A 1/48 scale injection moulded kit of the Roland D.VIb has
been long over due. When Pegasus released their smaller scale version many
years ago, there was hope that it would eventually be released in the
larger Blue Max range. Finally this has been done.
Inside the box, we find 19 plastic and 23 pewter alloy metal parts. A
decal sheet is provided for the usual two options and the instruction
sheet is the familiar A4 two-sided variety. Where the exploded view fails
to show the precise location of the parts, the included “build” photos
helps clarify things.
Click the thumbnails below to view larger
The kit was created using the Albatros Productions Datafile on the Roland
D.VI so it comes as no surprise that the parts match Ian Stair’s plans
The construction of the Roland was done using the
“clinker” boat building technique. This involved the overlapping of one
blank of spruce over the next with a tapering of the mating surface. One
would have expected this to have been replicated by scribed panel lines
but amazingly Blue Max have taken the trouble to reproduce this effect.
The moulding is first class with all detail being crisp and sharp. Part of
the interior structure has been represented with no resultant sinking on
the opposite side of the fuselage. The same applies to the forward shelf,
which is provided to allow the correct height of the engine to be
The upper wing is a one-piece affair and displays very
good detail and thin trailing edges. The ailerons are separate to allow
the builder to animate these items, which is a nice touch.
By necessity, the lower wings are moulded separately and it is highly
recommended that some form of pinning be used to give the attachment to
the fuselage keel some strength. The surface detail is very nice with some
finely represented ribs. It’s good to see that the injection of these
parts has been done from the fuselage attachment points. This saves any
detail being lost during the cleaning up process.
On my example the lower wing trailing edges near the wing tips were quite
a bit thicker than the rest of the part. Some light sanding from below
will easily fix this. The resulting loss of rib detail is not a problem
here, as the wings will be covered in lozenge decal. Thus the application
of ribs tapes will reinstate the required look.
Other plastic parts include the fin/rudder, tailskid, exhaust, floor,
lower engine and axle fairing.
Blue Max also supply both balanced and unbalanced elevators as not all
D.VIb aircraft were fitted with the balanced version.
A small bag contains the white metal parts and these are
very well cast. The cockpit area is enhanced with bulkheads, seat, rudder
bar, and control column. The top part of the engine is also done in this
medium as is the wheels, radiator water pipe, struts and prop/spinner.
Sadly this latter item is not in the desired two pieces.
All struts and under carriage legs have been delicately cast and are in
perfect scale. As a result, the parts are easily bent and some may choose
to scratch build or modify alternatives. I have used similar white metal
struts in the past from Blue Max and careful assembly shows that they do
Two options are provided on a superbly printed decal
sheet. These decals are hand printed resulting in very thin carrier film.
Despite being delicate, experience has shown there to be no problem with
They are in perfect register and previous sheets have
revealed that no decal softening agents are necessary.
Thoughtful additions on the sheet are instrument dials and
the prominent Roland logo. Great!
No lozenge is supplied but this can be purchased separately from a number
of sources, including Pegasus.
The options are:
Roland D.VIb, D.22254/18, 1918
This is quite a notable machine as it was entered in the
Second Fighter Competition. It was also the only fighter aircraft there
that was powered by the over-compressed 185hp Benz Bz.IIIav engine.
The machine wears a shield on the side of the fuselage. Photos of this
aircraft show what looks to be a shadow thrown diagonally across this item
but closer inspection shows this not to be the case. The background of the
shield was definitely painted in two different colours.
Amazingly, parts of the fuselage of D.22254/18 actually survived the war
and reside in a restored state in a museum in Poland. Sadly the shield
marking had long since vanished.
Other photos show that the unbalanced elevators were used, while Blue Max
have the balanced version fitted in the instruction sheet. Also note that
the tail plane and elevators have had their lozenge painted over in a
colour that appears very dark in the Datafile photos. The instructions
show this as unpainted.
Roland D.VIb (sic), Jasta 23b,
The depicted machine is actually a D.VIa and was fitted
with the 160hp Mercedes D.III engine and not the D.VIb’s Bz.IIIa engine.
As a result there should be a couple of extra ventilation panels on the
starboard side near the nose of the aircraft. It is not a major effort to
add these disk shaped details. Just copy the smaller of the two versions
already present in the kit.
The aforementioned Datafile has a cover painting of this aircraft with the
The kit supplies the larger balanced ailerons of the D.VIb but a few
swipes of the sanding stick will transform these to the necessary smaller
D.VIa type for this example.
The aircraft has been photographed with both black and white wheel covers.
A photo before capture shows the wheel cover to be white while the ones
taken when being tested by the US Air Service show them as black. The
black was probably painted on at the same time as the white fuselage disc,
which was also not present on the earlier “wartime” pic.
Blue Max have come to the rescue of Roland fans with a
very good kit of a fighter that is unlikely to be released by any of the
main stream manufacturers.
The plastic and metals parts are very good and faithfully capture the
sleek lines of this neglected fighter.
The confusion with the marking options is easily remedied and shouldn’t
deter fellow Roland lovers from adding this kit to their collection.
Stay tuned for a build of this kit in the coming weeks.
Squadron.com for the review sample.
Review and Images Copyright © 2003 by
Page Created 04 October, 2002
Last updated 12 August, 2004
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