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I-16 Type 10 Kit

Hobbycraft 1/48 I-16 Type 10 Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review September 2008 Manufacturer Hobbycraft
Subject I-16 Type 10 Scale 1/48
Kit Number HC1575 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Neat Soviet Fighter subject Cons Joystick in kit is totally wrong. Propeller huck starter not provided nor cowl machine gun barrels
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

I-16 Type 10 Kit
I-16 Type 10 Kit
I-16 Type 10 Kit
I-16 Type 10 Kit
I-16 Type 10 Kit

The Polikarpov I-16 was a Soviet fighter aircraft of revolutionary design. It was the world’s first all-metal cantilever-winged monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear. The I-16 was introduced in the mid-1930’s and formed the backbone of the Soviet Air Force at the beginning of WWII. The diminutive fighter prominently featured in the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Spanish Civil War, where it was called the “Rata” or “Mosca”, and the Battle of Khalkhin Gol.

The aircraft first flew in June of 1933 as the TsKB-12. It was introduced into service the following year, in 1934. Counting all variants, it was built to a total of 8,644. The Spanish Air Force was the last to use the aircraft, retiring them in the 1950’s. The aircraft was produced from 1934 to 1943.

The type 10 variant (subject of this kit) had 4 x ShKAS machine guns, a more traditional windscreen ( replaced the troublesome opening canopy) and a reflector gun sight was added. It had greater surface of the wing, which was covered with duralumin. The engine was the M-25V of 760 hp. During the Spanish Civil War the aircraft was nicknamed the “Super Mosca: or simply “Super”. 250 of this type were supplied to China.

HobbyCraft of Canada is a model company based in Toronto, Canada.

The kit comes in a tray and lid type box. The boxart shows the I-16 type 10 flying along in a quite yellow sky. It is painted in dark green above and pale blue underneath. The propeller spinner is all white. The tips of the wings are red. The rudder has red, yellow and blue horizontal stripes on it and the tail has a image of  Popeye the Sailor on it. The aircraft also carries the black fuselage code of CM-177 over a vertical red fuselage band just behind the cockpit. This is the markings of a Spanish Republican Air Force aircraft, during the Spanish Civil War in 1938. This is one of the two markings offered on the decal sheet in the kit.

Inside the box is a sealed cello bag that holds 3 trees of medium gray parts and 2 clear cockpit canopies. The decal sheet, instructions, a form to order HobbyCraft’s catalogue for 3 bucks and a pre-paid post card to use to send HobbyCraft suggestions for new kits and any comments you may have. There is a slip that warns that the kit is not suitable for children under 3 years old because of small parts, in English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, Danish and Greek.

The instructions consist of a single sheet that accordion folds out into 6 pages of  10 ¾” x 8 ½” format.

The first page begins with black and white repeat of the boxart. This is followed by the history of the I-16 Type 10 as just one long sentence. (in 6 languages including English) The bottom of the page has international assembly symbol explanations and HobbyCraft’s address.

Pages two through four give a total of 3 assembly steps. In the 3rd step you opt for a closed canopy or just a windscreen. However, far as I can determine, the Type 10 only used the windscreen.

Page five has side views for 2 schemes (both sides illustrated for each). One is for the boxart subject (already described above) and the second one is for a Spanish.Nationalist Air Force aircraft in Spain in 1946. This would have been well after the Spanish Civil War so the title of the kit on the box doesn’t apply to this scheme. Colors are called out for both schemes in FS numbers ONLY (Federal Standard). This means that, if you don’t have a conversion list – telling you WHAT these colors are – you are pretty much screwed! I have a FS book and from what I can determine the second scheme is a base of sand yellow with dark green and dark brown spots over it and light blue underneath. It has a white tail with a black X spanning it. There are red and yellow roundels above and below the wings. There is a black fuselage number of 1W, then a black circle with an ox yoke and bundle of arrows on it in red and the number 6 (in black too). The propeller spinner is camouflaged the same as the top of the aircraft.

Page six has illustrations showing the top and bottom of these two schemes. HobbyCraft should have called out the names of the colors to use, not JUST the FS numbers. Not everybody has a conversion table for the FS number to colors. Bad move HobbyCraft!

There are no parts tree illustrations in the instructions. Parts are alphabetized and  numbered on the trees and in the assembly drawings okay though.

The largest of the medium gray trees, letter B,  holds: the cowling, propeller spinner, main wheels, engine, pilot seat, a very INACCURATE joy stick (more about that later), the propeller, a bulkhead, a head pad for the seat, horizontal tail surfaces, cockpit floor, cowling gun blisters, landing gear legs and doors, wing guns and pitot tube etc. (33 parts)

A second, medium sized, letter C, medium gray tree holds the upper and lower wing halves, with the lower wing half being full span (3 parts)

The third, medium sized, letter A, medium gray tree holds the 2 fuselage halves.

The last parts in the kit are the single clear windscreen and the single clear closed canopy part. As already mentioned, I am pretty sure that the closed type was dropped before the Type 10 came along.

The decal sheet (markings already described above) also includes a second Popeye figure facing the other direction. It is not certain whether he faced the same direction on each side of the rudder, so it’s up to you which way you want him on the starboard side – which was never photographed.

The joystick in the kit, part no. B5, is totally wrong. It has handles at the top that look like the handlebars on a bicycle. The I-16 had an oval handle at the top. This is shown in Squadron’s in Action book on the I-16 and also on a line-drawing blueprint that I got of the I-16 from a Russian pen pal years ago. The blueprint is in Russian – and – gee folks the Russians should know what the joystick looked like, you would think – right?

The second thing in the kit is the missing huck starter in the center of the propeller spinner. This can be fabricated from sprue or, if you are lucky enough to find tubing that small in diameter, some tubing. The cowl guns on the Type 10 at the top of the cowling protruded. There are just holes molded in the cowling in the kit, but no guns. Sprue or tubes to the rescue again. The cockpit interior is very sparse, giving only a floor, seat, bad joystick and the dashboard, but no foot pedals or any other detail.

The kit is engraved detail and rather nice beginning for an I-16. However, those of use with AMS will want to dolly out the cockpit more and add that huck starter and cowl guns and alter the joystick into its correct shape.

Recommended to modelers of WWII Soviet aviation.