Great Planes Piper J3 Cub 60 / L4 - RC Groups
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Aug 04, 2009, 12:58 AM
Austin Silent Flyers
Ron Clarkson's Avatar

Great Planes Piper J3 Cub 60 / L4

I was thinking of building the Great Planes Piper J3 Cub 60. I'd like to cover it in olive drab and L4 decals. Were can I find a monokote type covering in matt olive drab? The ones I've found are high gloss. Would a basic clear matt finish spraypaint do the job? I want a L4 grasshopper as close to scale as possable.

Is the J3 and L4 basically the same plane? How true to scale would that be?

Anyone know where someone could find history info and photos of the L4? Looking for the classic WW2 pilot training aircraft.
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Aug 12, 2009, 08:14 AM
Registered User
RCEFlyer's Avatar

Piper J3 / L4


for covering your plane you can use coverite 21st century Flat Covering Film.
This covering is available by

here's a link with some info

As far as i know the Piper J3 and the L4 Grasshopper has different glass sections on each side. You cab find lot's of foto's on

Aug 13, 2009, 08:41 AM
ARFs Are Me
TomCrump's Avatar
There are major modifications needed to turn a J-3 in to an L-4. The whole cabin area needs to be reworked. It's not as simple as covering the model in OD.

The L-4 was not a training aircraft. For a WWII trainer, look at the PT-17.
Aug 13, 2009, 11:13 AM
Registered User
In 1944, when my dad was in Navy pilot training, the first aircraft that he flew was the NE-1, which is just a stock J-3 with Navy markings. Dad flew this for about the first 10 hours of instruction (Navy V-5 Program) before going to the N3N-3, followed by the SNV followed by the SNJ. I still have his training manual for the NE-1. The photos in the manual show what appears to be a yellow J-3 with some US Navy insignia. That would be an interesting color scheme.

Aug 13, 2009, 12:47 PM
AMA 910957
EJWash1's Avatar
Originally Posted by Ron Clarkson
Is the J3 and L4 basically the same plane? How true to scale would that be?
The Piper J-3 Cub, L-4 Observer are in fact the same aircraft - up to a point.

The J-3 and L-4 share the same fuselage baskets. The difference is mainly in the cabin windows. The L-4 has a “greenhouse” arrangement that allows more pilot visibility above and behind them. This exposes much more of the fuselage framework.

I have the Great Planes J-3 40 kit (76.5” wingspan). I reviewed the build manual for the 60, and the two share the the same fuselage design. I can tell you that the only way to present those kits as an L-4 would be to use silver covering to simulate the greenhouse windows. Just not worth the effort for the return. The fuselage structural design of the models would not lend itself to leaving out the material that would present a scale representation of an L-4.

There are a couple of large-scale (1/4, 1/3) kits that follow the building structure of the full-size J-3 that will lend themselves to L-4 modification. Not sure of larger scale is your cup-o-tea or not.

I think that cv440pilot makes an excellent suggestion to present the GP J-3 as an NE-1. You get the stars & bars, and it would be an authentic presentation of a WWII U.S. Navy trainer. The cool part would be that some at the flying field will call you on it, and you can “educate” them...

As mentioned, has literally hundreds of pics of J-3s and L-4s.

A little J-3 and L-4 history:

NE-1 profile:

Here’s a couple of pics of the full-size L-4 fuselage basket.

Hope you find something!


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