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Julien

IA-58A Pucará "Falklands War" - Special Edition - Special Hobby 1:72

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IA-58A Pucara "Falklands War" - Special Edition

Special Hobby 1:72


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The FMA IA 58 Pucará is an Argentinian manufactured (by Fábrica Militar de Aviones) Counterinsurgency (COIN) and ground attack aircraft. It is of a low wing monoplane design with twin turboprops and features a conventional twin seat configuration. The aircraft is able to operate from forward locations featuring unprepared airfields where needed. The Pucará was developed in the mid 1960s from an Argentinean Air Force requirement for a COIN aircraft. The aircraft was originally called the FMA IA Delfin, however this was later changed to The Pucará. The engine chose to power the aircraft was the Garrett TPE331/U-303. From a requirement in 1966 progression was swift. An unpowered glider first flew very late in 1967 with a test flight if the powered aircraft in late 1970. Development then took a further couple of years with the Garrett engine being replaced with the Turbomeca Astazou. The first production aircraft took to the skies in late 1974 with deliveries beginning in early 1976.

The Pucará was delivered to the Argentinean Air Force, with others users being Uruguay, Colombia, Sri Lanka and the Royal Air Force via the A&AEE at Boscombe Down. Operationally the Argentinean Air Force first used the aircraft in its intended COIN role against communist ERP guerrillas in late 1976. Arguably though the Pucará is most well know for its role in the Falklands War of 1982.

Following the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands in early 1982 the Pucará was one of the few aircraft suited to operating from the smaller airfields in the Falklands. The aircraft operated from Port Stanley, Goose Green, and Pebble Island. The Pucarás were armed with their internal four 7.62mm machine guns, 2.75 inch rocket pods and unguided bombs. Two Pucarás were to claim the only Argentine Air to Air victory when they shot down a Royal Marine Scout Helicopter during the Battle for Goose Green. The Pucará proved to be a tough aircraft and at least one was seen to absorb multiple 30mm cannon rounds before being brought down. One Pucará was bought down by a Sea Harrier, One by a Stinger Missile and one by Ground Fire. Nine further aircraft were destroyed on the ground via a combination of bombing attacks and special forces raids. Following the end of the war 11 aircraft were captured with six being returned to the UK. These were evaluated for a time at Boscombe Down before going to museums and collections were they remain.

The only other use of the Pucará in anger has been during the civil war in Sri Lanka. The aircraft were used between 1993 and 1999. During this period three aircraft were destroyed during combat missions. The Pucará remains in service with Argentina and Uruguay. Since 2009 the Argentinean Air Force have extensively overhauled the aircraft. Avionics and airframe modifications have taken place, along with new engines. With these modifications it is expected the Pucará will serve until 2045, but only if the Argentinean Air Force can overcome Economic and bureaucratic issues which are delaying the modifications.

The Kit
The kit arrives in a standard open-ended box from Special Hobby. The must be trying to economise as the box is plain white with a cover glued on so you can only open one end. The kit comes as three sprues of grey plastic, once clear sprue, one bag of resin parts, one photo etched fret and one plastic film (for the instrument panels). The plastic feels a bit gritty to the touch and the engraved panel lines are light, there are some large ejector towers on some parts, which will need to be removed (all typical of Special Hobbys earlier moulds). Construction of the airframe is a fairly standard layout. You have two main fuselage halves, but at the front there is also a lower fuselage part, which attached to the cockpit floor and provides the attachment point for the wings.

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Construction begins shockingly with the cockpit! A pair of resin ejection seats is provided and these are dressed up with PE belts and buckles. The instrument panels are complete by sandwiching a plastic film between a plastic part and the PE panel. Additional PE panels are provided for the side consoles. PE parts are also added to the coamings for the front and rear cockpits. Once the bottom cockpit floor is added to the front underside fuselage part the side consoles and instrument panels can be added. Once this is complete the read bulkhead is added. The left and right fuselage parts are glued together and the front underside piece added.

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The next step is the completion of the wings and engines. The wings are traditional construction of upper and lower parts, with the wheel wells being placed inside the engine nacelles before they are closed up. The upper parts longer than the top as the lower centre fuselage section contains part of the wing. The wings and tail planes are then added. There are no locating pins for these, and the tail planes are a straight butt joint so care will be needed. Next the engine nacelles are completed. There is a resin part for the front face, and another for the exhaust.

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To finish off the landing gear can then be assembled and added to the model, along with the gear doors. The underwing pylons are assembled and added. The propellers are then made up. Care will be needed here with alignment as each has three separate blades and there is only a butt joint to attach them to the hub. Once the props are added the comings and ejection seats are added to the cockpit and the canopy secured.

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Canopy


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Only a one-part canopy is supplied to be used in the closed position. The canopy is clear and has no distortion.

Photo-etch

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A small Photetched fret is provided. Most parts on this are for the cockpit in one way or another. Parts are provided for the main instrument panels and the side consoles. Full belts are provided for the ejections seats. Additional parts are provided for the landing gear and some tail aerials, static wicks and the canopy windscreen wiper. There are two parts despite reading the instructions for what seems like hours I just plain cannot identify!

Decals
Decals are provided for four aircraft.

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  • A-511 IA 58A Brigada Aera III / Groupo 3 de Ataque Based in the Falklands 1982. Flown by Major C Tomba and shot down by Lt CDR Ward 21/5/82 with the pilot ejecting and becoming a POW. Aircraft in the Light Brown/Light Green/Light Blue camo with Yellow recognition bands.
  • A-549 IA 58A Brigada Aera III / Groupo 3 de Ataque Based in the Falklands 1982. Aircraft captured and returned to the UK. Now at the Imperial War Museum Duxford. Aircraft in the Light Brown/Light Green/Light Blue camo with Yellow recognition bands.
  • A-520 IA 58A Brigada Aera III / Groupo 3 de Ataque Based in the Falklands 1982. Destroyed on the ground by special forces 15/5/82. Aircraft overall aluminium.
  • A-568 IA 58A Brigada Aera IV / Groupo 4 de Caza Based in Santa Cruz, Argentina 1982. Aircraft was deployed over the South Atlantic. Aircraft overall aluminium.
Conclusion
Despite it being an earlier tooling from Special Hobby this kit is still a good one. The inclusion of resin and photoetched parts means its not for the beginner; however for the more experienced modeller who has never used these mediums it could be a good introduction to these media. Overall recommended.

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Review sample courtesy of
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Thanks for the review.

I missed the first opportunity, it will not happen this time.

A must have for any Guerre des Malouines collection.

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Cheers,

If anyone does not want to do a Falklands Pucara, then MPM also box the kit with markings for the current Uruguayan Air Force aircraft.

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Got it!

A bit disapointed by the camo options, all being quite similar.

More choice would have been welcome.

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Got it!

A bit disapointed by the camo options, all being quite similar.

More choice would have been welcome.

Suspect they might have been limited as offering it as a "Falklands" boxing.

I will get the Uruguay one as like the markings in that.

Julien

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Suspect they might have been limited as offering it as a "Falklands" boxing.I will get the Uruguay one as like the markings in that.Julien

Well, that's exactly my point.

To my knowledge, there was a wide range of different camos among the pucaras stationned on the islands.

Edited by Antoine

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Does anyone know if you can Buy the Resin and PE as separate Items,i have the Airfix Version of this from their Falklands Boxing and the Cockpit is Pretty Sparse!

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