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 Pavla 1:72: Polikarpov I-15 - Spanish Civil War

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Join date : 2017-02-18
Location : California

PostSubject: Pavla 1:72: Polikarpov I-15 - Spanish Civil War   Thu Feb 23 2017, 00:31

Two East European model manufacturers always seem to command high prices for their products on Ebay. One is Azur and the other, featured here, is by Pavla. I finally managed to get a kit from each company for a reasonable price and wanted to see if they are worth it. For the Pavla kit you will need to read to the end of the review. Wink

The Polikarpov I-15

Designed in the mid-1930's, the Polikarpov I-15 (also called the "Chaika" or seagull in Russian because of its upper-wing design) was a successful biplane fighter. Fast (for its time), maneuverable, and reliable, the I-15 would find service in the Soviet Air Force as well as serving in the Spanish Republican and Chinese Air Forces prior to World War Two. The fighter was normally armed with four nose-mounted 7.62 mm machine guns.

The gull-wing design was unpopular with pilots as it restricted visibility. To remedy this, the Polikarpov Design Bureau replaced the gull-wing with a straight wing design and named the plane the I-15bis.

The Kit

The model comes bagged in a massively oversized box for the contents inside. The light gray parts are molded on a single sprue-tree. The are, for the most part, free of flash and have nice details molded to all external parts. Several resin parts, including the nose cowling, are molded onto blocks inside a separate bag. The windshield is molded into a single vacu-formed piece giving you two windshields to mess with (which is a good thing).

With the decals you can make five different aircraft (1 Soviet, 1 Spanish Nationalist, and 3 Spanish Republican). The decals looked to be nicely printed and of good quality.

The Build

I chose to build my model in the colors of the Commanding Officer of the 1st Escuadrilla de Caza, Vincente Castillo, of the Spanish Republican Air Force in 1938.

I began by cutting and trimming the resin parts. Why Pavla felt the need to attach the nose cowl ring to a block of resin is beyond me. Needless to say you need a razor-saw and great care to cut it free. All other resin parts offered the same challenges to be found in dealing with resin. Not bad, just something requiring extra care (which equals more time). Gluing the resin parts was much more difficult than anticipated and I wondered if there was something on them that didn't come off when washed. The cockpit does not have a great deal of detail (floor, seat, stick, side rails, rudder pedals and instrument panel) but, in this scale, you cannot see much anyway. In fact I left the instrument panel out entirely as it didn't fit at all and wasn't worth the effort to make it. So out it went.

As always seems to be the case with Eastern European models there are no guide pins. Everything is flat / butt fitted but this wasn't a major problem. What _was_ a major problem is that the engine didn't fit at all. Mad I had to do a great deal of work to cut and fit the engine into the fuselage as instructed. Lots of the fuselage was removed to make this possible.

The remaining assembly went on without much in the way of additional drama. There are two windows on each side of the canopy for which you will need to make your own glazing. I used the Testors clear parts cement to make my own windows and found it did a nice job doing so. The windscreen was another part that was not sized to fit and requires a lot of work to get right. I'm glad I had two chances to succeed as I botched the first but managed to make good on the second windscreen. I rigged the model and applied paint.

After that, the decals were next. They are rather nice but you only have a short amount of time to get them into place before they crack and break into pieces. There is supposed to be a thin vertical red stripe decal, behind the red fuselage band, but it broke into pieces when I tried putting it into place. The rudder decals was way oversize and did not fit the rudder without lots of trimming. I then sealed the model with Pledge and called it good.

One other note, the kit failed to provide any exhaust stacks for the engine. If you want them they will need to be scratch-built.

Conclusions

Well, I don't see what all the fuss is with this particular manufacturer. I didn't see or experience anything making it a brand I would want to build again (if this kit is any example). It was not worth all the time and effort to cut and trim parts, that should have been molded correctly the first time, to make parts fit together. Many parts were oversize and had to be severely trimmed and omitted entirely (instrument panel and gun sight for example). Yet you can find wonderful examples of great build of this kit. So did I get a bad example or is it me in this case? I don't know, but it is doubtful I will try to find out with a Pavla kit again.

The Pics!

Sorry I couldn't seem to get decent pics this time around.














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