1:72 Polikarpov I-5

ICM #72053

Rather unusual subject in even more uncommon version buld from not-so-great ICM kit. Enjoy.

An ordinary airplane

Name three pre-WW2 Russian fighters. Did you mention I-5? Probably not. Well, it's understandable- it's not even one of Polikarpov's most famous birds. Designed in 1930 wasn't a revolution, and when war came it was long obsolete. However, in time of need even the old I-5s were brought back and fought, often as an assault aircrafts. The aged biplanes of course never got an outstanding results though.

The reality of 1:72

So, bearing that in mind, there is no surprise that there is not really a choice when you want to build a miniature of I-5 in 1:72 scale. ICM from Ukraine is the only game in town.

Several years ago it released two version of this biplane: standard with M-22 engine, and “early” (basically prototypes and pre-production batch machines) with Jupiter. Both share some common elements and were praised as “nice little kits” in every internet review I found.

The problem is, that they aren't. Probably the long production run had some impact on quality of the moulds, but I doubt (judging by the sprues' pictures) that the first series were considerably better. Yes- the parts have very fine surface details, but that is in my opinion one of the disadvantages. It's done to subtly. Some lines tend to vanish completely, other probably won't withstand the coat of paint. The rest certainly won't be easy to enhance with common modelling techniques (e.g., wash).

But that's not the worst part. It's the moulding quality which made a lot of the surface details pointless. It's basically a mediocre short-run kit when you closely examine the sprues. Lots of cleaning, sanding and dry-fitting will be required. Also, some kind of putty. You can imagine, how will that impact those fine, subtle details.

So not some nice kit when you look closely, and even worse when you start to work on it. That being said, I of course decided to build it anyway.

The build

Short build story was published in 2015 April issue of "Model Aircraft" from SAM Publications.

An unusual I-5

In 1933, one of the Russian factories involved in production of I-5 developed a new, slightly improved version of Polikarpov's design. It was hoped to be a new production standard. Prototype machine was prepared and tested, but didn't meet the expectations. Project was discarded, but some of the improvements was introduced to production anyway. Miniature of this unfortunate test aircraft you can see on photos below.


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