First introduced in the 1930’s, the Polikarpov I-16 was an advanced Russian fighter that formed the backbone of the Soviet Air Force at the beginning of World War II. The small fighter, prominently featured in the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Spanish Civil War, was nicknamed "Mosca" (Fly) by Spaniard Republican pilots.
When the tiny airplane flew for the first time in 1933, its design was far more advanced than many other fighters of the era. It featured an enclosed cockpit, retractable landing gear, a cantilever wing and variable pitch propeller. Similar to the Gee Bee R-1 Racer, the I-16's stubby fuselage was also optimized for speed. Although it is not among the most renowned airplanes of the era, the Polikarpov I-16 was a very able and rugged machine, which was widely used in the events of the time. By the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, the I-16 proved to be more than a match for the German Heinkel He 51 and Arado Ar 68. Soon after, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 would out outclass it. The Mosca featured in this model airplane (CM-193) was piloted by José María Bravo, who flew for the Republican Air Force during the Spanish Civil War. With a career total of 23 victories, Bravo stands as the highest scoring ace of the Aviación Española.
Azur’s 1/32 model airplane kit was used to produce this Polikarpov I-16 Type 10. The set is very challenging and requires a great deal of sanding. Contact Résine aftermarket products were also used in this project. Aftermarket parts included are; the cockpit, engine, cooler and exterior set consisting of the landing gear, wheels, rudder, control surfaces and photo-etched parts. These additions are a must to produce an authentic looking Polikarpov I-16. Enjoy the photos.