Vs. Newton Flying Hut Prototype
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
July 26, 2011
Yes, it is another prototype write-up. This is the last of my small series of prototype/preproduction reviews for a while but I could not resist talking about this yo-yo. Some have asked why I have been reviewing prototype and preproduction models so much lately and the truth is, because you can buy them. If it is purchasable then I have no problem giving it a write up. Case in point, a small run of the Flying Hut was sold through the Vs. Newton store for a reasonable $75 price tag. For those of you unfamiliar with it, the Flying Hut is supposed to be the full size version of Heath’s freshman release, the Sky Walker. Many people have said that such and such yo-yo needs to be made into a full-sized version but most do not understand that there is more involved than just increasing the specs. That being said, I am curious to see if the Sky Walker design translates well into a full sized yo-yo or if Heath should work up a totally original full size design.
• Diameter: 55mm
• Width: 44mm
• Gap: 4.1mm
• Weight: 65.1g
• Bearing: Generic Steel C bearing
• Response: Flowable Silicone
I knew I was in for a treat when I first got the Flying Hut. It came with three other Vs. Newton products for review and stood out from the pack. Even though the package I received from Heath had a Ti-Walker, SADR, and Septopus in with it, the Flying Hut’s packaging is what immediately caught my eye. The unassuming white box had bright orange writing on four of the sides. The top had the name and then on each of the sides it said:
• Tuning Required
• Do Not Unscrew
• Be Gentle Review Nazi
The last one was a nice extra touch, it made my wife and I chuckle quite a bit. There is no doubt about it though, this yo-yo is a prototype. Each one sold has the tuning and unscrew warning on each box, I will talk a little later about if it is actually needed or not.
As far as the shape is concerned, it is definitely based on the Sky Walker design but this is far from being just an enlarged version of it. Unlike the Sky Walker, the Flying Hut’s rims are not flat, the step is closer to the edge, and the catch zone is noticeably more rounded. You can tell some extra time was taken to get the feel just right. The Walker is more of a hybrid V and H shape while the hut is more of a hybrid H and Butterfly shape. The cup and face also diverges from the Sky Walker design. The rim face is a rounded off a bit at the outer edge and there is a channel cut into it, similar to the channels cut into the Septopus. In the cup we have the same hub found in the Sky Walker but we also have a very usable IGR cut under the rims, something the Sky Walker never had. I really dig the look of the Flying Hut; it is very much its own design that more pays homage to the Sky Walker than actually being based off of it.
At 65 grams, the Flying Hut is fast and solid on the string while still achieving good hang times when popped in the air. When it is first taken out of the box it is tuned dead smooth. If you unscrew it to perform any sort of maintenance you will have to fiddle with the axle to get it smooth again. Not doing so will induce a vibe in this otherwise smooth yo-yo. Heath is well aware of the issue and thinks it may be those channels in the rims not being cut properly. If that is the case they may go away in future runs.
Response and Bearing
All Vs. Newton yo-yos come with flowable silicone installed and the Hut is no exception. The flowable Heath uses breaks in quickly but will snag on the first couple throws out of the box. That is just the nature of the beast.
The bearing is just a generic steel eight ball that Heath uses in prototypes. It gives decent spins and has a passable noise level. Nothing to write home about but it isn’t holding the Flying Hut back either. In the final runs Heath has said he will a higher quality bearing.
When tuned this yo-yo plays like a champ. It is smooth on the string with pretty much no tilt. It is a medium speed yo-yo, not as zippy as the Sky Walker but it also gets more hang time, or float, compared to the Walker. The catch zone is very easy to hit during whips and slacks. During this play session I decided to follow Brett’s lead and learn a cool new trick that I saw Yu Tsumura perform at this year’s Ohio State YoYo Contest. It is a Ninja Vanish to Ninja Vanish. I have been able to land it twice so far but I am getting better. Yu has gone on to challenge Brett to “do it consecutively and finish with green triangle to behind the arm green triangle” after Brett posted a video of the trick with high-speed breakdowns. Using the Hut, I found that I got that little extra bit of float allowing me to get my string back around the yo-yo and into the second Ninja Vanish. You would not be able to do that with a yo-yo that sinks like a stone once in the air. As for grinds, they are weak at the moment due to the raw finish. Thumb grinds are very doable thanks to the under cut in the cup that makes for an easily accessible IGR.
As prototypes go, this is one of the better ones. It has one correctable and identified flaw keeping it from being production ready. This issue will probably be gone in the next revision. I wouldn’t mind owning it in its current form, I pretty much have the tuning down to a 30 second affair if that. The other shortcoming of this prototype is a non-issue since we know that the final run will be bead blasted and anodized by Gruntbull in a slew of funky colorways. At the end of the day this prototype is a pretty cool piece of Vs. Newton history. Heath has said that the final runs will not look like this one so if you can find one for sale or trade I would recommend it, especially to the VsNYYC loyal out there. In its current form it does not beat the more refined Septopus, but it has the potential to become one of Heath’s best products.