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Old 01-11-2020, 11:49 AM   #1
dburne
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Default VKB Gunfighter MK III Pro L Review

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 .





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 uses wet clutches (white plastic pieces) for dampening as the Mk I and II does. These originally were dry clutches, at some point during production of the MK II VKB changed to wet ( little bit of grease) on these clutches.



The heart of the matter, the Mk III Gimbal system.



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.


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.




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



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.



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.



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




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



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.
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My VKB Gunfighter MK III Pro L Review
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Last edited by dburne; 01-13-2020 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 01-11-2020, 12:50 PM   #2
Ant0ine
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Thanks for your review
Quote:
Originally Posted by dburne View Post
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.
To add value to what you said above, you should tell us what are your deadzone and curve setting. I also wonder if you tested that with the extension or not. I also had that notchiness on my MKII + extension + MCG PRO, even with 2x#50 spring, on #10 cam. If they solved that I'm really happy! (I sold my MKII to get MKIII soon, I'm in Europe so have to wait a bit longer).

If that is solved, could you try to explain how? Is it the cam? If so how does it help? The force near center is increased? If so does the center detent is more noticeable? (Avia S cam is the one that interest me).

Thanks again.

Edit : Are you on the Hotas/Hosas/Simpit Discord? If not I invite you to it.

Last edited by Ant0ine; 01-11-2020 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 01-11-2020, 01:13 PM   #3
dburne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ant0ine View Post
Thanks for your review


To add value to what you said above, you should tell us what are your deadzone and curve setting. I also wonder if you tested that with the extension or not. I also had that notchiness on my MKII + extension + MCG PRO, even with 2x#50 spring, on #10 cam. If they solved that I'm really happy! (I sold my MKII to get MKIII soon, I'm in Europe so have to wait a bit longer).

If that is solved, could you try to explain how? Is it the cam? If so how does it help? The force near center is increased? If so does the center detent is more noticeable? (Avia S cam is the one that interest me).

Thanks again.

Edit : Are you on the Hotas/Hosas/Simpit Discord, if not I invite you to it.
In the Hornet, which is mainly what I am using at this time, I have 2 for deadzone in game and 9 for curvature, both in x and y axis.

I have the Pro L, which is the 200mm extension and is what I use as seen in my pic.
I also used a 200mm extension in the Mk I.

In the Mk I Y axis, the stick had a bit of a dead area in center. By this I mean, a small area that stick would move but no movement of the actual axis. I could pull the stick back a small amount and gently let go, and it would be one value read at center - then do the same with forward direction, and it would be another value read as center.
This is not the case with the Mk III.
I know they are new cam designs, so I am thinking that perhaps is why this Mk III does not have that behavior. I have a nice soft center feel, that is one fixed point and stays that way in both x and y axis. I can feel a small amount of resistant as I start to move the stick in any direction. A very nice feel imho. Then it gets of course progressively stronger resistance as you continue moving to the extreme, with the Avia cams.
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Old 01-11-2020, 01:59 PM   #4
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Uhm, the deadzone and curve setting I would like to know about are the one you have set in the VKB software, not the one set in the game.

Last edited by Ant0ine; 01-11-2020 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 01-11-2020, 03:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ant0ine View Post
Uhm, the deadzone and curve setting I would like to know about are the one you have set in the VKB software, not the one set in the game.
I only set them in game, not the VKB Software.
Dead-zone and curves are very much subjective to the individual's tastes and the stick he is using and the aircraft being flown.
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Old 01-11-2020, 04:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dburne View Post
I only set them in game, not the VKB Software.
Dead-zone and curves are very much subjective to the individual's tastes and the stick he is using and the aircraft being flown.
Of course I understand that, but if your stick recenter perfectly, I want to make sure it isn't thanks to a deadzone set in the VKB software.
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Old 01-11-2020, 05:40 PM   #7
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Nice review I have 2 GF1 bases and now a GF 3 I added a 30# spring to each axis so I think it's at 70 tho TBH I can't remember what it came from factory with but it feels the same as my MK1 with a 200mm extension as before.

I tried to have the stick not center by very slowly moving it to center to get the worst possible off center stop, you can see the results in the pictures. Tho I will say that in game it always feels fine.

I have very early mk1s and I don't have any notchiness near center on any of mine. I can't really feel any difference between my MK1 and Mk3 .

I am a pilot by trade and will say that the stick is way lighter than real life ones and this is a common observation from my Pilot friends that have tried it.

Like dburne said tho it is very precise and I much appreciate it especially in close formation , AAR and Dumb bombing / gunnery.

For the record I run no curve or deadzone on any aircraft in game not in the VKB software.

In the F18 it is centered enough to not throw off the autopilot when engaged.

For the record I am going to upgrade my GF1 bases but am thinking about just doing the electronics as I like my old cams as they are and have not had any corrosion problems even on the one I carry with me at work.

Sent from my HD1925 using Tapatalk
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Old 01-11-2020, 06:14 PM   #8
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Thanks for taking the time to write that up dburne!
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Old 01-11-2020, 06:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurelius View Post
Thanks for taking the time to write that up dburne!
Most welcome!
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Old 01-11-2020, 07:05 PM   #10
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Thanks for the review, dburne
I just can't wait to have this
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