1/48 Eduard I-16 Type 28

Gallery Article by Scotty Diamond on Nov 19 2012



I have always liked the way that each nationality designs their various aircraft; a certain theme always seems to follow that may be linked in some way to the psyche of the country. There might be a paper there, I’m pretty sure. In any case, Soviet/Russian aircraft always seems to have a sort of rough and ready inelegance to them that too often causes them to be discounted by enthusiasts of fighter planes. Personally, I like their look and one of my favorites has always been the Polikarpov I-16. 

The “Ishak” (‘mule’) came onto the international scene during the Spanish Civil War, when the Soviet Union gave the Republican forces the plane to fly against the Bf-109 E-1 where it fared reasonably well. The 109 got a second chance to wipe the sky of the little “Rata” (‘rat’) in 1941 when the Germans launched Operation Barbarossa against the USSR. The little fireplug-shaped plane was used for front line fighter operations in the early stages of the war, and continued as a trainer and recon plane even as late as 1943. While it was revolutionary when it was first introduced in the ‘30’s, with its metal, low-wing design and retracting landing gear, by the time it next saw action in 1941 it was hopelessly outclassed. Still, a number of the Soviet aces made their first kills in the I-16 and the little planes was constantly refitted and reengineered to try to hold the line while the kinks were worked out of the Yaks, and other more advanced fighters. Tracking down the various types and re-fits can be as maddening as figuring out any variant of the 109, and almost as much as trying to decide what to paint one. 

I settled on the Type 28. It was a Type 24 fuselage (with or without radio, but having the hatch) up-gunned with two ShVAK 20mm cannons in the wings. The variant also had the M-63 radial engine, flared spinner, and replaced the tail skid with a wheel. With the exception of the engine, which you can hardly see let alone tell which kind it is in the completed model, all of the parts needed to make the type are in the Eduard Type 24 kit in addition to the ones the instructions tell you to use. All you really need to do if you make a common Type 24 platform (which many 28’s were in any case) is use the cannons (x2, #E9) for the wing guns, and the propeller #F2. All the other parts are already correct as instructed.


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For my model I used the Eduard Type 24 Weekend Edition, a pilot figure from a resin set by either Jaguar or Warriors – I can’t remember it was so long ago that I bought it, a couple of dogs, and a base I made from scratch. I also used Eduard’s photoetch set for the I-16 #49-596. I started with the pilot, painting him with assorted Model Master and Polly Scale acrylics. The dogs came from a set of O-Gauge railroad dogs, were made of metal and repainted to make them more realistic.

The plane went together more or less painlessly. “More” because the upper wing panels took some sanding and fitting to get them to lay properly before and after gluing; “less” because the rest of the kit practically fell together. The photoetch set included a beautiful instrument panel, the proper harness, and even a field-sourced looking armor panel for the seat back. It also had a set of full landing gear covers that were a huge improvement on the kit ones. For some reason Eduard decided the gear covers had curved panels over the wheels, yet on the pictures I have seen they are flat. Often, they are not even there, having been removed when the planes were used on rough strips and in the snow. The photoetch gear covers are flat and have all the actuator rods, hinges, and brackets needed. I lost a bracket and actuator rod to the carpet so I had to make do without some of the detail but the result was still great. 

The base is a plastic picture frame with spackle smeared around the inside on a plastic sheet. The concrete slabs are rectangles of plastic sheet I cut out and sanded/gouged to fit. I pressed these into the spackle and painted to look like worn concrete, then surrounded it all with some model railroad ground cover. 

Everyone (including me) always does the “So there I was…” vignette with their pilot figures and planes, and this time I wanted something a little more whimsical. I imagined a pilot having been awarded his Red Star for having made his third kill , and drunk with celebratory vodka, tells his tale of derring-do to the audience on hand: his two dogs. So I posed the figures accordingly, but haven’t had much luck stretching clear sprue to make the vodka bottles yet. It looks fine as is but at some point, I might add a bottle to the stabilizer next to the pilot.

In the meantime the model looks good next to the two MiGs and Academy I-16 on my shelf, soon to be joined by its big brother Yaks and Lavochkins.

Scotty Diamond

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Photos and text © by Scotty Diamond