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FMA IA-58 Pucara Kit

Airfix 1/72 FMA IA-58 Pucara Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2015 Manufacturer Airfix
Subject FMA IA-58 Pucara Scale 1/72
Kit Number 77611 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice kit, only one of this subject (see text) Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (BP) £12.99

First Look

FMA IA-58 Pucara Kit
FMA IA-58 Pucara Kit
FMA IA-58 Pucara Kit

In the mid-1960s, the Argentine Air Force issued a requirement for a counter-insurgency aircraft (COIN) that could operate from remote, short, unimproved airfields while being able to loft a variety of weapons. The Fabrica Militar de Aviones (FMA) designed and produced the IA-58 Pucara which entered service in 1975 and continues service in Argentina, Uruguay, and Sri Lanka.

During the Falklands (Malvinas) War, the Pucara was able to operate from the small Port Stanley airfeld as well as improvised locations in the area. These aircraft flew reconnaissance and stike missions against the Royal Marines but were no match for the RAF and Royal Navy Harriers that seized air superiority in their combat operations. Several of these aircraft were captured and returned to the UK after the war.

I've wanted a model of the IA-58 for many years and had hoped that someone would produce such a kit in 1/48 scale. I recall that Special Hobby had released this subject in 1/72 scale, but I waited instead. When I was recently browsing through Hannants' website, I saw Airfix had reissued a limited edition kit and added that to my order. When I opened the box, an unusual box for an Airfix kit I might add, the kit didn't look like your usual Airfix tooling. A quick search online revealed why - this is the Special Hobby kit in an Airfix box, but without the photo-etched parts.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees plus a single tree with the clear canopy. The panel lines are engraved and sharp. Being a Special Hobby kit, this kit doesn't have alignment tabs, locating pins, etc. If you're used to building a limited production kit, this project should be no problem. Take your time and test-fit every step to get the best fit and alignment.

As I was trying to find out more about the original Special Hobby release, I found a very nice assessment of the kit over on Modeling Madness which points out the few glitches in the kit's design and how to correct them. None are very serious and the experienced modeler will find no problems making these adjustments.

The kit includes a nice set of decals with two subjects:

  • IA-58, A-558, 25th Anniversary colors
  • IA-58, A-515, now on display at RAF Cosford

This will be a fun project though for those wanting resin and/or photo-etched details, you should look for one of the Special Hobby boxings of this kit. Either way, this is the only kit available of the Pucara to date though I hope someone will change that!