1/72 Revell JAS-39C Gripen

Czech 2014 Tigermeet Version

Gallery Article by Gerd Wilcken on Dec 12 2018



The JAS-39 Gripen was developed by Saab in Sweden in 1980 as a multipurpose fighter aircraft to replace those in the J-35 Draken and AJ / JA-37 Viggen. The Gripen is a fighter jet with only one engine, delta wings and canards on the side air intakes. It has a "fly-by-wire" control system. The first flight was on December 9, 1988.

Active service of the JAS-39A starts in 1997, later followed by the two-seat JAS-39B. As most of the Swedish jet airplanes it can take off and land on short runways and paved roads. Due to the small span, it can be parked in small halls or sheds. The small dimensions, paired with a powerful engine, make the Gripen a very versatile aircraft.

The JAS-39C is the third version of the Gripen. It is a completely revised version, which is equipped with a new navigation system. It is compatible with NATO weapon systems and is characterized by colored cockpit displays, night vision compatibility, a stronger engine and nozzles for air refueling. The next version will be the "Gripen NG" (New Generation).

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In 2004, the Czech Air Force leased twelve Gripen from the Swedish Air Force for a period of ten years. These are flown by the 211st Squadron. As a full member of the NATO Tiger Association, the squadron participated in 2014 with four Gripen at the NATO Tiger Meet in Jagel in northern Germany. Number 9240 was painted for this occasion with a half tiger head or - a skull at the rear and on the canards.

After an older kit from Italeri, Revell has now adopted the type.

On four casting frames (plus two small with clear parts) are distributed over 100 items. The quality of the casting is ok, there is some burr and fish skin on the parts, also some of the details are a bit soft. For the detailing is very neat, at least in the relevant areas, everything is there. The surface details consist of a few sunken grays. The hull is accordingly strongly rugged, with a separate bow, stern and a half centerpiece with molded wing bottoms. Vertical stabilizer and the air inlets are extra, as well as the extended vertical tail root. That would mean no less than 13 components, where in other kits half of them are needed.

The control surfaces are separate but not intended for a deflected position. However, you only have to separate the parts and stick to it. The thinner trailing edge will probably be the reason why they were done individually. The two air brakes can be built open. The tank probe can also be mounted in the extended state. The exhaust nozzle is enclosed in both open and closed design. In both you should sand the edges a little thinner because they are quite thick. Hints on an extra front weight are not to be found in the blueprint, as a precaution you should provide something accordingly, especially if the full load is suspended. The air inlets are not fully formed inside, but this is not further tragic, because you really need to look into it to see that.

The cockpit is provided with some simple sublime details and decals for the screens and controls. The three-piece ejection seat is quite well made and only needs a little harness. It is possible to use detail sets.

The chassis are well detailed. The shafts are provided with beautiful structures. The wheels are shown unloaded and kept very simple.

Fortunately, Revell has not saved on weapon loading; the kit contains two additional tanks, a pair of Sidewinder, AMRAAM, IRIS-T and two RB15F anti-ship missiles. Of course Revell has not forgotten the decals for the weapons. For the Czech version, however, only the Sidewinder and AMRAAM are needed.

The Tiger striped tanks I added, because I saw a photo of a Czech Gripen with one of these as a centerline tank. I thought to add two of them, masked and airbrushed following the photo. I think it looks niche.a little bit of "whaf if".

The clear parts are of medium quality. They are a bit too fat and not 100% clear. By the way, the burr in the middle of the hood is correct and not an effect of the "Sliding Molds" technology. Landing lights and position lights are also from clear material, but sometimes quite tiny.

The relatively small decal sheet contains elements for each of a Czech and a Swedish machine. The former is the 2014 Tiger as he was here in Jagel. The design comes from Syhart Decals, the quality and accuracy is therefore very good. Even the small "bullet holes" on the left air inlet of the Tiger machine were not forgotten. The Swedish machine, on the other hand, is a gray mouse with a uniform look. Some maintenance instructions, including the typical markings of the pylons, are also included on the sheet.

The generously designed construction manual is typical Revell, still completely monochrome but quite clearly arranged. Color information as always related to the Revell range but with additional FS numbers. Unfortunately, mixing is required for one of the main colors.

Decal options:

  • JAS-39C Gripen, # 9240, 211 Sqn. Czech Air Force, Tigermeet 2014

  • JAS-39C Gripen, # 39255, F17 Swedish Air Force, Nellis AFB, Red Flag 2013

A very nice - but not quite perfect - kit of a modern jet. The detailing is very neat and OBB - as I have built it - absolutely ok.

Gerd Wilcken

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Photos and text by Gerd Wilcken