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Greg Kittinger
124 articles

Heller 1/72 J-29 Tunnan

March 26, 2024 · in Aviation · · 21 · 217

I love all of the Swedish jets, and decided to start my Swedish collection with the . The original kit in my stash was a Matchbox kit, but when I opened it and saw how toy-like it was, I tossed it and found a Heller kit on ebay. The basic shape is there, with raised panel lines, but missing some of the air intakes.

I sanded off all of the raised detail and rescribed the panel lines and hatches, then riveted (boy - LOTS of rivet lines on the Flying Barrel!). I added the two larger intakes on the upper rear fuselage and the two on the lower rear fuselage, forming them from small blocks of styrene. I thinned the wing fences before adding them. The two pitot tubes I replaced with Albian Alloy tubing. I drilled the gun muzzles and the ejector ports, and added a few details to the cockpit, seat and rear deck.

I mixed paint colors according to references found - a blue-black and a brown/khaki - from Tamiya paints. I was using PrintScale decals for the markings for Tunnans used in a peace-keeping missing in the Congo in the early 60's, and was afraid the dark colors of the scheme would show through the big white blocks, so I under-painted those with white before decaling. In hindsight, I may not have needed to, as the white "J" markings seem solid.

I could not get any combination of the brown/orange paint to flow through my airbrush for some reason - never had that problem before - so ended up using oils to get the squiggles on the scheme. Not ideal, but it got the job done. Looks good on a table, but up close you can tell it's a thicker paint.

Most of the rivet detail is hard to see under those dark colors. I recently secured another Tunnan - a Tarangus kit - to do in NMF, so the rivet work should show off a bit more.

As always, I enjoy sprucing up these old kits - it was a fun project!

Reader reactions:
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16 additional images. Click to enlarge.

21 responses

  1. Very nice Greg. There is a pen that you can load up with paint and draw those squiggles but I can't remember what's its called

    Edit: found it. I don't know how to transfer videos here but here is a link

  2. Cool little jet Greg. Nice work on making an older kit shine. I do like that camo scheme too. Thumbs up 👍

  3. This looks great Greg (@gkittinger). A tubby jet that has a high coolness factor. I like fixing up the old kits as well.

  4. Outstanding work, Greg! Considering that the J looks darker in the photos, I think under-painting the UN markings was a good idea. Also, it is possible that the J was an older marking than the UN patches and would show discoloration. Your squiggles look just fine to me, too. Congratulations on this great start to your Swedish jets series!

  5. Awesome job on the sweet but otherwise simplistic Heller kit, Greg! I have the exact same kit, so your build will be a road map!

  6. This little Tunnan looks really good, Greg @gkittinger
    Beautiful scheme. You clearly got the best out of this old Heller kit.

  7. Nicely done, Greg (@gkittinger). Many years ago, I built this same kit out of the box and handpainted all of the camo. Needless to say, yours is a quantum leap above mine, which has become lost over the last decade or so. Apparently you need to appease the gods of the brown paint. There is a specific ritual to use, first you carefully take the bottle of paint and hug it...just kidding. Nice job rescribing all the lines. It sure makes a difference.

  8. The Tunnan is always nice to see, and yours is excellent. Well done, Greg!

  9. Good looking Tunnan Greg, like all the added work you did to make her shine.

  10. Great J 29! The Congo F 22 squadron is a real challenge in many ways and it is hard to get it all right, you put in some effort though. Like that you got the odd lower fuselage correct as the mid and aft sections were not painted.

    A couple of side notes that got nothing to do with the work on this old Heller is...

    Wrong version. Should be a J 29 B, no dog tooth on wing, straight leading edge. And technically Heller´s model depicts a J 29F and thus have an after burner which 29B did not have...not entirely sure Heller got it right, though. Tarangus got a nice J 29B with UN markings if you want to give it a try.

    Camouflage colours are probably wrong, look at this beatiuful model for good references Only two of the camouflaged J 29s came home again. Unfortunately the only surviving Congo veteran was later repainted in the wrong colours...

    • @stellan Thanks for the insight! I vacillated on the colors between a more "green" version, and obviously was led astray by one of the references I located. I do have color images of the real birds, but even there it was hard to confirm the actual colors. Luckily for me, I'm not a stickler for accuracy, and "representation" works for me in a pinch! At the time I was looking for a 1/72 Tunnan, the Heller (and Matchbox) kits were all I could find! I do now have a Tarangus kit, but will build it in NMF.

  11. This is a really cool bird and a very nice build! Lovely paintjob!

  12. Really nice choice for the camouflage Greg @gkittinger
    As usual you got the best out of an old kit! Thumbs up

  13. Terrific work on this old Heller kit, Greg.

  14. Nice work on what looks like a bear of a kit.

  15. Greg, it looks like you put a lot of work into it. It looks really good and the camo is just great.

  16. The extra work & upgrades you added to this kit really improved it, Greg, @gkittinger . The paint scheme and the markings you chose are unique. Not an aircraft often seen modeled .

  17. Wow Greg, that ain't my Dad's J29.
    Amazing work to get that nice Heller kit looking amazing!

  18. I agree with Gary, that is very nice work, Greg @gkittinger! 🤩 It's always great seeing something somewhat unusual here; thanks for sharing it! 👏

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