HISTORICAL MINIATURES BY GEORGE GRASSE
WORLD WAR 1 AIRCRAFT IN 1:48 SCALE

LFG ROLAND C.IIa of FFA(A) 235

by George Grasse

EDUARD 1:48 SCALE INJECTION KIT EU8041 LFG Roland C.II

 
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #1
27 December 2010

The fuselage interior is nearly complete.  There are a few details to be added before the cockpit subassemblies are glued in place and the fuselage halves joined (mostly wiring and the clear windows).  One of the nicest surprises was the detail of the camera which was assembled by added four PE parts to the injection molded main piece.

There were several options for finishing the instrument panel which involved using either the plastic parts or PE parts and instrument film.  I chose Eduard pre-painted instruments covered with Aeroclub bevel plates.

The interior was painted in Vallejo VC0913 Yellow Ochre.  When dry, I washed the surfaces in a thin, watered-down coat of Vallejo VC0872 Chocolate Brown.  When that dried, I painted the wood structural members with Vallejo VC0856 Ochre Brown.

Note that the Mercedes D.III 160 hp engine has had the last set of lifters and the rear cam mechanism removed so it would clear the thick upper part of the fuselage.  This was clearly identified on the instruction sheet.  The engine sits on a shelf and I had to trim a bit off of the engine mounting lugs.  All during the process of gluing this part and that part, I trial fitted the fuselage halves to make sure nothing got in the way.

 
 
 
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTOS #2 & #3
12 January 2011
This photo summarizes addition of the tail unit to include the horizontal stabilizer's brass 'Strutz' braces cemented to the tailskid which was made from flattened brass tubing and  the rudder's control horns.  The landing gear and "ear" radiators are installed.  The wheel discs have been painted in Misterkit MKGC10 German CDL in anticipation of completing a CDL machine issued before Idflieg's April 1916 two-color scheme directive.  This will still be an LFG Roland C.IIa but from the middle serial number range estimated to be C.1645-1663/16 of the third production order.  At least that's my intention now. Here's a close-up showing the claw brake with added PE parts and the cross bracing and claw brake control cable all made from .009 piano wire which significantly reinforces the plastic landing gear.  The landing gear contact points to the fuselage were reinforced with brass rods.
 
 
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #4
20 January 2011
Items that have been added at this stage are 1) the PE flare cartridge holder to the right of the observer's window, 2) the PE and brass rod flare pistol held by a strip of lead sheet to the left of the observer's window, 3) the observer's PE Parabellum machine gun mount, 4) barely visible is the radiator expansion tank on the left side of the engine, 5) the pilot's roll-over structure, and 6) the rearview mirror on top of it.
 
 
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #5
18 February 2011
With all of my other projects requiring my attention, the "Walfisch" had to be set aside until mid-February.  The significant difference between this photo and the previous photo is paint.  My original paint scheme was to be clear doped linen (CDL) including the plywood covered fuselage with was covered with fabric.  I figured the fuselage would be a slightly darker shade of CDL because of the varnished wood surface underneath. 

However, this particular model is the C.IIa version which was rolling off the production lines at the time that the German Air Ministry's Aviation Inspection Department (Inspektion der Fliegertruppen or Idflieg) directive for the adoption of a two-color camouflage scheme was in effect (April 1916).  Additionally, nuances of this production series resulted in mid-production changes that resulted in the C.IIa classification.  Nearly all photos I have seen show the C.IIa version in two-color camouflage.  In reviewing all of the photos available to me, the placement of the dark green color was universal with only slight variations and this is how I painted the dark green that you see.  The underside is painted in Misterkit MKGC03 Albatros Pale Blue but that is not a final coat.  The "saw tooth" demarcation between the upper camouflage and under blue has to finished by feathering the two colors while both are wet.

The wing walk, strap holding the flare pistol, and the flare cartridge holder are painted in my mix of German light gray-green, a common shade and mix of paint for metallic surfaces.

 
 
 
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #6
18 February 2011
All panel lines, ventilation louvres, and flying surface hinged lines are painted in dark brown/black.  The item on top at the rear of the observer's cockpit is the flexible mount for the Parabellum machine gun.  The odd "hook" on the landing gear axle is the "claw brake".  A cable ran into the cockpit and was attached to a lever that the pilot operated on landing.  The rear end of the "claw brake" dug into the ground and assisted in slowing down the aircraft.  These were eliminated by the end of 1916.  The tailskid is unpainted brass but will be painted a wood color.
 
 
 
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #7
23 February 2011
 It's time to start the top wing assembly.  I drilled out all of the rigging holes for the underside of the top wing (not shown) and applied the first coat of Misterkit MKGC03 Albatros Pale Blue.  When dry I applied a second coat, re-drilled the holes, and glued .005 monofilament thread for rigging wires.  The top wing was set aside for now.

Next step is to work on the corresponding rigging holes for the bottom wing and fuselage.  These were drilled out in matching sets, one set for each side of the aircraft : two at the wing root, one on the cowling for the drag wire, two at the top of the fuselage near the pilot's cockpit, one at the bottom edge of the wing strut for the drag wire, two at the bottom of the wing strut.  Into each hole was glued an Eduard turnbuckle.

 
 
 
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #8
23 February 2011
The wing struts were glued in place being careful to maintain the correct alignment for attachment of the top wing.  I next rigged all of the "wires" attached to the bottom wing and fuselage.  For the first time, I simulated the length of the turnbuckle by added a pair of short pre-cut brass tube.  The sequence would be to tie off one end of the rigging wire, slip on the two brass turnbuckle lengths, and tie off the other end.  A small amount of super glue is applied to the knots.  When dry, the brass tubes are each moved to opposite ends and glued to their respective knots.  The completed rigging in this step is what you see in the photo above (#8). 
 
 
UNDER CONSTRUCTION PHOTO #9
23 February 2011
This photo shows the rigging detail more clearly.  The demarcation line between the upper surface camouflage and the undersurface pale blue is the first pass.  A second pass using the camouflage color and pale blue together while still wet will take on a feathered appearance in a later step.  Note the heavier gauge piano wire used to give strength to the plastic undercarriage.   
 
 
 
FINISHED PHOTO #10
5 March 2011
Compare this photo with the previous one.  This is the finished model.   
 
 
FINISHED PHOTO #11
5 March 2011
Preparing for morning reconnaissance.
 
 
------------------------------------------  FINIS  --------------------------------------------
 
 
This aircraft kit was designed as an LFG Roland C.IIa which incorporated the "top wing" aileron control system, an improvement over the earlier C.II model which had the "bottom wing" aileron control.  I have decided to finish this aircraft in the two-color scheme of dark green and red-brown representing Feldflieger Abteilung (Artillerie) 235 in the late summer of 1916.
 

This model is featured in my Historical Miniatures Journal Issue #11 which contains many more "finished" model photos.

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Bibliography:

Gray, Peter and Owen Thetford, German Aircraft of the First World War, scale drawings by L. E. Bradford.  London: Putnam & Company Limited, 1962.

Grosz, Peter. M. LFG Roland C.II Windsock Datafile 49, Colours and Markings compiled by Ray Rimmel, scale drawings by I. R. Stair, color profiles by Ray Rimmel.  Berkhamsted, UK: Albatros Productions, 1995.

Grosz, Peter. M.  The Roland C.II, Profile No. 163.  Surrey England UK: Profile Publications, 1967.

Rottgardt, Dirk.  German Armies' Establishments 1914/18, Volume 6: Signals and Air Forces.  West Chester OH: The Nafziger Collection, Inc., 2007.

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