Yesterday I assemble and primed my Pucara light attack planes. I have four of the Heroics and Ros models. They are an interesting plane. They are twin engine turbo-prop counter-insurgency aircraft, are home grown, manufactured by Fabrica Militar De Aviones. The planes were capable of mounting a variety of light machine guns and cannon, as well as conventional bombs and rocket pods.
However, the coolest version of Pucara, is AX-04, a prototype that experimented with mounting a pair of torpedoes. Admit, that would be interesting. Unfortunately the war ended badly for Argentina, and the development project ended.
There were a dozen or so Pucaras sent to the Falklands to use the short, grass airfields at Port Stanley and Goose Green inaccessible to Skyhawks, Mirages and Super Etendeards. . Most were destroyed on the ground by RN Sea Harriers. One was shot down by a Sea Harrier, and another was brought down by a shoulder-fired Stinger ground-to-air missile. On the plus side, two Pucaras scored Argentina’s only air-to-air victory by shooting down a Royal Marine Scout helicopter on May 28, 1982.
Pucaras were relatively easy to assemble. Just have to glue the tee-tail on, plus whatever under-wing stores. I used a stick of light bombs, but it would sure be nice to have your basic SNEB 2.75″ rocket laucher available. There’s a bit of scraping and adjusting to fit the tail, but nothing major.
After priming, the question was color. Most of planes stationed on the Falklands arrived in gray. I decided two of my planes would be in that color. I decided to stay light, and went with the USAF Light Gray by Vallejo.
But some of the planes were given a field paint job. Land-based Pucaras got a very nice series of green and earth bands. It appears from examples on the ‘net, something sort of similar was tried at Port Stanley and Goose Green, but something went horribly wrong. The colors were quite washed out and didn’t follow the same pattern. Like the Japanese at distant locations during WWII, the paint may have been applied with whatever mop or broom that was handy. I chose to do two of my planes to look like this.
I started with Vallejo Sky Green, which is basically Sky Type S, and then I mixed it with a drop of the USAF Light Gray. I wanted the gray in the green. Then I lightened further with white. Then I lightened some Vallejo US Brown Drab in the same way. Painted the canopy Vallejo Sky Blue and and added some Ceramcoat Coastline Blue as a kind of glare/highlight. I’m okay with the way they turned out, though I think the planes should be a little less green and a little more gray. Like the brown drab, I just think the green is off.
I finished up by adding the Argentine decals from I-94. They turned out well. I took a few pics, and included two photos of a gray and a field camouflaged Pucara
I’m going to try to paint on aircraft numbers and then these bad boys will be done.
Moving on from the ten Argentine Skyhawks awaiting my attention, I’ve decided to dip into my heap of unpainted Hundred Years War figures and create a mounted retinue for Dragon Rampant. I have enough unpainted Old Glory Mounted Archers to do 3 X 12 figure units, sufficient mounted hobilars to do a 1 X 12 unit of mounted sergeants, and I can add a unit of mounted knights to boot. I’d like to do mounted and dismounted versions. I’m going to do all of them on multiple bases and experiment with how that turns out. Again, we are really talking about ease of storage and movement here, so I’m anxious to see how they all turn out.
The first ten figures are primed and I’ll work through the lot, along with the Skyhawks, so I’ll keep you posted.