Sweden has managed to stay out of conflicts that have engulfed its neighbors throughout the last century. King Gustav XIV introduced this policy of neutrality in 1834. The enforced neutrality that the Swedes have requires a strong military that is self-reliant. Since 1937 Svenska Aeroplan AB (Swedish for "Swedish Aeroplane Company Limited") has been producing aircraft for the Flygvapnet (Swedish Air Force) mostly concentrating, in the last half of the 20th century, on fighter aircraft whose capabilities are equivalent to other contemporay aircraft despite the stringent Flygvapnet requirements

       The Saab J21 was produced in both piston and jet engined powered versions. Next in line was the J29 Flygande Tunnan ("The Flying Barrel"), one of the world’s first swept wing designs. The Tunnan set the world speed record in 1954 and at 661 examples was Saab’s most produced fighter design. The Saab J32 Lansen was an attack aircraft that entered service with the Flygvapnet in the 1950s with some examples not being retired until late in the 1990s.

       In 1949 Saab began design work on a follow on aircraft to the Tunnan. This new fighter was to be capable of intercepting enemy bombers that were travelling in excess of Mach 1. It needed to have a high rate of climb and yet be capable of taking off from reinforced sections of highway that was part of Sweden’s dispersal plan for its air force. Also required was ease of maintenance that could be performed by poorly trained conscripts in hardened bunkers that were along side the remote sections of highway throughout the country.

       Swedish engineers came up with an aesthetically beautiful yet highly functional tailless double delta design. This design was successfully tested by the production of the Saab 210 ‘Lilldraken’. The first flight of this ‘proof of concept’ aircraft taking place on January 21, 1952. This test program examined modifications to the inlet and nose that were then applied to the prototype J35 Drakens.

       October 25, 1955 saw the first flight of the prototype Draken that was powered by a Svenska Flygmotor RM5A (license built Rolls-Royce Mk 21 Avon). The double delta design concept was proved on January 26, 1956 when the prototype broke the sound barrier. The first production J35A made its maiden flight on February 15, 1958. In 1985 the Swedish government decided to upgrade some J35F to J35J standard. Eventually 66 airframes would be so modified. The modifications included enhanced electronics and an improved weapons delivery system. The J can be identified by the infrared sensor under the nose and the additional missile rails under the intakes. The last airframe to be so modified was delivered to F10 Wing on August 21, 1991.

       Saab produced 4 fighter variants of the Draken for the Flygvapnet, the J35A, J35B, J35E and J35F. The SK35C were short tailed J35A modified to a two seat trainer. S35E was a reconnaissance version. Over 600 Drakens were produced. The last Swedish Draken retired in 1999. Foreign operators of the Draken were Denmark who flew them until 1993, Finland until 2000 and Austria until 2005.

       Beginning with the 66th J35A a larger afterburner was added to the engine, which necessitated lengthening the tail cone and the addition of a retractable tail wheel to prevent the tail from hitting the ground on take off and landing.

       The subject of this model is a Saab J35J Draken of F10 Wing, 3rd Division based at Angelholm from 1987 to 1999. The Swordfish being a symbol of the 3rd Division is displayed on both wings.

       Hasegawa has produced several kits of the J35 Draken over the past several years, the one I chose to purchase was Kit # 09837 “ J35F/J Draken ‘Swedish Air Force Special’. The kit comes with two options for paint schemes. Option 1 is a camouflaged J model Draken from its final days in service with the F10 wing based at Angelholm. Option 2 is an earlier F model paint overall red from F18 Wing at Tullinge before it was disbanded in 1985. I chose option 1.

       The kit goes together beautifully; very little puttying or sanding was required. There is lots of detail, including the ram air turbine and the dual tail wheel assembly. The biggest problem I had was in deciding which paint to use for the blue in the upper surface camouflage. The instructions call for a midnight blue, some references say it should be a blue-grey color. It is hard to tell in picture exactly what the color is. I decided to go with the majority of previous builders and use FS35042 Dark Sea Blue.

Bibliography:

       Aeroplane Monthly - May 2010 – Database Article Feature

       Aerofax Minigraph 12 Saab J35 Draken

       IPMS Kit Review of the Saab J35 Draken can be found on this site

       Airliners.net Picture of the Saab J35 Draken

       Wikipedia Article on the Saab J35 Draken

       Wikipedia - Saab (Defense Contractor)

       Article about the 1/72 scale Hasegawa Saab J35 Draken

       Hyperscale review of Zotz decals for the Draken

       Hyperscale Review of Hasegawa Saab J35 Draken model

       Wings Palette profiles of the Saab Draken

       Rebel Hobby - J35F/J Swedish Red / Yellow Draken's

       Saab Website - History of the J35 Draken

       Saab Website - J35 Draken For Sale

       Youtube video of Red Draken in flight

       IPMS Sweden Color Reference Charts - World War II period to Modern Swedish Air Force Colours

       Aircraft Resource Center kit review of 1/72 Airfix Saab Draken

       Fortune City kit review of 1/72 Airfix Saab Draken

       Modeling Madness kit review Hasegawa 1/48 Saab J.35F/J Draken

       Hobby Search J35J Draken Swedish Air Force -Green Camouflage painted-

       Vectorsite Saab 35 Draken

       Warbird Alley Saab J35 Draken

       Swedish Air Force Squadron Insignia

       KG Wings Hasegawa 1/48 Draken Kit Review

       US Centennial Of Flight Comission - The Military Aviation Industry in Scandinavia

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