Wingnut Wings continues to impress with its 1/32 scale offerings. In this case, it is the astounding addition of a Gotha G.IV — impressive in smaller scales, and positively door-jamb challenging in 1/32 scale. In typical Wingnut style, a luxurious instruction booklet doubles as a reference while detailing construction of the 400-plus parts in the kit. A sheet of photoetched-metal details includes jackets for the three machine guns, seat belts for the crew, a front gun ring, screens for the rear gunner, and other fine details. Two huge decal sheets present five options and include many stencils. A nice feature is the option to use bulged tires for a load-bearing look — handy, since my Gotha was going to be fully bombed up.
Biplanes require careful construction plans — and it’s even more so with the Gotha. I spent hours poring over the instructions and planning, even after the build started. There were a couple of minor errors in part labeling, but these have been corrected on the company’s website. Examine the rigging diagram and match it up to the parts. The rigging holes are pre-molded, but it is a complex plane to rig and the diagrams don’t show some of the more difficult areas in sufficient detail (by the engines, for instance). An early decision on rigging methods and materials is a good idea, too. I used prefabricated eyelets and thin brass tubes to simulate turnbuckles, all purchased from Bob’s Buckles.
The complicated interior took a lot of painting. But first I had to scrape away all the ejector-pin marks, unusual for a Wingnut kit but probably unavoidable due to the Gotha’s design. The cockpit and nose afford easy access, so I left off as many parts as I could to avoid damaging them. Interior fits were excellent. I attached the rear stringers to the fuselage, not to the floor as shown, to aid in alignment. The fuselage closed around the sturdy two-piece gun tunnel with just a bit of trimming and persuasion. If you want the camouflage like mine, you’ll need to remove the molded-on control runs from the side of the fuselage and replace them. If I had it to do over, I would use small brass-tube fairleads to make running the control wires easier.
The center section is sturdy, but I deviated from the instructions by attaching the underwing cowl piece and fuel tanks before the bulkheads. I placed all the engine-mount pieces on the wing prior to gluing to allow alignment, as the bulkheads move freely if attached first.
The prospect of mounting the wings was daunting, but the kit virtually aligns itself (including the center-section struts atop the engine bays). Joining these struts at the top helps when mounting the top wing. The rest of the struts are flexible enough to be popped into place. Be careful after mounting the top wing; it’s 29" long but joined by only two scale spars between the halves. It “lies” on the lower wing and sets the dihedral for both. Remember to prepare a rigging attachment point on the back of each of the front struts. This could have been clearer in the instructions.
The only disappointment in the kit was the bombs; I had to add .015" styrene shims to close steps and gaps at the rear of the large bombs. The small bombs had a major step just ahead of the fins as well. The guns, on the other hand, are little jewels. The mudguards will try your patience; they are very much to-scale and difficult to affix.
As with most biplanes, painting and decals came well before final assembly. The decals are wonderful, with good, solid color and fit. Even the fuselage crosses are cut to fit the tiny control runs.
The last step is rigging — so much rigging! About 18 hours of the 108 hours spent building were for rigging. I am now ambidextrous with tweezers, although I am also cross-eyed. The combination of pre-drilled holes and turnbuckles worked great — to cut costs, you can learn to make your own if desired by checking out these great tips and tutorials
I can’t believe I finished the thing! Wingnut Wings has done an outstanding job of packaging an incredible World War I model. It is eminently buildable — just allow yourself plenty of time and space.