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Old Friends...
Revisiting the I-16 Type 29
As has been discussed elsewhere on our site, the I-16 has been the subject of much misidentification. No model, it seems, has been victimized more so than the redoubtable Type 29. This last of the I-16s, available in two primary variants, is also the subject of the next resin 1:48 release from Airwaves. Noting the very large number of requests we see on this site for this version of the I-16, we suspect that 1/48 scale modelers around the globe are set to rejoice. Update! For a look at the pre-production test run of the Type 29 set, click here. We hope to have a Review for this set posted immediately. In celebration of this release, and also of the I-16 itself, we thought we might revisit and update some of our older work. Indeed, so new is the proper research record of the Polikarpov fighter that much of the material on this aircraft available even on our own site is incorrect. It is, in fact, just that new. Our plan is to update and correct all of our earlier work, and we thought to start with the I-16 first of all. The older articles, until fully 'modernized', will feature placeholder artwork pointing to the updated colour profiles for the affected schemes. An example of this redirection may be seen here. In this way, we hope that no information will be lost during the updates, and that all of the previously illustrated schemes will be repaired and completed anew. So, allow us to both correct our own mistakes, and also to draw modelers' attention to the last of this most important fighter family line-- the I-16 Type 29.

I-16 Type 29 "Red 16" Pilot unknown 71 IAP VVS-KBF ca. early 1942

I-16 Type 29 "Red 16" was photographed in service with the Navy's 71 IAP of the Baltic Fleet, probably in the spring of 1942. The location is not indicated on the photograph caption, but it seems to be located at the Kronshtadt naval base. The pilot, alas, is not noted on the caption. "16" is an attractive Type 29 of the later pattern, this characterized by the removal of the oil cooler intake on the starboard lip of the cowl, which was replaced with two oval openings in the

cowl face and shutters. The aircraft seems to be wearing a factory applied scheme of quite typical appearance in AII Green (non-new shade) over AII Blue lacquers, and the upper/lower colour demarcations are quite classic for the time period. The port side fuselage bears an inscription in white which leaves no doubt as to the location of this fighter: it reads, "Terror to Fascists from the defenders of the city named for Lenin!" The numeral on the rudder is hard to see fully, and it has been interpreted in other artwork as a "10". On balance, I believe that "16" is more likely, and even "18" is a possibility. The numeral also appears to be very thinly trimmed with a non-white colour, and while light blue has been suggested elsewhere (and is plausible), I would submit that yellow is the more likely choice. The spinner is finished in white, and bears a somewhat crudely painted star on the tip of the older 'rounded' and 'bloated' pattern, typical of those markings from the RSFSR days. "Red 16" featured plain red star markings in four positions, as shown. The aircraft was not particularly worn, and appeared to be in fairly clean condition. Four RO132 rocket rails were carried under the wings.

I-16 Type 29 "Red 9" Pilot Lt. Vershin ? IAP autumn 1941

I-16 Type 29 "Red 9" was photographed in service with an unknown regiment in Moscow (which can be identified in the photo background), probably at Vnukovo, during the fall of 1941. The pilot is given as "Lt. Vershin"; an officer still unidentified at the time of writing. The time and location of the photograph tend to support the idea that this aircraft might have belonged to the 16 IAP, but for now the exact unit is not known. This machine wore a known camouflage pattern in an AII Green/Black over Blue application similar to our example, "White 75". However, as the starboard side is not seen in the photograph, I did not attempt to draw it;

but the scheme's pattern should be similar to the example. The colours in this case seemed to be freshly applied, and all aspects of the finish point to a newly manufactured aircraft. The spinner was delightfully painted in red, as was the tactical numeral on the rudder. An inscription on the port fuselage reads, "Death to Invaders", this probably in yellow and completed with an attractive 'old fashioned' type lettering. A red flash was present on the tip of the fin/rudder. "Red 9" wore plain red star national markings in four positions, as shown. The aircraft was an earlier pattern Type 29 with the starboard oil cooler intake, and was photographed wearing two 'fairing type' external fuel tanks.

I-16 Type 29 "White 1" Pilot Szhts. Slesarchuk, Gazin, Perevera ? IAP, 7 IAK-PVO autumn 1941

I-16 Type 29 "White 1" is famous from one of our earlier Art Deco articles, and is here updated and corrected. A slightly better view has emerged of this aircraft, and some new detail is available, as well. "1" was photographed in Moscow with the PVO forces of the 7 IAK (later the 6 GIAK) during the spring of 1942. The three pilots in front of the aircraft are Szhts. Slesarchuk, Gazin, and Perevera, each of whom is thought to have flown this machine at various times. The finish looks originally to have been an AII Green single-colour scheme (uppers). This was then modified by applications of AII Black over the cowling in a meandering form that covered the exhaust ports. However, from the available photos it is clear that most of the face of the cowl remained Green. The spinner was painted Black and carried a beautifully executed star on the tip, while supplementary 'blobs' of Black colour were applied to the fuselage and wings in various shapes. A second view reveals some of the camouflage detail from the port side upper surface and the presence of a smaller white-border national star on the fuselage, but alas there is no information available on the starboard side of this aircraft. The tactical numeral "1" on the fin is indeed finished in white. However, the fuselage markings are certainly the word "Za" (in an odd hand-written font) in Russian, and the beginning of an inscription that was obviously not completed at the time the photo was taken. The colour of the fin and rudder has been re-interpreted slightly to a darker shade of blue; other colours are still possible. "White 1" carried national star markings in six positions, as shown. The white borders of the fuselage and tail stars were not symmetrical, and it is not possible to determine the type of star on the wing undersurfaces (here show as plain red types). The aircraft was fitted with four RO132 rocket rails, and was a later pattern Type 29 with oval cowl openings.

I-16 Type 29 "White 21" Pilot unknown ? IAP VVS-KBF ca. October 1942

I-16 Type 29 "White 21" was photographed along the Baltic Front during October 1942. The regiment is unrecorded, but the machine certainly looks to be in Navy service as part of the Baltic Fleet's air forces (possibly with the 4 GIAP). A fine published photograph of this aircraft may be found in Red Stars Vol. 1. What on first glance must seem to be an exceedingly typical and 'boring' Type 29 in fact, upon more detailed examination, reveals itself as one of the most extraordinary examples of VVS finish of the entire GPW era. In the first case, this aircraft seems to be finished in a rather dark shade of green. The film type is, alas, the infamous 'journalist' type, and so confirmation of the appearance is not possible to any certain degree. However, that being said, the most likely candidate here is the colour 'Factory Green'. Moreover, this aircraft shows absolutely no signs of having been repainted, and thus one is forced to conclude that this is the way it was completed at the factory during manufacture. That is quite remarkable, in that hitherto it was thought that this aerolacquer was used primarily in the pre-War era, essentially, and during the GPW only at Factory No.1, and therefore never on the later I-16 variants such as the Type 24 and -29. If this is indeed Factory Green, it means that either Factory No.21 or No.153 were using this finish virtually to the end of I-16 manufacture, and that these three aircraft (in the photo) represent the only known photograph of this practice. Remarkable, indeed.... Secondly, "21" demonstrates some very unusual markings on the wing undersurfaces. Looking to the photo, it is clear that the star national marking has been applied upside-down. Of the many thousands of photographs I have examined over the years, I have never before seen this done. Furthermore, there appear to be some entirely unprecedented stripes along the wing undersurfaces. Again, the film type leaves room for some doubt, but these markings appear to be present (but not entirely similar) on all three aircraft in view, and also on "21's" landing gear cover, and I am reluctant to believe that this could be a trick of the photography or print; these must be actual features. There look to be two stripes on "White 21", one darker than the other. I have interpreted these as red and yellow, respectively, but it is impossible to know with certainty. One wonders if this photo was not the inspiration for artists like Stankov and Kulikov,

who seem determined to draw stripes like this on all VVS aircraft? In any case, I have never seen such stripes previously. "White 21" featured plain red stars in at least four positions, as shown. The wing upper surfaces are not visible, but stars in that location by the time of Type 29 manufacture are quite unusual. The aircraft carried four RO132 rocket rails under the wings, and was a later manufacture Type 29 version.

I-16 Type 29 "White 30" Pilot Kpt. M.D. Sergeev 8 IAP VVS-ChF ca. winter 1941-42

I-16 Type 29 "White 30" was the personal mount of Kapitan Mirovan Sergeev of the 8 IAP of the Black Sea Fleet during the heroic defense of Sevastopol during the winter of 1941-42. Sergeev was apparently of Yugoslav origin (or birth), and joined the VVS in 1938. "30" was finished in an AII Green and Black application over AII Blue; the green shade again being of the more worn variety. This pattern is another I-16 finish that is strongly suggested as a

factory application, but alas, and frustratingly, no known views are available for the port nor upper surfaces of this camouflage. "White 30" wore an attractive white border national star on the fin/rudder, and a similar marking expertly applied to the spinner. The spinner seems to have been a 'newer' shade of AII Green lacquer; perhaps a repainting job or even a replacement unit? The tactical number is in white, and completed in an attractive style font. "30" wore national star markings in at least four positions, as shown; the undersurface stars appeared to have been pain red types. The wing upper surfaces are not visible, but stars in that location by the time of Type 29 manufacture are quite unusual. The aircraft carried four RO132 rocket rails under the wings, and was an earlier pattern Type 29 version.

I-16 Type 29 "White 48" Pilot Lt. Dobrolovskiy (?) 156 IAP autumn 1941

I-16 Type 29 "White 48" was photographed in service with the 156 IAP along the Leningrad Front during the fall of 1941. The pilot of this aircraft is thought to be Igor Dobrolovskiy, one of the several 'forgotten aces' serving with the 156 IAP during its early days in the north. A partial view of the front of this machine has been published in Maslov's outstanding Armada title, Fighter I-16. "White 48" is finished in a classic AII Green/Blue application of the time, the upper surface colour demonstrating a darkened, worn shade. The tactical numeral was rendered in white in a

very nice font, and placed well up on the fuselage sides. The spinner has been attractively painted with a red base, and the main section in white. The aircraft wore plain red national star markings in four positions, as shown. "48" was equipped with six RO82 rocket rails, and the propeller blades appear to have been unpainted.

I-16 Type 29 "Yellow 45" Pilot A. Pavlovskiy (?) 156 IAP ca. Winter 1941-42

Another updated favourite from the Art Deco pages, this wonderful Type 29 was photographed in service with the 156 IAP during the Winter of 1941-42. The pilot of this machine is not confirmed, but the photo's caption has written "Pavlovskovo" in the margin (meaning, belonging to Pavlovskiy), and there was indeed a pilot by the name of A. Pavlovskiy in the Regiment at this time. This aircraft is known from a single photograph in the collection of the Tsentralniy Dom Aviatsia i Kosmonavtika, Moscow. "Yellow 45" seems to have started life as a simple AII Green/Blue camouflage scheme, and subsequently was 'embellished' with applications of MK-7 white distemper in purposeful looking patterns. The application of white color over the port upper wing surface is just visible in the photograph, and is particularly pleasing. No view of the starboard side details is known. The MK-7 finish seems to be somewhat worn, as was typical for this finish, and the machine does give the impression of significant service use over-all. Not much else is known about this aircraft, save that the stainless steel cowl band has been largely over painted on the upper surfaces with the MK-7 White application. "Yellow 45" wore plain red star national markings in four positions, as shown. The aircraft was an earlier pattern Type 29.

Polikarpov I-16
- Rata
Polikarpov I-16 was the world's first service single-seat cantilever low-wing monoplane fighter with mixed structure and retractable undercarriage. One I-16 was captured during the Winter War and 5 more in the Continuation War. Only two of them were made airworthy. 10 Apr, 1940 - 22 June, 1943


VH-201 in 1940 at State Aircraft Factory. It was of Type 18.

VH-21 in 1940 at State Aircraft Factory.

IR-101 in 1942 at State Aircraft Factory. It was of Type 6.

Soviet I-16 No. 228 in Karelian Isthmus in 1940 from the Winter War. It was of Type 10. Two synchronized MGs installed above the engine and a retractable ski undercarriage were introduced into this type. The type still had a forward-sliding cockpit canopy.

Soviet I-16 No. 2 in Karelian Isthmus in 1941 from the 1st year of the Continuation War. It was of Type 24 that you can tell from the profile by how a tailwheel has replaced the skid.

Soviet I-16 No. 64. It forced landed in Riiskanlahti in December 1941. It was to become IR-104 for the FAF, but the restoring was discontinued in June 1943.

Soviet I-16 No. 31. It was shot down in Maaselk Isthmus in January 1943. It was to become IR-105 for the FAF, but the restoring into flight condition failed. Numbers: Operational victories/losses: Units: VH-201 (Type 18), in Summer 1940 changed to VH-21; IR-101 (Type 6) (=2) Not in operational use LLv 24 (1941), LeLv 6 (1942), LeLv 30 (1942-43).

Average/Maximum /6 h 35 mins total flight time: Armament: Engine/Propeller: Power: Max speed: Climb/Ceiling: Range: Wing span/area: Length/Height: Empty/Max weight: IR-101: 2 fuselage mounted 7.62 mm ShKAS MGs VH-21: 2 fuselage and 2 wing mounted 7.62 mm ShKAS MGs IR-101: Shvetsov M-25A 9-cylinder air-cooled radial engine/AV-1 VH-21: Shvetsov M-62 9-cylinder air-cooled radial engine/AV-1 IR-101: 750 hp VH-21: 850 hp IR-101: 440 kph at 5,000 m VH-21: 464 kph at 5,000 m IR-101: 5,000 m - 6 min 18 sec/9,100 m VH-21: 5,000 m - 6 min/9,700 m IR-101: 820 km VH-21: 690 km 9.00 m/14.54 sq. m 5.90 m/2.41 m IR-101: 1,260 kg/1,660 kg VH-21: /1,830 kg

Polikarpov I-16

Polikarpov I-16 at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2003 Type Fighter



Maiden flight

June 1933 (TsKB-12)




1950s (Spanish State)

Primary user

Soviet Air Force



Number built


The Polikarpov I-16 was a Soviet fighter aircraft of revolutionary design; it was the world's first all- metal cantileverwinged monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear. The I-16 was introduced in the mid-1930s and formed the backbone of the Soviet Air Force at the beginning of World War II. The diminutive fighter prominently featured in the Second Sino-Japanese War[1], the Spanish Civil War[2][3] where it was called the Rata or Mosca, and the Battle of Khalkhin Gol[4].


1 Design and development 2 Operational history

3 Variants 4 Operators 5 Survivors

6 Specifications (I-16 Type 24) 7 See also 8 References

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8.1 Notes

8.2 Bibliography

9 External links

Design and development

While working on the Polikarpov I-15 biplane, Nikolai Nikolaevich Polikarpov began designing an advanced monoplane fighter. It featured cutting-edge innovations such as retractable landing gear and a fully enclosed cockpit, and was optimized for speed with a short stubby fuselage (similar to Gee Bee R-1) and a Wright Cyclone radial engine in a NACA cowling. The aircraft was small, light and simple to build.

Full-scale work on the TsKB-12 prototype began in June 1933 and the aircraft was accepted into production on 22 November 1933, a month before it ever took to the air. The TsKB-12 was of mixed construction using a wooden monocoque fuselage and wings based around a KhMA chrome-molybdenum steel alloy wing spar, dural ribs and D1 aluminum alloy skinning on the center and leading edges, with the remaining portions of the wings fabric covered. Another modern feature were the ailerons which ran almost the entire trailing edge of the wing and also operated as flaps (in the manner of more modern flaperons) by drooping 15. The cockpit was covered by a 40cm wide canopy which featured an Aldis turbular gun sight which could slide back and forth on runners fitted with bungee cords of rubber. A 225 liter (59.4 US gallon) fuel tank was fitted directly in front of the cockpit. The main gear was fully retractable by a hand-crank. The armament consisted of a pair of 7.62 mm (0.30 cal) ShKAS machine guns in the wings, mounted on the outboard side of the main gear and carried 900 rounds of ammo. These features were proposed at first by Andrei N. Tupolev, however the NII V-VS was more concerned about the stresses a typical combat aircraft was subjected to in combat, and it initially considered to be too big of a risk. However TsAGI, with the help of the 3rd Design Birgade under the leadership of Pavel O. Sukhoi and Aleksandr P. Putylov eventually convinced NII VVS that what was being proposed was not only feasible, but would enhance the aircraft's performance. The TsKB-12 was designed around the Wright Cyclone SR-1820-F-3 nine cylinder radial engine (rated at 710 HP) which was being negotiated to be licence built. As the license was not yet approved, Polikarpov was asked to settle for the less powerful M-22 (Soviet-built version of the Gnome-Rhone Jupiter 9ASB which itself was a licensed version of the Bristol Jupiter VI ) with 480 hp. This was deemed acceptable because the projected top speed still exceeded 300 km/h (185 mph).

The M-22 powered TsKB-12 first took to the air on 30 December 1933 with the famous Soviet test pilot Valery Chkalov at the controls. The second TsKB-12 with a Cyclone engine and three-bladed propeller flew in January of the following year. Initial government trials in February 1934 revealed very good maneuverability but the aircraft did not tolerate abrupt control inputs. Thus the TsKB-12 was deemed dangerous to fly and all aerobatics were forbidden. The M-22 version was preferred due to vibration of the Cyclone-powered aircraft. Pilots commented early on about difficulty in climbing into the cockpit, a trait that persisted through I-16's service life. Before continuing test flights the designers had to answer the question of spin behavior. Wind tunnel testing suggested that TsKB-12 with its short tail would enter an unrecoverable flat spin, but real-life trials were necessary to confirm this. Since Cyclone engines were rare it was decided to risk the M-22 prototype for this purpose. On 1 March and 2 March 1934, Chkalov performed 75 spins and discovered that the aircraft had very benign stall behavior (dipping a wing and recovering without input from the pilot when airspeed increased) and intentional spins could be easily terminated by placing controls in the neutral position. The stories of vicious spin behavior of the I-16 perpetuated in modern literature is unfounded (perhaps extrapolated from Gee Bee experience). The I-16's stablemate, in fact, the biplane Polikarpov I-153, exhibited much worse spin characteristics.

Service trials of the new fighter, designated I-16, began on 22 March 1934. The M-22 prototype reached 359 km/h (223 mph). The manually-retracted landing gear was prone to jamming and required considerable strength from the pilot. Most of the test flights were performed with the gear extended. 1 May 1934, the M-22 prototype participated in

the flyover of the Red Square. Approximately 30 I-16 Type 1 aircraft were delivered, but were not assigned to any VVS fighter eskadriliya. Most pilots that flew the I-16 Type 1 for evaluation puporses did not find the plane to have any redeeming characteristics. Regardless of pilot opinion, much attention was focused on the Cyclone powered aircraft and the M-25 (the license built Cyclone). On 14 April 1934, the Cyclone prototype was damaged when one of the landing gear legs collapsed while it was taxiing.

The third prototype with a Cyclone engine incorporated a series of aerodynamic improvements and was delivered for government trials on 7 September 1934. The top speed of 437 km/h (270 mph) no longer satisfied the Air Force, who now wanted the experimental Nazarov M-58 engine and 470 km/h (290 mph). Subsequently, the M-22 powered version entered production at Factory 21 in Nizhny Novgorod and Factory 39 in Moscow. Because it was the fourth aircraft produced by these factories it received the designation I-16 Type 4. Type 4 aircraft fitted with these new engines required a slightly changed airframe, these changes included armour plating for the pilot and changes to the retract doors to allow for complete closure.

The M-25 fitted I-16, the I-16 Type 5, featured more changes, including a new engine cowling which was slightly smaller in diameter, had nine forward facing shuttered openings to control cooling flow and a redesigned exhaust with eight individual outlet stubs. The M-25 was rated at 635 hp at sea level and 700 hp at 2,300 m. Due to the poor quality of the canopy glazing, the I-16 Type 5 pilots typically left the canopy open or removed the rear portion completely. By the time the Type 5 arrived, it was the world's lightest production fighter (1,460 kg / 3,219 lbs), as well as the worlds fastest, able to reach speeds of 454 km/h (282 mph) at alititude and 395 km/h (245 mph) at sea level. While the Type 5 could not perform the high-g maneuvers of other fighters, it possessed superior speed and climb rates, and had extremely responsive aileron control which gave the Type 5 a very good roll rate which lead to precision maneuvers in loops and split-Ss.

A total of 7,005 single-seat and 1,639 two-seat trainer variants were produced.

Operational history
Initial service experience revealed that the ShKAS machine guns had a tendency to jam. This was the result of the guns being installed in the wings upside-down to facilitate the fit. The problem was addressed in later modifications. Evaluations from pilots confirmed the experience with prototypes. Controls were light and very sensitive, abrupt maneuvers resulted in spins, and spin behavior was excellent. A barrel roll could be performed in under 1.5 seconds (roll rate over 240 degrees/second). The machine guns were fired via a cable and the required effort, coupled with sensitive controls, made precision aiming difficult. The rear weight bias made I-16 easy to handle on unprepared airfields because the aircraft was rather unlikely to flip over the nose even if the front wheels dug in. The canopy tended to become fouled with engine oil and the moving portion was prone to slamming shut during hard maneuvers which caused many pilots to fix it in the open position.

The start of Spanish Civil War in 1936 saw pleas from the Republican forces for fighter aircraft. After receiving payment in gold, Joseph Stalin dispatched around 500 I-16 Type 5s and Type 6s. The aircraft immediately began dominating the enemy Heinkel He 51, Arado Ar 68 and Fiat CR.32 biplanes, and remained unchallenged until the introduction of the Messerschmitt Bf 109. A number of aviation publications called the new Soviet fighter a "Boeing" due to the incorrect assumption that it was based on the Boeing P-26's design. The Nationalists nicknamed the stubby

fighter "Rata" (Rat), while the Republicans affectionally called it "Mosca" (Fly).

Combat experience showed that the I-16 had deficiencies; several aircraft were lost after structural failure of the wings which was quickly remedied by reinforced structures. Heavy machine gun bullets could sometimes penetrate the armored backrest and fuel tanks occasionally caught fire in spite of being protected. The hot Spanish climate required addition of oil radiators and dust adversely affected the life of the engines. Although some aircraft accumulated up to 400 hours of flying time, the average life of an I-16 was 87 days, of which one sixth was spent on maintenance. The biggest complaint in service was the light armament of only two 7.62 mm (0.30 cal) machine guns. This was urgently addressed with Type 6 which added a third ShKAS in the bottom of the fuselage. The four-gun Type 10 was nicknamed "Super Mosca" or simply "Super."

Another 250 I-16 Type 10 were supplied to China. This model added a second set of 7.62 mm (0.30 cal) ShKAS guns, armor behind the pilot, and had a slightly upgraded 560 kW (750 hp) M-25 engine. In 1939, these aircraft fought against the Japanese, beating the Nakajima Ki-27 and matching the Mitsubishi A5M. Further large scale action took place in fighting between the Soviet Union and Japan in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol in 1939. The Imperial Japanese Navy introduced the A6M Zero in 1940, which swept the I-16 from the skies.

Further attempts were made to upgrade the firepower of the aircraft using 20 mm (0.8 in) ShVAK cannons, making the I-16 one of the most heavily armed fighters of that moment[5], able to fire twenty-eight pounds of ammunition in three seconds. Pilots loved the results, but the cannons were in short supply and only a small number of I-16 Type 12, 17, 27, and 28 were built. The cannons adversely affected performance with the 360 circle time increasing from 15 seconds in Type 5 to 18 seconds. Type 24 replaced the skid with a tailwheel and featured the much more powerful 670 kW (900 hp) Shvetsov M-63 engine. Type 29 replaced two of the ShKAS guns with a single 12.7 mm (.50 cal) UBS. Types 18, 24, 27, 28, and 29 could be equipped to carry RS-82 unguided rockets.

A 1939 government study found that I-16 had exhausted its performance potential. Addition of armor, radio, battery, and flaps during the aircraft's evolution exacerbated the rear weight distribution to the point where the aircraft required considerable forward pressure on the stick to maintain level flight and at the same time developed a tendency to enter uncontrolled dives. Extension and retraction of the landing flaps caused a dramatic change in the aircraft attitude. Accurate gunfire was difficult.

By 1941, the I-16 was still the most numerous Soviet fighter and made up about two-thirds of the VVS. The Red Army pilots nicknamed the aircraft Ishak (Russian: , Donkey) because it was similar to the Russian pronunciation of "I-16." The I-16 performance was generally equal to that of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 (of the era) at altitudes up to the 3,000 m, where the I-16 could fight the Messerschmitt Bf 109 '"Emil" on equal terms in turns and had a more durable engine due liquid cooled engine of the Bf 109. The I-16 was slightly more maneuverable than the early Bf 109's, but the Bf 109 could use its advantages in slashing climbing and diving attacks to bring an I-16 down. Skilled pilots took advantage of its superior horizontal maneuverability and liked the aircraft enough to resist the switch to more modern fighters. About half of all produced I-16s were still in service in 1943, when they were finally replaced.

Specially modified I-16s were used in the Zveno parasite aircraft experiments using the Tupolev TB-3 mothership.

The Luftwaffe was know to have captured some I-16s and UTI-4s (two of which were marked DM+HC and DM+HD) and flown from Rechlin by Kampfgeschwader 200 (KG200).

. The Luftwaffe was not the only airforce able to test it's

fighters against the I-16, the Japanese captured a few I-16s as well[7] and the Rumanian Air Force also got one when a Soviet pilot defected[8].

I-16 Type 1 Pre-production trial version, M-22 (Bristol Jupiter) engine, 335 kW (450 hp), 30 built. Also known as the I16M-22. I-16 Type 4 First production version, Wright R-1820 Cyclone engine. I-16 Type 5 Shvetsov M-25 (based on Wright R-1820 Cyclone) engine, 520 kW (700 hp), most numerous version with over 3,000 built. I-16 Type 6 A third ShKAS machine gun added to the bottom of the fuselage, 30 built. I-16 Type 10 Four ShKAS machine guns, a more traditional windscreen replaced the troublesome opening canopy, reflector gunsight added, greater surface of the wing covered with duralumin, M-25V engine with 560 kW (750 hp). I-16 Type 12 Two ShKAS machine guns and two 20 mm ShVAK cannons in the wings. I-16 Type 17 Synchronized ShKAS moved to the fuselage, ShVAK kept in the wings, M-25V engine, notched underside of the fuselage to accept retractable skis. I-16 Type 18 Type 10 with Shvetsov M-62 engine with a two-speed turbosupercharger, 620 kW (830 hp). I-16 Type 20 Four ShKAS, first version capable of carrying underwing fuel tanks with 93 L (25 U.S. gal) capacity based on tanks used on the Japanese Nakajima Ki-27, 80 built. I-16 Type 24 Four ShKAS, landing flaps replaced drooping ailerons, tailwheel added, second cockpit door added on the starboard side, Shvetsov M-63 engine, 670 kW (900 hp), 934 built. I-16 Type 27

Type 17 with M-62 engine. I-16 Type 28 Type 24 with two ShKAS and two ShVAK. I-16 Type 29 Two synchronized ShKAS in the nose and a single 12.7 mm (0.50 cal) UBS in the bottom of the fuselage, no wing guns, shorter main landing gear with wider track, M-63 engine, 650 built. I-16 Type 30 Re-entered production in 1941-42, M-63 engine. I-16P (TsKB-12P) Cannon-armed prototype, entered production as Type 12. I-16Sh (TsKB-18) Ground attack version with an M-22 engine, fully armored cockpit (a first for Soviet aircraft), four ShKAS machine guns and 100 kg (220 lb) of bombs, one built. Two additional Type 5 were fitted with six ShKAS guns which could depress 20 for strafing. I-16 SPB (TsKB-29) High-speed dive bomber prototype with pneumatically operated flaps and landing gear, two ShKAS and 200 kg (440 lb) of bombs, did not enter production. I-16TK Type 10 with a turbocharger for improved high-altitude performance, reached 494 km/h (307 mph) at 8,600 m (28,200 ft), did not enter production. UTI-1 Two-seat trainer version of Type 1. UTI-2 Improved UTI-1 with fixed landing gear. UTI-4 (I-16UTI) Two-seat trainer version of Type 5, most with fixed landing gear.


Chinese Nationalist Air Force


Finnish Air Force operated captured aircraft.


Mongolian Air Force


Polish Air Force operated one I-16 (1 Pulk Lotnictwa Myliwskiego) and two UTI-4 aircraft (15 Samodzielny Zapasowy Pulk Lotniczy and the Techhniczn Szkola Lotnicza[9].

Soviet Union

Soviet Air Force


Republican Spanish Air Force

Spanish State

Spanish Air Force operated I-16 and UTI-4 aircraft captured from Republican AF, returned by French government and 30 built in Jerez de la Frontera. I-16s were still operated in 1952.

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Group 1-W 26th Group

Morn Fighter School

In the early 1990s, New Zealand pilot and entrepreneur Tim (later Sir Tim) Wallis' Alpine Fighter Collection organised the restoration of six I-16s and three I-153s to an airworthy condition, this project being completed in 1999 as the third and final I-153 arrived in New Zealand. After a spectacular international debut at the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow in 1998 (for the I-16s) and 2000 (for the I-153s), some of the aircraft were sold off around the world, to the Commemorative Air Force in the U.S. (as pictured above), to Jerry Yagen of Virginia, and an I-16 to Spain, where it is held in the collection of the Fundacin Infante de Orleans at Cuatro Vientos airport, Madrid, and is occasionally flown for the public. Some of the I-16s and I-153s remain at Wanaka awaiting sale, although it is intended to keep one of each at the NZFPM, Wanaka, see References. Jerry Yagen also had a second I-16 restored in Russia.

Finnish Aviation Museum in Vantaa, Finland, has a two-seater I-16 UTI trainer on display.

Specifications (I-16 Type 24)

General characteristics

Crew: one pilot

Length: 6.13 m (20.1 ft) Wingspan: 9.00 m (29.5 ft) Height: 2.25 m (7.38 ft)

Wing area: 14.54 m (156.5 ft) Empty weight: 1,383 kg (3,049 lb) Loaded weight: 1,882 kg (4,149 lb)

Max takeoff weight: 2,050 kg (4,520 lb)

Powerplant: 1 Shvetsov M-63 air-cooled radial engine, 670 kW (900 hp) driving a two-blade propeller

Maximum speed: 460 km/h (290 mph)

Range: 440 km (275 mi)

Service ceiling 9,700 m (31,800 ft) Rate of climb: 14.7 m/s (2,900 ft/min) Wing loading: 129 kg/m (26 lb/ft) Power/mass: 0.36 kW/kg (0.22 hp/lb)

4 fixed forward-firing 7.62 mm (.30 cal) ShKAS machine guns, a total of 3,100 rounds of ammunition.

6 RS-82 rockets or up to 100 kg (220 lb) of bombs

See also
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Category:Polikarpov I-16

Related development
Polikarpov I-5 Polikarpov I-15 Polikarpov I-180

Comparable aircraft
Gee Bee R-1 Brewster Buffalo Fiat G.50 Macchi MC.200 Nakajima Ki-27 Seversky P-35


1. 2. ^ Liss 1966, p. 10.

^ Abanshin and Gut 1994, p. 38. 3. ^ Lonard 1981, p. 18-22. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. ^ Liss 1966, p. 10. ^ Price 1975, p. 78. ^ Thomas 2004, p. 80. ^ Liss 1966, p. 10. ^ Stapfer 1996, p. 46. ^ Stapfer 1996, p. 50.


Abanshin, Michael E. and Gut, Nina. Fighting Polikarpov, Eagles of the East No. 2. Lynnwood, WA: Aviation International, 1994. ISBN 1-884909-01-9. Gordon, Yefim and Dexter, Keith. Polikarpov's I-16 Fighter, it's Forerunners and Progeny (Red Star, vol.3). Earl Shilton, Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing Ltd., 2002. ISBN 1-85780-131-8. Gordon, Yefim and Khazanov, Dmitri. Soviet Combat Aircraft of the Second World War, Volume One: Single-Engined Fighters. Earl Shilton, Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing Ltd., 1998. ISBN 1-85780-083-4. Green, William. Warplanes of the Second World War, Volume Three: Fighters. London: Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 1961 (seventh impression 1973). ISBN 0-356-01447-9. Green, William and Swanborough, Gordon. WW2 Aircraft Fact Files: Soviet Air Force Fighters, Part 2. London: Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd., 1978. ISBN 0-354-01088-3. Kopenhagen, W., ed. Das groe Flugzeug-Typenbuch(German). Stuttgart, Germany: Transpress, 1987, ISBN 3-344-00162-0. Lonard, Herbert. Les Avions de Chasse Polikarpov (in French). Rennes, France: Editions Ouest-France, 1981. ISBN 2-85882322-7. Lonard, Herbert. Les Chasseurs Polikarpov (in French). Clichy, France: ditions Larivire, 2004. ISBN 2-914205-07-4. Liss, Witold. The Polikarpov I-16 (Aircraft in Profile Number 122). Leatherhead, Surrey, UK: Profile publications Ltd., 1966. , .. 1938-1950 (in Russian). Moscva: , 1994 (3 .). Price, Alfred. The World War II Fighter Conflict. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1975. ISBN 0-356-08129-X.

Shavrov, V.B. Istoriia konstruktskii samoletov v SSSR (History of aircraft design in USSR) 1938-1950 gg.. Moscow: Mashinostroenie, 1994 (third edition). ISBN 5-217-00477-0. (translation of the name of the title above) Stapfer, Hans-Heiri. Polikarpov Fighters in Action, Part 2 (Aircraft in Action number 158). Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1996. ISBN 0-89747-355-8. Thomas, Geoffrey J. KG 200: The Luftwaffe's Most Secret Unit. London: Hikoki Publications, 2004. ISBN 1-90210-933-3.

External links

Article and photos of I-16 in New Zealand A resource fully dedicated to Polikarpov I-16

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VVS Art Deco : Oddities of Camouflage 1934-41

The Polikarpov I-16 Fighter, Part I
During the latter half of the 1930's an explosion of curious paint schemes began to appear on Soviet military aircraft, some experimental, but many on operational machines. This series of articles will seek to profile some of the more extraordinary examples of these remarkable colorations, and where possible to detail the particulars of their use. It should be stressed that these color schemes are not at all typical and do not represent standard VVS practices, and should be applied by modelers only in the specific cases as described.

This article has been updated with newer artwork and research. The original text will be left "as-is". This helps to track the progress of newer and better information, discoveries, and thoughts about VVS camouflage. Also it is fascinating to see how, or if, perceptions evolve. The updated text will appear in a box like this, and this should be seen when in contradiction to the original to be the correct current interpretation, supplanting the former.

The Polikarpov I-16 Fighter More than any other VVS fighter, the I-16 family of machines seemed to have lent themselves to experimental camouflage and markings during the 1930's. Perhaps the result of its curious, tubby, decoesque shape, or even due to the fact that the I-16 was in production during the entire period of Soviet camouflage experimentation, the explosion of unusual coloration on this machine remains unprecedented. Some examples of odd I-16 camouflage were indeed Officially sponsored experiments, and a superb study of a few of these examples may be found in Vakhlamov and Orlov's article on VVS camouflage (see M-Hobby Magazine issue 1/99). Many examples, no doubt, were also applied by specific factories under atypical conditions or by specific personnel, but to date no documentary evidence of this behavior has yet emerged. The Regiments of the Naval Air Forces (VVS-VMF) are, of course, well known for their extraordinary and unique camouflage throughout the Patriotic War, but it is notable that the Army, too, applied such curious schemes to the I-16, occasionally even at the Divisional level. One can only imagine at a possible motive for these practices, as there is certainly no written documentation explaining these schemes. Unit lan and preference must have played a part, but it is extremely odd to note that some of these schemes appeared at the moment of maximum duress and difficulty, as the German Army moved through western Russia with the Red Army in retreat. Why experiment with camouflage at this time? Were these schemes, then, the product of unit application as a matter of 'practical' camouflage? Did the Army schemes appear as a result of influence from Naval units as the two shared airfields around Leningrad? What about the PVO? I'm afraid that the sheer number of questions raised by these applications simply dwarfs the available information, and so we will have to confine our examinations to the schemes themselves, and merely wonder at their inception.

I-16 Type 28 "Red 1" 161 IAP ? pilot u/k ca. summer 1941

This aircraft was photographed during the Summer of 1941 (see below) with a line-up of other extraordinary I-16s somewhere near Minsk. This aircraft is thought to have been in service with either the 161 or 163 IAP, the pilot being unknown. "Red 1" was completed in a two-color AII scheme comprising Black applied over Green with very angular and geometrically specific shapes. The demarcation between the colors is quite sharp, and there is sufficient difference in weathering between the Green and Black areas to indicate that this application was completed after having left the factory. The cowling was completely black, perhaps recalling the common pre-War I-16 color schemes, except over the lower surfaces which were AII Blue. This fact may well indicate that the machine was completed at the Factory in a common solid Green upper surface application, an idea supported by the newer appearance of the black-painted areas.

I-16 Type 28 "White 54" 161 IAP ? pilot u/k ca. summer 1941

This extraordinary machine was photographed along with "Red 1" above (which, see) during the Summer of 1941 in the Minsk area. As with "1", the pilot is unknown. "54" again sports an AII Black application over AII Green, and similarly the pattern of weathering demonstrates that these were probably not applied together. The Black color has been executed here in a remarkable manner, almost as if 'chunks' of the scheme had been bitten away. As well, the exhaust ports have been highlighted and filled with color, as has the cowl face. A second view demonstrates that 'plain' national star markings are present in four positions: tail/fin and wing lower surfaces. No view is available of the upper and starboard surfaces, and so these must remain the subject of great speculation.

I-16 Type 27 "White 39" 161 IAP ? pilot u/k ca. summer 1941

A third aircraft from the Minsk line-up is this unusual Type 27 wearing the tactical numeral "39". The pilot of this machine is unknown. This aircraft may provide the best clues so far as to the original appearance of the I-16s in this line-up, for minus the Black trim (which was clearly not applied as a component of any camouflage scheme) "39" demonstrates a very typical Zavod 21 AII Green over Blue single-color scheme from 1940-41. It seems likely, upon reflection, that all of the machines in this photo were so delivered, and subsequently modified by the receiving Regiment in the field. In this case, the "artist" chose to apply AII Black as a sort of 'trim' color, somewhat like what was occasionally done in flying schools to I-16s (using white, red, and yellow). The use of the 'stencil' type numeral is quite unusual, and one wonders if this might have been the original style as delivered from the Factory.

I-16 line-up near Minsk, thought to show the aircraft of the 161 or 163 IAP, ca. Summer 1941.

I-16 Type 28 "White 7" 13 IAP-KBF pilot u/k ca. winter 1941-42

This aircraft was photographed also in service with the 13 IAP-KBF during the Winter of 1941-42, near Leningrad. The pilot is thought to be Aleksandr Mironenko [12+4 confirmed], an accomplished ace who flew sometimes as wingman to HSU Kovalev.

"7" seems to have been given a similar treatment to Romanenko's machine (see above), but the pattern of the Dark Green application leads one to wonder if this I-16 may not have been delivered in a two-color pattern originally? The 'scalloping' treatment applied to the cowling is quite unusual, and there is a small tactical numeral "4" rendered in red on the bottom of the rudder. The most remarkable aspect of the scheme, however, are the grey color applications on the wing upper surfaces, these again shown in AE-9 here. An extensive series of photographs of "7" (and indeed, other machines of the 13 IAP-KBF) reside in the archival holdings of the Naval Museum, St.Peterburg, but I do not yet have any of these pictures in my private collection. I hope to publish one of these photos in my upcoming book.

Unfortunately, the exact ownership of the I-16 remains a matter of uncertainty. It matches quite well some anecdotal evidence about Mironenko's Type 28, but no further concrete evidence has emerged.

I-16 Type 17 "Black 6" 71 IAP pilot u/k ca. winter 1941

This older Type 17 machine was photographed in service with the 71 IAP-KBF during the Winter of 1941 in the Leningrad region. The pilot is unknown [some sources have claimed that this aircraft is the mount of Aleksandr Baturin, but documents from the 71 IAP indicate that Baturin flew only I-153s at this time]. "Black 6" is one of the most debated of the curious Naval I-16s. On first glance, the aircraft seems to wear a heavily weathered pre-War AEh-9 finish on the upper surfaces, with AII Blue below. The red trim on the fin/rudder has been freshly applied, as has the neat non-bordered Kremlin Star on the fuselage. The number "6" also appears to be new, and the cowl band was left unpainted. However, I do not, for one, accept this interpretation. The pre-War AEh-9 scheme was applied over the entire aircraft, not on the upper surfaces with AII lacquer below. I find it most unlikely that anyone would carefully apply AII Blue over the lower surfaces of this machine in the field, and in a manner exactly similar to the Factory treatment of the I-16. Moreover, why would the parties responsible for the extensive make-over of this machine (new and professionally applied trim, star, numeral) not also take the time to rectify its corroded surface finish, and only not so on the upper surfaces? It seems incongruous indeed to apply such smart trim to such a battered aircraft. I believe that "Black 6" was the recipient of yet another Naval scheme of curious innovation, this characterized by Medium Grey being applied in a 'wash', or perhaps manually by brush, over a coat of AEh9 grey. I think the original finish was likely to have been AII Green over AII Blue, not a solid color AEh-9 scheme, as proposed. It is even possible that various forms of MK-7 White distemper with contaminant discoloration were used here, rather than grey colors; after all, one might recall that the machine was photographed during the Winter. But, it seems unlikely to me that such a neat job as this was the haphazard result of weathering and re-painting. I find the argument much more convincing that the VMF was

experimenting with camouflage yet again here.

This aircraft continues to fascinate, and the finish is a continuing matter of discussion. I would say that the best current interpretation is that the machine was originally finished in a more usual scheme, perhaps with a singlecolour upper surface. This would appear to have been over-painted with AEh-9 lacquer, and then subsequently perhaps with MK-7 white. The resulting appearance could be the result of MK-7, heavily worn away from the surface. In any case, this scheme is quite remarkable.

I-16 Type 17 "Red 8" 7 IAP St.Leytenant Zhuikov ca. summer 1941

This interesting Type 17 was photographed just after the outbreak of War on the Leningrad front during the summer of 1941. This aircraft was thought to be piloted by St.Lt. G. Zhuikov, 7 IAP, but it is possible that other unit pilots operated "8" as well. The machine appears to have left Zavod 1 (Moscow, where it was manufactured) in one of that factory's trademark Factory Green over AII Blue schemes. It then seems that the scheme was modified--probably as a result of the 1940 Camouflage Directive--with applications of AII Green. Curiously, the fairings over the upper cowling ShKAS guns seem to have been unaffected by the re-painting job, and perhaps were left aside during this process. The spinner has been removed on "Red 8", and the propellor demonstrates considerable weathering. The tactical numeral "8" is trimmed with a white outline, and there is a white flash along the top of the fin/rudder. There is no view available of the upper surfaces of this aircraft, and any re-coloration of those areas remains unknown.

Oh dear... we can see that research has progressed much since the time of this writing, about seven years ago...! Of course, I-16 aircraft were not manufactured at Zavod 1; the scheme cannot be related to this factory as a result. It has since transpired that this finish, "Factory Green" (which is probably in fact AEh-15 lacquer), was indeed used most heavily at Zavod 1, but also on the I-16 programme at another factory as well, either Gor'ki or Novosibirsk. There are other examples, of the Type 29 for example, wearing this lacquer. Be that as it may, the rest of the details of "8" appear to be correct as shown.

I-16 Type 17 "White 29" 7 IAP pilot u/k ca. summer 1942

"29" was photographed in service with the 4 GIAP-KBF (Baltic Front) during the summer of 1942, and has been compared with Vasiliev's famous "White 28" machine of the same Regiment. The pilot of "29" is unknown. Virtually every detail of "29" is remarkable in a way that begs for detailed examination. This aircraft shows unmistakable signs of considerable re-painting and wear. Most of the undersurface AII Blue color appears to be faded and worn, save for the tail wheel strut and horizontal stabilizers, which look freshly applied. Despite the fact that "29" most likely carried a simple AII Green/Blue scheme out of the Factory, the demarcation line on the fuselage is not consistent with any known Factory I-16 practice, being altogether too "messy". Furthermore, areas of the Green finish do not match in shade, though they do in fact match the known appearance of AII Green at different levels of wear. The cowling, fin/rudder, and stabilizers show an older, darkened appearance of AII Green, while the fuselage seems to demonstrate a newer, lighter version. This idea is also consistent with the strange appearance of the color demarcation line on the fuselage; it seems clear that this area has been re-painted sometime after the aircraft's original scheme. The fin and rudder demonstrate what is probably a supplemental application of AII Black (noting that the pattern matches no other known I-16 Black/Green scheme) that seems to be very professionally applied, and with a nice hard demarcation line. The cowl and fuselage, however, have been over-sprayed with a very loose meandering Black application, somewhat reminding one of "28's" treatment. Also similarly, these patterns do not appear to continue--or "wrap"--very well over the top of the machine, probably having been applied by someone standing on the wing (or some such position). The tactical numeral "29" is similar in style to that of Vasiliev's aircraft, but is smaller and more 'stencil-like' in appearance. Further, "29" features smaller, white-bordered national stars as compared to "28's" large, plain red style, and has no national insignia on the fin/rudder. "White 29" also features an inscription on the port side in yellow just aft of the star, "Za Rodinu!". This machine is known from a single photograph in the collection of Mikhail Abramovets, and no view is available of the starboard nor upper surfaces. I hope to publish this photograph in my upcoming book.

I-16 Type 10 "White 15" unit u/k pilot u/k ca. summer 1940

I-16 Type 10 number "15" was allegedly photographed in the summer of 1940, region unknown. The pilot of this machine is as yet unidentified. He appears to be an Army Leitant or St.Leitant, and wears an earlier style of cap giving one the impression that the photo might indeed have been taken in 1940-41. "15" is quite interesting in that it is a very rare example of an I-16 in mottled scheme using what appears to be AEh-9 grey that is not in Navy service. It seems also safe to guess that this aircraft was originally delivered in a basic AII Green/Blue job, and modified subsequently with very soft and well-blended AEh-9 applications. The very nice appearance of the tactical numeral "15", trimmed in red, suggests that this marking is probably original from the Factory. Three shots of "15" exist in the Dimitriev and Petrov collections, but alas none show the upper nor port sides of the aircraft. This is especially disappointing in that the port wing gives a tantalizing hint along the leading edge in the shot below of what appears to be an absolutely unprecedented and extraordinary striped color application on the upper surface involving very thin bands of color. This application is unlike anything I have ever seen before on a VVS machine, and must have been breathtaking to view in person.

I-16 Type 24 no number 178 IAP-PVO pilot u/k ca. summer 1941

This collection of five I-16 Type 24 aircraft is probably the most widely published photograph of the type in all of Western literature, and yet it remains one of the most quixotic, as well. Virtually nothing more is known about the origin nor placement of these fighters.

However, one new piece of evidence has emerged to shed a tiny glimmer of illumination on what is a baffling puzzle--the origin of the photograph is now known. In the basement of the Lenin Library, Moscow, a reel of 16mm film was discovered that is unquestionably the source of these pictures. The film is a

Government propaganda piece, shot by TASS and intended for foreign distribution, dated 16 May 1941, and with the title, "The Soviet Red Army Air Force Guards the Frontiers of the Motherland". This photo is a still taken from the film, very near the beginning as it turns out. This fact sheds some light on the remarkable appearance of these machines. We know from other official Government photographs and films that the subject aircraft are usually well cleaned, and quite spiffy in appearance (as one would expect, really). These utterly immaculate I-16s are finished in an over-all AEh-9 scheme of a type that was by the time of their manufacture (late 1940, at earliest) out of use. Further, the national insignia have been rendered in AII Aluminum dope, and in the pre-War fashion of six locations (upper and lower wing, fuselage). Where the tactical numeral should appear, on the fin/rudder, there is nothing. Even the spinner has been beautifully done in this way, and the small joint between the two pieces has been polished, as have the propellor blades. And, lastly--and if this is not enough--the surface of these aircraft are unusually shiny, and I suspect the entire aircraft has been covered by an application of clear AII dope, a practice which was not unknown in the pre-War era. The results, of course, are the magnificent machines we see in the photo. An appearance not shared, by the way, by the photographing aircraft which was also an I-16 (wearing green of some kind). Their utilization in a propaganda film also explains the complete lack of tactical or regimental markings, and the absence of any usual wear and tear as one would expect on a service fighter. It explains, too, the curious paint scheme, one that was expressly countermanded in the 1940 Camouflage Directive. Thus, and ironically, the appearance of the Polikarpov I-16 most recognizable to the average Western observer is in fact no more than a misleading and highly polished "film star" aircraft, having no relation to the appearance of genuine combat machines in service with the VVS.

Since the time of original writing, the origin of this aircraft has been revealed. These machines were indeed the very same tarted up ishaks appearing in the 16 May 1941 film. It is thought that six I-16 Type 24s were painted in this way, and that they belonged to the 178 IAP-PVO based south of Moscow. The film depicts a number of pilots having a 'briefing' prior to the flight, and the commanding officer in this shot is undoubtedly R. Rakov, the 178's Regimental Commander. There is no information available on what may have happened to these aircraft subsequently, but one doubts very much indeed if they might have remained in such a garrish livery in service. The finish is now thought in

fact to be an over-all coat of AEh-8, not -9, which was slightly darker than the latter and more common paint (and also used by the aerobatic team based at the same airfield).

I-16 Type 10 "Red 12" unit u/k pilot u/k ca. winter 1940-41

"Red 12" was one of a line-up of I-16s photographed in service with an unknown unit on the Leningrad Front, ca. winter 1940-41. The service unit and pilots of these machines are unknown. I have always been amused by V. Romanov's classic line describing this line-up photograph as the "Squadron of the Indecisive Camouflage". Certainly the description seems adequate, for the application and colors used here are indeed unique and unusual. The aircraft in question are all Type 10s with retractable ski undercarriages, and all of them appear to have been finished in a similar manner. Numbers "12, "9", "6", and "3" are visible in the shot. The aircraft are covered with a thick--if not skillfully--applied coat of MK-7 White, both on the upper and lower surfaces. Or, at least most of them. From the well-known view, the cowl face and the upper surface of

the wing outer panels are finished in Black. Or, at least this seems most likely. Romanov claimed the paint was Factory Green color, and while this is indeed plausible as per the appearance of the machines in the photo, it does not seem likely to me that anyone outside of Factory No.1 would have been able to obtain quantities of this paint, whereas Black was entirely ubiquitous. A new view of one of these machines has appeared recently, happily enough, one which has exposed the details of the undersurfaces of these aircraft; details which were previously unknown. This photo [see above] shows one of these aircraft in a rather unfortunate condition, but exposing its undersurface for us to see. One can now make out that the entire fuselage center-section was painted black on the underside, as well. Also, we see more evidence of the color in question--we know that the underside of the skis were black, and unless the unit re-painted these as well their color seems to match very well that on the rest of the machines. The result is, quite in fact, rather a checkerboard appearance, a la Romanov. It should be noted, however, that this type of improbable coloration is not unprecedented in VVS history. There are few photographs showing Il-2s and Yak-7s in a white winter livery supplemented by black appliqu 'blobs' in service on the Leningrad Front during the winter of 1942-43. However odd, someone in that region had the idea of Black and White coloration in mind for some time as a possible Winter application.

I-16 Type 5 no number unit u/k V. Chkalov, S. Suprun, P. Stefanovskiy 1 May 1937




These three absolutely wonderful I-16 Type 5s were finished for the 1937 May Day Parade festivities in Moscow. The pilots of these machines were Chkalov (Red), Suprun (Blue), and Stefanovski (Yellow), perhaps the three greatest fliers in the USSR. These aircraft were in fact standard Type 5 series military machines, each taken directly from the production lines at Zavod 21. The factory finish was probably AEh-9 grey over-all with an AEh-11 Black engine cowling, as was typical at this time. The three machines were then given a beautiful trim color application over this scheme, each in one of the primary colors of red/blue/yellow. The spinners were painted white, were highly polished, and carried a large red five-pointed star on the tip. The machines retained their plain red star national markings on the wing undersurface, but not on the uppers nor fuselage sides. These three machines and their gifted pilots put on what observers have recalled as the greatest flying exhibition in the history of aviation. During the middle of the May Day parade, these aircraft appeared over Red Square in formation, connected one to each other by a five meter long piece of red ribbon. In this fashion, Chkalov, Suprun, and Stefanovski performed all manner of intensive aerobatics--loops, slow barrel rolls, inverted flight, and much more--in formation, never once breaking the ribbon between them. Indeed, the performance was so astounding that the entire event was apparently brought to a halt as all on-lookers

below became transfixed by the three gorgeous aircraft in such improbable flight. The demonstration concluded with a roaring low-level pass over St.Basel's to the thundering applause of the crowds below. As a further tribute to this unique display, all subsequent Red Army acrobatic teams finished their demonstration machines in a manner very similar to the pattern established by these aircraft, as can be seen in countless photographs from 1937-38 onwards. The fate of these three beauties after the 1937 Parade are alas unknown, and no further information about them exists after that time. A stupendous photograph with all three machines and their pilots resides in the collection of the Tsentralniy Dom Aviatsia i Kosmonavtika, Moscow.

Forums > Gallery > Hasegawa Polikarpov I-16 in 1/72 PDA

View Full Version : Hasegawa Polikarpov I-16 in 1/72


10-29-2006, 03:44 PM Since nobody talked abou actually finishing a model, here's what I've been doing when the He-170 becomes too tedious. This is the Hasegawa I-16 type 24. Inspired by Joe's marvelous build (<a href='' target='_blank'>Joe's Rat</a>), I thought this could be funnier and faster. Well, it's being funny. Let me quote an analysis found on the Internet: 1. The fuselage most closely represents a Type 24 machine, but the shape and details are fairly out of sorts. I have built this kit with the fuselage 'as is', but more detailed modelers will want to correct the shape of the fin/rudder, and the profile of the fuselage. 2. The fuselage is too narrow, as well, and card should be inserted to correct this problem. 3. The wing inner sections are basically acceptable, but the planform of the outer portions are horribly wrong. The result is a model that does not resemble an I-16 very closely; the 'look' is quite spoilt by these defects. This is all the more unhappy, as the technical treatment of the wing ribbing details, especially on the undersurface, are really quite good and to my liking. 4. The cowling is similar to the ICM kit, and will require modification to the lower oil cooler intake shape. 5. Also, ski-gear troughs will have to be added for any realistic I-16 variant to build with this kit. 6. A propeller hub is kindly provided, and the spinner itself is a very good representation of the M-62/constant-speed prop combination, as on the Type 18 and 27. In all other respects, the kit is basically sound and buildable. I also have the ICM kit, and after comparing both against the drawings, I must agree with the items 1-3. I disagree with item 5, since I found some photos of later types without the ski slots. Item 6 is correct. All in all, I think this could be a nice 'few-weeks' project, But definitely the Hasegawa kit is not a good choice for earlier variants. As for the ICM, it is a wonderful kit, so I decided to save it for a future diorama with open engine panels. Of course I'm ignoring the items 1-5 pointed above. I will, however, copy the wheels, some of the landing gear covers and the spinner from the ICM kit. A new cockpit was scratchbuilt. I kept the control column and used the decal representation of the instrument panel, adding a few red/yellow buttons to add some color. I initially planned to copy the ICM panel, which is very good, and apply Mike's instruments one by one, but... Sorry Mike, not this time. Next, I decided to open the exhaust slots. Everything was fine until the last pass, when I screwed (again) them. The engine panels were removed and I copied the ICM ones. By luck, I didn't lost too much time on this. The exhaust ends were made with brass tubing. I'm still thinking on how to fix them inside the fuselage (that's why the wires...):

I then shoved off the cockpit details inside the fuselage, added some structural details, and made a new set of levers, handles, etc.: I didn't bothered much about the exact color of the individual items, except for the IMUP blue-grey primer, which I mixed from Vallejo acrylics. The cockpit was then glued to the fuselage: Before closing the fuselage, I noted in the photos that the 'Moscas' had a pair of openings ahead the instrument panel cushion. Apparently, they are glassed. My guess is that the I-16 didn't have electrical lights, so these windows would help to illuminate the panel (anyone?): I'm now working on the wings and the new spinner. As I said, I don't want to use any ICM parts (budget constraints): I'll be out for a couple of weeks. Heading to Argentina (maybe I find the Special Hobby F3A around). So, if I don't reply to you immediately, you know why. Hope you like it. Take care you all, Rato Tim Treadway

10-29-2006, 04:53 PM Beautimous! You are correct about the skylights above the instrument panel. That thing is a black hole inside when closed up and a pilot sitting in it. Had to get some light in there someway. :thumb: Timmay! Red Ruffensore Some people are just scary good! :pinch: :thumb: Red Donovan

10-29-2006, 07:16 PM

10-29-2006, 08:36 PM Nice work Rato. I find it funny this is a break for you. It would be the most intricate thing I've ever done. Look forward to seeing some more shots and have a safe trip. Cheers, Donovan ww2nut 10-29-2006, 10:43 PM Very nice work're giving it more attention than I gave mine and it looks great. There are a lot of inaccuracies with the Hasegawa kit but I'm not enough of an I-16 expert to be as bothered by some of it as others. I agree that you are making the important changes. I didn't add the "light holes" to my Type 17...I couldn't figure out if all the I-16's had don't all seem to show them??? Joe Rato

12-09-2006, 10:36 AM Thanks for your comments, boys. This one is a piece of cake compared to the He-70... Here's what I did since my return from Argentina. The cowling panels were attached using CA glue (the wings are not glued to the fuselage as yet): I'm always looking for excuses to use my beading tool set. The fasteners around the engine panel hinge area are good ones: The cowling panels will receive rivet lines later, so I reinforce their joints with epoxy glue on the inside: The nose was sanded from the inside to reduce its thickness, as I plan to leave the radiator open. The gun muzzles were bored. The white ring you see will be that natural metal ring characteristic of the I-16: Antecipating any difficulty in painting the exhaust stacks after assembling them, I decided to paint the model first, then insert the engine with the stacks already installed and painted/weathered, and finally glue the nose. Here's the engine with the stacks adjusted to fit the cowling openings (it's a tight fit): To guarantee a proper alignment of the stacks, a slot was placed inside the fuselage. The engine assembly literally clicks on in: That's it for now. Next time I hope to have the wings/stabilizers already glued. Rato ww2nut Oooo...looking good! I like the exhaust pipes. That will add a lot to the look of the model. Joe Tim Treadway :shock::thumb::thumb:Timmay! BlueNosers352nd I'll have you know that this just plain wrong! LOL spitfiresteve 12-09-2006, 11:59 AM

12-09-2006, 10:46 AM

12-09-2006, 12:05 PM

12-10-2006, 06:50 PM Rato, I think you and Len must have been separated at birth and dispersed around the world.You are both loony's:shock: Stunning work in that scale....oh bollox its stunning work in any bloody scale. Keep the pics coming.:thumb: Gnat

12-11-2006, 08:07 AM And you bought the kit for what reason? I mean if your just gonna redo the whole thing why bother? I don't see how you guys do those tiny tiny models...but sooooo nice. Gnat Johnnyfartpants

12-11-2006, 12:19 PM Superb work Rato. Just picturing the size and scale of the model makes me absolutley appreciate your skills. Very inspiring! Rato

02-18-2007, 09:47 PM

Gang, Sorry, I'm late. Just returned from a long business trip, plus some vacation days with family. While I don't have the courage needed to mask the canopy of the He-170, I turned my attention to the little Ppov. Here is it with some "differential pre-shading", learned with Drewe's B-25 (nice tip, btw): And then I finished some smaller bits, and copied the wheels and lg doors from the ICM kit: The main landing gear received some refinements, as per photos of the prototype. The kit parts are too plain... And finally some adjustments to get a good alignment: With luck, I'll be painting the little fly in the next days. Take care you all. PS: Steve, Len can't be my brother... he's too damn ugly :P . Rato Red Ruffensore

02-19-2007, 06:42 AM Damn Rato, that is about as fantastic a job scratchbuilding a real model I have seen. :thumb: That looks killer bad! (Redneckese for out of this world) Red jenshb A lovely attention to detail - we may get used to it from your hand, but never tired of watching... Jens MoFo Lenthomson Len can't be my brother... he's too damn ugly I resemble that remark. Simply stunning, Rato, stunning. It really does put mine to shame. BlueNosers352nd Nut house called, they have a vacancy!

02-19-2007, 06:44 AM

02-19-2007, 12:42 PM

02-19-2007, 04:38 PM

02-19-2007, 05:35 PM

JK..........Looks awesome.

ww2nut My build was laughable compared to your work Rato....just gorgeous!! Joe Tim Treadway Sweet! Ya you betcha! :thumb::thumb: Timmay! Rato

02-19-2007, 11:47 PM

02-20-2007, 10:27 AM

03-25-2008, 01:11 PM It's been a while, eh? Suffices to say that I had a very tuff 2007, with my share of serious personal problems, so... Anyway, at least I will add here the pics of my little I-16, which was finished ages ago. No in-progress pics, since the new forum doesn't allow me to add more than 4 pics per message (I won't put 10+ messages to show them all!). Sorry for my lack of patience, but I have to catch up with a year of pics. Rato Rato Rato Rato Rato 03-25-2008, 01:13 PM

03-25-2008, 01:12 PM

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03-25-2008, 01:24 PM

And a useful trick: Red Ruffensore Great work Rato, good to see it finished and to see you back. Beautiful little Rat! Red Tim Treadway Marvelous. Simply marvelous. That little bug rocks. Timmay! Doghaus

03-25-2008, 01:25 PM

03-25-2008, 01:36 PM

03-25-2008, 02:10 PM You are either very young and have great eyesight (Sigh!) or else you have discovered a source for a 24X diopter lens! Great Work! Looking forward to more pix! ~Rick feddawg Glad to see an old thread come to a close. Nice touch on the paint and details. ww2nut

03-25-2008, 03:47 PM

03-25-2008, 06:33 PM Well I have to say that blows my build out of the water Rato! That's some of the finest 1/72 scale work I have seen lately! I liked many of your techniques used here and always look forward to seeing "how you did it". Thanks for taking the time to post the pics. I know Bert is slaving away on a back dated version of ICM's little I-16. It's got a more accurate wing than the Hasegawa kit but I have to say it looks like a chore of a build. Joe Scott_D great work very impressive. StyrenePilot1970 Beautiful! Stunning work! On this and the aforementioned He-70!! Rato 03-25-2008, 09:38 PM Coming from you, it really means a lot. Now I'll resume work on the Storch, Sd.Kfz.253, AGM-86 and of course the He-70. What a drive, boys... Take care Rato talon Gee-orgy-us. Such fine work on such a little model. Tim Treadway

03-25-2008, 07:05 PM

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03-26-2008, 04:04 AM

03-26-2008, 06:18 PM How did you get such thin cross sections such as the ICM LG doors to cast? That is very fine work. Timmay!


03-27-2008, 10:46 AM No secrets, Tim. Just glued the ICM doors on a piece of sprue and made a single mold. I've been using hard rubber instead of the smooth one, which helps the mold to keep the original thickness. On the other side, it won't last more then three or four castings. vBulletin v3.7.4, Copyright 2000-2010, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.