Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Every now and again a model appears that simply blows us away, and here we are, duly blown, with the wonderfully detailed 1:32 scale Gotha G.IV from New Zealand’s Wingnut Wings.

Building the Gotha G.IV
The real thing had a wingspan of some 23.7 m (77.75 in), a spread which is reflected on the model shelf, at an extensive 730 mm (29 in). It’ll be a build-and-a-half if you decide to splash out and get one - there are 436 plastic components, plus 22 metal-etch fine detail parts. The instruction book’s 40 pages will help you all the way, and there’s a rigging diagram for those with more dexterity (and patience) than this writer. Wingnut Wings have also included various optional parts, decals for five different aircraft, and a pair of engines that are a work of model art in their own right.

Zeppelin or Gotha?
The Gotha G.IV was designed as a direct replacement for the Zeppelin airships that attacked Britain from the air. Zeps were far from ideal as weapon platforms, being expensive to build, slow in flight and vulnerable to attack, especially as they used dangerously flammable hydrogen gas for lift. For production of the G.IV, Gotha’s own factory was supplemented by those of LVG and SSW, for a total of 232 built, before the G.IV was steadily replaced by the heavier G.V version, starting in the late summer of 1917.  Like any combat type, the G.IV suffered losses, but three-quarters of these were caused by landing accidents, rather than Allied firepower. Such losses were mostly the result of engine-nacelle fuel tanks splitting in heavy landings, so splashing their contents over hot engines - something of a design flaw!

Steampunk possibilities
The Gotha is of course of prime interest to World War I fans, but it could also form the basis of a dramatic steampunk extravaganza. For example, what about the ‘Big G’ starring as the lifting power for a secret Kaiser-luft bolts-and-rivets space rocket? The example above is just a taster for the sort of thing that could look the part, atop the Gotha's biplane wing structure.  

The Wingnut Wings Gotha G.IV is available at $139.00 USD including P&P here.

Thanks to The Rocketry Blog for the steampunk heads-up.

Gotha G.IV pictures courtesy Wingnuts Wings.