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  1. I am a bit late to enter into the “Blue Box of Happiness” group build but writing down the build preparations took longer than thought. The project is to improve the old 1/32 Revell SAAB JAS 39 Gripen as released in 1991. I can not promise yet if it can be finished, but I will give it a try. Yep…. I know there is a “risk” that JETMADS may come with a new 1/32 Gripen kit as they did with the SAAB Viggen and announced a SAAB Draken…. But I have a "weakness" for Swedish jets, and I made the old ID models/ Tigger SAAB J29 Tunnan earlier as seen here on the LSP forum..... OK, let’s looks at this old Gripen kit.... The kit #4752 has about 125 parts and contained also a sort of engine, an entry ladder and stores like missiles and fuel tanks. I bought the kit second hand quite cheap many years ago. It was clear that the accuracy of this 1/32 kit was not very good, models built over the years seemed to be too “compact”. But at that time the new Gripen was still quite secret and not a lot of the details were known to the Revell team in 1991. A few decades later more data had become available, so I had studied a bit more. A big trigger was that the small 1/72 Revell kit of the Gripen JAS-39C was released in 2014. This kit was made by Revell with SAAB assistance some 25 years later and the outlines of this kit seem to be quite accurate as I made a kit. I could also cross-measure the sections and shapes while building it and made notes. So another 7 years later, time to look at the old 1/32 Revell Gripen kit again! For those who are unfamiliar with the kit, the main parts are seen here. (Note that some parts have already some paint as I bought the kit second hand). Stores are a bit crude and seem to be a pairs Sidewinders, RBS-15F missile, RBS-15 anti-ship missile and a single central fuel tank. The cockpit is basic and there is a sort of intake funnel. The kit decals are for proto/ pre-production? aircraft with stripes (I had seen also kits with very yellowed decals in the past) ================= A FIRST CHECK-UP OK. Next, I started to look for several layout drawings though we all know one has to be careful with these. The 1/72 Revell kit ( LINK to my webpage: https://designer.home.xs4all.nl/models/gripen/gripen-2.htm ) was also measured up and notes taken. Having a few “Jane’s All the World Aircraft” books, the invaluable reference source for aviation professionals, some main data was compared as published over the years in Jane's. Some drawings were scaled up to 1/32 with computer, scanner and printed. I used a good drawing as starting point. These are some of my prepared drawings … and below with pitot tube drawn in upper view ====================================================== A big moment is now to compare some bigger kit parts with my drawings. ====================================================== FUSELAGE: It was measured and it seems that the old 1/32 kit is about 21 mm too small in total length. When the forward fuselage section is set on the drawing, the nose planform does not look too bad. The air intakes seem to be pretty good but need a bit more curve at their upper edges near the canards. ======================= WING: The overall wing span is about 10 mm too small. Increasing the chord section in span seems to way to go. =============== VERTICAL TAIL: The tail fin height is about 5 mm too small. (Note that using the “total height” data of the real Gripen can not be used at it is affected by the landing gear layout). Multiple small vertical tail corrections are needed here, also at the leading edge and a bigger rudder to be made. ============= CANARDS: The canards are not that bad. A bit reshaping with some plastic card and extenting their ends with 3 mm each would do it. Also the kit parts need removal of the stubs (which were probably prototype flutter weights?) and raised details. ================= OTHER IMPROVEMENTS Other issues for improvement found till now are: - improve internal details, particularly cockpit - improve canopy - improve the landing gear, doors and gear bays; - replace wheels; - kit wing pylons are inaccurate and need modification; - main exhaust kit part #30 does look too small, it should be about 30 mm in 1/32. A replacement could be a F-18 exhaust for the RB12/ F404 engine; - improve fuel tank if desired and seek better missiles if desired. ================== FURTHER INVESTIGATION I tried to find out what may have caused the dimensional inaccuracies in the old Revell kit. Now I saw something interesting: the Jane’s “All the World Aircraft” data from 1988 till 1993 indicated a wing span of 8 meters and length of 14,1 m. Jane’s data from more recent date (2007/2008) showed: wing span 8,4 m inclusive wing tip missile rails and length 14,1 m without nose pitot tube. So they added info about pitot and missile rails. I estimated the real Gripen pitot tube to be about 0,75 m long (that is 22 mm in 1/32) and the real wing tip missile rails to be about 0,15 m each wide (that is in 1/32 about 5 mm). This adds up to the length correction of about 21 mm and wing span correction of 2x5 mm. I concluded that the Revell kit team at the time forgot about the pitot tube length and missile rails. The team assumed this to be “included” in the overall Gripen span en length dimensions as stated by the Jane’s data (and probably in SAAB promotion documentation) when making their moulds. I looked at a lot of photos and kept in mind these issues. It seemed that corrections could be done on the Revell Gripen model. Yes, it will not be easy and would need putty, plastic card, putty, card… and a lot of patience… Though not perfect, at this point the only option for a better JAS-39C Gripen model in 1/32 scale. I concluded that these modification are “do able” so it was decided to improved this old kit to get a better 1/32 scale model of the current SAAB JAS-29C Gripen. OK, this was a long first post about the investigation. Next, first attempts to build the kit! Meindert
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