Sundry Military Aircraft
LFG Roland C.II – Dewoitine 520DC – Piaggio PD.808

Last week we went for a wander around the ‘Sundry Nations’ Gallery so this week we will take a look in the ‘Sundry Military Roles’ Gallery. There’s not very many aircraft in there as yet but there’s still enough to find three interesting ones.

Beginning with the oldest is the LFG Roland C.II which was an advanced German reconnaissance aircraft that entered service with the German flying service during World War I in 1916. For its time this was a very advanced aircraft, streamlined to reduce drag as much as possible and with a wooden fuselage comprising two layers of plywood which gave it considerable strength and lightness. It’s primary role was observation but its design with the pilot and observer perched above the top wing meant that the downward view was not very good. By the end of the war this aircraft was used mainly as a trainer.

This is an old Airfix kit that dates from 1966. Since then it has appeared in Heller and MPC boxings but, so far as I can tell, this is the only kit of this aircraft that has ever been released in the 1/72 scale. It is quite a simple kit to make and could be improved with some cockpit detail but there is apparently no aftermarket for that kind of thing. Over its service life this aircraft flew in a number of interesting colour schemes but this model is in the scheme recommended in the kit instructions.

Moving along chronologically is a trainer aircraft, the French Dewoitine 520DC. Unlike the Aero L-29 Delfin we looked at last week, which was a purpose designed trainer, the 520DC was a simple conversion of the Dewotine 520 fighter made by installing a second seat in the rear fuselage. This conversion was made late in 1945 when the French air force needed trainers The view from back there could not have been very good but this trainer was only a stop-gap measure until better and purpose designed trainers came along.

This model was made using a simple Hobby Boss Dewoiting 520 fighter kit and a conversion kit I picked up somewhere. As it turned out the only part from that kit I used was the cockpit canopy, the rest of the work being achieved by cutting down the rear fuselage and installing a second seat there, just as the conversion of the real thing had been done.

Most air forces have some light and executive transport aircraft and the Piaggio PD.808 is a little known light jet transport that was flown by the Italian air force. It was one of a generation of small business jets in which only a few went on to become successful sellers. The PD.808 was not one of them and eventually most of them that were made flew with the Italian air force.

Because the PD.808 is a little known aircraft there is no injection moulded kit of it so I hunted down the relatively rare Sky Models resin kit. It was not an easy kit to make but the decals are good and offer a few interesting options. It is now out of production so this kit might be difficult to find these days.