This is the second offering of the I-153 in 1/48th scale. The initial release having been reviewed by our own Rowan Baylis back in January; a link to Rowan’s review can be found at the end of this review. I do not fancy going head to head with Rowan and so I will be reviewing this as a model, as such I will not be trying to tackle the minutiae of its accuracy because I am not qualified to do so.
As has become the norm for ICM
, this model is packed in a substantial cardboard flip top box and a further card lid with the model artwork on it. The efforts made by ICM
as regards packing should be up to coping with most postal services around the world. Inside of the box you will find a single re-sealable plastic bag, inside of which you will find 5 grey plastic sprues, a further bagged clear sprue and these are packed in the box with the instruction sheet, inside of that you will find the decal sheet for the model.
As model kits go, this is possibly the smallest 1/48th scale aircraft model I have tackled. An examination of the parts indicates that there are no ejector pin marks of concern and the flow lines seen in some locations do not appear to have marred the finish of the plastic parts. Disappointingly I have found some dents in the underside of the top wing surface on the right hand side, these marks are not shrink marks from what I can see, it is more like something was pressed into it before the plastic had completely cooled. Either way these marks will need to ideally be filled, that is shame because the finish feels to have a subtle texture to it. I will add that as Rowan does not mention this issue, it is likely an unusual occurrence rather than a regular fault.
The cockpit area of the model has some nice detail present on the inner face of both fuselage halves. The cockpit seat is supplied in two parts by ICM
, and in the centre back of the seat is an ejector mark that may need a little work. There is no harness detail on the seat and I do not know if this aircraft even had a harness, as such some internet searches look to be in my future. The cockpit floor has very little detail present, other than a raised area where the control stick goes and a fairly large recessed area in front of that. The frame around the cockpit area is present and looks quite good to me; the frame is also used to mount the instrument panel, two gauges and an unknown instrument. There are also a couple of oxygen cylinders inside the cockpit area.
Believe it or not after tackling the minimal cockpit, you will be gluing the fuselage halves together and attaching the lower wing. I suppose I should mention that this model when completed has a smaller width and length than the width of an A4 sheet of paper. The panel lines present on the fuselage are fine and recessed. The upper wing and tail are now added, and other than the poor finish on the underside of the upper wing, everything looks fine. This kit will build up at the same speed as a 1/72nd scale kit offering I feel.
The rotary engine has good cylinder detail, the ignition harness and exhaust looks pleasing to my eye. With the engine cowlings in place very little of this detail will be visible. The propeller looks to have an adjustable pitch to it, but I think this can only be adjusted on the ground as opposed to a variable pitch in flight. I again like what I see, and while I have been told there are issues with this part of the model, very few people will ever know or notice.
The difference between this and the previous offering is next, the under carriage. This being the ski form of the under carriage and it would appear still retractable, with the exception that the skies remain on the outside of the bays. Shaped covers are provided for the wheel portion of the under carriage bay and it is this shaped area that leads me to believe the struts can still be retracted. There is of course a set skid for the tail as well.
The model is basically finished at this point other the modellers choice of which bomb load to add. You have the choice of two different bomb type or eight rockets, once decided the model can be assigned to the paint shed.
has provided four finishing options for this model, two Soviet and two Finnish. The Soviet aircraft are an all over aluminium finish with very little difference in the machines. Both of these aircraft are listed as Red Army Air Force, 1940. The two Finnish offerings are much more interesting to look at I feel. You are offered a green finish with blue underside as a 1940 aircraft, or a 1942 machine in two colour camouflage, blue underside and yellow stripes. I am going to go for that one as it will make this little plane POP on the shelf, and I suspect resulted in a lot being shot down as well.
The decals are nicely thin and so should be usable on the model, my one concern is that the Finnish swastikas have each been supplied in five parts and as such may result in a less than pleasing result due to the double decal thickness.
While disappointed to find a fault in the finish of the upper wing, I still feel this is a wonderful little model. The issue that may exist with the Finnish swastikas is not insurmountable should it prove to be an issue. Regardless of the accuracy issues I am told exist I feel this will be a real eye catcher, especially if like me you are attracted to the second Finnish finishing option.
Polikarpov I-153 review by Rowan Baylis