I'll start by saying that Pagnian offered a competitive price and delivered it within a matter of days to metro Sydney. Kudos to them for great service!
The problem is with the stick itself. The throttle is primo quality with no issues.
The stick, however, is the worst stick I've ever owned. The metal grip feels great, high quality, etc. The buttons mostly feel very good, though I find the hats can be a bit 'spongey', meaning that they don't give a 'click' feedback. This wasn't really an issue for me, and it may be how the real stick on the real A-10 Warthog feels, as this is a replica after all. I found using gloves to be a much more comfortable way to use the stick as this is how the real stick is designed to be used.
The problem itself lies in the base, or the gimbal to be more precise. Fresh out of the box I immediately noticed that the stick gets stuck in various positions. With the stick at full deflection, it will move more or less smoothly. It is between centre and full deflection that you will notice the sticking, especially the closer to centre that you are. This is no minor thing and greatly affects your flying.
At the centre, it is literally impossible to make minute adjustments, which is crucial for both warbirds (WWI and WWII) and for a lot of functions with jets, particularly refuelling. Forget getting your crosshairs on target - this stick simply can't do it. At medium deflection, the problem is also quite bad. I found that while trying to dogfight, I regularly felt as though I was at full deflection, only to find that the stick had become stuck. I literally had to yank the stick to move it further, as progressively increasing the pressure just would not work. This, of course, causes your plane to **** suddenly and more often than not spin out of control. Not jerking the stick to full deflection simply means not using the full turn radius of the plane, thus rendering dogfighting impossible. This is a combat stick, not a GA stick, so not being able to dogfight with it is a little bewildering.
I thought I perhaps had a defective unit, but I did some research into the issue, and lo and behold, it is a well-known problem with the Warthog stick that is known as 'stiction'. This is caused by the gimbal being plastic (yes that's right, the outside is all metal but what you don't see is the plastic internals!), where the gimbal mould has left-over plastic ridges that catch on other internal components.
There are only two ways to resolve this problem: Buy an expensive mounting and extension setup (which mitigates but doesn't fully eliminate the problem), or to open the gimbal up, fully taking it apart in a rather intimidating and involved looking process, sanding down the offending plastic ridges, adding new special, high-viscosity grease, and putting it all back together again, hopefully not breaking any of the delicate components in the process, but likely voiding your warranty just for taking it apart and finishing the job of the manufacturers!
There is just no other way around this stiction problem, but for this price point, it is absolutely absurd that I have to do risky maintenance on a brand new, high-end stick. It is equally absurd that I have to spend $400+ for desk mounts and extensions, bringing the total cost for this setup to $1000+. I got the Warthog because I thought it was a high-end stick at a competitive price compared with the other high-end sticks on the market, but at $1000 I could have gone with something else that doesn't have these issues.
I would never recommend this stick to anyone and will be telling anyone who asks to steer well clear of the Warthog.
I have packed my brand new stick back up in its box and have contacted Pagnian. If Pagnian can do something about this, my review may change, but as is, this was a total waste of money and I am very disappointed by the whole experience. I'll be steering clear of Thrustmaster products in future too.
Please heed my warning and don't make the same mistake I did. Go with VKB or Virpil - it'll cost you the same in the end.