1. #1
    I see a certain UK website are selling the Thrustmaster Cougar for just £145 (+ free delivery) whilst the cheapest i can find the CH Throttle + Fighterstick is for £210 (+ free delivery) - that's quite a difference!

    My question is which of these two would i be better of buying? Whilst i'd obviously rather spend less AND have authentic replica F-16 controls, i've heard that there are big quality control issues with the Cougar e.g. pots prone to spiking etc.

    BTW i am not interested in Saitek!

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  2. #2
    steiner562's Avatar Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Never used the Thrustmaster Cougar,but apparently they require more maintainace and modifications=more $$,I have a CH fighter stick,and love it,wont be being changing anytime soon.
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  3. #3
    Cougars used to be sold at Comp USA. While investigating my next HOTAS purchase I was leaning toward Thrustmaster. It wasn't until I tried one at Comp USA that I decided it wasn't a stick I thought I'd be happy with over the long haul. It is a very heavy handed stick, and nowhere near comfortable for my likes.

    I simmed VERY regularly when I purchased my CH HOTAS. It's a fine stick for me. I've owned it for three years without a single problem. It centers and tracks as the day I bought it. When others made that claim I thought they were blowing smoke..... not so.

    While you may not have to mod a Thrustmaster Cougar, many report the vast improvement with a modded Cougar over stock. A couple hundred more dollars to have a stick that performs as well as, and is as comfortable as my CH is more money than you'd spend on a CH anyway. (Modding isn't mandatory)

    My recommendation is to check a store and try one (of each if you can)..... even if it's just to get the idea of how it feels in your mitts. Look around online to determine the price of modding a Cougar.

    I did like the feel of the Cougar's throttle though, and love it's included rotaries.

    All I can say is I definately don't regret my CH purchase. For me, my money, and my sim experience CH is everything I want it to be.
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  4. #4
    Viper2005_'s Avatar Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    My Cougar is awesome - but it's modded.

    Stock it was worse than the X-45 it replaced IMO.

    If you're prepared to research the mods, and risk having to start again if you go for the wrong one, the Cougar is unbeatable IMO.

    If you want to plug & play, I'd advise you to buy something else.
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  5. #5
    jayhall0315's Avatar Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Hey Schwarz,
    I have to agree with what Viper and Steiner said. I have had my CH Fighterstick/Pro Throttle/Pro Pedals for about four months now and have found them to be both TOUGH and ACCURATE. Absolutely no loss of precision on the Fighterstick even after flying 40 hour weeks back when I was a complete noob on summer vacation. The Control Manager software for CH Products is also badass. It is initially not that intuitive but after a week or so you realize that you can get your CH stuff to do almost anything (for example, I dont need a Track IR because I can use the software to set the mini-joystick on the Pro Throttle to look around in the same manner as a Track IR).

    I also agree with Viper in that I did much research initially between the CH stuff, the X-52 Pro and the Cougar. Many of the reviews (including those on Amazon.com, Newegg.com and pricegrabber.com from real users) mention that the Cougar is not really that good out of the box. If you have another ~200 to 500 dollars to fully upgrade the Cougar HOTAS then perhaps it becomes the best of the best... but that is alot of lingerie for my wife . There have also been some problems with the quality of the gimbals used in the Cougar HOTAS and many people report the stick as having very stiff springs, so that you feel slightly fatigued after 2~3 hours. The CH Fighterstick on the other hand has relatively light springs and feels good for all nighters. If you have a CH product and then read about all these guys who post in the forums about stick problems and deadband issues, you just smile. The CH stuff is that precise.

    As for me, I have been really happy with my CH stuff. The only things I can say poorly about it is it doesn't look 'bling' like the X-52 Pro and their are no rotary dials on the CH stuff which is sometimes very nice for the flaps and prop pitch settings.

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  6. #6
    I'll give up my Cougar when they pry it out of my cold dead hands.

    I have four. One is modded (use for every day) - I keep buying them for next to nothing just in case I do need the spare parts that everyone says I do. Have not used any yet - except for a throttle handle that got broke in airline baggage a few years ago.

    One pot replacement (slider) in four years which the maker sent me free - no switch replacement - works like a champ.

    With the right mod - nothing can touch it. In programmability - nothing can touch it. On the other hand - if you don't want to get into Cougar programming (takes time) then you'll never get maximum utility out of it.

    For a stock Cougar - there is one very effective change that's very easy to make - which will reduce the stick forces by orders of magnitude.

    Simply remove the rubber boot. Works wonders.

    Do me a favor though, don't tell anyone about it - I've made a killing on used Cougars.

    Some folks don't have the patience for complex things - and a Cougar is one.

    A Cougar is a lot like the P-51 and Tempest in Il2 - if you just jump right in and run to QMB, these aircraft seem like dogs. With a lot of study, time and practice however they are two of the most dangerous A/C in the sim.

    If you take a stock Cougar and rush to map buttons to direct X with the boot on, it sucks.

    If you actually read the programming manual (it's not all that hard, just extensive), think about how to optimize it and work towards learning it's strenghts - there's nothing that compares (for me).

    With the Uber2Nxt mod by IanJ (found in Frugals forums) - there's nothing that can touch it - real spring tension - gradual pressure with no center detent, plus you get two X, Y optical pots.

    Please excuse my passion for my Cougar - it's served me incredibly well. I usually stay out of these joystick threads as passion heats up quickly. But once every two years or so I put in my piece.

    Oh yeah, did I mention it's made of metal? Feels like a stick - not a toy.

    210 pounds is way too much money for one however - you should be able to find one much cheaper on ebay or on sale.

    Sooner or later, if you wait - someone without much patience will sell their almost brand new one at half that price.


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  7. #7
    I've bought two Thrustmaster products. One was a gamepad which lasted less than six months before packing it in, the other was a FFB HOTAS set up, Top Gun Afterburner I think it was called, and it was DOA. So I would say go for the CH set up.

    However, I would recommend Saitek X52 (yes, I know you said you're not interested ). I've had mine over two years now and it's as good as new, plus the software that comes with it is great. I think you can pick one up for about £70 now. It's a bargain mate, it really is.

    EDIT: you could always get the CH fighterstick and one of these to go with it...

    throttle quadrant

    ...surely that would save a few quid?
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  8. #8
    I'm also interested in a HOTAS unit. I'm a total noob though and still don't even own IL-2! I've played it at a friend's house though and I've been looking into it ever since. I borrowed the game once to see if my old machine would run it and... well it didn't so I had to wait. Now I've got a monster new rig (like Crysis on all high, high fps good) and want to get into IL-2.

    I am pretty sure I'm going to grab an x-52 (not the pro) as its about $100 here in Canada and offers me a Hotas set up without going into the $200 mark.

    I have possible long term ambitions to use possibly a CH Fighterstick WITH the X52's throttle and I think its possible given the fact that the X52 throttle is the main line to the machine and the X52 stick plugs into it. Can anyone tell me if that would work?

    Any comments about the regular, non pro, x52? I don't think its worth the extra money since its about $80 up here more for what seems like cosmetic changes, maybe some slightly higher quality workmanship.

    Also, to get totally off track, I don't suppose buying il-2 1946 of steam is a bad thing? I just wonder if it hinders the ability apply those controversial mods or change skins.

    Cheers, and thanks for any help.
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  9. #9
    Originally posted by P.FunkAdelic:
    .......Any comments about the regular, non pro, x52? I don't think its worth the extra money since its about $80 up here more for what seems like cosmetic changes, maybe some slightly higher quality workmanship.......
    Plus, the Pro has HALL sensors in it, as opposite to "normal" potentiometers...

    I have the Cougar and I love it. I modded its gimbals some years ago. As already said, it is the TOP (for me ). It sure requires some care and some reading, but it pays back.
    The forum at Cougarworld is an incredible source of ideas.
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  10. #10
    Ive used a CH Flightstick for 20 yrs and just got a new CH Flightstick and Combatstick. I highly recommend them for quality.

    I have a X52 Throttle because its loaded with analog sliders. I put aside the X-52 joystick and it sits un-used and is not needed.

    CH all the way. Get a fighterstick for IL-2 at minimum. Combatstick if you are gaming with other games besides flightsims.
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