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SAAB AJ-37 Viggen "Strike Fighter" (SH72378) 1:72 Special Hobby


Julien
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SAAB AJ-37 Viggen "Strike Fighter" (SH72378)

1:72 Special Hobby

 

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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 Volvo 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 set of large thrust reversing petals that dropped into the exhaust trunking and expelled the gases forward from 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 FS version (Spaning Foto) replaced the radar with cameras in the nose. Additional provision was made for recce pods. They were introduced in 1973 with 28 aircraft being built. They were later upgraded to AJSF-37 before being decommissioned in 1998. This means the Swedish Air Force lost a dedicated Photo Recon Asset at this time.  The last of the operational 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

The main tooling that this kit originated from is the collaborative effort between Special Hobby and Tarangus in 2018, which has been re-issued a few times over the past few years.   In the box you get six sprues of grey styrene, one of clear parts, a sheet of decals and a glossy colour printed instruction booklet with integrated colour and markings guide at the rear. The tooling is one of the best I have seen in 1/72 there is plenty of detail with well defined but not overly deep panel lines. The only negative part on the tooling are sink marks on the top of the flaps due to the moulded on flap actuators on the underside of the mouldiing. These will be easily filled though, or can be shaded in for weathering back from the flap hinges. 

 

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Construction starts shockingly enough in the cockpit. The four part ejection seat is built up followed by the cockpit tub. Instrument panel, rudder pedals, control column, and throttles are all added, the tub can then be placed inside the upper front fuselage; the ejection seat is then added in from the top.  We then move to the lower front fuselage, the housing for the APU is built in. The front gear well as well can be glued in at this point. The upper and lower front fuselages can then be joined together around the full length intake trunking. The engine face is then put on the back of the intake trunking thus finishing this part of the build.

 

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Next up is the rear fuselage. and wings. First off the upper and lower wings are joined together. Above this the engine exhaust and the Viggen's unique thrust reverser are assembled and placed inside the two part (left & right) upper rear fuselage parts. These in effect only form the top two thirds of the read fuselage as they then join to the top of the main wing assembly.  Its worth noting the thrust reverser can be modelled open or closed. 

 

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The front and rear fuselage sections can then be joined. At the front the nose is made up and added. Once the nose is on the rather nice one part engine intakes are added. Towards the rear the vertical tail is put on.  Various antenna, intakes and fairings are then added to both the upper and lower surfaces of the Viggen.  On the underside the undercarriage is then built up and installed with the aircraft's unique twin tandem main wheels going into wells which are on the indie of the main wing parts. The main gear doors are added. Flipping back to the top the front control canards go on. We then flip back to the underside for the air brakes, To finish of the centre line fuel tank is added followed by the clear parts. 

 

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Markings

The glossy decal sheet looks to be printed in house, looks sharp and is in register. There are three decal options available from the decal sheet, which are split between NMF & splinter camouflage. From the box you can build the following;

 

37023/7-23 / 418 - Wing F7, Satena, Seen at the Paris Air Show in 1973. Aircraft was Zapped by RNLAF personnel of 323 Sqn at Leeuwarden on the way back to Sweden (NMF).

37029/7-29, Wing F7, Satenas July 1975 Still showing markings applied for an airshow in Germany in 1973 (NMF)

37035/6-35, Wing F6, Karlsborg, 1984 (Splinter camo).

 

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Conclusion

The Viggen is a huge, impressive-looking Cold War warrior that has the unique Swedish look to it  Detail is good, with excellent decals into the bargain makes this a must-have as far as I'm concerned.  If you like Viggens then make sure you get one. Very  highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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2 hours ago, Christer A said:

The only thing wrong with this kit is the total lack of weapons.

Four 13,5cm ARAK (rocketpods) would have been nice, of a pair of Rb05 Air-to-Surface missile too.

Off course, a pair of Rb04 Anti-ship missiles wouldn't go amiss either :)

Many kits these days do not contain weapons.

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