The Saab J35J 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 J 29 Tunnan and, later, the fighter variant (J 32B) of the Saab 32 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. The Draken was the first fully supersonic aircraft to be deployed in Western Europe. 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 Force’s F-104 Starfighter were being conceived during the same period, Saab’s “Draken” would have to undertake a role unique to Sweden. Requirements included the ability to operate from reinforced public roads used as part of wartime airbases, and for refuelling and 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. Danish Air Force Saab TF-35 Draken.
Draken’s design incorporated a distinctive “double-delta” configuration, with one delta wing within another larger delta. The inner wing has an 80° angle for high-speed performance, while the outer 60° wing gives good performance at low speeds. Propulsion was provided by a single Svenska Flygmotor RM6B/C turbojet (Rolls-Royce Avon 200/300). A ram turbine, under the nose, provided emergency power, and the engine had a built-in emergency starter unit. The Draken could deploy a drag parachute to reduce its landing distance.
I received June with a 1/48 J35 Draken ‘Shin Kazama‘ on my workbench and I just can call it done. As most of you know, this kit from Hasegawa is not new. It is actually a classic in its own right. There are some areas that demand attention as the fit is lacking. For example, the air intakes are molded as one piece but the fit on the fuselage requires some filling, sanding and rescribing of the panel lines and rivets. The afterburner can has a perfect fit with the exhaust assembly but the assembly does not fit well with the rear fuselage. Personally I can live with that but some other model builders will take care of this with sanding sticks. This issue is not that bad but it is worth mentioning. The wheel well seems to have no detail but the landing gear on this kit is not shabby at all. I was surprised at the level of detail and fit of all the landing struts and other linkage components. Kudos!
While the overall kit has nice detailed rivets and subtle panel lines, the cockpit on the Hasegawa J35J is very sparsely detailed. The folks over at Mega Hobby were kind to send us an aftermarket cockpit from Aires J35O set. This cockpit is a great asset to the model. Although I consider myself a jack of all trades and master of none when it comes to model building, aircraft model builder eyes are set by default to look at the cockpit first. This cockpit set from Aires (see pictures below) makes the heck of a difference on your Draken J35J plastic model.
This kit has pylons for AIM-4D and AIM-9L sidewinder rockets. They are NOT included with the kit. The AIM-9L came from the leftovers of the Kinetic F-16 SUFA. I might have some AIM-4D laying around somewhere in the studio. They will be added when I find them 😉
Painting the Hasegawa 1/48 Draken J35J
This is a fictional model from the anime series AREA 88. The underside calls for Light Gray FS36495 Acryl. I also used ALCLAD II White Aluminum ALC-106 on the belly area, wheel wells and all the landing gear. For the top side I took the liberty to use Tamiya XF-57 Buff and Tamiya XF-52 Flat Earth. As with other model kits I’ve built from the Creator Series, the decals provided are top notch. After sealing everything together I threw a pin wash with Ammo Mig A.1402 which is almost a burnt sienna in a bottle. The landing gear got a wash of Ammo Mig A.MIG-1008. After the washes were done, I sprayed a coat of Testors Dullcote on the entire model. I added then some dirt and grime using Tamiya’s Weathering Master set ‘A’.
These weathering Master Sets from Tamiya are very neat and they work better when used on flat surfaces instead of glossy.