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Julien

Polikarpov I-16 Type 24 - 1:48 ICM

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Polikarpov I-16 Type 24

1:48 ICM

 

1601.JPG


The I-16 was a Soviet fighter of revolutionary design. It was the worlds first low wing cantilever monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear to achieve operational status. The designer Nikolai Nikoleavich Polikarpov designed the aircraft optimised for speed with a short stubby fuselage similar to the Gee Bee racer. It was to feature cutting edge items such as a fully retractable landing gear and an enclosed cockpit.

Work began in June 1933 and full scale production began in November of the same year. The aircraft was designed around the Wright Cyclone SR-1820-F-3 nine cylinder engine. The construction was a mix of wooden monocoque and wings based around chrome-molybdenum steel alloy wing spar. Original armament was a par of 7.62mm machine guns mounted outboard of the main wheels. The Type 24 aircraft featured Four machine guns, two in the original wing positions and two synchronised in the fuselage. Landing flaps replaced the original drooping ailerons, a tail wheel was also added. This variant was powered by a Shvetsov M-63 engine developing 900hp.

At the start of WWII Russian had 1635 I-16 variants. During the first 48 hours of Operation Barbarossa Luftwaffe attacks on I-16 bases reduced this to only 937 aircraft. The I-16 was surprisingly good in combat against the Bf 109E with Russian pilots using its superior horizontal manoeuvrability. However later versions of the 109 would prove to be much faster, and more heavily armed. One advantage in the Russian winter was the I-16 had an aircooled engine and were more reliable. In all over half of the produced aircraft were still in service when they were replaced in 1943. The I-16 would also serve overseas with China. Germany, Romania and Finland would operate captured examples. The Spanish Republican Air Force used I-16s supplied by Russia, and after the Civil war these would be used by Spanish State Air Force, amazingly only being retired in 1952.

The Kit
This new tool kit arrives on two sprues with one small clear sprue containing the front windscreen, in a robust box with a lid under the outer cover. The parts are all very well moulded with nice engraved detail. There is no evidence of flash anywhere on the parts. Construction starts surprisingly enough not in the cockpit but with the wings! The bottom wing is one piece with upper left & right parts being added. The ailerons can then be added to each side. Now construction moves to the cockpit and interior. The rear cockpit bulkhead is attached and is placed inside the left fuselage half along with the front bulkhead. The cockpit floor has the seat base and rudder pedals attached and is slid into the bulkheads. The instrument panel is built up and fitted along with the pilots control column. Other controls and the lower part of the seat are then added. The engine bulkhead is then attached and the main fuselage can be closed up. The front decking with gun troughs is then added in front of the cockpit, and the rudder is now added  along with the cockpit side doors. The main fuselage is now mated to the wings. The tailplanes are also added.

 

1602.JPG

 

Construction now moves to the front of the aircraft with the engine being built up. The main bearer has the engine mounting ring attached which is followed by the gear box and intake manifold. The cylinder bank is now added along with the front push rods and exhaust pipes. The engine is then fitted. The propeller then has its boss fitted and is attached to front engine cover through the vents which control cooling air to the engine. This assembly can then be fitted to the front of the fuselage along with ths side and top engine covers (these can be left open if required). The main landing gear struts and doors can now be attached along with the tail wheel . Finally the main wheels are attached.

 

1603.JPG


Decals
A medium sized decal sheet printed by ICM is supplied with the kit. The decals are in register and appear colour dense. These aircraft did not carry many markings and this is reflected in the kit. There are enough national markings for all 4 decal options provided;

 

  • 13th Sqn Baltic Fleet Aviaion, Summer 1940.
  • 16th Fighter Regiment, South Front, Summer 1941.
  • 72nd Mixed Regiment Northern Fleet Aviation, Summer 1941.
  • 4th Guard Fighter Regiment, Baltic Fleet Aviation, Winter-Spring 1942.

 

1604.JPG

 

Conclusion
There is no doubt this will build up to make a good looking model. I for one am a fan of this stubby looking aircraft. Recommended. 

 

 

Review sample courtesy of

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