Polikarpov I-152 (I-15 bis)
with and without skis
Two 1/48th scale models by Classic Airframes
review and photos by Steve Jantscher
|Catalog Number:||CLS454 (CLS455 w/skis)|
These two kits represent different landing gear versions of the conventionally winged Polikarpov I-15 series of aircraft. Lacking the signature upper gull wing of the rest of the I-15 series of aircraft, the "bis" version of the I-15 saw serious action in Mongolia against Japan, in Finland during the Winter War (where many were captured and used by the Finns) and throughout the war against Germany. Originally seen as an attempt to improve on the I-15, the I-15 bis ( otherwise known as the I-152, signifying the second model of the I-15) suffered for the most part as a fighter by being too heavy, and underpowered. As a fighter, the "bis" version was supplanted by the follow-on I-15 version, the I-153, which returned the gull wing and added retracting landing gear.
I was surprised to read that the I-152 were used to shoot air to air rockets against the Japanese during the Mongolian campaign, which often resulted in broken enemy formations. Brave pilots often used the little I-152 to make ramming attacks against their German foes. While desperate times called for the commitment of the I-152 as a fighter, it's role was to become better known as a night fighter/bomber.
This review combines two new releases from Classic Airframes, both being I-152s, the only difference being that one kit (#455) offers the addition of some resin snow skis. Other than the resin skis, and differing decals, these two kits are identical. The detail and fabric effect is quite acceptable, but one gets the feeling of slight softness in detail. The panel lines are recessed and petite. There is just the hint of flash, and again the part spru gates are larger than one sees in Hasegawa or Tamiya quality kits. All this points to a bit more work on the preparation side before assembly can begin. The resin parts (full cockpit, side walls and floor etc) are beautiful, as are the decals (printed by Microscale). The photo etch provided looks good, and represents the engine front louvres. Two sets of two different type of windshields are provided as vacuform parts. I also like the very high quality of the instructions.
Overall, I think this is a fine kit. It doesn't look like a Tamiya shake the box and add paint kind of kit. This will require modeling skills. Gosh, think of that. But everything one needs to make a very good I-152 is here except some external ordnance.
Ski option decals (kit # 455)
Normal landing gear decals (kit # 454)
This kit fills an important gap. It shouldn't require too much work to turn out an excellent replica.
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