SAAB JAS-39 Gripen A, Italeri 1/72 scale model kit Nr. 008 - inbox review

SAAB JAS-39 Gripen A

SAAB JAS-39 Gripen A, Italeri 1/72 plastic scale model kit Nr. 008 - inbox review

Italeri 1/72 plastic scale model kit Nr. 008 - inbox review

JAS-39 Gripen: History

   The Saab JAS 39 Gripen is a light single-engine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab. It was designed to replace the Saab 35 Draken and 37 Viggen in the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet). The Gripen has a delta wing and canard configuration with relaxed stability design and fly-by-wire flight controls. It is powered by the Volvo RM12, and has a top speed of Mach 2. Later aircraft are modified for NATO interoperability standards and to undertake in-flight refuelling.

   In 1979, the Swedish government began development studies for an aircraft capable of fighter, attack and reconnaissance missions to replace the Saab 35 Draken and 37 Viggen. A new design from Saab was selected and developed as the JAS 39, first flying in 1988. Following two crashes during flight development and subsequent alterations to the aircraft's flight control software, the Gripen entered service with the Swedish Air Force in 1997. Upgraded variants, featuring more advanced avionics and adaptations for longer mission times, began entering service in 2003.
source: wikipedia

Massive amount of information regarding the JAS-39 Grippen is available here: CLICK!

JAS-39 Gripen: The Kit

   This plastic scale model kit of the JAS-39 A Gripen comes in small, side opening box with CG box art of Swedish Gripen between some clouds... not much drama here. On the back of the box there are two full color profiles of the marking options available with this scale model kit along with color call outs for the camo schemes in FS codes .
   The kit is comprised of two grey plastic sprues, a transparent sprue, decal sheet and instruction booklet. 

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JAS-39 Gripen: Closer Inspection


JAS-39 Gripen: Cockpit

   Don't expect much in terms of detail from this kit. The ejection seat is crude and poor representation of its prototype. The molded in seat belts are so wide that they are more suitable for 1/48 scale model. The tub is OK with the rudder pedals and some side console buttons molded in. There are also two slots on it, one for the instrument panel and one for the control stick. Having the control slick on the floor is not right as it is not there on the real aircraft. The instrument panel is OK too. Behind the pilot's seat is a small deck with electronic boxes of some sort. A mold parting line is running from one side console to the other  and back to the rear bulkhead so it'll need to be repaired.

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JAS-39 Gripen: Undercarriage

   The wheels of this scale model kit are well done with the exception that there is no transition between rim and tire, its just one smooth piece all the way to the rim details. The wheel legs are quite good and they seem solid, lots of clean up is needed though. The main wheel wells are molded together with the lower wing. They have structural ribbing detail but no piping or anything else. The nose wheel well is separate, one piece detail. It also have the ribbing inside, but there are two nasty ejector pins as well. The main wheel well covers are looking good but they also are littered with ejector pin marks. The nose wheel cover is made of 3 pieces, one of which attaches to the gear leg, the rest hinge on the fuselage. The later two are a bit thick in my opinion. 

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JAS-39 Gripen: Armament

   This kit provides quite a lot of ordinance. Here are two Aim-9 Sidewinders, two AGM-65 Mavericks, a cannon, two RBS15s and some sort of a pod. There is also center line fuel tank provided on the sprues. 

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JAS-39 Gripen: Wings and Fuselage

   The wings are made of a single lower piece with two upper wing halves. The ailerons and the flaps are molded into the upper halves. The trailing edges are nice and thin. The tail is molded into the left fuselage side. The canard wings are also nicely molded and have thin trailing edge as well. Missile rails are separate items. The kit's speed brakes are separate and you can pose them open but normally they are closed. Panel lines are fine but not very crisp. On some details like the missile rails the panel lines are faint or with varying depth.  The intakes are really short and there is no engine face to see trough them. On the inner wall there are two pins on each intake that will need removing. The majority of the antennae are molded on the right fuselage halve so if don't want to brake them you'll have to watch out over the entire build (bad idea Italeri). Instructions state that 20 grams of weight is needed but it is hard to believe that the nose can take that much lead so make sure to fill the forward section of the fuselage too. The exhaust nozzle is one of the weakest parts of this kit, its a cone with soft detail on the outside and no detail inside.

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   Quick test fit showed that this scale model kit might build quite well. Of course this test included only the fuselage halves and the wing parts but still the results are promising.


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JAS-39 Gripen: Canopy

   The canopy and the windscreen come as separate parts so you can pose the canopy in open position. DON'T remove the center line seam on the canopy, it is supposed to be there. On the real aircraft in case of ejection the canopy splits there.
   The quality of the parts is good with decent transparency and very little distortion. 

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JAS-39 Gripen: Decals and marking options

   The decals are well printed with everything in register and nice, rich colors. The carrier film looks reasonably thin.

   There are three marking options from the box:
1) JAS-39 Gripen - Swedish Air Force - Wing F 7 (low vis insignia)
2)JAS-39 Gripen - Development A/C
3)JAS-39 Gripen - Swedish Air Force - Wing F 7 (high vis insignia)

JAS-39 Gripen: Conclusion

   Italeri's take on the SAAB JAS-39 Gripen is leaving me with mixed feelings. Some detail in this scale model kit is overlooked but the fit and the shape seem to be good. While the fit is to be thoroughly evaluated during the build the lacking details let the kit down at this point.
That's why I bought Eduard's dedicated photo etched set:



JAS-39 Gripen: Aftermarket 

    Eduard's dedicated photo etched set (72343) is rather comprehensive and addresses the majority of the problematic areas. The main focus is on the cockpit and the exhaust assembly but there are a few other bits and pieces. The main wheel well is left without additional details. 
   The Bang seat and the cockpit are completely overhauled with NONE of the original parts remaining untouched. The exhaust area not only receives proper nozzle but a burner can and flame holder as well. There are a few bits addressing the kits gear legs and a few exterior details. Definitely highly recommended set if you're going to build Italeri's kit.

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   Along with the photo etched set I bought a decal sheet from HAD (72104). There is huge amount of stencils plus low vis Hungarian, Czech and Swedish insignias.

HAD decals for JAS-39 Gripen A from Italeri in 1/72, plastic scale model - inbox review  HAD decals for JAS-39 Gripen A from Italeri in 1/72, plastic scale model - inbox review  HAD decals for JAS-39 Gripen A from Italeri in 1/72, plastic scale model - inbox review

    With those aftermarket additions and some scratch built items I think that this plastic scale model of the JAS-39 Gripen can be built to a very high standard. 

Thanks for reading and please comment.
Best regards
Metodi Metodiev
20.02.2016

  

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