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In-Box Review
Saab J29 A/B Tunnan
Swedish Fighter Limited Edition
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by: Tim Hatton [ LITESPEED ]

Originally published on:

The Saab 29 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. The SAAB 29 prototype flew for the first time on 1 September 1948. The test pilot was an Englishman, Robert A. 'Bob' Moore, who went on to become the first managing director of Saab GB Ltd. Despite its rotund appearance, the J 29 was fast and agile, serving effectively in both fighter and fighter-bomber roles into the 1970s. Moore described the aircraft as "on the ground an ugly duckling – in the air, a swift." Because of its rotund appearance, The Saab J 29 was quickly nicknamed "Flygande Tunnan" ("The Flying Barrel"). A total of 661 Tunnans were built from 1950 to 1956, making it the largest production run for any SAAB aircraft. A total of 30 Tunnans were sold to Austria in 1961 where they remained in service until 1972.

The Tunnan was the first Swedish jet aircraft to fight in combat. In 1961, five J 29Bs from the Swedish AF were stationed in the Republic of Congo for a UN peacekeeping mission (ONUC). It was reinforced by four more J 29Bs and two S 29C photo reconnaissance Tunnans in 1962. Most of the missions involved attacking ground targets with cannons as well as unguided rockets. No aircraft were lost in action despite large amounts of ground fire. Consensus of the crews and foreign observers was that the Tunnan's capabilities were exceptional. Although it has to be noted the Tunnan main adversary was Fouga Magisters and other aircraft with relatively poor air combat capabilities. The only aircraft lost was in an accident when a high-ranking officer made a trial-run and crashed during an aborted take-off. When ONUC mission was terminated in 1964, some of the Swedish aircraft were destroyed at their base. It was deemed too costly and unnecessary to move them back to Sweden.

The kit
This is the first 1/72 kit released by the Swedish company Tarangus Models. The owner Fredrik Zetteburg is on a personal mission to create the most accurate Swedish aviation subjects possible. The side opening box has a fine illustration of the early version of the Tunnan A/B with the straight leading edge wing. The grey plastic parts are very smooth and glossy with lovely recessed panel lines. The parts have the look of the excellent kit manufacturer Sword. There is a little flash to clean up here and there. Included in the box are:
    -47 x grey plastic parts.
    -3 x clear plastic parts.
    -5 x resin parts.
    -1 x decal sheet.
    -1 x instructions booklet.

The cockpit is built up from six plastic parts and resin pilots seat and gun sight. Parts include cockpit floor, instrument panel, a wall for the right side, instrument console to the left, rudder pedals and flight stick. Careful highlighting of the low relief detail on the instrument panel and side console will really bring the office alive. The resin seat looks very good, but there is a lack of harnesses. There are a couple of raised ejector marks on the cockpit walls that will need to be removed. There are colour references for the cockpit parts in the instructions

The two part canopy is thin and very clear. The rivet detail on the frame of the windscreen is restrained.

The fuselage is split vertically; the whole of the vertical tail is attached to the starboard fuselage. The overall shape looks excellent and Tarangus seem to have every panel in the correct place. The recessed panel lines are very fine and should be easy to reinstate if any detail is lost during sanding. Some of the larger more established Companies would do well to take a look at the way Tarangus depict panel lines. The large voids in the side are where the resin main undercarriage bays fit. The casting blocks on the bays will only need trimming slightly so that the fuselage halves can be joined. The lip of the air intake is plastic and is attached to a resin duct that has the primary air compressor and spool cast into it. It does look very good if a little tricky to paint. The cannon barrel blisters are separate plastic parts. A nice touch is the inclusion of the optional thrust deflector under the jet pipe. As this is a limited run kit, there are no helpful locating pins on the fuselage or wing something to be aware of if your modelling diet is strictly mainline companies.

The wing quite correctly has the straight leading edge of the Tunnan A/B, a characteristic feature of the early Tunnan. It is odd not seeing undercarriage bays in the wing, they are housed in the belly of the fuselage. The locating tabs for the fuselage slots are very narrow, but fit nicely. The tail plane is one piece and slides onto the vertical tail.

The nose undercarriage is a fine looking one piece item including the mudguard, the landing lights are separate clear parts. The front undercarriage bay looks a bit shallow; I would be dubious if the nose wheel would fit in there. The rather large main undercarriage doors will hide a fair bit of the resin detail in the bays. The raised detail inside the bays is none the less finely done. The main undercarriage legs look sturdy enough. The split main wheels have some very good detail on the spoke side. The brake mechanism on the other side of the wheel is attached to the leg.

Ordnance included with this release is restricted to a couple of wing fuel tanks. The shape corresponds nicely with the shapely real things.

The instructions are pretty clear with exploded line drawings and symbols. I particularly like the head on and side profile drawings, which illustrate the set of the wing and main wheels. The paint and decal guide is in colour. There is also a marking guide in the instructions, which supply some extra information. There is plenty of information regarding generic colour of components, but no paint manufacturer references or FS numbers. The help with the width of the black bands on “red M” will prove very helpful. I would recommend highly the reference library on the Tarangus website.

There are three marking options included with this release:
    -F13 red M – s/n 29303 – F13 wing in Norrköping.
    -F22 white G – s/n 29440 – F22 wing, Swedish UN forces in Congo.
    -F8 yellow J – s/n 29368 – F8 wing at Barkarby, Stockholm.

All the aircraft are finished in natural metal. I would imagine that “13-M” will be a popular choice with the black bands and day glow orange or red panels.

The decals are not branded but they do look very good. They are thin, with good colour depth and registration and have minimal carrier film. Stencils are included.

Kit fit
The fit of the kit is rather good. The HUD position in the instructions is erroneous. If attached in the position suggested then the windscreen will not fit. Images suggest HUD was fitted towards the edge of the hood. The wings do need the prominent ejector mark removing before joining. I attached the wings to the fuselage before joining the fuselage halves. The liquid glue was left to melt the plastic for a minute before pushing the wing into the fuselage. This way you can apply pressure on both parts resulting in a near seamless join. Once the glue was dry a little correcting fluid was applied to eradicate a few air bubbles. The two fuselage halves match up nicely; the one piece horizontal stabilizer covers most of the seam along the lower tail. I did glue a small shim of plastic into the rear fuselage. This was to stop the jet pipe disappearing into the fuselage as I wanted to fit it after painting.

This rather unusual and interesting aircraft with echoes of Luft 46 designs that has been brought to life in 1/72 scale by Tarangus. The latter versions of the Tunnan have been released in plastic in 1/72 by the likes of Airfix/Heller, and Matchbox/Revell and in 1/48 scale by AZ Models. So it’s good to see this earlier version. The Tarangus release depicts the earlier A/B model. Tarangus has obviously done its homework and it looks as if they have climbed over every inch of the preserved airframes. The quality of parts as well as surface detail is first rate. Hopefully there will be further releases from Tarangus of the saw tooth E and F versions and the aftermarket folk covering some of the more exotic camouflage schemes for those allergic to natural finishes. The price may put some off, but this is a high quality limited run kit. Limited run kits do have high unit costs. How about a 1/48 scale version please Fredrik.

We thank Tarangus for kindly supplying this model for review here - on Aeroscale!
Highs: It looks accurate. Lovely surface detail on the plastic and resin parts. Easy build. “Red M” will look very interesting.
Lows: No seat harnesses. No camouflaged alternative to all natural metal finish. Price.
Verdict: Fredrik Zetteburg of Tarangus Models has grabbed the bull by the horns or should I say the barrel by the handles and produced a lovely replica of this distinctive Swedish fighter. Very highly recommended.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: TA7201
  Suggested Retail: £24.99 from Hannants
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Oct 07, 2013

Our Thanks to Tarangus AB!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Tim Hatton (litespeed)

Aircraft are my primary interest from WWll to present day.

Copyright ©2020 text by Tim Hatton [ LITESPEED ]. All rights reserved.


That is a good looking model. I am impressed with the cockpit detail.
OCT 07, 2013 - 09:41 AM
I've already built mine and it went togehter without any putty at all. It's a fantastic little kit and do according to the experts at IPMS Stockholm look like a Tunnan to.
OCT 08, 2013 - 02:52 AM

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