It’s been a while since I did a hardware update but we’ve got a bunch of announcements that have come out recently and its time I updated some information on the latest from both VKB and VIRPIL.
First of the Kosmosima grips, grip and base
VKB’s newest grip, the Kosmosima, has been long awaited for many and particularly for space-sim pilots at which it is primarily aimed. This compact grip is ideal for tabletop use from what I’ve heard from the few people who do have these and its twist axis is supposedly one of the best that people have ever experienced. I’d love to get my hands on one to test at some point and that brings me to the news.
The first of these went on sale this morning on the VKB North America website. Unfortunately, and as is typically the case, they have all been accounted for and the store is now out of stock. There is a note saying “MORE TO COME SHORTLY” so hopefully we’ll see many more in stock for the next restock.
Kosmosima has actually already been on sale previously in grip-only form but this sale went past without much notice either and were quickly snapped up.
New VIRPIL VPC MongoosT-50 CM2 grip and base
A few weeks ago VIRPIL announced that they were planning to offer a new updated version of their popular MongoosT-50. The new CM2 version brings with it some important updates:
We have listened to the feedback and have made some adjustments to create this new evolution on the MongoosT-50 grip:
– The most notable change has been that the thumb button has now been replaced with a 4-way + push hat.
– The face hats have been replaced with 2 x 4-way + push hats, and 1 x 8-way + push hats. The index hat has also been upgraded to include a push function on the 2-way hat.
– The flip trigger has also been modified to include a non-tactile sensor to register a button input when it is in the “up” position.
– The triggers are now manufactured with an enhanced polyamide material to increase their durability.
– All hats found on the MongoosT-50 CM2 grip are now high quality ALPs units for increased control and durability.
– The number of bindable buttons from the original grip has increased from 23 to 35* allowing for greater versatility no matter what aircraft you fly!
Rather than an out and out redesign, VIRPIL is improving on a proven grip and that seems like a great piece of news for fans of their top end product.
The other news just coming out today is news that, in addition to their WarBRD base, VIRPIL will also be offering a new variant of their MongoosT-50 base. The VPC MongoosT-50CM base comes with a number of improvements over their first generation (now discontinued) including a 16 degree angle deflection from center (up from 15), faster and easier cam replacement, and the USB cable to the base now has a quick connect port with an added auxiliary port for future expansions.
Pre-orders are back and start March 15 with an expected release date in April 2019. Find out everything you need to know about these two new products with the announcement of the VPC MongoosT-50 CM2 and VPC MongoosT-50CM base.
‘Limited availability’ and a short editorial on hardware
In the case of both news stories today, the most frustrating part is perhaps the extreme limited availability of both of these companies products. Though VIRPIL and VKB-Sim are both working to try and increase their production (without hurting the product) it does seem that its very tough to get their products.
After doing more than a year of research into what I’d like my future control scheme to be, I’ve settled on what the both reviewers and community opinion is. That is that VRIPIL and VKB-Sim are making some of the best grips and bases currently available. Certainly they are making the most customizable and flexible options.
Thrustmaster’s venerable Warthog is now several years old and while popular and considered very good, is also falling behind the times. It’s all metal exterior is let down by a partially plastic interior components and no custom cam or spring options. There are also a number of known issues with it that have cropped up over the years and while a large number of players are very happy with the Warthog, it’s still frustrating to me that there isn’t more movement from this company.
The prototype Thrustmaster Hornet stick was last seen at E3 2017 and hasn’t been heard from since (although we’ve heard that Matt Wagner from Eagle Dynamics has a prototype).
We also have Logitech which hasn’t done very much past reviving the Saitek portfolio that they bought from Madcatz. They have at least rehabilitated the line-up which is good news, especially after Madcatz quality control left a bad taste in more than one sim pilots mouth (and their poor support of my X-52 under Windows 10 left me plenty frustrated). Upgrading the current line is pretty good but again there seems to be little interest in innovating or offering the ability to customize the feel of the stick in the way that we see VIPRIL and VKB-Sim doing.
So, we have in one corner two very smart companies making some very good products that are very difficult to get and in the other corner we have some fairly available sticks that are approaching a decade or more old with no apparent innovation or attempt to compete in sight.
As someone seriously trying to figure out my next hardware move it’s certainly a bit tough to make any decisions and then try and buy something. Eventually I want to replace my old X-52 HOTAS which doesn’t have enough buttons and my VKB-Sim Gladiator which is awesome but also doesn’t have enough buttons.
Some day may we see more product and more innovation in balanced amounts. Whatever I do manage to upgrade to, I will surely write about and let you all know my thoughts and feelings on the latest in flight sim hardware.