Polikarpov I-16 Type 17

Published: November 9th, 2010     
Product Image
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
Tracy Palmer, IPMS# 39188
Scale: 1/48
Company: Eduard
Price: $29.95
Product / Stock #: 8146

Greeting to all the plasticholics out there in model building land! Today we have a review of the Polikarpov I-16 type 17. This was an Edward Profipack kit with 96 parts (some of those are extras), a fret of photo-etch - pre-painted on some parts, and decals for 5 A/C.

Historical Background

"Initial service experience revealed that the ShKAS machine guns had a tendency to jam. This was the result of the guns being installed in the wings upside-down to facilitate the fit. The problem was addressed in later modifications. Controls were light and very sensitive, abrupt maneuvers resulted in spins, and spin behavior was excellent. A barrel roll could be performed in under 1.5 seconds (roll rate over 240 degrees/second). The machine guns were fired via a cable and the required effort, coupled with sensitive controls, made precision aiming difficult. The rear weight bias made I-16 easy to handle on unprepared airfields because the aircraft was rather unlikely to flip over the nose even if the front wheels dug in. The canopy tended to become fouled with engine oil and the moving portion was prone to slamming shut during hard maneuvers which caused many pilots to fix it in the open position.

By 1941, the I-16 was still the most numerous Soviet fighter and made up about two-thirds of the VVS. The Red Army pilots nicknamed the aircraft Ishak (Russian: Ishak, Donkey/Hinny) because it was similar to the Russian pronunciation of "I-16." The I-16 performance was generally equal to that of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 (of the era) at altitudes up to the 3,000 m (9,843 ft), where the I-16 could fight the Messerschmitt Bf 109 '"Emil" on equal terms in turns and had a more durable engine than the liquid-cooled engine of the Bf 109. The I-16 was slightly more maneuverable than the early Bf 109s, but the Bf 109 could use its advantages in slashing, climbing and diving attacks to bring an I-16 down. Skilled pilots took advantage of its superior horizontal maneuverability and liked the aircraft enough to resist the switch to more modern fighters. Around half of all produced I-16s were still in service in 1943, when they were finally replaced." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polikarpov_I-16

The Build

This was one of the best kits I have built in quite a while. Needless to say, I loved it! It was very well engineered - the parts fell into place easily, the plastic was not too hard, and there were no major gaps. The P-E was well thought out and was easy to use. The mask of the itty, bitty windscreen was easy to apply and was a great help. I am now looking very forward to Eduard's I-16 type 24 kit next.

Painting and Decals

I did spend a lot of time in this area because I could not decide on which plane to do. Maybe too many choices on this one - so many decals, so little time! But when all was said and done, it painted well and after a coat of Future, the decals went on with no effort at all. A coat of flat, some weathering and it was done!


I spent about 15 contact hours on the build, another 5 hours on research and decision on the paint job, and way-too long in-between letting the glue and paint dry! I loved this kit, it was that simple. I would recommend this kit to almost any modeler out there. The P-E can be a little tough for those with aging eyes or those who have little experience with it. The cool part is that for almost every P-E part, there is a plastic part to replace it. This kit was just a pure joy to put together!

My thanks to IPMS and Eduard for the opportunity to review such a pleasure of a kit.

  • Front page of instruction sheet
    Front page of instruction sheet
  • Painting guide
    Painting guide
  • Kit decals and photo-etch
    Kit decals and photo-etch
  • Small part sprues
    Small part sprues
  • Fuselage and wing sprues
    Fuselage and wing sprues
  • Top view of completed kit
    Top view of completed kit
  • Starboard view of completed kit
    Starboard view of completed kit
  • Front view of completed kit
    Front view of completed kit

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