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I-16 Type 24

Project Ishak - 1/48th Scale I-16 Type 24 Kits Side-By-Side

by Michael Benolkin

Background

I've built several of the Academy I-16 kits over the years but had not tackled the Eduard I-16 until now. With the reissue of Academy's I-16 Type 24 kit, this was a good time for a side-by-side build. As we've noted in the first-looks of both kits, they're both laid out nicely and appear to be straightforward builds. I've also had several ask the question: which kit is better? The answer depends on what is more important to you - ease of assembly or detail accuracy. More on this soon.

I-16 Type 24 In-Box First-Looks

I-16 Type 24 Builds

Comparisons

Both models go together relatively smoothly. One was a little more difficult than the other when dealing strictly with styrene. While the Eduard kit provides some nice photo-etched details, the only part I used were the pilot restraints and I added the same pilot restraints to the Academy kit as well. Aside from that, this build was all about the plastic.

Here is a look at the similarities and differences between the different manufacturers:

  Academy Eduard Hobbycraft
Scale 1/48 1/48 1/48
Original MSRP (USD) $27.95 $29.95 $24.95
Current Street Price (USD) $19.95 $23.95 OOP
Source Academy Eduard Academy
Detail Scribed and raised Scribed and raised Scribed and raised
Fit Issues Wing roots Wing roots, gear doors Wing roots
Photo-Etched Parts No Yes No
Resin Parts No No No
Paint Masks No Yes No

Pros and Cons

Common to All Kits

Pros

  • Accurate in shape and dimension
  • Both look like an I-16 when finished (you would hope so...)

Cons

  • Neither kit addressed the lighting holes behind the windscreen to provide natural light to the instrument panel mounted deep inside that barrel of a cockpit
  • Neither kit had positionable flight control surfaces (the Eduard kit does have a positionable rudder)
  • Both kits have delicate tail wheel struts

Eduard

I-16 Type 24

Pros

  • Surface details on the wings and fuselage capture the look of the mixed materials (metal skin versus fabric skin)

Cons

  • Fit of the wing-fuselage joint at the wing root
  • Over-engineered cockpit
  • Under-engineered engine
  • Difficult gear door assembly

Academy

I-16 Type 24

Pros

  • Easy build
  • Easier gear door assembly
  • Nice engine

Cons

  • Gaps in wing root - needed strip styrene to fill
  • Strange control yoke in cockpit
  • Simplified fabric surface details
  • Metal surfaces on wings not represented

Summary

As you can see, both build up into nice models of the Type 24. So which kit is better? That really depends on your preferences. In many cases you can divide modelers into two categories: buildability versus detail. Some models offer both, but not in this case. The Academy kit is the easier build and for me, more fun. The Eduard kit is a bit more work and the over-engineering in the cockpit will appeal to the detail modelers even though you will need a borescope to ever see those details again.

The surface details are nicer in the Eduard kit, but the dilemma is similar to the 1/48 F-14 Tomcat question. For many years, the best Tomcat for the detail modeler is still the Hasegawa kit for all of the details and options provided in the box. If you bought one of their earlier editions, you also had their defective engine trunk design that wouldn't go together properly. If you want to have a detailed Tomcat on your shelf, you opted for the Hasegawa kit, but if you wanted to build a dozen more to make use of all of those great aftermarket decal subjects, you would lose your will to live trying to build that many Hasegawa 'cats. My kit of choice for the F-14 was the Academy kit despite its shape issues because it did build up nicely and it looked nice too. Fortunately, Tamiya has released an easy build Tomcat with good details but without all of the various options found in the Hasegawa kit. So now we have detailed (Hasegawa) or easy (Tamiya).

So in the case of the I-16, I recommend both kits. The Eduard kit has the details but it has its challenges so an AMS modeler will have fun with this. The Academy kit is a nice build and the AMS modeler can certainly tweak this kit as well. It all depends on your preferences. The best part is that you do have choices!

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