In-Box Review
Roland D.VIb
The Wooden Knights pt.II
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by: Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]

The original
The performance of the prototypes of Roland D.VI were quite good . Their handling characteristics & maneuverablity met the current requirements for 1918. The pilot's visibility was excellent. After the trials and modifications were made an order placed for an initial 350 machines (150 of them as D.VIa version). During the speed trials in Second Fighter Competition in May and June 1918, the Rol.D.VIb with the Mercedes D.IIIaŁ 180hp engine kept up with the BMW engined Fok.D.VIIF and the PfalzD.XV. The Rol.D.VIb was as good as the Fok.D.VIIF. Reference: "The Beknighted Rolands", Air Enthusiast Quarterly ,# 2. 1976, by Abbott and Grosz. The German aircraft factory Luftfahrzeug Gesselschaft mbH (L.F.G.), since 1914 known as Roland, designed and produced for German Army Air Service extraordinary airplanes: the two-seater C.II Walfisch and single-seater D.I, D.II, D.IIa and D.III. There were quite advanced constructions with interesting "Wickelrumpf" (semi-monocoque) wooden fuselage.

Roland's ultimate single seat fighter was the Roland D.VI from early 1918 with fuselage constructed in the "Klinkerrumpf" method. Roland D.VIa was powered by the in-line Mercedes D.IIIaŁ 180hp engine. Both versions were different in various construction details. The powerplant of the Roland D.VIb version, the in-line Benz Bz.IIIa 185hp was a unique choice. In August 1918 70 Rolands D.VI served on the Western Front. They were not popular, because every German pilot seemed to desire the Fokker D.VII types used on the Western Front in the Summer 1918 year.

The importance of the Roland D.VI type was marginal but it did fill the gap. The express need for German fighter planes caused the production of this average and obsolete type. Nevertheless the Roland D.VI type was interesting the World War I fighter plane with good maneuverability and pleasant handling characteristics.

The kit
Out of the box it is hybrid of both the a & b types. I will discuss here the easiest ways to do the "b" version. Right off the bat, there are minimal interior details. No Klinker lapping at all.

47 plastic pcs.
22 brass etch pcs.
3 decal options in kit 48008.

The D.VIb type
With this kit the Benz Bz IIIav motor has been included. It is a reasonable facimile, but could do with a bit of detailing. Also "b" machines had wood elipitical interplane struts with sheet steel ferrules on each end. Most Rol.D.VIb airframes were equipped with the Benz Bz IIIav 195hp engine using a Germania propeller. The first "Rol.D.VIb" production order D.2212/18 to D.2261/18 were covered five color dark intermediate pattern, dark on upper surfaces and light on undersurfaces with natural woven linen rib tapes. Cabane, undercarriage struts and metal panels were light greenish grey.

later B types
All production orders to Rol.D.VIb 6124/18, the fuselage and interplanes struts were shellacked and varnished. Cowlings, doors, access panels, foot step, cabane and under carriage struts and axle fairing were dark olive green.

On Production orders Rol.D.VIb, D.6125/18 to D.6149/18 and D.7500/18 to D.7549/18, the fuselages were camouflaged from the nose in lilac, natural varnish, medium light green and prussian blue on the af fuselage and fins.
(Technical input augmented by historian Dan San Abbott.)

the kit decals
1. Rol. D.VIb 2225/18 as seen in the Second Fighter Competition supposedly powered by the "195hp" Benz Bz IIIav June 1918. The fuselage components of this machine still survive in Krakow Poland. See additional images link below this article.
2. Rol. D.VIb Jasta 59 at Hornaing airfield about Sept.1918. Colours of black, brown or red for the fuselage stripes are possible.
3. Rol. D.VIb from the first "b" production batch D.2212/18 to D.2261/18, though no serial numbers are offered as decals.

kit lozenge camouflage decals
There is a bit of joy with the lozenge (Flugzeugstoff) decals in these kits. The upper surface 4 colour is marginally too bright but the colours are very close to the known colour dyes used on the original fabric. But Fly gets Kudos for being so close there. The undersurface colours on the other hand are several shades out of tune with what they need to be. Over all they are still not as accurate as Microsculpt. The kit recommended lozenge application (spanwise) is in error on the box art. But is accurate in the insructions (chordwise) on the last page.

Roland D.VI by P.M. Grosz, Windsock Datafiles #37 Albatros Pub. 1993.
The Benighted Rolands, Air Enthusiast Quarterly Dan San Abbott with editing by Peter M. Grosz.

As always when contacting manufacturers and publishers please mention you saw this review at AEROSCALE

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Excellent subject. Decent exterior details for a low pressure injection mold. The upper surface lozenge is almost spot on for the colours of the original. A decent Benz motor has replaced the Generic Mercedes of the first issue.
Lows: The under surface lozenge is several shades out of tune for the colours of the original. instructions need better division notes between the a & b types. Very little interior details. No Klinker lapping at all.
Verdict: I purchased these kits and can say that I am pleased with Fly's efforts. But they still have a way to go to get where Roden and Eduard are.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: #48008
  Suggested Retail: $32.00
  Related Link: Roland's twins
  PUBLISHED: Nov 07, 2010

About Stephen T. Lawson (JackFlash)

I was building Off topic jet age kits at the age of 7. I remember building my first WWI kit way back in 1964-5 at the age of 8-9. Hundreds of 1/72 scale Revell and Airfix kits later my eyes started to change and I wanted to do more detail. With the advent of DML / Dragon and Eduard I sold off my ...

Copyright ©2021 text by Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


I think I've found my first Fly kit!
JAN 19, 2015 - 02:43 AM
Hi all Not sure why this topic was locked originally? - that could account for the lack of input in the last four or so years since it was posted... (Fred's admin access probably bypassed it) - anyway, duly unlocked now! All the best Rowan
JAN 23, 2015 - 02:44 AM
Fly Models kits are a good value - I had their Roland D.VIa... You get high quality resin cast engine (IIRC post war gives you both, Bz.III and Mercedes D.IIIa options), Photoetch, some other multi-media pieces, lozenge decals... My only problem is that the kit I got had bad luck of having Bz.III engine for the D.VIa version and promised replacement never arrived... This was in 2012 and I hope customer service is improved. I also recall decals for DVIa option having serials for DVIb... Picky stuff, but otherwise I was not too broken up about it. Must have for 1/48 builders!
JAN 27, 2015 - 05:15 AM
For a look at both a & b versions see this link. click here.
JAN 27, 2015 - 09:56 PM

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