Perhaps the first aircraft in the world to make extensive use of streamlining was the elegant Roland C.II. Introduced to the German Air Service in March 1916, the Roland made use of a semi-monocoque wooden fuselage with the wings attached to the top and bottom. This resulted in an excellent field of view for the two man crew. The aircraft was fast, but not suited to dog-fighting due, in part, to the very thing that made it so fast .. the streamlined fuselage disturbed the airflow over the tail. The wings were quite thin and tended to warp in service. Both of these faults contrived to make the Roland, the favourite target for the British ace Albert Ball.
The Roland stayed in frontline service until June 1917 and was flown by many future aces, including Manfred von Richthofen and Eduard von Schleich.
The Roland C.II has long been a favourite of WW1 modelers, with the Airfix 1/72 kit being many modellers introduction to the era. However a 1/48 injection kit was lacking until recently when Blue Max released their example. Despite generally good reviews, it is saddled with two drawbacks – BM's relatively higher price than other companies, and their infamous 'wing ripple'. Therefore news that Eduard was also doing a C.II was greated with much excitement.
Upon opening the box, one is confronted with the now usual Eduard standard of packaging, with a card ledge stapled to the side. This holds the photoetch (in the case of earlier and Profipack kits) and/or quick-mask for painting the kit.
The actual parts are molded in a light brown colour and are very nicely done. The fuselage has internal structure included on the sides. This is supposed to represent the strips of wood wrapped around the formers. Front and rear bulkheads as well as interior details for the two 'offices' are also included, and as there are windows on the side this is a good thing. As is common with the newer Eduard kits no PE is included, but there will be a profipack version released soon, and it will be interesting to see what doodads it has for the cockpits.
The wings are commendably thin – which is true to the original. The engine is in six pieces, with a choice of two styles of exhaust offered, these being the so-called 'bullet' and 'horn' types. A Spandau and a Parabellum machine gun are provided, although early C.IIs were only fitted with the observer's weapon.
Decals are included for two aircraft, both of which are in the two-toned sprayed camouflage. The first option is a C.IIa from a flying school, while the second is the colourful aircraft seen on the boxtop. this aircraft has been seen in various photos and has a shark-mouth on the nose as well as 'curtains' on the windows. There are quickmasks provided to enable the builder to paint the mouth as well as the stripe on the tail and to protect the window while spraying the fuselage.
This would seem to be an ideal candidate for a first time WW1 modeller who wishes to try 1/48 scale. It is a colourful kit, with excellent scope for detailing, and the lack of a centre-section should make attaching the wings somewhat less of a challenge than on others from this era.