Introduction to The Widowmaker RDA by Vandy Vape & El Mono Vapeador
When one of the big players in the vaping industry releases a new RDA it’s always well worth sitting up straight and paying attention. At first glance the new Vandy Vape Widowmaker RDA, designed by Spanish YouTube reviewer El Mono Vapeador, looks to be a pretty interesting bit of kit.
Now the English speaking vaping world may not have heard of Senior El Mono but any YouTuber boasting over 354,000 subscribers is certainly worth at least a moment of your time.
Coming with three very different interchangeable airflow barrels, the Widowmaker is conceived as an “all things to all men” RDA.
But firstly before looking at the RDA, I’d like to address the rather curious choice of names, the Widowmaker. Now I’ve heard of the phrase “widowmaker” before but most of those are rather negative monikers.
The Lockheed Starfighter of the 1960s became known as the Widowmaker for its somewhat unsavoury habit of crashing and killing its pilots at previously unheard of rates. Another “Widowmaker” was the Soviet submarine K-19 which suffered failures which almost resulted in a nuclear meltdown killing her engineering crew and dooming many others to radiation sickness and cancer. So in my mind it appears this little RDA is loaded with rather negative connotations.
Anyway forgive my short digression, lets wipe away the negativity and dive into the box and see what’s what with the Widowmaker. Will it sink like a dodgy submarine or is it the Swiss Army Knife of the RDA world?
The Vandy Vape Widowmaker RDA was sent to me for the purposes of review. My thanks. This will in no way influence my opinions on the RDA.
In The Box
- Vandy Vape Widowmaker RDA
- Accessory Bag including screwdriver, 2 Allen Keys, O-rings, squonk pin, Fused Clapton
- coils, post screws and 510 adapter.
- Airflow rings (1 installed and 2 extra)
- 2x drip tips (1 installed and 1 extra)
- User manual
Widowmaker RDA Specs
- Size: 20.5×24mm
- 304 stainless steel construction
- E-liquid capacity: 1ml
- Three Airflow cap options- honeycomb, 4mm single hole and 1.5×5mm Cyclops (sizes are approximate)
- Leak proof design
- Two top cap options
- Single or dual coil build deck
- Squonk pin compatible
- Available in matt black, stainless steel, gold, gunmetal and 7-way rainbow
Design and Build Quality
I was sent the rainbow version of the Vandy Vape Widowmaker and at the outset I’ll say that I’m not normally a great fan of this finish. However, the rainbow finish on the Widowmaker is a very deep and rich colourway and has gone some way to winning me over to the rainbow cause.
The engraved “Widowmaker” logo isn’t obnoxious and in your face and the general build quality is perfectly acceptable for a device in this price bracket.
The kit includes two different drip tips. Now I must admit a little confusion here. The post-release promo stuff featured one fairly low profile 810 drip tip which simply popped into the removable top section, and one which was effectively a chuff cap which replaced the top section entirely. The version I received contained just two simple 810 drip tips, one knurled and one smooth. This is different to any other examples I’ve seen so I cannot say for sure which version Vandy Vape will release.
The RDA splits down into four components not including the drip tip. Starting at the top is the top cap which caused my confusion on the drip tips.
Next you have the airflow rings. More on those later.
Then there is the airflow barrel which secures the rings with a single O-ring. Remove this and you’ll come to the build deck. There’s nothing revolutionary going on here. It’s a simple drop in deck that can utilise both single or dual coil builds.
There are no significant machine marks and the RDA I received had no machine oil or gunk anywhere on it.
The O-ring tolerances are a little mixed. The airflow O-ring is possibly a little loose and too easy to turn whilst the two on the build deck which secure the airflow barrel are incredibly stiff. This is a pain as the barrel in smooth and slim to grip when you want to work on the build deck. Even with a bit of ejuice lubrication, the barrels is somewhat unwilling to come off.
The cap does not lock into place but as I found the O-ring very tight, it doesn’t actually turn much and this hasn’t proven an issue with me. These are pretty minor quibbles really as the overall design and build, whilst not being anything mindblowing, is very acceptable. For those mech users, the 510 pin is protruding.
The Airflow and Airflow Rings
Now this is where the Widowmaker sets itself up as something a little different. We’ve seen removable air-discs before on RDAs such as the Skyfall but they can be a little fiddly to remove.
The Widowmaker’s three easily interchangeable rings make great sense. The RDA comes fitted with the 15 holed honeycomb option. Tucked away neatly in the box are the other two. One a wide open single circular hole of around 4mm; the other a restricted Cyclops design of around and about 5×1.5mm.
You simply remove the top cap and slide your chosen ring on and off the barrel. It really couldn’t be easier. Vandy Vape make the rather grand claim that the airflow is of “leaking proof” design. Now we’ve all heard that before haven’t we as we mop up the leaking drips from our hands.
However, Vandy Vape have been ingenious in the airflow on the Widowmaker.
The air enters the chamber very high up the deck which compensates for the rather measly 1mm juice well. The air intake is angled sharply downwards striking the coil from the side in a way similar to the best selling Dead Rabbit.
I’ve tried all the airflow rings with both single and dual coil builds and I prefer the honeycomb on both builds. The single borehole offers a very airy and cloudy vape which is a little too loose for my taste whilst the small Cyclops is very restricted and would probably suit a single coil build.
The honeycomb seems to balance flavour with cloud production the best and is reasonably quiet and smooth on the inhale.
However, this is the Widowmaker’s USP and you may find the other options more suitable to your style of vaping.
How Does The VAndy Vape Widowmaker RDA Perform?
Building on the Widowmaker
The deck on the Vandy Vape Widowmaker RDA is of a very conventional design. It’s a four post drop-in with the coils secured by Allen bolts from the side. There are cutouts on the deck to allow easy access to the Allen bolts.
I cut my coils to 6mm using my Coily tool and this seemed to be the sweet spot for me. There’s plenty of space on the deck for those who rock a larger coil but I used 3mm on both single and dual. In hindsight I think I would go for a 3.5 or even 4mm next time I drop a single build in.
Wicking is very straightforward and is no different to wicking any other RDA of similar design (of which there are many).
Vaping on the Widowmaker
I’ve tested the Widowmaker in both single and dual coil modes and as a dripper and as a squonker and I’ll come right out with it. I really like this RDA.
Dripping with the Widowmaker
I used my Lost Vape Therion with a dual build of Alien Claptons coming in at around 0.13 Ohms and firing at a fairly modest 70 watts.
With the honeycomb ring the flavour was absolutely spot on and the cloud production perfectly acceptable. The draw is slightly restricted and reasonably quiet and smooth.
Single Bore Ring
With the single bore ring I found that the cloud production increased but this was slightly to the detriment of flavour production. The draw was a little too loose for my tastes and was slightly more noisy than with the honeycomb.
With the small Cyclops ring I found the draw far too restrictive for my tastes and I can’t see myself using it very much.
The juice well is only 1mm deep which at first appears a bit…meh. However, the airflow design, particularly with the honeycombed airflow ring, means you really can load the RDA with juice without any leaks. You can of course take the top cap off and drip but I found no leaks with even the most extravagant blind dripping through the drip tip. Both single and dual coil builds were more than acceptable with great flavour and cloud production.
Squonking with the Widowmaker
For me this is where the Vandy Vape Widowmaker RDA really shines.
I mounted it on top of my beloved Asmodus Luna Squonk and tried both single and dual coil builds. As my Luna only fires up to around 80 watts on a full 18650 I found it struggled a bit on ramp up time at my preferred resistance of around 0.13 Ohms in a dual build.
This in no way is a reflection of the Widowmaker’s performance and wouldn’t be an issue with any regulated squonk mod capable of higher wattages such as the dual Topside to name but one.
However, with a simple Ni80 round wire build of similar resistance the Widowmaker really excelled. The flavour was absolutely popping. I used an ejuice I am very familiar with, Candy King’s Pink Squares, and boy were the flavour tones banging.
The juice enters the chamber from either side of a slightly raised post and wicks very well with no issues at all. I tend to generally squonk with a 22mm single coil RDA but I must admit I really had a good time with the 24mm Widowmaker.
With the honeycombed airflow ring installed you can really squonk hard on the Widowmaker. Try as I might I really couldn’t get any significant leaking. That’s not meant as a challenge to anyone, I’m sure you could make it leak if you really tried hard enough but in even the heaviest hands in day to day squonking, I can’t foresee anyone having any leaking issues.
- Three very different airflow options
- Simple to build on and wick
- As near to leak proof as possible in sensible day to day use.
- Good build quality
- Wide range of colours available
- Single and dual build compatible
- Squonk compatible
- Mech compatible
- The two drip tips included where not those featured in any of the promo material
- The O-ring tolerances are mixed- too loose on the airflow rings and too tight on the build deck
- Non locking top cap
Final Review Verdict
I’ve already stated that I like this RDA and I’m not going back on it now. Squonking is an absolute dream with no leaks.
The main selling point with the Vandy Vape Widowmaker RDA I guess are the three different airflow rings. On the surface it may look a little gimmicky but in practice they work. The single bore will probably appeal to cloud chasers whilst the honeycomb offers a balance between cloud and flavour production. The Cyclops will appeal to those who like a more restricted inhale or single coil users.
The actual airflow design is simple but ingenious as it really does appear to reduce leaking if not eliminate it completely in most everyday cases. The build quality is exactly as you would expect from Vandy Vape with my only quibbles being the O-ring tolerances- certainly no deal breaker.
To ask that oft repeated question, “Would I buy the Vandy VApe Widowmaker RDA again if lost or damaged?” then my answer would be a positive “Yes. Yes I would.” (In my head that came out in Jeremy Clarkson’s voice!).
My main complaint would be the confusion over the drip tips as I do like a chuff cap design and am sure it would perform well on the Widowmaker.