Review: Planet Eclipse Etha
The Planet Eclipse Etha runs about $349 at most retailers. It is somewhat similar to the Geo marker but its design and functionality are unique. If you’ve seen or used Planet Eclipse’s E-tek marker, you’ll find that the Etha is fairly similar. Let’s take a look at what the Etha is all about.
The Etha makes use of a spring return to send the bolt back into position after paint balls are fired. This engineering approach makes the pneumatic operation of the gun quite simple. Just like the Etek, the Etha makes use of durable nylon composite materials for its grip frame, eye covers and feed neck. Experienced paintball players will hesitate to take the leap of faith with a marker made of composite plastic. It seems like an inferior material compared to metal markers. Yet those who use the Etha understand just how strong this material really is.
In terms of performance, the Etha is another fantastic marker in a long line of extraordinary Planet Eclipse products. The marker comes with an SL 3 regulator just like all the other high end Planet Eclipse guns. The regulator is flexible to handle a variety of tank output pressures. It is reliable and really serves to boost the gun’s performance. It doesn’t matter if your tank’s pressure is high or low, the regulator will still function as designed. The Etha’s two piece barrel lets you fire in several different modes including PSP and semi. There are capped and uncapped modes within semiautomatic. As soon as you fire the Etha, you’ll notice that it has very little kick back. While it is a bit on the loud side, it isn’t loud enough to constitute an annoyance. The noise that it produces is likely due to its barrel tip’s lack of ample porting holes.
The marker’s trigger feels pretty crisp but many have criticized it for using a spring return instead of magnets. Players who have grown accustomed to magnetic adjustable triggers might dislike the Etha’s trigger design. Some have also stated that competing markers like the Drone and Axe fire a bit better as they don’t have as much of a vibration or ping as the Etha. Yet the Etha fires quite accurately and it feels nice and smooth as you rip off consecutive shots. It fires up to a thousand paint balls with a 4,000 psi fill before any drop off is noticed. Only those with the highest standards will complain after shooting the Etha.
Overall, the Etha is quite light and comfortable. It has an aluminum body and barrel and weighs just over 2 pounds. The shaft is 14.5 inches in length. Some players have complained that they don’t like the limited space between the trigger guard and the reg. Yet most feel that the marker’s contoured dual density panel grips (156mm pitch) are quite comfortable. When it is in your hands, it feels good. It feels just like the top end tournament markers but comes at a much more affordable price.
Planet Eclipse Etha Upgrades
The Etha has a proprietary grip so there are no aftermarket grips for the marker. You can upgrade the marker with a new feedneck yet the standard feedneck is serviceable. You can also upgrade the barrel, ASA and trigger. There are several different triggers available from Violent Products. There’s also a highly popular APE rampage LED board for the Etha as well. It has an array of software and hardware features like switch on the fly firing mode control, manual eye on/off control, bright multicolored LEDs and a 3 stage battery level indicator. Or, you can go with the Virtue OLED board. This 10 million operations per second processor has an organic display screen, an OLED board maintenance monitor to track bolt cycles with the marker’s eyes and a lube monitor that lets you know when the marker needs lubrication.
The Techt MRT bolt for the Etha optimizes the marker’s efficiency. It comes with a high flow, soft face tip, a super soft spring and a tough aluminum body that is very light. All in all, Techt claims that this upgrade can cut down the bolt’s weight by nearly 60 percent. It also adds between 20 and 25 fps. It even comes with a full lifetime warranty. An EMC tactical body kit is also available for the Etha. It encases the marker without modifying it. The kit is super light but made with sturdy glass reinforced nylon. There are three 7/8″ tactical rails on the body so that all sorts of lasers, sights and other accessories can be accommodated. The back of the body can function with Tippmann 98/BT-4 shoulder stocks. This kit really empowers players with the flexibility that they need to adjust to a side array of play scenarios.
Eclipse markers are famous for their autonomy. You don’t have to perform much maintenance to keep this gun operating at peak efficiency. You’ll have to lube it up after every 3 to 5 cases but you could probably go much longer without performing any maintenance. Every now and then, you’ll have to wipe down the bolt, apply a swab to the breach and lube the o-rings on the back part of the bolt assembly.
Some have complained about the poppet spring issue yet Eclipse has sent out free springless poppets to those who purchased new Ethas. Still, this is something to be aware of if you purchase a used Etha. The move is characteristic of the brand’s reputation for going out of its way to please paintball players. Fans of the Planet Eclipse brand rave about the company’s elite customer service.
The Planet Eclipse Etha is a fun marker for paintball players of all levels. It really has mass appeal no matter how experienced you are. It shoots with excellent accuracy, is quite light and has a fantastic user experience design. Best of all, it is fairly cheap compared to other top flight paintball markers.