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Bill Koppos
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Year of the Rata...Chinese AF Polikarpov I-16 type 10.

May 21, 2023 · in Aviation · · 10 · 0.6K

The ROC Air Force grows again. This time it's Polikarpov's , innovative retractable gear monoplane of the 30's. Joe Stalin was suspicious of Japanese intentions in the Far East, which included threats to Soviet territory. So seeing as how the Republic of China was busy fighting this Japanese enemy, Uncle Joe decided to send them some help. Where China REALLY needed help was with the Air Force, which was mostly made up of some obsolescent aircraft. The machines The Soviets sent were 1st line equipment, I-15 and I-16 fighters of various models, and SB2 bombers. Also included was a contingent of pilots to fly said aircraft. How 'bout that?

The machines and pilots, both Soviet and Chinese, were able to maintain parity against the Japanese A5M's and Ki-27's,and handled the Japanese bombers well. Then the big kids got out of school, and when the Mitsubishi Zeroes showed up, it was pretty much game over. That plus the USSR and Japanese ended up signing a non-aggression pact (the Japanese need a free hand in the Pacific) and the Soviets took their ball and went home, withdrawing the pilots and crews, but leaving the remnants of the aircraft behind.

The I-16 series in scale are very good kits. In fact all their recent 1/32 releases have been dandies The fit and detailings are good, on a par with Hasegawa's stuff. Starting on the interior, I cut 2 of the bulkheads into halves to allow easier detail additions, like wiring and additional controls, and cables. I put in a set of Eduard etched seat belts as the kit does not provide. Also got a nice instrument panel this way, but it's hard to see once the fuselage is closed up. The engine is not too accurate, but this doesn't matter as it is behind the I-16' cowling's air cooling shutters which hide it, especially if you partially close them like I did. The exhaust tubes drove me crazy. Each is separate and need drilling out. The engine is surrounded by several panels with holes for the exhaust pipes. Trying to figure out how to orient the pipes to match up with the ports, oh boy. Good thing I don't have much hair left. One can't glue the panels on until the engine is installed. Catch-22. Eventually I sorted it out.

After that the rest of the kit went together smoothly, wing fit, tailfeathers, landing gear etc. being straightforward. I laid on a coat of Mr. color "Russian Green 2" and used their RLM 65 for the unders. Pre and post shading and marbling

with lighter and darker shades were done to add interest to the monotone finish. I liked the 24th squadron machine (which was involved in the first tussle with Zeroes) because it had a black cowling. Kit decals were adequate quality

wise but the Chinese markings were much too light. I used the fuselage number, but sourced the suns from my growing stock of Chinese decals, and painted the rudder stripes, which I'm getting good at.

I went to put Eduard's photo etched ring and bead sight on the gunsite part, and ended up spending an hour chasing it around the bench, and trying to get the damnable CA glue to catch. Tried to put the windscreen in place and it promptly bent down the ring sight, which was too far forward. Redo! Modeling is FUN!

Anyway, here she is my Chinese Rata. Actually, I think the Chinese called her "Donkey". Always like this airplane, a warlike Gee-Bee. Got one more, the Gladiator is yelling at me from the storage unit, "Do me!' That'll be Seven.

Reader reactions:
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10 additional images. Click to enlarge.

10 responses

  1. Nice work there @billkoppos. The ICM I-16s really are very nice.

  2. Well she looks nice Bill, even after all those issues.

  3. Eternity save ICM so they can keep the Golden Age of Modeling flowing.

    Looks good, Pops. At this rate you will have to make the official transition to "1/32 only" complete.

  4. Awesome result, Bill!

  5. I love your write-up, Bill, and I love your models as well, another great Chinese build.

  6. Pugnacious little aircraft! Looks great in the Nationalist markings.

  7. Nicely done Bill!

  8. Tanks to all youse Mugs.

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