.
As another thought (for iSoaker) do you have an idea of how much it costs to put an old mold design back into production? In theory, it should cost much less than designing a new mold, right?
If you have the mold and it is still functional/reliable, it should cost significantly less to get it back to production. However, the biggest change these days when it comes to our interests is the availability of CPS-chambers. I no longer believe the original provide of those chambers are either still around or are willing/able to create such chambers at a price that makes economical sense for a water blaster (rubber prices have also increased significantly). However, I will also admit I am not 100% sure about the exact cost of a bulk-ordered CPS-type chamber.
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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by HBWW » Sun May 13, 2018 3:39 pm

SEAL wrote:They don't need any more participants and their battles are the most boring of all wargames.
Have you seen/played tournament-style paintball though? :lol:
marauder wrote:They didn't even have any Super Soakers, let alone BBT or Stream Machine. There was some kind of generic brand that actually looked like pressurized reservoir with a trigger. I am wondering if businesses are saving costs by having their own brand design and manufacture these blasters.
My local Targets still have Nerf Super Soaker, so I guess it may be a regional thing. You're probably right though, as Nerf seems to be making enormous margins these days relative to manufacturing cost.
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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by wondersquare » Sun May 27, 2018 2:43 am

I'm getting back into water guns since my brother has 2 sons and I need some suggestions. Isoaker says Drench Force is the best currently, but it doesn't seem like it after watching videos. Based on mentions in sscentral and waterwar, these are what i have available to buy.

Water Warriors Drench Force
Water Warriors Vindicator (used)
Tidal Storm Battle Monster
Water Warriors Colossus 2
Water Warriors Waterlord (higher price)

Didn't mention Gargantua because i can't find one at the moment.
Last edited by wondersquare on Wed May 30, 2018 4:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by the oncoming storm » Mon May 28, 2018 4:01 pm

Ebay is your friend for vintage water guns from the golden age (but prices are at peak right now due to warm weather) but for new guns these are your only good options.

Colossus 2 is a cheap loaner with enough power to be competitive against anything if you are careful not to lean heavily on RoF as it's only on par with CPS primary's with less power.

If you can find some the Gargantua is the best new primary available it's got a faster than average trigger speed and a CPS chamber for greater RoF

Waterlord is an over-sized light primary and while it has the best RoF and field life of any current pressurized blaster it lacks the punch to justify it's weight and handling.

Vindicator's while used are highly praised as loaners. While unusually balanced they have CPS class firepower and above average field-life along with an invincible shell. I have a 30 balloon K mod on mine and it hits 45ish on 5x and can push a 10x (1/4" drilled nozzle) shot out to around 40'
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Re: 2018 Water Warriors/BBT Blasters

Post by wondersquare » Mon May 28, 2018 6:36 pm

Colossus 2 performed very well, Thanks.

Battle Monster was terrible and i'll give it away or fix it up if i can.

Recently ordered a used Colossus 2 for $3, hope nothing is wrong.
(Jan, 2019)
Last edited by wondersquare on Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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