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Paul A H

Saab J29A/B Tunnan - 1:72 Tarangus

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Saab J29A/B Tunnan

1:72 Tarangus


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The Saab 29 Tunnan (barrel) was the second jet fighter to enter service with the Swedish Flygvapnet. It followed on from the Saab 21R, which was actually a jet-powered development of a piston-engined design. In common with other jet aircraft developed in the late 1940s, it was originally designed with a straight wing. However, by the time the prototype was in development, captured German research information was available and this convinced the Swedes to adopt a swept wing configuration instead. The Tunnan was powered by a licence built version of the De Havilland Ghost engine used in the British Venom fighter bomber and Comet airliner.

Despite its ungainly appearance, the Tunnan enjoyed a reputation as a fast, agile aircraft with good all-round visibility. Following its first flight at the hands of British test pilot Bob Moore in 1948, it enjoyed a long and successful service life, with the final examples remaining in service as target tugs until 1974. As a fighter, it equipped both the Swedish and Austrian air forces and saw combat during UN peacekeeping operations in the Republic of Congo in the 1960s. A total of 661 examples were produced, making it the most widely produced Saab aircraft in history.

The Saab Tunnan has been kitted a couple of times before in this scale by Heller and Matchbox. Both kits were of their time, with the Matchbox kit featuring the broad panel lines that (not entirely fairly) defined the brand. Now Swedish aviation enthusiasts and model producers Tarangus have given us a brand new limited-run kit with resin parts. In contrast to the Heller and Matchbox kits, this new kit represents the early model without the notch in the wing that characterised the later Tunnans. The kit is packed into an end-opening box containing 45 parts moulded in glossy grey and clear plastic as well as a handful of resin parts. The kit looks pretty good on the sprue, and although it lacks the spit and polish of a kit from, say, Hasegawa, it reminds me of a kit by one of the Czech manufacturers such as Sword. Surface structures are made up of fine, recessed lines and fasteners.

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Construction starts with a reasonably well detailed multi-media cockpit, made up of a plastic floor/rear bulkhead, control column, rudder pedals, instrument panel and starboard sidewall. The seat is made of resin and is pretty nicely detailed, but there are no harnesses moulded in place, which is a shame. The instrument panel features raised detail and a separate resin gunsight. The overall impression is of a well detailed and suitably busy cockpit and the only improvement I could suggest would be the addition of a set of photo etched harnesses.

Before the fuselage halves can be joined, there is more resin to fiddle with. The large main gear bays are cast in resin and feature some nice raised detail. The engine air intake is also cast in resin, which means no fiddly seams to clean up. The nose gear bay is plastic, as is the jet exhaust. The instructions suggest that nose weight will be a good idea, but not how much. Fortunately there should be enough room in the portly Tunnan's forward fuselage to cram enough weight in.

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The wings are moulded with separate upper and lower surfaces, with ailerons and flaps are all moulded in place. Nevertheless, surface details are nicely depicted and there are small indentations to help you locate the underwing pylons. The horizontal tail is moulded as a single, solid part which slots onto the vertical tail via a notch which runs from the swept leading edge to the front of the rudder. The landing gear is quite nicely detailed. Each wheel is split vertically and the distinction between wheel and tyre is pretty clear. The only fly in the ointment is the presence of a number of small raise marks which appear to be flaws in the mould.

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The canopy is moulded in two parts so that it can be posed in the open position if desired. It is thin and clear without much in the way of noticeable diffraction. Ordnance comes in the form of two drop tanks. Separate muzzles for the cannon barrels are provided, although they look as though they might be a little fiddly to fit in place.

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Three decal options are provided, which is pretty good for a kit of this size:
F8 yellow J (serial number 29368) F8 Wing at Barkarby, Stockholm;
F22 white G (serial number 29440) F22 wing, Swedish United Nations Forces in Kongo; and
F13 red M (serial number 29303) F13 wing, Norrkoping.
All aircraft are finished in overall aluminium with various colourful touches. Red M is the most striking of the three schemes as it features distinctive black bands and dayglo orange wingtips. The decals themselves are very nicely printed and feature a full range of stencils as well as the main markings for each aircraft.

Conclusion

Although this is a limited run kit, provided there are no surprises in terms of fit and finish it should prove to be an improvement on earlier kits of this type. The level of detail is pretty good and it looks accurate to my eye. Overall, this is a nice kit which should build up into a pleasing model. Recommended.

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Review sample courtesy of logo.gif

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Nice review - looks Like Tarangus got the fuselage shape right too. Its a fairly sleek barrel!!

Just to take issue - the gun port fairings are all moulded separately on the main sprue - and while I see what Paul means - perhaps he is referring to their location points rather than the fairings themselves?

Scale it up Tarangus - 1/48th please.

Jonners

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I agree, I finished it yesterday and it is a great kit. I used almost no filler at all, and the decals are superb.

The review points out the lack of Austrian decals. However, that would be wrong, this is the J 29A/B version, the austrians used only J 29F, which differs a lot from this version. The rear part of the body is thicker due to a different engine with afterburner, and the J 29F had dogtooth wings.

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Oh dear, my lack of familiarity with this type is quite obvious, isn't it? :blush: You are, of course, both correct. I will amend the review accordingly :) Hopefully a later variant with Austrian decals will appear in due course.

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Great review Paul, and crackin' pictures :) I've already asked Fredrik and Co. at Tarangus to scale it up to 1:48, but the AZ kit has fulfilled a lot of the market, so if we want it in 1:48 we'd better make our interest known ^_^

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Tarangus timed their introduction perfectly, I just finished my Heller one. :banghead:

Great looking kit and great review though, thanks for writing it up!

Greg in OK

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Looks like a purchase is on the cards, I do love a bit of Swedish metal.

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