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Tarangus Saab J32B/E Lansen

As Sweden’s first multirole fighter, the Saab J32 Lansen was a ground-attack platform, all-weather fighter, reconnaissance bird, electronic countermeasures aircraft, and air sampler, from the 1950s until at least as recently as 2010.

Tarangus’ J32B/E is its second 1/72 scale kit. I was eager to build it, having tackled the prior release, a J29 Tunnan.

Opening the box brought to mind kits from Czech manufacturers in years past. The Lansen had the look of a short-run kit: slightly soft detail, flash on many parts, and fit in need of refinement.

As I followed the instructions’ 25 steps, my suspicions about the kit’s short-run nature were confirmed. It’s not a difficult build overall, but I encountered a couple of areas requiring particular attention.

Many parts needed sanding and test-fitting, starting in the cockpit. I suggest not gluing the front and rear cockpits together in Step 4 as indicated. Instead, align the front cockpit and nose-wheel well first, then add the rear cockpit once the fuselage is together. It slides into place nicely through the opening for the wings. I reduced the ejection seats’ width to get them into the tub.

Before joining the fuselage, I glued scrap plastic inside the rear fuselage to prevent the exhaust from sliding forward. Leave the exhaust assembly off until final assembly and you’ll have a convenient hole to insert a handle for painting.

You’ll definitely need to add weight to the nose, but be aware that the gear struts angle forward; you’ll need to adjust the ballast accordingly. (I had to add weight to the underbelly fuel tank because what I glued into the nose wasn’t enough to keep the nose wheel grounded.)

The wings went together nicely, but I had to thin and reshape the fences to conform to the wing. After twice breaking the pitot tube, I replaced it with a straight pin.
The fuselage seams didn’t quite line up, so I sanded a lot and obliterated panel lines in the process. After replacing lost detail, I wound up re-scribing the entire model to get uniform depth. The canopy needed sanding to fit, and I trimmed the interior windscreen to slide under the canopy.

Choosing from the four marking options, I finished my Lansen as a J32E with two-color upper camouflage. Initially, I used the recommended colors. But the suggested olive drab/green mix seemed too dark. So I replaced it with Tamiya NATO green (XF-67).

The decals were outstanding, applied easily, and showed no silvering. I didn’t use all of the stencils, however, because the black ones disappeared into the camouflage.

Even though I spent more time than I expected on my Lansen — about 35 hours — I enjoyed it, and the finished model looks good. It measures spot-on compared to published dimensions, and certainly captures the look of the real thing.

I recommend Tarangus’ Lansen for more-experienced modelers, due to the amount of fiddling needed for a good fit.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the November 2016 issue.


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