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James H

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1:32 Roland C.II
Wingnut Wings
Catalogue # 32026
Available from Wingnut Wings for $99.00, with FREE worldwide delivery.







Before the De Havilland Mosquito took to the air, with its innovative lamitaed plywood fuselage shell design, there was the Roland C.II Rumpler. Another aircraft, from another country, but more interestingly, from a whole different era. In a time when most aircraft were constructed from timber frames and doped linen, the Germans were becoming very proficient at producing a more robust, yet very lightweight structure which was far superior, aerodynamically. Roland was probably the leading light in this style of laminated and wrapped plywood structure, known as 'Wickelrumpf', in which a layer of diagonally placed ply strips was overlaid by another at angles to the first. Construction was done over a solid jig, and then the various ports, windows etc, were cut out of the shell, using a template, frames inserted, and the halves bonded together like a model airplane.

Roland's C.II, introduced in 1916, was a fast, two man reconnaissance aircraft which was given the name 'Walfisch' (whale) due to its rather rotund, dumpy shape. To carry this a step further, the forward, wing mounted anemometer was often shaped as a whale, complete with facial features and a tail. The aircraft design was rather unusual for a biplane, having the upper wings almost blend into the deep fuselage section, instead of supported on cabane struts, and with thick, sweeping, single struts per wing, reducing the need for a more elaborate rig. The pilot's head protruded above the upper wing, giving him excellent forward visibility, with albeit a reduced lower view. A single Parabellum machine gun was installed for the observer, and a strut mounted forward firing Spandau for the pilot, firing above the propeller arc. Unusually, windows were fitted into the fuselage side walls, many of which even sported curtains, leading to some amusing photographs such as the one below.


The Roland C.II was an able performer, being powered a 160hp D.III, and being capable of a top speed of 102mph. Designed by Dipl. Ing. Tantzen, the Roland was slow and expensive to produce due to its innovative construction, but offered reduced interception options for attacking fighters of that time, due to its speed and visibility of the crew. The type saw service through until the end of the war, often acting as a fighter escort.

You must have had one of those died and gone to heaven moments? For me, the most recent is Wingnut Wings announcement of its surprise release of the LFG. Roland C.II. For me personally, it's one of those Holy Grail kits, as was the Hannover CL.II, another of WNW's surprise releases a year or so ago. This particular type is one of four aircraft which sparked my interest in Great War aviation, when I was a kid. I think it was a 1:72 Airfix kit that piqued my interest in this specific type. I still remember the box art.


Flip forward 35yrs, and now I have that same aircraft in my very favourite scale, courtesy of WNW. The box art for this release is just as inspirational as the kit from all those years ago. Steve Anderson again weaves his magic by depicting a Ritter von Scheich's Roland C.II with its sinister grimacing face. As always, Steve's beautiful artwork is edged in silver foil, adding a real touch of quality to the proceedings. There are FIVE schemes from which to choose, with these being shown in profile on the box edges. That box is also one of the larger type, such as we've seen with the Hannover, Rumpler etc, and is chock full of plastic. 

All sprues within this release as individually bagged, as we have come to expect, and there are EIGHT sprues moulded in light grey styrene, and TWO in clear. The instruction manual, another superb publication, isn't in a sleeve, as tends to be the norm with the later releases. There are TWO decal sheets sealed within a sleeve in the base of the box (one small and one large), and within there, a single photo etch sprue is included.

Time to get our hands dirty, and man, am I excited by this one!





Following Wingnut Wings usual convention, this sprue is pretty much a detail sprue, containing the donkey work of the cockpit and other interiorparts. You will notice from the image that this sprue is relevant to both this kit and the C.IIa Late version which we will review shortly. Again, the interior is constructed as a module which sits within the fuselage halves. Delicate side wall frameworks are moulded here, and will just need a few ejector pin tags snipping from them before the frame is cleaned up. These are quite fine, with a cutaway in the upper longeron, so please be careful when handling this.








If interiors are your 'thing', then these kits never disappoint. The interior of the Walfisch is beautifully appointed with a very respectable quantity of incredibly nice detail. On this sprue, you will find a series of internal fuselage bulkheads, instrument board, fuel pressurising pump, grease pump, two-part auxiliary fuel tank, pilot seat with separate cushion, observer's seat, morse code key, wireless aerial, spark advance lever, generator, fuel gauge, starting magneto, main fuel tank filler, to name the majority of parts for this area. Sprue B actually carries a good number of other key internal parts that we'll look at in a moment. Holes will need to be drilled in pre-designated areas on bulkheads, so that you can pass the cables through for the rudder control.






Other parts moulded here are the undercarriage V struts, engine bearers, oil tank, external radiator housings, tailplane struts, control horns, Orcarina exhaust, and the 'fishy enemometer', engine cowl etc.





Again, this is a sprue common to both version of this kit. The beautiful (IMHO) lines of the Walfisch are clear to see here with WNW's immaculate reproduction of the fuselage. It's clear to see the beauty and advantage of the smooth, moulded plywood form of this aircraft. Being for both kits, there will of course be a little surgery to perform in order to make the fuselage halves comply with your variant. For this kit, it's just the removal of a few small louvres from a number of panels. A little more work, but not too much, is required to adapt for the CL.IIa Late version which Martin will review for you shortly.










Externally, the Whale is superbly detailed with various louvred access ports and hardpoints, fastener detail (where internal equipment is secured to the walls within), and with an integral forward cowl ring. You'll notice a whole section missing at the rear tail area. The tail unit comprises the rear port and starboard fuselage sections, and sits atop the fuse like a module. The fitting of this seems to coincide with what look like panel lines, so you should have minimal seam removal here. Internally, the Wickelrumpf detail of the angled plywood laminations, is clearly seen, along with the points which you may need to open with a drill. If you're not opening any particular ones up, just pop a blob of putty in to hide. I doubt you'll see them anyway once assembled. Those ejector pin marks are also kept clearly away from any visible areas too, with a number of them being in the rear fuselage area, well out of sight.








Wingnut Wings have moulded the fuselage floor so that it incorporates the main fuel tank, upon which the pilot's seat is mounted. You'd only have to hope he didn't take an enemy round in that vicinity! A sub-floor is also included here too, which forms a sort of foot-well for the observer.


Interior parts on this sprue include a control column with separate steering wheel (wheel applies only to this variant), rudder pedal, observer – pilot communicator/voltameter unit, two part vertical fin unit, undercarriage spreader bar, upper wing – fuselage fairing, lower wing – fuselage fairing, rudder, observer's hand fuel pump, etc. A couple of wing parts exist here, but only for C.IIa use, NOT for use in this release.


SPRUE C (x2)



Whilst this sprue is common to both of the new Walfisch kits, certain parts do not pertain to this release. Two of those are the instrument panel 'windows' which sit in the upper wing – fuselage fairing of the C.IIa. Two of these sprues are present, and for construction of this model, you will use a single windscreen option, and of course the fuselage side window panes. As we have come to expect, clarity is exceptional, with no distortion or flaws to be seen.


SPRUE D (x2)



Another sprue for which two are included, and for sake of logistics, it tends to carry those parts which are doubled up. In this case, these are the thick interplane struts, flare racks, wheels with separate hubs, stabilisers and elevators, as well as a number of smaller components which aren't for use on this release, such as cowl louvres, etc. Rudder control cable pulleys are included here (a quick hole drilled between the pulley and mount will make these easy to rig).








The tail surfaces were quite slab in section, so any surface detail is necessarily light.





E is for engine, quite literally here. The Roland C.II was powered by a 160hp Mercedes D.III engine, and for those of you familiar with Wingnut's range of kits, this sprue will be quite familiar to you as it's common with a number of previous releases. Yes, there are different sump options on this sprue, but you will only get to use one specific type in this build. In fact, around half of the parts to be found here will not be used, so plenty for your spares box. Out of the four propeller types, again, only the Axial is slated for use. A number of parts aren't applicable to this aircraft either, such as the flare racks, but you do get quite a nifty service handgun which can be posed within the cockpit, or in a diorama. Despite the parts not used here, this engine builds into a beautiful replica of this common aero engine, and this time we get to use the cylinder head section with the facility to take the copper water cooling pipe, which looks very cool indeed (no pun intended!)












Now, we take a look at the wing sprue, which as you'll note, is only specific to this particular Roland. The C.IIa had numerous differences, as you'll see from our follow up review from Martin. The wings themselves are moulded as separate port and starboard halves, both upper and lower. Detail is excellent, with a highly authentic looking rib and fabric structure, exhibiting just the right degree of 'taught', as the fabric spans the ribs and highlights the shorter sub-ribs. A scalloped trailing edge shows that this aircraft had wire to form this edge, and the doped fabric has pulled in inwards. Strut slots and rigging points are clearly defined, plus this model's rigging isn't quite as complex as a number of other aircraft of the period.












The wing mounted compass is superbly rendered, and a depression exists on the underside, below this point, where you will installthe compass well. Other parts on this sprue include the ailerons, engine cowl part, roll over hoop, mounted captured Lewis gun (for Ritter von Schleich's machine), captured Lewis gun for observer (Meerkatze machine), radiator intake mashes, header tank radiator pipe options, and an early rudder option.






Quite simply, this is a Parabellum sprue, containing various parts pertaining to that weapon, including ammunition drums, and both a simple and detailed option for the actual gun. For the detailed option, with a photo etch jacket, a former is included around which to wrap the PE so you have the correct diameter. I usually find wrapping them a tad smaller is a better option and slightly springing it apart so the joint faces mate together with no gap. A few other parts on here aren't for use, such as another MG option and a scope etc.








This is the 'German Accessories' sprue which is also included with other kits, such as the Hannover CL.II and Rumper . There are items on this sprue though that are most definitely required within the actual build, and these are the Telefunken Type C Wireless set, ammunition drums and belt ammo feeds,wind driven fuel pump, and other small detail such as anemometer vanes etc. The remainder of items for use here would be typically used on a diorama etc, and these include access ladders, camera equipment, flare pistols, homing pigeon box, first aid kit, and even a little teddy bear for use as a mascot. I suppose it could be the WW1 equivalent of having furry dice handing in your car windscreen.







This area would normally be one for critique, but apart from saying that there's no flash or troublesome ejector pin marks, I can't add anything into the negative. Not that I would want to, but just so you know that I write as I find, and this kit is immaculate in terms of its engineering and moulding quality. Seam lines are nigh on negligible, and all detail is pin sharp. All I suggest is that you invest in a fine razor saw, such as those available at RB Productions, as some sprue attachment gates are quite short, and you wouldn't want traditional sprue cutters causing any part distortion as you aimed to clip the parts from their sprues.






Only eight parts are included here, and these are the pilot and observer lap belts, MG cooling jacket and sight reticule, and also undercarriage dual buckles. Etch quality is excellent as always.





Two sheets are included here, printed by Cartograf. The main sheet is pretty crammed full of decals, so it's obvious why WNW had to have a small overspill sheet. Most decals for all schemes are included on the main sheet, including the famous mouth and eyes markings which apply to three of the five schemes. For wing markings, where they overlap ailerons, the decals are supplied in parts, and any detail protrusions are catered to with cutaway areas too. Decals are supplied for the instrument panel and various others such as engine serial and data plate. Stencils are also included. The smaller sheet simply contains further national and personal machine markings.








As you would expect, printing is thin, and with minimal carrier film. Registration is perfect, and colours look authentic and solid. The FIVE schemes included are:

  • Roland C.II, Eduard Ritter von Schleich (35 victories), Johann Czermak (1 victory), FFA 2b, January (?) – March 1916
  • Roland C.II, "Meerkatze", FFA 18, Early to Mid 1916
  • Roland C.II, Rudolf 'Rudi' Windisch (22 victories) & Maximillian von Cossel (1 victory), FFA 62, October 1916
  • Roland C.II, "stripes", Kasta 8, Kagohl II, Mid 1916
  • Roland C.II, "spots", Kasta 8, Kagohl II, Mid 1916











WNW supply a high quality 26 page manual with probably the most beautiful assembly instructions you are ever likely to see. All assembly sequences are in a drawn format and coloured grey, but with new parts being highlighted in blue. A number of full colour illustrations are included of individual areas, to give you an impression of how things should be painted. Those paint references are given for Tamiya and Humbrol paints, as well as FS Standard codes being supplied so you may reference these to your favourite paint brand.


The manual is interspersed with a lot of period images of the Roland C.II, including images of the aircraft under construction. There are also images for the specific machines which have been chosen for schemes.






A full rigging drawings is supplied, and Ronny Bar's rather superb colour schemes occupy the last pages of the manual. The images clearly show full decal placement and scheme colour reference.


As I started this article by saying, 'this is the one I have really waited for', that wasn't a throwaway statement. Most of us have a sort of Holy Grail, but for me, this is one of perhaps 3 or 4 types that I seriously hoped would be produced in injection plastic, and Wingnut Wings have stepped up the the plate and produced a beautiful kit that it now appears a large number of modellers wanted. I was in good company all along. This is a great kit, with a reasonable number of parts options and some great schemes with some history attached. I wonder how long before I can resist starting a build of this.


All I have to say to WNW if they are reading this, is 'Halberstadt CL.II'  :)


Very highly recommended


My sincere thanks to Wingnut Wings for this 'dream come true' review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link.

James H




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Just a quick note about the Wickelrumpf fuselage - judging by the very clear photographs in the datafile, the interior edges of each strip of wood were sealed with what looks like linen 'rib' tapes, whereas the kit represents them as open grooves. Builders may wish to address this little oversight as all the windows and openings leaves the internal walls of the fuselage very visible.

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