Back when I first opened the box and wrote that nice, optimistic review of the sprues, I was concerned that some of Tarangus’ design choices could prove problematic.
The Viggen was an absolute pain of a build, and every problem could and should have been fixed before they even cut the moulds.
The cockpit is simple and sets us up for how the rest of the build will go. Nice little raised details abound, but the seat is an issue. First, the seat back is split left and right, with a big, depressed seam down the middle. Not all of that is covered by the cushions. Turns out the seat is also too wide to fit the cockpit tub. Just annoying.
I decided to dress the seat up a bit with some strips of paper for seat belts. They give it that little bit of extra realism through the canopy. Interestingly Viggen seats are a matte aluminium rather than the black painted ones common elsewhere.
The forward fuselage is split top and bottom. The outsides of the intakes required significant clamping in order to get the edges to meet, and large amounts of sprue goo were needed to fill the seams. The intakes themselves are an insert which has no forward-backward locating. Plus they also have a significant seam down their length.
Let’s talk about the canards at this point. On the real thing the canard flaps deploy to 30 degrees when the gear is down, so a few minutes’ cutting and that was an easy detail to add. Not only do the canards match the complex shape of the forward fuselage, but they also have big, solid locating points.
The rear fuselage is made from three parts: left, right, and the lower half of the wing. Again, there are no locating points. The forward fuselage slots into the rear one and… doesn’t fit. The spine is a few millimetres too long. Check the instructions, and there’s no mention of any steps I’ve missed. Look through the sprues, and indeed there is a spacer ring of exactly this size. Is it meant to go in there? I checked with some knowledgeable friends who informed me that the fighter variant is slightly longer. Indeed! The inside of the spine has a groove which is to be cut and that makes the halves fit. Nowhere is this mentioned in the instructions.
How well do the front and read fuselages align, you ask? Not great. The curves are slightly different.
The wings and tail install with minimal fuss, though the upper wing surface had a small gap which was fixed with more sprue goo.
The engine is nice. Good details in the plastic and it all fits ok. I have it on good authority that only the top petal should droop when the aircraft is switched off, presumably from gravity and loss of hydraulic pressure.
The landing gear are a fairly complex assembly, especially the main gear, but they seem quite sturdy once installed. Incidentally, the instructions mention that the model will balance on its wheels without extra weight: this is true and with the dual main wheels, the model actually balances on its main gear alone.
I added some of Eduard’s AIM-9L/Ms to masquerade as Rb-74s, along with appropriate launch rails. The dodgy intakes were covered with some nice FOD covers, and the pitots replaced with metal ones.
The splinter scheme is a lot of work.
I used Maestro’s mask set, which provides the appropriate shapes. This leads to fun and games lining up the little shapes in order to cover the airframe, then carefully removing just the ones you want in turn and replacing them after spraying. The first pass showed up a fair few problems which were gradually fixed in subsequent painting.
This is where it’s really nice to have paints like MRP which is so thin and easy to spray, gives superb coverage and is very quick-drying. It’s also strong enough to withstand multiple maskings. The masks themselves were also good, retaining a useful level of tackiness despite being removed and replaced several times apiece.
The decals went down easily and settled with no fuss.
I wanted a bit of a stained, slightly faded effect. Key visual cues I noticed from reference photos were: prominent oil staining from seepage at panel lines; stains and dirt underneath; and a dark, slightly streaked stain from the thrust reversers. These were achieved with some panel line wash, AK fuel stains, and oil paint rendering.
The whole aircraft was given the characteristic Swedish matte look with a coat of MRP Semi-Matte varnish.
Additions to this kit were:
- Master model pitots
- Maestro FOD covers
- Eduard AIM-9L/M
- Maestro launch rails
- Maestro cockpit masks
- Maestro splinter camo masks
I had some concerns about this kit when I looked at the sprues. They were justified. I also thought it would look great on the shelf when done. Getting there was harder than expected, but that was also justified.
Overall, I’m really pleased with this build. It had a lot of problems, and not very long ago I could not have overcome them. Equally, this had some extremely challenging paintwork, and this is the first time I managed to pull off such a complex scheme and have the end result be what I hoped for.