Waco CG-4A Glider

Published on
May 18, 2020
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Masterpiece Models - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Masterpiece Models - Website: Visit Site
Cover Art

IPMS/USA welcomes the proprietors of Masterpiece models back, and serious appreciation for supporting the IPMS USA reviewer corps with yet one more of their newest releases, in a scale never before attempted: 1/35th! A perfect diorama subject, we certainly will see some of these in a D-Day or Market Garden setting. And my personal thanks to IPMS leadership for sending it to me to be reviewed.

Both wings are two-part and fit extremely well. Using the instructions, pre-drill holes to accept the pins from the struts. These are functional and required items, and do a great job on supporting the almost no-dihedral position they are installed in. There are engraved lines in the wings, chord-wise, that represent where the ribs go. On another build I will be filling those with fine monofilament line and CA, and since they will be raised will run and smooth a bead of filler over those ribs so I can sand it all down and It will look like actual fabric over frame work. The actual Aircraft does not have grooves, and I only figured this out well after the wings were assembled and installed.

The ailerons fit in place and can be displayed in any desired position. Leading edge light wells are incorporated, and would benefit from large light lenses. Resin light housings are provided, but I opted to install MV lenses later with a Scotch clear tape cover over the location carefully cut out after the tape is burnished into place. Then run a drop of CA around the tape, capillary action will facilitate it sealing the tape. Once that has cured, you can paint the frame outline on the tape, and it really looks good. I’ve done it before on other large aircraft, as I found vacmolding these lenses was painful and trying in execution and filler requirement.

The underwing struts need a bit of fettling, and once in place support the entire structure well. It even survived a crash from two feet when I had a box stand collapse, so I know it’s durable. (I just had to use Epoxy and do more repainting of the damage were the fuselage sides broke loose)

The stabilizers and fin were next in line for installation. I noted three holes on each side of the tail, so I held up the stabilizer parts and determined to drill out the pins, then install replacements of coat hanger wire, then drill out the stab mount to match. I did all these without alcohol or swearing.

After finishing up including superglue installation, I learned I installed both stabilizers about ¼ “ too far back. There was another hole, and a hump on the tail section showing DISTINCTLY where the stabilizer would actually mount. The fin got the same treatment, using coat hanger wire as mount pins, and installed everything where it needed to be. The rudder post required a bit of work, but no bother.

One thing I had to focus on at this point: A final paint scheme. I looked at the instructions, and of course D-Day was a major thing to me. The Waco was also used at Arnhem, which is really an interesting small town by the way. When I lived in Europe I visited, and was amazed how small the bridge was. Typical for a European town, it was tenaciously fought over for Strategic reasons, and Gliders were used along with Paratroops to take the “bridge too far”.

But I needed stripes. So the stripes were painted over automotive primer light gray undersides and olive drab flat topside. Masking foam sheets were removed and I let the model sit for two weeks more to “flash off” the paint and let it harden. Now, most of the paint remained on the surface. I measured out the invasion stripes, and using Vallejo, hand-painted each one white and black for all five stripes, over each area of the model. I also did that in one evening, much like the actual invasion maintainers had for time to mark their birds.

They aren’t perfect, but from what veterans from that time period told me, “Neither were ours”.

The decals actually performed pretty well for the stars and bars, the nose numbers, and the tail numbers. Except the last decals (the numbers) were translucent yellow, which means they almost disappear into the OD surface. I recommend you find aftermarket. I cut around all the insignia with a #11 blade, and they all worked well on even a slightly curved surface. And the invasion stripes barely were noticeable on the white areas. The aircraft was put aside to normalize the decals. On to the next task.

It was then that I really started to work on the nose. The canopy required a bit of hot water treatment to align the canopy to the lower nose section, and I used blue-light curing cement to hold it all together. Better than epoxy, not as messy, holds really well, almost as fast as CA, and cures through the clear parts. (Note: It will not cure where the blue light cannot access, i.e. Opaque mating surfaces; just the exterior)

The small, fragile parts are extremely difficult to scrub without breaking; indeed, one of the Control “steering wheels” (co-pilot in my determination) broke out into four pieces when I attempted to clean it up. I lost the scratchbuilt replacement (hence the missing control wheel in the cockpit).

So, I proceeded to work the cockpit. I did not install any of the control cables, because this area is a spider web of them, and they were not included in the kit.

After masking off the clear areas, I shot it with the SE primer and that is the color you see in the pictures. In real life it is very close to the olive drab Krylon, but the camera reads it as a lighter dark gray green.

I also learned here that my preparations did not include matching dimensions of the assembled nose to that of the main fuselage. The forward section was about 1/16 too small all around the frame for the aircraft body, so that would be major rework at this point.

I painted and installed the block tread resin wheels (which were excellent) and drilled out the axle hole. The aircraft is a tail-sitter, and the very small tail wheel strut actually took the weight originally.

It is here I called it quits, as my new copy of this kit arrived in the mail. Yes, I want to do it again, but now know where the pitfalls are. I shall move the review model into a dark corner, anticipating a moment to use it as a diorama item. For now, my final thoughts:

  • This kit is underpriced for the amount of work the manufacturer put into it. Hand-made, every one. Obviously a labor of love of the subject.
  • Instructions are provided on CD. I went to my trusty UPS store and download and print cost almost $40. THAT IS WHY THE CD was provided. I kept the printout for the next build. The only difficulty I had was there were some areas where the drawings were not self-evident. It’s 129 pages, front and back. If you like watching a monitor while building, it is cheaper that way, but I won’t be doing that anytime soon.
  • This kit is for the stalwart master builder. A lot of little points would have others chuck the kit into the trash. If you have the skills and, more importantly, you WANT to build an accurate Waco GC-4 in 1/35th Scale, this is the only game and can be forced into one fantastic item combined with the Armor scale. A lot of scratch building skills helps.
  • Clean all the parts of all the flashing and non-airplane bits with new scalpel or #11 blades; then wash with Dawn detergent, warm water, then spray all and soak overnight with Blech-white, then rinse with warm water, then use 409, then Dawn, then use a micro pad and rough up all the surfaces you can to give tooth for the paint to attach to.
  • Once done, prime everything with self-etching automotive grade spray primer.
  • Expect a lot of parts to have excellent fit, but bring good quality solvent based primer to the fight.
  • Invest in wet/dry abrasive papers and USE them.
  • Make a pledge to stick it out.

Only then will you succeed. Half-hearted attempts or ego-based builds will not suffice. And for those who are of the badmouthing a manufacturer ilk (and we have unfortunately many) I challenge them to rather BUY THE KIT like I did and show how great you are.

My Heartfelt thanks to Masterpiece models for providing this kit to IPMS USA to review. My sorrowful, slug-like building pace is not a normal standard, but we are not in normal times. I’ll do better on the second kit. Thanks to Phil for allowing me the leeway to keep at it!


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