Profile Photo
Chas Bunch
42 articles

Polikarpov R-5

Here’s a couple of my builds of the Polikarpov R-5. Many years ago I built the all-resin R-5sss by Rest Models in Spanish Republican livery. It was a nice kit with good detail. However, after a few weeks of sitting on the shelf I noticed the big resin top wing drooping, forcing the bottom wing to droop as well. I looked like a sad cartoon biplane with sagging wings. I thought about cutting the wings off at the root and inserting brass tubing to straighten them, but never got around to it.

Then came along the AMG R-5 in injected plastic. The parts looked identical in size and detail to the resin kit. So I built it as a soviet machine, adding fuel lines, control cables, rigging, and Eduard seat belts and instrument panel. A nice kit.

The Polikarpov R-5 was a Soviet reconnaissance bomber of the 1930s built in great numbers, It was developed by the design bureau led by N. N. Polikarpov as a replacement for the R-1, an unlicensed DH-9A built in Russia in the 1920s. The prototype R-5 flew for the first time in 1928 powered by a German BMW VI V-12 engine. R-5 production began in 1930 powered by the Mikulin M-17 engine. The R-5 underwent many modifications and different engines, seeing service on floats, skis, served as ground attack aircraft and as civilian and military trainers. It became the standard reconnaissance and attack aircraft of the Soviet Air Force with over 5,000 in service. It took part in the invasion of Poland in 1939 and in the Winter War with Finland in 1939-1940. The Finns downed and captured a few, but never used them operationally. R-5s were also used as night time nuisance bombers, along with the Po-2 used by the Night Witches. 31 R-5sss machines were sent to the Spanish Republican Air Force in 1936 and were known as the “Rasante”. Seven were still in service at the end if hostilities in Spain and remained in service with the new Spanish Air force. About 1,000 R-5s were license built by Aeroflot designated P-5, used for hauling freight and passengers, some with enclosed cabins. One unusual modification was the "Kasseta" version that could carry 16 passengers, including seven in containers under each wing. Definitely economy-class!

Reader reactions:
4  Awesome 2  1  1 

12 additional images. Click to enlarge.

10 responses

  1. A wonderful build on both, Chas @chasbunch
    Never heard about this aircraft.
    Must have been terrifying to be a passenger in such a container underneath the wing.

  2. Yours is a really attractive build, Chas. I have an old injected kit of the R-5 around somewhere, and I hope it's this one, as it makes up so nicely - but getting there couldn't have been easy! It looks like you put a lot of research, effort, and skill into detailing the rear cockpit, and your rigging is outstanding. Congratulations! According to the dictionary, rasante can mean 'low-level' when referring to a bird's flight, or 'gradient' when referring to the lay of the land. Wonder which meaning the Spanish pilots had in mind?

  3. Both are wonderful, Chas!
    Pity for the resin sagging

  4. Great work, Chas. A super result.

    I'm surprised the Rest kit did that. I have a Rest Polikarpov I-5 I built 20 years ago and it is still perfect.

  5. Hi Chas
    Very nice work and lovely model - it seems the AMG 1/48 models are far superior to the 1/72 versions. The sagging wings are indeed an unusual phenomenon.

  6. Excellent build! Thanks for sharing.

  7. That’s really cool, Chas. I wish I would have picked one of those up while they were available.

  8. Excellent builds, and a cool aircraft I haven't seen much of!

Leave a Reply