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      IMPORTANT - Please read   08/15/2017

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+Dave    2,095

KwikPit Review

 

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My quest for a simple home built cockpit started a few years ago after seeing some of my fellow flight simmers have their own pits. I looked at building one but I do not have the technical knowhow to even begin making plans for that. Next I looked on the net for some plans to make my own. I found a couple…then I realized I have no business trying to cut wood etc. Fix an ICBM, I can do that, work with wood? Not happening Kemosabe. So know what? How about maybe buy a real pit from an aircraft junkyard and restore it. I made some calls and here is how most conversations went.

 

Me:
"Hello, I’m looking for a pit of an old fighter to salvage to make a home built cockpit."

Junkyard Owner:
“Oh not one of you guys again.”

Me:
“I take it you get a couple of calls like this a year?”

Junkyard Owner:
“Yep, you guys are weird.”

Me:
“Ah thanks, I think. So what do you have?”

Junkyard Owner:
“I got something you can use and you have to come pick it up yourself in Arizona.”

Me:
“How much?”

Junkyard Owner:
“$1500 and you’ll need a tractor trailer to haul it.”

Me:
“Oh, wow it’s that big? Hey Sheila can I have, oh, what, it’s this big, not in your house,ok.”

Junkyard Owner:
(Laughing) I heard the conversation.

Me:
“Sorry sir to have bothered you.”

 

Well there goes that idea. Now what? How about that Obutto thingy? It looks nice and it’s functional but not the look I’m going for. Well this blows, I’m getting nowhere fast. So I shelve the idea for the time being. Fast forward to about a month ago. I was rekindling my hope to find a pit I could use at home. So I hit Google again, this time I typed in ‘home cockpits’ and there on page 3 was a forum with the word ‘KwikPit’ in it. So I Google it and came up with http://www.kwikpit.com/. I started going through the site and what I found was what I am now calling the “Holy Grail” of quick and easy pits.

 

I started going through the net looking for any reviews of the pit. I couldn’t find a single one. This thing looks like it’s the answer to most simmers prayers. Yet no one from what I could tell has said a word about it. So I send an email to the customer service asking about the pit and could I get a review copy of it. I gave them my phone number and within 45 minutes I get a call from Greg at Kwikpit. We begin discussing the pit and just general BSing back and forth. Come to find out he is a retired USAF munitions troop from the B-1 world. Being recently retired from the USAF myself we had a lot to talk about. We get back to the pit and he explains to me that he sent off a pit before to get a review done and the person never did one. He tried to get money for it since a review wasn’t being done and never heard back from the person either. So needless to say he was very apprehensive to give me a pit to review.

 

The back-story on the Kwikpit Company was that Greg wanted something to leave his simming and racing gear in place without having to tear it all down later when he was done. Greg searched the net and found too little info on home built pits and the ones he did find could run up to $30,000 unfinished. Most simmers cannot afford that. Also he noticed that some people would start a complicated pit, taking them years to build, only to give up frustrated. So having this info Greg decided to build his own pit. He started with several plans and he gave them to people so they could build their own. Some of his customers asked why he could not do a kit. His plans for the pit were simple enough, he would need to find a way to machine the wood and yet keep it compact and light. Thus the Kwikpit is born. Greg’s goal is to fill the price gap so that the average simmer can have the experience they wanted and not have to mortgage a house to get it.

 

Greg also is the President, Owner, CEO, CFO, janitor and cleaning lady of Kwikpit. In other words he is a one man show. I assure him I will do a review and not leave him hanging. He agrees and on 19 Sept my pit is in. I just had surgery on the 17th so I was in no condition to put the pit together. The weekend of the 22/23 Sept gets here and my wife drags me out of the house to start working on the pit. Mind you I can’t put together a thing as my leg is still messed up. So Sheila helps me paint it and put it together. I took pictures throughout the process to show you what was done and how it assembled. I am sorry for the quality of the pictures, my good camera is broken. So I ended up using my iPhone 4.You will get the general idea though.

 

The box weighs in at 65 lbs. It is very well packed in styrofoam and card board for stability. The pit is made from furniture grade particle board, so it is heavy duty.

 

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After the box was opened we separated the pieces and started to paint. I used Rustoleum Painters Touch Ultracover 2X. I covered the pit in flat grey and it only took two coats. The particle board didn’t soak the paint up as bad as I thought it was going to. The 2nd coat was light. I took flat black to paint the entire surface where the TM Warthog and monitor will sit. It took about an hour to get everything painted and an hour for it to dry.

 

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Painting it flat gray with my little helper.

 

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The sides are painted, now beginning the top and the armrests.

 

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Top and armrests complete, and here is the finished painted pit.

 

I had my sons haul it up stairs for assembly. Meanwhile I took my computer apart. Here is what that disaster looked like.

 

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My wife started to put it together for me while I read the instructions.

 

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Here is KwikPit during the assembly process.

 

The only problem during assembly was the bottom brace. The wood is a little thin down there, so the screw started to split the wood but I fixed that with some gorilla glue. The whole assembly process took 20 mins.

 

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Fully assembled. I didn't paint the back piece as you will not see it.

 

The KwikPit is very sturdy with very little play.

 

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I'm beginning to put the computer together.

 

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Final product. The armrest is not wide enough for the whole base of the

Thrustmaster Warthog but none the less it works just fine.

 

My likes:

1. Easy of assembly

2. Compact size

3. The price is only $199.95. This puts it well in most simmers budget.

 

My suggestions:

1. The whole thing could be about 4 inches wider.

2. The thin wood where the bracing bracket goes are subject to slight splitting.

 

In conclusion: This really is the holy grail of simming cockpits. Simmers who want a pit without having to go through the trial and tribulations of getting one together this is exactly what you need.

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MAKO69    185

Cool pit, is there an option for the stick to be centered? Also could you post a video of you explaining how you have yours set up and maybe a demo. I am very interested in this and I bet my boss will let me get 1 for my Nameday or X-mass.

Edited by MAKO69

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+Dave    2,095

Cool pit, is there an option for the stick to be centered?

 

There is an option to mount a yoke in the middle. The little shelf it sits on looks like it would hold a CH stick for example just fine.

Edited by Erik
The little shelf it shits on looks like it would hold a CH stick for example just fine. -- Just wasn't right. HAHAHA

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DWCAce    18

I saw their/his website a few months ago, and it does look affordable. Hopefully once we get moved and established in the house I'll be able to get one :)

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Will this accomodate 3x 24'' Acer H236HLbid monitors?  Each monitor weights 7.9lbs with stand according to Newegg.   Or does anyone know of another cockpit that can accomodate 3x 24'' monitor.  These monitors are great with slim bezel but big downside I didn't realize is lack of rear VESA mounts.  

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+Dave    2,095

To accommodate 3 monitors I had to buy a single piece of wood to place on top that measured 5 ft long and 18 inches wide.

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+Dave    2,095

Have you read this whole thread? I did a review of it and I am still using it as I type this. 

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+ST0RM    141

I bought the plans and built my own to accommodate a laptop.

 

It's easy to do and very modable to meet your setup.

 

Jeff

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Hi, Will it support a shelf on either side for your PC tower where you might still get at it? Or pardon me if I missed it does it have a place for your PC? Thanks for a response.

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+Dave    2,095

Here is my KwikPit. To accommodate 3 monitors I put a long board on the top and my PC s right behind the right monitor. That is all you have to do. I highly recommend this pit. 

 

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    • By 33LIMA
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      With the burning city itself below my left wingtip and looking down to my right, I got a shock to see some enemy aircraft wheeling about, low down over the frozen Volga. They looked to be single-engined types, possibly Stukas. Whatever they were, they did not molest us and with ammo low and in my case gone, I decided that honour had been satisfied and that we should all continue back to base, just to the north.
       

       
      The scale of this sortie had been small, but it was beautifully formed. The superb visuals; the sounds, the radio comms; the tactical handling of my flight; the air combat; the activity on the ground including searchlights and trains; the credible behaviour of the AI; the barren landscape with its battered towns rolling beneath us; the chance near-encounter with another German flight going about its own business...this mission alone was proof positive for me that BoS delivers a combat flight simulation that is deeply engaging on every level. And at the end of the mission, I actually could not wait to run through the results and check out what points I earned and what I might have unlocked!
       

       

       
      I would love to see flight results - kills and losses - added into the little sequence above which would be just enough to elevate BoS's mission handling to a much better level. But I have to say that the sim's distinctive approach to the player's role and his or her progression is something that, as a steadfast simmer, I can not only learn to live with, but to appreciate. Even if it were otherwise, to answer the question I left hanging at the end of Part 3, the depth and richness of the flying and air fighting experience delivered by BoS missions is really first class, worth coming back for more and the price of admission, on its own.
       
      Before I move on, just to cover briefly a couple of loose ends, below are the screens which show (top) on a 'Pilot card', your game profile's vital stats and (bottom) on a 'Plane card', where you stand with the unlocks for a particular aircraft, which shows both what you have unlocked, and what's left to unlock.
       

       

       
      And finally, while I haven't done any level bombing yet, here is the view from the Heinkel's Lofte bombsight, and what you see from the bombardier/navigator/airgunner position, looking back into the cockpit...which incidentally, famous test pilot Eric Brown disliked as contrary to appearances, pilot visibility was poor, dangerous in bad weather and producing a 'hall of mirrors' effect in strong sunlight.
       

       

       
      And just to be clear, missions aren't always as small-scale as the one described above. Two missions later, still flying my trusty Yak, four of us escorted six Sturmoviks on an exciting and successful low-level strike on German motor transport, ignoring a formation of 109-escorted Heinkels which were level-bombing some of our guys just over the front line.
       

       
      We fended off some intercepting Messerchmittts, one of which was my next kill after a difficult chase as, damaged by an early hit, he manoeuvred desperately to avoid me. That and at least one kill by a wingman was compensation for the one of our own that I knew we had lost
       

       
      Out of rounds I was chased towards Stalingrad by a German fighter, who gave up when a wingman rejoined me. Together we flew north back to base up the Volga, past blazing ruins in Stalingrad and the famous grain elevator, ignoring the Stukas buzzing angrily over the river.
       

       
      The BoS skies can be busy as well as dangerous. Perhaps only Russian developers could have recreated the time, the place and the combat so well.
       
      And so to the reckoning...
      Each CombatAce reviewer will have their own assessment but for me, this is a difficult one. It’s hard to avoid comparisons with other combat flight sims, especially with the original IL-2, which BoS's branding naturally invites. We do need to remember here that the original IL-2 is a product that's matured over almost exactly thirteen years of development and modding. And I think we need to take a deep breath and count to ten, before we rush to judgement on BoS's unconventional approach to some of the basics.

      In the developer blog, they point out that the unlocks are content that's been made available freely (albeit after 'grinding') rather than as Down-Loadable Content payware, as in RoF. It's also apparent that 1C/777 hoped or believed the unlocks would actually appeal to some players, likely including people used to 'grinding' from playing those 'other genres'.
       
      Like it or not, the BoS SP campaign approach - the unlocks, the pilot levels and awards and the lack of pilot and squadron identities - doesn't mean BoS can't deliver a solid, convincing air combat simulation experience. I find that BoS does exactly that, with considerable polish and flair in very many respects.

      Are the unlocks et al a show stopper for die hard fans of the combat flight sim genre?  Your call, but not for me, absolutely not.
       
      The relatively recent tank sim, Steel Fury - Kharkov 1942 (SF) has no role-playing elements worthy of the name, in sad contrast to say, Panzer Elite. And SF's stock campaigns are just sets of scripted missions (with some replay variability), covering but a few weeks in May/June 1942 in a single area of operations. But once you've made a plan from the map, loaded the appropriate ammo and ordered your driver to advance, while the rounds begin to fall and the tracer starts to fly, the experience of playing the mission itself is actually very engaging. It puts you right there, leading a tank platoon into battle in a small-scale but reasonably convincing simulation of a WW2 all-arms, company-level operation. What SF does, it does more than sufficiently well, to pass muster as a top-notch tank sim, in my books and for many others. Despite limitations elsewhere.
       
      So let it be with Ceasar. Or said of BoS, in my view. Like SF, BoS lacks some features I would like to see, including some I consider quite important. Some of the features it does have, nicely implemented though they are, I'm not crazy about. However, for me, in the round, and judging first and foremost from the experience BoS delivers, upon release, of flying Eastern Front air combat in WW2 (as opposed to simply 'flying WW2 planes') this is a great new addition to the combat flight sim genre.
       
      We have a decent set of superbly-rendered aircraft (soon to be joined by an AI Ju 52) with a great feeling that you're actually flying or fighting from them. We have an historic battlefield rolled out before our very eyes, with adequate levels of ground activity, pleasing to the eyes and recreated in a depth and to a level of detail which more than compensates for the limited breadth of a single area of operations. We have the opportunity to fly small-scale but reasonably challenging and generally convincing sorties over this battlefield, as the battle itself unfolds, in its successive phases, where history, not the player's actions, determines the course of events. The air-to-air and air-to-ground action can be as visceral and exciting as any I've experienced. Sure, a little more suspension-of-disbelief-building in mission presentation (and less 'gamey' objectives and terminology) would be nice...but when you're up there in BoS, over that white-frozen but beautiful virtual landscape, in that nicely-rendered virtual cockpit, fighting for your virtual life while the war goes on around you, all other things seem somehow less important.

      Back down to earth, here are my pros and cons.
       
      Pros
      Beautifully-rendered aircraft, especially externally
      Great feeling of flying combat aircraft
      Beautiful (if snowbound!) environmentals
      Generally very good combat experience
      Good developer support & exceptional engagement
      Good aircrew animation
      Good planeset
      Good set of well-presented on-screen aids
      Ability to fly, gun or bomb
      'Complex Engine Management' adds depth (if you want it)
      SP campaign follows the main phases of the historical battle
      Crisp, clean easy-to-use interface and high 'production values'
      Mostly, decent AI
      Mission Editor is opening up additional SP campaign possibilities
       
      Cons
      No real pilot persona or historical squadrons in stock campaign
      Unlocks could be handled in a more historical fashion (or opted out of)
      No padlock in campaign  Edit - padlock IS now functioning in campaign, as of the pre-Christmas 2014 update
      Limited ground control/tower presence
      'Gamey' terminology in some places
      Wingman command windows large and centred
      Near cloud effect interferes with aircraft rendering
       
      And since life's not all black-and-white, just to expand on the above assessment...
       
      Some room for improvement?
      In campaign, no ability to view your flight's results post-mission, just player's solo achievements
      Difficulty organising flight in making effective ground attacks
      Formations are sometimes small, even for the Eastern Front
      Aircraft could be visible further away, without icons/labels
      Formation-keeping - there's a certain amount of straggling
      Laden bombers seem a bit too agile
      Aircraft lack individual/unit markings
      Stock SP campaign mission briefings rather bland
      Landscape perhaps a little too bland, even for 'snowbound'
      Own pilot is invisible, in 1st person view
      Greater ability to fine-tune on-screen aids, within presets, would be useful
      Limited flexibility of graphics adjustment (presets)

      And the score? I make no allowance here for longer-term potential or the desirability of 'supporting a new product in a niche market'. Nor am I having any regard, either way, to any (sometimes rather fraught) discussions of, or opinions expressed about, BoS, elsewhere. However, I am making some allowance for: the fact that a manual is coming; the prospect of user-made campaign mission sets, which have already begun to appear; a facility to incorporate user-made 'skins' which is I believe coming; and the fact that an AI Ju 52 is definitely being produced, filling the big planeset gap. The mission editor is reported to be tricky to use and we may never get pilot logbooks; but sets of scripted missions, able at least to give the player an identity and an historical squadron, will likely see the arrival, over time, of a decent supply of at least adequate, and possibly very good, 'conventional' if not 'dynamic' Single Player campaigns, which will boost longevity.

      So, remembering that I'm rating only the Single Player element here, on this scale.....

      5 - Must Buy - Delivers a consistently outstanding experience with minimal flaws that do not detract from the gameplay in any significant way.  

      4 - Highly Recommended - Delivers a fun and enjoyable experience well worth your time and money, despite some room for improvement.

      3 - Recommended - Delivers a solid gameplay experience with a few irritations that occasionally disrupt enjoyment.
       
      2 - Difficult to Recommend - Delivers some of the promised fun, but not without significant problems in the gameplay experience.

      1- Not Recommended - Delivers a sub-par gameplay experience; doesn't fulfill its promises; offers more bugs than fun.

      ...this reviewer's final score is: 4 - Highly recommended
       
      As things stand, with a few non-critical reservations, I would recommend the new sim to any air war enthusiast and in particular, to those with an interest in the Eastern Front or in the Soviet or German warbirds which fought there. BoS should also appeal strongly to those who relish the extra realism of being able, if they choose, to manage their airscrew pitch, mixture, radiators and all the other stuff the real pilots had to handle.
       
      I have found IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad to be a detailed, well-produced, enjoyable, effective and rather beautiful evocation of the air war over and around one of the decisive battles of the Second World War. Which, I guess, is about what it set out to be.

      But - unlike the Stuka below - we're not quite finished here yet!
       

       
      Coming next - the view from the other reviewers' cockpits...including Multiplayer!
    • By 33LIMA
        The Single Player campaign
       

       
      The SP campaign is nicely tied into the historical battle. When you kick it off, you get a campaign selection screen; this lists only Stalingrad but the fact there is such a screen suggests other campaigns could be added later. Having selected the campaign itself, you get this screen. From it, you can see that BoS divides the battle into 'Chapters' (which though not totally sequential, historically, could have been more militarily termed 'phases'). You must make a certain amount of progress in each Chapter, before you can move on to the next. However, you can continue to fly missions in completed chapters, even after you have moved on.
       

       
      Each Chapter has an introductory video. These consist of an historical summary narrated as a voiceover to a highly-stylised animated representation. I'd have preferred the more conventional historical newsreels here, but hey, you can't please everybody.
       

       
      Having started the Chapter 'Prelude to Counter-Offensive', you're invited to 'Choose [a] mission' from a map which shows that the 6th Army has pushed a salient into the Soviet lines, occupying all but the eastern fringes of Stalingrad itself. This corresponds to the operational situation just before 6th Army was trapped in the city by Operation Uranus. The attention to the historical detail here I find most immersive. Even if, like me, you're not a particular student of operations on the Eastern Front, to see a well-researched map with the positions of each side's armies and divisions marked out helps draw you back in time, as you look at an authentic military representation of the battlefield at the start of a momentous campaign.
       

       
      You're prompted to click on an airbase, to begin. But most bases are either inactive map markers or greyed out. In fact, at this point, you're in training, and you can only start at one airfield, flying one type of plane, and on one type of mission. Click on the only 'unlocked' airfield - Rakhinka - and all is revealed, step by step. Your aircraft is a LaGG-3, a neat but somewhat underpowered Soviet machine which realised its full potential only when given a big radial, becoming the La-5.
       

       
      Below is the campaign 'Select mission template' screen, illustrating the different options and the range of available campaign missions. Let's run through the options, starting with 'Duration'.  A 'Short' mission - note the clock icon - is an air start, requiring you only to fly from a starting or entry waypoint, on to the mission objective area, and then to a finish or egress waypoint. A 'Full' mission includes the same basic sequence but starts you on the airfield, requiring you to fly to the entry waypoint and from the egress waypoint, fly back to the airfield and land. You get fewer 'experience points' for flying 'Short' missions, incidentally.
       

       
      The 'Difficulty' options enables you to have, or to dispense with, Complex Engine Management and in-flight markers or aids - though in 'Normal' mode, which was my choice, you can hide these visual aids, in-game. Below that, you can see the types of mission available. For your very first sortie, you are restricted to a 'Short' (air start) duration and have only to fly two legs, from entry waypoint to objective waypoint, and then from objective waypoint to egress waypoint. You only find out that this is a training mission when you start it and after the mission has loaded, see the full mission 'Briefing' map, as in this one:
       

       
      Here's a shot taken in-mission, with the visual aids turned on. It's nice to see that my LaGG now has a winter scheme, with moderately-weathered temporary 'whitewash' finish.
       

       
      I'll now run through all the mission result screens you get, when you complete this first, simple mission. I'm devoting all this space to these screens because they neatly illustrate just how the Single Player campaign progression/unlocks/experience points thing works, in practice. First, you get this, which is self-explanatory...
       

       
      ...then come these screens, showing you how many 'experience points' you have been awarded and how far you are, on your way to the next 'Level' of pilot...
       

       

       
      Next comes this, telling you that your 'EXP' has unlocked some goodies, in this case a 23mm cannon:
       

       
      Even though you haven't made 'Level 2 pilot' yet, mission completion has earned you a 'Young Pilot Certificate', which I'm sure is fictitious but sounds corny enough to have been real in the 'socialist paradise' that was the 1940's USSR.
       

       
      Finally, here's the mission results summary. I believe the 'In service' factor is a modifier, in this case giving me 100% of the earned points as I'm still 'In service' - alive and un-hospitalised as the conclusion of the mission, at a guess.
       

       
      What can I say? Not a pilot persona in sight; no option to join an historical squadron; no logbook. Not quite what most of us would expect from a combat flight sim, what with pilot 'levels' and unlocking stuff. CFS3 awarded not-dissimilar 'prestige points' which affected some pilot skills but at least there were no unlocks (apart from new planes arriving on their service entry dates) and you had a pilot persona, although you could not directly choose his squadron and the campaign itself was in an alternative WW2 universe where German shipping sailed the English Channel in daylight.
       
      This isn't what I'd have preferred and I hope that we will at some point get something like a Rise of Flight-style 'beta Career' and/or a Pat Wilson-style campaign generator. At the very least, I think we can certainly expect a more conventional approach from themed sets of single missions, built using the upcoming Full Mission Builder, so far just open to a few but at some point, to be on general release.
       
      I have to say that - unconventional though it is - I find the current BoS approach is in most respects both neatly designed and well executed. For example, the 'Select mission template' screen is liberally provided with on-screen tips, which guide you through the setup process. I'm not saying I like it, mind, but I can't help but admire the execution.
       

       
      Some players may actually favor the radical BoS take on delivering a Single Player campaign experience. It did actually get some votes in a developer poll, though many more wanted it either taken away or made by-passable.
       
      Anyway...subsequent training missions expand your repertoire, taking you on ground attack and intercept sorties and introducing full duration, ground start missions. Like beating up this convoy of Open Blitz trucks, complete with Hollywood-style German crosses on the doors. This driver made a run for it but he'll be needing a new truck, as well as a change of underwear, most likely.
       

       
      ...to be continued!
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