ICM's 1/72 Polikarpov I-16 Type 24

By Matt Bittner


Entering service early in 1935, the stubby little I-16 was in fact, at that time, the most advanced fighter anywhere in the world, and remained so until well into the latter parts of the decade. Though none of its innovative design features were, by themselves, revolutionary, their introduction into a single package comprising a tiny high speed fighter was shattering, and marked a significant leap forward in the history of aerodynamics.

Always an aircraft requiring precise handling, the tiny 'Mosca' was as beloved by its experienced pilots as it was feared by novices. By 1941, the latter types of I-16 were powered by the M-62 and M-63 engines, and could exceed 300 mph. Extremely maneuverable, and with an excellent zoom climb, the I-16 was by no means as outdated during the initial months of Barbarossa as has been alleged, and in fact accumulated in many Regiments an outstanding record against the German invaders during 1941-42.

The Kit

The ICM I-16 Type 24 contains 53 injected plastic pieces with two clear injected pieces comprising the windscreen and the gun sight. Detail is exceptional and the outline is spot on, except for one area. There is some flash around parts, but nothing to be too concerned about.

The one area that doesn't match drawings (as they appear in the Armada I-16 book) is the windscreen. It doesn't appear to be the correct shape, being far too squat. In addition it's a little thick for 1/72nd, so a vac (or "squashed") replacement might be wanted instead.

As I said, the level of detail is exceptional, especially in the area of the engine. There are a lot of parts (I have heard 14) that make up the engine/forward cowl area alone. The engine is complete down to the wiring. An aspiring modeler would want to leave some of the cowl pieces off and expose the well-detailed engine and firewall.

The rudder and stabilizers are separate, and one might be able to mount these so they're moveable, if you're so inclined. Cockpit detail is satisfactory if the doors are left closed; however, if they you want to open them you will want to replicate the cockpit sidewall structure since ICM didn't mold anything on the sidewalls.

There are enough decals to model nine separate schemes - an extremely nice selection of aircraft being provided.


This is an awesome model, one I can't wait to dig my teeth into. Very yummy, and finally an accurate I-16. Well done, ICM!

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