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GWS ME-109 NPS Review

The GWS rendition of the most widely produced aircraft of WW2 .... the ME-109!

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Introduction


Wingspan:35.4"
Wing Area:210 sq. in.
Weight:19.1
Length:29.8"
Servos:Hitec HS-55 "Feather" (3x)
Transmitter:Spektrum DX7
Receiver:Spektrum AR6100
Battery:ABF 3s 2200mah 18-23C
Motor:Towerpro 2409-12
ESC:Towerpro 25A
Manufacturer:Grand Wing Servo (GWS)
Available From:Caliber Hobby
Retail Price:NPS version reviewed here - $43.75

Based on my love of military aircraft and my previous experience with GWS warbirds, it was a no-brainer for me to purchase this kit when I saw it at the hobby shop. I've previously built the GWS Corsair and P-51, and as with those kits, this plane has nice lines (which for the most part represent its real life counterpart), quality components, it builds quickly, and it is the perfect size for park flying.

Originally introduced in 1937, the ME-109 proved to be to be the "backbone" of the German Luftwaffe during WW2, scoring more victories than any other aircraft serving in WW2 and accounting for almost 50% of all aircraft produced by Germany during the war. Piloted by famous names such as Gerhard Barkhorn and Günther Rall (Jagdgeschwader 52 sqd.), the ME-109 developed quite a reputation for itself, with some speculating more than 10,000 victories on the eastern front alone. With service in 8+ countries over the span of its life (1937 - 1965), its no wonder the ME-109 has seen just about every type of sortie out there including bomber escort, ground attack, recon, fighter, interceptor and even a speed racer.

GWS is the manufacturer for many different types of aircraft ranging from EDF jets (A4, J10, etc), to slow flying classics such as the Beaver, Cub, E-Starter, and quite a few more. Many of these aircraft were originally designed to be powered by NiCad batteries and brushed motors, but paired with an inexpensive brushless outrunner motor, and LiPo battery, these planes really come to life! So much so, that GWS is now offering many of their kits with brushless outrunners and/or in-runners right out of the box.

Ernst Udet and his V-14 109

Ernst Udet joined JG1 “Richthofen’s Flying Circus” in 1917 and served under Manfred von Richthofen later, Hermann Goering. Udet was awarded the ‘Blue Max’ and was the top German ace to survive the First World War. With charisma , daring, and a keen sense of humor , Udet promoted himself into an international celebrity in the world of aviation. He made three successful mountain/aviation movies in Germany with Leni Riefenstahl. He traveled widely and flew camera planes for German expeditions into Africa and Arctic. Udet made friends with several WWI adversaries , including Eddie Rickenbacker, Bert Hall, Billy Bishop, and Rene Fonck.

 Ernst Udets' 1560bhp V-14 109
Ernst Udets' 1560bhp V-14 109

Udet competed at the 1931 National Cleveland Air Races at Cleveland and was friendly with aviation personalities like Roscoe Turner and Hollywood stars like Harold Lloyd. Wherever there were beautiful women and champagne, the happy – go-lucky Udet was welcome. In 1934 the Nazis were in power and Goering persuaded Udet to head the technical office of the new Luftwaffe. Udet was unsuitable for bureaucracy or ruthless intrigues among men he had befriended like Goering and Erhard Milch. Udet’s role in promoting the Ju 87 Stuka is well known, but he also chose the Messerschmitt 109 for production, earning the enmity of his then-deputy Milch, who hated Willy Messerschmitt.

Geneva was the biggest aviation event in Europe, and Germany planned to dominate it in 1937. Udet was to fly the 1560-hp Bf 109 V-14. The German team easily defeated their competition, but in the big race, Alpenrunflug Kategorie A : Einsitzer on 27 July 1937, Udet’s V-14 crashed heavily with a cracked oil line. The fuselage broke in half just behind the cockpit but he suffered only minor injuries. He continued his work to build the Luftwaffe, promoting new types like the Fw 190 , Me 163 and Me 262 against the opposition of Milch, who made him the scapegoat for Luftwaffe failure in the Battle of Britain.

In August 1941 Udet tried to resign but Goering refused. Reportedly Udet became depressed and shot himself on 17 November 1941. But some blamed Milch, claiming Ernst Udet loved life too much to kill himself and arranged “suicides” were a popular Nazi method of eliminating those with too much prestige to be challenged publicly or executed.

(Text provided by flyingmule.com & Photo provided by www.2diecastmodels.com)

Kit Contents

The box is of sturdy construction to help prevent damage and has some colorful photos of the aircraft as well. Nothing was damaged, and each major component was individually wrapped. Plastic parts are provided in the familiar 'tree' method which are clearly labeled. Also included is a pictorial step-by-step instruction manual, GWS glue, foam spinner, motor mount stick and just about everything needed short of the electronics to finish the plane. It should be noted that for my build, I chose to omit the included landing gear assembly, as I prefer belly-landing my aircraft.

Kit Includes:

  • Foam Fuselage, wing, tail empennage, spinner
  • Push rods
  • Control horns
  • Plastic canopy
  • Fiberglass wing spar
  • GWS glue
  • GWS clay
  • Wooden motor mount stick
  • Asst. Plastic bits used during build (latches, retainers, wheels, etc)

 Towerpro 2409-12T Specs
Towerpro 2409-12T Specs
Type: Brushless Outrunner
Number of cells: Li-Po 2s-3s
RPM/V: 1600
Weight: 64g
Shaft Diameter: 3mm
Current Capacity: 25A
Max Power (watts): 200W

Kit Requires:

  • 3x servos (6-10g)
  • 4-channel receiver
  • 4+ channel transmitter
  • 3s lipo
  • Motor
  • ESC

Items used to complete the build:

  • Towerpro 2409-12 Brushless motor
  • Towerpro 25A ESC
  • AR6100 RX
  • Motor mount
  • 6-minute epoxy
  • APC 8x4 prop
  • 1 pair Dean’s connectors
  • 1 set eflite 3mm Gold bullet connectors
  • 3x dubro mini-connectors
  • Blue painters tape
  • Foam safe spray paints
  • Spray Water Based Polycrylic Urethane (WBPU)
  • Pliers
  • Screwdrivers
  • Foam safe CA
  • 1 set of custom graphics from Callie Graphics

Assembly

One of the things I really like about building GWS warbird kits is how similar all of the construction techniques are. All the GWS kits I have built have supplied clear step-by-step photos for the build, and this kit is no different. The ME-109 kit consists of only a few larger pieces so assembly is quick and not too complicated. I managed to complete the build, paint and all, in about 10 hours over a few days. I’m sure it could be done faster as I'm known for procrastinating.

Wings

The wing installation begins by cutting the ailerons free of the wing, and then installing the supplied hinges and linkages. From my previous experience building GWS kits, I know this (the aileron linkages) to be one of the weak points of the kit. I used a good bit of epoxy in the hole which retains the linkage rod, as over time this can be the source of some 'slop'.

Fuselage

Assembling the fuselage is straightforward, but before sealing the fuse halves together I needed to carve out some foam to allow my 3s 2200mAh pack to fit properly. Other things to note during this phase of the build:

  • Linkage guide rods securely glued and positioned correctly (this ensures proper operation of the control surfaces. Ask me how I know).
  • Ensure motor wires are long enough to reach your ESC.

Tail

The vertical stab is built onto the fuselage, so all that remains is to cut and hinge the rudder. The horizontal stab requires the builder to slide it into position and glue it. Before gluing the horizontal stab., make sure it's squared up with the wings and fuse because if its not, unwanted handling characteristics might possibly creep up. Be careful handling the tail while assembling it, as it can be bit fragile before the horizontal stab is fitted into position.

Radio Installation

All the servo mount points come pre-slotted from the factory, helping make the servo installation quick, and straightforward. I simply dropped in my servos, sealed them into place with hot glue and installed/adjusted the supplied pushrods. I like to use Dubro micro E-Z connectors on the servo side of the linkage. They help me make control surface adjustments easier.

Completion

Final touches on the aircraft include final mounting of the ESC and RX, correctly positioning the battery, more sanding and painting.

Installation of the APC 8x4E prop went without issue, but the stock spinner proved to be a weak point. Installing it was easy enough, but trying to align it was a nightmare. It still is not balanced correctly, and I'm going to maiden it with a stock GWS spinner from a 400C motor (black plastic).

Once the paint and decals were done, I weighed and balanced the aircraft at the factory recommended CG setting. Control surfaces were checked for amount and direction of travel, as outlined in the manual. I ended up being well over the recommended manufacturer’s weight, but I expected this from the get go as I'm building this setup for flat out speed. Paint, and WBPU add weight its an undeniable fact. The AUW is coming in at just under 20 oz.

Flying

Basics

With some of my other warbirds it’s simply 'go fast, or go home' kind of flying. With the ME-109, that’s not the case. I was amazed at how well behaved the aircraft is all over the flight envelope from park flyer speeds all the way up to ... man, that’s pretty fast. I’ve flown this plane on 3s packs varying from 1600 - 2200 mAh in size with no ill effects, but recommend the 1800 mAh for overall balance and performance. With the 1800 mAh pack, I’m getting about 5 minutes of flight time and putting back about 1200 mAh. Five minutes might not seem like long, but this plane is fast and nimble enough to keep you on your toes for all five of them.

Taking Off and Landing

1/2 throttle and a nice even toss, gets the ME-109 airborne right out of your hand. When it comes time to land, I point her into the wind, chop the throttle and keep the wings level. Being a warbird, you'll want to make sure you come in with a little speed and/or a little power to keep from dropping a wing. I didn't on the second flight, and this resulted in a nice cartwheel style landing, separating the wing bolt retainer from the fuse, which required some simple field repairs. Overall I was very impressed with the glide capabilities as my AUW was about 5 oz. over manufacturer’s spec.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

One would expect this plane to perform well in this category.... and, the ME-109 surely doesn’t disappoint. Loops with this power system can be performed with ease: inside, outside you name it. Naturally, vertical flight performance is more than plentiful with a power to weight ratio like this power setup provides. Rolls are very scale when executed on the stock throws, and are one of my favorite maneuvers with this airplane. The wind does tend to rock the plane around a bit when flying in 10-15mph winds (norm. around here), but this IS a smaller aircraft and that’s to be expected from my experience.

One thing Id like to bring up is orientation with this plane. It is VERY visible with the red and all, but the orientation can be very difficult which has led to a few close calls. I’m considering adding some white or yellow tips to the underside of the wings to help prevent this.

Is This For a Beginner?

No, and its not marketed towards one either. GWS recommends this for "expert" pilots. I’d recommend you have some low-wing aileron experience before attempting to fly this aircraft.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

2 thumbs up! I wish more planes looked and performed this well at this price point.

Pluses:

  • Straightforward build
  • Good instruction manual
  • Versatility (slap it together in a night, make it stand-off scale, or use it as the basis for a kit bash)
  • Price point

Misses:

  • Spinner: Fits nicely, but I couldn’t get it to spin in balance.
  • Canopy: Mine keeps coming off, but nothing some red tape wont fix ..... or some rare earth magnets.
Last edited by Angela H; Jul 08, 2008 at 02:39 PM..

Discussion

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Old Jul 08, 2008, 10:00 PM
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Joined Feb 2004
7,056 Posts
Here's mine powered by a BP 21 and Gws 8X4. Flies a lot like a pattern ship
GWS Me 109 (4 min 47 sec)
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Old Jul 08, 2008, 10:26 PM
Ship first, Improve often
L0stS0ul's Avatar
Virginia
Joined Apr 2005
5,008 Posts
hasn't this plane been out for a few years already? Was kinda shocked to see a review of it after all this time.
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Old Jul 08, 2008, 10:26 PM
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What's up with all that down thrust ???
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Old Jul 08, 2008, 11:03 PM
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kahloq's Avatar
Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
Joined Dec 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L0stS0ul
hasn't this plane been out for a few years already? Was kinda shocked to see a review of it after all this time.
Thats what I was thinking. Heck the threads for this plane go back well over 3 years or more.
I might understand a new review if something new was being used or some neat mods were done such as retracts, flaps, etc. Oh wait...I did that

Maybe it was a practice review for a new reviewer candidate or something
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Old Jul 08, 2008, 11:53 PM
O stewardess I speak jive
Jake Williams's Avatar
Willits, CA
Joined Feb 2004
1,142 Posts
Great paint scheme choice . I did a candystripe on the bottom of mine to breakup the pattern. Here is mine, to me it is one of the best airframes for racing warbirds with.
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Old Jul 09, 2008, 12:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ampy
What's up with all that down thrust ???

ANYONE GONNA COMMENT ON THE DOWNTHRUST ???
(is that normal)?
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Old Jul 09, 2008, 12:38 AM
O stewardess I speak jive
Jake Williams's Avatar
Willits, CA
Joined Feb 2004
1,142 Posts
The downthrust is normal on this kit, along with all the older style GWS warbirds.
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Old Jul 09, 2008, 03:52 AM
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EDF30's Avatar
Mercer Co. PA
Joined Mar 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ampy
ANYONE GONNA COMMENT ON THE DOWNTHRUST ???
(is that normal)?
Anyone gonna comment on how it's flying without a pilot?

BTW, the wing from this kit seems to have an excellent airfoil. I've used the wing on 2 scratchbuilds with better success than the original GWS 109 itself.

I bashed my GWS 109 into a HE280. The fuse shape is really close.

Bill
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Old Jul 09, 2008, 07:55 AM
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Angela H's Avatar
Nashville, TN
Joined Nov 2006
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This is a self-funded review by gp125, and that's why it's an older model.
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Old Jul 09, 2008, 09:12 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
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I had the privilege of flying with Don, the author of this review last weekend and seeing him fly his 109. I brought over my ME-109 that is from the original container of planes to reach our shores. Mine is now powered with a geared brushless motor that was added about three years ago and while not as fast as Don's is still an excellent flier.
Nice first review Don and here is one more picture of his plane in the air when a helicopter flew out into the pattern.
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Old Jul 09, 2008, 09:22 AM
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mike3976's Avatar
Economy, Pa.
Joined Mar 2002
3,395 Posts
Whats wrong with reviewing a older kit, thats been out a few years? Is it assumed that everyone has been there, done that?

Good review gp, and thankyou for your effort.
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Old Jul 09, 2008, 10:00 AM
WAA-08 Pilot Eventually
donjiskra's Avatar
Darien,IL,USA
Joined Jul 2000
1,570 Posts
Not everyone has had the pleasure of reading previous "old" posts, myself included. I enjoyed the well done review, particularly about Udet and his involvement as an aircraft pioneer and participant in air racing.
This kit is beautuiful, the review and video made me VERY interested.
With much appreciation for it being publshed!!!!!!!
THANKS,
Don
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Old Jul 09, 2008, 11:38 AM
Checking CG is for NERDS!
Smokescreen38's Avatar
Joined Jun 2005
5,347 Posts
gp125Racer,

great writeup... and nice build. I love the historical paint scheme!!
The history of the plane was a fun read too... I learned something about the ME-109 today!! Thank you!

Unlike some in this thread, I really welcomed the review of a veteran kit. Its still widely available and its a great parkflyer warbird option.

An EPP/EPO update from GWS would be very welcome but this of course comes at the expense of weight.
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Old Jul 09, 2008, 12:38 PM
Lipo abuser ... smoke on!
gp125racer's Avatar
Joined Feb 2005
1,906 Posts
Thanks for the comments everyone!

I enjoy seeing everyones planes, there sure are some nice looking 109s out there.

Ampy:
The downthrust is normal, I just looked at my GWS corsair, and P-51 w/ the same power setup, and they both also have a noticeable amount of down and right thrust visible.

Don
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