SAAB J 21 A-3 Landing Gear

Published: February 21st, 2016     
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Product packaging
Reviewed by: Frank Landrus - IPMS# 35035
Scale: 1/48
Price: $16.00
Product / Stock #: 48294
Product provided by: Scale Aircraft Conversions

Scale Aircraft Conversions has released replacement landing gear for the excellent Pilot Replicas 1/48 SAAB J 21 A-3. The 13 parts supplied include the nose gear, main gear, torque links, and main gear retraction arms. A side by side evaluation of all the SAC parts shows the similarity with the kit parts. Ross McMillan has combined two parts by securing the nose gear wheel fork to the nose gear, eliminating a potential point of failure. There are no supplied instructions; you simply swap out the kit provided plastic parts with the new white metal items. You do need to be very careful to assure proper alignment on all three axes. The SAC landing gear may need to be slightly adjusted to be straight (a benefit of using metal is that you can bend it slightly). Smooth jaw needle nose pliers work wonderfully.

The two horizontal pins on the top of the nose gear fit into recesses in the nose gear bay and actually trap the nose gear. You will want to be sure that you have the SAC nose gear completely lined up prior to securing into the nose gear bay though to be sure you don't pop the nose gear strut after you close up the fuselage. If you've done it right, the nose gear will actually swing back into the nose gear bay prior to connecting the retracting struts. Speaking of which, the nose gear retracting strut assembly (to the right on the comparison photo of the nose gear) are not included. I don't think this will be an issue as the nose gear strut and yoke will bear the brunt of the weight you will need in the nose to make sure this bird doesn't sit on its tail. You will still want to be careful with the nose gear retracting strut assembly as it won't take much to snap it in two.

The photograph showing the main gear struts depicts the SAC parts on top and the kit parts (already sprayed steel) on the bottom, with the front view on the left and the back view on the right. Once again, you will want to be sure that you have the SAC nose gear completely lined up prior to securing into the tail boom gear bays to be sure you don't pop the main gear strut after you close up the tail booms. You can easily see this in the horizontal 'axle' at the top of the main gear strut- it needs to be straight on both axes. If you've done it right, the main gear will actually swing back, but not all the way into the tail boom bays (I'm guessing it's a scale thickness issue) prior to connecting the retracting struts. The joint midway down the SAC main gear strut will require some cleanup as some of the sprue got cast into the molding where the retracting struts attach.

The photograph showing the main gear retraction struts depicts the SAC parts on first and third from the left and the kit parts (already sprayed steel) second and fourth. Separation from the metal sprue and subsequent clean-up is critical here. You can see in the comparison pic that I slightly twisted the SAC parts while removing them. The good news is that the twist is easily fixed by rolling the main body of the retraction strut until its straight. Then it's a matter of using your smooth nose pliers to straighten the ends. On the struts on the right hand side of the photograph, pay attention to the 'hook' at the top. It's very easy to lose this when separating the part from the metal sprue.

In the photograph comparing the torque links, it's easier to see the light grey Pilot Replicas' parts as I have not painted them yet. I've also included a photograph of the Pilot Replicas photo-etched torque links that are included in the kit - so you have three choices! The Pilot Replicas torque links are quite fragile as you may note on the far right main gear torque link that I still need to clean up more. The SAC torque links are more robust, but you will need to be careful removing them from the white metal sprue. I cut the sprue with side cutters -away from the torque links- and then cleaned them up with a fresh #11 blade.

This replacement set will provide stronger landing gear that won't sag over time, and are somewhat adjustable if necessary to obtain proper alignment. Even with zero previous experience in using white metal parts, this set will provide an upgrade that most modelers will have no problem installing. Scale Aircraft Conversions does not use lead in their white metal mix, so the builder does not have to be concerned with that perceived hazard.

Before painting, you may wish to remove and polish the mold seam lines. I scraped some of the mold lines with an old #11 blade and then used a Dremel to polish up the parts. Although most paints will adhere to white metal alone, I would recommend that you prime the parts first. The landing gear will need to be installed with your favorite CA (super glue) or epoxy, as the normal plastic glues or solvents will not react with the white metal.

Once cleaned up, the SAC pieces fit quite well and are a significant improvement in strength over the original parts, and will keep your landing gear from sagging over time (especially that long skinny nose gear strut). My thanks to Ross MacMillan, Scale Aircraft Conversions, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great set of replacement landing gear.

Highly recommended!

  • SAC Parts
    SAC Parts
  • Kit torque links
    Kit torque links
  • SAC Main gear
    SAC Main gear
  • Parts comparison
    Parts comparison
  • Parts comparison
    Parts comparison
  • parts comparison
    parts comparison

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