Friday, January 2

Swedish Supersonic Splinter - François & Nick build Tarangus’ Viggen

A kit that many have been looking forward to seeing coming to fruition is this 48th scale Saab Viggen from Tarangus. We know a lot of love went into creating the kit so Francois and Nick put just as much into building it so we can see the finished – sorry Swedish kit completed…

Build review:
SAAB 37 Viggen
Tarangus Models
Kit No TA4803
1/48th scale
Injection moulded kit
We got ours from: Au 16e Escadron model shop.
Looking at things in an unconventional way often results in surprising and innovative designs; Swedish aircraft designer Saab has always done this, with often very futuristic looking aircraft as an end result. Aircraft such as the Lansen, Draken, Viggen and Gripen are unique in design and instantly recognizable as SAAB aircraft.
Where Draken and Gripen have been a huge commercial success, Viggen was not so popular with the foreign market – with the Swedish Air Force being the sole Air Arm to use it. Nevertheless the Saab 37 Viggen is an impressive aircraft - about the size of an F-4 Phantom II – and until now, not many scale models have been produced of this cool-looking double delta jet. 
Fortunately, Tarangus (from Sweden) fills the void by offering a brand new and fantastic looking 1/48 kit. Here are some of the shots of the test sprues so you can see what the bare kit looks like
François and Nicolas from our Belgian Connection got a sample of the newest Tarangus kit from their LHS in Brussels: Au 16e Escadron, which is a great shop that often sees modellers dropping in to build models together. It's a nice atmosphere in the shop - and Mike the owner of the shop wanted to get the boys to build this just fresh to the market kit for display in store. So for the construction the two friends teamed up again: they were on a deadline of only 4 weeks. Considering the splinter camo of the Viggen, that didn’t leave them much time to hang around...

The kit itself looks very nice indeed. At first, you don’t get the feeling it’s a big kit because the fuselage is cut into several parts, but that’s just an impression; when finished it’s an impressive model. The parts are nicely engraved and although the plastic feels a little heavy, it handles quite well.
Construction of the kit is straightforward, although the air duct is a little tricky. Take care in this stage of the build, because one part – the centre ring - is actually also part of the outer fuselage. Careful trimming and test fitting will help you get the kit easily constructed without too much putty.

This photo shows the external part of the air duct and the spine that needs just a little putty for a smooth finish...
While François was building the wings and fuselage, Nicolas started building up the landing gear. The front gear isn’t bad, but it can use some extra detail. When you compare it to the main gear however, it’s rather basic; the main gear however is packed with details! The number of parts make it somewhat complex, but the level of detail is just fantastic. At first, the wheels looked a little small, but after checking them, we noticed they were absolutely correct. Well done Tarangus!
The Tarangus website (www.tarangus.seoffers some very nice and helpful photographs of the Viggen for modellers and enthusiasts. It's nice to see a company cares about what happens to the kit after it leaves the shelf.
There are three different choices of aircraft on the decal sheet for Tarangus’ JA 37 Viggen. Two of these aircraft have still exist and are on display: No. 37378 (F4-38) is displayed at the museum at Vidsel Air base in the north of Sweden. N.37449, is the very last Viggen, and it is currently stored at the Flygvapenmuseum in Linköping in Sweden.

The subject of this build - the SAAB JA37 Viggen, No.37378 / F4-38, from the Swedish Air Force back in "the day"
This photo shows the aft fuselage and the vertical tail that can be lowered, so the aircraft can fit into hangers built into the Swedish mountains. Handy in case of full nuclear/chemical /biological attack on Sweden!
Back to our model: some filler was required on some places, but nothing dramatically: around the spine, air intakes and vertical tail. The good thing is: these areas are easy to reach so no detail is lost.

The air intakes were given some putty. After some rough sanding, the next step will be to polish these intakes which was completed in a matter of minutes.
You need to stay focused during the build though; the Viggen has quite a few air intakes and exhausts on its fuselage and some of those are shown in the wrong places in the instructions manual ...
When building this kit, make sure to check the Tarangus website: a small list of errata can be found on it which will make your build a lot easier. We only found the errata after the kit was done, but that’s just because we’re not always quick at mind...

A revision of the instruction sheet for the TA4803 Saab JA 37 Viggen has been issued and is available fro download – The correct sequence is now provided by Tarangus at their site at this link: TA4803_instruction 

There are three steps to look at:
Step 28 - Part numbers on pylons 157 and 158 are to be interchanged.
Step 30 and 31 - Part numbers 143 and 144 are to be interchanged.
Sub-assembly identification numbers for Step 32 and 33 are to be interchanged.
Step 34 and 35 - Periscope parts 171 and 172 are not used on this model. (Not used in kit.)
The wings have subtle panel lines that are hard to see in this picture even...
With all the hard work done by François and with only two more weeks to go, it was time for Nicolas to get started on the second challenge: painting the splinter camouflage. Shop owner Mike helped with the selection of the 6 basic colours and after a coat of primer, the first layer to go on was a light shade of green.

The underside of our Viggen got some pre-shading; first some panels, then the panel lines. This will help bring this area alive.
The canopy was polished and masked, everything ready for the camouflage!
Ready for action?  Harder & Steenbeck airbrush, Gunze paints and...Go !!
The first colour is the easiest. With this done, the first session of masking starts. This is a time consuming job, but necessary in order to get to a good result.
With the light green areas of the camo masked, on went the second colour: dark green. And after this, the masking started again. For the Viggen, this work has to be done 4 times: light green, dark green, very dark grey and brown. After this, the light grey/blue underside was done (more masking) and finally black for the nose, a rectangular patch on the spine and the leading edges of the wings and the vertical tail. We used almost 2 rolls of Revell masking tape to mask the whole kit. It’s not a hard camouflage to do, it just takes time.

With all the painting done, a coat of Future went on, followed by the decals and another coat of Future.
The decals are okay and with the help of some decal setting settled nicely on the kit. Although the camouflage takes a lot of attention, the details of the kit can be seen...
After a coat of matt varnish, the details and gear were glued. Still have to repaint the front end of the air-intakes – I forgot to mask them...
Nose gear and gear doors glued.
Main gear painted and glued, ready for some wires, wash and weathering.
All what was left to do, was a little weathering. Final stage: stick on the canopy. Here we noticed something odd. The canopy seems to be just a little too long if you want to position it closed. A little sanding might do the trick, but since ours was already painted – and we didn’t test fit it - we positioned it open.
And here she is finished ready for the display cabinet at the shop..
And here’s one with a background showing what Saab JA 37 Viggen, 37378 / F4-38, Swedish Air Force might have looked like on the tarmac..
So, this is what we think of this kit: At last!!! It was about time that someone offered us a nice Viggen! It builds well, it looks really good and construction goes without trouble. Decals are okay and although the plan has some minor errors, Tarangus cleverly deals with this on their website. By choosing for the splinter camouflage, a lot of details will stay unnoticed: the camo with its many angles takes all of the attention. That’s probably why we’ll build a grey aircraft next – hopefully a two-seater? One thing is for sure: people take notice of the kit in this complex and eye catching camouflage.

Can we recommend it? Yep! Our opinion? Everyone to the shop!

François and Nicolas
Thanks to Guillaume for the extra photos. 
Our thanks to Au16e Escadron for providing us with a kit and the paint for it!
For more information about Tarangus, please go to