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SAAB B-5 Swedish Dive Bomber 1:72 Special Hobby (72421)


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SAAB B-5 Swedish Dive Bomber

1:72 Special Hobby (72421)




The SAAB B-5 was a licence built Douglas Model A8-1, which in turn was a  Northrop A-17, developed for the export market. This was a land-based light bomber, developed in the 1930s for the US Army Air Force. Similar in layout to the Vought Vindicator naval aircraft, the A-17 was an unrelated development, despite being powered by the same Pratt and Whitney Twin Wasp Junior radial engine. It was capable of a maximum speed of just over 200mph, had a range of 650 miles and could carry up to 1,200lb of bombs in its internal bay or on hard points under the wings. Although the A-17 was not produced in any great numbers it was exported to a surprising number of countries, including Argentina, Iraq, Norway and Sweden. Douglas built 2 for Sweden and then 94 were built by SAAB. These served until 1944 when they were replaced in thee Dove Bomber role by the SAAB 17.


The Kit
The handsome Northrop A-17 hasn't been all that well supported by model companies over the years. Rareplanes issued a vacuum formed kit back in the 1970s, and that was your lot until the injection-moulded MPM kit was released in 2002. The kit has been released multiple times since then, with this new version being the latest from Special Hobby. There are two sprues of plastic parts, an injection canopy with vac form additions, a bag of resin parts, additional resin skis and two sheets of PE .




The long cockpit is reasonably detailed, being made up of thirteen parts. The pilot's compartment is comprised of a floor, two-part seat, rear bulkhead, instrument panel and control column, while the rear compartment is made up from a radio set, ammunition container, rear gun ring; and seat. The insides of the fuselage halves feature some basic sidewall details, which leaves a pretty favourable overall impression. A set of photo etched harnesses would finish things off nicely if you happen to have some to hand. Once the cockpit has been assembled and painted, the fuselage halves can be joined. The lower centre section of the wing is next. You may want to fit this part before the glue dries on the fuselage halves just to make sure everything lines up properly. The upper wings and the outer sections of the lower wings can be fitted next. Ailerons are moulded in place, as are the elevators on the tail planes, although the stretched fabric details are pretty nice.




The engine is moulded as a single resin piece with additional resin parts finished with a resin cowl. This fits onto a resin mount.  For the Swedish version the main canopy will need to have the pilots section removed and replaced with the new vac form section. It would have been good if this was produced in plastic though. As with the real thing, the undercarriage is relatively simple but decent enough. The main wheels have spats, or can be replaced with the nice resi skis in this boxing. Complicated resin bomb racks need to be made up for under the wing centre section, thankfully a jig is included to get everything lined up correctly. It is a shame no bombs are included or the racks. Final details include a four-part propeller, pitot tube, radio aerial mast and resin exhaust pipe. 



Three options are provided on the decal sheet, these look to have been made in house, they look to be in register with no issues.:


  • B-5B 7030 N.4 Flygflotilj 4, Winter 1943/44
  • B-5B, Flygflotilj 6, 1943
  • B-5B 7017 Flygflotilj 21, Winter 1944



This is a nice enough little kit which possesses a reasonable amount of detail and which should be an enjoyable and satisfying model to build. My only gripes are that some of the panel lines look a bit crude and having a canopy of injection and vac form parts may pose a challenge. . All the same, this kit can be recommended, which is handy if you're in the market for a 1:72 SAAB B-5 as there isn't much else to choose from.




Review sample courtesy of


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