1/72 Scale Heller J-29E SAAB Tunnan “Flying Barrel” by Don Weixl June 2020
I have had this kit in my stash since the late 70s! I think it cost about $4.00 Canadian back in the day. Heller’s 1/72 scale aircraft kits were generally really good for that era, although the decals were a bit on the crude side. Raised panel lines were the norm, but I am Ok with that.
I enjoy the less popular and somewhat quirky jets from the 50s and 60s. I did a bit of research on the Flying Barrel. Apparently it was quite the performer in it’s day. It was comparable or better performing than the F-86 Sabre. Besides Sweden, Tunnan’s were sold to Austria.
The kit was built without any modifications. Minor gaps were filled using Mr. Surfacer 500 primer /putty. I love this stuff. I rarely use conventional putty anymore. You can thin it with lacquer thinner and apply it with a fine paint brush into cracks etc. The bare metal finish was replicated using Humbrol Metalcote 27001 polished aluminium thinned with lacquer thinner and sprayed through my single action Paasche H airbrush. I did not use any primer as I find shiny plastic as a base will give a smoother metallic finish.
To give the model a bit more depth, I used an acrylic “sludge” wash made from dark gray acrylic paint mixed with water and dish soap. I flowed this mixture along the raised and recessed panel lines using a fine paint brush. After a few minutes, I removed any excess with a Q-Tip swab.
The kit decals are pretty challenging to use as you would expect from a 40 year old kit. However with patience and hot water, they can be made to work and even settle down over panel lines. I carefully cut away any clear decal film which had yellowed over the years. I did not use a clear coat on the model.. In my experience, clears can yellow over time so I am avoiding them when I can.
I added the wing pylons and fuel tanks after the kit was painted. There was a fairly large gap between the pylon and the wing. It was too late to use putty so I used the trick of mixing acrylic silver paint with white glue. I flowed this mixture into the gap and wiped off the excess with a Q-tip.
6 additional images. Click to enlarge.