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The Handsome Lansen

Converting Heller Saab J 32A to J 32B All-Weather Interceptor

n by Mark Davies

I have a huge admiration for the achievements Swedish aviation industry and the products of Saab. I also think many of their aircraft make very appealing modeling subjects. The Lansen is a fine example of just how good Saabís products were even pre-Draken, Viggen and Gripen. I am very grateful that Heller chose to offer many of the early Saab products (J 21 and J 29 for example).

The Heller kit offers the A or C versions, being strike and reconnaissance versions respectively. Donít ask me why, but I opted to build the B version which is an all-weather fighter, and quite different from the kit versions. The main changes I needed to make were to the guns and rear fuselage. I made four 30 mm cannon troughs from tube to replace the J32 Aís 20mm cannon which have doors over the blast tubes. Then I removed some of the rear fuselage to correspond with the Bís rear end and a made a different afterburner from scrap as the B had a more powerful Avon than the A or C versions. I had read that the intakes on the B were larger too, but after viewing photos I could see no difference, so I didnít change the kit intakes. I thought I might as well scribe the panel lines, refine the wing fences and added some detail and radar scope to the cockpits.

The real problem stated when I had the model nearly finished and realized that Lansens always have their four very unusual air-brakes open on the ground. This meant I had to hack into the fuselage after I had the wings on, and seek close-up photos of the rather intricate air-brakes so that I could scratch-build some from 5 and 10 thou card.

I must thank Andreas Samuelson, a Swedish modeler, who very kindly mailed me photos and a vac-form belly tank, plus heaps of other very useful information (by the way, if your reading this Andreas, e-mail me as I have lost my address book when changing computers!). Suffice to say, my J 32 A and C Lansens will be flying when I build them.


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