Sunday, August 28, 2016

L.F.G. Roland C.II

Yet another Airfix classic was completed today: the Roland C. II. Although the kit has been around since approximately the early or mid-1960s, it is the only OTS (One True Scale, i. e. 1/72) kit of this important aircraft. The dimensions are accurate, the figures are remarkably good, and the assembly is simple and quite fun to engage in. No profanities were used. This particular model was modified as to represent an early Roland with only an aft machine gun, in this case from a Roden kit. The Roland was also rigged, the wheels replaced, and the early type of half-hoops in front of the pilot to protect in case the aircraft overturned were scratchbuilt.

The Luftfahrzeug Gesellschaft (LVG) started off building airships in 1908, and they adopted the Roland name to avoid being confused with the LVG company, since "v" and "f" are pronounced similarly in German. The C.II appeared in October 1915, and the semi-monocoque fuselage influenced much of subsequent German aircraft design, and the Walfisch, as it was known, earned quite a bit of respect in 1916. It was used for a number of tasks, including the role of combat scout, that is fighter. British ace Albert Ball met several Roland aircraft during the summer of 1916, and he described the aircraft as the "best German machine right now...her guns fire backwards and forwards and everywhere except below". The Roland saw long service, and examples could be found flying over quiet sectors of the Western Front as late as the fall of 1917.

The decals of the kit were useless due to age, and I wanted an alternative marking anyway, so this Roland is painted and marked to represent an aircraft from Kasta 8, which was part of Kagohl II in mid-1916. It should be added that is was quite difficult to find out exactly what color the Rolands of Kasta 8 were. Some sources point to a very pale blue verging on white, while other sources indicate more of a light blue. I preferred the latter for aesthetic reasons. Kasta 8 was based at the Mont-Morville Aerodrome during May through June of 1916, and it was commanded by Victor Carganico throughout the war. The unit also included a young officer by the name of Manfred von Richthofen.

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