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Work-in-Progress Build Review: Wingnut Wings Gotha G.I

Building this big early bomber
FSM reviewer Chuck Davis is building this big early bomber and is sending in-progress reports as he goes.

Check back for updates.

As with all Wingnut Wings kits, the instructions are very detailed and careful study of the entire manual prior to building and at every step helps avoid mistakes. Pay close attention to all the notes, as build instructions, as well as part and decal callouts are scattered throughout. Wingnut Wings posts corrections to their instructions on their website under each kit’s information. In the case of the Gotha G.1, there are some corrections to the strut part numbers and instructions to drill out the tail skid mounting hole. Guess who didn’t check that first?

I usually prepare subassemblies based on their ultimate color; that’s why the landing gear is already done ready for the “very light grey” color called out by Wingnuts. The gear assembly looks complex, but the parts virtually click into place and are very strong.

Having built a number of these kits now, I’ve decided I do a better job by placing the seat belts BEFORE I spend all the effort of painting the seat. If I don’t, I usually scratch the paint or smear glue everywhere. Before placing the belts, I annealed the parts by holding them in the flame of a butane torch until they glowed cherry red. This softened the brass and made it easier to bend without kinking.

Wingnut Wings always include a “high detail” option of brass cooling jackets for their German guns – well worth the effort. These brass parts were also annealed, then rolled around a metal gauge pin to form the cylindrical shape. The correct diameter is listed in the instruction notes. The brass sights were not annealed, since they don’t get bent and that rigidity helps assembly.

Despite the Gotha being an early World War I aircraft, there’s surprisingly little need for wood parts. The parts have been cleaned up, sprayed with a base coat of Tamiya deck tan (XF-55), and clear coated with an acrylic gloss. They are now ready for simulating wood grain using oil paint.

The fit of the interior bulkheads was good enough to allow me to paint them assembled without glue, rather than trying to figure out how to hold them. Here they are separated ready for application of the wood grain.

The wooden propellers are prepared in the same was as the other wood parts. But from here on, the painting differs.

Simulating wood grain is surprisingly simple. I use Winsor & Newton burnt umber oil paint thinned with turpenoid, a synthetic turpentine solvent. I brush the thinned oil wash on with a flat brush in the general direction of the wood grain after the acrylic clear coat has dried.

Even at this early stage the simulated grain is apparent.

All the wood parts have been prepped and are drying awaiting the next step, actually “graining” the “wood.”

While the oil paint dried, I attacked the engines. Wingnut Wings always include engines that are mini models in their own right, including separate cylinder halves that accommodate the addition of wire  to replace the three-quarter molded pushrods. This option isn’t mentioned in any Wingnut Wings kit but is there for the taking. Once again, preparing ahead pays dividends; guided by the molded depressions, I drilled larger, deeper holes for the pushrods.

There is molded half round shape — possibly from a missing ejector pin in the mold — that interferes with fitting the intake manifold. A mini chisel makes short work of the issue.

The engine fits together beautifully and can be disassembled for painting if you’re careful.

Removing the cylinders and distributors, the engine is ready for painting with metallic shades.

After a couple of hours of drying, I use a stiff, flat brush to stroke wood grain into the oil paint. Twisting the brush slightly and teasing the oil paint results on a convincing pattern.

For variety, I change the direction of the grain if it makes sense.

After adding the grain, you can adjust the “tone” of the wood if desired by over spraying tinted clear coats ¬— in this case, I used Tamiya clear yellow.

There’s really no limit to the number of variations you can create with different tan undercoats, oil paint thickness, grain direction, and overcoat tints. For this kit, the undercoat was all the Tamiya deck tan, but some areas were overcoated in Tamiya clear yellow and others in Tamiya clear orange.

Wingnut Wings instrument panels are always well detailed and have wonderful decals. The part starts with a simulated wood finish.

Detail painting of the instruments and wires starts to make the panel pop.

Given the size and visibility of the cockpits in this scale, I like to use punched pieces of clear styrene for instrument faces instead of building up layers of clear paint — it actually ends up being quicker.

Simulating wood grain is not only simple but satisfying. With a bit of time and effort, you have a finished wooden interior to build around. The engine frames are ready to go as well.

While I was working on the wood I also finished the guns — Testors Metallizer gunmetal providing the sheen for the photo-etched metal and plastic weapons.

One of the more satisfying parts of building a Wingnut Wings kit is seeing the finished interior with all the wonderful detail packed in. Notice the faded, splotchy application of the interior color — this adds interest and is easily accomplished by spraying foggy patterns of a lightened mix of the base color.

In between working on the interior and other subassemblies, I put together the tail stand provided in the kit. I prepped it along with all the other “wood” parts and it was finished in the same way. I then added a random pattern of grey — Tamiya ocean gray (XF-82) — followed by dry-brushing with a touch of Tamiya dark yellow (XF-60). The bolt heads were picked out with Testors Metallizer dark anodonic gray and a wash of Flory Models dark dirt finished a weather-beaten stand.

I assembled the engines after painting details on the various components. Painting small things, like the spark plugs (white with sliver tips) makes the engines come to life. A wash of Flory dark dirt was applied for a suitably grubby engine.

Time to add the push rods into the prepared holes. The first step is accurately measuring the length. The mounting holes should be drilled deep enough to allow some play when fitting the rods. I cut .018-inch stainless-steel wire with heavy-duty wire cutters from my toolbox — the real toolbox for taking care of the house, not the little one I use for modeling!

I placed a drop of superglue on the upper mount. The rocker arms had been painted separately and installed.

I used tweezers to push each wire into its hole, then lift it up to meet the rocker arm and glue.

Then, I finished up by adding a drop of super glue to the base of each wire.

After just a few minutes of work, the addition of the wire adds nice detail to the already impressive kit engine.


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