1⁄32February MOM Winner
HistoryThe Roland D.VI was designed by the L.F.G. Company late in 1917, with the prototype being the 1000th aircraft to be built by L.F.G., first flying in November 1917. Concieved from the outset as a light fighter, the D.VI was a single bay biplane, which unlike its older brothers C.II, D.I and D.II with the L.F.G.-Roland patented Wickelrumpf (literally "wrapped body"), constructed with two layers of thin plywood strips, introduced the equally unusual (for aircraft use) Klinkerrumpf construction where the fuselage was built of overlapping thin strips of spruce over a light wooden framework. Visibility for the pilot was good, while the aircraft had above average manoeuvrability.
In January 1918, two D.VIs were entered into the first fighter competition, one powered by a 160 hp (119 kW) Mercedes D.III engine and the other by a Benz Bz.IIIa of similar power and, like the Mercedes, another upright, inline, six cylinder engine. Although the winner of the competition was the Fokker D.VII, orders were placed for the Roland as insurance against production problems with the Fokker. A total of 350 Roland D.VI fighters were built, 150 D.VIa powered by the Mercedes, while the remaining 200 were powered by the Benz and were called D.VIb. Deliveries started in May 1918, with 70 D.VIs in frontline service on 31 August 1918.
The only surviving LFG Roland D.VI still existing in the 21st century is the complete fuselage of a D.VIb, displaying IdFlieg military serial number 2225/18, on display at the Polish Aviation Museum in Kraków, Poland.
The model kitThe kit is of course Wingnut Wings’ model in 1/32 scale. This is in fact my first 1/32 scale model, as previously I considered the 1/48 scale to be just right for my taste. As I love building WW1 aircraft, I decided to try to build one in 1/32 scale and my choice fell on Roland D.VI, whose wooden fuselage presented a sort of a challenge for my skills.
As for the markings, I chose an unusual subject – a Roland D.VIa from Jasta 30 equipped with additional armament in the form of twin Villar Perosa submachine gun of 9 mm calibre, mounted to fire over the upper wing. It had an unpainted wooden fuselage, just what I was looking for.
Building of the interior was quite straightforward, with many details added to the engine – valve springs, spark plugs and various tubes. Cockpit received similar attention although I can say that it was quite detailed straight from the box.
Once assembled, the fuselage was sprayed with flat light sand colour and then all wooden pattern of various shades of brown was hand painted with artist tempera colours using fine brush, taking care to change pattern for every plank. I also represented the method of joining the planks by zig-zag pattern, using airbrush and pre-cut masks. After all wood pattern was finished, the fuselage was sprayed with gloss clear lacquer to protect the tempera paint below.
The wings were treated with gloss white paint and lozenge decals added, as well as lozenge strips from the kit decals. Wing, fuselage and tail crosses were all airbrushed directly on the model, using tape masks. I decided to reproduce the fabric surface of wings and tail by gently painting a thin layer of very diluted dark brown tempera colour with a wide flat brush. After drying, another layer was added at 90 degrees angle so that both thin layers produced a subtle fabric effect.
Rigging was done using EZ line. I used Gaspatch fasteners and painted the central part with brass colour. The Villar Perosa gun was built from scratch using brass tubes and polystyrene bits and pieces. It was added to the model at the end.
I thoroughly enjoyed building my Roland and I am looking forward to my next WNW model.
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