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Meteor Shower Grenades
by Bill Mills
Paint grenades may not see much use outside of scenario players, or new players who think they will get that invincible edge, but they certainly have their place in paintball. Early paint grenades consisted of nothing more than a balloon filled with water and paper pulp that would splatter on impact. Then came explosive powered grenades that used a small firecracker to explode splattering paint. While they were fun to use, they were not very effective at marking anything.
By far the most popular design for paint grenades has been the bladder style. Rubber tubing is inflated to several times its normal diameter with a marking fill. When the hose is released, it contracts to its original size, forcing paint out of its end. Like an unrestrained fire hose, the end of the grenade whips around spraying paint in every direction.
Meteor Shower grenades work on the bladder principle, but have a few extras that set them apart from other bladder style paint grenades.
The “back” end of the Meteor Shower grenade is folded over and locked down with a zip tie. A second zip tie loops through this end. The second zip tie makes an easy way to hang the grenade from a harness (just hope no one shoots it or you’ll be a mess) or attach it to a tree or bunker for use as a land mine – more on this later. The “business” end of the grenade has a short section of the main bladder hose coiled up and held in place by a black rubber band. A larger band wraps around the length of the grenade, end band safely in place.
It’s left to the user whether or not they wish to remove the large retaining band before tossing the grenade. On long throws (40 feet or so) the Meteor Shower is likely to go off, whether or not the retaining band is in place. On shorter tosses, or if there isn’t a hard surface for the grenade to strike, slipping the retaining band off will make it extra sensitive.
In testing the Meteor Shower, we found it to be a definite advantage to pull the retaining band off before throwing in the woods. With soft foliage on the ground, the chances of a soft landing were just too great, and from past experience with other grenades, we can assuredly say that little is more frustrating than throwing a paint grenade, having it not go off, and then have it thrown right back at you. With the retaining band pulled off, the Meteor Shower grenades proved to be quite reliable. They would “detonate” on the first bounce, consistently.
Since “detonating” the Meteor Shower simply means popping the band off the end, it is also very easy to rig as a booby trap. It can be strapped or tied to a tree or bunker, with a small stick wedged underneath the end rubber band. A tripline or trigger string tied to the stick pull on it, levering the band off the end and creating a spray of paint.
With paint grenades there can often be a disparity between the impression the product advertisement gives about how well the grenade will cover an area with paint, and the reality of the product. The Meteor Shower is no exception in this department. Yes, it does splatter over a fair sized area, at least 5-10 feet in every direction from the grenade. Exactly how large an area the splatter covers depends on how high the grenade bounces after its first impact. On hard surfaces, the splatter area is increased because the grenade is spraying it's paint from higher up in the air.
The impact area is not “drenched” with paint though (one of the photos on the manufacturer's web site shows a player literally soaking with the paint – that is not indicative of how the grenade performs on the field, though it does do a good job of showing the brightness of the fill), it has small spots and splatters spread throughout. Unless a player is literally right next to the grenade, they won’t have very large marks on them, which is why most scenario game rules say that any size splatter mark from a grenade takes a player out of the game. Keeping this in mind, it’s a good idea for the scenario player to make sure that a ref is on hand before a grenade is thrown, to look over a potential grenade victim for splatter marks. Even the most honest player may not notice a little splotch on his back and call himself out.
What sets the Meteor Shower apart from other bladder style grenades, and what compensates for the size of the splatter it makes, is the fill. The Meteor fill is quite thick. It is probably best described as looking like Jello Brand Instant Pudding with a bright, bright, bright, dayglo coloring. This combination of consistency and color really gives the Meteor Shower a leg up on other paint grenades. The pudding like nature ensures that the fill splatters in small clumps and blobs, rather than tiny droplets or a fine mist that would leave marks too small to see. It also means that the fill sits on the surface of clothing, it isn’t absorbed into fabric to disappear. The super-bright color really needs to be seen in person to be appreciated. The color helps keep the smaller splats from going unnoticed by a player or referee.
For players who think the Meteor Shower isn't enough, Meteor Grenades makes a larger version for use solely as a land mine called the asteroid - it is loaded with a whole gallon of fill!
The Meteor Shower grenade has made its place amongst paintball grenades, with its unique fill setting it apart from other bladder style grenades. Like most paint grenades it is usable both when thrown at other players, and as a booby trap device. It is available through dealers, or manufacturer direct.
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