That’s when I realized: the screws weren’t the same size. Four were ever so slightly longer. A millimeter. Without a close look, they looked exactly the same. Those screws were not the same. Using those millimeter shorter fasteners prevented the top screws from catching the thread. There was my hour: lost due to lack of sleep and poor attention to detail. Shame on me, but I truly hope Monstargears can mark these somehow because it was quite frustrating. With this new very basic knowledge in mind, I replaced my silicone dampener, put the screws in the right place, and viola, the keyboard was built.
Taken as a whole, I feel like it is a well-done kit. It’s made with precision and, screw issue aside, is straightforward to assemble. There were no directions in the box but there’s a guide now available on the official site. That said, you can feel the lower price in a few different areas. The exposed screws on the bottom aren’t abnormal, even on more expensive boards, but does mar the clean, sexy look with that mirror-finished brass weight. Second, you do miss out on some of the fancier design elements of Monstargear’s more expensive XO V3 keyboards, like having different colors for the top and bottom housings for some added visual flair. You can choose from Black, Burgundy, or Purple, though.
Finally, and in my opinion most meaningfully, the USB port floats on the back of the keyboard with nothing to block you from pressing the cable above or below the actual port. I have to tip the keyboard and look before plugging it in for fear of torquing the jack and damaging the PCB. I plan to pick up a few o-rings to solve this issue but this could easily have been fixed in the design process.