1/72 Special Hobby TsKB-3 (I-15 Prototype)

 

TsKB-3, a biplane fighter powered by Wright R-1820 Cyclone engine, was developed in 1933 by Nikolai Polikarpov as a successor to his earlier design I-5. It was put in production in 1934 under the name I-15 and became famous in combat in Spain where it proved to be one of the best biplane fighters of its time.

If I was going to build a 1/72 I-15 today, I would probably start with a new ICM model. However, a few years ago, long before it was released one had to choose from three limited-run offerings from Aviation Usk, Pavla and Special Hobby (the last one was also sold under Azur label). After reading the (somewhat misleading) reviews and arriving at a conclusion that none of these models is perfect, I decided to go with Special Hobby.
 
This is a typical «multimedia» kit of average quality – short-run plastic parts with thin panel lines and nice fabric representation, but with a grainy surface that needs sanding and polishing, small photoetch fret and some resin parts. Decal is very good and even includes the markings for the TsKB-3 prototype which I was going to build, although the fact that TsKB-3 differs from the production I-15 significantly (for example, it has a smaller fin) and can not be built straight out of the box is not reflected in the instruction. I used the excellent book «I-15 Fighter» by Mikhail Maslov as a main reference. Comparing the kit parts to the plans from this book quickly revealed a few problems. Upper wing is the worst – it is completely flat, without any ditheral, and its “gull” center area is too wide, making it look almost like an I-153 wing. I decided to compromise by cutting the wing in two halves, removing a couple millimeters in order to narrow the «gull» and then gluing the wing together with the correct ditheral. This, of course, also reduced the wing span, but it is less noticeable than the wide center section.

 

The fuselage is far from perfect too – it's front is too deep, and needs to be corrected. The cowling ring, which was too small in diameter, was replaced with a new one, formed from the sheet styrene over the old one. The engine is provided in resin. This sounds promising, but, unfortunately, the part is very crude, and for some unknown reason is cast integrally with the inner cowling. I decided to replace the engine with the aftermarket part – a nice resin M-25/R-1820 produced by Prop&Jet. The cowling was scratchbuilt by heat forming it over the wooden shape and then cutting the holes using a needle and a spinning template, pinned to the center of the cowling.
 
 

The fin was shaped to resemble TsKB-3, crude stabilizer struts, propeller hub, air intake, gun sight were all replaced with the scratchbuilt parts.




The model was painted with Gunze Sangyo acrylic paint, followed by Tamiya clear coat, a wash and finally a semi-gloss coat.

 

In the end I was pretty disappointed by this model – I did not expect it would require so much work. Today, when a much better I-15 from ICM can be bought for half a price of this kit, the inaccurate and difficult to built Special Hobby kit is hardly of any interest. Still, it can be built into a decent, if not perfectly accurate I-15.


Share

Comments (10)

RSS Collapse / Expand
+
0
Nice work done ;-)
avatar

Michael_XIII

  • 22 July 2010, 10:36
+
0
Thanks!
avatar

coshker

+
0
Very nice model! Attention to every detail.
How did you do the rigging?
avatar

Minsk94

  • 22 July 2010, 22:05
+
0
I used an elastic translucent thread. It is too thick, but can be easily separated along its fibers. Then it was twisted a little to give it a round cross-section and glued into the holes, drilled in plastic (all this before painting). I use the same stuff on all my models ever since.
avatar

coshker

+
0
Thanks! I am guessing, the tread holds the model together due to being stretchy? But it is amazing how accurate it's done, and perfectly aligned!
avatar

Minsk94

+
0
I am guessing, the tread holds the model together due to being stretchy?
… more likely, rips it apart:) I always try to stretch the thread as ligtly as possible — in fact, only enough to avoid sagging. I guess, is's possible to rig the model so that the forces, created by the thread tension cancel each other, but in reality a strongly stretched thread can easily warp wings, struts, etc., especially if we are talking about resin parts. Happened to me with resin and white metal antenna masts, for example.
avatar

coshker

+
0
Well done! I liked the engine section especially, and of course rigging is awesome.
avatar

Sanchez

  • 30 July 2010, 11:57
+
0
Congratulations!That is fantasctic model!Very interesting subject also
avatar

skynet

  • 30 July 2010, 19:21
+
0
Sanchez, skynet, thanks!
avatar

coshker

  • 01 August 2010, 08:57
+
0
nice color
avatar

foxx

  • 06 August 2010, 17:22

Registered and authorized users can post comments only.
Blogs, Props, 1/72 Special Hobby TsKB-3 (I-15 Prototype)