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1:72 Saab Sk29B (Skola) Tunnan; “Vit Sextioet (White 61)” of the Swedish Air Force F5 Kungliga Krigsflygskolan („Royal Air Force Flight Academy"); Ljungbyhed, southern Sweden, 1961 (Whif/Heller kit conversion) - WiP

dizzyfugu posted a photo:

1:72 Saab Sk29B (Skola) Tunnan; “Vit Sextioet (White 61)” of the Swedish Air Force F5 Kungliga Krigsflygskolan („Royal Air Force Flight Academy"); Ljungbyhed, southern Sweden, 1961 (Whif/Heller kit conversion) - WiP

The kit and its assembly:
Another Saab 29 conversion of a variant that was thought about but never materialized, much like the radar-equipped all-weather fighter. The impulse to tackle this stunt was a leftover D. H. Vampire trainer fuselage pod in my stash (from the ‘Mystery Jet’ conversion a couple of months ago, from an Airfix kit). The canopy’s shape and dimensions appeared like a sound match for the tubby J 29, and so I decided to try this stunt.

The basis is the Heller J 29 kit, which is, despite raised surface details, IMHO the better kit than the rather simple Matchbox offering. However, what makes things more hazardous, though, is the kit’s option to build the S 29 C reconnaissance variant – the lower front fuselage is a separate part, and any surgery around the cockpit weakens the kit’s overall stability considerably. Unlike the J 29D all-weather fighter built recently, I had no visual reference material. The only valid information I was able to dig up was that a side-by-side cockpit had been the preferred layout for this paper project.

Implanting a new cockpit is always hazardous, and I have never tried to integrate a side-by-side arrangement into a single seater. The Vampire cockpit was finished first, and also mounted into the Vampire’s original cockpit pod halves, because I was able to use its side walls and also had the original canopy parts left over – and using the Vampire’s cockpit opening would ensure a good fit and limit PSR work around the clear parts. Once the Vampire cockpit tub was complete, the “implant” was trimmed down as far as possible.

Next step was to prepare the Tunnan to accept the donor cockpit. In order to avoid structural trouble I finished the two fuselage halves first, mounted the air intake with the duct to the front end, but left the fighter version’s gun tray away (while preparing it with a load of lead). The idea was to put the Vampire cockpit into position from below into the Tunnan’s fuselage, until all outer surfaces would more or less match in order to minimize PSR work.
With the Vampire cockpit as benchmark, I carefully tried to draw its outlines onto the upper front fuselage. The following cutting and trimming sessions too several turns. To my surprise, the side-by-side cockpit’s width was the least problem – it fits very well inside of the J 29 fuselage’s confines, even though the front end turned out to be troublesome. Space in length became an issue, too, because the Airfix Vampire cockpit is pretty complete: it comes with all pedals, a front and a rear bulkhead, and its bulged canopy extends pretty far backwards into an aerodynamic fairing. As a result, it’s unfortunately very long… Furthermore, air intake duct reaches deep into the Tunnan’s nose, too, so that width was not the (expected) problem, but rather length!

Eventually, the cockpit lost the front bulkhead and had to trimmed and slimmed down further, because, despite its bulky fuselage, the Tunnan’s nose is rather narrow. As a consequence the Vampire cockpit had to be moved back by about 3mm, relative to the single-seater’s canopy, and the area in front of the cockpit/above the air intake duct had to be completely re-sculpted, which took several PSR stages. Since the Vampire’s canopy shape is very different and its windscreen less steep (and actually a flat glass panel), I think this change is not too obvious, tough, and looks like a natural part of the fictional real-life conversion. However, a fiddly operation, and it took some serious effort to blend the new parts into the Tunnan fuselage, especially the windscreen.

Once the cockpit was in place, the lower front fuselage with the guns (the upper pair had disappeared in the meantime) was mounted, and the wings followed suit. In this case, I modified the flaps into a lowered position, and, as a subtle detail, the Tunnan kit lost its retrofitted dogtooth wings, so that they resemble the initial, simple wing of the J 29 A and B variants. Thanks to the massive construction of the kit’s wings (they consist of two halves, but these are very thin and almost massive), this was a relatively easy task.

The rest of the Tunnan was built mostly OOB; it is a typical Heller kit of the Seventies: simple, with raised surface detail, relatively good fit (despite the need to use putty) and anything you could ask for a J 29 in 1:72 scale. I just replaced the drop tanks with shorter, thicker alternatives – early J 29 frequently carried Vampire drop tanks without fins, and the more stout replacements appeared very suitable for a trainer.

The pitots on the wing tips had to be scratched, since they got lost with the wing modifications - but OOB they are relatively thick and short, anyway. Further additions include a tail bumper and extra dorsal and ventral antennae, plus a fairing for a rotating warning light, inspired by a similar installation on the late J 29 target tugs.

scobie56 posted a photo:

scobie56 posted a photo:

scobie56 posted a photo:

Swiss Air Force F/A-18 Hornet

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Swiss Air Force F/A-18 Hornet

Fliegerschiessen Axalp 2017

1:72 Saab Sk29B (Skola) Tunnan; “Vit Sextioet (White 61)” of the Swedish Air Force F5 Kungliga Krigsflygskolan („Royal Air Force Flight Academy"); Ljungbyhed, southern Sweden, 1961 (Whif/Heller kit conversion)

dizzyfugu posted a photo:

1:72 Saab Sk29B (Skola) Tunnan; “Vit Sextioet (White 61)” of the Swedish Air Force F5 Kungliga Krigsflygskolan („Royal Air Force Flight Academy"); Ljungbyhed, southern Sweden, 1961 (Whif/Heller kit conversion)

+++ DISCLAIMER +++
Nothing you see here is real, even though the model, the conversion or the presented background story might be based historical facts. BEWARE!



Some background:
In the aftermath of the Second World War, Sweden required a strong air defense, utilizing the newly developed jet propulsion technology. This led to a pair of proposals being issued by the Saab design team, led by Lars Brising. The first of these, codenamed R101, was a cigar-shaped aircraft, which bore a resemblance to the American Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. The second design, which would later be picked as the winner, was a barrel-shaped design, codenamed R 1001, which proved to be both faster and more agile upon closer study.

The original R 1001 concept had been designed around a mostly straight wing, but after Swedish engineers had obtained German research data on swept-wing designs, the prototype was altered to incorporate a 25° sweep. In order to make the wing as thin as possible, Saab elected to locate the retractable undercarriage in the aircraft's fuselage rather than into the wings.

Extensive wind tunnel testing performed at the Swedish Royal University of Technology and by the National Aeronautical Research Institute had also influenced aspects of the aircraft's aerodynamics, such as stability and trim across the aircraft's speed range. In order to test the design of the swept wing further and avoid any surprises, it was decided to modify a single Saab Safir. It received the designation Saab 201 and a full-scale R 1001 wing for a series of flight tests. The first 'final' sketches of the aircraft, incorporating the new information, was drawn in January 1946.

The originally envisioned powerplant for the new fighter type was the de Havilland Goblin turbojet engine. However, in December 1945, information on the newer and more powerful de Havilland Ghost engine became available. The new engine was deemed to be ideal for Saab's in-development aircraft, as not only did the Ghost engine had provisions for the use of a central circular air intake, the overall diameter of the engine was favorable for the planned fuselage dimensions, too. Thus, following negotiations between de Havilland and Saab, the Ghost engine was selected to power the type instead and built in license as the RM 2.

By February 1946 the main outline of the proposed aircraft had been clearly defined. In Autumn 1946, following the resolution of all major questions of principal and the completion of the project specification, the Swedish Air Force formally ordered the completion of the design and that three prototype aircraft be produced, giving the proposed type the designation J 29.
On 1 September 1948, the first of the Saab 29 prototypes conducted its maiden flight, which lasted for half an hour. Because of the shape of its fuselage, the Saab J 29 quickly received the nickname "Flygande Tunnan" ("The Flying Barrel"), or "Tunnan" ("The Barrel") for short. While the demeaning nickname was not appreciated by Saab, its short form was eventually officially adopted.

A total of four prototypes were built for the aircraft's test program. The first two lacked armament, carrying heavy test equipment instead, while the third prototype was armed with four 20mm automatic guns. Various different aerodynamic arrangements were tested, such as air brakes being installed either upon the fuselage or on the wings aft of the rear spar, along with both combined and conventional aileron/flap arrangements.
The flight test program revealed that the J 29 prototypes were capable of reaching and exceeding the maximum permissible Mach number for which they had been designed, and the flight performance figures gathered were found to be typically in excess of the predicted values.

In 1948 production of the type commenced and in May 1951 the first deliveries of operational production aircraft were received by F 13 Norrköping. The J 29 proved to be very successful and several variants and updates of the Tunnan were produced, including a dedicated reconnaissance variant and an all-weather fighter with an on-board radar.
A trainer variant was deemed to be useful, too, since the transition of young pilots from relatively slow, piston-engine basic trainers to jet-powered aircraft was considered to be a major step in the education program. At that time, the only jet-powered two-seater in Swedish inventory was the DH 115 Vampire. 57 of these, designated J 28C by the Swedish Air Force, had been procured from Great Britain in the late Forties, but an indigenous alternative (and a more capable successor) was politically favored.

In 1952 initial wind tunnel tests with scaled-down models were conducted, since it was not clear which layout would be the best from an aerodynamic, structural and educational point of view. After a thorough inspection of wooden 1:1 mock-ups of alternative tandem and a side-by-side cockpit layouts, as well as much political debate between Saab, the Swedish Air Force and the Swedish government concerning the costs and budget for a dedicated Saab 29 trainer fleet’s development and production, a compromise was settled upon in early 1953: No new trainer airframes would be produced. Instead, only existing airframes would be converted into two seaters, in an attempt to keep as much of the existing structure and internal fuel capacity as possible.

The side-by-side arrangement was adopted, not only because it was considered to be the more effective layout for a trainer aircraft. It also had the benefit that its integration would only mean a limited redesign of the aircraft’s cockpit section above the air intake duct and the front landing gear well, allowing to retain the single-seater’s pressurized cabin’s length and internal structure. A tandem cockpit would have been aerodynamically more efficient, but it would have either considerably reduced the J 29’s internal fuel capacity, or the whole aircraft had had to be lengthened with a fuselage plug, with uncertain outcome concerning airframe and flight stability. It would also have been the more costly option,

However, it would take until 1955 that the first trainer conversions were conducted by Saab, in the wake of the major wing and engine updates for the J 29 A/B fleet that lasted until 1956. The trainer, designated Sk 29 B, was exclusively based on the J 29 B variant and benefited from this version’s extra fuel tanks in the wings and fully wired underwing weapon hardpoints, which included two wet pylons for drop tanks and made the Sk 29 B suitable for weapon training with the J 29’s full ordnance range.
The trainer conversions only covered the new cockpit section, though. The Sk 29 B did not receive the new dogtooth wing which was only introduced to the converted J 29 D, E and F fighters. The upper pair of 20mm cannon in the lower front fuselage was deleted, too, in order to compensate for the two-seater’s additional cockpit equipment weight and drag. Performance suffered only marginally under the enlarged canopy, though, and the Sk 29 B turned out to be a very sound and useful design for the advanced jet trainer role.

However, budgetary restraints and the quick development of aircraft technology in the Fifties limited the number of fighter conversions to only 22 airframes. The aging Vampire two-seaters still turned out to be adequate for the advanced trainer role, and the Sk 29 B did not offer a significant advantage over the older, British aircraft. Another factor that spoke against more Sk 29 Bs was the simple fact that more trainer conversions would have reduced the number of airframes eligible for the running fighter aircraft updates.

All Sk 29 Bs were concentrated at the F 5 Ljungbyhed Kungliga Krigsflygskolan training wing in southern Sweden, where two flights were equipped with it. Unofficially dubbed “Skola Tunnan” (literally “School Barrel”), the Sk 29B performed a solid career, even though the machines were gradually retired from 1966 onwards. A dozen Sk 29 B remained active until 1972 in various supportive roles, including target tugging, air sampling and liaison duties, while the final Vampire trainer was already retired in 1968. But by the early Seventies, the trainer role had been taken over by the brand new Saab 105/Sk 60 trainer, the long-awaited domestic development, and Sk 35 Draken trainers.



General characteristics:
Crew: 1
Length: 10.23 m (33 ft 7 in)
Wingspan: 11.0 m (36 ft 1 in)
Height: 3.75 m (12 ft 4 in)
Wing area: 24.15 m² (260.0 ft²)
Empty weight: 5,120 kg (11,277 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 8,375 kg (18,465 lb)

Powerplant:
1× Svenska Flygmotor RM2 turbojet, rated at 5,000 lbf (22.2 kN)

Performance:
Maximum speed: 1,040 km/h (645 mph)
Range: 1,060 km (658 mi)
Service ceiling: 15,500 m (50,850 ft)
Rate of climb: 30.5 m/s (6,000 ft/min)

Armament:
2x 20mm Hispano Mark V autocannon in the lower front fuselage
Underwing hardpoints for various unguided missiles and iron bombs, or a pair drop tanks


The kit and its assembly:
Another Saab 29 conversion of a variant that was thought about but never materialized, much like the radar-equipped all-weather fighter. The impulse to tackle this stunt was a leftover D. H. Vampire trainer fuselage pod in my stash (from the ‘Mystery Jet’ conversion a couple of months ago, from an Airfix kit). The canopy’s shape and dimensions appeared like a sound match for the tubby J 29, and so I decided to try this stunt.

The basis is the Heller J 29 kit, which is, despite raised surface details, IMHO the better kit than the rather simple Matchbox offering. However, what makes things more hazardous, though, is the kit’s option to build the S 29 C reconnaissance variant – the lower front fuselage is a separate part, and any surgery around the cockpit weakens the kit’s overall stability considerably. Unlike the J 29D all-weather fighter built recently, I had no visual reference material. The only valid information I was able to dig up was that a side-by-side cockpit had been the preferred layout for this paper project.

Implanting a new cockpit is always hazardous, and I have never tried to integrate a side-by-side arrangement into a single seater. The Vampire cockpit was finished first, and also mounted into the Vampire’s original cockpit pod halves, because I was able to use its side walls and also had the original canopy parts left over – and using the Vampire’s cockpit opening would ensure a good fit and limit PSR work around the clear parts. Once the Vampire cockpit tub was complete, the “implant” was trimmed down as far as possible.

Next step was to prepare the Tunnan to accept the donor cockpit. In order to avoid structural trouble I finished the two fuselage halves first, mounted the air intake with the duct to the front end, but left the fighter version’s gun tray away (while preparing it with a load of lead). The idea was to put the Vampire cockpit into position from below into the Tunnan’s fuselage, until all outer surfaces would more or less match in order to minimize PSR work.
With the Vampire cockpit as benchmark, I carefully tried to draw its outlines onto the upper front fuselage. The following cutting and trimming sessions too several turns. To my surprise, the side-by-side cockpit’s width was the least problem – it fits very well inside of the J 29 fuselage’s confines, even though the front end turned out to be troublesome. Space in length became an issue, too, because the Airfix Vampire cockpit is pretty complete: it comes with all pedals, a front and a rear bulkhead, and its bulged canopy extends pretty far backwards into an aerodynamic fairing. As a result, it’s unfortunately very long… Furthermore, air intake duct reaches deep into the Tunnan’s nose, too, so that width was not the (expected) problem, but rather length!

Eventually, the cockpit lost the front bulkhead and had to trimmed and slimmed down further, because, despite its bulky fuselage, the Tunnan’s nose is rather narrow. As a consequence the Vampire cockpit had to be moved back by about 3mm, relative to the single-seater’s canopy, and the area in front of the cockpit/above the air intake duct had to be completely re-sculpted, which took several PSR stages. Since the Vampire’s canopy shape is very different and its windscreen less steep (and actually a flat glass panel), I think this change is not too obvious, tough, and looks like a natural part of the fictional real-life conversion. However, a fiddly operation, and it took some serious effort to blend the new parts into the Tunnan fuselage, especially the windscreen.

Once the cockpit was in place, the lower front fuselage with the guns (the upper pair had disappeared in the meantime) was mounted, and the wings followed suit. In this case, I modified the flaps into a lowered position, and, as a subtle detail, the Tunnan kit lost its retrofitted dogtooth wings, so that they resemble the initial, simple wing of the J 29 A and B variants. Thanks to the massive construction of the kit’s wings (they consist of two halves, but these are very thin and almost massive), this was a relatively easy task.

The rest of the Tunnan was built mostly OOB; it is a typical Heller kit of the Seventies: simple, with raised surface detail, relatively good fit (despite the need to use putty) and anything you could ask for a J 29 in 1:72 scale. I just replaced the drop tanks with shorter, thicker alternatives – early J 29 frequently carried Vampire drop tanks without fins, and the more stout replacements appeared very suitable for a trainer.

The pitots on the wing tips had to be scratched, since they got lost with the wing modifications - but OOB they are relatively thick and short, anyway. Further additions include a tail bumper and extra dorsal and ventral antennae, plus a fairing for a rotating warning light, inspired by a similar installation on the late J 29 target tugs.


Painting and markings:
As usual, I wanted a relatively plausible livery and kept things simple. Early J 29 fighters were almost exclusively left in bare metal finish, and the Swedish Vampire trainers were either operated in NMF with orange markings (very similar to the RAF trainers), or they carried the Swedish standard dark green/blue grey livery.

I stuck to the Tunnan’s standard NMF livery, but added dark green on wing tips and fin, which were widely added in order to make formation flight and general identification easier. However, some dayglow markings were added on the fuselage and wings, too, so that – together with the tactical markings – a colorful and distinct look was created, yet in line with typical Swedish Air Force markings in the late Fifties/early Sixties.

The NMF livery was created with an overall coat of Revell 99 acrylic paint (Aluminum), on top of which various shades of Metallizer were dry-brushed, panel by panel. Around the exhaust, a darker base tone (Revell 91, Iron Metallic and Steel Metallizer) was used. Around the cockpit, in order to simulate the retrofitted parts, some panels received a lighter base with Humbrol 191.

The raised panel lines were emphasized through a light black in wash and careful rubbing with grinded graphite on a soft cotton cloth – with the benefit that the graphite adds a further, metallic shine to the surface and destroys the uniform, clean NMF look. On the front fuselage, where many details got lost through the PSR work, panel lines were painted with a thin, soft pencil.

The cockpit interior became dark green-grey (Revell 67 comes pretty close to the original color), the landing gear wells medium grey (Revell 57). The dark green markings on fin and wing tips were painted with Humbrol 163 (RAF Dark Green), which comes IMHO close to the Swedish “Mörkgrön”. The orange bands were painted, too, with a base of Humbrol 82 (Orange Lining) on top of which a thin coat of fluorescent orange (Humbrol 209) was later added. Even though the NMF Tunnan did not carry anti-dazzle paint in front of the windscreen, I added a black panel because of the relatively flat area there on the modified kit.

Decals come from different sources: roundels and stencils come from the Heller kit’s sheet, the squadron code number from a Flying Colors sheet with Swedish ciphers in various colors and sizes for the late Fifties time frame, while the tactical code on the fin was taken from a Saab 32 sheet.
Finally the kit was sealed with a “¾ matt”, acrylic varnish, mixed from glossy and matt varnishes.


An effective and subtle conversion, and a bigger stunt than one might think at first sight. The Tunnan two-seater does, hoewever, not look as disturbing as, for instance, the BAC Lightning or Hawker Hunter trainer variants? The rhinoplasty was massive and took some serious PSR, though, and the livery was also more demanding than it might seem. But: this is what IMHO a real Saab 29 trainer could have looked like, if it had left the drawing boards in the early Fifties. And it even looks good! :D

scobie56 posted a photo:

Forcing !

Meshari Fahad posted a photo:

Forcing !

-

forcing , Focusing

SCAN1810

Gerry McL posted a photo:

SCAN1810

L29 Delfin, ex Soviet Air Force at Cumbernauld, near Glasgow in 1994; scanned from a Fuji slide (Click on image to see full size)

1:72 Saab Sk29B (Skola) Tunnan; “Vit Sextioet (White 61)” of the Swedish Air Force F5 Kungliga Krigsflygskolan („Royal Air Force Flight Academy"); Ljungbyhed, southern Sweden, 1961 (Whif/Heller kit conversion)

dizzyfugu posted a photo:

1:72 Saab Sk29B (Skola) Tunnan; “Vit Sextioet (White 61)” of the Swedish Air Force F5 Kungliga Krigsflygskolan („Royal Air Force Flight Academy"); Ljungbyhed, southern Sweden, 1961 (Whif/Heller kit conversion)

+++ DISCLAIMER +++
Nothing you see here is real, even though the model, the conversion or the presented background story might be based historical facts. BEWARE!



Some background:
In the aftermath of the Second World War, Sweden required a strong air defense, utilizing the newly developed jet propulsion technology. This led to a pair of proposals being issued by the Saab design team, led by Lars Brising. The first of these, codenamed R101, was a cigar-shaped aircraft, which bore a resemblance to the American Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. The second design, which would later be picked as the winner, was a barrel-shaped design, codenamed R 1001, which proved to be both faster and more agile upon closer study.

The original R 1001 concept had been designed around a mostly straight wing, but after Swedish engineers had obtained German research data on swept-wing designs, the prototype was altered to incorporate a 25° sweep. In order to make the wing as thin as possible, Saab elected to locate the retractable undercarriage in the aircraft's fuselage rather than into the wings.

Extensive wind tunnel testing performed at the Swedish Royal University of Technology and by the National Aeronautical Research Institute had also influenced aspects of the aircraft's aerodynamics, such as stability and trim across the aircraft's speed range. In order to test the design of the swept wing further and avoid any surprises, it was decided to modify a single Saab Safir. It received the designation Saab 201 and a full-scale R 1001 wing for a series of flight tests. The first 'final' sketches of the aircraft, incorporating the new information, was drawn in January 1946.

The originally envisioned powerplant for the new fighter type was the de Havilland Goblin turbojet engine. However, in December 1945, information on the newer and more powerful de Havilland Ghost engine became available. The new engine was deemed to be ideal for Saab's in-development aircraft, as not only did the Ghost engine had provisions for the use of a central circular air intake, the overall diameter of the engine was favorable for the planned fuselage dimensions, too. Thus, following negotiations between de Havilland and Saab, the Ghost engine was selected to power the type instead and built in license as the RM 2.

By February 1946 the main outline of the proposed aircraft had been clearly defined. In Autumn 1946, following the resolution of all major questions of principal and the completion of the project specification, the Swedish Air Force formally ordered the completion of the design and that three prototype aircraft be produced, giving the proposed type the designation J 29.
On 1 September 1948, the first of the Saab 29 prototypes conducted its maiden flight, which lasted for half an hour. Because of the shape of its fuselage, the Saab J 29 quickly received the nickname "Flygande Tunnan" ("The Flying Barrel"), or "Tunnan" ("The Barrel") for short. While the demeaning nickname was not appreciated by Saab, its short form was eventually officially adopted.

A total of four prototypes were built for the aircraft's test program. The first two lacked armament, carrying heavy test equipment instead, while the third prototype was armed with four 20mm automatic guns. Various different aerodynamic arrangements were tested, such as air brakes being installed either upon the fuselage or on the wings aft of the rear spar, along with both combined and conventional aileron/flap arrangements.
The flight test program revealed that the J 29 prototypes were capable of reaching and exceeding the maximum permissible Mach number for which they had been designed, and the flight performance figures gathered were found to be typically in excess of the predicted values.

In 1948 production of the type commenced and in May 1951 the first deliveries of operational production aircraft were received by F 13 Norrköping. The J 29 proved to be very successful and several variants and updates of the Tunnan were produced, including a dedicated reconnaissance variant and an all-weather fighter with an on-board radar.
A trainer variant was deemed to be useful, too, since the transition of young pilots from relatively slow, piston-engine basic trainers to jet-powered aircraft was considered to be a major step in the education program. At that time, the only jet-powered two-seater in Swedish inventory was the DH 115 Vampire. 57 of these, designated J 28C by the Swedish Air Force, had been procured from Great Britain in the late Forties, but an indigenous alternative (and a more capable successor) was politically favored.

In 1952 initial wind tunnel tests with scaled-down models were conducted, since it was not clear which layout would be the best from an aerodynamic, structural and educational point of view. After a thorough inspection of wooden 1:1 mock-ups of alternative tandem and a side-by-side cockpit layouts, as well as much political debate between Saab, the Swedish Air Force and the Swedish government concerning the costs and budget for a dedicated Saab 29 trainer fleet’s development and production, a compromise was settled upon in early 1953: No new trainer airframes would be produced. Instead, only existing airframes would be converted into two seaters, in an attempt to keep as much of the existing structure and internal fuel capacity as possible.

The side-by-side arrangement was adopted, not only because it was considered to be the more effective layout for a trainer aircraft. It also had the benefit that its integration would only mean a limited redesign of the aircraft’s cockpit section above the air intake duct and the front landing gear well, allowing to retain the single-seater’s pressurized cabin’s length and internal structure. A tandem cockpit would have been aerodynamically more efficient, but it would have either considerably reduced the J 29’s internal fuel capacity, or the whole aircraft had had to be lengthened with a fuselage plug, with uncertain outcome concerning airframe and flight stability. It would also have been the more costly option,

However, it would take until 1955 that the first trainer conversions were conducted by Saab, in the wake of the major wing and engine updates for the J 29 A/B fleet that lasted until 1956. The trainer, designated Sk 29 B, was exclusively based on the J 29 B variant and benefited from this version’s extra fuel tanks in the wings and fully wired underwing weapon hardpoints, which included two wet pylons for drop tanks and made the Sk 29 B suitable for weapon training with the J 29’s full ordnance range.
The trainer conversions only covered the new cockpit section, though. The Sk 29 B did not receive the new dogtooth wing which was only introduced to the converted J 29 D, E and F fighters. The upper pair of 20mm cannon in the lower front fuselage was deleted, too, in order to compensate for the two-seater’s additional cockpit equipment weight and drag. Performance suffered only marginally under the enlarged canopy, though, and the Sk 29 B turned out to be a very sound and useful design for the advanced jet trainer role.

However, budgetary restraints and the quick development of aircraft technology in the Fifties limited the number of fighter conversions to only 22 airframes. The aging Vampire two-seaters still turned out to be adequate for the advanced trainer role, and the Sk 29 B did not offer a significant advantage over the older, British aircraft. Another factor that spoke against more Sk 29 Bs was the simple fact that more trainer conversions would have reduced the number of airframes eligible for the running fighter aircraft updates.

All Sk 29 Bs were concentrated at the F 5 Ljungbyhed Kungliga Krigsflygskolan training wing in southern Sweden, where two flights were equipped with it. Unofficially dubbed “Skola Tunnan” (literally “School Barrel”), the Sk 29B performed a solid career, even though the machines were gradually retired from 1966 onwards. A dozen Sk 29 B remained active until 1972 in various supportive roles, including target tugging, air sampling and liaison duties, while the final Vampire trainer was already retired in 1968. But by the early Seventies, the trainer role had been taken over by the brand new Saab 105/Sk 60 trainer, the long-awaited domestic development, and Sk 35 Draken trainers.



General characteristics:
Crew: 1
Length: 10.23 m (33 ft 7 in)
Wingspan: 11.0 m (36 ft 1 in)
Height: 3.75 m (12 ft 4 in)
Wing area: 24.15 m² (260.0 ft²)
Empty weight: 5,120 kg (11,277 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 8,375 kg (18,465 lb)

Powerplant:
1× Svenska Flygmotor RM2 turbojet, rated at 5,000 lbf (22.2 kN)

Performance:
Maximum speed: 1,040 km/h (645 mph)
Range: 1,060 km (658 mi)
Service ceiling: 15,500 m (50,850 ft)
Rate of climb: 30.5 m/s (6,000 ft/min)

Armament:
2x 20mm Hispano Mark V autocannon in the lower front fuselage
Underwing hardpoints for various unguided missiles and iron bombs, or a pair drop tanks


The kit and its assembly:
Another Saab 29 conversion of a variant that was thought about but never materialized, much like the radar-equipped all-weather fighter. The impulse to tackle this stunt was a leftover D. H. Vampire trainer fuselage pod in my stash (from the ‘Mystery Jet’ conversion a couple of months ago, from an Airfix kit). The canopy’s shape and dimensions appeared like a sound match for the tubby J 29, and so I decided to try this stunt.

The basis is the Heller J 29 kit, which is, despite raised surface details, IMHO the better kit than the rather simple Matchbox offering. However, what makes things more hazardous, though, is the kit’s option to build the S 29 C reconnaissance variant – the lower front fuselage is a separate part, and any surgery around the cockpit weakens the kit’s overall stability considerably. Unlike the J 29D all-weather fighter built recently, I had no visual reference material. The only valid information I was able to dig up was that a side-by-side cockpit had been the preferred layout for this paper project.

Implanting a new cockpit is always hazardous, and I have never tried to integrate a side-by-side arrangement into a single seater. The Vampire cockpit was finished first, and also mounted into the Vampire’s original cockpit pod halves, because I was able to use its side walls and also had the original canopy parts left over – and using the Vampire’s cockpit opening would ensure a good fit and limit PSR work around the clear parts. Once the Vampire cockpit tub was complete, the “implant” was trimmed down as far as possible.

Next step was to prepare the Tunnan to accept the donor cockpit. In order to avoid structural trouble I finished the two fuselage halves first, mounted the air intake with the duct to the front end, but left the fighter version’s gun tray away (while preparing it with a load of lead). The idea was to put the Vampire cockpit into position from below into the Tunnan’s fuselage, until all outer surfaces would more or less match in order to minimize PSR work.
With the Vampire cockpit as benchmark, I carefully tried to draw its outlines onto the upper front fuselage. The following cutting and trimming sessions too several turns. To my surprise, the side-by-side cockpit’s width was the least problem – it fits very well inside of the J 29 fuselage’s confines, even though the front end turned out to be troublesome. Space in length became an issue, too, because the Airfix Vampire cockpit is pretty complete: it comes with all pedals, a front and a rear bulkhead, and its bulged canopy extends pretty far backwards into an aerodynamic fairing. As a result, it’s unfortunately very long… Furthermore, air intake duct reaches deep into the Tunnan’s nose, too, so that width was not the (expected) problem, but rather length!

Eventually, the cockpit lost the front bulkhead and had to trimmed and slimmed down further, because, despite its bulky fuselage, the Tunnan’s nose is rather narrow. As a consequence the Vampire cockpit had to be moved back by about 3mm, relative to the single-seater’s canopy, and the area in front of the cockpit/above the air intake duct had to be completely re-sculpted, which took several PSR stages. Since the Vampire’s canopy shape is very different and its windscreen less steep (and actually a flat glass panel), I think this change is not too obvious, tough, and looks like a natural part of the fictional real-life conversion. However, a fiddly operation, and it took some serious effort to blend the new parts into the Tunnan fuselage, especially the windscreen.

Once the cockpit was in place, the lower front fuselage with the guns (the upper pair had disappeared in the meantime) was mounted, and the wings followed suit. In this case, I modified the flaps into a lowered position, and, as a subtle detail, the Tunnan kit lost its retrofitted dogtooth wings, so that they resemble the initial, simple wing of the J 29 A and B variants. Thanks to the massive construction of the kit’s wings (they consist of two halves, but these are very thin and almost massive), this was a relatively easy task.

The rest of the Tunnan was built mostly OOB; it is a typical Heller kit of the Seventies: simple, with raised surface detail, relatively good fit (despite the need to use putty) and anything you could ask for a J 29 in 1:72 scale. I just replaced the drop tanks with shorter, thicker alternatives – early J 29 frequently carried Vampire drop tanks without fins, and the more stout replacements appeared very suitable for a trainer.

The pitots on the wing tips had to be scratched, since they got lost with the wing modifications - but OOB they are relatively thick and short, anyway. Further additions include a tail bumper and extra dorsal and ventral antennae, plus a fairing for a rotating warning light, inspired by a similar installation on the late J 29 target tugs.


Painting and markings:
As usual, I wanted a relatively plausible livery and kept things simple. Early J 29 fighters were almost exclusively left in bare metal finish, and the Swedish Vampire trainers were either operated in NMF with orange markings (very similar to the RAF trainers), or they carried the Swedish standard dark green/blue grey livery.

I stuck to the Tunnan’s standard NMF livery, but added dark green on wing tips and fin, which were widely added in order to make formation flight and general identification easier. However, some dayglow markings were added on the fuselage and wings, too, so that – together with the tactical markings – a colorful and distinct look was created, yet in line with typical Swedish Air Force markings in the late Fifties/early Sixties.

The NMF livery was created with an overall coat of Revell 99 acrylic paint (Aluminum), on top of which various shades of Metallizer were dry-brushed, panel by panel. Around the exhaust, a darker base tone (Revell 91, Iron Metallic and Steel Metallizer) was used. Around the cockpit, in order to simulate the retrofitted parts, some panels received a lighter base with Humbrol 191.

The raised panel lines were emphasized through a light black in wash and careful rubbing with grinded graphite on a soft cotton cloth – with the benefit that the graphite adds a further, metallic shine to the surface and destroys the uniform, clean NMF look. On the front fuselage, where many details got lost through the PSR work, panel lines were painted with a thin, soft pencil.

The cockpit interior became dark green-grey (Revell 67 comes pretty close to the original color), the landing gear wells medium grey (Revell 57). The dark green markings on fin and wing tips were painted with Humbrol 163 (RAF Dark Green), which comes IMHO close to the Swedish “Mörkgrön”. The orange bands were painted, too, with a base of Humbrol 82 (Orange Lining) on top of which a thin coat of fluorescent orange (Humbrol 209) was later added. Even though the NMF Tunnan did not carry anti-dazzle paint in front of the windscreen, I added a black panel because of the relatively flat area there on the modified kit.

Decals come from different sources: roundels and stencils come from the Heller kit’s sheet, the squadron code number from a Flying Colors sheet with Swedish ciphers in various colors and sizes for the late Fifties time frame, while the tactical code on the fin was taken from a Saab 32 sheet.
Finally the kit was sealed with a “¾ matt”, acrylic varnish, mixed from glossy and matt varnishes.


An effective and subtle conversion, and a bigger stunt than one might think at first sight. The Tunnan two-seater does, hoewever, not look as disturbing as, for instance, the BAC Lightning or Hawker Hunter trainer variants? The rhinoplasty was massive and took some serious PSR, though, and the livery was also more demanding than it might seem. But: this is what IMHO a real Saab 29 trainer could have looked like, if it had left the drawing boards in the early Fifties. And it even looks good! :D

1:72 Saab Sk29B (Skola) Tunnan; “Vit Sextioet (White 61)” of the Swedish Air Force F5 Kungliga Krigsflygskolan („Royal Air Force Flight Academy"); Ljungbyhed, southern Sweden, 1961 (Whif/Heller kit conversion)

dizzyfugu posted a photo:

1:72 Saab Sk29B (Skola) Tunnan; “Vit Sextioet (White 61)” of the Swedish Air Force F5 Kungliga Krigsflygskolan („Royal Air Force Flight Academy"); Ljungbyhed, southern Sweden, 1961 (Whif/Heller kit conversion)

+++ DISCLAIMER +++
Nothing you see here is real, even though the model, the conversion or the presented background story might be based historical facts. BEWARE!



Some background:
In the aftermath of the Second World War, Sweden required a strong air defense, utilizing the newly developed jet propulsion technology. This led to a pair of proposals being issued by the Saab design team, led by Lars Brising. The first of these, codenamed R101, was a cigar-shaped aircraft, which bore a resemblance to the American Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. The second design, which would later be picked as the winner, was a barrel-shaped design, codenamed R 1001, which proved to be both faster and more agile upon closer study.

The original R 1001 concept had been designed around a mostly straight wing, but after Swedish engineers had obtained German research data on swept-wing designs, the prototype was altered to incorporate a 25° sweep. In order to make the wing as thin as possible, Saab elected to locate the retractable undercarriage in the aircraft's fuselage rather than into the wings.

Extensive wind tunnel testing performed at the Swedish Royal University of Technology and by the National Aeronautical Research Institute had also influenced aspects of the aircraft's aerodynamics, such as stability and trim across the aircraft's speed range. In order to test the design of the swept wing further and avoid any surprises, it was decided to modify a single Saab Safir. It received the designation Saab 201 and a full-scale R 1001 wing for a series of flight tests. The first 'final' sketches of the aircraft, incorporating the new information, was drawn in January 1946.

The originally envisioned powerplant for the new fighter type was the de Havilland Goblin turbojet engine. However, in December 1945, information on the newer and more powerful de Havilland Ghost engine became available. The new engine was deemed to be ideal for Saab's in-development aircraft, as not only did the Ghost engine had provisions for the use of a central circular air intake, the overall diameter of the engine was favorable for the planned fuselage dimensions, too. Thus, following negotiations between de Havilland and Saab, the Ghost engine was selected to power the type instead and built in license as the RM 2.

By February 1946 the main outline of the proposed aircraft had been clearly defined. In Autumn 1946, following the resolution of all major questions of principal and the completion of the project specification, the Swedish Air Force formally ordered the completion of the design and that three prototype aircraft be produced, giving the proposed type the designation J 29.
On 1 September 1948, the first of the Saab 29 prototypes conducted its maiden flight, which lasted for half an hour. Because of the shape of its fuselage, the Saab J 29 quickly received the nickname "Flygande Tunnan" ("The Flying Barrel"), or "Tunnan" ("The Barrel") for short. While the demeaning nickname was not appreciated by Saab, its short form was eventually officially adopted.

A total of four prototypes were built for the aircraft's test program. The first two lacked armament, carrying heavy test equipment instead, while the third prototype was armed with four 20mm automatic guns. Various different aerodynamic arrangements were tested, such as air brakes being installed either upon the fuselage or on the wings aft of the rear spar, along with both combined and conventional aileron/flap arrangements.
The flight test program revealed that the J 29 prototypes were capable of reaching and exceeding the maximum permissible Mach number for which they had been designed, and the flight performance figures gathered were found to be typically in excess of the predicted values.

In 1948 production of the type commenced and in May 1951 the first deliveries of operational production aircraft were received by F 13 Norrköping. The J 29 proved to be very successful and several variants and updates of the Tunnan were produced, including a dedicated reconnaissance variant and an all-weather fighter with an on-board radar.
A trainer variant was deemed to be useful, too, since the transition of young pilots from relatively slow, piston-engine basic trainers to jet-powered aircraft was considered to be a major step in the education program. At that time, the only jet-powered two-seater in Swedish inventory was the DH 115 Vampire. 57 of these, designated J 28C by the Swedish Air Force, had been procured from Great Britain in the late Forties, but an indigenous alternative (and a more capable successor) was politically favored.

In 1952 initial wind tunnel tests with scaled-down models were conducted, since it was not clear which layout would be the best from an aerodynamic, structural and educational point of view. After a thorough inspection of wooden 1:1 mock-ups of alternative tandem and a side-by-side cockpit layouts, as well as much political debate between Saab, the Swedish Air Force and the Swedish government concerning the costs and budget for a dedicated Saab 29 trainer fleet’s development and production, a compromise was settled upon in early 1953: No new trainer airframes would be produced. Instead, only existing airframes would be converted into two seaters, in an attempt to keep as much of the existing structure and internal fuel capacity as possible.

The side-by-side arrangement was adopted, not only because it was considered to be the more effective layout for a trainer aircraft. It also had the benefit that its integration would only mean a limited redesign of the aircraft’s cockpit section above the air intake duct and the front landing gear well, allowing to retain the single-seater’s pressurized cabin’s length and internal structure. A tandem cockpit would have been aerodynamically more efficient, but it would have either considerably reduced the J 29’s internal fuel capacity, or the whole aircraft had had to be lengthened with a fuselage plug, with uncertain outcome concerning airframe and flight stability. It would also have been the more costly option,

However, it would take until 1955 that the first trainer conversions were conducted by Saab, in the wake of the major wing and engine updates for the J 29 A/B fleet that lasted until 1956. The trainer, designated Sk 29 B, was exclusively based on the J 29 B variant and benefited from this version’s extra fuel tanks in the wings and fully wired underwing weapon hardpoints, which included two wet pylons for drop tanks and made the Sk 29 B suitable for weapon training with the J 29’s full ordnance range.
The trainer conversions only covered the new cockpit section, though. The Sk 29 B did not receive the new dogtooth wing which was only introduced to the converted J 29 D, E and F fighters. The upper pair of 20mm cannon in the lower front fuselage was deleted, too, in order to compensate for the two-seater’s additional cockpit equipment weight and drag. Performance suffered only marginally under the enlarged canopy, though, and the Sk 29 B turned out to be a very sound and useful design for the advanced jet trainer role.

However, budgetary restraints and the quick development of aircraft technology in the Fifties limited the number of fighter conversions to only 22 airframes. The aging Vampire two-seaters still turned out to be adequate for the advanced trainer role, and the Sk 29 B did not offer a significant advantage over the older, British aircraft. Another factor that spoke against more Sk 29 Bs was the simple fact that more trainer conversions would have reduced the number of airframes eligible for the running fighter aircraft updates.

All Sk 29 Bs were concentrated at the F 5 Ljungbyhed Kungliga Krigsflygskolan training wing in southern Sweden, where two flights were equipped with it. Unofficially dubbed “Skola Tunnan” (literally “School Barrel”), the Sk 29B performed a solid career, even though the machines were gradually retired from 1966 onwards. A dozen Sk 29 B remained active until 1972 in various supportive roles, including target tugging, air sampling and liaison duties, while the final Vampire trainer was already retired in 1968. But by the early Seventies, the trainer role had been taken over by the brand new Saab 105/Sk 60 trainer, the long-awaited domestic development, and Sk 35 Draken trainers.



General characteristics:
Crew: 1
Length: 10.23 m (33 ft 7 in)
Wingspan: 11.0 m (36 ft 1 in)
Height: 3.75 m (12 ft 4 in)
Wing area: 24.15 m² (260.0 ft²)
Empty weight: 5,120 kg (11,277 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 8,375 kg (18,465 lb)

Powerplant:
1× Svenska Flygmotor RM2 turbojet, rated at 5,000 lbf (22.2 kN)

Performance:
Maximum speed: 1,040 km/h (645 mph)
Range: 1,060 km (658 mi)
Service ceiling: 15,500 m (50,850 ft)
Rate of climb: 30.5 m/s (6,000 ft/min)

Armament:
2x 20mm Hispano Mark V autocannon in the lower front fuselage
Underwing hardpoints for various unguided missiles and iron bombs, or a pair drop tanks


The kit and its assembly:
Another Saab 29 conversion of a variant that was thought about but never materialized, much like the radar-equipped all-weather fighter. The impulse to tackle this stunt was a leftover D. H. Vampire trainer fuselage pod in my stash (from the ‘Mystery Jet’ conversion a couple of months ago, from an Airfix kit). The canopy’s shape and dimensions appeared like a sound match for the tubby J 29, and so I decided to try this stunt.

The basis is the Heller J 29 kit, which is, despite raised surface details, IMHO the better kit than the rather simple Matchbox offering. However, what makes things more hazardous, though, is the kit’s option to build the S 29 C reconnaissance variant – the lower front fuselage is a separate part, and any surgery around the cockpit weakens the kit’s overall stability considerably. Unlike the J 29D all-weather fighter built recently, I had no visual reference material. The only valid information I was able to dig up was that a side-by-side cockpit had been the preferred layout for this paper project.

Implanting a new cockpit is always hazardous, and I have never tried to integrate a side-by-side arrangement into a single seater. The Vampire cockpit was finished first, and also mounted into the Vampire’s original cockpit pod halves, because I was able to use its side walls and also had the original canopy parts left over – and using the Vampire’s cockpit opening would ensure a good fit and limit PSR work around the clear parts. Once the Vampire cockpit tub was complete, the “implant” was trimmed down as far as possible.

Next step was to prepare the Tunnan to accept the donor cockpit. In order to avoid structural trouble I finished the two fuselage halves first, mounted the air intake with the duct to the front end, but left the fighter version’s gun tray away (while preparing it with a load of lead). The idea was to put the Vampire cockpit into position from below into the Tunnan’s fuselage, until all outer surfaces would more or less match in order to minimize PSR work.
With the Vampire cockpit as benchmark, I carefully tried to draw its outlines onto the upper front fuselage. The following cutting and trimming sessions too several turns. To my surprise, the side-by-side cockpit’s width was the least problem – it fits very well inside of the J 29 fuselage’s confines, even though the front end turned out to be troublesome. Space in length became an issue, too, because the Airfix Vampire cockpit is pretty complete: it comes with all pedals, a front and a rear bulkhead, and its bulged canopy extends pretty far backwards into an aerodynamic fairing. As a result, it’s unfortunately very long… Furthermore, air intake duct reaches deep into the Tunnan’s nose, too, so that width was not the (expected) problem, but rather length!

Eventually, the cockpit lost the front bulkhead and had to trimmed and slimmed down further, because, despite its bulky fuselage, the Tunnan’s nose is rather narrow. As a consequence the Vampire cockpit had to be moved back by about 3mm, relative to the single-seater’s canopy, and the area in front of the cockpit/above the air intake duct had to be completely re-sculpted, which took several PSR stages. Since the Vampire’s canopy shape is very different and its windscreen less steep (and actually a flat glass panel), I think this change is not too obvious, tough, and looks like a natural part of the fictional real-life conversion. However, a fiddly operation, and it took some serious effort to blend the new parts into the Tunnan fuselage, especially the windscreen.

Once the cockpit was in place, the lower front fuselage with the guns (the upper pair had disappeared in the meantime) was mounted, and the wings followed suit. In this case, I modified the flaps into a lowered position, and, as a subtle detail, the Tunnan kit lost its retrofitted dogtooth wings, so that they resemble the initial, simple wing of the J 29 A and B variants. Thanks to the massive construction of the kit’s wings (they consist of two halves, but these are very thin and almost massive), this was a relatively easy task.

The rest of the Tunnan was built mostly OOB; it is a typical Heller kit of the Seventies: simple, with raised surface detail, relatively good fit (despite the need to use putty) and anything you could ask for a J 29 in 1:72 scale. I just replaced the drop tanks with shorter, thicker alternatives – early J 29 frequently carried Vampire drop tanks without fins, and the more stout replacements appeared very suitable for a trainer.

The pitots on the wing tips had to be scratched, since they got lost with the wing modifications - but OOB they are relatively thick and short, anyway. Further additions include a tail bumper and extra dorsal and ventral antennae, plus a fairing for a rotating warning light, inspired by a similar installation on the late J 29 target tugs.


Painting and markings:
As usual, I wanted a relatively plausible livery and kept things simple. Early J 29 fighters were almost exclusively left in bare metal finish, and the Swedish Vampire trainers were either operated in NMF with orange markings (very similar to the RAF trainers), or they carried the Swedish standard dark green/blue grey livery.

I stuck to the Tunnan’s standard NMF livery, but added dark green on wing tips and fin, which were widely added in order to make formation flight and general identification easier. However, some dayglow markings were added on the fuselage and wings, too, so that – together with the tactical markings – a colorful and distinct look was created, yet in line with typical Swedish Air Force markings in the late Fifties/early Sixties.

The NMF livery was created with an overall coat of Revell 99 acrylic paint (Aluminum), on top of which various shades of Metallizer were dry-brushed, panel by panel. Around the exhaust, a darker base tone (Revell 91, Iron Metallic and Steel Metallizer) was used. Around the cockpit, in order to simulate the retrofitted parts, some panels received a lighter base with Humbrol 191.

The raised panel lines were emphasized through a light black in wash and careful rubbing with grinded graphite on a soft cotton cloth – with the benefit that the graphite adds a further, metallic shine to the surface and destroys the uniform, clean NMF look. On the front fuselage, where many details got lost through the PSR work, panel lines were painted with a thin, soft pencil.

The cockpit interior became dark green-grey (Revell 67 comes pretty close to the original color), the landing gear wells medium grey (Revell 57). The dark green markings on fin and wing tips were painted with Humbrol 163 (RAF Dark Green), which comes IMHO close to the Swedish “Mörkgrön”. The orange bands were painted, too, with a base of Humbrol 82 (Orange Lining) on top of which a thin coat of fluorescent orange (Humbrol 209) was later added. Even though the NMF Tunnan did not carry anti-dazzle paint in front of the windscreen, I added a black panel because of the relatively flat area there on the modified kit.

Decals come from different sources: roundels and stencils come from the Heller kit’s sheet, the squadron code number from a Flying Colors sheet with Swedish ciphers in various colors and sizes for the late Fifties time frame, while the tactical code on the fin was taken from a Saab 32 sheet.
Finally the kit was sealed with a “¾ matt”, acrylic varnish, mixed from glossy and matt varnishes.


An effective and subtle conversion, and a bigger stunt than one might think at first sight. The Tunnan two-seater does, hoewever, not look as disturbing as, for instance, the BAC Lightning or Hawker Hunter trainer variants? The rhinoplasty was massive and took some serious PSR, though, and the livery was also more demanding than it might seem. But: this is what IMHO a real Saab 29 trainer could have looked like, if it had left the drawing boards in the early Fifties. And it even looks good! :D

scobie56 posted a photo:

A44-210

Bridgetown Aviation posted a photo:

A44-210

Royal Australian Air Force
Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet
Nellis Air Force Base (KLSV)

1:72 Saab Sk29B (Skola) Tunnan; “Vit Sextioet (White 61)” of the Swedish Air Force F5 Kungliga Krigsflygskolan („Royal Air Force Flight Academy"); Ljungbyhed, southern Sweden, 1961 (Whif/Heller kit conversion)

dizzyfugu posted a photo:

1:72 Saab Sk29B (Skola) Tunnan; “Vit Sextioet (White 61)” of the Swedish Air Force F5 Kungliga Krigsflygskolan („Royal Air Force Flight Academy"); Ljungbyhed, southern Sweden, 1961 (Whif/Heller kit conversion)

+++ DISCLAIMER +++
Nothing you see here is real, even though the model, the conversion or the presented background story might be based historical facts. BEWARE!



Some background:
In the aftermath of the Second World War, Sweden required a strong air defense, utilizing the newly developed jet propulsion technology. This led to a pair of proposals being issued by the Saab design team, led by Lars Brising. The first of these, codenamed R101, was a cigar-shaped aircraft, which bore a resemblance to the American Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. The second design, which would later be picked as the winner, was a barrel-shaped design, codenamed R 1001, which proved to be both faster and more agile upon closer study.

The original R 1001 concept had been designed around a mostly straight wing, but after Swedish engineers had obtained German research data on swept-wing designs, the prototype was altered to incorporate a 25° sweep. In order to make the wing as thin as possible, Saab elected to locate the retractable undercarriage in the aircraft's fuselage rather than into the wings.

Extensive wind tunnel testing performed at the Swedish Royal University of Technology and by the National Aeronautical Research Institute had also influenced aspects of the aircraft's aerodynamics, such as stability and trim across the aircraft's speed range. In order to test the design of the swept wing further and avoid any surprises, it was decided to modify a single Saab Safir. It received the designation Saab 201 and a full-scale R 1001 wing for a series of flight tests. The first 'final' sketches of the aircraft, incorporating the new information, was drawn in January 1946.

The originally envisioned powerplant for the new fighter type was the de Havilland Goblin turbojet engine. However, in December 1945, information on the newer and more powerful de Havilland Ghost engine became available. The new engine was deemed to be ideal for Saab's in-development aircraft, as not only did the Ghost engine had provisions for the use of a central circular air intake, the overall diameter of the engine was favorable for the planned fuselage dimensions, too. Thus, following negotiations between de Havilland and Saab, the Ghost engine was selected to power the type instead and built in license as the RM 2.

By February 1946 the main outline of the proposed aircraft had been clearly defined. In Autumn 1946, following the resolution of all major questions of principal and the completion of the project specification, the Swedish Air Force formally ordered the completion of the design and that three prototype aircraft be produced, giving the proposed type the designation J 29.
On 1 September 1948, the first of the Saab 29 prototypes conducted its maiden flight, which lasted for half an hour. Because of the shape of its fuselage, the Saab J 29 quickly received the nickname "Flygande Tunnan" ("The Flying Barrel"), or "Tunnan" ("The Barrel") for short. While the demeaning nickname was not appreciated by Saab, its short form was eventually officially adopted.

A total of four prototypes were built for the aircraft's test program. The first two lacked armament, carrying heavy test equipment instead, while the third prototype was armed with four 20mm automatic guns. Various different aerodynamic arrangements were tested, such as air brakes being installed either upon the fuselage or on the wings aft of the rear spar, along with both combined and conventional aileron/flap arrangements.
The flight test program revealed that the J 29 prototypes were capable of reaching and exceeding the maximum permissible Mach number for which they had been designed, and the flight performance figures gathered were found to be typically in excess of the predicted values.

In 1948 production of the type commenced and in May 1951 the first deliveries of operational production aircraft were received by F 13 Norrköping. The J 29 proved to be very successful and several variants and updates of the Tunnan were produced, including a dedicated reconnaissance variant and an all-weather fighter with an on-board radar.
A trainer variant was deemed to be useful, too, since the transition of young pilots from relatively slow, piston-engine basic trainers to jet-powered aircraft was considered to be a major step in the education program. At that time, the only jet-powered two-seater in Swedish inventory was the DH 115 Vampire. 57 of these, designated J 28C by the Swedish Air Force, had been procured from Great Britain in the late Forties, but an indigenous alternative (and a more capable successor) was politically favored.

In 1952 initial wind tunnel tests with scaled-down models were conducted, since it was not clear which layout would be the best from an aerodynamic, structural and educational point of view. After a thorough inspection of wooden 1:1 mock-ups of alternative tandem and a side-by-side cockpit layouts, as well as much political debate between Saab, the Swedish Air Force and the Swedish government concerning the costs and budget for a dedicated Saab 29 trainer fleet’s development and production, a compromise was settled upon in early 1953: No new trainer airframes would be produced. Instead, only existing airframes would be converted into two seaters, in an attempt to keep as much of the existing structure and internal fuel capacity as possible.

The side-by-side arrangement was adopted, not only because it was considered to be the more effective layout for a trainer aircraft. It also had the benefit that its integration would only mean a limited redesign of the aircraft’s cockpit section above the air intake duct and the front landing gear well, allowing to retain the single-seater’s pressurized cabin’s length and internal structure. A tandem cockpit would have been aerodynamically more efficient, but it would have either considerably reduced the J 29’s internal fuel capacity, or the whole aircraft had had to be lengthened with a fuselage plug, with uncertain outcome concerning airframe and flight stability. It would also have been the more costly option,

However, it would take until 1955 that the first trainer conversions were conducted by Saab, in the wake of the major wing and engine updates for the J 29 A/B fleet that lasted until 1956. The trainer, designated Sk 29 B, was exclusively based on the J 29 B variant and benefited from this version’s extra fuel tanks in the wings and fully wired underwing weapon hardpoints, which included two wet pylons for drop tanks and made the Sk 29 B suitable for weapon training with the J 29’s full ordnance range.
The trainer conversions only covered the new cockpit section, though. The Sk 29 B did not receive the new dogtooth wing which was only introduced to the converted J 29 D, E and F fighters. The upper pair of 20mm cannon in the lower front fuselage was deleted, too, in order to compensate for the two-seater’s additional cockpit equipment weight and drag. Performance suffered only marginally under the enlarged canopy, though, and the Sk 29 B turned out to be a very sound and useful design for the advanced jet trainer role.

However, budgetary restraints and the quick development of aircraft technology in the Fifties limited the number of fighter conversions to only 22 airframes. The aging Vampire two-seaters still turned out to be adequate for the advanced trainer role, and the Sk 29 B did not offer a significant advantage over the older, British aircraft. Another factor that spoke against more Sk 29 Bs was the simple fact that more trainer conversions would have reduced the number of airframes eligible for the running fighter aircraft updates.

All Sk 29 Bs were concentrated at the F 5 Ljungbyhed Kungliga Krigsflygskolan training wing in southern Sweden, where two flights were equipped with it. Unofficially dubbed “Skola Tunnan” (literally “School Barrel”), the Sk 29B performed a solid career, even though the machines were gradually retired from 1966 onwards. A dozen Sk 29 B remained active until 1972 in various supportive roles, including target tugging, air sampling and liaison duties, while the final Vampire trainer was already retired in 1968. But by the early Seventies, the trainer role had been taken over by the brand new Saab 105/Sk 60 trainer, the long-awaited domestic development, and Sk 35 Draken trainers.



General characteristics:
Crew: 1
Length: 10.23 m (33 ft 7 in)
Wingspan: 11.0 m (36 ft 1 in)
Height: 3.75 m (12 ft 4 in)
Wing area: 24.15 m² (260.0 ft²)
Empty weight: 5,120 kg (11,277 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 8,375 kg (18,465 lb)

Powerplant:
1× Svenska Flygmotor RM2 turbojet, rated at 5,000 lbf (22.2 kN)

Performance:
Maximum speed: 1,040 km/h (645 mph)
Range: 1,060 km (658 mi)
Service ceiling: 15,500 m (50,850 ft)
Rate of climb: 30.5 m/s (6,000 ft/min)

Armament:
2x 20mm Hispano Mark V autocannon in the lower front fuselage
Underwing hardpoints for various unguided missiles and iron bombs, or a pair drop tanks


The kit and its assembly:
Another Saab 29 conversion of a variant that was thought about but never materialized, much like the radar-equipped all-weather fighter. The impulse to tackle this stunt was a leftover D. H. Vampire trainer fuselage pod in my stash (from the ‘Mystery Jet’ conversion a couple of months ago, from an Airfix kit). The canopy’s shape and dimensions appeared like a sound match for the tubby J 29, and so I decided to try this stunt.

The basis is the Heller J 29 kit, which is, despite raised surface details, IMHO the better kit than the rather simple Matchbox offering. However, what makes things more hazardous, though, is the kit’s option to build the S 29 C reconnaissance variant – the lower front fuselage is a separate part, and any surgery around the cockpit weakens the kit’s overall stability considerably. Unlike the J 29D all-weather fighter built recently, I had no visual reference material. The only valid information I was able to dig up was that a side-by-side cockpit had been the preferred layout for this paper project.

Implanting a new cockpit is always hazardous, and I have never tried to integrate a side-by-side arrangement into a single seater. The Vampire cockpit was finished first, and also mounted into the Vampire’s original cockpit pod halves, because I was able to use its side walls and also had the original canopy parts left over – and using the Vampire’s cockpit opening would ensure a good fit and limit PSR work around the clear parts. Once the Vampire cockpit tub was complete, the “implant” was trimmed down as far as possible.

Next step was to prepare the Tunnan to accept the donor cockpit. In order to avoid structural trouble I finished the two fuselage halves first, mounted the air intake with the duct to the front end, but left the fighter version’s gun tray away (while preparing it with a load of lead). The idea was to put the Vampire cockpit into position from below into the Tunnan’s fuselage, until all outer surfaces would more or less match in order to minimize PSR work.
With the Vampire cockpit as benchmark, I carefully tried to draw its outlines onto the upper front fuselage. The following cutting and trimming sessions too several turns. To my surprise, the side-by-side cockpit’s width was the least problem – it fits very well inside of the J 29 fuselage’s confines, even though the front end turned out to be troublesome. Space in length became an issue, too, because the Airfix Vampire cockpit is pretty complete: it comes with all pedals, a front and a rear bulkhead, and its bulged canopy extends pretty far backwards into an aerodynamic fairing. As a result, it’s unfortunately very long… Furthermore, air intake duct reaches deep into the Tunnan’s nose, too, so that width was not the (expected) problem, but rather length!

Eventually, the cockpit lost the front bulkhead and had to trimmed and slimmed down further, because, despite its bulky fuselage, the Tunnan’s nose is rather narrow. As a consequence the Vampire cockpit had to be moved back by about 3mm, relative to the single-seater’s canopy, and the area in front of the cockpit/above the air intake duct had to be completely re-sculpted, which took several PSR stages. Since the Vampire’s canopy shape is very different and its windscreen less steep (and actually a flat glass panel), I think this change is not too obvious, tough, and looks like a natural part of the fictional real-life conversion. However, a fiddly operation, and it took some serious effort to blend the new parts into the Tunnan fuselage, especially the windscreen.

Once the cockpit was in place, the lower front fuselage with the guns (the upper pair had disappeared in the meantime) was mounted, and the wings followed suit. In this case, I modified the flaps into a lowered position, and, as a subtle detail, the Tunnan kit lost its retrofitted dogtooth wings, so that they resemble the initial, simple wing of the J 29 A and B variants. Thanks to the massive construction of the kit’s wings (they consist of two halves, but these are very thin and almost massive), this was a relatively easy task.

The rest of the Tunnan was built mostly OOB; it is a typical Heller kit of the Seventies: simple, with raised surface detail, relatively good fit (despite the need to use putty) and anything you could ask for a J 29 in 1:72 scale. I just replaced the drop tanks with shorter, thicker alternatives – early J 29 frequently carried Vampire drop tanks without fins, and the more stout replacements appeared very suitable for a trainer.

The pitots on the wing tips had to be scratched, since they got lost with the wing modifications - but OOB they are relatively thick and short, anyway. Further additions include a tail bumper and extra dorsal and ventral antennae, plus a fairing for a rotating warning light, inspired by a similar installation on the late J 29 target tugs.


Painting and markings:
As usual, I wanted a relatively plausible livery and kept things simple. Early J 29 fighters were almost exclusively left in bare metal finish, and the Swedish Vampire trainers were either operated in NMF with orange markings (very similar to the RAF trainers), or they carried the Swedish standard dark green/blue grey livery.

I stuck to the Tunnan’s standard NMF livery, but added dark green on wing tips and fin, which were widely added in order to make formation flight and general identification easier. However, some dayglow markings were added on the fuselage and wings, too, so that – together with the tactical markings – a colorful and distinct look was created, yet in line with typical Swedish Air Force markings in the late Fifties/early Sixties.

The NMF livery was created with an overall coat of Revell 99 acrylic paint (Aluminum), on top of which various shades of Metallizer were dry-brushed, panel by panel. Around the exhaust, a darker base tone (Revell 91, Iron Metallic and Steel Metallizer) was used. Around the cockpit, in order to simulate the retrofitted parts, some panels received a lighter base with Humbrol 191.

The raised panel lines were emphasized through a light black in wash and careful rubbing with grinded graphite on a soft cotton cloth – with the benefit that the graphite adds a further, metallic shine to the surface and destroys the uniform, clean NMF look. On the front fuselage, where many details got lost through the PSR work, panel lines were painted with a thin, soft pencil.

The cockpit interior became dark green-grey (Revell 67 comes pretty close to the original color), the landing gear wells medium grey (Revell 57). The dark green markings on fin and wing tips were painted with Humbrol 163 (RAF Dark Green), which comes IMHO close to the Swedish “Mörkgrön”. The orange bands were painted, too, with a base of Humbrol 82 (Orange Lining) on top of which a thin coat of fluorescent orange (Humbrol 209) was later added. Even though the NMF Tunnan did not carry anti-dazzle paint in front of the windscreen, I added a black panel because of the relatively flat area there on the modified kit.

Decals come from different sources: roundels and stencils come from the Heller kit’s sheet, the squadron code number from a Flying Colors sheet with Swedish ciphers in various colors and sizes for the late Fifties time frame, while the tactical code on the fin was taken from a Saab 32 sheet.
Finally the kit was sealed with a “¾ matt”, acrylic varnish, mixed from glossy and matt varnishes.


An effective and subtle conversion, and a bigger stunt than one might think at first sight. The Tunnan two-seater does, hoewever, not look as disturbing as, for instance, the BAC Lightning or Hawker Hunter trainer variants? The rhinoplasty was massive and took some serious PSR, though, and the livery was also more demanding than it might seem. But: this is what IMHO a real Saab 29 trainer could have looked like, if it had left the drawing boards in the early Fifties. And it even looks good! :D

1:72 Saab Sk29B (Skola) Tunnan; “Vit Sextioet (White 61)” of the Swedish Air Force F5 Kungliga Krigsflygskolan („Royal Air Force Flight Academy"); Ljungbyhed, southern Sweden, 1961 (Whif/Heller kit conversion) - WiP

dizzyfugu posted a photo:

1:72 Saab Sk29B (Skola) Tunnan; “Vit Sextioet (White 61)” of the Swedish Air Force F5 Kungliga Krigsflygskolan („Royal Air Force Flight Academy"); Ljungbyhed, southern Sweden, 1961 (Whif/Heller kit conversion) - WiP

Painting and markings:
As usual, I wanted a relatively plausible livery and kept things simple. Early J 29 fighters were almost exclusively left in bare metal finish, and the Swedish Vampire trainers were either operated in NMF with orange markings (very similar to the RAF trainers), or they carried the Swedish standard dark green/blue grey livery.

I stuck to the Tunnan’s standard NMF livery, but added dark green on wing tips and fin, which were widely added in order to make formation flight and general identification easier. However, some dayglow markings were added on the fuselage and wings, too, so that – together with the tactical markings – a colorful and distinct look was created, yet in line with typical Swedish Air Force markings in the late Fifties/early Sixties.

The NMF livery was created with an overall coat of Revell 99 acrylic paint (Aluminum), on top of which various shades of Metallizer were dry-brushed, panel by panel. Around the exhaust, a darker base tone (Revell 91, Iron Metallic and Steel Metallizer) was used. Around the cockpit, in order to simulate the retrofitted parts, some panels received a lighter base with Humbrol 191.

The raised panel lines were emphasized through a light black in wash and careful rubbing with grinded graphite on a soft cotton cloth – with the benefit that the graphite adds a further, metallic shine to the surface and destroys the uniform, clean NMF look. On the front fuselage, where many details got lost through the PSR work, panel lines were painted with a thin, soft pencil.

The cockpit interior became dark green-grey (Revell 67 comes pretty close to the original color), the landing gear wells medium grey (Revell 57). The dark green markings on fin and wing tips were painted with Humbrol 163 (RAF Dark Green), which comes IMHO close to the Swedish “Mörkgrön”. The orange bands were painted, too, with a base of Humbrol 82 (Orange Lining) on top of which a thin coat of fluorescent orange (Humbrol 209) was later added. Even though the NMF Tunnan did not carry anti-dazzle paint in front of the windscreen, I added a black panel because of the relatively flat area there on the modified kit.

Decals come from different sources: roundels and stencils come from the Heller kit’s sheet, the squadron code number from a Flying Colors sheet with Swedish ciphers in various colors and sizes for the late Fifties time frame, while the tactical code on the fin was taken from a Saab 32 sheet.
Finally the kit was sealed with a “¾ matt”, acrylic varnish, mixed from glossy and matt varnishes.

D75_4182

✈️ Walther ✈️ posted a photo:

D75_4182

1:72 Saab Sk29B (Skola) Tunnan; “Vit Sextioet (White 61)” of the Swedish Air Force F5 Kungliga Krigsflygskolan („Royal Air Force Flight Academy"); Ljungbyhed, southern Sweden, 1961 (Whif/Heller kit conversion) - WiP

dizzyfugu posted a photo:

1:72 Saab Sk29B (Skola) Tunnan; “Vit Sextioet (White 61)” of the Swedish Air Force F5 Kungliga Krigsflygskolan („Royal Air Force Flight Academy"); Ljungbyhed, southern Sweden, 1961 (Whif/Heller kit conversion) - WiP

The kit and its assembly:
Another Saab 29 conversion of a variant that was thought about but never materialized, much like the radar-equipped all-weather fighter. The impulse to tackle this stunt was a leftover D. H. Vampire trainer fuselage pod in my stash (from the ‘Mystery Jet’ conversion a couple of months ago, from an Airfix kit). The canopy’s shape and dimensions appeared like a sound match for the tubby J 29, and so I decided to try this stunt.

The basis is the Heller J 29 kit, which is, despite raised surface details, IMHO the better kit than the rather simple Matchbox offering. However, what makes things more hazardous, though, is the kit’s option to build the S 29 C reconnaissance variant – the lower front fuselage is a separate part, and any surgery around the cockpit weakens the kit’s overall stability considerably. Unlike the J 29D all-weather fighter built recently, I had no visual reference material. The only valid information I was able to dig up was that a side-by-side cockpit had been the preferred layout for this paper project.

Implanting a new cockpit is always hazardous, and I have never tried to integrate a side-by-side arrangement into a single seater. The Vampire cockpit was finished first, and also mounted into the Vampire’s original cockpit pod halves, because I was able to use its side walls and also had the original canopy parts left over – and using the Vampire’s cockpit opening would ensure a good fit and limit PSR work around the clear parts. Once the Vampire cockpit tub was complete, the “implant” was trimmed down as far as possible.

Next step was to prepare the Tunnan to accept the donor cockpit. In order to avoid structural trouble I finished the two fuselage halves first, mounted the air intake with the duct to the front end, but left the fighter version’s gun tray away (while preparing it with a load of lead). The idea was to put the Vampire cockpit into position from below into the Tunnan’s fuselage, until all outer surfaces would more or less match in order to minimize PSR work.
With the Vampire cockpit as benchmark, I carefully tried to draw its outlines onto the upper front fuselage. The following cutting and trimming sessions too several turns. To my surprise, the side-by-side cockpit’s width was the least problem – it fits very well inside of the J 29 fuselage’s confines, even though the front end turned out to be troublesome. Space in length became an issue, too, because the Airfix Vampire cockpit is pretty complete: it comes with all pedals, a front and a rear bulkhead, and its bulged canopy extends pretty far backwards into an aerodynamic fairing. As a result, it’s unfortunately very long… Furthermore, air intake duct reaches deep into the Tunnan’s nose, too, so that width was not the (expected) problem, but rather length!

Eventually, the cockpit lost the front bulkhead and had to trimmed and slimmed down further, because, despite its bulky fuselage, the Tunnan’s nose is rather narrow. As a consequence the Vampire cockpit had to be moved back by about 3mm, relative to the single-seater’s canopy, and the area in front of the cockpit/above the air intake duct had to be completely re-sculpted, which took several PSR stages. Since the Vampire’s canopy shape is very different and its windscreen less steep (and actually a flat glass panel), I think this change is not too obvious, tough, and looks like a natural part of the fictional real-life conversion. However, a fiddly operation, and it took some serious effort to blend the new parts into the Tunnan fuselage, especially the windscreen.

Once the cockpit was in place, the lower front fuselage with the guns (the upper pair had disappeared in the meantime) was mounted, and the wings followed suit. In this case, I modified the flaps into a lowered position, and, as a subtle detail, the Tunnan kit lost its retrofitted dogtooth wings, so that they resemble the initial, simple wing of the J 29 A and B variants. Thanks to the massive construction of the kit’s wings (they consist of two halves, but these are very thin and almost massive), this was a relatively easy task.

The rest of the Tunnan was built mostly OOB; it is a typical Heller kit of the Seventies: simple, with raised surface detail, relatively good fit (despite the need to use putty) and anything you could ask for a J 29 in 1:72 scale. I just replaced the drop tanks with shorter, thicker alternatives – early J 29 frequently carried Vampire drop tanks without fins, and the more stout replacements appeared very suitable for a trainer.

The pitots on the wing tips had to be scratched, since they got lost with the wing modifications - but OOB they are relatively thick and short, anyway. Further additions include a tail bumper and extra dorsal and ventral antennae, plus a fairing for a rotating warning light, inspired by a similar installation on the late J 29 target tugs.

1:72 Saab Sk29B (Skola) Tunnan; “Vit Sextioet (White 61)” of the Swedish Air Force F5 Kungliga Krigsflygskolan („Royal Air Force Flight Academy"); Ljungbyhed, southern Sweden, 1961 (Whif/Heller kit conversion)

dizzyfugu posted a photo:

1:72 Saab Sk29B (Skola) Tunnan; “Vit Sextioet (White 61)” of the Swedish Air Force F5 Kungliga Krigsflygskolan („Royal Air Force Flight Academy"); Ljungbyhed, southern Sweden, 1961 (Whif/Heller kit conversion)

+++ DISCLAIMER +++
Nothing you see here is real, even though the model, the conversion or the presented background story might be based historical facts. BEWARE!



Some background:
In the aftermath of the Second World War, Sweden required a strong air defense, utilizing the newly developed jet propulsion technology. This led to a pair of proposals being issued by the Saab design team, led by Lars Brising. The first of these, codenamed R101, was a cigar-shaped aircraft, which bore a resemblance to the American Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. The second design, which would later be picked as the winner, was a barrel-shaped design, codenamed R 1001, which proved to be both faster and more agile upon closer study.

The original R 1001 concept had been designed around a mostly straight wing, but after Swedish engineers had obtained German research data on swept-wing designs, the prototype was altered to incorporate a 25° sweep. In order to make the wing as thin as possible, Saab elected to locate the retractable undercarriage in the aircraft's fuselage rather than into the wings.

Extensive wind tunnel testing performed at the Swedish Royal University of Technology and by the National Aeronautical Research Institute had also influenced aspects of the aircraft's aerodynamics, such as stability and trim across the aircraft's speed range. In order to test the design of the swept wing further and avoid any surprises, it was decided to modify a single Saab Safir. It received the designation Saab 201 and a full-scale R 1001 wing for a series of flight tests. The first 'final' sketches of the aircraft, incorporating the new information, was drawn in January 1946.

The originally envisioned powerplant for the new fighter type was the de Havilland Goblin turbojet engine. However, in December 1945, information on the newer and more powerful de Havilland Ghost engine became available. The new engine was deemed to be ideal for Saab's in-development aircraft, as not only did the Ghost engine had provisions for the use of a central circular air intake, the overall diameter of the engine was favorable for the planned fuselage dimensions, too. Thus, following negotiations between de Havilland and Saab, the Ghost engine was selected to power the type instead and built in license as the RM 2.

By February 1946 the main outline of the proposed aircraft had been clearly defined. In Autumn 1946, following the resolution of all major questions of principal and the completion of the project specification, the Swedish Air Force formally ordered the completion of the design and that three prototype aircraft be produced, giving the proposed type the designation J 29.
On 1 September 1948, the first of the Saab 29 prototypes conducted its maiden flight, which lasted for half an hour. Because of the shape of its fuselage, the Saab J 29 quickly received the nickname "Flygande Tunnan" ("The Flying Barrel"), or "Tunnan" ("The Barrel") for short. While the demeaning nickname was not appreciated by Saab, its short form was eventually officially adopted.

A total of four prototypes were built for the aircraft's test program. The first two lacked armament, carrying heavy test equipment instead, while the third prototype was armed with four 20mm automatic guns. Various different aerodynamic arrangements were tested, such as air brakes being installed either upon the fuselage or on the wings aft of the rear spar, along with both combined and conventional aileron/flap arrangements.
The flight test program revealed that the J 29 prototypes were capable of reaching and exceeding the maximum permissible Mach number for which they had been designed, and the flight performance figures gathered were found to be typically in excess of the predicted values.

In 1948 production of the type commenced and in May 1951 the first deliveries of operational production aircraft were received by F 13 Norrköping. The J 29 proved to be very successful and several variants and updates of the Tunnan were produced, including a dedicated reconnaissance variant and an all-weather fighter with an on-board radar.
A trainer variant was deemed to be useful, too, since the transition of young pilots from relatively slow, piston-engine basic trainers to jet-powered aircraft was considered to be a major step in the education program. At that time, the only jet-powered two-seater in Swedish inventory was the DH 115 Vampire. 57 of these, designated J 28C by the Swedish Air Force, had been procured from Great Britain in the late Forties, but an indigenous alternative (and a more capable successor) was politically favored.

In 1952 initial wind tunnel tests with scaled-down models were conducted, since it was not clear which layout would be the best from an aerodynamic, structural and educational point of view. After a thorough inspection of wooden 1:1 mock-ups of alternative tandem and a side-by-side cockpit layouts, as well as much political debate between Saab, the Swedish Air Force and the Swedish government concerning the costs and budget for a dedicated Saab 29 trainer fleet’s development and production, a compromise was settled upon in early 1953: No new trainer airframes would be produced. Instead, only existing airframes would be converted into two seaters, in an attempt to keep as much of the existing structure and internal fuel capacity as possible.

The side-by-side arrangement was adopted, not only because it was considered to be the more effective layout for a trainer aircraft. It also had the benefit that its integration would only mean a limited redesign of the aircraft’s cockpit section above the air intake duct and the front landing gear well, allowing to retain the single-seater’s pressurized cabin’s length and internal structure. A tandem cockpit would have been aerodynamically more efficient, but it would have either considerably reduced the J 29’s internal fuel capacity, or the whole aircraft had had to be lengthened with a fuselage plug, with uncertain outcome concerning airframe and flight stability. It would also have been the more costly option,

However, it would take until 1955 that the first trainer conversions were conducted by Saab, in the wake of the major wing and engine updates for the J 29 A/B fleet that lasted until 1956. The trainer, designated Sk 29 B, was exclusively based on the J 29 B variant and benefited from this version’s extra fuel tanks in the wings and fully wired underwing weapon hardpoints, which included two wet pylons for drop tanks and made the Sk 29 B suitable for weapon training with the J 29’s full ordnance range.
The trainer conversions only covered the new cockpit section, though. The Sk 29 B did not receive the new dogtooth wing which was only introduced to the converted J 29 D, E and F fighters. The upper pair of 20mm cannon in the lower front fuselage was deleted, too, in order to compensate for the two-seater’s additional cockpit equipment weight and drag. Performance suffered only marginally under the enlarged canopy, though, and the Sk 29 B turned out to be a very sound and useful design for the advanced jet trainer role.

However, budgetary restraints and the quick development of aircraft technology in the Fifties limited the number of fighter conversions to only 22 airframes. The aging Vampire two-seaters still turned out to be adequate for the advanced trainer role, and the Sk 29 B did not offer a significant advantage over the older, British aircraft. Another factor that spoke against more Sk 29 Bs was the simple fact that more trainer conversions would have reduced the number of airframes eligible for the running fighter aircraft updates.

All Sk 29 Bs were concentrated at the F 5 Ljungbyhed Kungliga Krigsflygskolan training wing in southern Sweden, where two flights were equipped with it. Unofficially dubbed “Skola Tunnan” (literally “School Barrel”), the Sk 29B performed a solid career, even though the machines were gradually retired from 1966 onwards. A dozen Sk 29 B remained active until 1972 in various supportive roles, including target tugging, air sampling and liaison duties, while the final Vampire trainer was already retired in 1968. But by the early Seventies, the trainer role had been taken over by the brand new Saab 105/Sk 60 trainer, the long-awaited domestic development, and Sk 35 Draken trainers.



General characteristics:
Crew: 1
Length: 10.23 m (33 ft 7 in)
Wingspan: 11.0 m (36 ft 1 in)
Height: 3.75 m (12 ft 4 in)
Wing area: 24.15 m² (260.0 ft²)
Empty weight: 5,120 kg (11,277 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 8,375 kg (18,465 lb)

Powerplant:
1× Svenska Flygmotor RM2 turbojet, rated at 5,000 lbf (22.2 kN)

Performance:
Maximum speed: 1,040 km/h (645 mph)
Range: 1,060 km (658 mi)
Service ceiling: 15,500 m (50,850 ft)
Rate of climb: 30.5 m/s (6,000 ft/min)

Armament:
2x 20mm Hispano Mark V autocannon in the lower front fuselage
Underwing hardpoints for various unguided missiles and iron bombs, or a pair drop tanks


The kit and its assembly:
Another Saab 29 conversion of a variant that was thought about but never materialized, much like the radar-equipped all-weather fighter. The impulse to tackle this stunt was a leftover D. H. Vampire trainer fuselage pod in my stash (from the ‘Mystery Jet’ conversion a couple of months ago, from an Airfix kit). The canopy’s shape and dimensions appeared like a sound match for the tubby J 29, and so I decided to try this stunt.

The basis is the Heller J 29 kit, which is, despite raised surface details, IMHO the better kit than the rather simple Matchbox offering. However, what makes things more hazardous, though, is the kit’s option to build the S 29 C reconnaissance variant – the lower front fuselage is a separate part, and any surgery around the cockpit weakens the kit’s overall stability considerably. Unlike the J 29D all-weather fighter built recently, I had no visual reference material. The only valid information I was able to dig up was that a side-by-side cockpit had been the preferred layout for this paper project.

Implanting a new cockpit is always hazardous, and I have never tried to integrate a side-by-side arrangement into a single seater. The Vampire cockpit was finished first, and also mounted into the Vampire’s original cockpit pod halves, because I was able to use its side walls and also had the original canopy parts left over – and using the Vampire’s cockpit opening would ensure a good fit and limit PSR work around the clear parts. Once the Vampire cockpit tub was complete, the “implant” was trimmed down as far as possible.

Next step was to prepare the Tunnan to accept the donor cockpit. In order to avoid structural trouble I finished the two fuselage halves first, mounted the air intake with the duct to the front end, but left the fighter version’s gun tray away (while preparing it with a load of lead). The idea was to put the Vampire cockpit into position from below into the Tunnan’s fuselage, until all outer surfaces would more or less match in order to minimize PSR work.
With the Vampire cockpit as benchmark, I carefully tried to draw its outlines onto the upper front fuselage. The following cutting and trimming sessions too several turns. To my surprise, the side-by-side cockpit’s width was the least problem – it fits very well inside of the J 29 fuselage’s confines, even though the front end turned out to be troublesome. Space in length became an issue, too, because the Airfix Vampire cockpit is pretty complete: it comes with all pedals, a front and a rear bulkhead, and its bulged canopy extends pretty far backwards into an aerodynamic fairing. As a result, it’s unfortunately very long… Furthermore, air intake duct reaches deep into the Tunnan’s nose, too, so that width was not the (expected) problem, but rather length!

Eventually, the cockpit lost the front bulkhead and had to trimmed and slimmed down further, because, despite its bulky fuselage, the Tunnan’s nose is rather narrow. As a consequence the Vampire cockpit had to be moved back by about 3mm, relative to the single-seater’s canopy, and the area in front of the cockpit/above the air intake duct had to be completely re-sculpted, which took several PSR stages. Since the Vampire’s canopy shape is very different and its windscreen less steep (and actually a flat glass panel), I think this change is not too obvious, tough, and looks like a natural part of the fictional real-life conversion. However, a fiddly operation, and it took some serious effort to blend the new parts into the Tunnan fuselage, especially the windscreen.

Once the cockpit was in place, the lower front fuselage with the guns (the upper pair had disappeared in the meantime) was mounted, and the wings followed suit. In this case, I modified the flaps into a lowered position, and, as a subtle detail, the Tunnan kit lost its retrofitted dogtooth wings, so that they resemble the initial, simple wing of the J 29 A and B variants. Thanks to the massive construction of the kit’s wings (they consist of two halves, but these are very thin and almost massive), this was a relatively easy task.

The rest of the Tunnan was built mostly OOB; it is a typical Heller kit of the Seventies: simple, with raised surface detail, relatively good fit (despite the need to use putty) and anything you could ask for a J 29 in 1:72 scale. I just replaced the drop tanks with shorter, thicker alternatives – early J 29 frequently carried Vampire drop tanks without fins, and the more stout replacements appeared very suitable for a trainer.

The pitots on the wing tips had to be scratched, since they got lost with the wing modifications - but OOB they are relatively thick and short, anyway. Further additions include a tail bumper and extra dorsal and ventral antennae, plus a fairing for a rotating warning light, inspired by a similar installation on the late J 29 target tugs.


Painting and markings:
As usual, I wanted a relatively plausible livery and kept things simple. Early J 29 fighters were almost exclusively left in bare metal finish, and the Swedish Vampire trainers were either operated in NMF with orange markings (very similar to the RAF trainers), or they carried the Swedish standard dark green/blue grey livery.

I stuck to the Tunnan’s standard NMF livery, but added dark green on wing tips and fin, which were widely added in order to make formation flight and general identification easier. However, some dayglow markings were added on the fuselage and wings, too, so that – together with the tactical markings – a colorful and distinct look was created, yet in line with typical Swedish Air Force markings in the late Fifties/early Sixties.

The NMF livery was created with an overall coat of Revell 99 acrylic paint (Aluminum), on top of which various shades of Metallizer were dry-brushed, panel by panel. Around the exhaust, a darker base tone (Revell 91, Iron Metallic and Steel Metallizer) was used. Around the cockpit, in order to simulate the retrofitted parts, some panels received a lighter base with Humbrol 191.

The raised panel lines were emphasized through a light black in wash and careful rubbing with grinded graphite on a soft cotton cloth – with the benefit that the graphite adds a further, metallic shine to the surface and destroys the uniform, clean NMF look. On the front fuselage, where many details got lost through the PSR work, panel lines were painted with a thin, soft pencil.

The cockpit interior became dark green-grey (Revell 67 comes pretty close to the original color), the landing gear wells medium grey (Revell 57). The dark green markings on fin and wing tips were painted with Humbrol 163 (RAF Dark Green), which comes IMHO close to the Swedish “Mörkgrön”. The orange bands were painted, too, with a base of Humbrol 82 (Orange Lining) on top of which a thin coat of fluorescent orange (Humbrol 209) was later added. Even though the NMF Tunnan did not carry anti-dazzle paint in front of the windscreen, I added a black panel because of the relatively flat area there on the modified kit.

Decals come from different sources: roundels and stencils come from the Heller kit’s sheet, the squadron code number from a Flying Colors sheet with Swedish ciphers in various colors and sizes for the late Fifties time frame, while the tactical code on the fin was taken from a Saab 32 sheet.
Finally the kit was sealed with a “¾ matt”, acrylic varnish, mixed from glossy and matt varnishes.


An effective and subtle conversion, and a bigger stunt than one might think at first sight. The Tunnan two-seater does, hoewever, not look as disturbing as, for instance, the BAC Lightning or Hawker Hunter trainer variants? The rhinoplasty was massive and took some serious PSR, though, and the livery was also more demanding than it might seem. But: this is what IMHO a real Saab 29 trainer could have looked like, if it had left the drawing boards in the early Fifties. And it even looks good! :D

scobie56 posted a photo:

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Sébastien Locatelli posted a photo:

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