|Wingspan:||1120 mm ( 44.1 in)|
|Wing Area:||14.3 dmē (221.7 sq.in)|
|Target Weight:||400~500g (14.1~17.6 oz)|
|As reviewed:||18.5 oz|
|Length:||840 mm (33.1in)|
|Wing Loading:||12 oz/sq.ft|
|Servos:||HS-55 (Ailerons, Elevator) HS-80 (Rudder/Nose Wheel)|
|Transmitter:||Multiplex Royal Evo 9|
|Receiver:||Hitec Electron 6|
|Battery:||7.4V 1500mAh LiPo|
|Motor:||Four EDP50 with EP3020 props (provided)|
|Available From:||GWS distributors|
Can I say "C-130" review? GWS sells this model as the "CARGOTRANS QUAD", but as the long list of waiting modelers would all agree, there's no doubt which full-scale airlifter this model resembles!
When I received this kit just before Thanksgiving, there was some degree of panic over which color scheme to choose. I had asked to review this item when I first heard about it in early January, and had not expected to get my kit until production started, or at least around Christmas time. I have always wanted to model Fat Albert, the support aircraft for the US Navy F/A-18 display team, the Blue Angels. As the pre-production models were released and built by different modelers, the first couple I saw were also painted in that colorful scheme. Another modeler selected the Coast Guard scheme for his magazine review, so after much deliberation I decided to go with my first choice. So here, in all it's glory, is my version of Fat Albert (sans working booster rockets, of course!)
The first, most important thing for me to note is that I received this kit prior to full production. As such, there were no assembly instructions at all, I had to figure it out as I went along. That said, as with any GWS kit, it was very easy to assemble this model - the foam parts have molded locations for plastic parts that you simply cannot install incorrectly. If you've built any other GWS model, the parts will be familiar, and you too could probably build this model without referring to the instructions. The only tricky part is realizing that there will be many parts left over!
The kit I received contained all white foam parts - I believe this is how they will be provided in production - which made a great base for painting. The cowlings are vacuum formed plastic. There is the usual tube of GWS glue, which I tried to use wherever I could. Also included are a couple of familiar part trees - hardware I've seen and used on the Slow Stick and Formosa. There is a larger tree of black parts that I didn't recognize from other models, but after finishing assembly, I found I had a large number of leftover pieces on this tree, so It's probably shared across several models. Finally, the power system and undercarriage are in separate bags - 4 motors, with all associated prop adapters, props and spinners, and a collection of wheels and wheel mounting hardware. There are a lot of small parts in this kit, and I used a small fishing tackle organizer to store small parts like this during assembly.
The kit has a large number of parts, and I spent some time trial-fitting various components for photographs. After I had the bulk of the assembly process figured out, I decided it would be best to paint all of the major parts before permanently assembling any of these components. As a pre-production model, the assembly steps I describe for my model may not be representative of the final product. As such, I decided it would be acceptable for me to deviate from the design in a couple of areas, such as servo location and pushrod routing.
The fuselage had many mold marks, some I think by design, but many left over from the manufacturing process. As this model was to be semi-scale, I decided to remove the most intrusive marks - filling the mold marks on the motor pylons with lightweight spackling, for example, as well as on the rudder.
I also sanded out the dimples on the top of the wings, as well as some marks on the bottom. I did not fill the larger mold marks on the underside of the wing - I was concerned with the final weight of my model, as I knew I would be applying a lot of paint.
This was also the best time to trim the control surfaces, which were molded into the wing/stab/fin. A sharp blade made easy work of this task - I used a steel rule to get a nice, clean cut, and then shaped the leading edge of each surface - first with a blade, then by lightly sanding - to get an appropriate beveled edge for hinging.
The paint scheme is relatively simple - royal or navy blue, with a "cub" yellow strip, and of course, white. I tested my supply and found the blue and yellow I had on hand to be quite appropriate. Various images of the full-scale subject showed vastly different shades of both blue and yellow, depending on the photographer, location, lighting, etc., so I wasn't going to concern myself with a perfect color match.
I cleaned out my paint shop and let loose with my airbrush and a good supply of my paint of choice - Parma Kolors, which are water based acrylics. I quickly applied a coat of white to the top of the model - to give it a more "finished" look.
After carefully masking off that area and the appropriate width for the yellow trim stripe, I painted this section in several light coats, and then addressed the remaining components of the airframe which were to be painted in blue.
The plastic cowling parts needed a touch of primer to help the water-based acrylics bond to the surface. After applying this, and a shot of a dark color inside, they could be painted with the rest of the blue components.
I have learned from experience to apply light colors first. It takes a lot of paint to get a vivid yellow over a dark undercoat. It took many coats, and a long time to get a deep, navy blue on the white foam without over-applying the paint. I applied multiple light coats over a period of 4 days until I was happy with the result.
The low-tack tape can usually be used without harming the finish it is applied to. As I had left the masking tape in place for such a long time, however, it removed some of the yellow stripe when removed. I had several areas I needed to touch up by hand, however, so I just addressed those areas at the same time.
I painted the outer 2/3 of the props in gray, and then applied a couple of coats of white, followed by yellow, at the tips. I would worry about decals and additional markings later, but with the bulk of the painting complete, assembly could now begin.
I started assembly by working on the props, motors and their mounts. I actually assembled the props prior to painting, so that I could paint those at the same time. The prop assembly was simple - I inserted the prop adapter into the prop, which was a tight press-fit, then added a washer and secured with a small nut. Two set screws held each adapter in place - a drop of oil here ensured they install cleanly. Then I pushed the spinner over the adapter, and was done. Now repeat three times... (You're going to hear this again.. trust me!)
The vacuum-formed cowlings needed to be trimmed along a line molded into the sides.
You can cut out the vent hole in the front, beneath the motor, for a more 'scale effect', then drill small holes in the pre-marked locations for the motor shaft and mounting screws. The motor then simply secured to the cowl with two tiny screws, then I slipped the prop in place and secure. Now repeat three times!
The motor pylons are molded foam, and have a small area above the wing that needs to be trimmed. I also drilled a hole through from the front to route the motor wires up to the wing. After securing a couple of small pieces of plastic to each side of this foam piece with GWS adhesive, I pre-drilled the cowl and plastic piece to allow a small retaining screw to hold the cowl in place.
Again, this needs to be repeated for all four motor assemblies, and when they were complete, I dabbed a little blue paint over the screws and the trimmed area above the wing. With the props installed, the motor assemblies looked great. I just had to hook them up and see how much current draw I could expect. We all know that's right. I really wanted to see how they sounded! You'll be able to hear for yourself in the video, below! Current draw, however, was about 6.5A peak on a 7.4V LiPo pack.
Following the suggestion of other RCGroups members, I hinged the control surfaces with pieces of floppy disk media. The production kit will contain the familiar GWS "CA-style" hinges, but mine did not, and I did not want to delay assembly. I performed some testing on scrap foam pieces to ensure this method would work reliably - using GWS adhesive, I installed a 1/4" strip into two chunks of foam. After leaving to cure overnight, I was unable to separate these parts or rip the hinge material, even with extensive tugging and twisting.
Using this technique, the control surface installation went quickly. I simply slotted each surface with a sharp blade (using extreme caution here!), applied a small amount of GWS adhesive to each side of the hinge material, and inserted into the slot.
I installed three pieces on each elevator half and the rudder, but four on each aileron. Then I lined up each surface with the appropriate part, and marked the slot locations. I cut those with the Exacto, apply adhesive, and carefully slid each control surface into position.
The elevator required installation of a provided U-wire - with the elevators spaced appropriately, I marked the position of this wire, drilled a couple of small holes, and using a dab of ProBond, installe the wire into the elevator halves. This made installation of the elevator tricky, but it still only took a few minutes. I then installed control horns on each part - I cut down the provided horns to only leave two holes, and then installed each with Elmers ProBond Polyurethane adhesive. The surfaces were thick enough that you could not use the provided control horn retainers (as used on the thin foam control surfaces of the GWS Slow Stick, for example), but I had confidence that ProBond would do the job! I also trimmed the aileron control horns so that they did not protrude through the top of the aileron. Also note that when using an expanding polyurethane adhesive, you need to put a little tape over the hole in each control horn location to prevent glue from leaking through. I then set all of these parts aside to let the glue cure overnight.
I decided to tackle the wing next. The wing halves were joined with the GWS adhesive, and the provided wing reinforcement rod (a carbon rod) installed in the molded slot with a small amount of ProBond. I taped the ends of the rod in place to hold it securely, then left this overnight to cure.
The wiring harness for the four motors, with it's connectors, would simply not fit in the molded slot once the spar had been installed. I cut the connectors off the motor wires, and soldered my own wire to the remaining wire exiting the motor pylons. If I had anticipated this problem, it would have been better to solder the wire directly to the motors, but I did not feel like opening the motor assemblies at this point. Using one length of wire for each of the positive and negative connections, I measured carefully and then looped it up to the second, inner motor, and terminated at the wing root by mounting one of the provided connectors again.
As the aileron servos were mounted out near the ailerons themselves, the wires for these would also need extending. Again, servo extensions would not suffice, as there was no way they would fit in the slot, so I had to cut the aileron servo wires and extend them with extra wire. I used light duty wire here, as I still needed to get the wires and soldered connections, plus heat shrink into the small amount of space available. Note that GWS has made this slot larger for the production kits.
The slot needed to be extended slightly to allow the wires to reach the outer motor pylon. With the wires routed, and everything carefully positioned, I mounted one pair of pylons using the GWS adhesive. To prevent movement and misalignment of the motors, I used some rubber drawer liner for grip and a sealed lead acid battery for weight to hold everything in place while the glue cured. I did this for one pair of motors, then repeated for the other once that glue had had a chance to cure for a couple of hours.
Once the glue cured, I applied some blue tape over the slot and wires, then painted this to match the rest of the wing. After cutting aileron linkage wires with Z-bends on each end, and carefully testing to ensure they were correct (with the radio on to ensure the servos were centered), the servos were secured with a dab of the GWS adhesive. I used a small amount of hot-glue to secure the wires at the wing root, and the wing was now complete!
The nose gear took a little figuring out, but you can see my completed assembly here. It is steerable - linked to the rudder servo - requiring installation of a control arm over a pre-bent area of the nose wheel axle wire. The wheel was held in place with a small retainer, and the whole thing slids through a sturdy plastic piece which would then be bonded to the fuselage. Another retainer added from above held everything in place, and a control wire with a z-bend was inserted through the control arm. This part could then be glued in place - I used the GWS adhesive again, but I also added some ProBond to the top portion, to provide a little additional support.
The main gear assembly was trivial. I did have to cut the foam mount a little to open up space for the second set of wheels (there are four main wheels), which can be seen in the photograph. This took a few seconds with an Exacto knife - the foam cuts easily if the blade is sharp. The wire axles were pre-shaped to fit the plastic carriers, and held in place by two small screws.
The wheels slipped on to the axles, and were held with the familiar plastic retainers. Finally, the completed wheel assemblies were glued into the appropriate slots in the foam carrier, and I could install the plastic inserts for holding this piece on to the fuselage at this point. A small hole was drilled to allow the retaining screw to be installed.
The servos for the elevator and rudder mounted in the fuselage. The model does come with pre-molded servo locations, but I had heard that nose-weight was required on the other two pre-production models in the US. I decided to install these servos ahead of the battery/servo area, in the forward compartment. I used the GWS adhesive to mount an HS-80 for rudder/nose wheel steering, and an HS-55 for the elevator. I mounted them at the rear of the front compartment, up against the bulkhead, and then added a small foam block for additional support. The nose wheel pushrod I had installed above was now attached to the servo control arm, and I used a Z-bends on this end of the wire with a V-bend to allow fine adjustment the neutral point before I joined the fuselage haves. I did not run this control wire in any sleeve - I wanted there to be a lot of "give" in this linkage, in case of, well, "hard" landings! I installed the elevator pushrod in a sleeve, however, secured at several points along it's travel to the tail of the model.
There were provided exit slots for the pushrods, but I chose to route these through the foam to make for a cleaner, more secure installation.
With the nose wheel and servos installed, and the wires routed to where I would be able to install the radio, I joined the fuselage halves together. This was a momentous occasion! Even with tape and a Velcro strap holding it together, it looked like an airplane! The hardest part about this was waiting for the glue to cure. The last thing I wanted was a poor bond on the fuselage halves, but I desperately wanted to continue assembly and see how it looked. I waited patiently, however, and installed the tail section several hours later. Alignment of the tail is critical, as this part holds the horizontal stab - and therefore sets incidence. I carefully lined up this part, and used tape across the top to hold it firmly in place, then weighted the whole assembly down upside-down on a soft mat for several hours. This required more patience, but I had to ensure these parts were assembled correctly. On reflection, if I had to do this again, I would use 5 minute epoxy to hold this part in place.
After the horizontal tail was secure, I added the rudder and fin - this was easy, as it simply slotted into a pre-formed opening along the top of the fuselage and tail section, and it installed perfectly aligned. I used a good amount of GWS adhesive to secure this part.
I filled many of the seams between the fuselage halves and tail section with lightweight spackling. This made for a much better looking model, and as this was supposed to be an attempt at semi-scale, I went the extra mile! It didn't take much effort, but I did need to carefully sand all filled areas, then paint as needed. I was happy with the result.
The servos had been installed during the various stages of component assembly, so all I needed to do was drop in a receiver, run the antenna, and plug in the servos! I used a Jeti 350 ESC for power - significant overkill for this application, but I trust the Jeti BEC with four servos, and it's weight - at under an ounce - was fairly insignificant. I tested the fit of my chosen battery - a 2-cell 7.4V 1500mAh Kokam LiPo. It weighs a mere 2.8oz including connector, but with a peak static current draw of only 6A, would power this model for over 15 minutes. The battery fit easily into the provided battery tray - above the main gear. I decided to install the ESC's power switch in the area above the main wheels, where it can be accessed between the wheels.
Without decals, she now weighed in at 17.9oz - not bad considering how much paint I had used. As can be seen in the pictures below, she was now ready to fly! She would remain grounded, however, until the decals arrived.
This gave me plenty of time to program my Evo 9. I chose to use dual rates for the elevator and ailerons. The Evo allows you to program in a rate while flying, using special "digi-adjusters" on the top corner of the radio. I assigned one each to ailerons and elevator, and selected the recommended rates as "low", and the most I could get out of the linkage arrangements for "high". Although this is a scale transport, I'd been informed it could handle aerobatics with ease - and I intended to find out for myself!
Glenn DelConte, "Fanman" here on RCGroups, kindly offered to make the decals for this model. I provided artwork I created from images of the full-scale aircraft, as well as from another fellow RCGroups member and Fat Albert modeler, Troy ("Troyflyboy"). Glenn has offered to make these decals available to other modelers in the future, for a small fee to cover his time and expenses - feel free to send him a private message for more details.
Before I could apply the decals, however, he suggested I apply a light clear coat over the paint. The surface was somewhat rough, and the acrylic paint leaves a "powder-like" finish, which does not allow decals to adhere securely. It took about 30 minutes to apply a coat of semi-gloss water-based polyurethane. Although I just brushed it on, rather than firing up the airbrush, a light coat applies quickly and easily, without leaving brush marks.
You can see the results of Glenn's fantastic work here. The decals were simple to apply - peel and stick, just using a lot of extra care to ensure they were aligned before pressing into place. I modified my yellow stripe on the fuselage, as I had not taken into account the thickness of the bars in the "stars and bars" insignia. This took some effort, as the dark blue pin strip required a lot of paint to cover, but it was worth it to achieve the correct end result. In fact, I did not create the new blue pin stripe until I had applied these decals, when I was sure everything lined up correctly.
Measuring, drawing and cutting the windows was a chore due to the complex shape of the fuselage around the nose, but worth the extra effort. I manually cut the front windows to size from a piece of sticky label, colored with a magic marker and then covered with a piece of packing tape. I kept snipping away until they looked right. The side windows I printed from my PC - making several small alterations and test-fitting in place until they looked right too. I then printed these onto a sticky label, covering with packing tape again, and cut to size. The lower side windows have some additional detail, as can be seen in the close-up picture, and I also added the small, round windows that can be found in the lower part of the fuselage, as well as the windows in the rear crew doors. The round windows were cut out with a hole punch!
When I received my kit, I really didn't know what to expect when it came time to fly this model. I've flown quite a few different styles of model, but this is my first multi-motor configuration. I have to say, when you fire up those four little motors, it really sounds great!
I enlisted the help of a fellow pilot, Ric Vaughn, and took the model to a suitable location for its final photographs, and test flights.
I had performed a complete pre-flight that morning, but still double-checked the controls throws and CG. We performed a range test, which checked out fine, then set Fat Albert down on the asphalt for takeoff. After a short taxi to better position the model for the video, I applied full power and it was airborne in seconds. As the video shows, there is no lack of power - it may not have the JATO packs, but it sure leaps off the ground like it does!
The first flights had the CG back toward the rear of the range recommended by GWS. This made the model overly sensitive to control inputs, and it ballooned around a great deal - I had to dial in quite a bit of down trim to keep the nose down and prevent it from stalling. The wind had also picked up considerably by this time, and at only 18oz, the model was very much affected by even small gusts. I took the model home and installed about 2/3oz lead in the nose - this put the CG at about 45mm, the front of the recommended range. I made a small slot underneath the model, slid the weight in, and used a drop of hot glue to hold it in place. I then covered my slot with white tape, and applied a dab of yellow paint to hide my work.
The next flights were much more enjoyable, as the added nose weight made the model much more controllable. In fact, once airborne under full power, it flew hands-off straight and level in a steady climb. After climbing to a safe altitude, I tested the handling and stall characteristics. I had been able to recover the model from some pretty unusual attitudes during the first test flights. With the CG more forward, it was very docile, although the wind was still a factor - this time causing a rotor over the tops of the trees surrounding the field. Even so, it was very easy to fly, and looked and sounded great as I flew gentle circuits around the field.
I climbed higher, slowed the model again, and then tested the ability to turn at low and no power settings. It still handled very nicely, so I decided to try my flaperons. Although the model slowed noticeably, it did not pitch up or down, but even on high rates I lost virtually all aileron response. I quickly removed the flaperon setting, and decided to try roll coupling at a later time.
As noted, takeoffs were quick and easy. The model has ample power to rise off a smooth surface with ease. A rough dirt and short grass field required a much longer takeoff run, but it was still able to get airborne within about 100'. The trick for rough field takeoffs was to let it build up enough speed to give it a sharp pitch-up command, and pop it up into the air just a few inches. From there it quickly accelerated up to maximum speed, and you could begin a steady climb out.
The landings ware uneventful, as expected. With power reduced, you can set up a very nice approach, and control the rate of decent with power only - very little elevator was used until the final seconds, where I pulled the nose up slightly to kill the remaining airspeed and settle the model down onto the surface. Again, a hard surface makes for very scale-like landings, but rough ground will stop the model quite abruptly - and the delicate landing gear will suffer damage unless extreme care is taken.
The first few flights were successful, and with plenty of capacity left in the pack, it was time to test the aerobatic performance of this model!
One of the most spectacular sights you can ever see is the real Fat Albert performing a jet assisted takeoff at the start of the Blue Angels air show performance. Now I'm not about to risk setting fire to my model, but with the amount of power on tap, my version s able to perform a similar maneuver, and perform an initial climb out at a pretty unrealistic angle! The airspeed does bleed off quite quickly, however, so by about 10-15', you need to nose-down a touch and climb in a more "scale-like" fashion!
After reaching a safe altitude of about 150', I started with a simple loop - at full power, it really performs well and will execute a nice, round loop as long as you don't try to make it too tall. I was careful not to over-stress the wing on recover, but there was very little sign of flex as I leveled out. It has a carbon rod in there, but and although it feels flexible, it appears to be more than adequate for even these unrealistic flight maneuvers. I decided to try a roll and, once again, nothing unexpected here - at least, if you call seeing a 4-motor scale transport model perform a sharp, fairly axial roll with no rudder input! The differential I had programmed in to the radio probably helped here.
With no apparent unpleasant tendencies, I decided to try a spin. For this, I wanted a little more altitude. I slowed the model by reducing power and pitching up, and then kicked in full elevator, aileron and rudder. The nose dropped, and although it immediately fell into a spiral, I don't think it really ever spun. Still, hands-off, the rotation quit immediately, and it was flying again in no time.
I'd not recommend this model for aerobatics - it's not designed for it, and there's really no point, but it is good to know that it behaves well enough that you should not encounter any unusual flight tendencies with normal sport flying.
I would say this model is not for the absolute beginner. The construction is relatively complex, although not difficult. The fragile landing gear and foam construction would result in a great deal of damage if the model was crashed. I feel that there are many other models out there far better suited to the beginner than this one - many by GWS, in fact. It would make a great aileron trainer, however, as it flies almost hands-off once airborne, and the ailerons provide plenty of roll authority. Once a beginner can fly, and safely land, a trainer, I would say this model would be appropriate.
The video above shows the model in flight - nothing really unusual here, although I did include a couple of aerobatic maneuvers to "spice things up"!
The location I chose for photographing the completed model is just a few miles from my home. I am quite fortunate to be able to utilize this for these photographs.
The GWS Cargotrans Quad is a fantastic replica of that well-loved transport, and produced in white foam, lends itself well to any color scheme the modeler chooses to reproduce. I hope readers who choose to build one will share their pictures here too! Although there are a great many parts to assemble, the process is simple enough that it can be easily accomplished by even the average modeler, even without instructions. The model flies well on the provided power system. You must provide your own battery and ESC, but the motors and props are adequate for even beyond-scale-like performance. The "wow-factor" is a big plus - there has been a lot of excitement surrounding the release of this model, and I believe it will be another huge success for GWS!
Nope- especially as the motors only draw around 1.5A, there's no issue.
I've had to run power wires for much higher power systems in close proximity before, as long as the receiver antenna is kept away from the ESC and power wires, I've never had an issue.
Nice job. That's a great looking plane. I have wanted to do something like this for a while but have been shying away from a multi-engine just because of the complexity and sheer number of parts. But this didn't look too bad.
GWS CargoTrans C-130/C-160
This is my GWS CargoTrans. I made it into a C-160 version with a Blue Angels FAT Albert Scheme. I am a first timer at this, So any thoughts would be appreciated. I still have a good ways to go, but at least I got it started.
USA, NJ, South Plainfield
Joined Sep 2008
Thanks for reviving this review...was itching to put together another kit and had this one in the garage for two years...must be fate because I actually pulled the box out last night and was looking it over before leaving for work!
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