REVIEW – Duncan Screaming Eagle – Vendetta


This is a continuation of the reviews for the Screaming Eagle line. Included in the prized package that Duncan sent me to award in the Imperial Contest were both current Screaming Eagle models. Last week I did the Mayhem, and this week, we have the Vendetta. So far the reviews for the Vendetta have been mixed. As far as I can tell, the only models of the Vendetta that have seen the light of day are a few prototypes and this limited edition gold version that is currently in stores. While the Vendetta could be considered the second release of Duncan’s high end Screaming Eagle line, it is hard to tell if this will be an ongoing model or not. Duncan created and released 100 of the gold Limited Edition’s and I am happy to be reviewing and giving away one of them.

Manufacturer Duncan
Shape Butterfly / Wing
Weight (g) 65.60
Width (mm) 36.13
Diameter (mm) 53.80
Gap(mm) 3.82
Bearing Size C size

First Impressions:

I am not really going to rehash the packaging again. If you read my Mayhem review, you know how I feel about the Screaming Eagle packaging. It is great, and attractive, but it is missing the Duncan logo. The Vendetta came in the same type of packaging, just with a different logo on the front. If you want to know how I feel about the packaging in detail, you can click to the Mayhem review. Instead, let’s jump directly to the yo-yo.
The Vendetta could be considered a middle sized yo-yo. The Vendetta tower over 888’s and Projects, which says that it is certainly not a undersized, but just does not fit into the full sized field with the G5, Superstar, and FHZ. The shape is interesting, and is pretty unique to the Duncan lines. Most butterfly shaped yo-yos that Duncan produces have a gradual curve to it, but the catch zone on the Vendetta is angular and very different. When looking at the Vendetta, my first instinct is to say that it needs to be wider, but at 36mm width, for it’s size, on paper it seems right. The finish is a bit sticky. It is a nice color, but the anno finish is kind of dull and uninspiring. Looking closely, you can also see color variances in the machine marks. It almost looks like the anno job was rushed.
The laser engraving on the side is hard to see against the gold anno. When I do reviews, I try to only play the review yo-yo for that week. It is not uncommon for non yoyoers that I see on a regular basis to ask and inquire about “This weeks Throw”. They usually look it over, and make a comment or two. This is actually a very important part of my review segment. With their feedback, I get an idea of what an outsider sees. With the Vendetta there were a few oohs and ahhs, but mostly people had a hard time reading the logo on the rim. More than once, it was referred to as the “Vendeha”.

Comfort and Tech:

Well dang. I hate to do this. I hate it, but I have to be honest. When I first unboxed the Vendetta and held it in my hand, all I could think about was “ICK”. Running my fingers over the anno was like dragging my nails on a chalkboard. I coud feel every machine mark. The shape would just not fit in my hand comfortable. The outer edge just seemed to dig into my hand. The Vendetta almost tries to mold your hand to the yo-yo, instead of the other way around. I don’t know if it is my giant hand size, or the shape itself, all I know is that I didn’t want to touch, hold, or even think about the shape. I don’t have that luxury though. With a diameter of 53mm, and a width at 36mm, the Vendetta has a fairly unique spec sheet. The weight is 65 grams, ideal for people who like yo-yos that don’t bounce at the end of the string. Inside the response area is both a “Win” and a “Why”. The “Win” is the C sized bearing. I have been waiting for a large bearing Duncan for a long time, and this was the Vendetta’s biggest win to me. Good job Duncan, I hope that this leads to more C-Size bearing yo-yos. The “Why” is the extremely shallow response recess. The recess comes stock with one Duncan silicone sticker. Even with one sticker, the response sticks out into the gap. I don’t see the need for this. The gap on the Vendetta is only 3.8mm. If the gap was an aggressive 5mm, I would understand, but with the stock response you get the impression that Duncan wants the Vendetta to be tug responsive. This, I can guarantee, is not the case, because the Copy on the back of the Vendetta packaging boasts “…velvety string trick play.”
Never have I judged a yo-yo before throwing it. When the new G5 came out, people scoffed at the bubbly appearance, but it is in fact of the best yo-yos YYF has ever released. With the 09-G5 in mind, I forced myself to play the Vendetta for a week. It was all I could do to not “Mysterious Lose” the yo-yo.

On a Throw:

Again, Ick. Out of the package, the Vendetta was snaggy and tug responsive. I am no stranger to tug responsive play. Back in the late 90’s, the scene was all tug responsive. If your Bumblebee GT would not return with a tug, or if your Saber Raider was bouncing instead of returning, it was time for a new string. Even when harking back to my old tricks, the inconsistency of the Vendetta’s response was frustrating at best. String play was certainly not “Velvety”, but was vibey and snagged if you made a wrong move. The sharp edges on the Vendetta certainly did not take pity on a bad snag and more than one, ate my knuckles.
After three days of play, a few hours a day, I broke one of my rules. I always prefer to play a yo-yo stock during a review session, but I just could not take another three days of torture. I determined that the setup would not break in time for my review, so I pulled out the Duncan bearing and silicone sticker and tossed in a General-Yo AIRG bearing and a chaz pad. This improved things a great deal. The Vendetta still had vibe, but gone was the snaggy play and knuckle breaking actions. It is a good thing too. I really didn’t want to deliver a prize that I ‘Thor’ed” into the ground…
With the new setup, the Vendetta still was not to my liking. It may be the shape, rim design, or just the whole package, but every time I got myself into a string trick, the Vendetta would tilt and display a general disapproval for what I wanted it to do. Tricks I have no problems with on a 5 Star, 888, or P2 just seemed harder to pull off on the Vendetta. On a regen, the Vendetta was really solid, but on normal hops and transfers, the Vendetta seemed to tilt and not cooperate. Gyro’s seemed to be a real chore. The first two rotations were difficult but doable. After a third rotation though, the Vendetta would flop uncontrollable. I swapped to my G5 sevel times during this test, just to make sure it was not me. I altered my gyro again and again, but could not get constant smooth rotations.
On grinds, the Vendetta really just throws in the towel. The surface is not designed with grinds in mind, and the IRG, while shaped like a winning groove was just not easy to keep in the thumb nail. I was able to do a few IRG’s, but one transfer to the next really seemed to limit the amount of time you had left in the spin. On Finger and Arm Grinds, the story was the same. It would hit your arm and stop dead it its tracks after a few inches.

Final Thoughts:

I hate it when I don’t enjoy a yo-yo I review. Partially since I have to play it for a week, bit also since just don’t like to be mean. Based on how this model of the Vendetta played for me, the ONLY reason I would pursue this model for my collection is for the limited nature of it alone. There are, after all, only 100 of these made and released to the public. I have not heard if the Vendetta will get a full run release. If they do, there are a few things I would change. #1: Give it a hard coat. If the Vendetta had the same finish as the Mahem I reviewed last week, this might have been a different story. #2: Deepen the recess. Even the Chaz pad I have in the Vendetta sticks out, making the gap even smaller than it should be. #3, Make it a smidge wider, If only to make it fit in the hand better. Adding a bit more bubble to the outer rim would go a long way towards comfort. Right now, the Vendetta hits your hand like a sack of bills from creditors. You just want to recoil in terror.
That being said, this is just one man’s opinion, and everyone is bound to have a different experience with the Vendetta. The way I feel about the Vendetta’s shape, and play may be a product of my hand size and throw style, and you could find yourself loving the Vendetta. Even at the affordable $75-80 price range, my personal recommendation is to try it first, or pick it up as a collectible.

This yo-yo is available to Win in the Imperial Contest! Click the link HERE for more details.  Yes, I will include the AIRG bearing and the Chaz pad.

Retail: The Vendetta is available at most online yo-yo stores. The links are below.

YoYoGuy – TheYoStore – YoYoExpert – YoYoNation

Written by Chris “Dr. Yo-Y0” Allen who isn’t a girl, but just wants to have fun.


Chris "Dr. Yo-Yo" Allen is the creator and founder of He has been yoyoing for over 25 years and has a passion for the industry.

'REVIEW – Duncan Screaming Eagle – Vendetta' have 14 comments

  1. August 12, 2011 @ 11:14 am Tyler

    You should do a re-review o n this yoyo IF they made any adjustments to the production models, but if Duncan made no adjustments let the review stand and take out the parts that refer to this being a le


  2. March 30, 2011 @ 6:34 pm Oscarla2000

    “I swapped to my G5 sevel times during this test” and “If the Vendetta had the same finish as the Mahem I reviewed last week”.
    2 spelling errors 🙂


  3. September 22, 2009 @ 7:07 pm Durfee

    Don’t most of Kyo’s yoyos have a flush pad setup with a modest gap? I really don’t see the problem with a gap that you can’t fit small children inside of.


  4. September 21, 2009 @ 5:17 pm AF

    Jeff, I agree with part of what you’re saying. However, if Duncan is going to release any product and make most of the profits off of it, they should take full responsibility for it and stand by it 100%.
    Otherwise, they should never greenlight the yoyo for production.


  5. September 21, 2009 @ 7:19 am Steve Brown

    Plays like a metal Transaxtion. Playing with this immediately after a Mayhem, it was pretty hard to justify them both coming from the same company at the same time.


  6. September 20, 2009 @ 8:50 pm Doug Enns

    There’s just no excuse, I repeat, no excuse for the response system that is stuck 5 years in the past. I cringed when I first saw the guts on this thing, and said to myself, “No way.” I mean, .15 size recess? No inner recess wall (or whatever they call it)? If your not going to give it a deep silicone recess, which is what most players prefer, at least give it a .30 recess with an inner wall so you give players the option of a variety of pads. I actually like the angular shape, but the response just ruins it.


  7. September 20, 2009 @ 6:46 pm Dr. Yo-Yo

    Jeff, that is interesting. I had not heard that the Screaming Eagle line was a line created by outside designers. Thanks for the heads up!
    I have tried Kyle’s work before and liked alot of it. I think he is a great designer, but for some reason this one just didn’t hit for me. It just had some things that I could not ignore. Knowing Kyle, he is already working on something bigger and better. That is what all the great designers do after all.


  8. September 20, 2009 @ 6:40 pm Jeff Coons

    Please keep in mind when doing these reviews that it is not Duncan that is designing the yoyos, but individuals within the yoyoing community. The Vendetta for example was designed by Kyle Weems. The purpose of the Screaming Eagle line is to provide people who have ideas, concepts, and/or designs for yoyos a place to get them out to the general public. That being said, anyone can submit a design for a yoyo and it can be potentially made into a production model. This is also a big part of the reason why Duncan is trying to distance themselves from the Screaming Eagle line. The yoyos in the Screaming Eagle line are yoyos made by the players, for the players. Therefore, it wouldn’t seem right for the Duncan name to be all over it.


  9. September 20, 2009 @ 6:27 pm Jared

    Great review Chris. I feel better trusting your opinion in general when I see a little deserved brutality. This yoyo has received a lot of hype from many, but I tend to agree with you in many aspects.


  10. September 20, 2009 @ 5:12 pm SpdRcr

    Thanks for the honesty both in the review and your thoughts on reviewing. Definitely helped to give insight as to where you are coming from.

    It is truly a disappointment that Duncan did not work out the kinks in this throw. With the resources they have I expected better.


  11. September 20, 2009 @ 3:53 pm tyler3490

    that makes sense, we couldnt figure out why it was there


  12. September 20, 2009 @ 3:47 pm Dr. Yo-Yo

    Yeah, the Rubber Band keeps the string wound while in the package


  13. September 20, 2009 @ 3:43 pm tyler3490

    when you took it out of the package was there a rubber band around the bearing? the reason i ask is that when i tried a vendetta and mayhem at the store near me, it was the first time they had been taken out of the box and they both had rubber bands on them. i only noticed because it was like using a looper so i unscrewed it to find the rubber band


  14. September 20, 2009 @ 3:59 pm Michael

    Shame, it definitely looks nice in the pictures. Seems like Duncan is having trouble making good yo-yo’s lately, which is strange to me, considering my start into yo-yoing went hand in hand with the Duncan line for almost two years… :/


Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

We are always looking for good articles, reviews, or stories about skill toys and the skill toy community.  Drop us an email if you'd like to contribute.