by: Darren Baker [ ]
The I-16 series of aircraft in Soviet service as the start of World War 2 were small and manoeuvrable aircraft with a reasonable speed, but they were no match for the German fighters they were put into combat with. Despite the unfair matching of these aircraft the I-16 continued in combat into 1943 by which time very few of these aircraft were left. ICM has released their third offering of the I-16 in 1/32nd scale and this time it is the type 29 that is hitting the shelves.
This offering from ICM is packed in the now usual flip top cardboard box and a separate card lid, a great combination for protecting the contents. The only thing I would now change is the packing of the entire contents in a single plastic bag albeit the clear sprue being in their own bag within the main bag. The decals for this release are protected inside the pages of the instruction booklet.
The moulding quality is good with no major flows observed by me. There are a few flow marks observable on the larger moulded elements, but my checks such as running my nail over them and looking at them under magnification would all indicate that this has not caused any issues. The obvious problem with all kits is the ever present ejector pin marks, these as you would expect have been hidden in areas not seen on the finished model, but a few will need to be addressed via filling and sanding. This latest offering of the I-16 from ICM has one all new sprue containing the new weaponry and wing flaps and a few other odds and ends.
The cockpit of the model is the same as previous releases of I-16 from ICM. We are given aircraft frames where seen and a reasonable cockpit interior. The instrument panel is clear with a decal behind it that looks reasonable when painted and in place; there are a couple of companies that provide alternate instrument panels for this model. My complaint in the cockpit is the same as in previous offerings; a complete lack of harness detail that is very obvious by its omission on this aircraft; fortunately Eduard has come to the rescue with a set of photo etched harness detail. In all other respects I am very happy with what ICM has done as once the side doors are closed very little can be seen.
Included with this model is a reasonable radial engine with good exhaust detail and firewall. I feel this aspect of the model along with the machine guns mounted in the area make it worthwhile to consider leaving off the engine cowlings. If you do decide to leave the cowlings off some wiring will need to be added by the modeller to lift the engine to a higher standard. The propeller and nose cone are well done and look good when in place.
The fuselage and flight surfaces of the model have been well tackled and have good detail throughout. The recessed panel lines are good in size and depth and only require care on the part of the modeller to avoid flooding them; however the majority of the detail on this model is raised as it should be. The canopy only consists of the front glazing despite the aircraft being produced with an enclosed cockpit; the sliding canopy had a habit of jamming and so pilots had them removed so that could get out when needed. The flight controls are positional in all respects but only the tail elements retain the ability to remove after assembly.
The undercarriage of the I-16 is retractable, but unlike most aircraft it was retracted by hand using a winch pulley; so you had to take off and fly the aircraft while raising the undercarriage via a winch, I have to hand it to the Soviets when it comes to making life hard for their own military. You will need to add the cable detail yourself. The tail wheel is a single moulding, but in this case I am happy with that approach. When adding the main wheels to the model I struggled somewhat on the previous model and so I suggest you assemble the undercarriage on the model without the doors and add them after everything is set. There is a company that now produces resin wheels for this model and in this scale.
The type 29 had the guns removed from the wings and 6 rockets on runners were added. ICM looks to have done a good job of adding these to the model with a pleasing level of detail. There is also the option of a two odd looking structures that I am informed are external fuel tanks, but after an hour searching I was not able to locate any pictorial evidence.
The decals are a little on the thick side as I can feel them on the carrier; however the colour is good. My only other comment is that the carrier film is excessive and so will benefit from being trimmed. ICM has provided four finishing options for this model which are as follows:
I-16 Type 29, 4th Guard Fighter Regiment of the Baltic Fleet Aviation, Winter-Spring 1942
I-16 Type 29, 4th Guard Fighter Regiment of the Baltic Fleet Aviation, Winter-Spring 1943
I-16 Type 29, 71st Fighter Regiment, Autumn 1941
I-16 Type 29, 158th Fighter Regiment of the North Fleet Aviation, Pskov Region July 1941
This is another nice addition to the 1/32nd scale offering s of the I-16 from ICM. I only have one real complaint and that is the lack of harness detail in the box as it is a must at this scale. The cockpit interior, engine and surface detail mark this as a very nice good that is visually pleasing and easy to store despite the scale.