Hobby Boss 1/48 EMB-312 Tucano

KIT #: 81763
PRICE: @$40.00 shipped
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2017 boxing


The Embraer EMB 312 Tucano is a low-wing, tandem-seat, single-turboprop, basic trainer with counter-insurgency capability developed in Brazil. The Brazilian Air Force sponsored the EMB-312 project at the end of 1978. Design and development work began in 1979 on a low-cost, relatively simple new basic trainer with innovative features which eventually became the international standard for basic training aircraft. The prototype first flew in 1980, and initial production units were delivered in 1983.

Production was initially supported by a local order for 118 aircraft, with options for an additional 50 units in October 1980. It was later matched by an Egyptian licence-produced purchase in 1993 and subsequently by an improved variant known as the Short Tucano, which was licence-produced in the United Kingdom. The Tucano made inroads into the military trainer arena and became one of Embraer's first international marketing successes. A total of 664 units was produced (504 by Embraer and 160 by Short Brothers), flying in 16 air forces over five continents.


A few years back, I built their EMB-314 Super Tucano and really enjoyed the build. I was informed at that time that the kit has some issues regarding the nose and positioning of the landing gear. A fairly pricey Brazilian resin kit was recommended for being the most accurate. OK, so Hobby Boss is not known for complete fidelity to the prototype and some of their goofs have been monumental (F-80 intakes anyone?). However, one has to take into consideration that the majority of modelers are not subject matter experts and if the failures are not immediately obvious to the casual builder, then it isn't an issue.

When this kit became available to me at a price I could handle, I picked it up. Pretty much everything I said about the Super Tucano applies to this kit as well. The cockpit has fair bang seats with photo etch for the harnesses. There are decals for the instrument panels, but not side consoles. There are interior side panels with a bit of detail on them. The nose gear well is built up of several sections and one apparently needs to install the nose gear before closing up the fuselage halves. 25 grams of weight is required to prevent nose sitting and there is not a lot of room for that much weight.

The wings is a single lower section with two upper halves. There are separate ailerons and flaps. Wheel well detail appears generic. When the wing is attached, so are some cockpit sections above the instrument panels. Rudder is separate and p.e. is provided for the strakes in front of the horizontal stabs and the fin fillet. Not a fan of separate prop blades but they are included. There is a blast shield that gets installed in the canopy before it is attached (shown in the closed position.

The kit offers fuel tanks and gun pods for under the wings. If you don't want them, you have to fill the holes for the pylons. Horizontal stabs have separate elevators which are to be posed in the neutral position. Landing gear is well done and appears to be quite sturdy.

Instructions are well done with the usual Gunze paint references. You are provided markings for four aircraft though to be accurate, you can only use three on this kit. One is the box art plane with the Peruvian Air Force and its fierce shark mouth. This is in two greens and a tan over light grey. Next is an Iranian plane in a desert camouflage pattern. This is followed by a French aircraft in an overall grey. Note that these planes were originally delivered in a nice white and red scheme, but that would require some serious masking skills to duplicate. I've included a photo snagged from the net in case you want to try it. Note that the French plane uses the more pointy radio antennas. The fourth option is an RAF Tucano in overall black. This is the one you can't do from the kit. You see, the RAF version was built by Shorts and has a different engine so a different nose to the Brazilian version. Alley Cat does a resin Shorts Tucano so that is what you want for this version. There are also aftermarket decals by FCM and Caracal if you are so inclined. A mass of aftermarket resin is also available for this kit if spending a lot of money is your thing.


This will make into a nice model when you are done. Probably the largest issue will be getting enough weight in the nose to keep from tail sitting. Other than that, I can pretty well guarantee that the fit will be very good as Hobby Boss kits have always fit well for me.



March 2020

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