JAS-39A/C Gripen

Published: January 3rd, 2014     
Product Image
Reviewed by: 
William Carrell, IPMS# 48803
Scale: 1/48
Company: Kitty Hawk
Price: $69.99
Product / Stock #: KH80117

The Gripen entered Swedish AF service in 1997 and has since equipped the air arms of the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa, and Thailand. Brazil officially ordered in Dec 2013 and Sweden is to vote on their order in 2014. Rumors are also swirling that the US could be interested in the 2-seater as a replacement for the T-38.

Kitty Hawk released this 1/48 new-tooled Gripen and upon opening the box it appears to be a reasonably nice kit. It is molded in light grey styrene and is presented on multiple parts trees. There is also a tree of clear and a small fret of PE. The kit features and options include:

  • F404 engine with PE interior exhaust can
  • Detailed cockpit and wheel wells
  • Positionable canopy, speed brakes
  • Positionable leading and trailing edge flaps, ailerons, & rudder
  • Positionable canards, air refueling probe
  • Radar antenna with positionable radome

External store options included 2 ea of: Python IV, AIM-9M Sidewinder, IRIST, AIM-120 AMRAAM, AGM-65 Maverick, GBU-12 LGB and 1 ea of: DWS-24 (BK90) Sub-Munition Dispenser, RBS-15 Missile. There are a variety of other air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions in this box that were not shown on the weapons load chart but will come in handy for the spare box.

Construction is straightforward and will provide you with a JAS-39 as written. There are a number of instances that one should leave off various items to ease construction and will be readily apparent to the modeler. I feel it is appropriate to inform the readers of the area I had seen some issues and that required some modeling skills, not that I have anything great to brag about. There are many ejection pin mark depressions on the entire kit that one needs to ensure they are dealt with prior to assembly. Many of them on the weapons can be positioned so as to hide most based on the mating to racks and launchers. Additionally there are also a number of ejection pin protrusions that need to be dealt with so as not to interfere with mating surfaces. My example had quite a few on the rear fuselage halves and both wing surfaces. Careful dry fitting will ensure you have addressed the issues correctly. An additional observation on my sample was the rear fuselage halves were warped. I am not talking about a small amount here. It was significant and with all of my efforts I was not able to completely remove it and upon close inspection from inline from both the front and rear it is noticeable. This might be due to a quick pull from the molds. A couple of other reviews did not note this.

All three gear wells are nicely detailed but care needs to be exercised to ensure all parts are properly positioned and seated. I was somewhat disappointed with the tires being molded in halves and the fit being less than good and requiring filling and sanding.

Again I will caution the builder to do a lot of dry fitting especially when assembling the rear fuselage, front fuselage and wing sections. There is also a panel on the underside that will need considerable attention during this joining as well.

At this point it dawned on me that here was a model that included a decently detailed jet engine yet was hidden from view and then I noticed that the ducting for realistic intakes was not there. This leaves a big hole and possibly demands intake covers. A real positive on as well is the clear parts. They are really nice and are a perfect fit and make the kit pop with their clarity.

I finished with Model Master enamels as closely as I could to build the Czech unit but untimely created the Hungarian unit due to the decal issues as detailed below.

Markings are included for four options:

  • JAS-39A, Flight Test Aircraft, Swedish AF
  • JAS-39C, 11, South African AF
  • JAS-39C, 9237, Czech AF, Tiger meet Special Markings (desired)
  • JAS-39C, 59 TFW, Hungarian AF (as built)

The decals were great looking and I so wanted to create the Tiger meet scheme. I was disappointed in the decals as I began to work with them. They were not very friendly to work with and after destroying both tiger heads I moved forward with the simple Hungarian scheme. I was unable to get the decals to respond to many different setting solutions and solvents. Solvaset provided the best adhesion but also the strongest as well.

In closing, I had some frustrating moments building this kit and in my opinion it required a lot of effort to produce this subject. A better understanding of the aircraft would be nice but reference material is short on supply and when found can be expensive. I am happy to say I have this Swedish fighter on display and that it is a unique subject. I would also have to say given all of the issues I had with my sample I would only recommend this kit to those who have a solid modeling background.

I would like to thank Kitty Hawk Models for donating this kit IPMS/USA and affording me the opportunity to review on their behalf.

  • Sprue 1
    Sprue 1
  • Sprue 2
    Sprue 2
  • Sprue 3
    Sprue 3
  • Sprue 4
    Sprue 4
  • Decals
    Decals
  • Back corner
    Back corner
  • Bottom
    Bottom
  • Finished
    Finished
  • Finished
    Finished
  • Finished
    Finished
  • Finished
    Finished

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Kitty Hawk Gripen

I started this model a few days ago and am not impressed with the fit of most parts. Everything has required much fettling so far, much more than an equivelent Trumpeter kit for example. Also, this kit reminds me of a limited run kit as some sprues have massive attachment points for the various parts.

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