|KIT:||ICM 1/72 I-15|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The I-15 was a development of the earlier I-5, except that this one used a license made Wright 'Cyclone' radial engine of 710 HP. With the increased power and reliability of this engine, the I-15 was very much a world class fighter when it made its maiden flight in late 1933. Though it quickly passed state acceptance trials, problems with licensing the Cyclone meant that the first 400 or so planes were powered with the 480hp engine of the earlier I-5, making for little improvement, but at least getting the planes out to the units and men who were to fly and maintain them. These aircraft also had two hard-points under each wing which were able to carry a maximum of 44 lbs each.
This was the main fighter type produced during 1934/1935 with a total of 3,841 aircraft made. Many were exported, including 200 to China and Spain. In the latter case, these were license built and used in the opening battles of the Spanish Civil War, many of them flown by 'volunteer' pilots from the Soviet Union. These planes were then replaced with either I-15bis or the monoplane I-16 fighters.
I've not seen this kit before, but won't say it is ICM's original as I've been mistaken about kits from this part of the world before. I will say that the overall quality of the kit is good. The fabric isn't as grossly represented as one sees on some other kits of fabric covered aircraft. The white plastic seems a bit soft, but that seems to be a trademark of eastern European kits.
The single sprue is devoid of unwanted ejector pin marks, I found only one very shallow sink area on the fin and I did find that many of the thinner bits had some flash. Sprue attachment points are in the medium variety. Removal of most parts will be easy, but I found that the part which has the push-rods for the engine will be quite difficult to remove cleanly. Two of the push rods appear short shot, but it may be a design of the part to get it to fit. Only building will tell. There are few parts not used. One is the additional prop and the 'cut out' side doors along with another rectangular bit that I can't identify.
The interior is made up of a floor with side framing, a seat, stick and rudder pedals. A small instrument panel is provided as are some shell feed chutes and two guns. The engine is trapped between two cowling halves and includes a nice exhaust section and forward engine cover. From what I've seen, this can only be built with the wheel spats, but that isn't a problem as all the marking options include them. The clear sprue is well molded, but not all that clear. No problem as they are quite small and since this is an open cockpit aircraft, it won't obscure any cockpit detail.
Instructions are quite well done with dual Russian/English commentary. Color information is provided with Model Master and generic names. The construction sequences are well drawn and a rigging diagram is part of the package. Markings for four aircraft are provided. The first two are in painted aluminum with various parts of the airframe painted red. The others are much less flamboyant in Dark Green over Light Blue with only insignia and tail numbers to distinguish them. This would be a great kit to try some ColourCoats paint as they have a full range of VVS colors, whereas the Model Master paints may well be approximations. The decals are nicely printed with large carrier areas. I do hope that ICM has improved these since my P-51B kit of several years ago as I found their decals were less than cooperative. In this case, there are no aftermarket options that I know of so you may have to resort to dipping these in Future to get them to comply.
However you go about building this one, it will make for a very nice kit. It is a perfect choice for someone who wants to get into biplanes without a ton of rigging. It is also considerably less expensive than any other 1/72 I-15 on the market. Should make into a very nice (perhaps even 'cute') model!
Thanks to and DLV Company for the review kit. You can find ICM kits at your favorite hobby shop.
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