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K. J. Bricknell
12 articles

Wingnut Wings Roland D.VIb (1/32)

May 26, 2014 · in Aviation · · 36 · 9K

The city of Wellington, New Zealand, lays just across the Tasman Sea from my place in Canberra, Australia. And out near Wellington's airport sits the Stone Street Studios established by Sir Peter Jackson, the acclaimed director of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. His production company is called Wingnut Films, so perhaps you can see where I'm going with this.

Sir Peter is widely known as a World War One aviation buff. This is reflected in two of his non-movie-making enterprises. The first is The Vintage Aviator (, located in both Wellington and at a small airfield at Masterton up to the north east, which builds flying replicas of World War One aircraft.

The second of Sir Peter's aviation-related enterprises is , which burst onto the modelling scene, completely unheralded, in April 2009. Sir Peter had always been a keen modeller, and had long harboured an ambition to create a kit-making company that would concentrate on highly detailed, accurate, large scale, reasonably priced models of World War One aircraft.

It is difficult for an Australian to say anything kind about New Zealand, given that the Kiwis exhibit the rather tiresome habit of frequently thrashing us at rugby, but I would have to say that the general consensus on my side of the ditch is that Sir Peter and his small Wingnut Wings team in Wellington really aced it. Apart from the beautifully engineered plastic, the full-colour instruction booklets are works of art in themselves. Just what you'd expect from a company that, as Sir Peter himself has said, is “not driven by market forces and profit because it would then become something I don't want it to be.”.

The model is one of Wingnut Wings latest offerings: the Roland D.VIb. OOB except for the EZ Line rigging and Gaspatch turnbuckles.

Reader reactions:
12  Awesome

8 additional images. Click to enlarge.

36 responses

  1. Beautiful model and very interesting article.

    Best regards, Vlad.

  2. Boy, those WNW kits sure look good...I may have to "bite the bullet" and get me one. Thing is, I dread the idea of having to go crazy(er) by struggling with all that rigging. So tell me, WWI not being my 'forte', is this the only genre that they offer? Never mind - don't answer that...I'll just go look at their website.

    • An advice is to pick their Foker D.VII. No rigging! /M

    • Hi Craig

      I am not a WW1 guy, but have built the Fokker DVII and the Junkers J1 from WNW - both are fantastic kits. and little to no rigging on either. a couple of quick points - the tolerances are exact on WNW kits - so be sure to remove paint from any mating surface. Also, I found the lozenge decals to be a bit of a challenge on the DVII - they worked, and were pre-cut to fit, but I did struggle geting them to conform in certain spots. The J1 is bigger by a fair bit, but without the lozenge decals it's probably a touch easier. Good luck and enjoy them!

  3. Hi Craig. At the beginning, I looked hugely askance at the prospect of rigging these things, but these days I wonder what on earth I was worried about. Just get yourself some EZ Line from Wingnuts, and some turnbuckles and anchor points from Gaspatch, and you'll be surprised how easily and quickly you can do it.

    Then again, you could start with the Fokker D.VII. Probably the best fighter of WW 1 with the singular advantage that it had NO RIGGING!

  4. Amazing! The wood effect on the fuselage is brilliant, it looks like...well wood!

  5. It still takes a great amount of modeling skill to bring these kits to life, and you have succeeded! Also thanks for bringing the details of Sir Peter's inviolvement in the hobby - it's ecouraging when a celebrity shares the humble interest of ours. Another prominent figure that comes to mind is Rod Stewart and his passion for model trains:

  6. This wood work is absolutely stunning! Good job!

  7. Fantastic build there. These Wingnut Kits are the mutts back wheels.
    Well done sir.

  8. That looks more realistic than a real one! Very impressive work.

  9. Absolutely outstanding. Hoe did you keep your slat separation on the wood when applying the (oil?) paint?

    • Hi Al. I started by masking off alternate strakes (planks). I then used the technique outlined on the Wingnuts site. The exposed strakes were sprayed with Tamiya's Desert Yellow. When dry, a thin coat of artists oil (burnt sienna) was applied and worked with a bit of foam and one of those fan-shaped artists brushes, the latter just slightly damp with odourless turps. Allowed to dry before being coated with Tamiya clear satin. Allowed to dry. Masks removed. Completed strakes then masked and process repeated on the unpainted strakes. Expected a disaster, but it turned out OK.

  10. Wow! Otherwise speechless...

  11. The fuselage looks increadibly real and beatiful. You have my all respect, man!
    I am just curious about Lozenge not matching not fields on the top. Is this OK or is this caused by some decals issue? I thought that these fields are created in borderless patterns.

    • Very good question, Martin. Being basically a WW 2 guy, and pretty ignorant about WW 1 aircraft, I was at first struck by the fact that there was no span-wise continuity between the strips of lozenge decal (which the instructions show should be applied fore and aft). There's no way you can line them up to give a continuous pattern, span-wise. But a bit of research indicated that this was normal.

      Firstly, if you check the Fokker D.VII kits, where one single decal covers the entire wing half (and which is pre-cut to the actual wing planform), you will see that this discontinuity is actually printed on the decal. And it would be a brave man who would argue with Wingnut's meticulous research.

      Secondly, if you enlarge the plan views down at the bottom of this page (, you will see these fore and aft lines of discontinuity on the Albatross' upper mainplane.

  12. Wonderful wood effect.
    Great build,

  13. Great Roland! What brand/color did you use for the struts and cowling?

    • Hi John. Curiously, the cabane struts, interplane struts and undercarriage on this aircraft were different colours. The Wingnut instructions call for dark grey (Tamiya XF22) on the cabanes, light grey (XF19) on the interplanes, and grey-green (XF76) on the undercarriage, cowlings and various other fittings.

  14. Awesome job, KJ.
    Thee high quality of the fit & finish of your Roland blows me away.
    I have great respect and admiration for the fine work you and others do with the WWs kits.

  15. The Lord of The Models.

  16. Great job, love the wood look,
    Well Done.

  17. So, you're sticking with that line of blarney about having been away from the hobby all those years and only "recently" returned, eh? 🙂

    I guess it really is like riding a bicycle.


  18. Most of the adjectives have already been used to described this model, but I'll add 'gorgeous'. Another celebrity who's put his money where his mouth is is Pete Waterman (of Scott, Aitken and Waterman, producers of Kylie Minogue among others), check his railway modelling website on

  19. great looking model

  20. said on May 28, 2014

    Hope Wingnut Wings will offer a SPAD model ...

  21. Holy molee, what a beautiful aircraft model! Your comment about the "Kiwi's" made me laugh, as I know a few of them and they have interesting things to say about Aussie rugby players. Here in the states Texans have the same "feelings" regarding folks from Oklahoma.
    Just a great model in every respect, thanks for the posting.

    • Many thanks, Mike. Coming from the man who made that superb Coast Guard vessel, that means a lot.

      Yes, I have also known Kiwis to say "interesting" things about Australian rugby players, though "interesting" is perhaps not quite the correct word. Anyway, Australia is currently way on top of them in cricket, and Wingnut Wings has just put my D.VIb on the relevant product page at its site, so current trans-Tasman Sea relations have thawed a bit.

  22. Yes the dreaded All Blacks...what a rugby side! The have a very irritatibg habit of also often beating the Springboks...but not always! I now live in Australia and yes I do now support the "Wobblies"! But I digress, Wingnut Wings really are special kits, I am just so surprised they have not yet made a model of the British fighter that shot down more E/A than any other, the Sopwith Camel? Great job on the Roland.

    • said on May 31, 2014

      Please don't mention the Springboks, James. They have caused us a certain amount of pain as well.

      As for the Sopwith Camel, Wingnut Wings has said that they can't see it being done by them because there is a pretty good new tool 1/32 kit already available from another manufacturer.

      That being the case, I settled on the Sopwith Snipe (Early), specifically E8069 of No 4 Flight, Australian Flying Corps. This was being flown by a young South Australian former bank clerk named Thomas Charles Richmond Baker when he claimed his seventh kill on 26 October 1918. Baker went on to be credited with 11 victories, but was shot down and killed by a Fokker D.VII six days before the Armistice. All that resonated with me, so that's the one I built.

  23. Yes the WnW Snipe is a great model of an interesting fighter. I would love to get (one day), the WnW Bristol Fighter, would be interesting to do one of the 1 Sqn aircraft of the Australian Flying Corps in Palestine. Good book on the AFC exploits called "Fire in the Sky". Those aircraft had some interesting colour schemes as some of the fuselages and wing panels were painted white.

    I wonder if that is the Roden 1/32 Camel? I know of the Academy 1/32 Camel, not a bad kit but definately not in quite the same class as WnW. I think the old Revell kit is still a very good one, even today, although it is apparently 1/28th scale.

    • James, I've been tempted by that AFC Bristol Fighter myself. likewise the No 3 Squadron RE.8, given that No 3 is my old Squadron.

      I believe that the Camel kit referred to by Wingnut is produced by an outfit called Hobbycraft, though I've never found a kit supplier that sells it.

  24. K.J.
    Absolutely gorgeous

  25. K.J.,
    A definite winner when I first saw it., Agin I say absolutely gorgeous. Congratulations.
    My compliments to all of the well deserved winners. Difficult judging all of these beautiful entries.

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