GWS BF-109:The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. - RC Groups
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Sep 08, 2003, 01:50 AM
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hyperknight's Avatar

GWS BF-109:The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

Ok. Let me first say I've been one of those people who have been bashing GWS kits ever since I got into this hobby (without merit). Looking at those rather VERY (or barely IMHO) SEMI-scale warbird kits turned me off from the start. However, I now realize this was an unfair judgement of their kits. I was in essense, judging the book by it's cover without ever reading it.

Having flown almost all the euro scale WWII foamies out there (FSK, alpha, etc.) and seeing some of the video, I thought I'd give one of the GWS kits a try. What I found was...

The Good:

The size of the plane is a little bit larger than most of the euro kits I've had. This is a good thing as my eye sight sucks. It's not too large and not too small. Also, now I understand why the fuse always seem to be "out of scale". The GWS guys apparently designed their kits to use AA flat packs so the fuse is a little wider than it should be. Though I don't have any AA flat packs, I can see how this would be a big plus for many people using 8-cell AA flat packs (cheaper than Li-polys but have comparable capacities). This is a great feature. I, myself, may put together some AA packs in the near future to take advantage of this feature.

Another GOOD aspect of this kit and one in which drove me to write this post to begin with is the flight characteristics. In a word - FABULOUS! Now I am flying the kit on a razor 350 with a 3S1P 1200mAh Etec pack so stock performance will be different.

What surprised me when I first flew this kit was how stable it was. I was expecting this thing to be somewhat twitchy upon launch as had my experiences been with many other euro kits. But this wasn't the case. The kit barely needed any trim adjustments and was flying fast and effortlessly. Now what do I mean by "effortlessly"? Some of the scale euro kits I've flown (please keep in mind, I still consider myself a rookie in this hobby) seemed to need my full concentration when flying. I always felt the need to be a "few steps ahead" of the plane. Flying in this mode for too long fatigues my brain quite rapidly and has resulted in a few crashes. The GWS BF-109 didn't seem to be this demanding. Not sure why. For the past two days I've flown it, I pretty much have been flying it in "reflexive" mode (easier on the brain cells). Surprising, as this is the FASTEST kit I have flown to date. Easily two to three times faster than my last WWII kit (FSK Spitfire running S300).

The Bad:

The foam, though much thicker than the foam used in the euro kits, seems to break (chip off) and dent pretty easy. The depron? foam used on the euro kits seem to be more resilent to dents and chipping. However, I can see the GWS kit would be a little easier to fix if there was a catastrophic crash.

Foam spinner!!??? Nuff said on that.

Not much scale details. What scale details there are, it's molded into the foam which detracts from the scale-ness even more IMHO. It would have been nice to have some seperate plastic scale parts to add on if one wished (such as exhaust stacks, radiator scoops, etc.).

Canopy. The canopy on a plane, to me, is the focal point of the craft. As such, I would have liked to have seen a nicer canopy or at least a means to make a nice canopy (pre-cut masks so one could paint the canopy more easily). GWS can take a lesson here from the euro guys on this one. Though the kit does include adhesive strips to use on the canopy frame, it just doesn't look good to me. This is not to say the stock canopy is terrible but it could be a little better.

The Ugly:

Mold marks! Mold marks! Big ass mold marks!! Come on! I realize one must keep in mind the price of the kit, but we're talking about some really nasty sized mold marks. Being in the manufacturing industry, I know it's not too difficult and too costly to improve on the tooling/mold to correct this.

Aside from the mold marks, the general surface of the foam isn't anywhere on par with the euro foam kits. The cheesy dimpled surface just won't cut in my book. However, with some extra work, one can make the surface rather smooth and even.

Well, there you have it. Even with the down falls I listed, I really like this kit. If this plane didn't fly the way it does, it would be in the trash right now and this post would be a pure flame post. Fortunately, this is not the case. Does this mean the GWS kits are better than the Euro kits? Absolutely not. They are two different types of kits catering to different types of people. Much the same way Honda caters to one type of driver and BMW caters to another type.

As I see it, it IS good to have both. It's like having a BMW M3 and a Honda S2000 with a turbo charger!

You get the best of both worlds. Can't wait to try the GWS Corsair with a Mega DD next!

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Sep 08, 2003, 07:05 AM
Houng-wen Lin
GWS4CEO's Avatar
Thanks for your kindly posted the comments likewise!

Check the more about GWS later products compare with older products, you can smell the improvements to be add on all the way!

F4U and Formosa are waiting for your test!
Sep 08, 2003, 11:38 AM
Registered User
For anyone complaining about the mold marks on GWS aircraft, I hear you. That's why I have resolved to only buy unpainted versions of their models. This allows you to sand the mold marks and fill them with micro-fill so the whole model looks really nice. Then paint the model with colors that you want (nice when you wreck it you'll have touchup paint) I couldn't get an unpainted P-51 when it first came out but now Horizon seems to stock unpainted versions. I received my unpainted F4U Corsair last week and now am building it. I have sanded the mold marks and filled in the gaps/bead marks and when painted it will rival the Scorpio foamies for looks (still not up to the FS or Alpha looks, though)

But I still congratulate GWS for their efforts. They have really responded to the consumer well and have satified many.

I have a Razor 400 waiting for the Formosa! I hope Horizon will stock the Slope Glider version for those of us who won't be using the stock power setup!
Sep 08, 2003, 12:14 PM
Motor Maniac
thunder1, just buy the kit with the stock power setup and sell the motor if you aren't going to use it. You will probably use the GB anyway, so just take the motor out and sell it. Plenty of folks who use the stock motors will need replacements, and the new 350 motors will be easy to sell to those who have the 300 motors and want to upgrade.
Sep 08, 2003, 01:42 PM
Registered User
10Thumbs, actually I modify all my models to use the MPJet gearboxes. The prop shafts don't bend and they spin in the correct direction for Speed 300s. The old 300C motors are pretty much a throwaway but at least the new 350Cs can be used as 6v Speed 300 replacements. I have two brand new EPS gearboxes lying around but I am not part of a club and I don't consider it worth my effort to sell these things. I must have half a dozen MPJet gearboxes lying around in various states of serviceability.

My point about the slope glider is just this: Horizon advertises the slope glider version and the price difference is about $15-$17 less than the powered version. That's for everything except the motor, pinion, spur gear, landing gear. (comes with the motor stick, gearbox, shaft and spinner) Why not SELL the slope glider?

Does anyone sell the slope glider version of GWS models???
Sep 08, 2003, 01:46 PM
Registered User
hyperknight's Avatar

I was not aware there was a slope glider verion (no power hardware). If indeed this was sold for $15 or so less, then these kits would be even that much more better as I am like you. I put a brushless in all my stuff. I don't even bother with the brushed motors.

Sep 08, 2003, 02:42 PM
Suspended Account
I'm building an Islander now. I have filled and sanded all the mold marks off. I'm also covering with Solar Film.

Sep 08, 2003, 03:04 PM
Motor Maniac
thunder1, how do you modify a model such as one of the GWS birds for the MPJet GB? I am interested in options for different GB's on the GWS models.

Point well made on the slope version. I don't like the trouble of selling small stuff either. If you don't want your old GWS GB's send em my way, I'll pay postage.
Sep 08, 2003, 05:06 PM
Registered User
10Thumbs, I posted a modification thread here:

The P-51 and Spitfire are virtually identical to the mod in this thread. The Corsair and Zero would be different. Their fuselages don't extend all the way to the nose because they have plastic cowls. So I'll have to build a firewall and support it with pieces of wood (maybe the stock motor stick) attached to the fuselage as spacers. It's a little more work than the ME-109 but still pretty easy.
Sep 09, 2003, 02:48 PM
Motor Maniac
Thanks for posting your results and the link. Looks like the Corsair would be the easiest to modify. So far I haven't bent any of my EPS GB shafts badly, but I fly my planes with LG. I have dorked a few IPS shafts, so I feel your pain.
Sep 09, 2003, 10:27 PM
Registered User
The Max-Q's Avatar
Although I like GWS kits very very much, I agree that they are semi-scale and sometimes a bit less scale than semi-scale. I, personally, am a complete scale fanatic and delve deeply into unwavering, nanometer accuracy. Not that this matters, as these planes are designed to be fun, exciting, not too hard to fly, and of course, something: "All you can fly!" These GWS planes are excellent remote-controlled aircraft.

Oh, yes: By the way, I'd most definitely stick with the Motorsport 3-Series! Not that I own such a land vehicle capable of such high velocity transportion. But of course, to each their own.

Happy Dogfighting!