Vaping News

Vaprdroid X1C2 Review

I’ve postponed my Vapedroid X1C2 review for so long that it is now a discontinued item. So instead of doing a full-blown video, I’ll do a text review instead. Who knows, it might help someone who decides to pick up a used Vapedroid.The pictures you see here is for the Vapedroid X1C2 Ultem (X1C2-N), which is limited and rare. I actually purchased the Black Ultem version directly from the Vapedroid store. However, within a week of using my black I saw the ultem up for sale in a Facebook group. I bought the Ultem, sold the black, and never happier.Both are exactly the same except for the faceplate and battery door. So, here’s my full unbiased written review of the Vapedroid X1C2 in general.Vapedroid X1C2 is a produced by Vapedroid. You may have seen very affordable Vapedroid-DNA mods in the past, but those were a collaboration with S-Body. The X1C2s are 100% designed, manufactured and marketed by Vapedroid.They cost $250 inclusive of Paypal fees & worldwide DHL shipping. Here are the specs:

  • Amber ultem / black ultem / polycarbonate casing options
  • Anodized 6061 Aluminium “monobloc” frame, in silver or black
  • Evolv DNA75C with custom VapeDroid Theme
  • Powered by a single 26650 battery, no adapters provided
  • Extremely lightweight, weighing just 90g without batteries
  • Dimensions are 85 x 47.8 x 30.8mm
  • Made in Germany

Vapedroid X1C2: Pros

  • Looks gorgeous & high-class – I have to say I am in love with the looks, but only the amber Ultem & polycarbonate ones. These look really unique, while the other two versions look pretty ordinary. That’s probably why these two versions are the most sought-after variants.
  • Great build quality – Only the best materials were used, and the construction made this a very durable mod. Plus, the “Made in Germany” thing.
  • Feels very comfortable – For a 26650 mod, it’s pretty small. However, it still feels like a good size for my hands. Comfortable and easy to use.
  • Creative DNA75C theme – While everyone else shipped with the stock Evolve theme for the DNA75c, kudos to Vapedroid for making their own. And what a theme it is! It give a completely new dimension to the DNA75c with landscape menus, bright colors, and neat layout. In fact, I’ve used this theme in most of my other DNA75C devices.

Vapedroid X1C2: Pros

  • Price is pretty high – You will feel that way unless you have the amber Ultem / polycarbonate version. Unless you value the materials used, you might feel like it’s overpriced. That being said, shipping costs are already included in the price and I received my mod really fast.
  • Battery door rattles / moves – It really depends n the type of 26650 battery you use, and whether you have re-wrapped it. Without the battery, everything firs perfect. With the battery in, there is a slight movement that can range from unnoticeable to annoying. I had this issue in both my Vapedroid X1C2s.
  • Max 24mm – Unless you don’t mind a slight overhand, this will accommodate RDAs and tanks up to 24mm in diameter.
  • No adapter – 26650 batteries are on their way out, in my opinion. An 18650 battery adapter would have helped a lot.

At first, I was unconvinced by the Vapedroid X1C2. I wondered why a machine-made, regular DNA75C device would cost that much. The first mod I had, the black ultem, didn’t make me feel any better. I still felt like it was good but not $250-good.However, the amber Ultem version (the X1C2) got me hooked. It feels “special” and matches up pretty well with all the ultem/black squonking topcaps I already have. Using it is a real joy.Light, good battery life, unique looks and so comfortable. Considering it’s 100% made in Germany, perhaps the cost is not that bad after all.If you can get a Vapedroid X1C2 – any variant – in good condition, I recommend getting one. It’s not built like a Chinese-made DNA mods. It doesn’t feel like one either.

Vaping Tips

The Importance of Cleaning Your Mech Squonk Mods

Mech squonkers are by the far the most popular type of squonk mod. This is because it’s easy to make them, and also because they will last forever if you clean and maintain them properly.

Well that brings us to the interesting part: cleaning.

I don’t think most people do this. Why? Because I’ve bought one too many used mech squonk mods that have either never been cleaned, or cleaned improperly. Sometimes I still find dried up e-liquid in the 510 parts.

By the way, never buy a mechanical squonker that cannot be easily disassembled and cleaned – there are some out there.

It’s actually a very simple thing to do, and will prevent unwated shorts, voltage drop and corrosion or staining. I just use alchohol wipes (Isopropyl alcohol) for cleaning. Sometimes I put the entire 510 into my ultrasonic cleaner for a quick clean.

You must know how to remove the 510, and even disassemble the 510. New mods will work fine for a while, but eventually you will notice low performance.

The Moddog Pulsar I bought recently for example. It worked but I had this feeling that it was not hitting as hard as it should. After all, it has pure silver contacts and used the Moddog 510 which many say is the hardest-hitting 510.

So I disassembled everything, even the 510. Gave it a quick ultrasonic cleaning then rubbed off some sticky goo with my wipes, and put everything back together.

The performance was much, much better after the quick cleaning.

Take care of your mech squonkers. If you’re like me and have many of them, they get out of rotation quickly when new stuff arrives. Before putting them away, clean wipe your mod properly.

It’s definitely worth taking the time for it.

Building & Wicking Vaping Tips

DNA60 Wiring Problem for USB Module

I’ve been on the DIY Squonk Mod series for a few months now, and recently moved away from trying to build pure mech squonkers. Firstly they are very much similar to each other, and secondly because I discovered more challenging regulated DIY mods.

As per the initial research, I listed Florisbox as one of the possible sources of DIY. However, at that time I was thinking of their mech mods. Since then I’ve stumbled across their DNA75C and DNA60 enclosures that look really slick. I decided to challenge myself, and build some.

Florisbox offers zero guidance on building, as compared to the Analogboxmods DNA75C DIY kit. ABM had a complete step-by-step video on assembly and wiring. So I did the ABM one first to get the hang of soldering, before trying to build the Floris DNA60 mod.

The biggest challenge was trying to connect the DNA60 board to the USB module.

Unlike the DNA 75C or even the DNA75, the USB module is separate and needed to be soldered together to have USB charging & Escribe capabilities. Also unlike the DNA75C, the board seems cramped and the small holes seem are very close to each other.

The DNA60 datasheet from Evolve offered no explanation on how to solder the USB module to the board, which was unexpected. In fact the USB module isn’t even shown in the Evolve datasheet. Even after searching through the Evolve forum, I didn’t find good official examples or explanation.

It’s almost like no one was using the USB module for the DNA60. Or perhaps, those that knew how to do it didn’t bother sharing.

Eventually, after a lot of research and connecting the dots, I was able to figure out the type of wires to use and which wire goes where. Although my soldering skills are still nothing to shout about, I was able to get it done with some patience.

Here’s how my completed wiring looks like:

I saved some random pictures when researching how to wire the USB module to the main DNA60 board. I’m sorry I cannot remember the website URLs for credit. They are mostly from websites and Google image search. I would be happy to credit you for the picture if you let me know the URL.

A few DNA60 wiring pictures and diagrams I found:

Here you can see which wire goes where, and the gauge to use for each.

Overall, I found it pretty hard to wire the DNA60 board. The location of the screen cable is pretty close to the holes for the USB module. I had to unsolder the Battery + wire to make enough room for the screen to be inserted. Then, I re-soldered the wire.

As a result of trying to force the screen cable into the board, I ended up ruining it. I had to get a replacement, but now that I know the issues I think in future I would be able to do this delicate job without the same problem.

Hopefully, my soldering skills would also be better. I definitely learned a lot about soldering from this single DIY squonk mod project. A bit of guidance from Floris would have been great, but I don’t think we’ll see a tutorial video from him anytime soon.

I hope this DNA60 wiring information and pictures are useful for your project.

Vaping Gear

I Bought The Moddog Pulsar!

I’ve blogged about the Moddog Pulsar before, where I mentioned how silly it was to use a proprietary battery cap that can only be removed with the Moddog custom tool. Although I really wanted to get a Pulsar (or something like it), I thought I would wait till they made it better.

Recently, I came across a For Sale post in a Facebook group. The seller was selling his Pulsar with the new 3D printed body you see above, 20700/21700 tube upgrade kits, carbon fiber 21700 tube and a whole lot of spare bottles for a good price.

Still I waited, not sure what to expect from the Pulsar. I kept looking at the post every day but it seems like no one wanted to grab the deal. It felt like destiny, and I went ahead and grabbed the deal for myself.

I was very surprised by the Pulsar. Although I remember watching some reviews a while back, I forgot exactly how innovative the Pulsar is. The mod comes fully disassembled, which was interesting, but there are a lot of innovations in the bottle system that no one really explained well.

Anyway, here’s how the new battery cap looks like:

To be clear, this is most probably an OG Pulsar with upgraded battery cap. The original “Paw” cap was nowhere to be seen, but it did come with the Moddog keychain tool for the Paw cap.

Here’s how it looks with the KRMA Bright, with a sandblasted top cap

The new Pulsar comes in a few different color options like black, red and blue. The differences are very minor, mostly with a new BF pin and a new bottle lock for the BF pin other than the battery cap.

I went ahead and ordered the Pulsar leather case from the Original Moddog website. You can easily get a Pulsar from the website, most of the colors are in stock. You can also buy the 3D printed bodies and Pulsar parts.

I think I really love the Pulsar. So far, nothing to complain about. The 3D printed body just makes it look like a completely different mod, and its very easy to switch between bodies. The bottle has a huge capacity and works flawlessly. The Moddog 510 hits hard. 18650, 20700 and even 21700 batteries.

Unlike a lot of Italian mods that are just about the looks with almost no real innovation, the Pulsar has tons of little innovations everywhere. I really have nothing to complain about this mod.

Building & Wicking Vaping Gear Vaping Videos

DNA75C / 20700 Analog Box Mods (ABM) Kit – DIY Squonk Mod Part 7

I never expected to get this far in the series, let alone build a regulated mod by myself. And yet, here we are! I am going to build the DNA75C 20700 squonk mod by Analogboxmods.

If you have not looked at the other mods I built getting to this point, do take a look at them:

Besides the failed Sledz mod, I enjoyed building all those mechanical squonkers. I’m ready to move to the “big league” of regulated squonk mods.

Even before I started this, I knew that the most difficult part for me would be soldering. So I watched a ton of Youtube videos, picked up a new soldering iron and even wasted a few soldering tips by oxidizing them pretty fast.

Watch this: Soldering basics

Still, I kept on trying until I felt I was ready to do the real thing.

The step-by-step video tutorial by ABM helped a lot on filling the gaps. The video is very informational and I recommend you watch it after you watch mine. I do not show you the soldering parts because the ABM video already does an excellent job at it.

How much does it cost?

The ABM DNA75C squonk mod kit starts at CAD $105. However, that price is for the DNA75 option with unfinished aluminum enclosure. To build a DNA75C with the ModMaker 510 and powder-coated aluminum enclosure you see in my video, it would cost about CAD $127.

At that price you get the complete kit that contains:

  • The milled aluminum enclosure, door and magnets
  • The DNA75C board from Evolve
  • The ModMaker 510 complete with soldering tabs
  • A brass / copper contact plate for grounding
  • A 3D-printed holder for the DNA75C and mounting screws
  • Two keystone contacts and 3D-printed battery / bottle sled
  • The required 16g and 18g / 24g tinned copper wires for DNA75C
  • A PET or silicone squonk bottle

I loved the fact that I would get everything I needed to start building right away. This is a huge time-saver for me. It saved a lot of money too, since I could pay only once for shipping instead of buying bits and pieces from multiple websites.

I also recommend getting additional keystone contacts when you buy the kit. Your first attempt at soldering the wire to the keystone contacts may be a complete disaster. It will be more motivating to scrap the failure and start on a fresh new set.

As expected, the biggest challenge was soldering. If you’re new to soldering, please do not try doing the mod. Instead, try soldering other random stuff.

  • For example, cut a bit of the provided wire, strip away the silicone, and try putting some solder on the exposed copper. If you cannot do this yet, you’re not ready to assemble the mod.
  • You can also try soldering one end of the wire to the other end or to a scrap piece of brass / copper. This is harder than you think.
  • I found it easier to tin both connections first, then solder them together with some flux.

Here’s the list of other tools you might need, that will make the whole thing a lot easier to do:

Also, it’s a good idea to plug-in your DNA75C via USB to your computer right away and make sure everything is working. In my case, the screen was defective and ABM sent me a replacement immediately.

When I finished this mod, it was like a huge veil has been lifted from my eyes. I can see clearly now, the rain has stopped. I can see all the obstacles in my path to making my own mod in the future.

I have now actually build a regulated mod!

Sure, I didn’t mill the body or design the 510, but I did put everything together. I feel like I appreciate the work of modders so much more, and understand what goes into building all those mods I reviewed in the past.

The next project is to build the Floris DNA60 squonk mod. In terms of difficulty, that project is a few steps above the ABM mod. But without this DIY project, I would not have the confidence to move forward.

So thank you ABM!

The mod I build will be put up for auction at the cost price, and the money I get back will really help me a lot in future DIY projects. So do take a look at it and put in your bid.

Building & Wicking Vaping Gear Vaping Videos

FAILED Sledz Mech Squonker – DIY Squonk Mod Part 6

In this installment of DIY squonk mods, I show you how to build the Sledz mod. Do also take a look at the first five parts:

Sledz was in my initial research. Although I knew it was not going to be as good as the ModMaker / Shapeways combo, I decided to do it anyway. I actually ordered two mods that came with doors, two additional doors and a couple of additional buttons.

The idea was that I would build these and just give them away, since they are so cheap. However, I didn’t get very far.

I noticed right away how raw these boxes were, again comparing to the Shapeways print. The measurements were off for the button (actuators) holes. Print lines were very obvious on the enclosure, and a lot of work was needed to smother these out. I tried sanding them smooth to some extent, but it was tough.

Eventually, I tried to dye one of the mods purple using my regular method of dying 3D printed mods. To my shock, the mod shrunk and warped out of shape barely two minutes into the dye mixture.

So I sat down again thinking how I can get this done. I still had another enclosure to show you. However, I wanted to show you how to make the Sledz mod way better in terms of looks and feel.

Eventually, I lost interest in it. At this time, I had already received the Analogboxmods DNA75C DIY kit, and parts of the Floris DNA60 squonk setup as well. It just didn’t seem worth my time to try to make this mod good.

I mean, it’s cheap but not that cheap. The price difference between these and the ModMaker 18650 mod was about $14 but the quality was way inferior. These seem to be printed on a low-cost 3D printer, probably one in the shed. The material used is most probably PETG and is not heat-resistant.

However to be fair, this was the cheaper option. They do have an Alumide option for squonk enclosures that seem much better made.

So, I’m calling this a FAIL and moving on. Even if I did fix and build it, I don’t think I would enjoy using it. I also don’t think it would be safe to use in the long run especially if you like a hot vape. I have a DNA75C and DNA60 squonk mods waiting to be assembled, and I just cannot find the motivation to get through this one.

So if you want to check out their Alumide enclosures, you can visit the Sledz online store.

Live and learn. Moving on to the next DIY project.

Vaping Gear Vaping Tips

New‌ ‌SVF‌ ‌510‌ ‌–‌ ‌How‌ ‌Does‌ ‌It‌ ‌ Work?‌

A while back, I bought two new SVF 510s from the Squonk America group buy, and to be honest I wasn’t sure why. I probably thought I could use it on one of my DIY squonk mod videos, although these are for mech mods only and I’m about done with mech mods for that series.

The one thing I was sure of it that these SVF 510s were made of silver (99% I think?) and they can be locked. The post wasn’t too detailed about the measurements of other stuff.

When I first got it, I was confused about the locking system. It seemed so simple, and no locking in sight. It was also not spring-loaded. Took me a few minutes, but eventually I figured it out.

So here’s how the SVF 510 works.

There are just four pieces as you can see from the picture – 510 plate, 510 pin & nut, securing nut and PEEK insulator. In fact, I don’t recommend taking out the PEEK insulator at all – you don’t need to and it will reduce the life of your SVF 510.

So you screw the 510 pin into the PEEK counter-clockwise until it touches your RDA’s 510 and makes a connection. If there’s a gap between your RDA and your mod, turn the 510 nut clockwise to lower the 510 pin and screw in the RDA a little bit more.

You’ll have to adjust the pin manually for every RDA, but unlike other 510s that require a screwdriver, the SVF 510 does not.

So where the lock? Basically, just turn the 510 pin / nut counter-clockwise until it no longer connects. In reality, this is pretty easy to do even when the SVF 510 is in your mod. Using your thumb, you can grip the nut easily and just give it a small turn to disconnect.

The 510 but is rigid enough to stay in place. When you want to unlock, jus turn it clockwise and it will make a connection to your RDA. That’s it!

The only concern here, is the PEEK insulator. How long will it last before the thread are completely ruined by all that turning to lock / unlock it? I guess time will tell.

For now, it works and it works well. It hits really hard due to the fact that there are so few parts, and therefore almost zero voltage drop. Silver is a great conductor of electricity too. If your contacts are also silver, you get the best hit from your batteries.

You might need to get used to this method of locking & unlocking, and sometimes it may seem like it’s not working. That’s usually because you need to turn the nut just a little bit more to make contact.

The 510 plate measures 22mm x 1.5mm x 10mm though, which is 0.5mm taller than the ModMaker 510 and 1mm wider for the threads. So if you’re looking to upgrade your mech mod from a ModMaker to the SVF 510, you’ll need to hack the mod a little bit.

I just got my new SVF v4 fully-engraved mod, and this new SVF 510 was already installed. So I have two unused SVF 510s that I will probably use to upgrade my ModMaker-based squonk mods.

Hmm… maybe not. I think I will keep them for brand new squonk mod projects, especially the ones I plan to get from Floris mods.

At the moment, I am not sure where you can buy these, but hold on and some websites may have them in stock.

Building & Wicking Vaping Tips

Making My Own 18650 / 20700 Battery Dispenser

Yes.. been doing a lot of DIY recently – my DIY squonk mods series, making my own squonk stand, and more recently my own stabwood doors for squonk mods.

It’s not going to stop. I’ve already bought the Dremel 4000 and Dremel Motosaw along with a lot of other smaller tools, so it seems easy now to just create stuff.

Believe it or not, battery dispensers are hard to come by. I’ve seen a 3d-printed 18650 battery dispenser once in a Facebook group, but I also have 20700 batteries. Feeling bored, I decided to just wing it and try creating my own battery dispenser.

The idea is simple. You have a container that holds batteries vertically, and pushes some out. When you remove one from the bottom tray, the stacked batteries will push out one to replace it.

You just placed your fully-charged battery right on top, and you’ll always be sure of giving all your batteries equal usage. Simple concept.

I could have probably planned it and drew something out, but I was up for an adventure. So I just turned on the Dremel Motosaw and used some thin pieces of wood I got from Daiso. These were the leftover wood from creating my own squonk stand.

I just used by 20700 battery as a template, and did some basic measurements on a few pieces of wood. I cut them all pretty fast using the Dremel Motosaw, and stuck them together with wood glue. It took me about 2 hours of work to get this done.

Does it work?

Yes, although it needs some fine tuning. A little bit of sanding left to make sure that the batteries do get pushed out properly. Right now, some re-wrapped batteries seem to not get pushed out very well. Also, I should probably slope the tray a little bit to take full advantage of gravity.

Plus, I will also be finishing the wood. I’m not sure if I want to use the same finish from my squonk mod, or just paint it. I will probably use the same finish, simply because there’s a lot left of it and I don’t want to spend money.

DIY is fun. You can create all these small trinkets and tools pretty easily, and save a lot of money.

Building & Wicking Vaping Gear Vaping Tips

Making My Own Stabwood Doors & Panels!

I love stabwood mods, and I’ve spent quite a lot of money on some. I also have some stabwood doors and panels for my squonk mods. However, getting them is always hard.

First, I don’t like to buy just ANY stabwood door or panel. I must love the wood and colors. Secondly, they are pretty hard to get. You have to X1 in most cases, and I never get those X1s in fast enough.

So I always end up buying some neat stabwood doors in the aftermarket. That’s not quite easy either. Most people want to sell their stabwood door along with their mods, which in most cases I already have.

That’s why recently I decided to make my own doors, panels, and (hopefully soon) driptips. I bought four stabwood blocks at great prices, each costing me between $45 to $70, excluding shipping. These are full-sized blocks for making mods, but the people I buy from do occasionally have smaller blocks for sale.

I do not have proper milling tools, or a CNC machine. I figured there must be a way to do this with the tools I already have – a few saws, a Dremel 4000 with accessories, and sandpaper. I already have tons of magnets and MicroMesh from my DIY squonk mod series.

I have to admit, it’s very difficult to do without the proper tools. The most challenging part was cutting the wood blocks for to thinner panels. Initially I tried to do this with a hand saw, but it took really long and the cuts were always crooked. This meant more sanding just to remove the materials I do not want.

Then , I bought a cheap miter box that allowed me to cut at 90 degrees or 45 degrees pretty easily with my hacksaw. Using a clamp to hold down the wood, I could place my hacksaw in the miter box and saw the wood into thinner pieces as straight as possible.

As you can see, they come out pretty good. I was able to get six pieces from one wood block, each measuring about 6mm to 8mm.

Next, came a lot – and I mean a LOT – of sanding. You have to first sand down the pieces to make them as flat as possible on both sides. Be prepared for a lot of saw dust; wear protective eyewear and a saw dust mask.

My first attempt was a simple rectangle door, for the Punto Zero mod. I basically outlined the door based on the others I have, and then made a few holes for the squonk bottle using a drill.

I also have a Dremel Motosaw that I used to cut out the squonk hole, but I wasn’t very useful. It’s actually better to just drill a hole at all the rounded corners, then use a file to file down the hole to the correct size.

In the second attempt for my Vicious Ant Spade, the Dremel Motosaw was very useful indeed. It allowed my to cut all the curves, but I left some slack instead of trying to cut accurately. Then, with both the doors, it’s a matter of just sanding down slowly and measuring for fit.

I got a bit impatient with the Punto Zero doors and did the rounded corners first. They ended up a bit too round as you can see, but still pretty ok. Then, more sanding, test fitting, and sanding again.

The final step was to use MicroMesh and sand it in stages until you get a prefect smooth finish. Here’s the tutorial on how to make stabwood shine with MicroMesh. At the moment the doors are press-fit, although I will be drilling some holes for magnets.

I learned that it’s possible without CNC milling, but you need to have patience. The results may not be as perfect as doors and panels made by a machine, but it is VERY satisfying to see the result.

The Spade door was just a test so I used the scrap piece of the stabwood block. The grain direction made it look not as good as the Punto Zero doors although it’s from the same wood block.

For my first try, I am perfectly happy with these. Plus, you cannot beat the economics. Assuming I can make six panels from a wood block, each panel cost me only about $10-$15 on average. Of course, that excludes the time I spent on them.

Some tips I can share:

  • Try a simple rectangle door with simple squonk holes first
  • Do the holes, then sand down the rest of the panel to size
  • Constantly test fit while sanding, or you will sand off too much

But hey, no more X1s, no more waiting for vape mail from USPS for two weeks. The best part is that I can get exactly the wood I want, and keep the block as long as I want until I decide to use it.

No regrets, and I will get better at making these.

Vaping Gear Vaping Videos

Comet RDA by Vapemonster Korea

Vapemonster from Korea is pretty well-known in some high-end vaping circles, although you might have never heard of them. I remember seeing several of their squonk mods on sale in various FB groups, and they looked pretty well-built.

I came across this by chance in a local vape store, and decided to get one. The Comet RDA is a 22mm single-coil RDA designed for flavor chasing with an open draw. The airflow reminds me of the Flave RDA, although not exactly alike. Perhaps it’s closer to the B2K RSA?

There’s also a black version, which looks fantastic. Ok, let’s get on with the review.

Comet RDA Review: Pros

  • Good build quality – Overall the build quality is great, with some issues on the threaded Ultem top piece. You may have a hard time getting the ultem part out at first, but do it slowly and it should come out. The o-rings and other minor parts work well too.
  • Wide open airflow – If you want a single coil RDA that has a wide open airflow, this is it. It can accomodate larger coils for more vapor production.
  • Good flavor – It’s hard to rank an RDA in terms of flavor, but I would say the Comet RDA comes into the top 30. Definitely not the top 10 for me personally.

Comet RDA Review: Cons

  • Flimsy clamps – The clamps do’t work very well in my opinion. It look large but the actual area you can clamp with is pretty small, and your coils can slip out with a little tugging. You can however try pre-cutting your leads and clamping on the inside part of the clamp. The screws that hold down the clamps are a bit too small to have enough force.
  • Not flexible – You can basically put your coil in one position only. Or maybe two positions in you consider using the inside part of the clamp, after the screw. But that’s about it.

Overall, the Comet RDA by Vapemonster Korea is a well built RDA, the only letdown are the clamps. In today’s squonking world, it’s hard to impress me.

I prefer the Haku, Flave & Flave 22, Basic, B2K and more over the Comet RDA. The black version does look better, and the ultem / PMMA topcaps can help a little with the overall looks and flavor, but for me it’s not quite going to make it to The Stand.