Revell 1/32 Polikarpov I-16 Type 24 ‘Rata’ (03914)

When it first entered service with the Soviet Air Force in May 1934, the diminutive Polikarpov I-16 was the world’s first low-wing cantilever monoplane with retractable undercarriage and as such set the standard for all future piston-driven fighters. 8,644 were built, many of them serving in the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Battle of Khalkhin, the Spanish Civil War and of course the Second World War. Not without its failings, the I-16’s main nemesis was the Messerschmitt Bf 109 which outclassed the little fighter but in the right hands could still hold its own. Despite being long obsolete, the I-16 was not retired until the 1950s by the Spanish Air Force.

At a mere 20ft 1in long and with a span of just 29ft 6in, 1/32 is a good scale for the I-16, these real figures equalling a model that will be 19cm long and a span of 28.1cm. Our example here was initially a new tool by ICM brought out in 2017 and then not long after we have this example from Revell, which is the same kit with new decals. Produced in co-operation with ICM, this partnership will hopefully present this kit to a much wider audience.

Fronted by some pretty impressive artwork, including a Bf 109 which managed to get itself on the wrong end of the I-16s 7.62mm ShKAS machine guns and 20mm ShVAK cannons, inside the open ended box we have three main sprues, one glass sprue, a set of decals and an A4, 20 page instruction booklet. Untraditionally, the build begins with the wings which are quickly completely in three sections closely followed by the cockpit. The latter takes up twelve stages of the build before the fuselage halves are secured. Control surfaces follow and one of the more interesting sections of the build begins; the I-16s 1,100hp Shvetsov M-63 radial engine. Including the final access panels, the engine takes up 15 stages of the build and is a very nice feature to leave exposed should you wish.

As always, at the rear of the instruction sheet is a batch of colour guides. In this case they are ‘White 13’, 7th IAP, Leningrad Front, 1941 and ‘Red 41’, 4th FAR USSR Navy, Baltic Fleet Aviation, Winter 1941/42.

Yet another good subject for Revell to plug at and a nice kit to boot in a decent scale!                

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Product: Construction kit

Ref: 03914

Scale: 1/32

Parts: 115

Price: £36.99

Manufacturer: Revell