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Viking

Gotha G.1 (32045) - 1:32 Wingnut Wings

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Gotha G.1 (32045)

1:32 Wingnut Wings

 

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Well I don’t think many of us saw this one coming, or even knew anything about the actual aeroplane. What a fascinating and yet strange looking contraption it is, with low mounted engines and high fuselage. The reason for this layout was to minimise the effect of engine-out induced yaw by keeping them as close to the centre line as possible. In turn this meant moving the fuselage up and out of the way. Another unusual feature was that the crew were located in an armoured ‘bathtub’ that formed the forward section of the fuselage.

Three batches of six G.1’s were manufactured, the first six fitted with the 150 hp Benz Bz III engines as supplied in this kit. The first production aircraft arrived on the western front in the latter half of 1915. Little is known about its service history, but as was often the case in the Great War, it was one of those aircraft that was obsolete almost as soon as it entered service.

One example was built as a seaplane, the 'UWD' which has also been kitted by Wingnut Wings and is Reviewed here.

 

The kit.
Packed in Wingnut Wings larger sized box, the lovely painting by Steve Anderson shows a couple of G.1's being defended by an Eindekker against an attacking RFC DH2. The artwork cleverly shows a close up of the main body of a G.1, whilst showing a full view of another in the near distance.
Lifting the lid reveals eight individually bagged sprues, with barely any space left for anything else. Two of them are duplicated, Sprue E for the engines, and Sprue D for wheels, struts etc. All are moulded in the familiar neutral grey plastic with pin sharp detail, flawless surface finish, and no sink marks or other moulding flaws.
Also included is a large decal sheet and a small brass etched sheet, along with Wingnut Wings superb instruction manual. Nothing else gives you that sense of anticipation and delight that opening a Wingnut Wings kit does, and as always this one delivers in full.

Time to take a look.


Sprue A.
This large sprue only just fits the dimensions of the box, containing a variety of parts common to both the landplane and seaplane versions of this kit, mostly concerned with fuselage and some of the flying surfaces.   

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The rear fuselage has been moulded as a three sided section, of the bottom and sides.  All the framework is in there, along with some ejector pin marks, but none of this will be seen once assembled.

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The top section fits onto this, and at a stroke eliminates any fuselage seams. Well technically the joins are along the top corners of the fuselage, but they should be a doddle to deal with. Careful gluing with thin cement run along the join by capillary action should mean virtually no/almost no clean up will be required. Full marks to Wingnut Wings for this one, flat sided fuselages are always a pain to eliminate the seams from if they are done in the conventional manner.

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Some very fine items are also included, such as pilots seat, framework, pipework, the throttles, instrument panel, and gun type camera.

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Construction starts with the cockpit, which is where many of these items will end up. A lot of detail is provided and I have counted nineteen little instrument and placard decals to be placed to enhance all of this, and that is not counting the sixteen decals to place on the optional internal bomb load.

 

Sprue B.
Here we have all four main wing panels, and the horizontal tailplane. Again all is faultlessly moulded with very fine scalloped trailing edges, and delicate sagged fabric effect. Strut mounting holes are clearly defined, as are some small holes showing where to drill for rigging attachment points.

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The struts themselves are cleverly moulded with ends that will only fit into the holes they are destined for). The lower wings have large tabs on them that fit to the large single center section from Sprue A, and automatically set them at the correct dihederal

 

Sprue C.
The smallest one in the box, in clear plastic this holds the single windshield. It comes wrapped in a small sheet of plastic, itself contained in small plastic bag, so is well protected.

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Sprue D.
Throughout the build there are many items that are required in duplicate or multiple times, such as wheels and struts. Sensibly all these parts are collected together on one sprue that has half the number required. It is then simple to provide two identical sprues to cover the full amount of items needed.

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There are bombs, guns, cowling parts, tail fins & rudder, a choice of two different styles of wheels, and parts for a tail support trestle. All the mouldings are of the same high quality expected of Wingnut Wings. The two 'D' sprues are unique to this kit and not shared with similar looking UWD floatplane.

 

Sprue E.
Again there are two of these supplied for the Benz Bz.III engines. These are my favourite part of any Wingnut Wings kit and I often go out of sequence and start my builds with them, as they are such a pleasure. The mouldings are superb, with nut and bolt details worked out to perfection. If making it up with all the cowling panels glued in place, there is nothing more that you need add.

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But if you want to display one or both of the engines with the cowlings off, you may want to add some ignition wiring. This goes from the magnetos to a 'sleeve' channel along each side of the cylinder bank. Then individual lengths come out along the sleeve to each spark plug.

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The instructions actually have photographs from the original engine manual showing both sides, where the wiring is very well shown.

Th rest of the sprue contains gun rings and propellers that are not required and can go straight into the spares box.

 

Sprue F.
Another large one that fills the box. Again this is unique to the G.1 and not shared with the UWD floatplane kit, as you might have expected.

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The forward fuselage 'pods' on the two types had significant differences, so in their usual uncompromising way Wingnut Wings have made completely different mouldings for the two kits.

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Etch.
There are various permutations of LMG/14 Parabellum and LMG/08 Spandau machine guns fitted to the five marking options, so the etched fret contains jackets for all three, along with the sights. A set of seat belts are provided for the pilot, as the only crew member given them.

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A nice touch is the little brass plate with the Wingnut Wings logo and 'Gotha G.1' etched in relief. These look quite good if the lettering is painted with enamel as you don't have to be very precise with the edges. After a couple of hours just go lightly over it with a cotton bud soaked in white spirit, and clean off any excess. Hey presto! you have a neat little brass plaque to place by your finished model.


Instructions.

If you have never seen a set of Wingnut Wings assembly instructions, then these will be a real treat. Printed on twenty eight pages of heavy high gloss paper, it is as much a work of reference as it is an instruction booklet. The CAD drawings of assembly stages are interspersed with period photographs (thirty seven in all) of actual machines and their details. On thing I particularly like is the CAD drawings of completed sub-assemblies in full colour, as these are a great help in understanding how everything goes together.

As mentioned earlier, alternative parts are provided for the guns (Parabellum, Spandau, Becker), early or late wheels, 20kg or 50 kg Carbonit bombs, Reschke or Integral propellers, different arrangement of cockpit coamings, dual or single core radiators, as well as several minor details. Construction is unusual, with the biplane wings & engines being built as complete unit, and then joined to the completed fuselage. A full rigging diagram is provided, with front and rear three-quarter views distinguishing between bracing wires and control wires.

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Marking Options.

Markings are provided for five individual airframes, all in the same basic field grey with light grey forward fuselage pod. Choices cover machines from the start of the G.1's service in July 1915 up until it's last use in September 1916. Option A actually has 2 variations depending upon whether you fit the truly odd looking 'Bomb dropping cage' that it was fitted with for part of its career.

 

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A. Gotha G.1 10/15, Fliegerersatz Abteilung 7 Sonderstaffel S.1, July to late 1915.

 

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B. Gotha G.1 11/15, Fliegerersatz Abteilung 7 Sonderstaffel S.1, late 1915 to early 1916.

 

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C. Gotha G.1 13/15, Feld Fleigerabtelung 37, September 1915

 

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D. Gotha G.1 41/15, Kagol 1, late 1915

 

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E. Gotha G.1 41/15 "Feodora", Feld Fleigerabtelung 37, September 1916?

 

Decals
Printed by Cartograf, all are in perfect register with good colours and perfect register. The majority of the sheet is covered with various Iron Cross and serial number markings.

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There are however a large number of small details, beautifully printed and readable under a magnifying glass.

 

Conclusion
As you may have gathered, Wingnut Wings have also released a kit of the Floatplane version, the UWD, and only Sprues A and  B are common to both kits.

Wingnut Wings have set something of a trend for issuing unusual and unexpected models alongside their more mainstream releases of Fokker, Albatros and Sopwith types. The Gotha G.1 must surely be the most unusual of the lot, like something Heath Robinson might have designed. For me this is a large part of the interest I have in Great War aviation, where design rules were not yet very firmly set and the only way to try out new ideas was to build them. The G.1 looks so odd to modern eyes because we now have a fixed idea of what a 'correct' aeroplane should look like. Perhaps only the Handley Page Heyford came close in replicating this layout, but even that had the engines on the top wing in a more conventional fashion.

Full Marks to Wingnut Wings for producing such a wonderful model of this strange looking aircraft. It is well up to their world class standard, and I am sure will be a delight to build, if a little more involved than a single engined biplane. Get one to go with your Taube, Albatros B.II, and Eindekkers!

 

Highly recommended.

 

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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