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KIT REVIEW


Revell of Germany # 03965
Roland C.II Walfisch
1:48 Scale



Germany was well known for producing some of the most advanced and innovative aircraft designs of the Second World War – but of course, this was part of a longer legacy of creativity and risk-taking seen among the first German airplanes that took to the skies during the Great War.  Of all of their early 20th century designs, the bullet-nosed Roland C.II is often regarded as one of the most aerodynamically innovative of WWI.  The Roland C.II was also one of the most popular injection molded kits produced by Eduard in various issues over the last 15-plus years.  In 2016, Revell of Germany has re-boxed the 1:48 scale Eduard “Weekend Edition” Roland C.II. and this kit is the subject of our review.

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The Roland C.II Walfisch (or Whale) served Germany’s Luftstreitkräfte as their eyes in the sky.  It was produced by Luft-Fahrzeug-Gesellschaft G.m.b.H. (later Roland) and flew its first combat sortie in early 1916.  Its streamlined monocoque fuselage, good engine, and the few struts and wires between the wings all notably cut down on drag, making the C.II at least for a time, the fastest game in town.

The Roland C.II was ideal for reconnaissance and artillery spotting, and if it ever got spotted, the C.II could outrun nearly every allied fighter of the day.  The airplane was armed with one forward-firing synchronized 7.92mm Spandau machine gun in the nose and one ring-mounted, rearward firing 7.92 mm Parabellum machine gun fitted to the observer’s cockpit.  Four 12.5 kg bombs could also be carried under the fuselage. The Roland C.II could muster a little more than 100 mph for its maximum airspeed.  Its service ceiling topped out at 13,000 feet, and had enough gas aboard for about four hours of flying time.  Some 50 C.IIs were built, and over 200 of the improved C.IIa versions were manufactured by the end of the production run in late 1916.  Most Roland C.IIs were pulled from the front lines by mid-1917 and became trainers.  In hindsight, the Roland C.II was perhaps not the best choice for novice pilots, as the lack of downward visibility and limited airflow over the tail at landing speeds made the Roland C.II precarious and sometimes outright dangerous on landing.

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Revell of Germany’s reboxing of the 1:48 scale Eduard “Weekend Edition” Roland C.II. has all the Eduard plastic but includes a new instruction booklet and decal sheet.  The kit consists of 83 light gray injection molded plastic parts spread across three sprues while seven clear parts come on a fourth sprue.  Surface details are raised and recessed where appropriate.  Decals for two airplanes are included: a C.II on the Western Front in Autumn 1916 and a C.IIa on the Western Front in late 1916.

Strengths:  This kit comes from a really elegant mold with lots of detail, from the engine to the appropriately smooth monocoque fuselage, fabric covered wings, cockpit interior, radiator grill, and the machine guns.  And, while that mold is now nearing 15 years old, the parts as sharp as ever and there’s no flash to speak of.  The parts breakdown and engineering of the kit reveal a simplicity and directness underscoring Eduard’s construction philosophy with this kit.  The engine and cockpit are nicely detailed parts of the model just out of the box, and decals are supplied to represent the instrument dial faces.  Though only two schemes come on the decal sheet, they are good choices: a shark-mouthed Walfisch in a four-tone green and tan over light gray camouflage scheme and an overall gray airplane.

Weaknesses:  It’s hard to find any obvious shortcomings with this model.  Of course, I cannot claim to be a Roland C.II subject matter expert.  However, in my research for this review, I ran across online builds of the Eduard kits and critiques by those who know a lot more about this airplane than I do.  Those sources independently sing the praises of this model of the Roland C.II in terms of accuracy, fit, and how enjoyable this kit is to build.  About the only glitch I encountered were two spots in the rigging diagram that were a bit ambiguous and hard to interpret regarding the origin of one pair of outboard wires.  Also, there are no indications of where the rigging should attach on the wing surfaces, and I’d advise pre-drilling some tiny guide holes to help you sink your rigging if that’s your preferred approach.

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Revell of Germany’s reissue of the Eduard Roland C.II “Weekend Edition” kit is a welcome addition to their product line, especially since the last time this kit was produced was several years ago.  It’s a solid kit of an iconic airplane, and scale modelers of many interests will find a lot to enjoy here.
             
Sincere thanks to Revell of Germany for the review sample. You can find them on the web at http://www.revell.com/germany.

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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