Maybe the grand daddy of all HOTAS setups available. Today in this Thrustmaster Warthog review we take a close look at this monster. The last HOTAS to come from Thrustmaster was the venerable Hotas Cougar. Undoubtedly the predecessor of the Hotas Warthog. However impressions from the flight community are that the Hotas Cougar was great, but not perfect. Following which a lot of user made third party mods sprang up in order to address the initial shortcomings of the Hotas Cougar. So here comes the Hotas Warthog, has Thrustmaster manager to learn from the Hotas Cougar and evolved to bring the best to the Hotas Warthog?
Looking at the feature list, the Thrustmaster Warthog is without a doubt the most feature rich and realistic looking flight controller available for flight simmers. That impressive resume comes at a cost, with the Hotas Warthog retailing at $500 USD straight out the manufacturers door. The TM Warthog is the best controller out there for any pilots that have DCS A-10C Warthog simulator installed on their machine.
The best thing about a fully modeled A-10 controller is that all the hats, switches, china boats and triggers are exactly where you need them to fly an A-10. Although one could hobble together a CH Products Fighterstick and CH Products Pro Throttle unit and jump straight into DCS A-10C simulator, you will find the transition not as smooth as you will be unable to make all the necessary button movements on the controller without having to reach for the keyboard. This is a real immersion killer. Add also that you can not assign buttons mid way during a mission or tutorial in DCS A-10C and it makes the whole process of getting setup a real slow and painful chore. Luckily if you do own CH products, you can always visit their ever populated forum to get some help configuring the setup. BUT I digress, that is why you have the thrustmaster warthog for, you simply plug it in and start up DCS A-10C and marvel at how you can following all the on screen instructions right as they are given to you without having to fish for keyboard controls on double check your joystick assignments.
Thrustmaster Warthog Features
- The most accurate joystick and throttle sensors available on any commercial flight joystick. Termed “H.E.A.R.T Hall Effect AccuRate technology” by Thrustmaster. This is achieved through the use of
- 3D magnetic sensors (HallEffect) giving the best razor sharp precision over time
- 16-bit resolution, the highest resolution currently available on any commercial joystick
- 5-coil spring system on the joystick.
- The joystick rests on super stable base that is weighted over 3kg.
- Unique modular handle design allows handles to be detached from the base.
- Can be used interchangeably with HOTAS COUGAR(TM) handle (and vice-versa)
- All metal construction and a 100% replica of the warthog joystick
- The detachable metal plate allows for use on your desk or cockpit style if you plan to go all out
- Realistic pressure on buttons and trigger
- 19 action buttons in total + one 8-way “point of view” hat:
- 1 x 8-way “point of view” hat
- 2 x 8-way hats
- 1 x 4-way hat with push button
- 1 x metal dual trigger
- 2 x push buttons
- 2 x pinkie push buttons
Dual Replica Throttles
Dual Replica THROTTLES: Innovative new H.E.A.R.T. Hall Effect AccuRate Technology: 3D magnetic sensors (Hall Effect) on the 2 throttles: enjoy surgical precision that stays razor-sharp over time – 14-bit resolution (16384 values) on each throttle.Dual throttles, featuring:
- metal hand rest
- locking system
- adjustable friction system: firm, linear and fluid tension, with no dead zones
- realistic IDLE detent with “Pull & Push”(*) system
- realistic and disengageable AFTERBURNER detent with “Pull & Push”(*) system
- realistic pressure on buttons and switches
- 17 action buttons in total + 1 mouse hat with push button + one 8-way “point of view” hat:
- 1 x mouse hat with push button and 3D magnetic sensor (Hall Effect)
- 1 x 8-way hat
- 1 x 4-way hat with push button
- 1 x push button
- 1 x 3-position switch (2 momentary + 1 permanent)
- 2 x 3-position switches (3 permanent)
- 1 x 3-position switch (1 momentary + 2 permanent)
- The control panel has a green back light function, illuminating labels on all switches allowing you to fly with the room light dimmed.
- 5 programmable LEDs
- Stable, weighted base
- 15 action buttons in total + 1 TRIM wheel:
- 1 x TRIM wheel
- 2 x push buttons
- 5 x 2-position switches (2 permanent)
- 2 x 3-position switches (1 momentary + 2 permanent)
- 2 x 3-position switches (3 permanent)
Thrustmaster Warthog Sofware
- SOFTWARE SUITE: T.A.R.G.E.T. (Thrustmaster Advanced Programming Graphical Editor). To test, configure and program Thrustmaster controllers: HOTAS WARTHOG, MFD Cougar,
Thrustmaster Warthog Technical Details
- Brand Name: ThrustMaster
- Hardware Platform: pc
- Input Device: Joystick, Throttle via USB connection with upgradeable firmware
- Form Factor: External
- Connectivity Technology: Wired
- Weight: 20.90 pounds
- To buy the Thrustmaster Warthog, you can find them here at Amazon
Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog a Closer Look
The TM Warthog is a perfect replica of the controls set on the U.S. Air Force A-10C’s Warthog, warts and all. You get the joystick, dual throttle system with and the surrounding control panel. You can now perform part of the engine start up sequence on a real life panel, switches and all. There is nothing quite like flipping those switches.
All the controls are realistically sized and placed, although the top left hand wheel is not an actual controller but is a tension adjustment for the dual throttle. At the same time, because of how realistically it was modeled the unit does suffer from some ergonomic difficulties. Firstly the joystick is huge, made for large jet fighter type men who eat airplane bolts for breakfast and lug around their hands like maces. Mere mortals like us may find it is difficult to fully reach all the hats and buttons on the joystick.
The inclusion of a dual stage trigger is worth highlighting, it does perform a specific function in game and the click and feel of it is just perfect. The same could be said about all the switches and buttons on the thrustmaster hotas warthog. They have a heavy duty feel and provide an authoritative action behind each press and flick, which is even more apparent when you grip the all metal joystick.
Unfortunately the ball and cup joint that comprises the joystick on the thrustmaster warthog is made from plastic. Although wear and tear is less of an issue due to use of magnetic hall sensors over the older analog pots used in the previous TM Cougar.
The joystick feel is smooth and response throughout the entire range of motion, there is no x and y axis changes in force like on the CH Products Fighterstick. There are some online users reporting that the action through the center of the joystick has a little bit of sticktion to it and anecdotally it seems the use of lubricants on the ball cap helps to alleviate this feel somewhat. Admittedly 99% of us will not even recognize this if it wasn’t mentioned, so we are being really nit picky about the center action here. A bigger ergonomic concern however is that the joystick requires a lot more pressure to use and those hoping to use the joystick mounted higher on a keyboard tray or computer desk may find fatigue on the wrist an issue early on. Keep in mind though that the joystick on a real A10 is centrally mounted between the legs at a much lower position relative to the chest so one does not have to reach up to the joystick and its buttons.
The throttle unit performs as expected, although it is slightly less ergonomic to use over extended periods of time compared to the saitek x52 pro throttle. However this is unavoidable design choice since this is exactly how all real A10 throttle units are made. The nice little indents on the throttle axis provide real tactile feedback so that you can throttle down without worry about cutting all the power and throttling up all the way without worrying about hitting the after burners. To get over these indents you have to sort of perform a lifting action on the throttle control to clear the indents. Which poses a small problem if the unit is not screwed down, as you can inadvertently lift the entire unit of the ground.
Thrustmaster Warthog Review Conclusions
Simply one of the best joystick and throttle HOTAS units that you can buy possibly buy especially if you are an A-10C flyer. Almost no dead zone on the joystick straight out of the box. Smooth action all throughout the entire range of motion on the joystick. Centering forces are stronger than on the CH fighter stick and requires a little bit more pressure when making movements across the center however.
- Impressive high quality feel for all buttons and switches.
- Ball joint and helical spring mechanism provides a good solution for smoother, more precise joystick response that should yield better longevity.
- Detachable handle stick, maybe one day Thrustmaster may release a F16 version?
- Finger-lift throttle detents and optional afterburner detent for throttles
- T.A.R.G.E.T. is powerful, easy-to-use software that virtualizes controllers and gives 6-layer capability to a wide range of Thrustmaster products
- $500 retail price
- No hands-on rotary axes controls on throttle
- Some online users are reporting minute amounts of stickiness. 90% of other users do not report this problem, even more do not notice during actual gameplay. There has been a simple fix for this, just replace the TM provided red lube with a heavier (or lighter) lubricant seems to alleviate this issue for most users.
- No rudder controls and no plans at the moment to produce rudder pedals that go hand in hand with the thrustmaster hotas warthog.
- T.A.R.G.E.T. has no usable keyboard shortcuts and you may accidentally “discover” weird Windows GUI corruption.
- T.A.R.G.E.T. requires you invest time to learn scripting in order to get the most out of customization. Luckily pre-made profiles will get you 90% there.
- T.A.R.G.E.T. has to stay running in the background to keep your customizations active. Its a 100MB hit on RAM, which may or may not be an issue.
Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog Review – User Reviews
Check out what this user had to say about the Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog:
I received this kit from a contest about a month ago and it has performed flawlessly during that time with well over 20 hours of game time using it. This Warthog has a superior feel to it with the ball joint on the stick portion and the split throttles allow some great customization of the controls and how you can work a single or multiple engine aircraft in games. The one problem I have is with the programming software and trying to understand it out of the box…well you have to download it directly from Thrustmaster but you should know that going into the purchase[…] Read the rest of the review >
TM Warthog External Links
- Official Thrustmaster Warthog Site
- TM Warthog 2010 E3 Preview @ SimHQ
- DCS: A-10C Warthog Simulator the best warthog simulator on the market by the DCS guys
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