One of my favorite companies in the vaping business, Convict Vapor recently released the Lockdown RDA. Company owner and product designer Brian Grow isn’t a fan of constantly re-dripping, so he made the Lockdown RDA to hold a lot of juice. The atomizer also has a unique airflow design, allowing for excellent combinations of flavor and vapor production. I recently caught up with Brian at Monster Vape Lounge to get the skinny on his latest product.
The most striking feature of the Lockdown RDA is its L-shaped air holes. I was surprised to learn that airflow can be adjusted to accommodate cloud chasers and flavor fiends alike. The air holes have distinct looks, while being quite practical. Under the hood, the Lockdown RDA has a somewhat small building area and extremely deep juice wells. The post holes are very large, able to fit Clapton coils, parallel coils, etc. All told, this is a very versatile atomizer.
I’m also a fan of the Lockdown RDA’s clean and simple design. I loathe outlandish designs with overdone lines and knurling, so the atomizer’s looks fit right into my aesthetic wheelhouse. The Lockdown RDA is available in brushed and polished stainless steel. For vapers that prefer extremely hot builds, white and black Delrin caps are available for the atomizer.
On top of its great features, the Lockdown is backed by an outstanding one-year warranty. Convict Vapor is one of the most generous companies in the business when it comes to support and I really appreciate how well it treats its customers. In addition to getting a great vaping product backed by phenomenal customer service, the Lockdown RDA has a relatively low price — around $70 at most vape shops.
To learn more about the Lockdown RDA and to see its various finishes, check out my chat with Brian below.
The followup to the highly influential Ultima Underworld games from the early ’90s, Underworld Ascendant aims to dazzle gamers with an atypical style of fantasy role-playing. The original games were lauded for their sense of immersion; they are considered the first RPGs to offer first-person action in a true 3D environment. While many modern RPGs bombard players with millions of words of text, Underworld Ascendant will attempt to captivate gamers with environmental immersion and unscripted player-driven narrative. In many ways, the game is a throwback in the sense that the developer wants the player to put himself or herself in the game, as opposed to following the adventures of a heavily scripted character.
Underworld Ascendant will give players all kinds of choices, whether it’s character development or puzzle solving. As far as character creation goes, there are three types of skill sets that players can draw from: fighter, rogue, and mage. The skills can be mixed and mashed, accommodating a wide variety of player styles. Similarly, encounters with monsters and environmental puzzles can be handled in drastically different ways. Again, the emphasis is on player choice. You’ll be able to play Underworld Ascendant with the character you want to be, adventuring in the way you want to adventure.
Occupying the Stygian Abyss are three rival factions. There are dark elves, dwarves, and shamblers to encounter. The developer was quick to note that these races don’t fit into typical RPG trappings. For example, the dwarves in Underworld Ascendant will not have Scottish accents. The shamblers are particularly interesting — fungus-like creatures with mushroom heads that operate in a hive-mind society. The way you interact with and help (or not) these factions will alter how you experience Underworld Ascendant.
The interview below was lots of fun for me on several levels. First off, Otherside Entertainment founder & CEO Paul Neurath is a frickin’ legend. The man founded Looking Glass Studios, one of the all-time great game developers. Looking at the list of games Paul has worked on is mind blowing. He should be put on exhibit at The Smithsonian. Also in the chat below is design director Joe Fielder. I met Joe in the late ’90s when I was a corporate hack at Ziff-Davis and he was heading up GameSpot. He was one of the first videogame journalists I met and it’s awesome watching his career in game development burgeon.
Anyway, check out my chat with Paul and Joe below for more details on Underworld Ascendant, as well as lots of gameplay footage.
If you want the look of a high-end mod but don’t want to pay high-end prices then you should look into what Kalied Custom Designs offers. For a relatively low price, the company can customize the look of your mod with custom patina work, cerakote finishes, and exotic metal plating (black rhodium, gold, etc.). If you want a slick, one-of-a-kind mod out of the box then you should check out Kalied Custom Designs’ iPV D2 box mods. For $100 shipped you can have a unique box mod with a beautiful and durable finish.
In the interview below, Kalied Custom Designs owner Kato Bryan told me a bit about the services and products his company offers. For his custom patina work, he uses an alcohol-based ink for the patina coupled with a heat process. Once the color is set, the metal is coated with seven layers of clear coat to ensure durability. Kato mentioned that one of his customers has a custom patina Zero Mod sleeve that he made two years ago and the sleeve still looks fantastic.
It’s very cool that Kalied Custom Designs is using the iPV D2 to show off the company’s work. On its own, the iPV D2 is a solid performer that’s inexpensive. When you add Kalied Custom Designs’ work into the mix, the mod becomes more unique and personal. High-end mods certainly have their place among collectors, but most people aren’t willing to spend $600 or more on a rare box. These custom iPV D2 boxes make the looks and rarity of high-end mods accessible to all vapers. As someone that gets bugged by the elitism in vaping, I love what the company is doing with these boxes.
To learn more about Kalied Custom Designs, see five of the beautiful boxes Kato worked on, and hear about the company’s other services, check out my chat with Kato below.
Box mods are the hotness in 2015, but with so many choices out there, it’s hard to pick one that’s right for you. Rage Box Modz offers a number of box mods and generous service that makes the company’s wares worth a look. Rage Box Modz products are assembled in the USA and are backed by a lifetime warranty. According to company founder and owner Charles Long, it doesn’t matter how you acquired a Rage Box Modz products; whether you purchased it directly from the company, picked one up in a trade, or found one on the side of the road, the company will take care of your product. Seeing that level of customer service in the vaping world is fantastic.
Rage Box Modz offers a variety of 18650 and 26650 box mods in a number of colors. You can choose a parallel battery configuration for maximum battery life or a series configuration for raw power. The boxes are available in five different colors — black, white, kiwi green, Tiffany blue, and pink. You can see the various finishes in the video below.
In addition to offering some great box mods, the company offers 3D printed battery holders. Resembling a hip flask, these holders can accommodate 18650 and 26650 batteries in various configurations. I have too many friends that have left batteries in their pockets and had them short out on their keys or something (and really, I expert better from you guys and gals). Rage Box Modz 3D printed battery holders are a fantastic way to carry your batteries safely.
To learn more about Rage Box Modz, see some of the finishes the company offers, see the 3D printed battery holders, and hear a tease about the company’s upcoming Raptor chip box, check out my chat with Charles below.
(For the record, I flubbed the out in this interview. As always, I will blame RPadholic N8R and absolve myself from all responsibility.)
The Mad Carpenter makes some of the most beautiful handcrafted box mods in the vaping business. The company’s Curve Mod featured gorgeous workmanship and an ergonomic design. Its followup, the Curve v2, features the same design language as its forerunner and adds a Yihi SX350 variable-wattage chip. At Vape Summit III, I caught up with The Mad Carpenter owner and craftsman Brandyn Young to talk about the Curve v2.
While the original batch of Curve Mods features various types of woods, the Curve v2 combines wood burls and Alumilite resin. The latter material has allowed Brandyn to get super creative with numerous color combinations. A lot of my friends at the show were enamored with the beautiful aesthetics of the Curve v2. I was absolutely smitten with the red, blue, and purple box Brandy was holding throughout the interview.
I’ve always found it amusing that so many mod collectors are high on various European box mods. In my opinion, companies like The Mad Carpenter and Harlequinn Woodworks make box mods that are every bit as beautiful as anything coming out of Europe. As someone that places high value on customer support and service, I’m more comfortable purchasing a high-end American box mod than a high-end European box mod, simply because it’s easier to get something fixed should something go wrong. Personally, I feel happy when I buy a made-in-the-USA product from an American small business.
The politics of personal economics aside, you should definitely check out my chat with The Mad Carpenter Brandyn Young on the Curve v2 box mod. Curve v2 mods are beautiful pieces of vaping art that are made right here in Southern California. The video below shows various finishes available. If you have any ideas for a custom Curve v2 color combination then check out The Mad Carpenter on Instagram and drop Brandyn a line.
From the vault comes a Vape Summit III chat with The Beginning of the End manager Casey Doty. A friend from another e-liquid company told me to check out The Beginning of the End because he knows that I’m from New York and miss New York cannolis. Said colleague hails from Brooklyn, so I took his word that this company had an amazing cannoli juice. I was delighted to discover that The Beginning of the End makes a fantastic cannoli e-liquid. RPadholic N8R and I were also charmed by the company’s Southern hospitality — really warm and fun people. In the interview below, Casey told me about the company’s concept, the background of the juice maker, and three current flavors.
The Beginning of the End e-liquids are made by Christopher Bowman. Trained at Le Cordon Blue culinary school, Christopher uses his background to create layered and complex e-liquids. The Beginning of the End juices that I tried featured multiple notes, offering different (and delicious) flavors on the inhale and exhale.
The three flavors Casey told me about were Trinity, Serenity, and Verticality. Naturally, I was enamored with Trinity, as it was the only cannoli e-liquid I was aware of when this interview was filmed. If you’ve enjoyed cannolis in the past then you must try this juice. If you’ve never had a cannoli then go out and eat one before trying Trinity. Next up, Casey told me about Serenity. Vaping this e-liquid is just like eating a lemon bar at a coffeehouse. You get the tangy lemon, sweet crust, and powdered sugar. Last, but not least, was Verticality, a strawberry pastry e-liquid that Casey equated with a Pop Tart.
Casey also told me about an upcoming e-liquid from The Beginning of the End. It’s a rum-infused peach cobbler that’s aged in oak barrels for two months. I tried a bit at the show and loved the direction the juice was heading in.
To learn more about The Beginning of the End, check out my chat with Casey below.
RPadTV’s ECC 2015 coverage ends with an interview with the beautiful Lilly Evans (Athena Amour), because my mother told me to always end your show coverage with a video of a sexy lady. Okay, my mom never told me that, but it seemed like a good idea when I was planning out show coverage. As usual, Lilly was hanging out at the Ruthless Vapor booth. The company always has a sweet setup at vaping conventions, with beautiful models, great music, and a fun atmosphere. At ECC 2015, the company was showing off its Breakfast Club line of cereal juices. Lilly was kind enough to walk me through the lineup before the interview.
Last time I chatted with Lilly, she was playing a lot of Destiny. She’s still playing a lot of that game with her fans, but she’s been playing more Halo as of late. If you’d like to play games with Lilly, hit her up on Xbox One. Lilly’s gamertag is featured in the video below.
While I knew that Lilly enjoyed videogames, I only recently discovered that she’s into comics as well. That’s just not fair. She finds new ways to get hotter. In our chat, she also spoke about the kinds of comics she likes.
Lastly, she told me about her new stage name — Athena Amour. She has separate social media accounts for Lilly Evans and Athena Amour. The stage name was chosen because she liked the idea of combining the goddess of wisdom with love. She’ll keep her modeling activity on her Lilly Evans accounts, while her adult movie stuff will be under the Athena Amour brand. I recommend following both (assuming you’re over 18, which you should be if you’re reading and watching vaping content).
Thanks to Ruthless for having a fun booth and for giving me another chance to interview the gorgeous Lilly Evans!
Switch Mods has made a big splash in a short amount of time, thanks to its hard-hitting made-in-the-USA mechanical mods. The original Switch Mods product came as a complete set — mod and atomizer — and could be had for under $100. At ECC 2015, Switch Mods CEO Andrew Richard and brand manager Jude Fernando told me about v2 of the company’s mechanical mod, as well as the Team Switch Mods competitors.
Switch Mods v2 is a 24mm setup. Like its forerunner, it comes with a mod and atomizer. The aluminum versions (available in numerous colors) retail for $120, the brass version retails for $135, and the copper version costs $145. Considering that they’re American Made vaping products, the prices for the various Switch Mods v2 models are impressively low. While I didn’t spend too much time with the devices at ECC 2015, checking it out for a few minutes gave me the impression that the build quality is much better than that of its predecessor’s. One of the few complaints of the original model was that its button had too long of a throw that felt somewhat uncomfortable with the mod’s beefy nine-pound spring. V2 features a much shorter throw and a lighter spring. As many vapers in cloud competitions use Switch Mods products, expect v2 to have ample power.
Andrew and Jude also spent some time talking about Team Switch Mods. If you attend a vaping event in Southern California, you’ll almost always see a member of Team Switch Mods competing in a cloud competition or trick contest. While the team is an excellent promotional tool for the company, it’s also a great way to lend support to the shops that carry Switch Mods products. I’ve known several of the guys on Team Switch Mods for a couple of years; they’re really nice people that represent the company and the vaping community well. Plus, they’re just really, really good at chucking voluminous clouds and performing sweet tricks.
To learn more about Switch Mods v2 and Team Switch Mods, kindly check out my ECC 2015 chat with Andrew and Jude below.
Out of the 100+ e-liquid companies I saw at ECC 2015, Elixir Vape was the most singular. The company’s Epothecary line of vaping e-liquids is so distinct. I can honestly say that I didn’t try anything remotely similar to Epothecary at the show and haven’t vaped anything like these juices. You see, Elixir Vape Epothecary e-liquids are infused with numerous herbs. In addition to giving each juice a unique taste, the company claims that vaping their herbal concoctions promotes various health benefits. The Elixir Vape team has a licensed herbalist and a licensed nutritionist, to help ensure safety. Company co-founder Billy Vernetti told me about Elixir Vape and the Epothecary line in the ECC 2015 video interview below.
There are currently four flavors in the Epothecary line. Initially, the juices contained 0mg of nicotine, but a 3mg option was added later. Awake contains vitamin B12, ginseng, green tea, and yerba mate. Elixir Vape claims that it promotes alertness and clear thinking. Breathe contains peppermint, eucalyptus, mullein, and thyme. Billy said that this e-liquid helps those with respiratory ailments, allergies, and migraine headaches. Calm features St. John’s wort, valerian root (not Valyrian steel), and ginseng. This juice is meant to help with relaxation. Lastly, and probably most controversially, is Enhance. With yohimbe, maca root, cinnamon, and ginseng, this juice supposedly aids libido and vitality.
Naturally, I expect many vapers to be skeptical about the benefits of vaping herbal mixes. Billy was kind enough to explain the company’s view on the effectiveness of inhaling vs. ingesting these herbs. While I haven’t tried any Epothecary e-liquids yet, I do have a few friends that swear by Breathe. Two of them claim that it helps them breathe better when they have allergy attacks, while another claims that it has cleared up her sniffles on a multiple occasions. I’m anxious to try out these e-liquids in the near future and curious to see what kinds of effects they’ll have on me, if any.
To learn more about Elixir Vape’s Epothecary e-liquids, check out my chat with Billy below.
Revol Vapors co-founder Austin Hopper is affectionately known as #TheFaceOfVape within the industry. He has been an executive at some of the biggest e-liquid companies in the business, such as Space Jam and Cuttwood. His latest venture is much more personal. Revol Vapors (Revol is lover spelled backwards) is his very own juice line and he told me all about it at ECC 2015.
Revol Vapors has launched with three e-liquid flavors. Friends With Benefits (FWB) is aimed towards vapers that like candy and is reminiscent of Fun Dip. For fans of tangy e-liquids, there’s Date Night, a melange of Greek yogurt and blueberry. Last, but not least, is Her Addiction. My personal favorite of the three Revol Vapors launch flavors, Her Addiction is a lemon poundcake e-liquid. Austin was quick to point out that all of his liquids are free of acetylpropionyl and diacetyl.
Continuing with vaper safety, Austin also spoke about the “Vape Responsible” campaign that Revol Vapors is involved with. The first initiative is getting vapers with children to lock up their e-liquids. Similar to how parents should keep alcoholic beverages away from children, Vape Responsible wants adult vapers to treat their e-liquids in the same fashion. In the vaping community, Austin is known for his proactive work for vaping political and social causes. He also talks a bit about that in our chat.
Not to kiss his ass or anything, but I really appreciate vaping executives like Austin Hopper. He has helped some of the biggest and most popular juice companies attain success, while also promoting awareness and informing vapers about political situations. The vaping business is better when people like him are involved and I hope, on a personal level, that Revol Vapors becomes a very successful e-liquid company. Anyway, check out my chat with Austin to learn more about Revolv Vapors and the Vape Responsible campaign.