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I-16 Kit

CMR 1/72 VEF Irbitis I-16 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2006 Manufacturer CMR
Subject VEF Irbitis I-16 Scale 1/72
Kit Number 0152 Primary Media Resin
Pros Very unique subject Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

I-16 Kit
I-16 Kit
I-16 Kit
I-16 Kit

When Latvia gained its independence from Russia, a small aviation company VEF was developing their own designs. In the late 1930s, Karlis Irbitis developed a series of designs for VEF ranging from the I-11 to the I-19. One of these aircraft was the I-16.

The I-16 was a low-wing monoplane featuring fixed landing gear and an inline engine. By today's standards, the aircraft resembles a Reno air racer.

Unfortunately, Latvia's independence was short-lived as the Soviets grabbed Latvia on their way west and Soviet pilots evaluated this different looking I-16 than what they were accustomed to. About a year later, the Nazis forced the Soviets out of Latvia during their march eastward. During their occupation of Latvia, the Luftwaffe also took the opportunity to evaluate the I-16.

Czech Model Resins (CMR) has released a 1/72 rendition of this unique prototype that never moved beyond the evaluation stage before being caught up in the midst of war. The I-16 kit is made from nicely cast tan resin and packaged in a well-protected set of pockets. There were only a few air bubbles present in my example.

In full scale, the aircraft was small so not surprisingly, this is a rather small and simple kit.

Assembly is straightforward - install the control stick and pilot's seat on the cockpit floor. Trap the floor and instrument panel inside the fuselage halves. Install the wings and horizontal tail surfaces. Add the wheel spats and main wheels to the underside of the wing. Install the carburetor airscoop under the nose. Install the cowling front and propeller to the front of the fuselage. Cut out the vac canopy and install. Paint. Add your choice of markings. Fini!

Step two takes on the wings, landing gear, engines one and three, and the tail surfaces.

This kit provides markings for one aircraft under three different managements. The subjects are:

  • I-16, Latvian markings, Spring 1940
  • I-16, Soviet markings, Summer 1940
  • I-16, AW+10, Luftwaffe, 1941

This is an impressive little kit that will go together quickly, though it should be attempted by modelers with some skills working with small resin parts and cyanoacrylate adhesives.

My sincere thanks to for this review sample!