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Argentine Air Force

IA-58 Pucara

1/72 scale

by Claudio Moura


The FMA IA-58 Pucaraá was developed to meet the requirements of the Argentine Air Force (FAA) of a close support, reconnaissance and counterinsurgency plane. This Pucará is a two-seat turboprop plane, strong and maneuverable, with STOL capacity. These planes were widely used during the Malvinas / Falklands War in 1982, where they participated in close support missions and shot down three British helicopters. Although all 24 planes that took part in this conflict were lost, just 4 of them were lost due to the action of enemy planes, the rest of them were lost due to sabotage, bombing or surface fire.

The first AX-01 prototype powered by a Garrett Air Research TPE-331 engine, made its first flight on August 20, 1969 and the serial production of this model began in 1974. A total of 116 units were manufactured until 1984.

In October 1984 the FMA introduced a new version of this Pucará called "Charlie", or just "C". This new model was a single-seat plane, with the same engines of the previous version. The new available space was used to improve the armor of the canopy and incorporate new electronic systems (VLF/Omega, radioaltimeter, RWR -Radar Warning Receiver,- NavCom).

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In addition to all this, there was some room left for a 30 mm DEFA 553 gun. Unfortunately, the "Charlie" project was abandoned and this plane was never manufactured in series. Nowadays, these IA-58 operate in the air forces of Argentina, Colombia, Sri Lanka and Uruguay.

The kit

This kit is manufactured by NeOmega, a very important Russian manufacturer of resin kits. It contains 34 resin parts and one vac-formed part. It doesn't bring any decals and the instructions are very simple and is written in Russian!!!

I purchased this kit on Internet at a cost of U$S 60, including air shipment.

Unfortunately, when I received the model I found out that the fuselage was slightly warped, but I managed to straighten it with the use of a hair dryer. The fit of its parts is similar to that of an injected model but it doesn't bring the union pins.

All surfaces have recessed panel lines and many flaws in the resin cast. There are no details provided for the inner areas like panels and consoles (unforgivable for Ne Omega). However, this kit provides good ejection seats. There are no details for the wheel wells.

Generally speaking, I can say that this is a good model, although not recommended for beginners or for those modelers with no previous experience in resin kits.

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I have no pictures available to illustrate this stage of construction, but there were many problems that delayed the completion of the model.

I would not recommend the use of CA to glue big parts since it is not flexible and breaks when the parts are slightly bent. I learnt this after having this problem while trying to use CA. One solution is to use a two-part epoxy resin, with a consistency similar to gel (Editors note: Cascopox in Brazil).

In this way I glued the elevators and wings to the fuselage. Since it takes some time for this glue to get dry, I added the metal pins to the wings in order to give the set the proper dihedral angle. Some panel lines had to be drawn, since they were not visible.


Small resin parts had to be very carefully handled, because they can be easily broken. For this reason, I had to replace the arms of the landing gear with hypodermic needles since the weight of the model would break the original ones.

I took some photoetched parts from my spares box in order to detail the interior, lateral walls and consoles and used a plastic sheet to produce the rear bulkhead. For this construction stage, the reference material provided by my friend Carlos Ay was really useful.

It was also necessary to add some weight to the nose, in order to avoid that the model falls of tail.


The covers of the landing gear were vac-formed, using the original resin parts as a mold, which were too thick and poorly finished.

The canopy was a difficult task. Although its quality is very good, it didn't have the relief of the frame and it was bigger than the canopy!!

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Painting and finishing

I used automotive lacquers mixed with the FS colors provided by my friends Guillermo Gebel and Javier Mosquera and some decals from Aerocalcas and Supermodel.

I also added: Lower antennas, navigation lights and headlights (produced with vac-formed acetate).

For the final weathering I used oil thinned down in white spirit, aluminum ink and wax from candles. I applied a final coat of automotive lacquer and semi-gloss varnish.


I can say that this was a rewarding job. First of all, because I learnt how to work with resin, and second because I had to use different kinds of materials to produce some of the parts and finally because this Pucará is one the planes that I like most.

This work is dedicated to the memory of Nersílio Alves Júnior, a modeler I had to honor to meet some years ago before he died. It was at this home that I saw the first Pucará model that inspired me to build my own model!!

I would also like to thank my friends Carlos Ay, Guillermo Gebel and Javier Mosquera for their contribution (and patience) to the different stages of construction.

As I was about to release this review, I noticed that I had made a mistake in the application of the national badges on the upper part of the wings. In the following pictures you can see this mistake already corrected.


Air Poster No. 1 - Pucará - Carlos Ay - Revisa ALAS
Argentine Air Forces in Falklands conflict - Warbirds Illustrated No. 45 -
Salvador Mafé Huertas & Jesús Romero Briasco - Arms and Armour Press
Aviões de Guerra Fasc. 2 - Nova Cultural
Falklands Air War - Wilton, Smith, Burden, Draper & Rough - Arms and
Armour Press
Fuerza Aérea Argentina No. 3 - Pucará - Vladimir Cetollo, Javier Mosquera
& Jorge Nuñes Padin
La Guerre des Malouines - Salvador Mafé Huertas - Avions Jets
Scale Models Jan/91

Material provided by the Archives of the Fuerza Aérea Argentina.

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