Shorts Tucano

1/72 scale kits of the Short Tucano
kit review / modelling report

The Brazilian Embraer company developed for training the EMB-312 Tucano in the nineteen-eighties for Brazil. I remember seeing it being tested at Embraer many years ago when I was at San Jose Dos Campos as a student. Look for some great memories here... 

The Royal Air Force also needed a new trainer, particularly for their Strikemaster. The RAF thought that a nex advanced propeller aircraft would be a good option but wanted several adjustments to the basic Embraer design. Shorts in Belfast grabbed this opportunity with both hands and made an agreement with Embraer for an improved Tucano. The type got an uprated Garrett TPE331, four bladed propeller and a lower air brake and strengthened structure. It also got an advanced cockpit enabling better pilot transition to the follow up jet Hawk trainer. Also ejection seats were installed. 

Actual production started in 1987 for the RAF T.mk1 version. Deliveries to the RAF ended 1993 with 130 aircraft delivered. It is extensively used for training with maintenance being subcontracted.

   photographed at Fairford in the 1990s 


Airfix has issued many year ago a nice 1/72 model of the Short Tucano. It is a straight forward build, and the model was made as per instructions.

The kit decals are bad. The decal roundels were non useable, the red dots being off center, replacements are needed. 

Filler was needed particulary at the wing-fuselage joints.

Small amounts of putty were only required. 

The exhaust pipes were drilled open.

It was a bit difficult to get all the needed nose weight into the nose to avoid a model "tail sitter". Small chunks of led were cut and dropped inside the nose (which nose I forgot to set on the model before painting...).

Most work with the kit is to apply the colourfull decal scheme of white, red and grey wing panels. First, the overall model got a light grey base coat. After that, with the airbrush the white coat was applied, followed after masking with the red and the grey.

The following paints were used:
White:  Revell acrylic 301 
Grey:  Humbrol enamel 64
Red:  Revell acrylic 31

The flying surfaces (ailerons, rudder, elevator and flaps) got theire edges cut in with a TIGER razor saw. This looks much better on even a small model. 

I forgot to add the nose... this was done, and needed some filler

The propeller painting was quite some work. I used a small painting guide using a piece of paper with markers. 

As the kit decal roundels were non useable, replacements were obtained from an XTRADECAL roundels set. 

After applying, the decals as per instructions, the model got a decal protecting coat of Johnson Future with the airbrush.

For the canopy, I used a thin AEROCLUB acetate replacement.

NOTE / UPDATE: after 10 years, this canopy has become completely yellow! I recommend thus to use the kit canopy

The cockpit go some extra detail from scrap plastic. Most details are black. The seats go traps made from decalstripes  and tape.

Some views of the completed model. 


A nice addition to my British Trainer Model collection. 


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Created this page
March 12, 2013