ICM 1/72 I-15 Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||June 2006||Manufacturer||ICM|
|Kit Number||72062||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$13.00|
During the early 1930s, noted aviation designers Pavel Sukhoi, Artem Mikoyan, Andrej Tupolev and Nikolaj Polikarpov were sitting in a Black Sea dacha, relaxing over some Vodka, when the inevitable dares were exchanged. When it was Polikarpov's turn, his friends dared him to make a 55 gallon drum fly. And so began the I-15/I-152/I-190/I-16 fighter series. Okay, so this isn't how this famous fighter series started, but the one characteristic common to the aircraft series is a big radial engine mounted to a short round fuselage!
The I-15 was an evolutionary step over the I-5, incorporating a gull-wing upper wing design that simplified the structural attachments of the wing. The I-15 had better performance over the I-5, but pilots complained about the poor lateral visibility that the gull-wing visual obstruction created.
ICM has produced a nice rendition of this little fighter. As you might imagine, the aircraft was small in full-scale, so in 1/72, it is very small indeed. Molded in white styrene, the kit is presented on one parts tree, plus a tiny clear windscreen that you might miss at the bottom of the parts bag if you're not careful.
Don't let the size fool you, ICM has engineered a nice cockpit, complete with separately molded structural side frames and the various other frames to create the cockpit area. The cockpit floor, pilot's seat, control yoke, and surrounding structure all go into the fuselage halves.
Despite the scale, ICM hasn't skimped on engine detail either. The radial engine still has separate push-rod and exhaust manifold details. The completed engine then installs inside a three-part cowling and mounts onto the firewall.
The gull upper wing mounts directly to the fuselage, making the installation of the upper and lower wings a breeze. All that is left is to add your own rigging if you choose.
Markings are provided for four examples:
- I-15 personal aircraft of Moscow Air Defense Chief I.V. Pavlov, 1936
- I-15, 3rd Independent Fighter Sqn, Moscow, 1937
- I-15, Red 3, 1936
- I-15, White 6, 15th Independent Fighter Regt, 1938
This is a nice looking model that should build up into a nice replica of this somewhat overlooked piece of aviation history. Combined with the ICM I-15bis and Amodel I-190 kits, you've captured a significant slice of Polikarpov's biplane fighter history.
My sincere thanks to Testors for this review sample!