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Author Topic: Building a 1/72 I-153  (Read 13260 times)
John Thompson
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« on: September 23, 2010, 09:34:05 PM »

A few months ago, I tried joining the rear parts of the fuselage halves from a 1/72 ICM I-15bis to the front sections of a Heller I-153, just as an experiment. This actually worked quite well.



Over the past few days, I started looking at this again, using the drawings from Mikhail Maslov?s I-153 book, reduced to 1/72 scale, as a reference. The drawing below, which I found on scalemodels.ru, is a combined version of the main views from Maslov?s originals.



Cowling: The cowling in the Heller kit was shaped badly because of poor molding. I decided to use the rear part of the Amodel I-153 cowling, which is in two pieces (front and rear) but is otherwise almost identical to the one-piece Heller cowling. For the front part, I discovered that the cowling face from the ICM I-16 can be modified without too much difficulty, to convert it to the same configuration as an I-153. According to the drawings, it also needs to be made thicker; I did this by cutting out a plastic ring and gluing it to the back of the cowling face. The diameter of the ICM face matches the Amodel rear cowling section perfectly. I?ll try to post some comparison images showing the new face with an unmodified I-16 part when this is finished.

Upper wings: The Heller centre section is too wide ? the valley that makes the ?gull? effect should be more like the letter ?V? instead of a sort of spread-out ?U?. I haven?t decided how to correct this yet ? just cutting it and making it narrower will mean that it won?t fit properly to the fuselage. The outer wing sections from the ICM I-15bis are correct for the I-153, so these can be cut off from their centre section and used in place of the Heller ones. This also eliminates the excessive rib and fabric effect of the Heller wings.

It might be possible somehow to use the centre section from the ICM I-15 upper wings, since this has a somewhat more accurate gull shape, but I haven?t looked closely at this yet. Adapting it to the Heller forward fuselage section would be challenging ? I believe that part of the problem with the ?valley? width identified above is that what might be called the two ?horns? on the Heller fuselage to which the upper wing attaches may be too far apart in comparison to the drawings. This would be very difficult to correct neatly, and it will interfere with using the ICM I-15 wing or its centre section.

Lower wings: Again, the ones from the I-15bis can be used just as they are. The Heller wings need to be cut off from their centre section (which includes the wheel wells), the ICM wings also removed from their centre section, and used to replace the Heller wing panels. Like the upper wings, the ICM lower wings also have better rib detail.

Tailplanes and rudder: ICM I-15bis parts match the I-153 drawings perfectly, and again have much more realistic rib and fabric detail.

Comments: As you can see, a lot of the parts to do this project can be used from at least two, possibly three, ICM kits which already exist; I assume ICM still has the masters for these kits. It would seem to make sense for them to use these masters, or modified copies of them in the case of the I-15bis fuselage halves, upper and lower I-15bis wings, and I-16 cowling face, to create a new and accurate 1/72 I-153 kit. This certainly involves some work, but it?s a lot less than designing a new kit starting from scratch. Most (or even all) of the smaller parts from the I-15bis can be used just as they are. New masters would obviously be needed for the I-153 landing gear. I wish they would do it soon!

John
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Massimo Tessitori
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2010, 09:50:15 PM »

Hi John,
your project on I-153 is very interesting. Only, it looks that you need to sacrifice one I-16, one i-15 and two I-153s... it looks a bit too much. I think to have obtained a fair work on the base of the cowling of the I-153 of Heller by deeply filing it on its sides.
Is there any photoetched set for I-153 available? I remember some pieces in an edition of the Smer kit, including the front grille of the engine. This would reduce the needed kits to one I-153 and one I-15.
Massimo
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John Thompson
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2010, 10:13:39 PM »

Hi Massimo! Yes, it's a lot of work, and means taking parts from too many kits, but I planned at some point to communicate this to ICM, hoping they'd understand my idea and just release a good I-153!

Your point about the Smer photoetch is a good one; I believe I have this kit in my collection, so I will look for it later and see what is included. I've already done a lot of work on the I-16 cowling face, so it's too late to turn back now, but at least I can see how accurate the Smer photoetch is.

Regarding other photoetch sets, here's the one to look for, made by Interavia, although it has been out of production for a long time. The reason I say it's worth looking for is because it inludes panels to make a new cowling!



John
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John Thompson
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2010, 11:13:45 PM »


Is there any photoetched set for I-153 available? I remember some pieces in an edition of the Smer kit, including the front grille of the engine.

Massimo


Well, my face is red - I didn't even realize that kit had photoetch in it! The p/e, decals, and resin parts (it's a Hi Tech Plus version of the Smer/Heller kit) were all in one stapled bag, and the p/e was hidden by the decal sheet! Here's a quick scan, which I hope is clear enough - the metal of the photoetch is very shiny:



And yes, that cowling face is very nice - certainly better than the one I'm making from the I-16 cowling! The wheel well inserts and instrument panel (with printed clear film intrument faces) are also quite good.

 Embarrassed

John
« Last Edit: September 23, 2010, 11:20:42 PM by John Thompson » Logged
learstang
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« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2010, 11:55:58 PM »

It's interesting to see you making this I-153, John, as I've recently had a similar idea to make a reasonably accurate Chaika.  In fact, I was planning on mating an Amodel front fuselage to a Heller rear fuselage, whilst using the wings and tail parts from the Amodel kit.  I have the two kits, but have yet to start cutting plastic.  Hopefully it will work as well as your I-15bis/I-153 fuselage.  Since I have the parts, I'm going to try it, and I'd hate to waste an ICM I-15bis (I already have one built up and I think it's a nice little kit - why don't they have an I-153?!).  There is a Quickboost set, number QB72268 available from Hannants for the entire I-153 cowling.  I can't see from the picture if it includes the front shutter, but I intend on buying it anyway.  I didn't realise that the Smer kit included photoetched parts nor that someone had released an aftermarket photoetch detail set for the Chaika.  I'll have to look for that.  Good luck with your model and I will be watching with great interest!

Regards,

Jason
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Massimo Tessitori
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2010, 07:36:17 AM »

Hi John and Jason,

the interavia sheet looks complete, the plate around the cowling will give the shapes and positions of the holes. But, if I don't miss, the holes are oblique inside, so an oblique hole made by drilling looks better.

Smer has two kits of this plane, one with resin and photoetched parts, tho other one is the crude kit as Heller and is cheaper.

Jason, you have both the Heller and Amodel kits, how are them compared? I supposed that they were very similar, but from what you both wrote I suspect that it's not right.

Massimo
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John Thompson
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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2010, 09:35:23 PM »

There is a Quickboost set, number QB72268 available from Hannants for the entire I-153 cowling.  I can't see from the picture if it includes the front shutter, but I intend on buying it anyway.  I didn't realise that the Smer kit included photoetched parts nor that someone had released an aftermarket photoetch detail set for the Chaika.  I'll have to look for that.  Good luck with your model and I will be watching with great interest!

Regards,

Jason

Hi Jason! When the Quickboost cowling first appeared, I was very curious about it. The same image appears on Quickboost's site and one or two others, and it doesn't show the front of the cowling, just as you say. Any chance you can post an image, or at least give a verbal report, when you get it? I have a nasty suspicion it might be the Heller cowling with exhaust stacks added, and not a completely original replacement.

This might be of interest:
http://vvs.hobbyvista.com/Modeling/Polikarpov/I-153/72nd_Comparison/index.php
...although his criticism of the Heller and Amodel cowlings is rather vague.

My I-153 project is becoming a bit of a pain, for at least two reasons:
(1) The ICM cockpit parts don't fit into the fuselage very well, and this has nothing to do with the Heller front section I installed. The separate framework interferes with the floor and seatback armour when you join the fuselage halves. How did you handle this with the I-15bis you built? I might just cut the rear part of the framework off at the point where it meets the armour panel behind the seat. Or leave it out entirely...
(2) I realize now that there was no reason for me to choose the I-15bis kit to steal the rear half of the fuselage instead of the I-15. I mention this only because it looks like the I-15 upper wing could be made to work, and now I'll be butchering an I-15 as well as an I-15bis, when I could have used just the I-15 - the rear fuselage, tailplanes, rudder, and lower wings are not different between the two kits in any important way. Next time... Wink

John
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Massimo Tessitori
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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2010, 10:31:55 PM »

Quote
This might be of interest:
http://vvs.hobbyvista.com/Modeling/Polikarpov/I-153/72nd_Comparison/index.php
...although his criticism of the Heller and Amodel cowlings is rather vague.
Hi John,
When I utilized the scale drawings of EP for the fuselage of Heller, it looked much less wrong than in the comparation of this page. I don't know if his image was distorted by the scanner or what else.
Massimo
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learstang
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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2010, 01:23:35 AM »

Massimo, I spoke a little too soon about that Amodel kit - I expected it when I got back from vacation, but it's still a no show.  Hopefully in the next few days I'll get it (things seem to take a while to get from the Ukraine to the States - it's been more than a month since I ordered it).  As soon as I do I'll report on the similarities/differences with the Heller kit (which I do indeed have in my grubby little hands!).  John, I'd seen that comparison by EP before, and I'm basing my "corrected" I-153 at least partly on that.  I realise that EP has gotten a bit of a black eye in some respects, but I think he did his homework on this article.  As far as the ICM I-15bis kit, you are correct about the cockpit - what I did was cut quite a bit of plastic away on both sides of the armoured seat to get it to fit properly inside the framework.  Since I'm mainly interested in the Eastern Front, especially VVS subjects, of necessity I work so much with limited run and obscure kits that I didn't even think about that when I told you it was a nice kit.  Other than the problem you mention, things went together pretty well and it does build up into a nice looking little kit.  With what you're saying, I may buy that I-15 kit for my frankenchaika.  I'll let you know about the Quickboost cowling if/when I get it.

Regards,

Jason
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marluc
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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2010, 08:03:24 PM »

Hello John:

Very interesting work you?re doing to improve the shape of the Chaika.
Regarding the seat,as far as I remember neither the Heller nor the ICM seats are accurate enough for a I-153.I?ve an unfinished Heller Chaika and scratch built it modifing the Heller part to a bucket seat and shaping the back armour from a backrest of another kit.
Hope to see photos of the cowling,greetings.

Martin
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Massimo Tessitori
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« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2010, 09:01:24 AM »

Hi Jason and Martin,
A good thing of the Amodel, visible on the photos, is the closed landing gear bay. It looks banal, but I had difficulties to close the bays of heller due to their proximity to the wingroot and the small thickness involved.
About the seat of I-153, it resembles a lot to that of MiG-3... but I fear that this doesn't help.
Massimo
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learstang
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« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2010, 09:45:04 PM »

One of the reasons I want to use the Amodel kit is that it does have the closed in wheel bays.  It's also interesting to know that the I-153 seat is like the MiG-3 seat - that does help, Massimo.  Somewhere I have an old MiG-3 kit which might have a useable seat.

Regards,

Jason
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"I'll sleep when I'm dead."

- Warren William Zevon

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marluc
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« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2010, 12:51:57 AM »

Hello Jason:

It's also interesting to know that the I-153 seat is like the MiG-3 seat

Both seats are a bucket seat with back armour,but the backrests are of different shape.Greetings.

Martin
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John Thompson
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« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2010, 02:05:46 AM »

How about this, from the I-153 technical manual:



This is exactly what's provided in the ICM I-15bis kit for a seat.

This drawing from Maslov's book shows the same thing, but with padding added:



John
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marluc
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« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2010, 01:37:21 PM »

This is exactly what's provided in the ICM I-15bis kit for a seat.
You?re right John,I had the ICM I-15bis released many years ago,I?ve made a search for reviews of the kit and it looks like many things were changed in the recent editions of the I-15bis,undoubtely the seat was one of them as it?s a lot more accurate.Hope to see more progress photos of your Chaika,greetings.

Martin
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