Thread: Discussion All Things GWS
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Old Oct 25, 2011, 10:02 AM
Roger Lombard is offline
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United Kingdom, England, North York
Joined Jan 2005
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I cut my r/c flying teeth on GWS kit and was one of their staunchest fans. I've had at least one and sometimes several of each of their kits. They ran into trouble at about the time that they opened their China factory, which was greatly delayed and which coincided with the launch of a bunch of new aircraft of which several were EDF. Those were designed around GWS EDF units and esc and there were reliability issues with those. These "second generation" aircraft which would include P-40, P-38, Me262, T6, F-15, A-4, FW190 and J-10 were a significant step forward in the quality of design and engineering of the airframes. Unfortunately the brushless motors and esc that were launched at the same time were noticeable for being much more expensive than other makers stuff becoming available at the same time. They may have been more efficient but they were not noticeably more reliable whereas they were noticeably more expensive.

I was one of several people who pleaded and pleaded for updated versions of the Picomoth and the Beaver. The Picomoth remains to this day - in my mind - one of the most characterful, easy to build and fun to fly super slow fly models there is, full stop, end of conversation. It would have cost cents to update it with a few improvements that most of us had done anyway - 9g brushless motor, better interplane struts, better wheels, better cowl etc but it never happened.

Likewise there was/is a Mk II Beaver which would have sold like hot cakes but which never reached production.

GWS had, and still have, a fundamental problem in that they don't recognise the value of marketing. I think when they were amongst the market leaders they probably made the mistake of keeping their prices too low, at the expense of their profit. Being able to beat your competitors on price is good but only if your margins are able to support the others things you need to do, like marketing, like giving the dealers a decent margin and being able to afford continuous improvements to your existing range as well as developing new products.

GWS are now focused on servos - which are expensive but don't, to my mind have any USP's or meet any market needs that aren't met by competitors who are either cheaper or have a better established quality brand. I doubt they will get back into planes other than to tick over producing the existing range for as long as it sells which, in the absence of effective marketing and dealer stocking, will be increasingly rarely.

The world has moved on without them. I was somewhat stuck for choice seven or eight years ago. Now, not only do I have more choice than I can shake a stick at but there is some astonishing value coming out of the Far East.

Someone mentions the GWS TM400. It was a great plane, I've had several and still have one but why would I buy a GWS TM400 kit for which I would additionally have to buy and fit a brushless motor, esc and servos when for less money I could buy the HobbyKing EPO Tiger Moth which comes with motor, esc and servos installed and which is a much finer model with many details which are absent on the GWS TM400?

GWS are promoting the "upgrading" of their models from EPS foam to EPO foam like it was some miracle transformation. EPO is stronger than EPS, sure, but it is also significantly heavier and in my experience is very much fussier than EPS was about what paint will stick to it.

If you buy a Zero, Rob, and haven't owned one before bear in mind that the wing incidence is incorrect. This is because the plane was originally designed for a 30 or 40W brushed motor. Any more power than this (and these days most people would go for at least 80-100W) and the plane will want to do continuous loops. You need to drop the wings leading edge by about 1/8" and raise the trailing edge by 1/16"

I should say I've just checked in my hangar and find my GWS inventory of flying models runs to Zero, Spit, Me109, Corsair, BN2, C130, C47, TM400, T6, A-10, Picomoth(2), P40, FW190, F-15, Me262 and Formosa 1, with "still in box" kits for two more C130's - one prop, one EDF - Spitfire, Zero, P51, Me109, Formosa and Lord knows what else. I think I can count myself a GWS convert/customer?

I'd really miss them terribly if I didn't have plenty of alternative choice. As it is I still miss them because had the person who takes all the decisions in the business, and it is only one person, listened to his customers as carefully as one of his staff (who is no longer with them) used to then they might still be in the public eye and I might have an even better Picomoth and a Beaver MkII or two!
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