Foam aplenty but the fit of parts is good.
I guess I should admit right here at the start that I've a bit of a soft spot for GWS kits. I’ve built a good many and think they're grand, although I’m the first to admit that a few idiosyncratic traits must at times be tolerated. Nevertheless and generally speaking the designs fly very well, sometimes with a few adjustments here and there and more often than not, with a bit of weight in the nose. Although I’ve built the pre-painted FW-190 you see here, I'd recommend you buy the unpainted version which with a RRP of £24.99 is I think, a lot of model for the money.
The model is titled 190 – there's no FW prefix but I'm going to call it FW-190 as clearly this is a rendition of the famous German WWII fighter. The model is available in standard foam or EPO (Elapor to you and me) and represents one of the first generation of designs to come from GWS's new Chinese manufacturing facility. This new generation of models is bigger than the last and it's fair to say that the quality of the moulded foam parts has improved – things fit where they should, which is no bad thing.
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The packaging isn't quite what it used to be though, the all-colour boxes have gone, to be replaced by white card and a picture panel. Colour is absent from manual too, but the 'Airfix' style of exploded diagrams does well to convey the basics. GWS kits are just that, 'kits' in every sense so there's building in store not least painting and finishing – they do reminding me of the Airfix kits I built as a kid now I come to think of it.
Though crisply moulded, scale deviations are in evidence. The panel lines are far too deep and the wing and tail feathers too thick, GWS having clearly decided to add strength through mass rather than using say, carbon strips (a la Multiplex) to support a thinner rear fuselage section. The cowl is a little disappointing too and doesn't really do justice to the '190's characteristic gun bulges. Stand back from the model though and an FW-190 it is.
I was pretty pleased with the results after my first skirmish with an airbrush!
The kit reflects some curious decisions by GWS, not least the inclusion of a Y-lead and the omission of a spinner. A Y-lead is something builders probably wont need – using a computer transmitter flapperon function for the two aileron servos with a 6-channel receiver. On the other hand, the FW-190's distinctive spinner will be difficult to source or tricky to reproduce from scratch. I had a bit of luck as far as the spinner was concerned and chanced upon a Parkzone FW-190 spinner in a model shop that's just about the right size albeit for a two-bladed prop. This item should be obtainable (probably on order from Horizon Hobby) at most model shops.
Construction is straightforward and shouldn’t take long, indeed like most foamies, the majority of the build time will probably be taken with painting and finishing. There's not too much to report here – I used my own hinges for the control surfaces and decided against undercarriage as they would look awful hanging down on a fast pass. The nose area seems to have a number of slots, any of which could accomodate the motor stick so be careful which of these you use as it's positively easy to end up with an off-centre motor if you're not careful.
For the finish I sprayed acrylic colours using an airbrush (see my airbrush feature in the April 2008 issue of RCM&E) to a scheme loosely based on a 1944 Western Front example. I found a little pilot, added some guns and a tail aerial mast too – little touches like this all add to the overall scale impression once the model is airborne.
Thankfully GWS kits aren't supplied with a brushed motor these days, the company sensibly leaving the purchaser to add his motor of choice. Brushless it has to be so I fitted a GWS BL 2215/12 outrunner allied to a 25 amp E-flite ESC which is more than big enough for the job in hand. The motor fits to one of the company's trademark stick mounts using a GWS brushless outrunner motor mount.
Battery wise, a Li-Po in the 3s 1300mAh – 1800mAh range will do nicely. The manual states that 2000mAh packs will do but I think you'll have trouble getting one of these to fit under the battery hatch, it's not an issue though as smaller packs will still provide plenty of flight time.
Show me a park fly foamie that doesn't need some lead in the nose and I'll show you a model that could fly a lot better. I found that 60g of stick-on weight was required on the inside of the cowl to bring the C of G up to where it should be. GWS quote a flying weight of 20-23oz, which is a bit optimistic. My model (without a rudder servo) was was 27oz with a 6oz 1800mAh Li-Po battery.
Although a three-blade prop would be ‘scale’ my spinner dictated a two-blader so I selected a 10×7 ‘orange’ GWS prop which pulled 10 amps at full throttle. The static prop-wash was certainly impressive and I've not seen the need to change this prop having since flown the model although I may just step up to an 11" prop soon just too see how it compares – GWS do recommend the 10×6 for the motor though.
My receiver was a small Jeti 35MHz 4-channel unit and servos were really just those I had lying around – Ripmax SD-150's in each wing and a Hi-tec 55 for elevator. I didn't bother with a rudder servo – I rarely do if the model isn't aerobatic capable, or as in this case, would look silly prop-hanging!
This FW-190 has a lovely stance in the air
The model flies very well and doesn't seem to have any poor handling faults. The power from my system meant that I can launch under-arm with ease and the model pulls away at a good angle without faltering or dropping a wing. The stall characteristics are very good and as long as the balance point suggested has been achieved then I can't imagine the model will suddenly drop a wing – I certainly haven't been able to coax any nastiness from her.
This FW-190 tracks smoothly and the roll rate whilst pretty sedate at the recommended setting, can be adjusted at the Tx or the model of course. She'll loop happliy enough but I get a kick just watching he on those low fast fly-bys, followed by a pull-up and half roll before coming back down again for another fast pass – great stuff!
Landing the model is simplicity itself, especially so given the safe handling characteristics. The 190 will cope with a modest breeze but, like all small foamies, she'll be better on a calm day. Flight times are very good – 10-15 minutes depending on throttle useage and this with modest 1800mAh 3S Li-Po battery too.
UPDATE 24/3/08 Just by way of an update I should just add that I've now settled on the 11×7 prop and have added another 20g of weight in the nose. She's now pretty much 'there' as far as this power-train is concerned although the more I fly her, the faster I want her to go so a motor upgrade may be on the cards in due course. For now though she's plenty fast enough for the small park I fly from.
It's amazing just how cheap electric flight has become. This 40" span warbird is just £25. Throw in a cheap ESC and motor, say £15, three cheap servos at £5 each and a little Li-Po battery, say £20 – and you have a great park model and a model that will satisfy at any club flightline……for not much money.
GWS haven't turned in the perfect kit here of course but for £25 builders will be happy to make their own alterations along the way, safe in the knowledge that the airframe will reward once in the air, indeed this FW-190 has a certain presence that will add to the overall satisfaction.
Meet my new park-hack….just the ticket
Name GWS 190
Manufactured by – GWS, China
UK distributor – J.Perkins distribution Ltd
RRP – £24.99 (2008) for the unpainted version
Wingspan – 39.8"
Length – 30.9"
All-up weight – 27oz
ESC used – E-flite 25 amp
Servos – 3/4 x micro
Battery req'd – 1300-1800mAh Li-Po.
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