“In Foreign Service”
Special Hobby, 1/72 scale
S u m m a r y
||Special Hobby 72177 - IA-58A Pucara “In Foreign Service”
||71 light grey plastic parts on three sprues, 1 clear injection moulded plastic part on one sprue, 13 resin, 60 PE parts on one fret. 10 clear acetate parts for cockpit panels plus a 10 page A5 sized instruction booklet with history, construction sequence, colour schemes for three aircraft.
USD$31.50 available online from Squadron
From GBP£12.64 available online
model retailers worldwide
||Excellent interior detail; high quality clear parts, finely recessed panel lines and other exterior features; new sturdier packaging; attractive and interesting marking options; looks like a Pucara!
||No locating pins, some minor flash; modelling skills required
||This is a well detailed kit of an interesting aircraft, suitable for moderately experienced modellers.
Reviewed by Simon Wolff
Special Hobby's 1/72 scale
Pucara in Foreign Service is available online from Squadron.com
A Brief History
The Pucara was designed as a two seat ground attack aircraft for the Argentine Air Force to support the Argentinean army. It was named after a Quechua Indian tribe word meaning fortress.
The Pucara first flew in prototype form in 1969, using Garret engines. The production example first flew in November 1974 with French Turbomeca Aztazou engines. Altogether there were 108 production and three prototypes built, production ending in 1988.
The type was used by Argentina in the Falklands (Malvinas) War of 1982, 25 Pucara’s being lost (to various actions including an SAS raid) of which five were shipped to the UK in 1982 and 1983, at least one being flight tested in the UK.
The Pucara has seen foreign service with the countries of Uruguay, Sri Lanka and Colombia.
Special Hobby released a 1/72 scale kit of the Pucara was first released a few years ago. This latest issue is, as the box says, the Pucara “In Foreign Service” of Uruguay, Colombia and a captured example flown in the UK.
The first thing that struck me is the new packaging, much sturdier than the previous issues, which tended to crumple when added to the piles of other loft insulation projects.
This is a multi media kit containing plastic, resin, photo etched and a clear acetate sheet (for a number cockpit instrument panels).
In my opinion, the plastic parts feel a bit ‘chunky’ in places especially around the undercarriage legs, however this is probably due to the type of moulding process limitations. This is, after all, a short run injection kit.
The cockpit area looks very well detailed, having cleanly moulded resin seats, fine photo etched seat belts and consoles plus acetate instrument panels.
The cockpit floor also acts as the nose wheel bay and sits on its own lower forward fuselage section, which also acts as a main spar to accurately locate the wings.
Considering the size of and clear quality of the canopy the interior features will show up quite well so it is fortunate that this area is so well detailed. The canopy is really quite lovely - thin and very clear.
The panel lines are finely replicated and the plastic mouldings are reasonably clean with light flash in places but nothing horrendous. The detail on the photo etched and resin parts is lovely - very detailed and quite extensive in number.
In common with the earlier issue of this aircraft there are no weapon stores. There are wing pylons for them but no under wing weapons. The Pucara can carry small bombs and I believe rocket pods.
The other resin parts are destined for the engine and nacelle, with photo etched parts to fit to the undercarriage legs.
Be aware that this kit may well need some weight added to the nose so she doesn’t sit on her tail, however it does not look like there is too much space in the fuselage area in which to put that weight.
Oddly (to me) the small undercarriage wheels are moulded in halves. It is not as if they are particularly large so I can’t understand why they present them like this.
One thing that does bother me is the lack of locating pins for any of the plastic parts, which means parts like the fuselage halves can risk movement when gluing them together. This might be a cause for frustration when assembling the three main fuselage parts or the tailplanes so take extra care.
Markings are provided for the following examples:
- one captured Pucara flown in the UK, which was A-515 as ZD 485 (currently exhibited at the museum at Cosford).
- a camouflaged Uruguayan machine number 227, which graces the box cover and
- a Colombian aircraft in light grey and natural metal with bright national markings on the tail of yellow, blue and red.
The decals provided were in register with gloss sheen to them. For me the Colombian machine looks to have the most appealing scheme of the three.
I have only built one MPM/Special hobby kit and my memory is of a kit that required a fair amount of extra effort - nothing impossible and the end result certainly still looks good.
Having examined some of the Special Hobby Pucara kit that have shown up in photos on the web, it looks like a very accurate representation.
In the end this is a short run injection kit one that I look forward to building. I am delighted that Special Hobby chose to offer a kit of the Pucara.
Thanks to MPM/Special Hobby for the review sample.
Review Text Copyright © 2008 by Simon Wolff
Images Copyright © 2008 by Brett Green
Page Created 5 October, 2008
Last updated 5 October, 2008
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