Profile Photo
Jaime Carreon
95 articles

Donkeys, Rats and Flies, oh my! 1/48 Polikarpov I-16

January 18, 2022 · in Aviation · · 14 · 1.4K

The is considered by many to be the first truly modern fighter - a low wing monoplane with an enclosed cockpit and retractable landing gear. Early models saw combat in the Spanish Civil War, where they were referred to as the Rata (Rat) by the Nationalists, Mosca (Fly) by the Republicans, and Ishachok (Burro) by Russian pilots. It was generally considered tricky to fly and underarmed in early variants. Later models were equipped with more powerful engines and more armament, but the flying qualities remained pretty much the same.

My first build of the new year. I was bogged down in a couple of more extensive builds and needed something to kickstart my model mojo. This is the Hobby Craft (yeah, I know...) I-16 model 24, which fulfilled all of my requirements; low parts count, interesting markings, and instructions that had pictures that were drawn by an 8-year old and no big words! What could possibly go wrong?

As I expected, it was a quick build, being framed up and ready for paint in just a few hours. Filler was needed on the bottom wing to fuselage joint and a little along the wing fillets, but nothing major. Cockpit is very basic, with a nice instrument panel and stick, a seat and nothing else. Not that it matters because you can't see any of it, but I did add some masking tape seatbelts. The engine is not bad either, but that also is not visible through the cowling shutters. The landing gear was the worst part of the build. The instructions are very vague on where things go, so I did a lot of looking at pictures on the interweb. In retrospect, I should have opted for the skis so I wouldn't have had to use the gear doors, or just left the doors off, as I saw in a few photos. The decals were just as bad, but there really aren't any options that I wanted to spend money on, so I used them because I liked the ones that came with the kit. The best way to use those was let them soak until they floated off the paper and then drench them in setting solution. It seemed to work; they came out ok. Paint was my usual Model Master enamels, with a first foray into bare metal foil for the metal ring behind the cowling.

All in all, it was a fun build. I've never done a Russian airplane, and with the huge graphics on the fuselage, it makes a colorful addition to my shelf.

Reader reactions:
21  Awesome

7 additional images. Click to enlarge.

14 responses

  1. Looking superb, Jaime!
    You did an excellent job n the Hobbycraft kit.

  2. Just looking at it reminds me of a description I once read of flying the Gee Bee - "It's like balancing a pencil upright on the tip of your finger."

  3. Superb result, Jaime @jetmex
    An aircraft which is still on my wishlist, just because of the looks.

  4. Well done Jaime also thought it was a quirky looking A/C, you've done a nice job with her. Do you suppose the Russian designers saw a Gee Bee racer fly by when they were designing this A/C? Just a thought.

    • It conformed to the aerodynamic knowledge of the day, that a "short coupled" design was faster. There are numerous other examples. It carried on through the P-35 and P-36 and the P-40s till Curtiss lengthened the fuselage.

  5. Very nice Jaime

  6. Looks great! I love the "drawn by an 8-year old and no big words," we need more of those...

  7. Nicely done, a very colorful scheme!

  8. Turned out pretty nice looking.

  9. Very nice work. I can relate to re-launching the build mojo ! Glueing parts rather that painting makes that happen ! I must try to get one for the pre-WW2 planes used in Spain and planes collection.

  10. Bravo Jaime! That's a great looking '16, and one that inspires me to get my Eduard I-16 off the shelf and onto the bench! Thanks for sharing her! ?

  11. Jaime @jetmex
    You made me chuckle with several of the comments you made. The illustrations and such. It looks like you had a good time building something that was a lot easier that what you are used to doing. This is a big time "mojo" boost. I like these little planes. They look cool, and they had a lot of different color schemes to choose from. Now I would not want to be flying one while cranking up the landing gear AND having a 109 or 190 coming down after me. Not a good place to be.

    I'll be sure to check the "like" button as I leave. Take care buddy, and stay safe.

  12. Nice looking build Jaime. I like the way it looks.

Leave a Reply