Polikarpov I-5 VT-12 1/72 ICM

I uploaded a couple of my older models as well, for better testing of some features of this new blog. This one I built in October 2018. 

It’s the second prototype of I-5, in its former configuration without a hump behind the cockpit. The writing on the fuselage sides reads “Klim Voroshilov”.

The VT  in VT-12 designation means “vnutrennaya tyurma”, inner prison. To help him fight procrastination during the I-5 development, Nikolai Polikarpov was sentenced to death and put into a special prison design bureau. This sentence was later commuted to 10 years and eventually canceled. 

This was a personal machine of Yakov Alksnis, chief commander of the Soviet air force. By the way, Alksnis was one of the main organizers of such prisons. In 1937, he was a judge in show trials, sentencing alleged Trotskyists to death. However, later in the same year, he was accused of founding secret fascist organizations in a similar show trial, also sentenced to death and shot. I guess what comes around goes around. 

As a result of Soviet dire situation in the early stages of operation Barbarossa, despite being hopelessly obsolete, many I-5s saw actual combat. The last machines were phased out in 1942. 


As for the kit, it’s a very good shortrun, together with the I-16, I think it’s one of the best shortrun kits ever made by ICM. It’s a masterpiece of Mr. Muchichko, known for his maniacal attention to surface detail. However, I rescribed and simplified a lot of the details, which were beautiful, but barely visible underneath the paint.

I made my own fuselage struts (it’s simple and unlike fretting about the poor fit, it actually gets you somewhere). 

The engine fairings had little gill vents that were present only on early production machines. I deleted those and drilled out larger round holes instead, according to photos of the prototype.

I also cut away the fuselage hump. 

I added some minor details and a windshield cut from acetate foil. The gunsight is intentionally missing.


There is some ambiguity regarding the color, some say this machine was actually dark green. I don’t know, all I can say is I like red more.

Many people criticize ICM decals, I guess I was lucky and got a later boxing or simply a good batch, as mine were perfect.


This was one of the simplest builds I ever made, it took me just three weeks at a relaxed pace.

My only gripe is the grainy surface on the fuselage, where the sprayed paint whirled between the struts a bit.

That is all. Criticism is welcome as always.   

2 thoughts on “Polikarpov I-5 VT-12 1/72 ICM

  • 16. 3. 2020 at 4:44

    Such an excellent example of a rarely seen subject ….Bravo !

  • 16. 3. 2020 at 4:48

    A perfect example or a rarely seen subject …Bravo !


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