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I-16 Type 10 with Chinese Pilots (32008) 1:32


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I-16 Type 10 with Chinese Pilots (32008)

1:32 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd




The I-16 was a ground-breaking design that first flew in 1934, as it was both a monoplane, and benefited from having retractable landing gear.  It was designed by the Polikarpov Design Bureau, and was also intended to have a totally enclosed cockpit, but Soviet pilots disliked being ensconced within their aircraft, perhaps harking back to the days of open-topped biplanes, and all this was despite the freezing temperatures that they had to endure, even at zero feet.  It was a small aircraft that led to some diminutive nicknames such as Burro or Rata, depending on where it was in service.  Early variants saw action in the Spanish Civil War as well as in Chinese hands against the Japanese invaders, and by the time WWII came around they were one of the major fighters in service with the Soviet Air Force in terms of numbers.  Action against the Bf.109s of the Legion Condor during the Spanish conflict left the designers with the distinct impression that it was outclassed by larger, more modern designs, but production did not cease immediately thanks to the remaining development potential of the basic airframe.


By the time the Type 10 came into production, it was fitted with four 12.7mm machine guns, two synchronised in the cowling, two more in the wings.  It was also powered by a Wright Cyclone R-1820 engine, and had a sliding canopy, which many pilots still discarded by preference to improve their situational awareness or whatever their excuses were.  Subsequent variants improved the armament further, installing 20mm cannons with the same designation (why??) for extra destructive power, and increasing the power and supplier of the engine, although the improvements there were incremental rather than revolutionary.  By the middle of WWII the type was obsolete, and was retired in favour of more advanced and powerful designs.



The Kit

This is a reboxing of their recent kit that is based on the initial tooling that dates to 2017, but with the addition of a set of Chinese aircrew figures to sweeten the deal.  It arrives in a medium-sized top-opening box that has a captive flap on the bottom tray, and inside are five sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, decal sheet, and instruction booklet.  Detail is excellent, and you may notice immediately that there are a few extra large parts on the sprues that you will end up leaving there, as it’s cheaper and more efficient to do so, rather than retool existing sprues.  The addition of the figures gives some potential for a diorama or vignette, or you could just stand them next to your finished model on a bare shelf.












Unusually, construction begins with the wings, that are full-span underneath and has the gear bays moulded into the centre.  It is closed over immediately with the upper surfaces, and a pair of formation lights are inserted into the tips, then the ailerons are made from two halves each and are fitted in place, deflected if you wish, inserting a perforated cowling into the gap in front of the gear bays at the same time.  The cockpit is created in stages, starting with the rear bulkhead and seat, which is then suspended in the port fuselage half, which has ribbing moulded into the interior.  A front frame and equipment are also added to the sidewall, and the floor is slipped through the two bulkheads from the front, locking in place on a couple of cut-outs in the correct locations.  A couple of bottles are installed around the rear of the cockpit, some pilot controls that include rudder pedals and control column are fitted in the main area, followed by the clear instrument panel with decal and the pilot’s seat pan, plus a few more detail parts, with yet more on the starboard sidewall.  At the same time, a firewall bulkhead has a saddle-tank applied to the front surface, and two gun troughs extending from the rear toward the pilot, ready for additional parts once the fuselage is closed up.  In preparation for that, the rudder and elevator halves are joined, and the upper cowling over the gun troughs has a pair of clear lights inserted from within.  Predictably, the rudder is trapped between the fuselage halves on closure, allowing it to pivot if you are careful with the glue.  The deck in front of the cockpit is then inserted, and the cockpit door is also glued into place, after which dealing with the seams would be a good plan before you join the wings from beneath.  The elevator flying surfaces form a single assembly when complete, and are trapped between the halves of the elevator fins, which attach to the rear of the fuselage on triangular tabs, closing them in with a short fairing later in the build.


Your Rata is bereft of an engine at this stage, so a circular mount with zig-zag supports is built, followed by the rear of the motor with intake piping that slides into the centre along with an ancillaries box.  The nine-cylinder radial engine is supplied as a front and rear half, with push-rods moulded into a separate shallow bell-housing.  The back of the motor is peppered with nine exhaust tubes, each one a separate part, and individually shaped to exit the cowling at the rear through the various holes.  A little test-fitting would be sensible before resorting to glue to ensure they all exit where they’re supposed to, after which you can join the mounts to the back of the engine and insert the whole assembly into the front of the fuselage, taking care not to knock off any exhausts as you do.  The cowling is next, starting with the front, with the three-part intake with adjustable cooling made up first, leaving the centre section mobile in case the temperature drops on your workbench.  The prop shaft is slipped through a hole in the centre, through a perforated spinner plate and two-blade prop, which is covered over by a stubby spinner cap.  The prop is then glued to the lower cowling and a pair of guns are slotted into the gun troughs, then the remaining three parts of the cowling can be glued into position or left off at your whim.  The windscreen is then glued into position over a clear gunsight, then it’s time to make the wheels.


Each gear leg is made from a triangular combination strut that has a three-part captive door applied to the outside, plus a retraction strut that has its own door fixed to it near the top.  Take care during this process, as some small areas should be removed with a sharp blade or file to make the main doors and struts accurate to the type.  The wheels are two parts each and slide onto the axles perpendicular to the ground.  The tail cone has a small light at the tip, and a skid keeps the back end from dragging on the ground.  The final few parts include the wing-mounted guns, a pitot tube, and a strange ‘dongle’ hanging from the starboard cowling.



WWII China Guomindang Air Force Pilots (32115)




We’ve reviewed this three-figure set before, and it’s nice to see it again.  The single sprue contains parts for three figures, one crew chief or officer, and two pilots, who are dressed in flight overalls, flying helmets and their parachute packs slung low to the rear.  Each figure is highly detailed, and broken down with separate torso, legs, arms and heads, plus parachute packs for the pilots, and a satchel for the uniformed gentleman.  He also has separate coat tails for realism, and a two-part cap with separate peak.






There are four decal options included on the sheet, each one having half a page of colour profiles devoted to the detail, with just a single wing depicting the underside to show the location of the national markings.  From the box you can build one of the following:


  • China Guomindang AF, 1939
  • 23rd Chantay of China Guomindang AF, 1939
  • 24th Chantay of China Guomindang AF, September 1940
  • 24th Chantay of China Guomindang AF, Chengdu, June 1941






Decals are by ICM’s usual partners, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas.




The I-16 is a small aircraft, even at this scale, and adding the three figures to the package gives it some human scale.  Good detail and ICM’s usual fit and finish round out the package.


Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd.



Review sample courtesy of


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