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   home > pictures / catalog > modern > JAS-39A Gripen    [Model# 0521]


 
JAS-39A Gripen
JAS-39A Gripen
 

Saab Gripen JAS 39A 1:48

Review of plastic model kit

Kit: JAS 39 A Gripen
Producer: Italeri
Item No.: No2638
Scale: 1:48

Detailing:
1. metal etched parts; Eduard 49300
2. masks; Eduard EX050
3. serial number - laser print on a Propagteam "decal" paper

Evaluation:
1. kit - 3/5
2. decals - 4/5


In this review, I would like to describe a construction of model JAS-39A Gripen of the Swedish Air Force. The Italeri kit also offers a Czech Gripen version, but the included decals lacked precision in their size and shape, so I went for the Swedish aircraft. Besides, Czech Gripens fly only with the attachment of two Sidewinders and external fuel tank, whereas the Swedish aircrafts include much more attractive armament. Next you need to choose between the original camouflage of Swedish Gripen with the yellow-blue markings and the red tactical identification number, or the new low-visibility camouflage. I chose the latter [low-vis].

Preconditions:
This article deals with the assembly of Italieri's Gripen 1:48 embellished with the etched parts from Eduard. This set even includes colored etched components for the interior. Next comes a mask set, again from Eduard. I barely adjusted any of those pieces, only to the extent suggested by the manual to the etched set.
I drew inspiration from a book: Gerard Keijsper - SAAB JAS-39 Gripen fighter for the third millennium; publisher DEUS, ISBN 80-86215-12-1.

Kit:
As I stated above, I started off with a kit from Italeri. Right after unpacking the box, I noticed that the sprues contained some flash and that the panel lines on wings and fuselage were asymmetric. On the whole, the kit is of medium quality, but if we want to expand our model collection by the Gripen 1:48, we don't have another choice. As for today, no other manufacturer has come out with an alternate JAS-39A.

Detailing:
In my build I used metal etched parts from Eduard designated for the Italeri set. It was my first opportunity to work with colored etching, and I must admit they significantly sped up the cockpit assembly and, what is more, they really jazzed up the model. The ejection seat, for example, is much nicer with colorful belts, or the instrument panel with printed dials also looks more attractive. In particular, the side control panels with indicated pushrods are quite elaborate; I could never achieve such quality by painting them on my own.

Shape precision:
I didn't inspect the measurements in detail. It is not my custom to painstakingly correct minor shape inaccuracies. The result, i.e. the finished model, resembles the original aircraft, and that is all I need.

Equipment and weaponry:
With this kit there is an option to leave the radar cover opened and to insert a simplified radar model. I didn't take this path for two reasons: first, the plastic rendition of radar was very simplified and I didn't have a photograph of the real radar for my readjustment; second, an opened nose of the fuselage would spoil the otherwise elegant profile of this aircraft.
The kit offers a wide variety of detachable armament: external fuel tank under fuselage, marking container, two Sidewinders, two Mavericks, and two Swedish rockets Rbs 15. My intention was to create a Swedish Gripen model, so I decided to employ all of the available equipment and weaponry.

Assembly:
The assembly of this kit is definitely not a breeze, but nothing too terrible either; all in all, it is a task of medium difficulty.
The cockpit assembly with the addition of etched pieces is a simple job without any obstacles. There is a small error in the manual for the etched set: the electronics components behind the pilot's seat have reversed numbers, namely No. 27 and 68. Special care is also needed when gluing in the components No. 23 and 24, so that they don't collide with the front windshield. That happened to me, unfortunately, and I had to laboriously sand the etching to get the windshield in its proper place.
It certainly took lots of filler and strong nerves to fit the wing to the fuselage, because the producer didn't do a good job there. I had to restore panel lines on the bottom of the fuselage where it joined with the wing. The gap between the components was so big that subsequent filling and sanding totally covered the panel lining. Panel lines on the top of the fuselage were indistinct in some places, so I rescribed them as well.
Air brakes were another weak point of this kit. They were inconsistent with the model and practically didn't fit on the fuselage.
The last complication was in the assembly of engine exhausts out of the metal parts. Here, again, I had to be extra careful, but the result was a great improvement over the kit's original version.
A cherry on top of my Gripen's assembly came in the form of tiny etched parts representing sensors on the front fuselage - they really spiced up the model [as did the canopy rear-view mirrors].

Model's coloring:
I used synthetic paints Agama, which I applied on the model by spraying. The camouflage scheme is quite simple and is well illustrated in the manual; there is no problem to it. As for the armament, I advise following photographs rather than the manual, because Italeri just made up the rocket colors. Luckily, I have a book by G. Keijsper, plus there are many online photos, which can serve as a useful guide.
I used polishable pastes from Agama: exhaust stained metal on the exhaust pipe and "steel" on the fuselage cannon barrel. I thinned these pastes with the original thinner and sprayed them on, then polished them. I was pleased with the result - the parts received an authentic metallic look.
Position lights were painted with Agama's transparent enamel.
In my Gripen's construction I tested another innovation from Eduard - covering masks cut in a yellow tape, not in a foil, as I was used to before. At first, I was a bit worried about their application; later, all my doubts quickly disappeared. The masks were very easy to use.

Decals:
I used decals from the kit. They were very thick, but Agama's "miracle solutions" [Adhesol and Hypersol] made them adhere quite smoothly to the surface. My only criticism concerns the total absence of instruction labels on the detachable armament. What a pity, since there are lots of labels to be seen on the military photographs.

Weahering:
Before painting the camouflage I used a black color to spray panel lines, i.e. "preshading", which is evident especially on the model's bottom surfaces. It is almost invisible on the top surfaces due to the darker camouflage color than on the bottom.
The model has a rather semi-matt finish due to the "low-vis" scheme. I am not a big fan of striking weathering features, that's why I painted panel lines only with a grey oil color.

Conclusion:
The Gripen's construction is of medium difficulty, but I can't recommend etched parts to beginners - they make the build much more complicated [with uncertain result] and much more expensive. However, I can recommend etching to experienced modelers, as they make the result much more attractive!

US IP proxy

JAS-39A Gripen
 
 
 
Italeri JAS-39A
Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48
Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48
Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48
Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48
Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48
Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48 Saab Gripen JAS 39A Italeri 1:48
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