Hobbycraft 1/48 I-16 Type 10

Kit Number: 1536?

Price: $13.98

Decals : One scheme for the Spanish Nationalist A.F. circa 1938

Comments: Looking at my lineup of WWII 1/48 kits, I noticed that something was missing. No Russian aircraft! Not surprising as in 1/48 there is not that much available, and most of it is from Hobbycraft. The I-16 has always been a sought after kit, especially as only Revell's allegedly inaccurate and ancient 1/72 kit has been available. Along comes Hobbycraft and provides us with several versions. Since there is little real information available on the `rata', I cannot tell the difference between the various types.

So how's the kit? I liked it. It is easy to build with few problem parts. The cockpit is very small and that is good as little other than a seat, instrument panel and rather strange and large control stick are provided. I detailed the instrument panel using Reheat's 1/48 instrument decals (as I do on many of my 1/48 kits) only to discover that you can barely see it in the finished kit!

There were two spots that needed care in building. First was the cowling/wing joint that requires careful fitting prior to gluing, for if it is off, then the front cowling will not fit properly. The second is a relatively spindly landing gear where the support struts are a bit too short. Replacement with plastic rod will make for a strong landing gear.

The decals are typical Hobbycraft in that they are not that good. I replaced them with Superscale. There really is not that much there other than tail stripes, numbers and the cartoon on the fin as the national markings are large, red painted areas on the wing tips and fuselage. Two cautions are: Make sure the fuselage band matches the serial number decal as mine was too wide and looks a bit odd; the other is to paint the rudder white as the rudder stripe decal is not very opaque and needs a white undercoat.

The finished product looks very nice with its more modern siblings. It is a very small kit for 1/48 so takes up little shelf space. As is typical with Hobbycraft of that era, the instructions are very basic so one must guess on a number of paint colors. As with many of the kits I build, I would recommend it to anyone with a bit of experience.

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