Spanish Civil Mosca: 1/48th Hobbycraft I-16 5/6
The Hobbycraft 1/48th I-16 kit was/is just a basic kit (which was true for a lot of this company's subject matter). Released in the 90's, it was one of the few available I-16 kits at that time. Hobbycraft's I-16 model can still be built up into a pretty decent looking display piece and easily enhanced if you want to add a few extras of your own making.
Notable Kit Features:
Decent fit of parts
Low cost (especially second hand)
Initially I bought this kit expecting to build a VVS aircraft from the WWII era, however after picking up an Osprey Aircraft series book, I gained more interest in an early Spanish Civil War version of this fighter. Included with the kit were the markings of CM-125 which was a 4th A. Squadron I-16, as it appeared in 1938. Possible pilots of this aircraft include both Morales and Zaruza / Sarausa (sp?). This aircraft continued the tradition of 4th Squadron "Popeye" motifs, and in this case he is perched on the tail with an umbrella.
Little detail anywhere (which leaves you to improve as many areas as you wish to :) but a good base to work with. To bring this kit up a level, additions could be made to the cockpit, wheel wells and landing gear ...or it can be a carefree OOB build.
Sparse detail in the cockpit which is missing a floor and bulkhead (although very little of the cockpit is visible so if you add on here you may want to cut out the pilot door as well, for a bit more visible pit)
The pilot stick leaves room for improvement
Lack of louvered doors on front of cowl
Raised detail on kit seems a bit heavy
Visible ejector pin marks show up on the gear door parts
Gear doors are also a bit thick
Canopy glass is thick and distorted
Gear should have fine wire attached to the centre wheel hubs for retraction aid
Kit Additions / Modifications:
I drilled out the exhaust openings to improve the depth here
Thinned the gear doors to scale things a bit better and get rid of the ejector marks
(In hindsight, I should have added the cowl louvers and dropped the tail control surfaces to add more character)
The paint scheme for this aircraft consisted of interior grey-green (FS 34226?) with VVS Blue undersides (AMT 7 - Unfortunately no reliable samples of this color are available) and Dark Green (AMT 4) top camouflage. The red colour bands were painted on, as well as the tail colours. The cowl was painted near black leaving a thin band of natural metal towards the front. Decals were few and I didn't spend time on the details or weathering, so not one of my best examples. Sometimes you just have to take it easy on a build:)
The After-Build Report:
Hobbycraft (and the Academy releases of the same plastic) issued several versions of this I-16 aircraft. At the time, the kit was suited for a casual builder who wanted something inexpensive and different in their model collection or a model maker willing to take on some scratch building to produce a better result. Later manufacturers of the I-16 series (starting around 2006) included Eduard, ARK Models and ICM, which all have improved details for a higher quality / price build option. If I build another I will probably opt for the Eduard or ICM kit to get the better details albeit at a higher (but not unreasonable) cost.
Completed build #146 - March 2012 using the 1/48th scale Hobbycraft #1535 kit.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers