KIT: Italeri 1/48 Saab JAS Gripen
KIT #: 2638
PRICE: around $21.00 MSRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Tom Solinski
NOTES: Options include open or closed canopy, speed brakes and radome.


 The SAAB JAS 39 Gripen is Sweden’s fourth generation self defense fighter.  The Swedes have a long tradition of neutrality and guard that position with almost a religious fervor.  They know that any armed invasion of their beautiful country would eventually end with the end of the Kingdom, but it is the purpose of the Swedish military to make the invader pay dearly for every bloodied foot they take.  The Gripen will meet this goal long in to this century.

 As an aero engineer, I have always been fascinated by the indigenous Swedish aircraft designs.  They always start with a clean sheet of paper to solve some very complex design and operational constraints imposed upon them by a small country, with a small economy and a small population.

 The Gripen is the all-in-one solution for a Fighter (Jakt), Attack (A), and Reconasiance (S) aircraft that can be built and economically flown by the Swedish air force, yet reasonably compete or beat the local competition.   It is the replacement for the rest of the J-35 Drakens and J/A-37 Viggens.


The kit comes in a standard lightweight Italeri cardboard box.  My copy was an early delivery obtained thought the GreatModels web store, and was sealed with two pieces of tape.  Inside we find three light gray sprues and one clear sprue of canopy, HUD and landing light lenses. The clear parts were in a bag to keep the scratches down.

The sprues are full and free of flash.   The panel lines are slightly heavy. The skin surfaces have a light pebbly texture, but as you can see from one of the pictures it’s not too bad.  Landing gear wheel wells have an above average amount of detail.

The instructions are the now standard European folded A-4 format with 10 pages containing 8 detailed steps and 12 sub assemblies.  One page of background, one page of multilingual warnings and one page showing the parts layouts on the sprues. Finally there are three paint scheme drawings.

The kit calls for Testors Model master grays, whites and blacks.  I question that the Grippen is in the same shades of gray as US F-16, but well see what it looks like when its done.  As stated in the top bar there are some mildly colorful decals for three aircraft: Swedish colorful pre production, that is the national markings are blue and yellow as opposed to Swedish toned down production aircraft that are black stencils.  The Czech toned down production aircraft has the Czech national markings in three tones of gray.  The only disagreement that I can find so far is that the landing gear struts and wheel wells are not white as called for on the instructions.  This is clearly evident on some of the pictures on the sides of the box.


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