Eduard 1/48 I-16 Type 24 Build Review
|Date of Review||August 2016
Updated April 2019
|Subject||I-16 Type 24||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||8149||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Beautiful kit||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||OOP|
For a brief history of this subject and a look at this kit out of the box, look here.
I've built a few of these Hobbycraft/Academy kits of the I-16 over the years and they are a simple build straight out of the box. With this reissue from Eduard, I decided to take a closer look at this kit versus the Academy equivalent and published my comparison there. Since I had the parts spread out on my bench, spontaneous assembly began with both kits and since both kits have their glitches, I thought it would be fun building them side-by-side. This review will focus on the Academy kit. The objective of this project is not to see how they build out of the box but rather see how much work it takes to bring both kits up to a comparable level.
Here's a good look at the two kits side-by-side: the Academy kit (left) versus the Eduard kit (right). Both are Type 24 kits and holding the parts up together show that both kits have very similar shape and cross-section in the fuselage and wings. The differences come down to surface details where the Eduard kit has better representation of the fabric versus metal surfaces of the wings and tail surfaces. As I stated in my comparison, the Eduard cockpit is more detailed but that is due to numerous tiny styrene and photo-etch parts needed to build up the throttle quadrant, landing gear mechanism, flap actuator, etc. Given that the cockpit openings are small since neither have positionable entry doors, much of that detail will be lost except to the special observer equipped with a flashlight.
The wing-fuselage joint looks snug on the first dry-fit but closer examination revealed that the fuselage wing roots are too wide and are bending the lower half of the wing. I filed, tested, filed, and so on until the fit was snug but not forced. I've also added the two 'natural light' holes that are inside the windscreen to allow natural light to illuminate the instrument panel which is mounted deep inside that barrel of a fuselage.
Here are the cockpit floor, rear bulkhead/pilot seat, and the Eduard color-printed photo-etch instrument panel assemblies. The cockpit sidewalls were painted interior blue-gray and the interior components were installed.
The interior is installed and the wings glued into place. Mr. Surfacer 500 is applied to the seams and everything is sanded smooth. You'll note above that I didn't bother with all of the details Eduard provides for the cockpit interior including the throttle quadrant. The cockpit is nice on paper but as I suspected, you can't see much of anything once the fuselage is closed up and that beautiful instrument panel is not at all visible through that cockpit opening.
Test-fitting the wing and fuselage assemblies yields mixed results. The underside fits nicely and the seam will only need Mr.Surfacer 500. The upper wing/fuselage seams are a little more work. Since the gaps are nearly uniform, strip styrene will take care of the problem.
Where the Eduard cockpit is over-engineered, the engine that is more visible through the front is that plate on the right. The engine on the left is out of the Academy kit.
The engine, exhaust stacks, and cowling front are installed.
Here is the classic milestone of any aircraft project - the model is on its gear and the underside is painted AKAN AMT-7 Underside Blue. If the landing gear looks delicate, not to worry - the three-strut system is rather sturdy. It is the tail wheel that is easily broken in both the Academy and Eduard kits (speaking from experience).
Speaking of Academy, here are the Academy (left) and Eduard (right) kits with the equivalent of AMT-4 Green applied. I was out of AKAN's AMT-4 so I opted for Gunze H302 since the colors are going to get weathered anyway.
Here's a closer look at the Eduard kit with its base colors applied.
Here is the masking being applied to render the signature metal band seen on all I-16s.
The band is applied using AK Interactive's Extreme Metal Aluminum. The results are worth the masking effort.
The decals are applied to both models and they are left to dry in their improvised benchtop shelters.
Here is Bort 27 selected for the Eduard kit. The decals went down smoothly over a coat of Future clear gloss followed by another coat of Future over the decals to seal them in place.
Here is an shot of the model with the final details installed including the guns, windscreen, main gear wheels, and gear doors. The gear doors were a major pain to install as these don't seem to be thought out with the modeler in mind like the Academy kit. These were as much fun as assembling individual track links on an armor kit. The initial weathering using a variety of washes are also applied and sealed with a coat of Gunze Flat Clear.
The model is finished and turned out rather well.
I noted that a few folks feel that the Eduard kit is more accurate. That much is true. While the shape and size of the two kits are spot on, the Eduard kit does a better job of representing the fabric-covered sections of the aircraft. On the other hand, the Academy kit is easier to build. The Eduard kit is over-engineered in a few spots (lots of detail in the cockpit never to be seen again and gear doors that were not fun to hang). You can see in one of the images above the photo-etched pilot restraints in the pilot's seat, but remember that color-printed instrument panel? You cannot see the panel in either kit. That was a wasted step.
The Academy kit can be built easily out of the box and the AMS modeler might want to add their own enhancements to the model. The Eduard kit is more accurate in terms of surface details on the wings and fuselage, but it suffers from some fit problems, most notably the wing/fuselage joint as well wasted details in the cockpit and the gear doors. The good news is that you have a choice between accurate and ease of assembly.
My sincere thanks to Eduard for this review sample!