VPC MongoosT-50 – First Impression/Overview
Hi all, today I'm going to be giving you an overview/first impression of the VPC MongoosT-50 and accessories – the new kid on the block.
I will begin by saying that, of course as a member of the VPC team, any review from myself would be weighted more to the biased end of the scale, so am I writing this strictly as an overview/first impression rather than a review, which are of course, still from my own personal experience with the products!
We have reached out to some other reviewers to provide you guys with high quality, unbiased reviews! If you have any particular preferences on who you want to see review VPC products, please message me to let me know!
The VPC MongoosT-50 Grip – From Russia with Love
So, the VPC MongoosT-50 (VPC MT-50) grip is based off the grip found in the Russian T-50 (PAK-FA) fighter jet. It is made from a composite moulded plastic, which provides a great in-hand feeling. It is not too light, nor does it have the “hollow” or “brittle” feeling of some other plastic grips available. Overall it is very solid with no creaking or flex in the body.
Physically the VPC MT-50 is quite an intimidating grip, it is larger (taller) than most other grips available. This emphasizes the fact that the VPC MT-50 is aimed squarely at the professional flightsim audience who will be centre mounting the stick either with the VPC Desk Bracket or some other cockpit mount. It would be very impractical to use it as a desktop joystick!
The grip is packed with a huge variety of controls, these include:
• Dual-stage Trigger
• Folding Trigger
• 5 Buttons
• Three 4-way Hats (1x 8-way POV)
• One 2-way Switch
• Analogue Brake Lever
This should ensure you have enough controls on hand to map pretty much any aircraft (or spacecraft) to this grip!
The VPC MT-50 grip uses high quality OMRON switches, so all the buttons, hats, switches and triggers have excellent tactile feedback and are a joy to press. The dual-stage primary trigger is excellently configured, with the actuation points and tension of the first and second stages exactly where you'd want them. Comparing to this to the dual stage trigger on the TM Warthog for example, which is another great grip, I find that the TMW dual stage trigger has 2 flaws, first being that the spring force is a bit too heavy, and secondly the second stage actuation point is far later in the travel range than I'd like. This means when using the TMW second stage for something like cannons in IL2, you can end up disrupting your aim due to the force required to activate (and hold) it and it can prove to be uncomfortable in long dogfights.
The folding/flip-up trigger is an interesting addition – no other currently available consumer sticks offer this control. Depending on what your situation, preferences or particular aircraft calls for, it can be mapped to a number of incredibly useful functions. This trigger is also rotated slightly to allow it to be used very comfortably and of course, can be flipped up out of the way when it's not needed.
The analogue brake lever is another interesting addition as again, no other consumer joystick has this control, the closest comparison is the pinkie paddle switch on the TM Warthog grip. As the name implies it is used for the wheel brakes on Russian planes, however this can be mapped to a wide range of different functions depending on what the situation calls for. It is primarily intended to be used as an axis but it can be also be used to report a button press.
Moving further down the stick you will find the adjustable wrist-rest. There is a threaded dial/wheel which can be rotated to raise or lower the wrist rest. There is a large range of adjustment which would account for most hand sizes, for those with larger hands the wrist-rest platform can be removed entirely and the base will function perfectly as wrist rest. The wrist-rest is very well executed, it is entirely necessary on a stick of this nature and the platform itself is quite large so it supports the hand and wrist very well.
At the bottom of the grip body, it is adorned with an aluminium serial number plate, with the VPC logo, the model name, and the serial number of your copy.
Finally, there is the grip connector. The VPC MT-50 uses a Mini DIN 5 Pin to connect to the base and includes a very nice metal screw collar. What I really like about this grip connector is that it is completely tool-less, and you can rotate the grip to whatever offset you want very easily. Plug in the connector, set your rotation offset, and hand tighten the collar. It's very secure and couldn't be simpler!
Currently the VPC MT-50 grip can be connected to either the VPC MT-50 base, or the TM Warthog base. Both are simply just a case of plugging in the connector, set your rotation offset, and tighten the collar!
Overall, I'm very happy with the grip. It's solid, it's got OMRON switches, it's very flexible and just loaded with features.
The VPC MongoosT-50 Base & Mechanics
The gimbal/mechanics of a joystick base are perhaps one of the most important deciding factors between a good flightstick and a bad flightstick. Not too far in the past, pretty much your only was mainstream joystick manufacturers who had pretty uninspiring gimbal designs. Fast forward today though and there a small collection of boutique joystick manufacturers producing some interesting and well liked gimbal designs. Thankfully I can say that VPC is no different, entering the market with their very own interesting (and I'm sure will be well liked!) gimbal design.
As is all the craze nowadays, cam gimbals rule the roost, and rightly so! The VPC MT-50 mechanics also revolve around a cam based gimbal, with user interchangeable cams. The available profiles include:
• No centre
• Soft centre
• Hard centre
However, the extra interesting thing about the VPC MT-50 base is it’s loading mechanism. Each axis’ cam loads a lever arm with a coaxially mounted compression spring for resistance rather than the more commonly found tension spring. The large mechanical lever and the use of compression springs means you have an unprecedented level of control and accuracy with the VPC MT-50 base. This is especially apparent when using an extension, the VPC MT-50 gimbal is incredibly stable even when using the longest of extensions. Again, this is another feature that emphasizes that this joystick is aimed specifically towards to the pro flightsim community.
Continuing the theme of ultimate adjustability, it is also possible to tailor the spring tension exactly to your liking. You’re not limited to a small selection of different springs, instead you can adjust the spring tension in very small increments via the top access ports on the MT-50 base with a standard screw driver. This gives you complete control of the exact tension you desire on both the pitch and roll axes separately! Even better, you do not have to open up the unit to adjust this, swap out any pieces, or anything like that, it can be done on the fly in seconds! This is great if you want to try various different settings, or if you like different tension settings for different aircraft.
Of course, the VPC MT-50 base is also compatible with the TM Warthog grip.
Physically the VPC MT-50 base is not too different to other bases available, marginally larger, but that is mostly in height. Considering the size of the internal mechanics and the advantages this offers – especially compared to other gimbals available today, the outside dimensions are deceivingly compact!
VPC Extras – Desk Bracket & Extensions
Alongside the VPC MT-50, there is the VPC Desk Bracket. This bracket aims to bring a cockpit like – centre mounted stick experience to everyone. It will mount to pretty much any desk with a thickness between 2cm and 6cm. Once again as with the VPC MT-50 itself, the VPC Desk Bracket is very adjustable to suit you exactly as you need it. The height drop from the desk can be adjusted from a ~36cm drop up to a ~12cm drop.
The VPC Desk Bracket is also compatible with other joysticks, initially offering mounting plates for the TM Warthog base and throttle. VPC will be actively considering all requests for mounting plates for other popular joysticks.
An additional benefit of the VPC Desk Bracket I’ve found is that it is very good for routing your cables from the control neatly onto your desk. I believe the VPC Desk Bracket is something that has been hugely overdue for the flightsim community, a strong, adjustable centre-stick (and throttle) mount at a great price!
Finally, we have the VPC Extensions. These are full metal extensions, with lengths of 50mm/75mm/100mm. They’re incredibly strong as you’d expect from the full metal construction, and they can also be combined to create new sizes of 125mm/150mm/175mm/225mm.
For connecting the grip to the base, there is a loose cable extension, available in 3 different sizes to allow all the possible extension sizes. The cable extension is loose because of the ability to see whatever rotation offset you desire! Again, these do exactly what you’d expect and they do it well. The VPC Extensions are compatible with the VPC MT-50 Grip & Base, TM Warthog Grip & Base and any combination of these!
If you have any questions or photo requests or anything like that, please let me know!