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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Saab Viggen JA-37, Airfix 1/48

Hello my friends!

This is my latest project finished, the JA-37 Saab Viggen in 1/48th scale. The kit is the Airfix reboxing of the old Esci kit.

The Saab 37 Viggen (English: Thunderbolt) was a Swedish single-seat, single-engine, short-medium range fighter andattack aircraft, manufactured between 1970 and 1990. Several variants were produced to perform the roles of all-weather fighter-interceptor, ground-attack and photo-reconnaissance, as well as a two-seat trainer.

JA 37

With the introduction of the JA 37 in 1979 came the Ericsson PS 46/A radar capable of guiding the two semi-active radar homing Rb 71 missiles on the fuselage pylons simultaneously in combination with Rb 24J/Rb 24J air-to-air missiles. Unlike the strike variant a KCA 30mm Oerlikon internal cannon was carried as well as 126 rounds, in a conformal pod under the fuselage. The firing rate was selectable at 22 or 11 rounds. The KCA cannon fired 50% heavier shells at higher velocity than the older ADENs, giving a much higher kinetic energy.[23] This, in conjunction with the fire control system, allowed air-to-air engagements at longer range than other fighters.[24] The unguided cannon and rocket pods were available in the secondary ground-attack role.
The centerline pylon was almost exclusively carried a semi-permanent fuel tank, which was jettisonable in the event of a dogfight.
In 1987, the more advanced all-aspect Rb 74 air-to-air missile was introduced for the JA 37. With the major upgrade of the JA to JA 37D in 1997 came the ability to carry four Rb 99on the fuselage- and inner wing pylons. In addition, a U95 ECM pod could now be carried under the right wing in place of an AMRAAM as well as chaff and flare dispensers on a pair of hitherto unused pylons just behind the main landing gear on each wing.

The kit and construction notes.

The kit is the Airfix reboxing of the old Esci kit, which is basic in detail but captures quite satisfactory the shape of this marvelous aircraft. I am praying that a mainstream company will produce this kit in 1/48th (yes, I know that Tarangus is about to deploy a new kit of the Viggen in 1/48th early next year, but it will be more on the side of limited run kits and rather expensive, judging from the Lansen).

I bought almost every aftermarket piece from Two Bobs, Neomega,  Maestro and Pisco (nose cone) and rescribed/riveted the kit. Many test fits were necessary in order to achieve good joints. Here are some photos in progress:















Following all these, Gunze Mr. Surfacer 1000 airbrushed on the model, in order to show any imperfections and homogenize all surfaces (plastic and resin of different colours) for the painting:




Then, the fun part begun: PAINTING!!
I bought the Gator vinyl masks in order to avoid the tedious job of measuring and masking, but alas, the Gator masks had too much glue on and in addition they were not flexible in order to follow well curves etc, thus I had to mask the camo with good old Tamiya tape:





Following two coats of gloss varnish, the decals were applied:



Finally, washes applied and final construction of landing gear, pitot tubes and all small pieces left for the final stage were glued on and here is the final result.


















  1. I have not seen any picture of the ejection seat-obviously a very good job done there too!
    Very very good altogether!

    1. You're right there, I was in a hurry to catch up with the IPMS show (the model was ready early in the same morning of our departure for the show), so I forgot to shoot a photo of the seat alone!
      Thanks for the comment!

  2. I would like to congratulate you... this is a masterpiece!

  3. Hello Ioannis!

    Nice modell but I am sory to say that you are wrong about the black colours (concerning the article in Scale Aircraft Modelling).

    Right colours for swedish AJ/JA/AJS 37 Viggen would be (FS, Humbrol and/or Tamiya colours)...

    Blue-grey 058M, FS 36314, 36379 or 63473 (Hu 175)
    Tan 507M, FS 30219 or 30117 (Hu 118)
    Light Green 322M, (Hu 158 or 6xXF-6 + 1xXF-3)
    Dark Green 326M, FS 43097 (Hu 105 or maybe close to XF-13)
    Black 093M, FS 34031 or 34050 (Hu 33, XF-1 or Nato Black)

    You can also look at Urban Fredriksons color charts at IPMS Stockholm (Sweden).

    The camouflageblack is mattblack and never, never "black green". I've have sen to many none swedish JA 37's models painted in tan/light green/middle green/dark or black green. The nosecone is satinblack thats why the difference in blacks (I've done service with the Swedish Air Force)...

    The ensignia markings, the three yellow crowns on blue where newer faded as in your model as they where painted in better, more gloss paint. I also wonder if the number on the fin is correct type. The swedish numbers are never "shadowed".

    Se also a swedish built Airfix/Esci AJ 37 at...

    Best regards!
    Andre B.

  4. Hi Andre, thank you for your comments!
    I will consider your references next time I will build a Viggen, although to my opinion, camo black is not always black but another colour close to black, this is what I see in most pictures and I prefer to believe in my eyes!
    The difference between camo black and nose black is because they are different colours and not because of the finish of the same colour as you insist (matt black vs semigloss black).
    As for the roundels, they are surely more resistant to fading, but they do fade also through time.
    I do not claim that I have built the best Viggen worldwide in terms of construction and colouring but the result is very close to some photos I have seen and consistent to the research I've done!

    See here for example, do you think there is any black on camo? :

    or even in the photos here:

    and here:

    Also, I am not sure if at some time they started to use black for the camo instead of black green or vice versa, since I have seen indeed some photos where the camo black surely looks black to me also, but at least I have the photographic proof for the use of black green as you can see above!

    As for the numbers, the problem is that Airfix decals are out of register and create this shadow, it is surely my fault that I did not seek any better decals...
    Nevertheless, there is always space for improvemet and new facts and data come up every day, so we have to be versatile and not absolute!



  5. Nice build but you forgot to mention resin nose cone came from Pisco Models. Cheers.

    1. My mistake Ed, apologies. Nose cone is indeed from Pisco Models, I made the correction in my article.
      Thank you for pointing it out.

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