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Gotha G.Va/Vb




S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Kit No. 020
Scale: 1/72
Contents and Media: 149 grey plastic parts; 16 page instruction booklet; decal options for six aircraft
Price: USD$20.97 from Squadron.com
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Superbly researched, accurate, well moulded, restrained fabric detail.
Disadvantages: Lozenge a little bright, no Flettner tabs.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Reviewed by Robert Baumgartner

 Roden's 1/72 scale Gotha Va/Vb is available online from Squadron.com




At last Roden have turned their attention to the ultimate version in their Gotha series.  

The G.Va/Vb came about due to Germany’s inability to provide quality materials for the building of these aircraft. This meant that poorer quality engines had to power heavier airframes, which created an increase in engine failures. To fly a Gotha on one engine was not a task that leads to a long life. The designers introduced a “box” tail to allow the aircraft some measure of directional stability in such a crisis. 

It is this variant that Roden bring to our attention with the release of the Gotha G.Va/Vb.


The Kit

This latest incarnation of the Gotha series sees the addition of sprue C. As well as containing the new tail surfaces, we also get the new fuselage halves that are applicable to this version.  Here we see the smaller nose gun turret and associated revised profile. The tail surfaces are accurate with very subtle rib detail and sharp trailing edges. 

Sprue E is familiar and contains the engines, bombs, wheels, struts and other items common to this and the previous G.V kit. Attached is sprue F which presents the builder with the engine nacelles (including those of the G.III/IV), propeller and basic undercarriage parts. Depending on the option chosen, the other undercarriage parts can be found on other sprues.  

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Naturally with the smaller gun turret area, there have to be a revised set of bulkheads and these are provided on sprue G. Be careful not to lose the errata slip that tells you to use parts 31G and 32G instead of parts 26G and 28G. This sprue is also where the Stossfahrgestell is found.  

A major problem with the Gotha had always been its stability when returning from its bombing raids. While the flight characteristics with a full fuel and bomb load were very good, they left much to be desired on the return trip. The lack of these items made the aircraft tail heavy and unstable. Increasing the sweep back of the wing helped to some extent but landing was always going to be a problem. 

Naturally there were quite a few accidents, not least being the overturning of the aircraft on landing, To help with this problem, an extended wheeled frame was built to the nose of some machines…the aforementioned Stossfahrgestell.

This centrally mounted undercarriage was first fitted on the G.IVa. For those wanting to fit the four-wheeled variety that was under each engine, Roden also supply this. 

The wings are on sprue D and as in previous releases they are superb. Rib detail is nicely restrained and it was pleasing to see that the fabric effect on the surface has now been removed. There is a little bit of flash present around some edges but this is easily removed. The trailing edges are still nicely thin and the instructions correctly show where to make the slight outline change to represent the G.V wing.

Surprisingly the kit omits the Flettner tabs on the aileron trailing edges. Although they can be easily made with plastic card, it is strange since this was a distinguishing feature of the examples presented. 

Sprue H contains the clear parts used for the “windows” located in the fuselage. 

All of the parts are very well moulded in a light grey plastic. The detail is sharp and some of the smaller parts, such as the struts, are scale thickness. Thus careful removal from the sprue is needed here! The only place where the builder may have to fill an ejection pin mark or smooth a blemish is inside the fuselage halves. 

Experience has shown that despite the complexity of the kit, it really isn’t as hard to put together as the number of parts would suggest. The mounting of the top wing will always be the biggest challenge but only because of the sheer number of struts. As for the rigging, well that’s another story! 


Marking Options

Three decal sheets are provided and my examples were in perfect register.

A full compliment of lozenge is provided in both the painted pattern for the fuselage and the printed fabric for the wings.

Roden have given their interpretation of the five colours used but personally I would have liked to see a couple of these shades a bit darker. 



Two options are catered for, these being:

a)      Gotha G.Va 723/17 Boghol 3 1918.

This interesting aircraft was captured in France on July 5 1918. The fuselage wears a fire-spitting dragon which Roden supply as white on the decal sheet. A photo reveals that this marking was indeed coloured so the modeler will have to shade this appropriately. Don’t worry if the fuselage lozenge shows through this decal as the original aircraft displayed this characteristic. Roden show this correctly on the instruction sheet. 

b)      Gotha G.Vb 917/18, 1918

This aircraft was photographed clearly displaying the Flettner servo controls mentioned earlier. Although not supplied, it’s nothing a little plastic card couldn’t fix. The box top illustration will provide a guide here. 






As expected Roden have continued where they left off with the previous Gotha kits. Here we have a well-engineered kit that gives the builder a realistic chance of completing a model of a very complicated subject.  

Having been impressed with their earlier efforts of this famous bomber, it is pleasing to find that this release does not disappoint.  

Full marks to Roden for tackling one of the most interesting bombers of WWI. 

Highly recommended.

Thanks to Squadron.com for the review sample.

Review and Images Copyright © 2003 by Robert Baumgartner
Page Created 03 December, 2003
Last updated 03 December, 2003

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