by: Stephen T. Lawson [ ]
Originally published on:
The originalThe 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 kitOut 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 typeWith 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 typesAll 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#48008:
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 decalsThere 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.
referencesRoland D.VI by P.M. Grosz, Windsock Datafiles #37 Albatros Pub. 1993.
The Benighted Rolands, Air Enthusiast Quarterly #3.by Dan San Abbott with editing by Peter M. Grosz.
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Click here for additional images for this review.