Saab JAS39 Gripen; 1:48
1/48 Saab JAS39 Gripen
In the late 1970s, Sweden sought to replace its ageing Saab 35 Draken and Saab 37 Viggen. An affordable Mach 2 aircraft with good short-field performance for a defensive dispersed basing plan in the event of invasion was required; the plan included 800 m long by 17 m wide rudimentary runways. One goal was for the aircraft to be smaller than the Viggen while equalling or improving on its payload-range characteristics.
In 1979, the government began a study calling for a versatile platform capable of “JAS”, standing for Jakt (air-to-air), Attack (air-to-surface), and Spaning (reconnaissance), indicating a multirole, or swingrole, fighter aircraft that can fulfill multiple roles during the same mission.
The JAS 39 received the name Gripen (griffin) via a public competition, which is the heraldry on Saab’s logo.
KIT IMPRESSIONS AND BUILD
Kitty Hawk have tooled this completely new kit using modern technology. The result is a nice detailed kit, quite interesting but without some flaws. Some engineering options (as the kit being broken down with vertical seams on the fuselage, and a separate nose section to allow for a two-seat variant) can present some ‘traps’ for the less experienced modeler.
The instruction booklet, although enjoyable to the eye, is not very detailed so you might want to have some reference photos around.
Apart some warped parts and a broken canopy that costumer service replaced, building went on quite peacefully.
I must say that I keep some mixed-feelings about this building as there were some dream moments and ‘the others’ 😉 But, by the end, it’s a nice one, with almost any putty (sometimes it’s better to cut off the pin aligners and join/glue the parts by yourself).
The cockpit is quite simple but ended up ok, the engine (yes, there’s one) kept close inside so no one knows it’s there :-D, and the wheels bays are just great.
Reference photos helped a lot, especially clarifying that the canopy ‘seam line’ is, in fact, really there and it’s not to be discarded the same for the weapons fixation points, a really fault in the instructions manual.
Reference photos also helped to clarify some details, like the glass heads on the IRISF, which I reproduce by cutting plastic and made a new part from Kristal Klear.
A final word for the kits clear parts, especially position, navigation and head lights, which turned out quite well.
PAINTING AND DECALING
As usual, I used Mr Hobby paints. Painting was quite straightforward, starting with some marbling and pre-shading followed by the main colours. After two days, a gloss coat was applied as a base for the decals and another one to seal them.
Meanwhile, canopy was slightly tinted with a very diluted Tamiya XF-19 (smoke).
As this is a prototype aircraft, there was no much space for weathering but I went along and applied some panel liner and some oils underneath as depicted in some reference photos. Before calling it done, a coat of Tamiya semi-gloss varnish was applied.
Hope you like it.