KIT: Rest 1/48 Polikarpov I-15
KIT #: RM 4806
PRICE: $58.00 from DMC Models
DECALS: Eleven options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Resin kit with etched fret and metal parts.


The I-15 was the aircraft that cemented Polikarpov's fame as a builder of fine fighters. A logical improvement of the successful I-5, the I-15 had a more powerful engine and a cleaned up airframe. It was still a small biplane fighter as monoplanes were not yet considered to be appropriate for fighters. Initially powered by the M.22 engine, it was quickly replaced when the more powerful M25 was made available. Likewise, the armament went from twin 7.62mm guns, to four, and finally to 12.7mm versions.

The I-15 saw its baptism of fire in the Spanish Civil War where it showed itself to be superior to the aircraft flown by the Nationalists. As often happens, the 'other side' got superior weapons and the I-15 was soon replaced by the even better I-16 monoplane. The Spanish built I-15s locally and many were used post war as trainers, some lasting into the late 1940s.


If you have read the review on the I-5, you'll find that much of what was stated there is the same with this kit. The moldings are excellent, pour stubs are almost non-existent, and the etched metal fret is equally well done.

Next, you'll find that the fuselage is pretty much a single piece with a hollowed out cockpit section. The upper cowl is separate so that the interior can be detailed with the resin and photo etched parts provided. This means no nasty fuselage centerline seam to deal with; only a tiny pour stub on the bottom. The fin is part of the fuselage mold so that also eliminates a seam problem.

The upper wing comes in two parts with separate ailerons. Many will want to drill mounts for small metal pins as they simply butt onto the upper cowl section. Unlike the I-5 no additional metal struts are provided, in fact there are no metal parts at all. Two sets of landing gear are provided; one of an open variety and the other with wheel 'pants' and wheels molded on the end. Makes alignment easy. There are two different sizes of wheels provided as well.

The engine consists of a block and separate cylinders, each cylinder superbly molded and complete with exhaust stub. Much of the interior detail is done in photo-etch. An acetate instrument backing is provided for the p.e. panel and a card panel which you'd cut out and paste in place is also provided. The interior is quite well detailed and you basically make a cage out of the resin floor and p.e. sidewall detail, much the same way as is done with the Mirage PZL 11/24 kits.

Instructions are much more standard with 24 well detailed construction steps. All the steps show appropriate color information. The builder had to make a few parts, such as the push rods for the engine, straps around the upper wings, gun barrels, seat harness (though buckles are provided), and the armor plate behind the seat. Exact dimensions are provided for the rigging.

Markings are provided for eleven aircraft and are all shown on a nice color card that is included. On the back of this card are some admittedly dark photos of the real aircraft to assist in construction. Decals are well printed and appear thin. Judging from Tom's I-5, they will work just fine and offer a wide variety of schemes. Most are in olive green over light blue, but you have Russian, Spanish Nationalist and Spanish Republican schemes to choose from. Rudder, wing and fuselage stripes will have to be painted by the builder. Exterior paint colors are given in Humbrol and possibly Testors colors.


Overall, this looks like a very nice kit indeed. It is the type of kit that will appeal to those who like between the wars aircraft. The fact that most of the parts are pretty well ready to go should make this a pretty easy build as far as resin kits go. Just a tad bit of clean-up and construction can start right away. If you are already comfortable with biplanes and want to get into doing resin kits, then this one is for you!

Many thanks to DMC Models  for the review kit.

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