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IA 58 Pucara Kit

Kinetic 1/48 IA 58 Pucara Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2021 Manufacturer Kinetic
Subject IA 58 Pucara Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48078 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros See text Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $39.99

First Look

IA 58 Pucara Kit
IA 58 Pucara Kit
IA 58 Pucara Kit
IA 58 Pucara Kit

The Pucara story begins in the mid-1960s when the Argentine Air Force wanted a counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft. The aircraft was designed and produced by Fabrica Militar de Aviones (FMA) that began with an unpowered glider to test the viability of the airframe. When testing proved out the design, a second airframe was produced, powered by Garrett TPE331 turboprop engines, the same engines used by another COIN design in the US, the OV-10 Bronco. While testing of the second airframe was also successful, FMA opted to swap out the Garrett engines for the Turbomeca Astazou turboprop engines rated at more that 70shp more than the Garretts. The aircraft was designated as IA 58 Pucara (Fortress) and featured 2 x 20mm cannons and 4 x 7.63mm machine guns in the nose, plus external pylons that can carry up to 3,750 pounds of stores. The Pucara served in the Argentine Air Force as well as the air arms of Columbia, Sri Lanka, and Uruguay. The type has seen combat in several actions including the Falklands/Malvinas war.

Here's a new kit that I'd never dream of seeing in 1/48 scale - the FMA IA 58 Pucara. The folks at Kinetic Models have really done a nice job with this one. Since I've wanted a Pucara on my shelf since I first saw one at the Paris Airshow MANY years ago, I'd acquired several resin kits that were not worth the effort to build. So when Kinetic announced the Pucara last year, they had my undivided attention. The kit is molded in their standard gray styrene and presented on five parts trees (duplicate tree not shown) plus one tree of clear parts and one fret of photo-etched parts.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Can be built as an IA 58A or IA 58D
  • Nicely detailed Martin Baker Mk.6 ejection seats w/photo-etched crew restraints
  • Nicely detailed front and rear cockpits
  • Positionable canopy
  • Integrated lower fuselage/lower wing part to provide structural strength and fool-proof outer wing dihedral
  • Detailed landing gear and wheel wells (see notes)
  • Flaps are designed in the lowered position
  • Positional ventral maintenance hatch
  • The instructions call out parts placement unique to the IA 58D (antennas)

Weapons/stores options include:

  • Aero 1D centerline tank
  • 2 x underwing tanks; or
  • 2 x triple ejector racks (TER)

Marking options include:

  • IA 58, FAU 223, Uruguayan Air Force
  • IA 58, A-511, Argentine Air Force

The decal sheet was printed by Cartograf.

Notes:

  • The kit is nicely detailed, but you'll find that some of the parts are quite small so care must be taken to not break the linkage arms and such that make up the landing gear/wheel well details.
  • The painting instructions are like many of Kinetic's previous releases - color call-outs are in Mig paints though there is a table of equivalents at the beginning of the instructions for Vallejo, Mr.Color, Tamiya, and Humbrol paints (where applicable).
  • There is no mention of ballast in the nose, and while it may not be required, you may want to tape together the major parts to see where the center of gravity falls to keep the completed model from becoming a tail-sitter

This is a beautiful kit and I am looking forward to getting this kit on the bench so I can finally complete another modeling subject from my bucket list!

My sincere thanks to Lucky Model for this review sample!