Jump to content

Saab JA37 Viggen 1:48


Recommended Posts

Saab JA37 Viggen
1:48 Tarangus


boxtop.jpg


The Viggen is a rugged fighter/interceptor that was designed to fulfil a need during the deep Cold War to defend Swedish airspace in the event of an incursion by the Soviet Bloc, and to continue the fight from hidden bases near roadways, which the aircraft could use as makeshift landing strips. It was to replace both the Lansen and Draken, and did so extremely well, endearing itself to aviation enthusiasts as it did so due to its unusual double-delta/canard configuration. It was fitted with a single license built P&W JT8D with an afterburner to give it the performance needed to propel this large aircraft fast enough to accomplish short take-offs. Short landings were made possible by the inclusion of a large set of thrust reversing petals that dropped into the exhaust and expelled the gases forward out of slots in the side of the fuselage.

The initial AJ37 variant was declared operational in 1972, and required the addition of a trainer variant, dubbed the SK37, which had an additional cockpit placed high above the original, displacing some fuel tankage in the process. The final JA37 variant was brought into service in 1980 with new computer systems, improved radar and engine, as well as other systems and the strength of the airframe, which already utilised titanium to reduce weight. The last of the Viggens (Thunderbolt) were retired in 2005, replaced by the impressive JAS39 Gripen (Griffon). A number of Viggens are on display in museums – notably Newark in the UK, but the Swedes have retained one in flying condition that can sometimes be seen at British airshows along with a Draken, Lansen and even the Tunnan. If only every country was conscientious in preservation of its aviation history.

The Kit
Anyone that has even a passing interest in the Viggen has probably been aware of the gestation of the Tarangus kit, and it is now almost a year since it was originally scheduled to be launched. This stemmed from the fact that Max and Fredrik wanted to do the Viggen full justice, so the initial short/medium run kit format was dropped in favour of a more durable mainstream moulding that would also provide much better detail out of the box. It worked. There is GOOD detail, and plenty of it. Opening the yellow and blue box, you're greeted by a lot of nicely tooled plastic, with a total of eight sprues in mid grey styrene, one of glass-like clear parts, and a set of decals on a long narrow sheet. The instruction booklet is around A5 in size, is printed in black & greyshades, with good clear diagrams and plenty of assistance notes. The final item in the box is a full-colour glossy painting and marking guide, with a double A4 spread showing stencils, and another the national markings.

sprue1.jpg

sprue2.jpg

sprue3.jpg

sprue4.jpg

sprue5.jpg


Initial impressions are super, and had this Viggen loving reviewer smiling as I perused the sprues on the Tarangus booth at Telford. Once home, I could study them some more, and all of the shortcomings of the Airfix/Esci kit seem to have been addressed in spades, with crisp engraved panel lines, single-piece intake fronts with slim lips, backed by full-length trunking. The rear of the engine is also depicted, replete with the big thrust-reverser petals that can be posed individually. The gear bays are detailed, and the fuselage doesn't suffer from the paunch of the old Airfix kit. Clever breakdown of the fuselage has resulted in some nice detail, as well as a sensible and straight-forward build process that should suit most modellers unless they add any of the aftermarket that is bound to come flooding out from Maestro and others.

detail-cockpit.jpg

detail-fuselage.jpg

detail-intakes.jpg


Construction begins with the front fuselage, and the cockpit in particular. The ejection seat, which is a Raketstol 37, is made from two parts for the outer shell, and has the head-cushion moulded in, so you will need to deal with the seam there before you install the single piece cushion in the lower half and the head-box top above it. The rocket-tube and lateral supports are inserted in the hollow back of the chair, but if you plan on adding some seatbelts, you will need to make your own if you're building it now, or wait until some are forthcoming from the likes of Eduard. The cockpit tub is one piece with integrated side consoled that have raised detail moulded in, to which you add the rudder pedals, control column and the main instrument panel. The panel has what looks like an MFD in the middle, but it was in fact an old-fashioned CRT screen, which was quite advanced at the time in an aircraft. There are no decals for the panel, so check your references and paint it accordingly. Another two small levers are added to the right side console to finish off the cockpit nicely. The front fuselage is split horizontally, and has moulded-in recesses into which the sidewall detail parts are placed before the cockpit tub is added from below. Before the front fuselage can be closed up however, the intake trunking must be built up. The two trunks are moulded together and split top and bottom to ensure correct line-up, being held apart with bracing struts and outer flanges that hold them neatly within the fuselage. A bulkhead with twin oval openings covers the rear end, and a small circular(ish) length of the outer skin of the fuselage fits behind that. Why? One Viggen variant is slightly longer than the rest, and it would seem that Tarangus have tooled the kit with this in mind. The huge fan of Volvo RM8 engine is glued behind this section, although it would probably need an endoscopic camera to see it clearly! The well detailed nose gear bay is added, a front bulkhead to close off the nose behind the radome is installed over the front of that, and the intakes can be dropped in after drilling out the holes for the belly pylons fitted later. The upper fuselage with the spine moulded in is then sat on top and glued in place, at which point you will need to ensure a good fit between the two halves as well as the fuselage ring that you added earlier to the intake assembly.

detail-exhaust.jpg


The rear fuselage splits vertically to allow a realistic rendition of the area-rule curving fuselage that surrounds the Volvo motor. In order to join the halves, you need to build the engine's rear, which is made from just two parts, but has superb detail incorporated. The main part is a wide tube with the rear engine face and afterburner ring moulded-in with stunning sharpness, plus ribbing along the length of the exhaust, and fluted edges that are commendably thin. The reverser section is added next, which is again a single part that mates with the lip in three points, leaving three large gaps for the reversed engine gases to exit. The thrust-reversing petals are each separate, and can be posed either fully open for normal running, closed for "reversing", or with the bottom two open and the top one drooping down due to the bleed-off of hydraulic pressure following engine shut-down. The latter will be the most normally seen on a parked aircraft, but you at least have options now! The tail cone fits over the petals, and the completed (and painted) assembly is trapped between the aft fuselage halves, and then mated with the forward half. Most of the upper join will be hidden by the spine of the front fuselage, which is always a boon to the modeller.

Work then moves to the large cranked "double-delta" wings, starting with adding the well detailed shallow main gear bays to the single piece lower wing. A few holes are drilled for additional flap-actuator fairings (IIRC, this additional actuator wasn't present on early variants), and fuselage then the two upper wing halves are added, butting up against each other. Plenty of test fitting should ensure the best joint, but don't forget that wing-fairings are often not the best fitting, so check your references, and if it looks right, leave the lid on the putty. The flying surfaces are moulded integrally, so other than adding the aforementioned flap fairings and a pair of small wingtip lights on each wing, that's them done.

At the front end of the fuselage, your Viggen will be looking a little blunt until you add the two part nose cone, which is split vertically, and the engine intakes, which have been cleverly designed to take up only one part each. As mentioned earlier, these are slim and delicate, but if you want to achieve better scale accuracy, you might consider slimming the lips down a little more, such are the limits of styrene injection moulding. The small aerodynamic bracing struts that fit between the inner edge of the intake and the fuselage are separate parts, and are shown in both the installed position and as part of the exploded construction diagram to assist with correct placement. A scrap diagram from the front would have helped further, but instead check your references, as there are plenty of head-on pics out there. The two canards are installed later on a pair of attachment lugs, and each one is a single piece, with moulded-in flaps and a single vortex generator on the top of the winglet. I would have preferred the flaps separate, as the aircraft looks good with them down, and they often taxi in with them down after using them to improve lift on landings, as well as on take-off. The big vertical fin is separate, and has an insert on the port spine to cater for other earlier variants down the line. Various auxiliary intakes and exhausts are added down the fuselage and spine into recesses, and the small T-shaped air-brakes are added forward of the reverser outlets on each side, with another two under the fuselage. There doesn't seem to be any provision for deploying them, as there are no actuators provided, and the bays into which they fit are devoid of detail. It's not a major issue however, as they tend to be closed up for the most part.

detail-mainbays.jpg

detail-nosebay.jpg

detail-wheels.jpg


The gear bays have been nicely detailed from the box, and with the addition of the landing gear should suffice for most modellers' needs. The nose gear leg fits into a recess in the rear of the bay, and has a separate strut and oleo-scissor link. The bay doors each have hinge-points and a separate retractor link, and there are two clear landing light parts added inside the bay, angled slightly down. The main gear bays are each single parts, but have been detailed sufficiently with moulded-in shapes to give a good impression. The big main doors are usually closed on the ground anyway, so most of it will be hidden. The Viggen was unusual in having a pair of inline wheels on a horizontal leg, which rotated around the end of the main leg, offering better rough-field performance. This has been replicated faithfully using eleven parts for each leg and its retraction mechanism, plus another two for the stub-axles that hold the two-part wheels in place. The wheels are nice, but they're not the strongest part of the kit, and could bear replacing with some aftermarket if they come around. The same could be said of the twin nose-wheels, which are each single parts, but all would be improved by the addition of a flat-spot to simulate the aircraft's weight, so if you're keeping them, get your sanding sticks out. The outer bay doors are captive to the gear leg, and have hinge points to give them a good chance of remaining in place during handling or travel to shows.

Under the fuselage are the two belly pylons that were drilled holes for earlier, and a large combined "hump" that integrates a centreline pylon with the gun pack that contains an Oerlikon cannon and 150 rounds of ammunition. This also partially surrounds a ventral strake, and a large fuel tank is supplied to sit on the pylon, because all fighters are always short of fuel. The tank is made of two halves split vertically, and has four separate stabilising fins that fit into slots in the body. Sadly for anyone wishing to load up their Viggen from the box contents, there are no weapons available in the kit, but as she was capable of carrying AIM-120s, AIM-9 Sidewinders and Skyflash, there are plenty of options already available in aftermarket. I'm sure that some indigenous options will be forthcoming in due course too.

clear.jpg


The last act involves the canopy, which can be posed open or closed using the same two parts. The windscreen will need fairing in for a little extra realism, and the canopy can be fitted open or closed by inserting the hinge tabs in at the appropriate angle. A clear HUD glass is also provided for the coaming, which is incidentally moulded into the fuselage halves, so will need the seam hiding before you paint.

Markings

There are three options in the box, and each represents one of the major schemes that the JA37 Viggen wore during its career. From the box you can build one of the following:

  • 37351 F-17 Wing - All over bare metal/silver, with red 39 on the tail & black radome.
  • 37378 F-4 Wing - Black/dark green/green/brown splinter pattern with red 38 on the wings and tail.
  • 37449 F-16 Wing - Medium grey with light grey undersides and nose, wearing either a red 49 or an operational black alternative.

decals.jpg


The schemes aren't cross-referenced to any paint system on the sheet, but on the inside cover of the instructions you will find call-outs in Gunze-Sangyo codes with their names under a heading for each scheme. There are soon to be some pics of the example at Newark appearing in the Walkaround section, so check back when you can.

Decals are well printed, with good registration, colour density and sharpness, and include the dielectric panel on the side as well as a large number of stencils that are references on the centre double spread of the painting guide. Even the pylons are festooned with stencils, and you get a set of slime-lights to add to your model.

Conclusion
Speaking personally, I couldn't be happier that we now have a new tooling of the Viggen in 1:48, and am glad they took the quality route and made us wait. Objectively, it's a great kit, and well worth the delay while they converted to a more durable tooling with better detail. We could have asked for some cockpit decals, a couple of weapons and such, but that seems somewhat churlish when we consider that this is a relatively new company making inroads into Swedish aviation history.

I promised a member to give him some dimensions, and with a length of 16.4m, we're looking at a length of 34cm, wingspan is 10.6m, which scales down to 22cm give or take. Not a small aircraft by any means!

I understand that it will be priced around £60 when released, which might put a few off, but when you consider the price of a well-known Japanese company's F-18s in the same scale, with a huge market, this starts to look like even better value. Tarangus are a brave company and deserve our support to continue giving us relatively left-field subject matter. Do your part by consigning your old Airfix kits to the back of the stash, and relish the work and/or aftermarket you'll save by buying a Tarangus Viggen.

Available soon from all good model shops.

Extremely highly recommended.

Review sample courtesy of
logo.gif

  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

There are soon to be some pics of the example at Newark appearing in the Walkaround section, so check back when you can.

News to me :D

This kit looks :Tasty: damn, I was supposed to stop buying kits!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the review Mike. I'm quite exited about this release, and am so happy Tarangus put so much effort into it. There are a few flaws, and as you mentioned, weapons would be nice, but it's hard to not be happy. It's a modern tool Viggen! Amazing!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Exactly Magnus - they're to be snapped up at the first opportunity :)

As demonstrated at SMW 14 at Telford over last weekend.

I managed, with good fortune, to pick one up on early Saturday afternoon but I am pretty sure that were sold out before the end of the first day. I wholeheartedly agree with your very fair and balanced review of this kit, the quality and price of which need to be taken in context with other bigger players in the market. I appreciate that some may blanche at the £60 price tag, especially when one considers the lack of weapons but I have little doubt that Tarangus had to factor in additional costs when they decided to take stock and follow the quality route, thereby taking extra time and effort, which all costs money. I for one, am willing to pay that little bit extra to get a kit that has been thoroughly researched and QA'd before it hits the streets/shelves. As a long-term Viggen fan that had the privilege of observing them, at very close quarters (No H&S in those days !), lifting off road bases in the North of Sweden in the early 1990s and more recently seeing the preserved example perform a superb display here in Norway, I have waited a long time for this particular kit. I have not been disappointed with the contents of this box and very much hope many of you will enjoy it and, at the same time, support this brave new company.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

How did I miss this one! I walked the halls of Telford for 3 days including set up and missed it! Oh well mail order thenn.

Plastic overload!
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still surprised how much of the show I managed to miss! :lol: I was determined to meet up with the Tarangus chaps though, as they do interesting things :wub:

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Having popped around to see 'The Boss' this evening I can vouch for the fact that it is one gorgeous Kit :wub:

Get building it Mike!

Cheers

John

Link to post
Share on other sites

I do want one of these, do it in splinter camo. Had a chat with the boys at Telford, seem like nice chaps. I can't justify that much on it yet though.

Also find the lack of weapons a bit odd? I can understand Hase doing it as they do the sets, unless you're meant to use the Hase sets with this as well. I assume pylons for the weps are included? I can't see anyone on a quick scan through.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The base of the wing pylons are on the main underwing which go back to cover the flap actuators, there are other pylons on the sprues as well. I don't see any evidence of sidewinder adaptor pylons or the twin store carriers.

Maybe they will do weapons etc as resin bits? Certainly not including the weapons makes the base kit cheaper? Most flew without weapons anyway. Also certainly not the only kit manufacturer to do this, however I know maestro models do a lot of the specific weapons.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Mike,

Great review! Now do I wait for the maritime strike version, (nice pair of big, errrr, missiles underslung :wicked: ), or the ECM conversion of the trainer, or just buy the lot...? :Tasty:

Had great fun watching the Viggen perform at the F16 Open Day, the STOL landing and take off, including a 3-point turn!, was eye-opening and jaw-dropping!! :heart:

"Stop buying kits", ? :huh::unsure::blink::raincloud::blink2::yikes::mental::wacko::crosseyed::hypnotised::shrug::sick: I thought words like that were banned!

Christian the Married and exiled to africa

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still surprised how much of the show I managed to miss! :lol: I was determined to meet up with the Tarangus chaps though, as they do interesting things :wub:

Max runs Rebel Hobby which was my Tuesday after work stopover. A thoroughly nice man and excellent photographer as well!

He would probably remember me as the, (mad), Englishman from Uppsala with a taste for Latin American aircraft. Not to mention my infamous car...

Edited by wyverns4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Nah, back then exiled to Sweden. Had a house in Solentuna on the northern outskirts of Stockholm. Rebel Hobby was two stops further south on the E4, (think M1), so on my drive home from Uppsala University I would 'accidentally' miss the turning home...

Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all, thanks for an excellent review!

Being a Viggen fanatic, having done my military service on the Viggen, I'd like to clarify a few things.. First of all, the lack of weapons isn't that odd. We barely ever flew with missiles! Occassionally a blind Sidewinder on the left air intake pylon, but apart from that, the planes were almost never armed. During scramble missions, only the internal gun was used.

Second, DO NOT WEIGHT THE WHEELS!! It was said that what packed the most punch on the Viggen was the tires, as they were inflated with extremely high pressures (due to the high sink rate when landing at short airfields). I don't remember the pressure exactly, but it was HIGH!

Third, if you want some references, please check out the Tarangus website. There is a gallery of the pictures I took of 37410 when we started doing the kit. There is also a complete production list of ALL JA37s, with links to images. You can find the references at http://www.tarangus.se/all-new-viggen-model/reference-gallery-ja37-viggen/.

Don't forget to like us on Facebook as well on facebook.com/tarangus!

We look forward to your feedback!

Best regards

Fredrik Zetterberg

Tarangus

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

heard that the plastic is a little on the rough side. Anyone who can confirm or spread his opinion about it....

Yes, it's a little bit rough, especially if compared to Tamiya, Hasegawa or GWH. But it's a probably perfect for those of us who use primer anyway. And for most finishes, it will look perfect.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A decent Viggen in a decent scale has been on my wants list for ages. Kit looks great but, as the reviewer points out, the price (£64.99) might put people off. It has certainly put this purchaser right off. The total lack of ordnance is even more disappointing in a kit of this price. I know that I may be in a minority here but, regardless of the reviewers price comparison of the previously mentioned F-18 Hornets, this kit to me does not suggest good value for money.

Clearly, price and value are very subjective matters and entirely down to the personal perspective of the modeller and, I fully expect to be taken to task for my comments here. Don't get me wrong. I'd love this but unless I can get it for about £30 - £35 it ain't going to happen.

Allan

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

A decent Viggen in a decent scale has been on my wants list for ages. Kit looks great but, as the reviewer points out, the price (£64.99) might put people off. It has certainly put this purchaser right off. The total lack of ordnance is even more disappointing in a kit of this price. I know that I may be in a minority here but, regardless of the reviewers price comparison of the previously mentioned F-18 Hornets, this kit to me does not suggest good value for money.

Clearly, price and value are very subjective matters and entirely down to the personal perspective of the modeller and, I fully expect to be taken to task for my comments here. Don't get me wrong. I'd love this but unless I can get it for about £30 - £35 it ain't going to happen.

Allan

You surtenly have a point here. Lack of ordnance makes this kit evne more high priced. Hopefully its price will f-go down in the future

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...