Polikarpov I-16 type 17
1/72 Hasegawa kit (cat.nr. AP126)

box top (24.1kB)

This Hasegawa kit (cat.nr. AP126) is a fun little model: reasonably accurate and well detailed, it is ideal for building straight from the box.
Of course I ended up detailing and changing a few bits, but the only things I needed to add to the kit were seat belts. Actually a gun sight should also be added, but sofar I have yet to do so.
A length of thin stainless steel rod is included in the kit. It is meant to be used for the retraction cables for the main landing gear. I decided to replace this with even thinner metal wire.


left front view (58.9kB) First thing I did was opening up the gun muzzles, the Hucks linkage (aka 'starter dog') on the propellor hub, the tiny venturi tube and the exhaust pipes.
Then I drilled 0.3mm holes in the wheel bays, in the wheel centers and through the axles of the main landing gear for threading the gear retraction wire through later.

tail gear detail (9.2kB) I used a knife and a fine rats tail file to make some wrinkles in the sleeves fitted around the control stick and around the tail landing gear.

A dry run indicated that the fuselage alignment pins were causing a slight mis-alignment and the recess in the fuselage for the lower wing was not deep enough to allow for perfectly flush wing-fuselage fit. The joins between the fuselage halves and between the fuselage and upper wing panels are close to perfect. The cockpit interior assembly can be slid into place through the gap for the lower wing.
frontal birdseye view (21.6kB) Based on the dry run, I decided to add the cockpit interior after assembling the fuselage and to fit the upper wing halves to the fuselage first instead of attaching the complete wing assembly to the fuselage.
I prefer to apply liquid glue to well-fitting join lines from the inside with the parts held firmly together. This is the least messy way, provided you can reach all of the join line. After assembly, it actually makes the join line look like an engraved panel line, which is convenient since Hasegawa and Revell increasingly often split parts along panel lines.


oil cooler and landing gear wires(7.4KB)

The fuselage halves fitted almost perfectly, but some surface details on top of the nose didn't line up properly. I fitted the engine bulkhead, but kept the engine aside until final assembly.
I cut away half of each of the petals of the engine cooling blinds and attached the blinds to the front engine cover. I deepened the fuselage recess for the lower wings and in the meantime filled the sink marks on the fuselage halves using CA glue.
I fitted the upper wing panels to the fuselage by applying liquid cement to the inside of the join lines and dry-fitted the lower part of the wing for support. Once the wings had set, I removed the lower wing again and opened up the oil cooler exhaust in front of the wheel bays.
righthand birdseye view (14.3kB) The elevators fitted a bit loose in the fuselage slots, I cured this by making a number of deep scratches sideways across the mounting tabs.
After painting the cockpit interior, I fitted the cockpit assembly into the fuselage. I fitted the gun covers to the top of the fuselage, lining them up with the gun ports in the front engine cover. After threading the metal wire through the holes in the wheel bays, I attached the wing to the fuselage and attached the main landing gear legs.

right front birdseye view (37.5kB) After painting the fuselage and painting the silver ring along the front edge of the side engine covers, it was time to fit the engine and the front engine cover, the landing gear and the smaller parts.
Finally I scratched the paint from the metal wire, painted and attached the main wheels, rigged the wire by tying a small knot just behind each axle and running the ends back into the wheelbays and fitted the wheel covers.

Small details


This is perhaps where it shows most that I did this model just for fun: I did all of the camouflage pattern by free hand airbrushing. I did mask off the light blue/green border but that's it. On the real I-16's the green/dark green edges are much sharper than those on my kit but I actually like the look of the soft edges better.
The camouflage colours were applied after I painted the metal area's (engine covers, gun bay covers, tail plane fairings) Humbrol H56 Aluminium.
rear birdseye view (14.6kB) After the camouflage colours were applied, I gently scratched away some paint from the edges of the 'metal' area's to create a worn look.
Then the entire model received a coat of Polly S acrylic gloss clear, which also helps the decals stick better. After applying the decals, the wooden and metal area's of the aircraft were coated with semi-gloss Pactra Acrylic clear, to make the doped fabric flying surfaces stand out (more glossy), just like on the real thing.
For the front of the prop blades I tried to emulate a laquer-coated polished aluminium look by mixing some silver and gloss white paint.
I applied thinned sepia acrylic paint to the engine, the exhausts, the leather headrest and all hinge lines of ailerons, flaps, elevators and rudders.


There's a well printed set of decals included with an instrument panel, two sets of stars, one set with and one set without a tiny black border, and a full set of digits for aircraft numbers and the strip along the engine cowling printed in silver.
The instrument panel decal started curling the moment I slid it off its backing and it took a lot of patience and acrylic varnish to make it lay flat and stick to the panel. After it had set, I coated the panel with flat acrylic varnish and applied dots of gloss varnish over the gauges, only to find that the panel was almost completely hidden from view, deep down in the cockpit bay.
lefthand side view (20.0kB) For the other decals I used slightly cooler water, which appeared to cure the curling. Most of the decals went on perfect using a drop of acrylic varnish under the decal and some MicroSol on top in difficult area's such as the rudder hinge line. This worked fine apart from the starboard fuselage star that started silvering around the edges (due to some rough spots in the paint coat). Repeatedly puncturing the decal and applying MicroSol eventually cured this.
I decided to paint the silver strip on the engine cowling by hand instead of using the decal because I figured it would be less of a hassle to paint then to get that decal in its proper position.

That's all, it took me about 16 hours to build this cute little model. It proved virtually hassle-free and provided just enough of a challenge to keep me enjoying building it.

Date finished: June 16, 1999.

This model took 2nd place in the 2000 IPMS-NL Nationals 'Straight from the box' category.

Paints used
upper fuselageHumbrol Authentic HT-1 Topside Green
Humbrol 158
lower fuselageHumbrol 65
overall clear coatPolly-S PF70 Gloss Finish
clear coat wooden partsPactra Acrylic Gloss A18 + Flat A48 (mix 2:1)
front of propellor bladesHumbrol 22 White + 191 Silver (mix 4:1)
tiresHumbrol 66
accentuated recessesRevell Airbrush 31582 transparent Sepia

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional