I-16 Type 10

During the early 1930's the Russians were frequently labeled as copyists. It was a claim made with some justification. In their attempts to establish a modern industrialized state following the revolution, the Russians discovered a natural aptitude for things mechanical and a genius for copying the basic designs of others and adapting them to their own requirements and primitive production methods. Their aircraft industry in particular absorbed the foreign influence more rapidly than other industries and by the late 1920's was showing considerable creative ability. While other countries made the transition from strutted and wire braced biplanes to the fully cantilevered monoplane with retractable gear and enclosed cockpit in stages, Russian design teams began working on such designs for fighters as early as 1932. One single seat fighter first conceived in that year, the I-16, was to gain the distinction of becoming the first low wing interceptor with a fully retractable landing gear to enter service anywhere in the world. In spite of some crude construction and equipment by Western standards, it was a rugged and extremely maneuverable fighter. It was faster than any of its contemporaries, it was easily maintained in the field and offered some armor protection for its pilot at a time when such luxuries were not generally considered to be necessary. Although it has been claimed that the I-16 found its inspiration in the P-26, it was actually under going testing before the first P-26 was delivered to the Army Air Corps. Built in tens of thousands the I-16 did more to raise Russian combat aircraft design to world standards than any other single type. Unfortunately the I-16 reached it peak of development much earlier than its primary opponent during the Luftwaffe's 1941-1942 offensive, the Bf 109F and was outclassed in fighter versus fighter combat. Nevertheless it bore the brunt of the early fighting on the Eastern Front and was not completely supplanted in first line fighter units until mid 1943. The Type 10 was an improved version that came about as a result of experience gained in the Spanish Civil War. It entered production in 1937 and had two additional 7.65 mm. ShKAS guns mounted in the upper decking firing through the propeller disk. Although it was initially delivered with the tubular collimating gun site, later machines were equipped with an early form of reflector sight. It was fitted with an M-25V engine rated at 750 h.p. In Spain pilots invariably flew with their cockpit canopies open as they had a tendency to jam shut during forced landings and also impaired vision in combat so the canopy was removed on the Type 10 and a fixed windscreen was introduced.

The Kit


The Eduard I-16 comes in a two part box with the bottom half made from heavier cardboard and has attractive artwork of the I-16 in combat on the top. Inside the box there are two bags with parts molded in a light olive color, Each bag has two sprues, one with the fuselage and wings and the other with all the other pieces parts. In one end stapled to a folded piece of cardboard are three small bags one containing the clear parts, one with the photoetch parts and the third with some painting masks. The major parts are crisply molded with recessed and raised detail where applicable. The recessed fasteners and hinges were nicely done and the fabric detail was just right, at least to my eyes and flash was virtually no existent. The sprue gates on the front of the leading edge of the wings seemed a bit heavy so take care with those. The surface was smooth and shiny and I found no sink marks or ejector pin marks anywhere that they would show. The wheel wells are boxed in with some internal detail showing. The small parts were also crisply molded with only a hint of a parting line to be removed. There are a few parts that are meant for other versions that won't be used. The cockpit is well appointed with both plastic and photoetch parts being used. Seat belt and shoulder harness are supplied a photoetch. The instrument panel can be done with a plastic part and a decal or replaced with a two photoetch etch parts which requires no painting, just add your choice of clear material for the instrument lenses. The engine detail is basic but you can't see much with the cowl on and if you close the radiator shutter you won't see it at all. There are individual exhaust stacks to mount in the cowl openings which looks like it might be a bit tedious to do but by my count there are extras in case one or two disappears during assembly. All together there are 91 parts in the olive color and these are shown below...

One of the nice features about many of the Eduard kits in the inclusion of some photoetch. this kit has the later technology with the two part panel which replaces the clear film and eliminates painting the back side of the film. It also includes colored belts and harness. See below.

The clear parts, all two of them in this case, are shown below. the windscreen is thin and clear with well defined frame lines, the other part is the gun sight.


Including the photoetch parts and the two clear parts the total come up to a total of 119 parts plus the masks which is not bad for a fighter this small.

The decals, which include marking for four different aircraft, are well registered and appear to be opaque. The is minimal clear film around most of them. Some stencil markings are included as well. see below.

The masks are for the wheel centers and windscreen. There are also some strips that I assume could be used to mask the fuselage stripes or cowling on one of the versions but the instructions don't mention them. 

The instructions, printed on glossy paper which some what of a rarity these days, are three 11" x 14" pages folded and stapled to form a 12 page booklet. The first page has history and specifications, the second the typical safety warnings, a parts map and paint chart calling out Gunze acrylics and enamels. The next six pages cover assembly and the last four have nice color profiles for the makings included in the kit.

Conclusions

This looks to be a sweet kit with all the fixin's so you don't need to shell out more to build a nicely detailed model. While the kit does not have alignment pins it sure doesn't look like a limited run kit from any other aspect. All reports indicate there are no major stumbling points to assembly and the only criticism I have heard is that some of the experts think the cowling is a bit too squared off. If you feel that way, fixing it will not be that hard and most will be happy with it right out of the box. Highly recommended!

Links to kit build or reviews

A review can be found here and a build can be found here.

References

Famous Fighters of the Second World War by William Green

Back to the Russians are Coming

Updated 5/11/08