1/72 JAS 39E Gripen 

by Nils Mathisrud


  Norwegian Constitution Day 2008 


On 28 April this year the Norwegian Ministry of Defence received bids from Saab and Lockheed Martin for new fighter aircraft to replace the F-16 when this type reaches the end of it's serviceable life around 2015. The two contenders are JAS 39E/F Gripen and the conventional TO&L version of F-35 Lightning II. A maximum number of 48 aircraft are planned to be acquired. Also Eurofighter was long marketing the Typhoon as a contender to the contract, but they withdrew from the competition because they considered the American alternative to be favoured by the Norwegian government, and therefore a biased competition. The final decision will be taken by the Stortinget the Norwegian Parliament - early next year.

Which of the two contenders that is the best aircraft for the role is not for me to say, however in my view the Gripen is definitely the better looking one. Thus I did not want to wait till after 2015 to build a model of a Gripen in Norwegian markings, that is if it is selected.

The models that are offered to Norway are the E/F models, which are more advanced that the current C/D models. The E/F versions can carry more fuel and weapons than the earlier versions. The most prominent external differences are new main undercarriage moved outwards and located in conformal fairings along the under-wing roots.

My model is based on the Italeri JAS 39A kit. I first upgraded this to JAS 39C standard before I made the underside fairings from Milliput. I wanted to display the model in flight, thus I didn't have to scratch-build new main wheel wells and undercarriage. I armed the model with an IRIS-T missile taken from Italeri's Eurofighter kit and a FPR pod on the right wingtip was made from a Sidewinder. AIM-120B missiles and GBU-12 bombs came from Hasegawa weapons sets. I made a Pantera targeting pod from a Lantirn, with a scratchbuild front section. An additional belly tank was kindly given to me from a Swedish modeller (the E/F models will take two underbelly tanks while the current versions can take only one).

Click on images below to see larger images


I painted the model in the current standard for F-16 aircraft, FS36270 grey. Decals came from various Vingtor Decals sets with the stenciling from TwoBobs.

Even if the Norwegian politicians decide to buy the F-35, I will still have my RNoAF Gripen on display on my model shelf.


Photos and text by Nils Mathisrud