Kingman’s Spyder Imagine Digital LED: The Next Evolution Imagine

Mar 28, 2005 (Updated Apr 9, 2005)

The Bottom Line Thanks to great designing and the electronics the Spyder Imagine Digital LED gives Kingman an even better version of the field proven Imagine.

Things I loved about it: Styling, very easy to field strip, rate of fire, and trigger pull.

Things I would change: Add a regulator, make the manual easier to understand, make the control button a little easier to get to for fat fingers, upgrade barrel

Kingman recently released the Imagine Digital. It is the next step in the marker which has already seen two updates in its short life. Essentially it is the same marker with a refined digital read out instead of the LED lights of the 2004 Imagine.

The Basics

Spyders have been around for years and nearly every player has either owned one or shot one before. There are many clones of Spyders out there and many like the Imagine are quality entry level markers. Their internals have been field proven and there are many ungradeable parts to be had to make your marker shoot faster, further and more accurately. One of the biggest reasons we buy Spyders is that we can customize them and make them our own. The Imagine Digital is no different.

The Imagine Digital LED currently comes only in black. No problem for me because I personally like black guns but if you are looking for the flash factor you may want to buy a can of spray paint with yours. The styrofoam box holds the marker, manual, barrel, plug, battery, charger and a small bag of spare parts and allen wrenches.

The first thing I do after playing around with my new markers is check out the manual. Kingman gives you a 12 page manual with the Imagine Digital LED. I really was not impressed with the instructions with this marker. The directions that detail the LED use is hard to understand and the manual is just seems like there was not much effort put into it. I have had this marker for over a month now and still do not fully understand how to adjust the electronics. The book talks about a low battery indicator but for the life of me I have no idea where it is. Kingman should have spent a little more time and effort on the instruction manual.

The marker itself looks great out of the box. With the barrel screwed on the Imagine Digital LED is just over 18 inches long. I am not exactly sure how much it weighs but it is on par with other electro markers in the entry level market. The glossy black finish really looks good and the styled milling of the marker body is well done. The knob on the Vizion cocking system sticks out just a little from the body and just begs to pulled back to get started. The body and handle are black as well as the expansion chamber. The barrel and the LPR (low pressure regulator) are silver with a stainless steel braided bottom line. The Imagine Digital LED stands out well.

The Imagine Digital LED is capable of firing in four modes. You can select from the standard semi-auto, three or six round bursts and full automatic that allows you to shoot up to 13 paintball a second. Your ROF (rate of fire) can be adjusted from the default 13 rounds a second down to 5 for the more paint conscious player. The controls for the gun are located on the back of the grip just below the plug in for the charger. The button is set deep into the handle and fellow fat fingered individuals may find the control a bit difficult to use while wearing gloves. On the marker’s left, on the face of the grip, you will see the large LED display that shows the adjusts which you are making to the e-marker. The display is large and easy to read with large red numbers showing you the current ROF.

Other notes:

This Spyder has an aluminum stock 9 inch barrel as well as aluminum framed double trigger guard. You will also find that the velocity adjuster has a tournament lock with it. The vertical feed neck is designed to prevent double feeding. The marker is extremely easy to field clean with an easy to remove pin.

Personal Impressions

The first time I took out the Imagine Digital LED was to play a couple hours of woodsball. I donned my black BDU’s and covered my head and goggles with black SWAT style ski mask to complete my over-weight ninja ensemble. It was the first some what warm weekend during a Nebraska winter and I could not wait any longer to shoot some paintballs.

The Imagine Digital was hooked to both a 12 ounce CO2 and 72/3000 N2 air sources for its first day out. The markers first chronos showed huge fluctuations, shooting as hot as 365 fps and as slow as 212. I ran about 100 rounds through the Spyder and started to get a more consistent range of 265-287 fps. I chalk up the inconsistency to using a CO2 tank on a 50 degree day. As the temperature came up the marker started firing more regular chronos.

The accuracy of the stock barrel is about average of a entry level marker which is not saying much. I was getting spreads of well over 15 feet at 50 yards. I was shooting cheap paint ( and a season old). I had already purchased a new barrel and after changing to the new barrel my spreads fell into a more manageable range.

I did break quite a few balls and at first I thought it was just brittle shells on old paint but after field stripping the marker I found a few problems. First the marker was bleeding out a lot of paint at the ball detent and that told me I was chopping balls. Second, I was breaking balls just as they entered the barrel. That one perplexed me a little. After close and careful examination I found that the screws of the feed neck were screwed too deeply into the body. There was a very slight edge directly below the screw hole. Not only was it tearing balls open but it was also forcing the bolt down as it passed marring both the aluminum bolt and the inside of the marker on each cycle. I ended up taking a drill to it to get the small spur out and smooth out the scratches. I also replaced the bolt. I do not have any issues now so I would advise you to carefully look at the internal chamber before buying your Imagine Digital LED. I am sure that this was a fluke and not a standard problem with this Spyder and I just mention it for something to be aware of while shopping.

The marker is balanced well and feels comfortable with a smaller bottle attached. Because of the angle of the ASA a long bottle may be too awkward for shorter armed players. This marker is my son’s and the 12 ounce tank fits him well. The grip is comfortable and angled well for a natural hand position. The grip covers the electronics and the Java rechargeable battery. I found after installing the battery the rubber grip stuck out a little in the middle. The screws to hold the cover are on the top and the bottom leaving the middle (right where the battery is) no reinforcement. The gap is small but noticeable so I would take care to protect the board from moisture.

In action the Imagine Digital LED stands out. The adjustable trigger is light and quick to respond. The factory setting makes your pulls long but the electronics allow you to keep the trigger almost fully depressed between shots making your pulls much quicker than a mechanical marker. You will be able to bunker your opponents with ease with the Imagine Digital LED. It is a lot fun to shoot this marker! Its report is not too loud and the marker has little recoil.

All and all the Imagine Digital LED is a very nice marker after you upgrade the barrel. I would recommend this marker for anyone looking for an entry level electronic marker or a good back up. It is a great buy for the money and with the number of after market parts available for Spyders you will be able to set this marker right up to where you like it.

Other notes:

I am sure that the problem I had with my Imagine feed neck screws is a fluke occurrence. I just mention it for something to keep a heads up about while looking at yours. I have inspected a few others since and have yet to spot one with the same issue.

Overview Rated in 1/5ths, compared to other markers in this market

Manual 2/5. Too brief and vague to be very helpful.
Air Takes CO2 or N2
Comfort 4/5. Only the angle of the ASA keeps this from being perfect.
Balance 4/5. The Imagine Digital LED is a little back heavy but remains manageable.
Weight 4/5. It is a little lighter than you average marker thanks to lots of aluminum.
Fit and Finish 4/5. Poor grip design keeps this from being 5/5.
Field Stripping 5/5. As easy as it gets.
Speed 5/5. This is one of the fastest electronic markers for under $150.
Overall 4/5. This marker is ahead of the pack but not quite leading the way.
Ideal Use Rec ballers/ woods games. Not quite up to pace for speedball

MSRP: $179.99
Street: @$129-159

For Other Paintball reviews:
The Pimp by Evil
Greg Hastings' Tournament Paintball for X Box
Basics on the sport of paintball

For a GREAT place to buy your paintball gear:
Paintball Mountain

Thanks for reading, now GOGGLES ON!

Copyright 2005 Christian Stanley
*This review has been republished with permission.

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