VKB Gladiator NXT review part one: Unboxing and setup

I’m very excited to bring you part one of a three part series reviewing VKB-Sim’s Gladiator NXT. This review is going to include a look at the Gladiator NXT grip and base as well as the NXT GNX ….. combination. Part one will focus on unboxing and setting up the whole system. Part two will feature my first thoughts and an opportunity to ask some key questions about this unit and then finally part three will be a comprehensive review. Let’s get started!


VKB sent me the Gladiator NXT base, grip and modular throttle system to me for review. They encouraged me to check it out thoroughly and write a review of the system without any editorial oversight. As always, my words are my own.


The pack that VKB sent me came in three packages. The Gladiator NXT ‘Space Combat Edition’ which includes the NXT base, Gladiator NXT grip and the GNX Dual THQ + SEM + FSM-GA Combo. The pack that was sent to me arrived via FedEx and it was very well protected and packaged with a outer packaging and cardboard along with the product package on the inside.

Open up each of the packages and you can tell that VKB have been improving the whole experience. The foam is nicely formed around each of the components, accessories like screws and screwdrivers are packaged in labeled zip-lock bags, and there are ample covers over parts that need to be protected in shipping. There’s even a few VKB logos on the protective covers which adds a nice little touch to the product. Companies like Apple, decades ago, perfected the experience of unpacking products and its kind of nice to see it on a joystick. It’s the little things!

Gladiator NXT setup

Once everything is out of the packaging, there is some setup required for the unit. You’ll need to install the grip into the unit. There’s a plug that you need to connect. And a few screws that need to go in to secure the whole thing. VKB includes all of the screws, tools and screwdrivers you’ll need to do this.

The Gladiator NXT joystick is easy to setup while the second part of the package that I’m looking at, the GNX Dual THQ + SEM + FSM-GA Combo, takes a little longer to put together.

There are multiple ways to connect and put this modular system together. You have to make decisions on if you want four airliner style throttles or should it be configured for two GA airplane engines (with throttle, prop and mixture controls). And of course the whole system needs to be screwed together for maximum effect.

Once done, you can change your mind and reconfigure the whole thing if you want.

VKB has done an excellent job of anticipating a lot of questions asked during the setup process by releasing a series of videos detailing the setup process. They are simple, straightforward, and they really help you make sure that you’ve got the stick and the modular throttle setup the way you want it.

Here are two of the videos that I used during my setup process. There are others depending on the package that you have so be sure to check out the rest of their channel.

Unboxing images

Here are some images that I snapped while doing the unboxing process several weeks ago. I’m still working on my product photography so bear with as I get better at this. It’s not my normal type of photography.

Gladiator NXT

Gladiator NXT modular (SEM, THQ and FSM-GA)

Up next? Full reviews!

I hope you enjoyed this first article on these flight sim peripherals. Next up are going to be full reviews of the Gladiator NXT joystick and then the Gladiator NXT Modular Flight Control System. Do you have questions about any of this hardware? Let me know in the comments and stay tuned for my full reviews where I will attempt to answer your questions!

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Ian says:

    Have they improved hat switch quality over original Gladiator? Mine started losing switch directions within weeks, and accuracy of the remaining ones is very poor


    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I know what you mean because over time my old Gladiator developed that too. I’ve only had it for a couple of months but the switch feels more clicky and substantial.


    2. Firdimigdi says:

      I’ve been using the Gladiator K for two years now. It’s basically the Gladiator Mk2 base with a detachable Kosmosima grip, apart from the connection it’s the same grip as pictured above. None of the clicky bits on it have any sign of deterioration and I’ve got them all assigned to my “busiest” bindings.

      The only thing I had to do as far as repair goes so far was to superglue the rubber pad of the wristrest when the original glue failed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ShamrockOneFive says:

        Hey! Thanks for the comments on that. The “real world” reviews where you’ve spent 2 years with it is really valuable information for me writing a review with only a couple of months with it. Thanks for sharing! That’s very encouraging.


      2. PHANTOM1 says:

        Same setup and results actually – except no repairs needed at all tbh. Has been a phenomenal setup so far and I can trust it for precision formation flying as well as any GA or ham-fisted military type. Would buy another in a heartbeat, so it’s great to see they’re making a modular version as well! Looking forward to more details on it!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. patton610 says:

    Might want to go into what separates the gladiator, mk ii, nxt, and evo surprised they didn’t send you the latter given how close it was to release when you probably got sent your stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That’s a great idea! Something I will cover in the full review.


  3. 1_Robert_ says:

    Great review. I’ve loved my Glad Mark2, in fact I have two. I busted the plastic triggers on them but they sent me a metal replacement no problem.
    There are more expensive options out there and I’ve tried most but I love the VKB.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Yeah I broke my old trigger and put in a metal one on my Mark I too. I’m not done the full review yet but I think this might be the best bang for the buck. The trigger on the NXT is way better 🙂


  4. dm3002x says:

    Looks like a lot of plastic inside, and the stick looks bit cheap to. I would advise to go for a thrustmaster grip and a virpil base. Or if money is more a issue, a thrustmaster warthog set. The trottle is ok, the base is meh, the grip is great (allows to upgrade to virpil base later).


    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Yeah this is more plastic than the higher priced sticks but this one occupies a slot beneath those sticks. It seems pretty robust in my experience despite the plastic. Of course how it ages over time will be a challenge but it seems well made.


  5. WallysWorld says:

    Thanks for the review! Absolutely love my Gladiator Mk.II. The only item I am disappointed with the NXT version is the lack of buttons on the base. I know it’s supposed to be paired their stand alone modules, but I don’t have the desk space for all of those. When my current cheap throttle goes, I will be looking at their new Gladiator NXT EVO Omni Throttle.

    Liked by 1 person

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