Hobby Boss 1/48 J.29F 'Tunnan'
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New tool kit|
The Saab 29, colloquially called Flygande tunnan (English: "The flying barrel"), was a Swedish fighter designed and manufactured by Saab in the 1950s. It was Sweden's second turbojet-powered combat aircraft, the first being the Saab 21R; additionally, it was the first Western European fighter to be produced with swept wing. Despite its rotund appearance, from which its name derives, the J 29 was a fast and agile aircraft for its era. It served effectively in both fighter and fighter-bomber roles into the 1970s.
The J 29F, which is the subject of this kit, was an upgrade and all 308 examples were converted from extant D and E variants between 1954 and 1956. This included an afterburning Ghost engine and the dog-tooth wing leading edge. in 1963 the aircraft were upgraded to carry Swedish built Sidewinder missiles. It was also the variant exported to its sole non-Swedish customer, Austria, which operated the type from 1961 until 1972. Austrian planes were not Sidewinder capable as they were forbidden by treaty with the Soviets from carrying air to air missiles.
I'm quite pleased to see this aircraft being kitted in this scale. Prior to this release, Tarangus produced an A/B version and AZ Model did the F. The external detailing is superb and includes very fine rivet detail along with the usual engraved panel lines. There are four grey and one clear sprue along with a nicely done sheet of decals.
The cockpit tub is built up and includes sidewall details for which there are decals, a nice seat and a set of rudder pedals and control stick. The instrument panel also has a decal. All the gear wells are built up from relatively flat pieces and installed prior to assembling the fuselage halves. The kit includes a full nose intake that ends in a compressor face. A similar approach is taken with the exhaust. All of this 'stuff' leaves little room for nose weight so the builder will have to be clever about finding places to place it as the kit will need it. Instructions state that 5 grams is required.
Due to the mid-wing position, there are upper and lower wing halves for each side. The modeler will need to open any holes in the lower wing for stores. A choice on each side of four rockets and a fuel tank is offered. There is no Sidewinder or pylon for it. Wing fences are separate items as are the flaps. Landing gear are quite well done and each leg has a two piece wheel/tire assembly to place upon it. Thanks to careful planning, there are no ejector marks on any of these bits or the inside of the gear doors. There are actuating arms for the main doors. Canopy and windscreen are separate and you can pose this open. Other clear bits are for the taxi light lenses and the wing tip formation lights as well as the glass for the gun sight.
Markings are for two planes. One is the box art plane with the Austrian Air Force and the other is for 'red S' of the Swedish Air Force that has a red nose band and forward fin. Decals are nicely printed and should provide no issues. I'm not sure if a plane like this will engender any aftermarket sheets as the Tunnan was not camouflaged except for those sent to the Congo, but we'll see.
I am one of hopefully many who like aircraft such as this and have been waiting a while for it to make it to plastic. Now that I've got it, it was certainly worth the wait. If this is like other Hobby Boss kits, it should build quite nicely. As a note, this is not the same as the Tarangus short run kit. That kit is an A/B version and the sprue layouts are different. This is also not a reboxed AZ Model version as the quality of the molding and engineering is superior. Stay tuned.
Late note: I've been informed and have verified that this kit is smaller than 1/48 scale; something around 1/51. This may be important to some, but frankly, if it is the only J-29 on your shelf, you won't be able to tell. Add it in with the 1/50 scale Tamiya and Fujimi aircraft you've built. Others will want to wait for the coming and more expensive Pilots Replica kit.
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Thanks to me for the review kit.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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