This is actually an updated version of the Armament review that I posted over on the Yoyo Expert forums awhile back. I have streamlined it quite a bit and updated a few sections based on my continued experience with the Armament. My opinion of it hasn’t vastly changed, although I did update my thoughts on a few aspects of the yo-yo, most notably the response pads. I should also mention that this isn’t the first review of the Armament. I will happily point you to Vic Von Boom’s review from earlier this year.
Here is the TL;DR summary for those that want it: the Armament is a great throw even though my skill level doesn’t yet make full use of its potential. Light, zippy, and comfortable in the hand with an amazing finish. I really like it, so much so that I have purchased three of them in total.
The YoYo Workshop Armament
The Armament is proudly designed and produced by Wayne Ryan and David Albano who together formed YoYo Workshop. I hadn’t actually heard about YYWS until the recent announcement on YoYo Expert that a new run of the Armament was hitting soon. After reading about them, their company, and the Armament I decided that I wanted to pick one up. I had been mulling over getting a nice V-type throw for quite some time, and the Armament looked like a sexy way to go. I should also mention that I am quite excited to learn more about their next yo-yo, the Halyard, when it makes an appearance later this year.
As a side note, the YYWS guys seem great in terms of customer service and have been very responsive to all the questions I have fired at them via email. They clearly love what they do and are excited about their products, which is always great to see.
The Armament Specs
- Diameter: 55 mm
- Width: 41.6 mm
- Gap Width: 4.2 mm
- Weight: 64.6 grams
- Bearing Size: Size C centering bearing
- Response: YoYoWorkShop 21 mm “Electric Blue” Pads
I managed to snag three of the 6061 aluminum Armaments that was released from the latest run. I regret to say that I waffled too long on also grabbing one of the 7075s that were available and have since sold out. Thus, I can’t do a direct comparison. I contacted YYWS about future runs and it sounds like there will be more 7075s at some point. I will probably pick one up at that time, but for now I will refer you to Vic’s review since he does a quick comparison of them. I will update this review down the road if I do get a chance to compare myself.
Size and Shape
The Armament tends more towards the narrow side of things as compared to many modern yo-yos (or at least it seems that way to me when comparing its specs to other throws). The shape is a simple V-type with rounded rim edges that I really love. The weight of 64.5 g seems to me to be just on the low side of average, which as far as I can tell is probably somewhere in the 65-67 g range. I could be wrong on this since I haven’t run the numbers, but at the very least I can say that it is the lightest throw that I currently own (at least until my One Drop 54 arrives).
The Armament is smaller in all ways when compared to my Downbeat. On the other hand, if we disregard the weight, the Armament almost exactly matches the dimensions of the Civility, although the Civility has more of what I guess I should call a wing shape. The catch zone is more pronounced on the Armament, which I really like. The weight of the Armament is significantly lower than the Civility (69 g) and the Downbeat (70 g).
So this is where I could wax poetic all day long about the Armament. Wow, just wow. I just absolutely love the finish of the Armament. In his review, Vic described the finish as “soft and silky” and I have to be honest and say that, at the time, I had no real concept of what he meant. But by Jove he was right! “Soft” is exactly how I describe it now as well, which seems kind of hilarious when talking about a metal yo-yo.
Unlike my Civility and Downbeat, both of which have a smooth polished look and feel to their anodizations, the Armament has more of a matte look and feel. I actually asked YYWS directly about the finish and while they wouldn’t reveal their secret sauce to me they did tell me it involved a combination of blasting, chemical finishing, and other stuff. Well, whatever it is, don’t stop doing it!
I am not much of a finger grinder, but I did give it a go using my rudimentary grinding skills and the finish seems great in that regard. One place where I really notice the smooth finish is when I am doing a hand start of my yo-yo by applying spin with my thumb and then doing a bind. I actually have a hard time getting enough spin on the Armament for the bind because the surface just doesn’t give me much friction to work with. I really do find it to be just an amazing finish. Plus the Vonboom version that I have also combines a spectacular colourway with a really awesome laser engraved Vonboom image. It is one sexy yo-yo!
Waxing poetic…I did warn you.
The “Electric Blue” response pads are perhaps the one place where I might ding the Armament in terms of this review. The pads are super grippy, and the guys from YYWS mentioned to me that they use a high heat tolerant silicone that is really durable and should give the pads about a years worth of throwing. Impressive, but unfortunately the pads don’t always work in favour of the Armament, at least in my opinion. This isn’t a problem with the grip per se, but rather the positioning and/or thickness of the pads.
The issue is that the pads slightly protrude out from the grooves into the gap of the yo-yo. This gives the Armament great binding ability, which is fine. What isn’t fine, at least for me, is that having the pads protrude into the gap allows them to interact with the string far too much during wraps, and this can cause a loss of spin. This is unfortunate because it is the one blemish on an otherwise wonderful design. Fortunately the problem is easily remedied with some flowable silicone poured to the desired depth, but it is a shame that this is needed. Then again, “needed” is a bit subjective because there are plenty of throwers that like a bit more grip and response, in which case these pads will be perfect. And of course the pads will eventually wear down to the perfect depth, but nonetheless I wanted to give you a heads up about the pads in case you prefer minimal response right off the hop.
The lighter mass of the Armament is something that was outside of my comfort zone when I first started throwing it and as such is something I am still getting used to even now. What I can tell you is that it is fast and zippy. It jumps from string to string and changes direction with ease, so much so that I have to be careful to not lose control at times. The Armament sits very comfortable in my hand both for throwing and catching. In fact, I now can’t pick up my other yo-yos without wishing they felt just like it. The Armament really is a great yo-yo in terms of feel and play, at least for me. I believe I will be looking to add other V-type throws in the future that share similar features with the Armament because I so enjoy the shape and feel.
Let’s talk about stability. When I first started throwing the Armament it didn’t take me long to notice that that the stability of the was less than what I was used to. What I quickly realized is that my heavier throws are incredibly forgiving and they allow me to get away with poor technique. And given that I am still a relatively inexperienced thrower in the grand scheme of things, the occasional poor toss is still a fact of life for me. As it turns out, the Armament is not as patient with my less than perfect technique. It requires more precise and clean technique than heavier yo-yos, although this is often true for light vs. heavy yo-yos (this is a big reason why heavier throws are often better to learn on). The aforementioned protruding pads can exacerbate this as having anything less than a perfect throw means off axis tilt and more string-to-pad friction. Those of you who are yo-yo masters probably won’t have any issue with this, but noobs like me will need to to be aware of this.
On the flip side, the upshot of this is that I have a noticed a significant improvement in my technique thanks to working with the Armament due to me really working to keep it happy. I have also observed a huge increase in the speed of my play due in no small part to the light and zippy nature of the Armament. I must admit that, despite the more frustrating aspects, I am really starting to like lighter yo-yos. I am confident that a more skilled thrower than me would make the Armament sing a very sweet song, and I look forward to getting there myself with this throw.
I am afraid that I can’t really compare the Armament to any other throws that are considered to be competition level because I don’t yet own any. Actually that isn’t quite true, because I do own a Space Cowboy. I bought the Space Cowboy, tried it a few times, and then put it back in its box where it has remained ever since. I bought the Armament, tried it, and can’t put it down. Take that as you will.
As a final note, I have a sneaking suspicion that a 7075 Armament with its two extra grams of mass might actually be right in the sweet spot for me. Unfortunately that must remain as speculation for now. I look forward to picking one up and seeing how it compares to the 6061.
Well, that was a very long way of saying that I really like my Armament, and I am now a believer in YYWS and their yo-yos. Is the Armament a throw for you? That not really for me to say because a person’s experience will be subjective. What I like, you may not. Nonetheless, let me sum up my thoughts. If you an experienced player then I really can’t see what you wouldn’t like in it unless you really dislike V-type throws for whatever reason. There is a purity and simple beauty in both the Armament’s design and its play. It is hard for me to imagine that an experienced player wouldn’t appreciate it.
If you are a newer player it might not be the throw to learn on from scratch and a more forgiving yo-yo is probably a better choice. Nonetheless the Armament strikes me as a great yo-yo to use to improve your game, assuming that you don’t get frustrated in a throw that may highlight your flaws. Personally, I am super happy that I bought mine. I know it is going to be a throw that I will grow into and that will accompany on my yo-yo journey for some time to come. As far as I am concerned, the Armament is a long game yo-yo, and if you are willing to push yourself then I am confident that the Armament will take you somewhere amazing.
Enjoy your throwing!