Kit: Eduard 8148 Polikarpov I-16 Type 10 Russian WWII Fighter
Price: £16.70 available from Hannants UK
Decals: 5 options
Reviewer: Richard Reynolds
Notes: Multi-media kit including 5 sprues of injection moulded plastic. One fret of photo-etched parts in full colour, one set of paint masks and a 12 page instruction booklet printed on high-quality glossy paper with four full-colour three view profiles.
One of the most popular and best known Russian Aircraft ever built was born in 1933. On the last day of that year, on December 31, the famous Soviet aviator Valerij Tchalov conducted the maiden flight of the new CKB-12 prototype. The CKB-12 was a very modern and revolutionary design at the time.
The installed powerplant was a Shvetsov M-22 engine (a licence built Bristol Jupiter) rated at 480 hp, instead of the anticipated Shvetsov M-25 engine giving 750 hp. That was a Soviet licence built Wright R-1820 Cyclone. Although the new aircraft was a bit underpowered, Tchalov was amazed with its flight capabilities and especially its sensitivity of control. The second prototype was outfitted with an imported original Wright Cyclone engine, and the aircraft performance greatly improved.
After necessary development and improvements, serial production was ordered with the M-22 engine, because the new M-25 powerplant was not yet available, and no weapons were installed. Maximum speed of these first I-16s was 362 km/h at sea level and 346 km/h at 3000m. 50 aircraft were manufactured at Zavod 21, known as I-16 without and additional suffix designation. Zavod 21 produced the first batch of I-16, though with some difficulties,
For this reason Zavod 21’s I-16s were suffixed as ‘Type 4’. In the late summer, 1934, the first aircraft reached VVS units. Reception of the new aircraft was cool, to put it gently. The flight characteristics were very different from the operational biplanes then in service; Control was overly sensitive, and the landing speed was too high with a lack of frontal view due to the wide nose.
The lack of landing flaps, compensated for by the downward deflection of the ailerons acting as flaps on landing, didn’t make the landing any easier. Accident rates soared to unacceptable levels, and reached the point where units couldn’t achieve operational status. At this time five NII VVS (Air Force Research Institute) pilots, Kokkinaki, Suprun, Preman, Evseev and Shevchenko, made a tour of Air Force bases.
With their red painted I-16, they demonstrated the aircraft’s performance and potential. In late spring, 1935, the M-25 engine was finally available in sufficient quantities. The new engine received a new Watter-Type cowling, giving the I-16 its characteristic shape. The flight characteristics were unchanged, but the performance was significantly improved.
The maximum speed was now 390 km/h at sea level, and 445 km/h at 3000m. The aircraft was now armed with two 7.62mm ShKAS machine guns mounted in the wings. By January 1936, The Type 5 replaced the Type 4on the production lines at Zavod 21. Still a fresh newcomer on the fighter scene, the I-16 Type 5 soon got its chance to show its stuff in a real fight. During the Spanish Civil War, the I-16 built its great warrior reputation. Until 1938, the type 5 remained as the main version, marginally updated to the Type 6, but it is not certain if this is an official designation. Besides Spain, the Type 5 saw combat over China, where these aircraft were sent along with Soviet crews. By 1937, initial troubles were forgotten, but new critics were found.
Therefore, the new and improved Type 10 was introduced, instigating some significant changes. First, the new M-25V 750 hp engine was installed. The wing was re-designed to include landing flaps. Two 7.62mm ShKAS machine guns were added on top of the engine, with two corresponding fairings on the engine cowling. The cockpit was improved, and the canopy was completely redesigned, with an all-glass single piece windscreen ahead of the now open cockpit.
Maximum speed was 390 km/h at sea level and 438 km/h at 3200m. The Type 10’s production started at Gorki in March 1938. The Type 10 reached Spain as well as China, and fought against the Japanese over Chalkin-Gol and Chasan Lake. They saw action in the Winter War against the Finns, and also fought in Poland in the autumn of 1939. In June 1941, when the USSR was attacked by Germany and The Great Patriotic War began, the I-16 Type 10 remained, along with other I-16 versions, the main weapon of VVS fighter units.
In total some 9450 I-16s of all versions were produced, most of them, to the tune of 8495, by Zavod 21 at Gorki. The Type 10 was followed by improved versions, Type 17, 24 and 29.
This introduction is quoted direct from the Eduard instruction booklet.
The Eduard 1/48 Polikarpov I-16 Type 10 comes in a traditional tray-style box consisting of 5 sprues of soft grey injection moulded plastic. One clear fret, one fret of coloured photo etch, one decal sheet, a sheet of Eduard canopy and wheel masks and a 12 page instruction booklet printed on high quality paper. The kit is well packaged and you get a lot for your money. The detail is crisp and fine with no evidence of flash. The first inspection of the instruction booklet reveals it to be well laid out with easy to follow step-by-step exploded view diagrams printed in an A4 format.
The sprues were first washed in a warm soapy solution to remove any mould release that may be present and set to one side to dry. Once dry, the aircraft was primed using grey auto-primer from a rattlecan. The interior parts and the insides of the fuselage were then airbrushed with Humbrol 117 green as a close approximation for Russian interior green of the period.
The interior is well furnished with a full set of controls, trim wheel, throttle unit, undercarriage crank and various other levers in either plastic or photo-etch. The instrument panel comes as a laminated assembly of three sections with the middle part a full-colour set of instruments and the final part a coloured section with the instrument bezel holes punched out which is then overlaid on the instruments.
It is difficult to see why you would need to go to so much trouble to construct such an elaborate interior when once the fuselage halves are joined, all that can be seen are the seat and seat-belts. However, it is good practice to complete the kit as the manufacturer intended as taking shortcuts can have disastrous consequences. I speak from experience.
On that note, it is worth cementing the exhaust stubs in place before you join the wing assembly to the fuselage, fitting them later can prove tricky. Once the fuselage halves were joined and the wings assembled and allowed to set, both assemblies were combined. There were no gaps in the join at all such was the excellent quality of Eduard’s engineering. The tail unit was then fitted and the fuselage put to one side whilst the engine was constructed.
The engine assembly was straight forward. There is a set of ‘cooling gills’ in photo-etch to allow you to model the aircraft with these cooling vents in the open or closed position. I elected to have them closed, it was more a matter of aesthetics than of not being bothered to paint the M-25V engine. Once the cowl had been fitted and allowed to dry overnight, small areas of green putty were applied and sanded using wet and dry sanding sticks, blue-tac applied to the cockpit opening and more primer added in preparation for airbrushing.
Camouflage and Markings
There are five camouflage options to choose from in this kit. Four are located at the back of the booklet with the fifth on the front page. I elected to model a fairly non-descript example, option D, from an unknown unit, Leningrad area 1944. I tend to model Finnish WWII subjects and wanted an example of their principal fighter opponent during the Winter War. Since the Finns were on the Leningrad front albeit during the Continuation War, this was the closest available option from the markings on offer.
I used White Ensign Models excellent colourcoats range to finish this kit. Firstly, the white fuselage band was sprayed using WEMCC C03 White. This was masked using Tamiya tape before proceeding to spray the underside and the undercarriage doors and wheel-hubs with WEMCC ACS01 WW2 Soviet VVS All Blue. I allowed this to dry overnight before masking the lower-surfaces and using the canopy mask supplied by Eduard in preparation for airbrushing the upper-surfaces with WEMCC ACS03 WW2 Soviet VVS All Green. Finally, the upper-surfaces were prepared once more with rolls of blue-tac and masking tape before the top layer of camouflage was applied with WEMCC C02 Black. Once the masking had been removed, the kit was given a coat of Johnson’s Klear before the decals were applied.
The undercarriage assembly was put together with relative ease despite its complicated looking nature and then the wing mounted 7.62 mm guns were fitted before finally adding the propeller and spinner. The canopy masking was then removed and the decals applied. This is a simple process which too less than 20 minutes as the I-16 only required the application of 8 decals.
This is a first rate kit. It goes together easily, it is superbly detailed and it is very reasonably priced. Highly recommended.
- VVS Research page by Massimo Tessitori, http://mig3.sovietwarplanes.com/
- ‘The Battles of the Winter War’ by Sami Korhonen, http://www.winterwar.com/
- The I-16 Fighter Resource by Vasilii Leonenko, http://i16fighter.narod.ru/index_e.htm
- Soviet History, The Great Patriotic War, Facism is war by Georgi Dimitrov, http://www.marxists.org/history/ussr/great-patriotic-war/