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  1. Saab Sk.60 Swedish Trainer & Strike Aircraft (48-A005) 1:48 Pilot Replicas Following WWII, the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet) had been using British early jets, including the de Havilland Vampire, Venom and the Hawker Hunter amongst their number to fulfil their needs. Saab had realised that the Vampires used in their trainer fleet were wearing out as well as becoming obsolete, and set about designing a low-cost jet trainer that could also carry out reconnaissance and light attack duties, gaining official support from the Swedish military early on. The type 105 was designed to be useful both to military and civilian operators initially, but when little interest was garnered from the civilian market they concentrated instead on military customers, first of which was the Swedish Air Force who ordered 150 as the Sk.60, split between trainers and strike aircraft that would be designated A and B respectively. It went into service in 1967, and also found favour with the Austrian Air Force, who took another 40 105Ӧ that ran more powerful GE J85 engines that were cheaper and easier to maintain than the original Turbomeca Aubisque turbofan engines that were license built as the RM9. Later in service with Sweden, more advanced, lighter and more powerful Williams FJ44 engines were retro-fitted to the remaining 115 Sk.60 fleet as part of an upgrade programme to extend their usefulness into the new millennium. They were license built by Volvo Flygmotor as the RM15, and coupled with further upgrades have given the Sk.60 the ability to remain in service until today (at time of writing), although their replacement, the Grob G 120TP turbo-prop trainer, is expected to start entering service very soon. The Kit This is a new tooling from Pilot Replicas, and the first boxing of several that we expect in due course. To say that we haven’t been well-served with model kits of the diminutive Sk.60 in 1:48 is an understatement, and 1:72 hasn’t fared much better either. That changes for 1:48 now, and arrives in a top-opening box with captive top lid that closes outside the lower, preventing the top from collapsing in on the contents. The box is printed on sturdy glossy card, with a custom sticker keeping the lid closed until you open it the first time, a professional finish that extends to the contents. Inside are five rectangular sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue in separate Ziploc bag, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) covered in clear self-adhesive film on both sides, two decal sheets, a folded A3 instruction sheet that is glossy printed on both sides in colour, and a painting guide of the same shape and size that is printed in the same style. Each sprue is separately bagged, and on opening the two intake parts fell from one bag, as they are deep parts in the frames, so were prone to pressure from the other sprues in the box. Detail is excellent, and includes rivets and engraved panel lines, plus recessed and raised details where appropriate throughout, although there have been some very slight sink-marks where the styrene is necessarily thick, such as the supports and detailed sidewalls of the cockpit. The use of PE as standard equipment for the kit is to be lauded, rather than selling them as extras, as it offers more realistic scaled thickness for the smallest parts. The decals have been designed by Moose Republic Decals, and printed by Cartograf, the gold standard of our hobby. The instruction booklet is printed in colour using 3D isometric drawings that have likely been made using the same data that was used to design the kit itself, giving the modeller a better insight into the shape and arrangement of the build process than line drawings can. It also cuts down on instruction steps, with only 21 over three A4 pages. Around every diagram are additional helpful instructions in English, plus paint call-outs using Gunze Mr Hobby codes in a black box that is linked to the part number in an outlined box, cutting down on lines into the process. Construction begins with the main gear bays in the lower middle fuselage, using seven individual components to create each landing gear leg inside the detailed bays, adding extra information in a small circular scrap diagram off to the side, and giving left and right part numbers in doubled boxes. They are then shown being installed in the respective fuselage side along with the air-brakes that rotate out into the airstream further back down the fuselage, and the rear clear ‘quarter-light’ behind the main canopy, plus painting instructions for the cockpit sidewalls, as that’s next. The cockpit floor is a flat rectangle with upstands at the forward end that forms the footwells for the crew, which has the instrument panel and control columns fixed to it, and a rear bulkhead behind the crew. The main decal sheet provides dials for the panel, offering one for three of the decal options that were fitted with rolling map displays, and another for the option without it. This assembly is then trapped between the fuselage halves, before adding the two nose halves around the nose gear bay and at least 15g of nose-weight, then adding a small insert under the belly. At the rear the tail cone halves are closed around a separate tip, aligning the parts with the rest of the fuselage to minimise clean-up. The appearance of two Aubisque turbofan engines are created by inserting the engine rear face into a two-part cylindrical trunk, then inserting them into position behind the moulded-in centre section of the engine nacelles, then boxing them in with two cowling halves and aft fairings that hold them to the correct angle from the airframe. The rudder fin is made from two halves and inserted into a slot in the tail, with a choice of clear or opaque bullet fairing for the T-tail depending on your decal choice, and adding small insert between the elevators and rudder, then putting the aft thrust diverters either side of the tail behind the exhausts in either the open or closed position, as shown from above in a scrap diagram. The forward face of the engine is mated to a two-part trunking that then joins the intake lip, splitter-plate between it and the fuselage, and the forward cowling lower, the top later covered by the wings. The cockpit is filled with a pair of ejection seats that are made from four parts each and fit side-by-side in the cockpit with a brace between them leading from the coaming to the top of the windscreen, plus the optional gunsight in case you are going to build a B. An additional part is also fixed to the upper side of the starboard wing if you are going down the B route, drilling two holes in the surface to locate it, using the recessed dots on the inside of the part to guide you. The upper wing is mated to the fuselage before adding the lowers, and a choice of insert behind the cockpit is given for open or closed canopy options. The same clear parts are used for either option, gluing the windscreen into position and adding the canopy either closed or opened , pivoting up from the rear. The lower wings along with two fences per side, separate wingtip and clear lights that have hollow interiors for you to paint clear red or green to give the correct look. A shallow intake is applied to the top centre of the fuselage level with the exhausts, although its location is made clear by reference to the painting guide, where the overhead views show it well. The main gear bays are fitted with a single bay door that hinges up from the top, and a two-part wheel with moulded-in weighting is slotted over the end of the leg on a square peg to obtain the correct position. When complete, the two wheels should be 45mm apart from outer edge to outer edge. That should ensure you get the right angle and avoid sag, which could be assisted by making a small jig to stand them on while the glue sets. The nose wheel and strut are moulded as one, with the wheel having extra thickness from a separate layer, the finished assembly slotting into a socket in the roof of the bay, and having a door attached to each side. The nose wheel has a close-fitting mudguard, and a scrap diagram shows the correct painting of the various elements. To complete the model, you need to break out the PE and refer closely to the following two steps and your references for precise location. There are a large number of tiny parts, aerials, static wicks and blade antennae that will improve the realism of your model immensely, and the finer parts are best applied as the last task to avoid damaging them during handling. Markings With only two operators worldwide, you’d think there wouldn’t be many decal options overall, but you’d be wrong, as there have been many special schemes over the years if you’d care to Google them. This boxing includes four Swedish Flygvapnet airframes, three A and one B model in two main schemes. From the box you can build one of the following: SK60A 60043, Swedish Air Force Flying School, F5 Wing, Ljungbyhed, 1967 SK60A 60072, Swedish Air Force Flying School, F5 Wing, Ljungbyhed, 1984 SK60A 60127, Swedish Air Force Flying School, F5 Wing, Ljungbyhed, 1970 SK60B 60038, 3rd Sqn. Urban Gul F21 Wing in Lulea, June 1976 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The carrier film on the main sheet is glossy, and includes many silver-backed stencils as well as the two instrument panel decals that have clear backing with outlines to assist you in locating them. The smaller sheet covers the fluorescent orange panels that were sometimes applied to aircraft for identification purposes, and these have a matt carrier film, while the few regular decals have glossy carrier. The scanner washed the orange out, so I have adjusted the colour to resemble the original as closely as possible. Conclusion Whenever I think about the Sk.60, I immediately recall that photograph of one pulled into a petrol station to illustrate its rough field capabilities, being refuelled and serviced by various pilots and crew who probably thought it was very funny. They were right. This is a well-detailed model of this little aircraft that has a personality bigger than its physical size, and is still in service with the Flygvapnet despite being older than this reviewer. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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