|PRICE:||$19.95 from GreatModels($25.00 MSRP)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||2008 Limited reissue|
The Polikarpov I-16 was a Soviet fighter aircraft of revolutionary design; it was the world's first cantilever-winged monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear. The I-16 was introduced in the mid-1930s and formed the backbone of the Soviet Air Force at the beginning of World War II. The diminutive fighter prominently featured in the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Spanish Civil War where it was called the Rata or Mosca, and the Battle of Khalkhin Gol.
Like many nations, Finland was not opposed to refurbishing and utilizing captured and repairable enemy equipment. The I-16 was one of several types used by the Finns in their wars against the Soviet Union in the 1940s. Thanks to the simplicity and ruggedness of the I-16, they were perfect for fighter trainers and used as such.
Hasegawa's I-16 was a real blessing when it was initially released some years back. Prior to this, in 1/72 there was only the very old Revell kit and while it was fine for most, one it was compared to the Hasegawa version, it was obvious that there were some shape issues.
This is your standard type 24 I-16 kit with an additional sprue included for the ski landing gear. The kit itself is standard Hasegawa with a rather basic cockpit that uses a decal for the instrument panel. However, the I-16 cockpit opening is tiny so even if there was a lot of detail, you wouldn't be able to see it very well. It is quite a simple kit with few parts. However, Hasegawa has provided a needless additional parts count by making the prop blades and hub separate parts. A fairly nice engine is provided as is an optional bit to allow the engine warming shutters to be modeled in the closed positon. With this part in place, there is no need to really have the engine installed.
As mentioned, the selling point of this kit are the skis and to properly mount them, some trimming of the kit parts is required. A section of fine wire is also included to represent the landing gear retraction cable and while I don't think the landing gear retracted when operating on skis, the cable is needed anyway. If you want to do the plane on wheels, those parts are still in the kit so you can do that option if you wish. I should note that the fabric effect on the wings and tailplanes may be a bit overdone for some, but it looks fine to me.
Instructions use Gunze paint references and are well illustrated. There are two options when it comes to markings and any differences in the two are shown in the instructions. One is the box art plane in Green over light blue. The other options has black added to the camouflage. Decals look to be 'old school' where the white is actually off-white. Swastikas are separate for those places where it is illegal to show it.
So, now you have a chance to get this kit if you missed it before. Not only that, but you have the bonus option of doing it on skis.
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