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255 - Saab 35 Draken 1/72 - RDAF F-35 +++Finished+++


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Next one to start with... As I wrote earlier, I will build many of these kits at the same time to save some time, since many of them will be painted in at least partly same colours. This is a lovely oldie from 1977, pretty rare since it has not been released since the late 70s or early 80s. Boxart (by Paul Lengellé) is fantastic, although neither the version (S 35E recce version) nor the individual is possible to build OOB




Detail is a bit more simplified compared to releases just a few years later. Panel lines are raised (of course) but extremely thin and it is obvious that they are hand-made. Three versions are possible to build, a Swedish fighter J 35F, a Danish recce RF-35 and at Danish two-seater TF-35. Among Draken lovers, this kit is extremely sought for since it was the only way to get a two-seater canopy. Now, a resin conversion set is avaliable, but still, it is possible to combine the canopy with Hasegawa's Draken to build a SK 35C, which I did many years ago:



Therefore, I will save the canopy for a future build of my favourite Draken: An extremely weathered Danish TF-35. This build will be almost the same, an extremely weathered Danish F-35 fighter that will be painted something like this two-seater (the one-seaters looked the same in the 70s):




Box even contains the classic Heller glue. :)




Since aftermarket stuff is OK, i will use plenty of it. I found a photoetch set, it is for a S 35E, but the only thing that is special for that version is the instrument panel that I will fix in another way.




Besides, I have lots of parts from different Hasegawa builds. The Heller kit is great considering its age, but has a number of weaknesses. Nose is too pointed, exhaust cone is not perfect either and the front part of the canopy has Mirage-style frames which Draken did not have (although there are ribs at the same place inside the canopy). Air intakes are OK, but could be better and cockpit is very basic. So I will at least try to use most of this, apart from the tanks. A also have to scratch-build wheel wells and a number of details. This will be interesting! :)




So let's get started! :)

Edited by Bjorn
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A great kit - I have a part started one donated to me and it is still on the shelf of doom awaiting its turn - the KUTA GB starts soon so it may see the light of day. 😀


Mine will be a Finnish bird though.

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Funny that me too. I’ve already cemented the upper spine to make the single seater version, now I wanna rip if off and build a two seater! What an excellent collection of Heller kits on display thanks to Bjorn. I was hoping we’d see all six and this looks like it’s well and truly going to happen. 
Cheers and excellent choice.. Dave 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Started this one this week. First, I removed all parts that will be replaced by Hasegawa parts. I have no idea if they will fit... But test-fitting and measuring is for cowards.... :D I also separated the elevons from the wings, since they are always drooped on a parked Draken.




Fin and spine seems to fit pretty OK. One thing that Heller did better than Hasegawa is the small air intakes on the body, shape is better, but they are too deep, so I filled them with plasticard.



The fit of the air intakes was worse. But Hasegawa's are so much better, so it is worth some surgery. 



Heller didn't care about the wheel wells. Time for some scratch-building! :)




Next was to make new panel lines and a well for the RAT generator that always was extended on parked Drakens.




Preparations finished. Time to build the model! :)


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That’s some super impressive work, especially those scratch built wheel wells. This promises to be another show stopper and great Heller Draken WIP reference. 
Cheers.. Dave 

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Next step was to shape up the (Hasegawa) cockpit with Maestro Models photoetch. The instrument panel had to be modified, since the Danish Drakens had no radar. It is not spot on, but good enough for me in this small scale:



Combining the Hasegawa parts to the Heller model was easier than I thought! (The white ones are from the Revell release.)

Heller did a great job getting the shapes correct. The exhaust cone was a little challenging, but I solved it through not glueing the two parts together first, but glueing them one after one to the fuselage. And my insert solution for the air intakes was successful. After a sanding session the result was far better than I expected:




Couldn't resist to gather all my Heller Saabs in this group build in one picture, before painting them:


Edited by Bjorn
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  • 1 month later...
On 02/01/2021 at 05:55, JOCKNEY said:

Hi Bjorn 

Have you had a chance to make any more progress with your Draken since we last heard from you ?

Cheers Pat 


Hi again, Pat! And yes, since most of the rest of my builds are finished, I have picked up the last three ones in this GB. Among them the most ambitious (and perhaps most stupid...) project of the ten builds. The final steps in the building process are finished, and after lots of sanding and puttying, the dragon (or actually, kite - "Draken" means both in Swedish), is ready for the first layer of primer. So far it looks more than an old multi-coloured Matchbox kit: :)




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The first layer of primer showed a surprisingly good result. Some panel lines had to be improved and a little puttying and sanding was necessary, but far less than I expected. I attached the front part of the canopy. It is a Hasegawa part, and fit was good apart from the little bulge in front of the canopy which was about 0,5 mm too small. So i built it up with putty and plastic, and now it looks good enough. I also added the two ribs under the canopy, always forgotten by the model manufacturer - even in the otherwise excellent Hasegawa 1/48 kit. Heller are the only ones that seems to have noticed them, but instead, wrongly, made them as Mirage-style frames.


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21 hours ago, stevehnz said:

Looking really good. For some reason I thought this kit was underscale, obviously not if the Hasegawa bits fit, I'll look upon these much more positively now that I've see how good it can look. :)



Thanks! Yes, I am also surprised about how good the original kit actually is. Regarding the underscale issue, maybe you think of the old Revell kit that is a little underscale.

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And so the fun begins! :D These Drakens were extremely weathered, since they were painted with a matt colour and parked outside. From the late 70s and the rest of the time in service, they were re-painted with a gloss coat. So the result will look more like a pre-shade than a weathered green.


Starting with some real pre-shading. Not sure of how much that will be seen, but also a little warm-up for the next steps:



More pre-shade, also adding some white...



Then lots of thin layers of the base colour. A mix of green, grey, white and sandy brown:



The base colour was mixed with more green, painting stripes and spots at the panel lines, prepaing for the final green:




And then the last step, dark green:




Some touch-ups will follow, but then it is time for wash, decals and the final steps of the build.

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I used decals from Stoppel Hobby in Denmark, In most aspects they are correct, the only issue was - as always with Stoppel's decals, the lack of instructions. Just colour profiles, nothing more. So the builder has to look for references on his own. Since I have built a number of Danish Drakens before, this was easy this time. But I fear for other forthcoming Danish builds where my knowledge is not as good as it is regarding this wonderful aircraft.


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Hi Bjorn,


I love what you have done with this build. I did a two seater using the Heller kit with plenty of scratch-building as well. I struggled with the faded camouflage scheme and will use your method for my next build. 


I have included some photos. All the white pieces are the added scratch-built items. Maestro external fuel tanks were used as well.


Cheers, Harold


1/72 Danish TF-35 Draken Heller kit 4 1/72 Danish TF-35 Draken Heller kit 3


1/72 Danish TF-35 Draken Heller kit 2


1/72 Danish TF-35 Draken Heller kit 1 Danish TF-35 Draken kit in 1/72 from Heller Danish TF-35 Draken kit in 1/72 from Heller Danish TF-35 Draken kit in 1/72 from Heller Danish TF-35 Draken kit in 1/72 from Heller


Edited by haroldk
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@haroldk Brilliant work! It is nice to see that I am not the only one who is mad enough to put lots of effort in this old kit rather than taking the easy way and build the Hasegawa one. :D  I notice that you also have struggled with the sink marks on the outer wings! For some reason, they are worse on the kits moulded in green. Excellent attention to details as well, there are many small things that differ this version (and all Danish Drakens) from other versions, and you have nailed them! I wish Skale Wings had done the same in their new kit...

The build continues with the final steps. While the nose gear is acceptable, the main landing gear legs are a little too simplified to me:



I used the lower part, and added details from my spares box into something more similar to the real thing. I also removed the spokes from the nose gear since the Danish (and the Finnish-built) Drakens did not have these:



Finished work: Note that Danish (and Finnish-built) Drakens had white landing gear legs, while the other versions had green ones. I added some more details and also new (hardly visible) landing gear lights. The inner doors are those from the kit, but sanded down to a better shape while the outer doors are scratch-built. I also added a scratch-built RAT generator, and opened the door there, since these are always extended on parked Drakens. I used the kit main wheels, they are not perfect but acceptable, and looked better than I expected after painting.



Edited by Bjorn
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Final touches... After a matt varnish, I was just about to do some scratch-building on the cockpit sides, behind the seat and on the inside of the canopy, plus painting the seat and create seatbelts (WHY do I always leave this until the model is almost finished?) when I discovered the photoetch fret that I already had used during this build, but completely forgot. Building too many kits at the same time has its consequences... (or more likely, I have sniffed too much superglue). I think I have to read my own WIP threads from now on. Anyway, this was a happy surprise.



I have to fix some panel lines, but then I just have to mount the canopy before it is finished.

Edited by Bjorn
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Bjorn changed the title to 255 - Saab 35 Draken 1/72 - RDAF F-35 +++Finished+++

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