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Bill Koppos
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ICM 1/32 Polikarpov I-153 Republic of China AF 1940.

April 11, 2022 · in Aviation · · 17 · 1.6K

The was a development of the Biplane I-15 family of the '30's, being a variant featuring retracting landing gear and in later versions an uprated engine. The development of a rapidly outdated biplane type was due to some false theories holding that highly maneuverable biplanes would still have a place in combat. Despite this fallacy, the I-153 was one of the best biplane fighters to see service, being about as fast as one of these was ever going to get. Russia supplied 250 or so various fighters to the Republic of China Air force in 1939-40, to help in their war against the Japanese. 90 of these were I-153. They were good against bombers, but had trouble with the monoplane A5M's and Ki-27's. and were totally done when the A6M Zero appeared. They did remain in service as trainers for quite a while.

The outfit has been releasing some beauties in , my favorite scale, of late. This I-153 is very well done generally from what research I turned up. The interior is good, but as usual unfortunately, no seat harness is provided, so Eduard to the rescue. This is a separate "Goumingtang" Chinese boxing, the only difference from the Russian model being the open cowling front, as opposed to the cooling-shuttered standard version. This required some engine rebuilding, as the kit engine is simplified and adequate only to be behind the shutters. I assumed (uh-oh) this model would have the earlier M-25 engine, a version of the Wright Cyclone that featured the pushrod tubes ahead of the ignition harness ring, with prominent tubing connections and clamps. This time it's Vector to the rescue, with a resin M-25. Sort of. After assembling the cylinders, I found the thing was way oversize and would not fit in the cowl ring. So it was mix and match time, using the ICM cylinders mated to the Vector pushrod tubes and crankcase. Turned out good enough. The rest of the assembly was easy enough, only the lower wing to fuselage seam needing any real work. The gull upper wing lined up nicely with the lower and the struts were dead on spanwise.

On to the paint. Nothing I had of newer stock looked like what I wanted, so I dug deep and found some OLD Model Master "Russian Topside Green". This was paired with old Model master RLM 65 Light Blue. The Green is now gone, and the 65 almost so. I will miss the Model Master paints, but thankfully it appears the New Tamiya Lacquers will be a good substitute, if matching colors can be found. None of them will say "Russian Topside Green" or "French Khaki" though, I'll betcha. Bye bye model Master.

I used my newly appropriated "marbling" pre shade technique to create shading, and fabric appearance. Also new to me was the new Tamiya Lacquer clear, which worked excellently. Applies smoothly, if used with Mr. Color self-levelling thinner, and dries VERY fast. This new Tamiya stuff is the cat's heinie. The decals in the kit were too light in the blue for me, so I stole some roundels I had lying about from a P-40 sheet. Good thing it only had them on the bottom, as they gave trouble and need the Cleaver technique of many poked holes to get them to stay down. Rudder stripes were masked and sprayed using my own mix of blue. Which of course looked too light only after I removed the tape. Fug.

A light flat coat finished the paint.

Rigging was done with Radu Briznan (supposedly) 1/32 flat wire, which is definitely too thin but it's what I had. The spindly landing gear need to be splayed out more from the kit stance. TINY wingtip lights finished it off.

All in all I'm happy with it. My ROC collection is growing. I got a Dora Dewoitine 510 coming next and an ICM Gladiator in the pile. Need more decals! these things are a pain to mask.

Reader reactions:
19  Awesome

14 additional images. Click to enlarge.

17 responses

  1. It’s an impressive model, because the details are sharp and all blends quite good, making it very pleasing to behold. The Kuomintang livery won’t win exotic camouflage contests for sure, so it’s even more interesting how you broke the dullness of the top side green. Kudos Bill!
    P.S. thanks also for sharing your user experience regarding those new lacquer varnishes from Tamiya

  2. Looks great, Bill. Well done!

  3. Admit it Koppos - yer old and yer goin' blind - the main reason why we all end up in 1/32. 🙂

    Nice work on this, and the blue on your rudder is just fine. The Chinese paint faded really fast, so it being lighter on the rudder and close to the original on the lower wing (out of the sun) is perfect.

    Very nice paintwork overall.

    • Thank you Sir. Another plus for large scale is it's easier to handle larger parts with older stiffer fingers. And have more space to poke little wires in between wing struts. Now, where do I put it?

  4. Looks awesome, Bill! That’s one of my favorite planes.

  5. Gorgeous! Fabric accents and metal mahbling are mahvelous, not to mention the engine detail... you must know a mechanic, nein? Kudos for your acceptance of 1/32... I decided to quit instead, rather than continue trying to glue those 1/48 Eduard T- handles in the 'pits. Getting old is hell, innit? Eyes giving up on 1/48, and I can no longer play a standard (+/_ 34") Fender (or much less Rick) bass... only shorties for me now.

    Keep those lovely non-mainstream A/C coming!

  6. The only trouble with going to a larger scale is that more detail is needed, but you’ve coped with that admirably. A Chinese plane made from a kit from Ukraine, can’t go wrong.

  7. Superb build, Bill @billkoppos
    Love to see your follow ups for ROC as well.

  8. Amazing job, Bill!
    Thanks for the historical background and building/painting details.

  9. No 'Rig'-marole about it...super looking build, Bill!
    Nicely finished and a great tail stripes.

  10. Looks great - especially the paint work. Well done!

  11. Beautifully done Bill!

  12. She looks stunning, pops. As usual.

  13. Thank ye all for looking, Chappies.

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