Azur | Polikarpov I-16 Type 10

Reviewed by Francis Gallemi

When I first heard that Azur was going to release a large scale kit of the Polikarpov I-16, I greeted the news with enthusiasm. Their earlier effort, the Dewoitine D-520, was an outstanding kit when compared to the other industry giants like Hasegawa and Tamiya. Azur demonstrated that they could compete with the best, even if they used limited edition molding technology.


The new I-16 is the type 10 and is no disappointment when compared to their earlier French fighter. The kit includes 51 parts molded in a dark gray plastic. The surface seems a bit rough in places, a light rub down with Scotchbrite should solve the problem. The clear sprue contains 2 parts, a windshield and reflector for the gunsight. Also included is a photo-etched fret for the seatbelts and gunsight as well as resin exhaust tubes and more parts for the gunsight. The quality of the molding is similar to their earlier Dewoitine, but I personally find that they have improved their process as some of the more subtle exterior details seem to be better rendered than where previously made on the D-520.

If I compare the major components, these being the fuselage and wings, with a set of scale plans obtained from Russia in the '80s, there seems to be some minor outline discrepancies with the kit. I cannot vouch for their accuracy, however, when compared to photos they do seem to be pretty close to the real deal. The kit parts where laid down on the resized plans and the discrepancies outlined in the photos. Though the wings seem to be pretty close in span, the chord in the mid wing section seems to be off a bit as well as the wingtips. The fuselage appears to be lacking in profile. The section forward of the cockpit seems to be missing that upward angle and the overall fuselage length exceeds the plans by approximately 4 mm at the tail section. The rudder also seems to be slightly oversized.

Aside from these observations the rest of the kit seems to be fairly good when compared to my limited references. The cockpit seems rather empty, but the actual thing was built that way. There is however room for extra detail and refining if one wishes. My only negative thought on this model concerns the engine cooling vents on the cowling. They are molded shut, when in photos they are usually shown open when on the ground. This is due to the fact that no engine is included with the kit. This detail can easily be fixed by the modeler, as they simply need to be removed to be shown open or partially closed/open by adding some plastic card. A replacement engine can be obtained by finding a William Bros 32nd scale radial engine. Other engines may also work since not much will be visible other than the cylinders themselves. This little omission on the part of Azur in no way affects the model as I assume they would be shut closed by the ground crew at some point.

Decals include markings for 3 aircraft operated during the Spanish Civil, 2 Republican aircraft War and one captured aircraft by the Nationalist forces. The decals are thin, in register and well printed. The first aircraft is CM-158 of 1 Squadron based at Liria in April 1938. The second, CM-193 of 3 Squadron flown by ace Francisco Tarazona based at Vilajuiga in February 1939. The third aircraft depicts a captured machine flown by 2-G-3 in February 1939 and carries Nationalist markings.

Overall, this is a simple and fairly accurate kit of a significant aircraft that saw much combat through a period of turmoil in our history. Surely Azur will release other variants of this aircraft and I will probably be in line to purchase another one. It is refreshing to see manufacturers release less commercially oriented kits and deal with other less popular yet historically important aircraft. I highly recommend this kit to anyone wanting to model something a little different and colorful, by Russian standards…

Happy modeling.

Model courtesy of my wallet…

© Francis Gallemi 2004

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This review was published on Saturday, July 02 2011; Last modified on Wednesday, May 18 2016