Certain World War II aircraft seem to possess characteristics that are almost life-like. The P-51 Mustang was aptly named, as it looks every bit a thoroughbred. The Spitfire’s shape brings to mind a grace and beauty that is almost feminine. The P-47 Thunderbolt has a brutish look says “bad things are about to happen to you.” The P-40’s open radiator seemed custom made for a shark motif.
But the I-16…. every time I see it, I can’t help but think of the Oompa-Loompa’s from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”.
Of course, the I-16 (and the variations of the I-15) were what the Russians had the most of at the beginning of the German invasion, and they did the best with what they had. Though the I-16 could not outrun or outgun the German fighters, it did maneuver well, and in the hands of a capable pilot, could turn the tables in a dogfight. That it was past it’s prime is not in question. But like the P-39 and P-40 did for the US at the war’s beginning, the I-16 helped hold the line for the Russians until sufficient quantities of the newer, more modern fighters could roll off the assembly lines.
Eduard’s I-16 Type 24 Weekend Edition is a bargain kit if there ever was one. While it does not include the photoetch and extensive decal sets of their Profipack version, the plastic in the box at a bargain price is hard to pass up.
Cockpit detail is very adequate, though given the small size of the cockpit opening it’s almost impossible to see anything inside. I painted the interior with Akan A-14 (steel gray) which is a medium gray color. Details were picked out in black and white. I used some decal belts to dress up the seat a bit. I gave it all a quick wash of oil thinned with turpenoid, but given that it’s all essentially invisible except under the closest examination with a penlight, it was mostly just going through the motions.
Fit of the parts is generally good. It’s not Tamiya good, but there aren’t any real problem areas, just seams to be hidden. One minor area that did need attention was where the upper wing panels joined the fuselage. There was a bit of a step there that required some sanding and putty to get it smoothed out, but it was not difficult, just a slight detour in an otherwise easy build.
The landing gear are a bit fiddly, but given their stork like appearance, it’s no wonder. The only thing I’ll do different on another build is to glue the landing gear door parts to the struts before painting, to make a much more solid join. Once glued in place, the spindly undercarriage holds up pretty well.
The kit comes with a single set of markings, and the decals are absolutely flawless. Very thin and in perfect register, they went down very nicely and responded well to Solvaset, nestling down nicely.
For the exterior surfaces, I used Akan paints (A II Z Green and А II G – Blue) and some light fading and shading with Tamiya Deck Tan and also a mix of Hull Red and NATO Black. An oil wash was done with Burnt Uber and turpenoid.
I highly recommend this kit. It’s affordable, interesting, easy to assemble, and looks the part when done. I wish every manufacturer of 1/48 scale aircraft would take note of this kit and follow suit!