1⁄72The Polikarpov's Challenger
IntroductionThe I-14 (ANT-31), a Soviet single-seat fighter was developed at Tupolev's design bureau by Pavel Sukhoi's team. It was the first all-metal monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear in the world. The first prototype powered by Bristol Mercury IVS-2 radial engine took off on May 27 in 1933. The second prototype, called ANT-31bis (I-14bis) was considerably redesigned, including a more powerful Wright Cyclone R-1820 F-2 engine, a smooth wing skinning instead of corrugated on ANT-31, different, outward-retracting landing gear and an open cockpit. ANT-31bis was armed with two synchronized PV-1 machine guns and two Kurchevsky APK-11 recoil-less cannons in the wing. The aircraft successfully passed the state acceptance trials in 1934, and serial production was started at the new No 125 factory in Irkutsk. Production I-14 had an increased wheel track, R-1820 F-3 engine and was armed with machine guns only. State acceptance trials of the first production aircraft held in 1936 uncovered a serious problem - difficult spin recovery. The military refused to accept I-14, and the design bureau had to introduce several modifications, including a new tailplane with an increased area, which finally allowed to solve the spin problem. However, by that time I-14's rival, a much cheaper and easier to produce Polikarpov I-16 was already in mass production. It was decided to terminate the I-14 production and scrap the unfinished aircraft at No 125 factory. Of 55 aircraft ordered only 18 were completed and entered service. (Courtesy of the Small Stuff website)
The buildI reviewed this small kit here on Aeroscale. My initial impressions about the quality are only strengthened during the build. It is done almost OOB, with only smaller additions (scratch-building). It is most definitely one of the easiest and most build-able kits that I've ever encountered! My kudos to Eugeny Knupfer, the mastermind behind the Small Stuff label.
The model was painted with AKAN acrylics, and coated with Future. The weathering is done with chalk pastels. Enjoy!
My sincere thanks to Eugeny and Small Staff for making the kit available for review and build!
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