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Polikarpov I-16 Type 28 (1/48th)

Scale: 1/48th
Manufacturer: ICM
Ref No: 48098
Material: IM
UK Distributor: Hannants
UK Price: £14.99

Polikarpov I-16 Type 28 (1/48th)
Polikarpov I-16 Type 28 (1/48th) Polikarpov I-16 Type 28 (1/48th) Polikarpov I-16 Type 28 (1/48th) Polikarpov I-16 Type 28 (1/48th)
Kit Review
Any 1/48th kit of the diminutive I-16 fighter is inevitably going to be held in direct comparison to the excellent Eduard version. The Eduard kit is a little gem that builds easily and comes in a host of versions, so anyone taking this on is going to have to bring something special to the modelling table.

For our preview of this kit visit here.

The Kit
ICM think they have what it takes and have delivered to us a range of Polikarpov’s in a number of boxings, all with subtle differences. This particular one is the Type 28, which means it has the uprated M-63 engine and the ShVAK 20mm cannons. The box is the new type of ICM offering with a separate lid and then a flip-top type box underneath. This is a neat touch that I don’t think anyone else is doing right now, so it sets them apart. Inside the box are just two sprues of grey-coloured plastic and a single transparent sprue. You get 83 grey bits and just five transparent parts, all of which are neatly moulded. The fully recessed panel lines are very crisp and any raised detail is sharp and well defined. The fabric effect for the wings, tail and control surfaces is well done and you get a full engine and detailed interior to build. It’s obviously more complicated than the Eduard version, especially around the engine but the detail is nicely done. The box is completed by the 12-page instruction book and a single small decal sheet for the three versions on offer. The instructions are well-drawn over 47 separate construction stages and you get a number of options along the way. You could leave off some of the engine panels to show the interior, you get the cockpit side doors to open, as well as the poseable control surfaces and the gun camera on the fuselage spine is also provided if you choose.

This is relatively easy because the moulds are clean and well presented, with positive attachment for most of the parts. It’s not completely straightforward though; especially where the engine and it’s multi-part exhaust pipes are concerned. Trying to get these very thin pipes in the right spot is a bit of a lottery to begin with because they have to line up with the ports of the engine panels. They are also seriously undersize being nowhere near fat enough. I suggest a good resin replacement set. As far as the rest of construction goes there really is only one other trouble spot and that’s the way in which ICM have chosen to break down the wing and fuselage moulds. Basically they join where there is no panel line along the upper wing root, forcing you to do a lot of filling. This is poor design from ICM and to be honest I expected much better of them.
At least everything else, both inside and out, is pretty straightforward. For the interior you will need to paint your own instruments as there is no decal on the sheet and the seat will need some belts but apart from that, it looks neatly done. Externally the shapes look good and everything fits very well, with only some minor gaps to attend to. It’s helped by having fully separate control surfaces so you can pose them a little and as mentioned, the fabric effect moulded into the parts is subtle and very well executed.

Colour & Markings
Painting this aircraft is pretty simple, with just two-colour camouflage, Green on top and Light Blue underneath. The markings in the box are a little on the dull side, considering the Russians loved to daub their fighters with all sorts of crazy anti-fascist slogans. All you get from ICM is one with a big number on the side and two with a little lightning flash and number on the tail. I would also question the colour references in the instructions as the Tamiya versions are way too dull and not as vibrant as they should be. I opted to use White Ensign Colourcoat enamels for this one, with AII Light green on top and AII Light Blue underneath. Suitably weathered, patched and faded it looks quite nice and once the minimalist decals are applied it has a very “Russian” look.


Final Details
The final assembly centres on the very flimsy looking undercarriage. ICM have opted to mould these as close to scale size as possible so they seem very weak. However, once they are reinforced with the multiple doors and all located together in little tripod-like assemblies, they make very stable legs for what is a lightweight model. There a few more fiddly bits to do, including the very fine looking gun barrels and the stubby little prop and spinner but that’s just about the end of it all. A few coats of Xtracolor 

This is a pretty good kit from ICM and apart from the fiddly nature of the engine and the poor choice of cut line for the wings, there’s not much to fault. OK, so the markings could be a bit more inspiring but it certainly looks every inch an I-16 with excellent detail throughout. It’s just a pity that there is already a superlative example of this aircraft in this scale and the ICM offering takes a highly commendable second place to the Eduard version.

Our thanks to ICM (www.icm.com.ua) for the review sample.

Paints Used
Tamiya acrylics:
XF-12 JN Grey (interior)

Vallejo Model Air acrylics:
71.057 Black
71.062 Aluminium    

White Ensign Colourcoats enamels:
ACS01 AII Blue
ACS03 AII Green (Light)