Nerf Gun Review: Elite Series “Triad EX-3”


Nerf Triad

Our third Nerf gun review is the Elite series Triad. First there was the Jolt, which was released for both N-strike and N-strike Elite (well ok the Jolt wasn’t really the first one dart blaster but it is the predecessor of this one so bare with me). This is the upgraded version of Nerf’s current smallest blaster, packing three darts and quite the punch.

Here’s a size comparison photo between the Triad and the N-strike Jolt (note how the N-strike Elite Jolt is the same size as the N-strike Jolt, the detailing on both and the colouration are just different. But you’ll find out more about that in next month review of the Jolt gun.).

Photo of the day: 27.11.2013 (day 331)


The Triad is a slightly bigger and bulkier version of the Jolt, but despite of this size upgrade it still fits into a hand nicely. It has the same colours as other Elite blasters: a bright dark blue with two tones of grey, black and bright orange details. It’s a bit of a quaint look, but it’s look isn’t sufficiently outrageous for it to become unsuitable as a Steampunk gun.

Firing the Triad

Included with the blaster are 3 Elite darts. Loading it is as simple as can be, merely push the darts all the way in. To fire pull down the lever, aim and shoot. You can shoot all three darts without having to reload. Loading goes as fast as the shooters ability to go though the motion of feeding it darts and firing.

Now the strange thing. Whilst generally Nerf is known (if you don’t mod the actual mechanisms at least) as a toy that is painless on impact (especially with the N-strike series and provided you stick to safety rules obviously). This isn’t quite so much the case with the Triad. I wouldn’t say it actually hurts when there’s a fair range involved and you’re wearing several layers, but upon close(r) impact and with just a t-shirt on, or on bare skin of legs and arms, this could possibly go as far as actually bruise. So I would definitely not recommend this as a young(er) children’s toy or something to play with your pets with. Unless you replace the Elite darts for the older whistler darts as those take away significantly from the impact, but also from the range, which makes it far more suitable for indoors play, children and playing with pets.

Range wise the first two darts go up to 20 feet easily, packing a lot of proverbial punch. The third dart, however, has significantly less power and range to it, so you may want to keep that one for closer by targets.
It works with Elite darts, whistler darts and dart tag darts, but as mentioned before, that does take from impact and range.

Modding the Triad

Just like the Jolt, it’s actually easy to mod. Just pull out the lever, spray on the basecoat. Apply another coat manually to make sure all areas are covered properly, apply paint, varnish and you’re done!
Obviously, you need to remove the ammo before you start modding it’s appearance.

This is what I used:

A spray on basecoat of Citadel Chaos Black. (Use this in a well ventilated area, preferably outside, I can NOT stress this enough. And if you have a mask to keep the fumes out of your lungs, by all means use it!)

A secondary base coat of Vallejo black primer 602, which is a proper basecoat paint (although you could just do this with something like the standard Vallejo black or Citadel Chaos/Abaddon (depending when you got it) Black just as well.

Get off my modding area cat!

Beware animals on your modding area. My cat loves chasing Nerf darts, so if he sees a Nerf gun, it’s hard to get him away from it.

For the body of the gun it depended on which colour I wanted it to be in the end.

Partially I put on two coats of Vallejo Charred Brown 72045 which I then drybrushed with Citadel Warlock Bronze (basecoat) 21-31 to give it a more metallic effect.

On the other parts I put on a layer of Warlock Bronze, followed by a drybrush with Citadel Golden Gryphon (which is an actual drybrush paint) and where needed highlights with DecoArt Brilliant Gold 620.

Some of the detailing I did with Brilliant Gold right away.

And some of the other detailing I painted and drybrushed with Vallejo Air Metallic Rust _069_ (you don’t actually need an airbrush pistol to use their Air range).

As a finishing I used Vallejo glossy spray on varnish. Beware that this is VERY glossy. It’s alright if you use it on metallics as it tends to nicely bring out their sheen, but on matte colours it tends to make them VERY glossy.

Of course there are plenty of other brands out there to paint acrylics, it’s just that I use these due to availability near where I live as well as the fact that I like them. But I’m sure there’s plenty of other good brands about! (If you know of any, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments as that could be very helpful for other people wanting to mod!)

Step by step of how I modded mine:

Step 1: the gun, ready to receive its new colours.

Photo of the day: 11.11.2013 (day 315)

Step 2: basecoat

modding in progress

Step 3: ready to put the first layers of colour on.

Photo of the day: 18.11.2013 (day 322)

Step 4: ready to drybrush. Or in this case: drybrush with something that isn’t Warlock Bronze, as the drybrush over the chocolate has been done in this photo.

Photo of the day: 19.11.2013 (day 323)

Step 5: ready to varnish.

Photo of the day: 20.11.2013 (day 324)

Contrary to the Citadel sprays, which stink like you wouldn’t believe and tend to be hazardous if you want to continue to breathe, the Vallejo spray on varnish is actually safe to use indoors, as long as you can ventilate the area. It also doesn’t smell bad. And the one I use is good for proper art as well so it’s got plenty of uses. It does tend to make matte colours VERY glossy, so beware of that. It’s alright on metallics though, just spray it from a good distance.

Photo of the day: 21.11.2013 (day 325)

Step 6: all finished! It’s a LOT glossier in real life (which wasn’t what I intended but hey, live and learn! ^^)

Photo of the day: 22.11.2013 (day 326)

Our ratings:
Range: excellent
Design: excellent
Modding possibilities: excellent
Easy to load: absolutely
Loading speed: as fast as you can stuff darts in
Ammo capacity: 3 darts
Fires: Elite darts, whistle darts, suction cup darts.

Conclusion: if you’re looking for a smaller blaster and find the Jolt too small, then this may be your thing. Especially if you want something with a good range and a surprisingly large amount of power. The Triad may be small, it’s definitely one of the more powerful blasters I own. Impact wise it actually is the most powerful, even it’s the second smallest, go figure.

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