GWS-40 (P-40 Warhawk) Review - RC Groups

GWS-40 (P-40 Warhawk) Review

Albert Warhaftig revisits his aircraft spotting childhood with this good looking, good flying, good value of a warbird.

Brand new and ready to go with Flying Tiger decals.
Brand new and ready to go with Flying Tiger decals.
Brand new and ready to go with Flying Tiger decals.
Wing Area:272.8 sq. in.
Weight:23-26.5 oz.
Wing Loading:- 12.8 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:4 GWS Naro or HS55 sized equivalent
Transmitter:4 channels
Battery:3 cell 1300-2200 LiPo
Motor:GWS BL2215/126
Price$104.99 with motor and 4 servos
Manufacturer:Grand Wing System China, Inc.
Available From:Grand Distribution


Born in 1935, and raised on California's Pacific Coast during the years of World War II, I spent much of my childhood in a little balcony on the top floor of our house, binoculars at the ready and an enemy aircraft spotter's handbook open on my lap. No Japanese Zero, Zeke, or Betty from the Land of the Rising Sun was going to get past me and bomb us. No way! And I knew what was going to happen when I spotted enemy airplanes: at my call, a squadron of magnificent shark mouthed Flying Tiger P-40s would shoot down every last one of them. You can bet on it.

Never mind that those P-40s were an ocean away. General Chenault's fierce Yankee volunteers and their wonderfully painted '40s were my childhood heroes and still are. Pictures of them are engraved in my memory, so how can you blame me for jumping at the chance to review the new GWS-40? What a privilege to deal with an airplane that has soul!

A few years ago I built GWS’s Zero, 109, and Spitfire one by one as they came out and was fascinated by the small and critical improvements GWS made to the design and quality as one kit followed another. I haven't had my hands on a GWS plane for a while, and I was curious to see what improvements have been made. I'll tell you right now, they did a nice job, and the airplane looks great.

Kit Contents

These days kits arrive well packed and undamaged, and the GWS-40 certainly arrived in perfect shape, with its parts bagged and protected by cardboard partitions.

Tearing into the box, two colorful sheets of decals jumped out at me. You can dress up your '40 as a Flying Tiger, as a British lend-lease version, or in U.S. Army garb. There are decals for all three versions. These are waterslide decals, but they slide on easily with nary a tear or problem.

The small parts and the motor and accessories are in their respective bags. The usual GWS array of black and of transparent parts joined on a common tree are present (in case you have never built a GWS kit before, you will find that you will only use a few of these parts. GWS uses the same trees for a variety of models.)

The instruction book in both English and Chinese is an enormous improvement. Assembly is explained in a series of clear drawings with brief but adequate captions, and, Glory Be!, the English and Chinese are in separate sections of the booklet rather than the jumble that characterized kits in years past.

The GWS-40 kit included a BL2215/12 brushless motor, prop, and motor mount.

GWS also provided me with their GWT-4A II transmitter and RD-8M/SS/H receiver. This equipment should be quite adequate, however the supplied transmitter was not compatible with the supplied receiver. Rather than slow things down waiting for an equipment swap, I went ahead and used my own JR equipment. I did, however, use the supplied GWS servos and the GWESC25A ESC.

Kit Contains:

  • Painted foam airframe components with detailed panel lines, rivets, etc.
  • Painted plastic cowl
  • Neatly painted transparent canopy
  • Landing gear with realistic wheels
  • Hinges, pushrods, and pushrod connectors and servo connectors
  • Y connector for the servos
  • All necessary screws, bits of tubing, and other odds and ends
  • Instruction manual
  • Decals
  • GWS glue (a sort of contact cement)
  • A clay weight
  • Motor, mount, and 3 bladed prop
  • Rubber inner spinner
  • Two foam outer spinners, one for 2 bladed props and one for 3 blades

Kit Requires:

  • 25 amp ESC
  • 4 servos, HS55 size
  • The usual array of common tools
  • Epoxy, CA Glue, and masking tape



My P-40 was prepainted. Although the paint is more scuff resistant than on previous GWS kits, the moldings have many little "nibs" and even working carefully over a padded surface, I still knocked the tops off these little bumps, leaving an airplane that looks like it has dandruff. But as my old mentor used to say, at 4 feet away or 40 miles per hour, you will never notice the difference.

Assembly starts by cutting the ailerons from the wing, hinging them using supplied paper-like hinges which are quite adequate, and then joining the wing halves which interlock solidly.

A fiberglass rod spar glues into a slot on the underside of the wing after which you can add other required bits and pieces.

You can build the P-40 with landing gear or without for those who hand launch and belly into grass. Parts are supplied for either option, though the no-gear pieces are for some reason unpainted. There is a slight difference between the left and right landing gear bases, so check them carefully before gluing.

The sturdy intricate interlocking of the two wing halves and the very solid landing gear mounts are two impressive improvements over older GWS kits.


The fuselage consists of two halves which glue together. I was pleased to see a lot of detail molded into the inner sides of the cockpit as well as a pretty good looking instrument panel included among the decals (I cut mine out and glued it on, backing and all). With a little extra work, you could put a pretty impressive cockpit into this plane. Pity they don't include a pilot, though - this plane really wants one.

Molded mounts inside the fuselage sides will hold the pushrod sheaths firmly in place. The wing is attached by two long bolts, one running up each fuselage side. These seat into a hex nut that is glued into a black plastic nut plate (part C6). Be sure to put the nut into the top of the nut plate so that the bolt will pull the nut down into its seat. When gluing the plate into its slot in the fuselage, be sure to slide it as far as possible into the fuselage slot that receives it (the corresponding drawing could leave you with the impression that the nut plate fits toward the center of the fuselage. NO!! Shove it way in.) I used a popsicle stick to shove mine in.

Be careful of the finish when you glue the fuselage sides together. Tape is likely to pull paint off, and clamps will dent the foam. Use very low stick tape, lots of padding with clamps, or, if you build rubber powered models, wrap the fuselage with a length of rubber strip.

The stick for mounting the motor should be glued in before or at the same time as the two sides are glued. Note that the 2215 motor stick goes in the lower slot. Geared 400 motors require a stick in the upper slot.

Radio Installation

The servos fit comfortably in molded cavities. There is plenty of room for the receiver under the wing.

GWS provides servo connectors, but their shaft is rather broad. In order to fit them on small servo arms, such as those provided with GWS servos, you must enlarge the holes in the arm to the point where little material remains. This seems questionable, but after three days of hard flying, my equipment is holding up well.


Instead of screws, GWS provides a clever set of snap fasteners to retain the cowl. These work well, however, the cowl is made from a very thin plastic and is very fragile. A thicker plastic or a fiberglass cowl would surely be preferable.

Set up the CG and control throws as shown in the instruction book. Be sure to locate the CG at least as far forward as shown in the instructions. I had to add one ounce of weight to do this.

GWS parts are accurate and you should discover that you have a well aligned airplane.

Time for decals, and then you're done.



I like models that fly like their full scale prototypes, and as far as I am concerned most models fly too fast to be realistic. Given that standard, I am happy with this P-40. What a "real" P-40 can do, this P-40 does. It loops and rolls from level flight and can perform all typical World War II maneuvers. It looks pretty real and does all this with the supplied 3 bladed prop (although I think it flies a bit better with a 9 x 7 prop).

Pilots who are used to what, in my opinion, are overpowered scale models are going to say the GWS 40 is too slow, underpowered, and would benefit from a hop up. It's all a matter of taste, really. The plane does what it is supposed to with the motor supplied, but it is strong enough for a more powerful motor if that suits your style.

Taking Off and Landing

On the running track we use for takeoff, the '40 is off the ground quickly and can climb briskly. With its very flexible landing gear, I don''t recommend grass field takeoffs. On landing, keep the airspeed up in order to avoid a last minute stall. The flexible landing gear absorbs a lot of shock, which is a good thing, but it is also springy. You will land without damage, but you'll have to practice a bit before you will be able to land without a bounce or two.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

This is not meant to be an aerobatic model. As mentioned, it flies like a real P-40. As is the case with most World War II warbirds, the P-40 will stall if pushed to extremes, so practice stall recovery at a safely high altitude, beware of slow sharp turns, and when using high rates on elevator, make sure you have a brisk airspeed before looping.

Is This For a Beginner?

The GWS box says "for intermediate to advanced fliers." In my opinion, intermediate for sure, advanced, not necessarily. If you are comfortable with a low winged aileron equipped airplane, you will be well off with this one.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery



I really enjoy flying this realistic recreation of my favorite World War II aircraft. GWS has once again produced a smart looking and easy to assemble airplane at a reasonable price


  • Looks good, flies good, good value
  • Finally, no spoked wheels!
  • Generous supply of decals
  • Cool cockpit and canopy


  • No pilot for the cool canopy
  • Fragile cowl
  • Can tip stall (but what warbird doesn't?)
Last edited by Angela H; Dec 01, 2007 at 07:53 PM..
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Dec 02, 2007, 09:39 AM
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pda4you's Avatar
Albert - great review - looks like a keeper!

Any idea what the amp draw is with your various props?

Dec 02, 2007, 12:10 PM
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Bill Covert's Avatar
I'm not an ARF guy, but since these are semi-kits, and I don't have a P40, I have one on "order" at my LHS, if he ever gets it. He claims that Horizon won't sell the SG kits, which is what I want, and that he has to order quantity from GWS to make the shipping reasonable. The good thing is another guy wants an NPS-SG kit too, so maybe he'll actually order a few.

I noticed in the review:
Flimsy cowl: They really do need glassed inside.
Finally no spoke wheels: That's worth a good 2 bucks right there.

Looking at the pics above, GWS has gotten smarter by making the foam thicker in the areas where they cut out equipment and batt access. Not like the P51, where it will shatter if not seriously CF spar reinrforced. Better foam too, I assume, than they used a while back.

Did this painted version come with the 2-tone paint job?
Last edited by Bill Covert; Dec 02, 2007 at 12:16 PM.
Dec 02, 2007, 03:58 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
Good Review Albert. Looks like GWS has finally listened to the consumer and made some improvements. That short takeoff roll and steep climbout looked plenty powerful to me. This P-40 is a winner.
Mike McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Dec 02, 2007, 05:03 PM
Registered User
Bill Covert - The '40 came painted as shown - grew on bottom, OD on top.
Dec 02, 2007, 07:02 PM
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mike3976's Avatar
Are there covers for the aileron servo's? There are molded recesses around the servo's from the looks of it. Also, will a 3-S 2100 Li-Po fit & what size is the 3 blade prop? Tks.
Dec 02, 2007, 08:30 PM
Registered User
SportsFlyer's Avatar
Who stocks it in the US ? Would like to get one !

Dec 02, 2007, 08:53 PM
blakevan's Avatar

This is where I got mine and it was a fast easy transaction. Didn't like the Pulso ESC, however, and thinking about upgrading to a larger motor.
Dec 02, 2007, 09:13 PM
Registered User
wouldy's Avatar
Sureflight has them on their website:
Dec 02, 2007, 10:26 PM
Registered User
There are no covers over the wing servos.
3x2100 lipos fit. That is what I use.
The 3 blade prop is 10x6

Now go fly!
Dec 02, 2007, 11:22 PM
Registered User
Try Hi Country Hobbies.

I just bought the P40 version without motor/servos from them. Shipping was via FedEx and was fast and at a reasonable cost.

The P40 version with servos/motor is on sale for $95.

Also, the P38 is on clearance for $39!

Dec 03, 2007, 08:51 AM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Originally Posted by wahrhaftig
There are no covers over the wing servos.
3x2100 lipos fit. That is what I use.
The 3 blade prop is 10x6

Now go fly!
Albert - do you know what the amp draw is with this propeller?
Dec 03, 2007, 10:20 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
The P-40 while not 3D aerobatic does all standard aerobatic manuevers reasonably well at 3/4-full throttle with power cut as needed for tail slides and other manuevers. Does a nice axial roll with the proper throw on the ailerons. Find a Zero and have a dogfight!
Enjoyed your review Albert. Mike
Dec 03, 2007, 10:41 AM
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Bill Covert's Avatar
Originally Posted by pda4you
Albert - do you know what the amp draw is with this propeller?
On the prop topic, is that a new GWS prop?
Looks like the HD props. Never seen that style before in 3-blader, only the slow-flyer version.
Dec 03, 2007, 01:40 PM
All Glory to HypnoToad!
osmenthe's Avatar
I really like the new GWS Warbirds. Better foam, more detail and larger sizes. One thing that DOES bug me about them though is from any angle but the bottom they look great. The under-bellies need so much "nip/tuck" to get them from showing wires, servos, braces, gear mounts.

We very rarely see a full under-belly shot of a completed plane when they are reviewed (probably for the above reasons). Would it be possible to get a full underbelly shot of the completed P-40. I love the plane, but would like to have an idea of what I'm in for with cosmetic surgery before buying one!


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