by: Adie Roberts [ ]
The Saab 35 Draken ("the kite" or "the dragon") was a Swedish Fighter Aircraft manufactured by Saab between 1955 and 1974. The Draken was built to replace the Saab J29 Tunnan and, later, the fighter variant (J 32B) of the Saab J32 Lansen The indigenous J 35 was an effective supersonic Cold War fighter that was also successfully exported to Austria, Denmark, Finland, and to the United States as a test pilot training aircraft.
As the jet era started, Sweden foresaw the need for a jet fighter that could intercept bombers at high altitude and also successfully engage fighters. Although other interceptors such as the US Air Forces's F-104 Starfighters were being conceived during the same period, Saab's "Draken" would have to undertake a combat role unique to Sweden. Other demanding requirements were the capability to operate from reinforced public roads used as part of wartime airbases, and for refuelling/rearming to be carried out in no more than ten minutes, by conscripts with minimal training. In September 1949, the Swedish Defence Material Administration issued a request for a fighter/interceptor aircraft, and work began at Saab the same year.
Although the J 35 Draken was not designed to be a dog-fighter, it proved to have a good quick-turn capability and was a capable Fighter plane It entered service with the Swedish Air Force in 1960. A total of 651 Saab Drakens were manufactured.
The Draken was the first fully supersonic aircraft to be deployed in Western Europe.
Researched on the internet.
Eduard have an ability to turn most kits that they turn into limited editions, pure gold so lets see what we have with the Draken.
The box art is good and it is a top opening box, the lid in thin cardboard but with a sturdy cardboard lower box.
1. Six light grey sprue's for the aircraft.
2. One clear sprue for the glazing.
3. Two photo- etch one for the cockpit and one for the Draken exterior.
4. One set of decals.
5. Instruction booklet.
6. One box containing two lots of resin for the Draken.
So first impressions was not so bad, I opened the first packet which was the fuselage halves. These were first produced by Hasegawa in 2008 and have been re-boxed several times since their first appearance. The plastic for its age is visually good, though on closer inspection you notice just how fine the detailing is, it is not as deeply engraved as some kits from this age are. If you are heavy on the painting so much of the detail could be lost, which is a shame as although fine and very shallow is also personally I believe very nice. I am not an expert on this plane although I have to say I have been reading up on it since getting this review copy. So looking underneath the bottom of the main lower half of the fuselage, the wheel wells have some raised area at the top, almost like a non slip surface, their is no molded wires on the walls of the wheel wells.
The inspection panels are detailed and where they should be, but again I do emphasise the fine detail is very fine, the dry fit with both halves of the fuselage was perfect and without any necessity for putty or hard work. There is various other small parts on this sprue which include fairings, struts for the undercarriage and undercarriage doors.
The next sprue contained the cockpit tub, first look at this you see a series of raised control panels and control stick position on a mount in the middle of the floor, the floor itself is devoid of detail. The raised control levers and small control panels are ok, although not as good as some of the newer kits, their is at least some detail. Tail of the plane comes in two halves and has a molded rudder with clear separation line. The wings come in four parts being two upper and two lower on each side, again although their is some recessed panel lines which are very fine and could be lost during the painting process. The main landing legs are huge and look very strong as you would expect from a plane that can land on a reinforced road and take off from it too. The callipers and levers connected to the landing gear legs looks very realistic and the mountings again look quite good. The engine air intakes look fairly good and the right shape.
The engine exhausts you have two options both look good and with the added photo etch is going to make it look much more realistic. On the same sprue is the cockpit instrument panel which on its own is showing its age, however Eduard have the midas touch and have given you one of their pre-coloured instrument panels that bring up the realism. A couple of weapon rails also occupy this sprue.
The wheels are pretty basic looking but again Eduard provide a gorgeous resin set but more on those later. A drop tank with some great, but fine detail, aerials and some very small control levers go to make up the rest of this sprue.
The last two small sprues contain another drop tank and nose of the Draken, and another better looking upgraded instrumental panel. The nose looks quite good, and a dry fit went well, some fine lines on this. The control instrument panel is so much better then the first one and is an obvious new part from one of the later re-boxes of the Hasegawa Draken.
The photo etch provided by Eduard is on two frets, one of them is a pre-coloured cockpit fret. This is fret really will make a difference to an otherwise basic cockpit with some beautiful well defined dials and to give it depth Eduard have a front and back panel, various other control panels in the form of side panels switches and control levers. Seatbelts and mesh covers for the bottom of the seats. The second fret is for the external parts to the plane which will bring the plane up to a higher standard with engine parts, and structural parts for the wheel wells.
Eduard have also included a box with two bags of resin inside. In the first bag is the weighted wheels with a hi level of detail and also wheel hubs again with the same level of detail for the inside of the wheels where they join the landing legs. In the second bag is a resin seat with some fantastic details on it, separate seat cushion and head restraint both again lovely detailed. The last piece being the air brake.
Instructions and Decals
The Instructions that Eduard produce, I am a big fan of. The instruction booklet is always informative and very easy to follow allowing new modellers and youngsters alike able to pick it up and just get on with the build of the kit.
The instruction book has twelve pages for which five pages are for the build of the kit, this is broken down into 38 boxes containing the build process. Some of this is for the four different versions that this kit can make, and are clearly colour coded.
The first page contains some history of the Draken and the different countries that used them, this goes into some detail and will give you a good idea about the Draken itself.
Page two is the sprue maps showing you what comes with the kit and what you will be using and not using, it also has the resin and photo etch parts that Eduard include in this limited edition.
Page eight is all about the masks and explains it in simple terms.
Page nine A, J35F,35465,F-10, 1 Jaktflygdivision, Cpt. Vincent Ahlin, Angelholm-Barkakra 1989
Page ten B, J 35FS, 351132, Havittajalentoaivue 11, Kreivi Von Rosen, Rovanient, Finland 1985
Page eleven C J35OE Mk.II 351401, Fliegerreginment 2, 1. Staffel, Zeltweg Austria 2003
Page twelve D J 35 XD, ESK 725 Karup Air Base, Denmark, early seventies
The Decals are very colourful very fine carrier film will not be an issue with your four options plus the common ones.
Eduard have come along way with all the aftermarket extras and most of their limited edition kits seem to go out of stock fairly quickly. For the Draken I have to say that the mold is showing its age however in its day it was incredible and as far as I am aware it is the only Draken in 1/48th scale currently available on the market. So how have Eduard changed this kit, well for a start you get their great pre-coloured cockpit details making a large difference. The resin that they have put with this kit will enhance it four fold with Eduard's knack for putting together great extras really shows here, the resin is so good in detail add to this the other Eduard's aftermarket photo-etch and resin sets that are available should make this a great model.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE