Some pics and specifications taken from the nation.
In late 2006 Planet Eclipse unveiled, to much public and critical acclaim, the new Ego7. Derived from the operating principles of the previous two Egos, the Ego7 demonstrated a new direction for the brand, redefining the standards that players should accept for performance, reliability, durability, weight and ergonomics. Add to that list peerless Customer Service and uber-simple user-maintenance, and the complete package becomes a formidable prospect.
This year the Ego8 will push these boundaries even further, by building on the already impressive platform of the Ego7, drawing on some of the experience gained from the highly-developed SL74, and molding all the entities into a new marker with devastating effect.
Open up the glossy clam-shell packaging “Pod” and it is clear that the Ego8 has retained all of the Egos visual traits. Aggressively angled eye covers, sleek sculpted lines and comfortable proportions. Yet the profile has been reduced again, with the rear “hook”, or heal of the frame moved up closer to the firing-line of the upper bore and barrel, and the whole frame raised up. This makes the gun feel even more “pointy” as the hand comes up even closer to the sighting-line of the barrel. This closeness of hand to the axis of the barrel gives a feeling of directness that is often lost in the design of most markers, making the Ego8 feel, more than ever, like an extension of your arm.
The placement of the front frame screw to inside the trigger guard for the first time as well as a change to shorter frame screws has resulted in a smaller profile directly behind the FRM as well as more finger room between the FRM and trigger guard. In moving the frame up into the body, it has also allowed a flanged fitting between body and frame, which prevents ingress of dirt and paint, and aligns the 2 parts better for a superior fit.
Inside the trigger guard is a re-worked SL74 style trigger. A modification to the bearing carrier has allowed the fitting of a larger magnet which provides a greater range of adjustment for the trigger return force. The front trigger stop point has also been re-designed so that the complete trigger set-up can also be achieved with the frame removed from the marker body.
One of the main features of the Ego8 that has enabled the reduction in body/frame profile and allowed the rear of the frame to come closer to the barrel axis is the development of a completely new QEV assembly. This new Q-Block assembly has been designed from the ground up to offer unparalleled Quick Exhausting performance for both the fore and aft ports of the Rammer. Combined into one, small, low-profile block. Dual QEVs release used and unwanted gas from the Rammer chamber directly to atmosphere without having to pass through any restrictions such as threaded banjo screws, hollow bolts, solenoid or hosing. The Q-Block is fully strippable without tools, allowing quick access to the diaphragms for cleaning and maintenance.
Just above, and being fed by the Q-Block, the Ego8 houses the Rammer. The Ego8 has borrowed technology directly from the SL74 of last season, and incorporates the highly effective Zick Kit (Zero Kick) Rammer system. Thought of by most as just a one-trick feature, the Zick technology actually offers exceptionally low kick, but also combines it with super-gentle paintball acceleration. This feature, when combined with the standard Cure Bolt system, enables the Ego8 to shoot the most fragile tournament paint available with awesome accuracy with virtually zero barrel lift even at the very highest rates of fire.
Also making the cross-over from the SL74 are both sets of regulator internals. Where the LPR retains its dual gold-spring operation, it now includes the industrial hard anodized 7000 series grade aluminum piston assembly. In the Inline regulator the alterations have been even more radical, with the inclusion of not just the light-weight aluminum piston, but also the adoption of the coil spring design from the SL. This new design not only produces a lighter and more simple-to-maintain regulator, but also offers superior performance in every way over the old Bellville Spring Stack design. The new spring design offers quicker and more accurate recovery after every shot, and the single coil spring means that maintenance and lubrication of the inline regulator is easier and quicker, with no Bellville shims to lose or incorrectly orientate. A real win-win situation for this particular upgrade.
The Ego8 also sees a change to the valve guide and internal bore geometry. With requests for quieter and quieter shot characteristics, without the compromise of reduced air efficiency, the Ego8 incorporates a new “stepped” valve design. It was found in testing that most high end guns actually produce virtually identical decibel readings when firing a paintball. It is more the frequency-range produced by the shot that offended certain ears. By more tightly controlling the flow of air through and round the exhaust valve and valve guide we have attempted to reduce the higher, more irritating frequencies generated during firing, helping to reduced the perceived noise level. The real beauty of this new step valve design is that, together with the new Q-Block and Zick Rammer, the Ego8 has improved efficiency with reduced kick, increased rates of fire and quieter operation.
Of course the Ego8 has retained its full range of electronic features, including the revolutionary Dual Trigger Sensing (micro-switch and optoelectronic sensors) enabled board, the head-up LCD display in the rear of the frame, fully adjustable semi and ramp modes, user definable De bounce settings and presets, tournament preset modes and training modes. The LCD display has the capability to allow users to view game timer and alarms, shot counter, peak and average rates of fire, as well as access all adjustable parameters either through an internal set-up button, or when unlocked, directly from the rear user-interface buttons. For the Ego8 we have moved to a new Black on White LCD display that offers greater contrast to previous models. New icons and graphics in the user interface of the LCD have been improved, making them more legible in game-time scenarios. The Ego8 board also has a new “Auxiliary Output” port that allows direct control and drive of after market hardware such as the Pulse loader. Secondarily to that there is also interfacing on the board for the addition of expansion-board accessories, such as an audible game timer beeper.
Other after market accessories that will be available from launch besides the Beeper board will be CCU kits and Laser Eyes. All 3 of these accessories are retro-fittable from Ego7 to Ego8, making them readily available in dealers around the globe right now. Aurora CCU kit on an Ego8 anyone?
And of course the launch of a new Ego wouldn’t be the same without a mention of its vital statistics: If you go out and play with the Ego8, come back in from the field, pull off the loader, unscrew the tank, and drop the gun onto the digital scales the Ego8 weighs in at a staggeringly low 906g. That’s under the 2lb mark, fully laden, ready to play. No tricks, no special light weight batteries, or missing parts, just as it comes out of the box, with barrel, On/Off/Purge system and all.
So as the evolution of the Ego continues, are we getting any nearer to the perfect marker? Well, with the modifications and improvements that have been worked into the Ego8, combined with the customer support, attention to detail, and customer driven direction that Planet Eclipse continues relentlessly to pursue it would be difficult to concede an area of this product that could be considered less than class-leading.
Does that make it the ultimate all-round package? Try it. You decide.