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dburne

VKB Gunfighter Mk III Pro L Review

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A little bit of history first. I have been flight simming for some time now. My first was Red Baron on a 386 computer, I want to say in early 90's and have been at it ever since.

I have owned many different joysticks over the years. My current crop is a Warthog, a Virpil T-50 Mongoos, VKB Gunfighter Pro Mk I, and now this brand new Gunfighter Pro L Mk III.

Prior to the Warthog I had a TM Cougar with Ian Johnston's NXT gimbal mod I sold not too long ago. I guess one could say I am a bit of a joystick "junkie".

 

Having been pleased with my Gunfighter Pro Mk I with MCG Pro grip for the last couple of years or so, I elected to jump on this new Mk III Gunfighter when it was announced and available to order.  This is what happens to joystick "junkies".

I elected to go with the Pro (with extension) and the L version ( 200mm extension). They also have an S version with a 100mm extension. The 200 mm extension is curved, and the 100mm extension is straight. Obviously both are designed to be used with a desk mount, which they also have recently added to their product offering. I had Monster Tech Mounts already so that is what I used.

I would also mention they offer upgrade kits as well, to convert a Mk I or Mk II Gunfighter to a MK III.

 

I received the new Mk III in late December, and got her all hooked up and flying a few days ago. I have logged probably close to 10 hours now flying with the new setup.

First what you get: A product nicely and tightly packed and double boxed, with foam protection. Everything arrived in great shape .

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You get quite the plethora of parts as you can see in my first pic above - several springs with different tensions,  4 sets of cams - Avia S and Avia H, and Space S and Space H. Avia is progressive load for flight sims, Space is linear load for space sims.

A look at the gimbal base with the new black "black box".

Also you can see the Mk III still also wet clutches (white plastic pieces) for dampening as the Mk I and II does. They changed to "wet" ( little bit of grease) on these clutches sometime during the Mk II production.

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The heart of the matter, the Mk III Gimbal system

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Difference in the new Mk III cover plate (right) versus Mk I cover plate (left).

Ain't no dust going to be getting into that new Mk III gimbal system. 

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One big difference from Mk I that I really, really love.

Remove those 4 screws from the cover plate of the new Mk III, and pull the gimbal out.

So very, very easy! EVEN with my Mk III mounted on my Monster Tech Mount, all I need do is remove those 4 screws and pull that puppy out of there for quick spring/cam changes. No more having to remove from my mount first.

I have never seen a joystick this easy and pleasurable to work on. I changed out the default springs with one each # 50 spring no each axis, and had this done in less than 15 minutes total, and I work slowly. I can not emphasize enough great a thing this is. No frustration factor.

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Oh and speaking of spring replacement, VKB has included with the Mk III a spring removal tool.

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OMG, this is such a big deal. This makes spring removal - even with the strongest spring #50, such a simple and quick process. Now this a very nice touch by them!  This along with the new design shown above for gimbal removeable, has really made this stick as user friendly as it possibly could be I think for changing things out with it . When I want to try a new spring or a new cam, I no longer feel dread in doing so as I know it will be a quick and painless process.

 

The new cam design with the Mk III are made of a hardened aluminum alloy rather than chrome plated steel, so no chance of rusting.

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Also like it's predecessors, the Mk III can accommodate two springs per axis also in addition to just one spring. So one can mix different spring tensions to come up with the

best feel they would like to have in the stick. For now I have settled on one each #50 spring per axis.

 

The centering of the stick is incredible. In my Mk I, I always had a little bit of notchiness in the center of the Y axis, not much but just a little. With this new stick and new cams, I do not have that at all. It centers perfectly each and every time. 

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Gunfighter Mk III Pro L with MCG Pro Grip all set up and ready for flight:

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The front of the gimbal base even has a green light showing everything is proper and it is good to go.

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I will also mention with the new Mk III Pro, you also get the larger desk plate. I am not sure why VKB elected to include that with the Pro setup as it is designed for desk mounting rather than table top, but you have it if you want to change to desktop at any time.

 

So after having the springs I wanted, and everything hooked up, I downloaded the latest version of VKB Devicecfg. All buttons and axis were recognized properly.

I ran the calibration routine. 

Now in my Mk I had some custom buttons I had put in, namely on the POV  hat on the lower left of the MCG Pro grip (Gate), and a button I had added to the brake lever. So

I had exported my profile from the Mk I, and then imported it into the new Mk III. Worked beautifully, my customizations were back in the MK III just as they were.

I then loaded up the game, and was so very pleased to see it maintain all my assignments as I had them in the Mk I. I did not have to go in and set all my assignments again - whew!

 

Ok so as I mentioned previously I now have upwards of 10 hours of flight time with the stick.

I have tried hard, but I just can not  come up with anything to criticize  about this new Mk III setup. This is the first stick I have owned, including the Mk I ,  that I have been able to say that about. 

Maybe after 100 hours I might, but have doubts I will. I suppose some concern might be in the change in the cams from steel to aluminum, as aluminum is obviously softer. I would think VKB has likely done some thorough testing of this in development of the Mk III and the new cams, so I am not going to be concerned at this time. 

I did not spend any time on the MCG Pro grip, as it has been out a while and is still really the same. I will say it is solid as can be, no creaking or moaning of the plastic as the stick is moved to extremes with my 200mm extension. When flying it feels like it, the extension and gimbal, are one.

 

Electronics Improvements: I am not an electronics person, there have been improvements per VKB in that department for the Mk III. I will only include what they say about this part:

 

Quote

 


2 - Enhanced electronics.

- Dedicated 32-bit MCU (micro controller unit) for each of X and Y axes. (previous models had one MCU for both X and Y).
Such enhancement allows for extra high update rate and data processing speed without having to share the computing resources between different axes.
This demands some explanation. In fact, one MCU was already plenty enough.
Then why bringing the second one in?
The answer is as simple as it is proud: because we can!
No one in real life would use all horsepowers and N/ms of torque. Still, the more muscular the car is, the more potential it has for handling unexpected road situations. Using the second MCU means double-turbo-charging the fiery motor of your air- or spacecraft.
We want you to be armed for literally everything.
See it for yourself: a GF3 + MCGPro + Blackbox makes a lightning-fast network system with 5 - five - agile MCUs in it!
E for Efficiency. R for Reliability. P for Power. S for Speed. M for Modularity. Learn the new alphabet with us!
3 - All internal modules are fully digital now.
- Taking the number of cables and connectors to their historical minimum: one 3-line, and one 4-line. After all, everyone knows that electronics is all about contacts. Fewer contacts - lower fault rate. You win!

 

 

 

I will sum my experience so far up in this way. When I am flying combat with  this new VKB Gunfighter Mk III Pro L with MCG Pro grip, I feel like an artist with a fine paint brush moving it around flowing the paint throughout the canvas for an incredible picture. It is that darn smooth and feels great when using.

I will also mention one can get the setup with the new F 14 grip, as well as getting the setup with the twist adapter to allow using the stick with a twist axis like for rudder pedals. In fact I may have

to order the F14 grip to have for it as well.

I will also add for Mk 1 or Mk 2 owners, VKB also offers upgrade kits to convert to Mk III. 

 

In my opinion at least so far, VKB has knocked it out of the park with the new Mk III Gunfighter.

 

 

 

Edited by dburne
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Good review! :good:

 

The centering of the stick is incredible. In my Mk I, I always had a little bit of notchiness in the center of the Y axis, not much but just a little. With this new stick and new cams, I do not have that at all. It centers perfectly each and every time. 

 

Probably thanks to the use of an dedicate MCU for each axis sensor, plus the main MCU in USB controller.

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1 hour ago, Sokol1 said:

Good review! :good:

 

 

 

 

Probably thanks to the use of an dedicate MCU for each axis sensor, plus the main MCU in USB controller.

 

Makes sense.

Thanks much!

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Edited Review to reflect the Mk III uses "wet" clutches rather than dry clutches. Thanks to rrhode for the heads up. Apparently at some point during MK II production they changed to adding a little grease on these clutches, hence the wet rather than dry.

Edited by dburne

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I have a VKB,

in a box. One of the three pins jammed stuck when transferring a different stick (second time) and although they sent me a conversion kick to swap to the new pins they used I could not see how to change it and the guy in Russia that new how to do it never responded to my e-mails. For the amount of money I spent I would expect better but oh well. I hope quality control has improved. 

Enjoy flying with your new setup as it looks like a beauty!

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On 1/13/2020 at 1:04 PM, dburne said:

Edited Review to reflect the Mk III uses "wet" clutches rather than dry clutches. Thanks to rrhode for the heads up. Apparently at some point during MK II production they changed to adding a little grease on these clutches, hence the wet rather than dry.

 

thanks for the great review.

 

Quick question:  are you actually using these clutches?  I have the mkI and MKII and on both I tried adding some grease to get the smooth resistivity action, but alas it wasn't smooth at all.. very notchy/catchy... so I just relaxed them 100% to get rid of that sand-paper feel...

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42 minutes ago, Count_de_Money said:

 

thanks for the great review.

 

Quick question:  are you actually using these clutches?  I have the mkI and MKII and on both I tried adding some grease to get the smooth resistivity action, but alas it wasn't smooth at all.. very notchy/catchy... so I just relaxed them 100% to get rid of that sand-paper feel...

 

You are most welcome.

No actually I am not, I may have them dialed in just a slight hair but not enough to really notice.

I really am not currently flying a plane that would benefit me from using them at this time, at least I don't think. I may play around with it a little here before long just to feel the difference.

I never used them in my Mk I.

 

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I have the Mk2 and, about one year in, remain incredibly pleased with it. Would you have any idea whether the pinky brake axis can be turned into a button push in the VKB software, or the mini joystick up top for that matter? I haven't found good uses for these axis' in IL-2 but could use a few extra buttons.

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4 hours ago, OG_Porkchopper said:

Would you have any idea whether the pinky brake axis can be turned into a button push in the VKB software, or the mini joystick up top for that matter? I haven't found good uses for these axis' in IL-2 but could use a few extra buttons.

 

Yes they can, there was instructions on how to do this on the VKB forums. Sorry I can't recall exactly how off the top of my head.

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7 hours ago, OG_Porkchopper said:

I have the Mk2 and, about one year in, remain incredibly pleased with it. Would you have any idea whether the pinky brake axis can be turned into a button push in the VKB software, or the mini joystick up top for that matter? I haven't found good uses for these axis' in IL-2 but could use a few extra buttons.

 

http://forum.vkb-sim.pro/viewtopic.php?p=28475#p28475

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On 3/8/2020 at 5:40 PM, OG_Porkchopper said:

I have the Mk2 and, about one year in, remain incredibly pleased with it. Would you have any idea whether the pinky brake axis can be turned into a button push in the VKB software, or the mini joystick up top for that matter? I haven't found good uses for these axis' in IL-2 but could use a few extra buttons.

 

You could program max 3 buttons on the MCG Pro brake lever. See the image below: 

 

1. Check the A2B (Axes to Buttons) box;

2. Check the MCG Brake box to activate the buttons;

3. Move the slider to adjust distance between buttons;

4. Check Low limit box to activate a button on the low limit;

5. Check the High limit box to activate a button on the high limit.

(4 and 5 are optional, if left unchecked then you'll have a single button on the brake lever)

The But N in the image represent the button(s) that will get assigned to the brake lever control. If you set that over 64 the game won't recognize it. Be careful though so you won't assign it to an already used position.

Capture.JPG

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Nice review! Will be moving to an extended VKB stick myself shortly. Is that a gym mat you are using to keep the Crosswinds in position?

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24 minutes ago, 56RAF_Roke said:

Nice review! Will be moving to an extended VKB stick myself shortly. Is that a gym mat you are using to keep the Crosswinds in position?

 

Thanks!

 

Not really sure about the matt, my wife picked it up somewhere. It however does not keep the pedals in place, so I used Velcro to firmly attach the pedals to the matt.

Works great.

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