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Saab JAS-39A/C Gripen

Kitty Hawk Models 1/48 Saab JAS-39A/C Gripen Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2013 Manufacturer Kitty Hawk Models
Subject Saab JAS-39A/C Gripen Scale 1/48
Kit Number 80117 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros New-tool kit of this subject Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $59.95

First Look


What do you get when you combine the size, agility, and powerplant of an F-20 Tigershark with the distinctive planform of the Vigen? You get the Saab JAS-39 Gripen lightweight multirole fighter. The JAS-39 requirement (J=fighter, A=ground attack, S=reconnaissance) was initiated in the late 1970s to replace the Draken and Vigen. In addition to the F-20 (and F/A-18) F404 afterburning engine, the aircraft is equipped with a variant of the Blue Vixen radar from the Sea Harrier FA.2 (which was also the basis for the Typhoon's radar), and the capability to carry a wide range of NATO common weapons.

The Gripen entered Swedish AF service in 1997 and has since equipped the air arms of the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa, and Thailand. Several other countries are considering adopting the Gripen or even the Gripen NG (next generation).

Kitty Hawk has released this new-tool Gripen in 1/48 scale and it looks nice. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on nine parts trees and two rear fuselage halves plus one tree of clear parts and one small fret of photo-etched parts. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Nicely detailed cockpit
  • Positionable canopy
  • Nice F404 engine that won't be seen after airframe assembly
  • Detailed wheel wells
  • Positionable speed brakes
  • Positionable leading/trailing edge flaps
  • Positionable ailerons
  • Positionable canards
  • Positionable rudder
  • Positionable air refueling probe

External store options include:

  • 2 x Python IV
  • 2 x AIM-9M Sidewinder
  • 2 x IRIST
  • 2 x AIM-120 AMRAAM
  • 2 x AGM-65 Maverick
  • 2 x GBU-12 LGB
  • 1 x DWS-24 (BK90) submunition dispenser
  • 1 x RBS-15

There are a variety of other air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions in this box that will definitely be useful to the spares box for future projects as well.

Markings are included for four options:

  • JAS-39A, Flight Test Aircraft, Swedish AF
  • JAS-39C, 9237, Czech AF, Tigermeet Special Markings
  • JAS-39C, 59 TFW, Hungarian AF
  • JAS-39C, 11, South African AF

The two-sheet decal set provide maintenance stenciling for the airframe as well as the weapons. Nice!

This is another impressive release from Kitty Hawk and I'm looking forward to seeing if it builds as nicely as it looks!

My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!