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Written by Greg Gimlick
Pilot the German World War I heavy bomber.
Flight video and abridged review.
Full review in
Model Aviation June 2015.


Model type: Semiscale ARF
Skill level: Intermediate builder; intermediate pilot
Wingspan: 62.5 inches
Wing area: 609 square inches
Airfoil: Flat bottom
Length: 33 inches
Flying weight: 4 pounds, 7 ounces
Recommended power system: Two Maxford USA U28309 brushless motors; two 25-amp ESCs; two 3S 2,200 mAh LiPo batteries in parallel
Radio: Four-channel minimum; five-channel if using differential ailerons
Needed to complete: Radio system with four servos; electric power system including battery
Construction: Built-up wood
Covering: Mylar
Price: $229.99 (airframe only)

Test-Model Details

Radio system: Spektrum DX9 transmitter; Spektrum AR6210 receiver; four EMAX 12-gram ES08MD digital metal-gear submicro servos
Ready-to-fly weight: 4 pounds, 7 ounces
Power system used: Two Maxford USA U28309 motors; two Uranus 25-amp ESCs; two 3S 2,200 mAh LiPo batteries in parallel; one APC 8 x 6E thin electric propeller; one APC 8 x 6EP reverse-rotation thin electric propeller
Flight duration: Approximately 9 minutes


• Unique subject.
• Quality construction.
• Motor mount/nacelle design.
• Prewired motor/ESC harness.
• Wing mounting options.
• Battery access.


• Manual needs updating to reflect hardware changes.
• Some predrilled holes didn’t align.

Abridged Review

Read the full review in the June 2015 issue of Model Aviation.

The Gotha G.IV heavy bomber was used by the Imperial German Air Service during World War I. Designed for long-range bombing, the G.IV was scheduled to go into service in March 1917, but faulty engine bearings kept it out of service until May 1917, when its bombing of London caused the most severe casualties of any bombing raid in the war.

Earlier variants of the Gotha incorporated a top and bottom gun that was operated by a single gunner. This posed a problem when the gunner was unable to handle requirements of both. Gotha designer Hans Burkhard’s ultimate solution was the Gotha tunnel. This was a trough connecting an opening in the upper decking with an opening the bottom of the rear fuselage. The Gotha tunnel allowed the top-side gun to fire through the fuselage at targets below and behind the bomber.

My first impression was bewilderment. How was all of this stuff packed into this small box! Whoever designed this ARF’s packaging is a genius. Every bit of it arrived undamaged. Unpacking the model requires care because you unpack it in reverse order of its packing. This is obvious if you open both sides of the box and determine what order things have to happen.

After I had the parts spread across the bench, I carefully inspected everything, noting the groups of hardware and parts packaged separately. This would make things easier when assembling the model. An inventory showed everything to be present along with the recommended Maxford USA power system and the optional machine guns. Do yourself a favor and order these when you get the airplane. They are beautiful and add great detail.

My next thought was, “Wow, this is going to be a whole lot of rigging!” The good news is Maxford explains the order in which to do things extremely well.

The covering looked great, but I took the precaution of going over everything with my covering iron to seal all of the edges and remove any loose spots.

You need to decide if you are going to transport the Gotha G.IV as a one-piece model or make provisions for the outer wing panels (top and bottom) to come off together. This changes the way you’ll do the rigging. I decided to build it as a one-piece model. It easily fits into the back of my Saturn Vue.

The struts are different lengths and the manual describes where each of them goes. The mounts are drilled and preglued to each wing panel. This was nearly perfect on my model. One wasn’t fully seated, but it was solidly glued, so there was no moving it.

I opted to drill a hole where needed and go about finishing it. It made no difference in appearance, but it’s something you should check before installing all of those bolts and nuts.

There is a ton of rigging on this model, but skipping it would certainly have a dramatic visual effect on the outcome. Maxford has done the hard work for you by drilling the holes and carefully laying out an order to follow as you run the provided black string.

It looks more complicated than it is! The fun part is listening to people at the field talk about all that work … If they only knew how simple it really was! I’m not telling them.

This is a calm-day airplane and I pushed the limits during the test flights. Gusts made it challenging, but the airplane never felt out of control. Stalls were interesting because I didn’t get a feel for when one was going to happen. It sort of sneaked up on me, but when it stalled, it dropped straight ahead and recovered easily.

There is so much rigging that you’ll want to avoid gliding. The two 2,200 mAh battery packs in parallel provide more duration than you’ll likely need. During one test, I made three flights on one pair of battery packs totaling more than 10 minutes and the packs were at 3.85 volts per cell upon landing.

One challenge is trying to fly at a scalelike speed. It’s easy to fly faster than necessary, but it’s also a safe bet because the airframe’s drag slows it so quickly. There is certainly enough power for aerobatics, but I’ve resisted the urge to push the envelope beyond the scale maneuvers a bomber of this vintage would have done. The beauty is in flying it scalelike. The sound of the wind through the rigging is impressive.

The Maxford USA Gotha G.IV is unique offering from the people at Maxford USA who have made a habit of modeling subjects not often seen at the field. It is well designed and it presents itself nicely on the ground and in the air.


Maxford USA


(800) 338-4639


APC Propellers
(530) 661-0399

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