Jump to content

Heller 1/72 Saab SF 37 Viggen

Recommended Posts

I see this is a popular subject, as the Tarangus/Special Hobby kits are being built in both 1/72 and 1/48. Time for someone to go retro. The previous Viggen kits I built were from Airfix and Matchbox, which will probably come as no surprise.


I have 4 of this kit in the stash for a long time, including the JA 37 version with extra parts. One kit was bought in 1993, the others about 10 years later. I have held off building any of them for two reasons: One is the mega-complex paint scheme used on all three versions included in the original release. Another is the nagging suspicion that this may be a far from easy build. But there's only one way to find out.


Artwork from the first two boxings. Unfortunately, I never got either of these. The black-edged box style dating from the late 1970s is a particular favourite of mine.



This is the box style for my kit:



Parts and instructions. This particular kit had the extra JA sprue included by mistake, not that I'm complaining. All spare parts gratefully received.






  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now ... the cockpit is predictably basic, typical of a Heller kit of this period. The instrument panel has "flat" edges, but the lower edges really need to be angled, as the panel slopes forward, something the instructions clearly show. The panel is also not high enough, so I used some scrap plastic to mount it higher. The end result is probably better than this photo shows.



The interior part the main exhaust is too "wide" for my liking, but nothing that couldn't be fixed. The single-part "petal" assembly I attached to the other fuselage half, so that neither engine part would obscure the other when painting them.



Moving quickly along, the fuselage join is very good. So onto the wings. The one thing I would strongly recommend against is assembling the wings before mating them with the fuselage, which is what I tried to do first. The temptation would be to place the upper wings right down on top of the main undercarriage walls. The plastic is thin and flexible enough to allow this, with the aid of a clamp to hold it in place while setting. But were you do to this, then there would be a horrendous "step" at each wing root/fuselage join. The optimum strategy is to attach the one-piece lower wing, then build up the edges of the walls so that the upper wings will rest on them at the correct point. In this photo, I have managed to attach the starboard wing, and I will clean up the join later. The upper port wing will be next.




  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mucho progress since the last post, despite a hiatus over the last couple of days.


One potential area was the front of the dorsal spine overhanging the back of the cockpit, and interfering with the seat placement, especially as the rear of the headrest overhangs.



In the meantime, I pressed ahead with the rest of the airframe.





From what I've read, and from my testing, the nose weight requirement seemed minimal, but I put in more than enough, just to be sure. I took care not to have anything obviously behind a camera port.



Underside fitments added.



The solution to the spine/seat problem was simple: Build up the attachment base on the rear cockpit bulkhead enough that the sea (with the rear of the headrest slightly sanded down) would fit neatly  in place.



The proof of the pudding:



The canopy was an excellent fit between the windscreen and dorsal spine.



Next up: More cleaning up, especially in the main undercarriage bays. I don't think the undercarriage itself will cause any problems, so hopefully I have dealt with all the "engineering" issues. Just as well, because the painting is going to be a challenge.


  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

This one is coming together nicely. Such rapid progress will give you all the more time to concentrate on the splinter scheme paintwork  ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, time for a long overdue update. Blame the weather. Yes, the near two weeks of continuous sunshine. I had to get my fix of vitamin D for the year.


I spent a lot of time cleaning up the main undercarriage bays, then realised some of that was unnecessary, as the inner doors would be in the closed position, as is normal for "modern" jets.



But that lead to another problem: How to fit said doors. Heller parts are typically quite thin, which limits the scope for adjusting the fit or orientation of a part. Then there is the awkward curvature, and lack of anything to place them on to. I had to add blocks to attach them to the roof of the bay:



Even then there was still much to clean up:



The undercarriage is crude by modern standards, although the main wheels (not yet fitted here) are quite well defined. The locating pins for the main undercarriage parts had to be sanded down, as they were too long, which is again down to how thin the plastic is, in this case in the upper wings.



I still had much more cleaning up to do, much of it around the upper fuselage/wing root joins.



There are all sorts of enhancements that I could do, such as adding a pair of Sidewinders, one either side of the ventral fuel tank. I have seen at least one photo of an SF 37 thus configured. With the AJ 37 sprue mistakenly included in this kit, it would have been very easy. But I am content to leave it "as is".


And so onto painting. Photos of Viggens in this scheme show wide very variations in colours and contrasts, due to weathering, lighting, partial touching up, etc. Naturally, there are various suggestions as to what colours to use, depending on which kit instructions you look at. The safest bet was the Swedish Air Force page on the IPMS Stockholm site:



From there, I arrived at the following Humbrol colours for: Hu 33 black, Hu 105 "dark" green, Hu 158 "mid" green, Hu 118 tan (all upper camouflage) and Hu 127 (undersides). To expedite the painting of the upper camouflage, I have applied a base coat of Hu 105:



The best reference I could find with close-up views of the paint scheme were in the instructions for a 1/32 kit by Jet Mads (?):



I will be following this very closely as I apply that madcap scheme over the next few days.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Unfortunately, due to the pressures ot time, something had to get the chop, and this was it. It will get finished, once I work up the courage to tackle that camouflage scheme. Just not for another couple of weeks, and certainly not in time for the gallery closing in a couple of hours.

Link to comment
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...