Here we get our first look at the fully assembled HOTAS Warthog flight stick; it's impressive to say the least. Weighing in at 6.6 pounds, it's not light, and it can take a fair amount of force without even budging on your table.
The base plate is rather large, and can take up a fair amount of room on your desk. It's also rather tall, and comes to about 11 inches high.
I am about 6' 2" tall, and sitting in my chair with my arm stretched out level to grab onto the stick is no issue really. Up close to where I would use the stick is fairly comfortable for me. The flight stick itself is rather large, but fits my hand just fine. Reaching up to the red button and gray HOTAS is a bit of a stretch, but it's not too bad though. Holding the stick does feel natural and comfortable to me.
The movement of the stick itself is very smooth; it takes just enough force to move the stick around to allow for precise aiming and movement. On some other sticks, we tried going from a left 90 degree to straight up, and would sometimes have a notching feel at the 45 degree zone as though they were hitting guide grooves inside the stick; so going in a full circle, you can feel the 45 degree zones. The HOTAS Warthog is smooth all the way around, doing full circles no matter how hard of a turn you are trying to make.
It does self-center rather well, and maybe a bit too aggressively if you let go of the stick. There is enough tension on the stick to self-center even when holding it.
Here we have another angled look at the flight stick. The finish of the stick itself looks shiny; it's smooth, and does not show finger prints all over after using it.
We are looking at the side of the flight stick now.
The base of the stick is almost 2.5 inches, with the trigger being about 5.5 inches up from where your index finger would be. It does sit high up, which takes a little bit of getting used to.
We are looking at the left side of the HOTAS now. This picture shows the matte finish of the metal rather well. You can see the assembly seam where the top metal piece is attached to the rest of the stick, but you can't really feel this seam; it's very smooth.
The red gun trigger is two stage. Hold it in a little, and you can feel it latch; hold back all the way to hit the second stage trigger.
Another angled shot of the HOTAS.
Here is a close up of the business end of the HOTAS. Thrustmaster has placed the two black TMS (Target Management Switch) & DMS (Data Management Switch) at slight angles, which line up with your thumb position very well; you will be using these a lot. Moving back and forth from TMS to DMS is effortless, and natural.
Here is yet another angled look at the HOTAS.
It says on the box that the pedal switch is optional, but we think this may have changed and the pedal switch is now included on all sticks. You would use your pinky finger to activate this, and right behind that is the nose-wheel steering button.
You can mount the base of the stick to your desk by using the four holes, and screwing it down. We don't feel a real need to do this, as the stick is plenty heavy enough, and does not move around on your desk.
If you will be using the HOTAS Warthog flight stick in a cockpit or flight chair setup, the base of the stick can be unscrewed. You can then use those four screw holes to screw just the base down to your chair or cockpit, and not use the big flat base that comes with it.
This allows you to arrange all kinds of custom setups for your flight simulator. Here you can also see that the base has four rubber pads to keep the stick from slipping around on your desk.
The mounting hole patterns can be found in a pdf on the Thrustmaster download section for the HOTAS Warthog.
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