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I-16 Type 28

ICM 1/72 I-16 Type 28 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2006 Manufacturer ICM
Subject I-16 Type 28 Scale 1/72
Kit Number 72073 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $12.00

First Look

I-16 Type 28
I-16 Type 28

Polikarpov's design signature during the mid and late 1930s was stubby, barrel-shaped fighters. The primary machine during that era was the I-15 biplane. Like their barrel-shaped brothers on the other side of the world, the Grumman F3Fs, the I-15 was going to be transformed almost directly into a monoplane fighter, the I-16. In the transformation, the I-15's upper wing was deleted and the lower wing strengthened to carry the full load. With a wingspan one meter shorter than the I-15, the early I-16 was powered by the same 700hp M-25 radial engine as the late-model I-15. The I-16 also incorporated retractable landing gear which could be exchanged for retractable skis.

Armament for the I-16 Type 10 was a pair of 7.62mm machine guns in the top of the nose and another pair in the wings just outside the propeller arc. The Type 17 retained the nose-mounted machine guns, while the wing-mounted guns were replaced with 20mm cannons.

The I-16 saw combat on two fronts in the late 1930s, first in the Spanish Civil War and later with the Chinese against Japan. In Spain, the early Bf 109s flown by the Nationalists were surprised by the agile I-16 and suffered losses to the 'Rata' (Rat) as they nicknamed it. The Japanese forces were also surprised by the agile I-16 until they finally discovered and exploited the I-16's weaknesses.

By the time the Nazi violated the peace treaty between the Soviet Union and Germany, the I-16 was obsolete. Nonetheless, the I-16 soldiered on into 1943 before being completely phased out of service. One of the most famous tactics flown by Soviet pilots in 1941 was ramming their I-16s into the tails of German aircraft, then either limping back to base or parachuting to safety.

ICM has turned out another installment in the Polikarpov OKB history line. The kit looks to be as nicely detailed as the Special Hobby 1/32 release with one pleasant exception - this kit has a detailed engine, right down to the motor mount.

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.

ICM has captured one detail that has eluded other I-16 makers - the cockpit floor didn't all across the bottom of the cockpit. Nice! The cockpit detail is nicely captured in this scale with stick, rudder bar, instrument panel, etc.

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 five-part cowling and mounts onto the firewall. The firewall even has an oil tank. Pity that there is no way to see any of this detail with the cowling closed, so the enterprising modeler will want to consider leaving off one or more of the cowling access panels to show off that nice detail.

The rudder and elevators are separately molded, so they can be posed in a more natural position. The landing gear is nicely done in its simplicity, though there is no mention in the instructions for the cables that run from the wheel axles through the center of the wheel wells and onto the gear retraction spool. Note the boxart for the look and location of this detail.

Markings are provided for two examples:

  • I-16 Type 28, 4th Guards Independent Fighter Regiment, White 96, Baltic Fleet AF, Autumn 1942
  • I-16 Type 28, 158th Independent Fighter Regiment, Red 1, Leningrad Air Defense, September 1941

This is a nice looking model that should build up into a nice replica of this unique piece of aviation history. With the variety of color schemes that appeared on this aircraft, you could build a variety of them and not repeat the same camouflage.

My sincere thanks to Testors for this review sample!