VKB Sim Gladiator Mk.II Review

VKB Sim Gladiator Mk.II Review

Today we check out the latest in VKB Sims range of high quality flight controllers. The Gladiator Mk.II.
I hope you enjoy!

VKB Sim North America: http://vkbcontrollers.com/
VKB Sim Europe: https://flightsimcontrols.com/
VKB Sim Russia: http://shop.vkb-sim.pro/

Gladiator Mk.II Features:

■ Improved centering mechanism for the Mk.II
■ Improved trigger for the Mk.II
■ WWII KG12 Grip Replica
■ Right-hand grip design
■ Ergonomic Grip Angle
■ Pitch, Roll & Twist (Rudder) Axes
■ Throttle Axis
■ Sturdy Internal Structure for Long Use
■ Metal Base-plate for Stability
■ Silicone Feet for Strong Surface Grip
■ Contactless MaRS sensors (X, Y, Z axes) with High Resolution
■ 32-bit ARM Controller
■ 17 Programmable Buttons
■ 29 Total Logical Buttons Using Shift/Mode Functions
■ 1 Hat-Switch (8-way)
■ 2 LEDs (Mode Selection)
■ Plug & Play with Driver-Free Installation (Recommended for Most Users)
■ Firmware Upgrade via USB
■ Onboard Memory for Storing Profiles
■ Port for Connecting VKB-Sim Rudder Pedals
■ USB 2.0
■ Optional Programming Software Available (For Advanced Users)
■ Calibrate Axes – Create Deadzones
■ Save and Load Profiles – Adjust Axes Resolutions
■ 1 Year Warranty

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System Specs:
CPU: Skylake i7 6700k
RAM: 16gb 3600MHz DDR4
GPU: Galax GTX 980 HoF
SSD Boot: 120GB Kingston
SSD Write: 250GB Sandisk
SSD Install: 250GB Sandisk
HDD Storage: Western Digital 2TB (5400RPM)
HoTaS: VKB Sim Gladiator Mk.II w/ Thrust master TWCS Throttle
Flight Pedals: Thrustmaster T.Flight
VR: Razer HDK2 OSVR, Oculus Rift DK2


Boostio says:

If someone is discouraged by price, then look at Defender Cobra M5.
I have it for 4 years already, and works as new. It is quite similiar design to VKB, less base buttons, more on stick (+ 3 modes).
What I love about Cobra M5: Two way trigger (great for elite), non existant deadzone, full metal bottom.

Sam Hutchinson says:

SYS is likely a port to connect their upcoming switch controller (ECP)

RustyMember says:

I have never found a review where all my questions were answered… This was that review. Thank you!

Joseph Aaron Arenas says:

Do i need to install the software? Or can i just use the stick and use normal buttons? I don’t mind not having the two modes.
I just can’t install the software because its not my PC.

J&S Reyem says:

This is a follow-up to my posting from three weeks ago… three weeks, I might add, of trying to get this stick to work.

I finally got someone at VKB to respond to my issues with the stick and here are the final results:

1 – After three weeks of tweeking and trying this and trying that, it still doesn’t work correctly.
2 – In order to get this thing to work, you apparently need to download three different programs, (1) VKBDev-Cfig-C, (2) WIZZO, and (3) VKB_JoyTester. The trick here is getting them all to work in conjunction with each other. I’ve not found that possible yet.
3 – And, hoopla! You have to download a “profile” from the internet. There are about 8 or 9 of these. It’s up to you to figure out which one will work. None of them will make my VKB Gladiator work properly. I’ve tried them all many times in many combinations with the programs listed in “2” above.

Meanwhile, after 23 emails with the VKB tech guy (yes… 23. I saved them all.) he said that there was something going on with the stick and, since he didn’t have one there where he was able to duplicate the problem, I should just post my issue on the forums and see if anyone could help. Oh, the Russian guy monitors the forum closely but since English isn’t his native language I needed to be patient. Patient? 23 emails and I need to be patient… Kinda makes you wonder.

So I posted my issue where it got answered by someone who doesn’t work for VKB who suggested to try something that I tried several times two weeks ago. When I went back to ask a question, I was unable to find my post.

Meanwhile, my suggestion that I have a defective one has never been addressed. I think they are simply waiting out the return window and I’ll be stuck with a $100 + shipping joystick that I can’t use.

So, here are my conclusions I offer to save you some money:

1 – Every time you use the joystick in a different program, you have to open up VKBDevCfig-C and WIZZO and reprogram the stick. Then it has to be recalibrated. If you don’t do this you will find throttle and/or yaw reversed or non-functioning. All this amounts to is you have to keep a list of settings for each game and run it through the setup programs before you fly with it.
The stick seems to automatically default every time it’s used in a different application. This means you have to reprogram the stick every single time you use it.

2 – While the feel of the stick is excellent and is responsive, a joystick with a POV hat that doesn’t (and won’t) program to change your view is worse than useless. The POV hat isn’t even recognized by any of the VKB programs UNLESS you depress the pinky button. But let’s face it. If you need to see behind you fast, do you want to stretch out your fingers to the hat switch AND the pinky button? But even then, the stick will not program to change your view… all this does is lets the VKBDevCfig-C program show you which button it activates. And that button will not program to ANY function.

3 – There are some programs that will not work with this joystick. One being X-Plane. Yes… not the best choice for a joystick, but it is useful for flying a glider. But you can’t because the joystick will not program in X-Plane. Other programs where it should really be a good choice, like IL-2 Sturmovik Cliff of Dover, crashes the program and will not run with the stick plugged into the computer. Yes… I have tried starting the program and then plugged the stick in and it still crashes the program (no surprise there).

4 – Not all programs will map to this joystick. As mentioned above, X-Plane. FreeSpace2 is another example. You can get a few things to map properly, but the rest of it simply will not be recognized. Yeah… FreeSpace2 is an oldie but, according to VKB, the stick is nothing more than a device that recognizes and emulates keystrokes. Unfortunately, I have not found this to be the case.

5 – If you are determined to purchase this joystick, you darn well better be a technical genius that loves repetitive problems because aside from it being a nightmare to set up for even a simple application like Rise of Flight (World War I flight sim… machine guns and bombs… nothing complicated) it takes a goodly amount of time setting the stick up and then remapping all the buttons, getting out of the program to reverse several of the buttons in WIZZO, and then getting back into the game. But hey! You better have a great wingman because your POV hat doesn’t work in even this game and you will be using your mouse to look around.

6 – Tech Support… hmmmm. Gonna try to be nice here because it’s Saturday and I’m in a good mood. If you need tech support you are going to have to rely on the community on the message boards. While you can get the guy in the US to respond to an email, he hasn’t even been provided with a joystick at his disposal. Eventually, you will be thrown to the mercy of the message boards and Russian speaking tech support. And, while there are some well meaning folks out there trying to help, most of the time their answers will be abbreviated, assuming you have the same level of knowledge which, if you did, you wouldn’t be posting on the boards. Good luck trying to find your posting later on. I certainly can’t find the ones I’ve posted and the search engine on the VKB message boards will not find your posts. If you end up with a defective product (as I believe I have) they will never let you return it. But even if they did, do the math… $100 for the joystick +$18 shipping. $25 to send it back to them. $20 for them to return it to you. Let’s see… $163.

Bottom line…

If you are someone who just enjoys combat flight simulators this is a product you might consider passing up. There are other excellent options out there that don’t require a PhD in VKBism. I will admit that the Gladiator is the most comfortable joystick I’ve used, it’s not much good if it’s unusable. I’ve been at this thing for over 3 weeks now and I’ve about had it. VKB will not accept it back as a defective unit (and I still believe there is something very wrong with it) but will offer no solutions and certainly, not a return. So I got stuck. Live and learn. I will be putting it back into the box it came in and during the next yard sale, someone is gonna pay $5 for the problem. I’ve had it.

Jose Loco says:

I have a question. how is the potentiometer system for the stick? its a “traditional” potentiometer or is something more like the saitek?

ZdrytchX -{Reference says:

lol you can already aim better than i can with my 3d pro joystick, and SB is my main in war thunder

Liam Jones says:

anyone else get nausea from that?

Sokol10 says:

SYS port on Gladiator Mk. II base allow plug VKB T-Rudder pedal making both one controller for Windows and games, and future VKB controllers like throttles, ECP…

Is not compatible with Thrustmaster TFRP pedals, despite the similar connector. 🙂

JohnnyQ85 says:

does the MODE change the actual button pressed or is it something that the software does like in saitek?


What if you dont want the pinky button to be a “shift” action? Say remap it to launching flares.. I could not for the life of me get it to remap. Any pointer would be much appreciated.

Abdulkader Ajlani says:

Does anyone know if it has rudder control?
like the thrustmaster hotas kit with the twist axis for rudder control

Luiz Engrazia says:

Please do some IL2 BOS flights with it!

Rareş Bîrzu says:

Does it have feedback?

Captain Furbosa says:

I’d love to get into flight sims more, especially DCS, however i feel you need either TrackIR or VR to enjoy them fully. Can anyone recommend a Track IR unit?

DMWierz says:

Great video. The Gladiator MkII and TM TWCS is the exact pair I have. Do you have any details on binding for the Gladiator MkII and Thrustmaster TWCS throttle in DCS? Thanks in advance.

ViGsT says:

So it’s 100$ in the american store, but it’s 190 euros (205$) in the European store. What’s the deal with this?

Sir Gus says:

Whats the difference between Gladiator and RAVCORE JAVELIN JOYSTICK?they look the same.

Do R/C! says:

3:00 whats happening??? Starting to feel a little woozy…

Burning Star says:

fly is also watching unboxing!lol look at chear

Iain says:

This looks nice, I’m on my 3rd CH flight stick, they keep falling apart, warped base, creaky centre dead zone, slide across the desk too easy, their quality is just not as good as it used to be. I’m going to buy one of these!

SPP0318 says:

what game is it ?

Æthelwulf says:

This is kinda cool stick, If I didn’t have warthog hotas I’d seriously consider this stick

Doom Slayer says:

I have a limited edition black mamba

J&S Reyem says:

I ordered the Gladiator Mk II and got it yesterday. I wish I had read a bit more before getting it. First it arrived defective. So another $20 out of my pocket to return it. What was wrong? No yaw recognition at all in 5 of my flight simulator programs to begin with. The in-game mapping doesn’t recognize yaw and defaults to whatever the default is. Games like Rise of Flight cannot be played at all because the game will not recognize the stick once the game starts. Yes… you can map the buttons and roll and pitch (no yaw though) but once the game starts, none of the controlling surfaces will be controlled through the stick. I also wanted to fly the glider in X-Plane 11 but, again, the stick doesn’t seem to be recognized by the game. If the stick is even plugged into the computer when you try to play IL-2 Cliffs of Dover, the stick prevents the game from even booting.

Lots of problems here. Still waiting to hear back from VKB for solutions.

On the up side, the stick does have a good feel to it. But beyond that…

WingCMDR_Goose says:

totally forgot you cover SC in some of your videos which I’m glad to see. I run dual T16000M’s for SC, although while they are good sticks, I’m considering upgrading to something better in the future. T16000M feel a little unforgiving or stiff when trying to make slight adjustments to movement. I may consider a Warthog HOTAS for right hand flight and keep a T16000M for left and keep throttle on the side for more immersion and for when I play other flight sims.

corrion1 says:

Thanks magz cant wait for mine to arrive!

hagakure.s81 says:

Typical Aussie… important consideration for the joystick is how well you can beat someone with it! XD
I actually ordered this joystick today, about 12 hours before seeing Magz had a review on this very one, nice!

Jaromír Anděl says:

Just this joystick is not for arcades like WarThunder. It is best for DCS:World And it is heavy because it has Full-metal gimball and ball bearings. Cam based centering with spring and cam for each axis separately.

AJCN says:

$158CAD incl P&P – placed my order today. 🙂

NaturalTonic says:

Hello and thanks for the nice video.
I am Italian and I would like to buy the MK 2 stick for Mac and my X Plane 11.
On the XForce site but I do not order it for Italy … how can I buy it and send it to me?
Does the $ 99.95 price also include customs charges?
thank you so much.

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