Polikarpov I-16 type 6


Model review

This former USSR kit (maybe NOVO?) was the worst kit I have ever built. The worst faults were too narrow wings, wrong shape of the rudders, the diameter of the nose and the spinner which were too small etc. etc. With the decals I found problems too, they were very poor. The Red stars broke in pieces and it was difficult to get them together. The plane I built is chosen from a photo of the "Red Star" book. The number "50" on the sides of the plane had to paint myself. But with good nerves and with hard work the model completed within three monts. Nowadays much better choice is the Hasegawa's 1/72 Polikarpov I-16. !

History

Designing of the plane started as early as 1932. The conclusion that the Polikarpovs biplanes I-15 and I-153 were superseded by the I-16 monoplane is wrong. The I-16 flew and come in service before any of the biplanes. The first massproduction plane I-16-1 flew as early as December 1933. Perhaps because of its especial and rugged appearance it was almost ignored by the West. Nobody outside the Soviet Union appeared to notice that this odd fighter, with wooden monocoque body, metal / fabric wing, retractable landing gear and v-p propeller was also 95 - 120 km/h faster than contemporary fighters of other countries.

In the Soviet Union it was also considered too advanced, by the demands of the pilots the closed cocpit was deleted and in 1939 in Mongolia the I-16 was replaced by the more agile biplane I-153 ! The I-16 suddenly come in publicity, when 475 planes were shipped to the Spanish Republicans. It also come as a surprice for the opposite air force, which had nothing to put against the fast, rapidly climbing and agile I-16 "Rata". The Nationalists couldn't get the air superiority back until the German Legion Gondor Messerchmitt Bf 109D's arrived with their German pilots. The I-16 was one of the most important fighters of the Soviet air force in the beginning of the WW II, over 7000 planes was produced in all.

The plane numbered "50" belonged to the Russian Baltic Fleet Air Arm in August 1941 in Leningrads area. During the Winter War and the Contunation War the I-16 was one of the most common fighters used by the Russians. Its flying charasterics and performance was at least equal to that of the Finnish Winter War fighters, and often the Finnish pilots could only survive by using the greater diving speed of their Fokker D XXI's. During the Contunation War the Brewster B-239 was clearly superior compared with the I-16, and the Polikarpovs fighter was withdrawn eventually from the Russian fronts by the year 1943, when the better new fighters replaced it.

Polikarpov I-16 type 6 technical data

Engine 750 hp Shvetsov M-25A radial engine (I-16 type 6)
Dimensions Span 9,00 m; lenght 6,08 m, height 2,45 m (I-16 type 6)
Weights Empty 1266 kg; max. take off 1660 kg (I-16 type 5)
Performance Max. speed 450 km/h, range 800 km
Armament 2 x 7.62 mm ShKAS mg in wings (I-16 type 6)
Production 7000
Users Soviet Union, China, Spain, (Finland)

Sources
Allied Fighters of World War II, Bill Gunston

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