by: Tim Hatton [ ]
Originally published on:
The Saab Company was approached in 1948 to develop a turbojet powered strike aircraft to replace a series of 1940s vintage attack, reconnaissance and night-fighter aircraft in the Flygvapnet including the Saab B 18/S 18, J 21R/A 21R and J 30 (de Havilland Mosquito).
Swedish Air Force requirements for the P1150 were demanding: the aircraft had to be able to attack anywhere along Sweden's 1,245 miles (2000 km) of coastline within one hour of launch from a central location. It had to be capable of being launched in any weather, day or night. Special attention was to be paid to integrating the electronics and weapons systems to create the equivalent of today's weapons systems approach to combat aircraft design. The aircraft was to be armed with four 20 mm cannons, rockets, bombs and/or a new anti-ship missile being developed, the Rb 04.
Soon after entering squadron service, the J 32 Lansen broke the sound barrier on 25 October 1953 when a production aircraft exceeded Mach 1 in a shallow dive. The J 32 carried four 30 mm ADEN cannons while the A 32 ("A" stands for attack) had an armament of four 20 mm Bofors m/49 cannon hidden under flaps in the nose and the Rb 04C anti-ship missile, one of the earliest of its type in western service. The Lansen normally was fitted with two missiles but it could also carry an additional missile. Its main role was to prevent any Soviet invasion across Sweden's extensive coastline. One planned use of the A 32A was to deliver nuclear warheads or chemical weapons. Sweden had an active nuclear weapons program during the 1950s and 1960s, but no weapons were ever produced.
The A 32 Lansen was Sweden's last purpose-built attack aircraft. Throughout the Cold War years, the Lansen distinguished itself with a solid if unspectacular career; Swedish pilots often described it as pleasant to fly. Gradually being replaced by more modern types, the Saab 32 soldiered on into the late 1990s. Two still remain operational with the sole task of taking high altitude air samples for research purposes in collaboration with the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority. One of the Lansens was used to collect volcanic ash samples from the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in April and May 2010.
First impressions are wow this is a big single engine aircraft. It is contained in a top opening box; the nicely done art work reminds me of the illustrations found on Heller box lids. The box is pretty sturdy as it survived two trips across Europe. The parts were safely contained in a large re sealable bag; the clear parts are bagged separately.
-5 x plastic sprues.
-1 x clear plastic sprue.
-2 x resin seats.
-2 x sheets of waterslide decals.
-1 x 10 page instruction and painting guide.
The Cockpit: is made up from two separate tubs, one for the pilot and the other for the navigator. The side panels have some basic low relief detail on them. The pilot’s cockpit has a detailed instrument panel onto which is added a clear plastic HUD. The navigators office also has an instrument panel [with a fewer instruments] plus a rear bulkhead to attach to the tub. Both positions have a flight control stick to glue in position. Both ejection seats are beautifully cast resin items. They look a little odd as there is no cushioning on them. They are both attached to casting blocks which need to be removed. You will have to either purchase some aftermarket seat harnesses or scratch build some as there are no harnesses or straps cast onto the seats. There are a couple of clear plastic “ears” to attach to both seats. There is a blast screen for the navigator made from clear plastic and a hood for the pilot’s instrument panel to fit after the fuselage halves are joined.
The Canopy: comes in two parts so the canopy can be displayed open. The clear plastic is good quality and there is some fine low relief framework on the windscreen.
The Fuselage: is split vertically and the two halves stretch the whole length of the aircraft. It makes a nice change seeing a fuselage that is not made up of a number of components. As this is a limited run kit there are no locating pins or holes to assist the joining of the fuselage halves, so it would be wise to fit some plastic card tabs to help with the lining up. The recessed surface detail on the dark grey glossy plastic is very well done and should put some of the major plastic kit manufacturers to shame. The plastic is quite soft, making the trimming of surplus plastic from the sprues simple enough with care. Another feature that belies the limited run nature of this kit is the delicate sprue attachment points, making the separation of the parts very simple. The vertical tail surface is moulded on both halves of the fuselage; the trailing edges are nicely thin. The air intake ducts are separate parts and off a decent length [32mm]. For a good fit they are best attached before the fuselage halves are joined. There is a separate boundary level plate to fit against the fuselage just in front of the air duct. There is no representation of the primary compression blades of the engine, but to be fair I would seriously doubt you would see it buried deep inside that large cavernous fuselage. It might be an idea to scratch build blanking plate to fit at the end of the air duct to prevent seeing too far into the fuselage. The jet pipe at the rear of the aircraft is in two parts and is split vertically. There are four heavy raised ejector marks on the inside of the jet pipes to rub down. There is some basic detail of the rear part of the engine moulded onto a separate plastic disk that fit onto the jet pipe.
Before buttoning up the fuselage the four part forward undercarriage bay needs to be built and fitted underneath the pilot’s floor. The detail is fairly basic but nicely done.
There is an optional one piece ventral fuel tank that can be added.
The Wings: are made up from four parts. I suspect that a single piece lower wing might have been a goal during the design stage, but this being a limited run kit probably made this impractical. But Tarangus have done the next best thing and produced the split lower wing which has a substantial gluing area at the joint. This produces a good strong lower wing that is further re enforced by the one piece main undercarriage bay that spans part of the joint. The trailing edges are thin and the recessed detail is good. There are some substantial raised ejector marks to remove before joining the wing halves, but as the plastic is soft this presents no problems at all. The two large vertical fins seen on top of the wings are separate parts as are the two partial wing fences. There is a rather long a delicate probe to fit into the starboard wing as well.
Each stabiliser is made up from two pieces split horizontally. The raised ejection marks on the inner surfaces need to be removed, but once done they fit rather well, with decent trailing edges thickness. Instructions provide information about the dihedral angle.
The Undercarriage: the front undercarriage leg has the actuating rod attached to it. The hub of the wheel is attached to the leg at two points and the area is made up from two parts that sandwich the one piece wheel. I do like the moulded on mud guard on both parts of the undercarriage leg. The substantial legs of the main undercarriage are nicely detailed, the actuating rods are separate. All three legs will benefit from a bit of time cleaning the slight bit of flash found on them. The spokes of the two part main wheels look very good. The separate main undercarriage bay is detailed; the lower part of the engine is represented by some ribbed plastic. Unfortunately there is a deep recessed ejector mark right in the middle of the ribbed detail. The recess will be mostly covered by an additional detailing part for the undercarriage bay. But it should not be a great problem reconstructing the lost detail with some filler. The inside of undercarriage doors have low relief detail, there are a couple of landing lights to add to the two forward undercarriage doors. Finally there is a one piece anti scrape tail wheel to add.
Dry Fit: Generally with a limited run kit you tend to expect to have to trim and sometimes wrestle with parts during the build. This one though seems to fit together rather well. Some trimming with a sanding stick is necessary on the leading edge of the insert of the lower wing that fits into the fuselage. The canopy and windscreen fit perfectly. Holes need to be drilled into the rear fuselage to fit the horizontal stabilisers. Plastic pin moulded on one half of the stabiliser fits into the hole. The area to drill is marked by a slightly recessed hole.
Armament: Well there isn’t any despite some rocket projectiles being illustrated in the instructions. Fourteen rocket/bomb rails are supplied to fit beneath the wing though. Twelve of the rails are used; there is a choice of two styles of rail for the outer positions. The four 20 mm bofors muzzles cannot be seen as on the real thing they are covered by flaps when not in use, but the covers are not depicted.
Markings: two options are provided:
- 32070: “H” “BlÍ Helge” [Mr Bill?], formerly based at F17 Kallinge air force base. It is now part of the Swedish air forces historical wing based at F7 SÍtenÍäs.
- 32177: “29” based at F15 Söderhamn air force base, Autumn 1968.
Both aircraft are painted olive green 325 on the upper surfaces and natural metal on the under surfaces. 32177 has what is described as “68 squares” and feature bright yellow day glow cheques on the vertical fin, lower wing and fuselage spine. The cheques are supplied as decals. The cheques were applied for an exercise in the Autumn of 1968. Looking at images on the internet the olive green upper surface is very matt and some aircraft have display some severe weathering.
The Decals: look very good indeed. There are two sizes for the upper national markings; the much larger ones are for the earlier aircraft. There are plenty of stencils to add. The yellow day glow cheques are bright and will certainly liven up the camouflage scheme.
The Instruction booklet: is printed on glossy A4 paper. The black line drawings are large and very descriptive. The instructions illustrate twenty three stages of construction. The decal and paint guide is very good describing the weathering of the olive green upper colour. Upper and lower plan, side profile and head on views are included. Excellent.
Conclusions well I am very impressed with this debut kit from Tarangus. It is a very good, accurate looking, well fitting, if basic kit of a much sought after subject in 1/48. There is enough in the contents to construct an excellent kit. If the aftermarket producers get stuck into this kit, then this bird will truly sing. I will certainly be building this one in the coming weeks. I look forward to Tarangus future projects. Nicely done Tarangus.
Many thanks to Fredrik Zetterberg the President of Tarangus AB for being so kind sending this review sample.