In the recent years the Swedish Air Force has been busy painting
aircrafts to celebrate different kinds of anniversaries or commemorate end
of operations. As part of this trend, we have already seen many colourful J 35 Drakens. As the
Viggen is rapidly nearing the end of its operational life, colorful J 37s are
also likely to appear. One good example is the blue-painted JA 37 which was
the star of static display at Air Show 2001 in Uppsala - a large and
memorable event marking the 75th anniversary of the Swedsih Air Force. The
aircraft, called Blå Petter (Blue Peter) became the object of vivid
interest of many SwAF fans. This article describes the story and details of
this particular aircraft and its paint scheme.
Blå Petter presented at the 2001 national
Air Show in Uppsala.
Photo: Mattias Linde
Like many other countries, during 1990s Sweden has entered a
arms-reduction program aimed at adopting the size of the country's military
force to the new requirements after the Cold War's end. The Swedish Air
Force, traditionally playing a maojor part in the defensive capability of
Sweden, is also being affected. The program includes both reducing the
number of units as well as convertion to the next generation of tactics and
F 16, also called the Uppland Wing, is a unit rich in tradition. It is located in the middle of
Sweden, with the home base near the historic town of Uppsala. This unit has
been the host of 2001 national Air Show.
When the 2nd and 3rd Squadrons at Uppland Wing F 16 closed down in year
2000, the technical personnel at 2nd Squadron decided to paint a JA 37
overall blue to celebrate this event. The choice of the color was natural -
blue has been the color of 2nd Squadron.
two squadrons were later reformed into a single squadron which is currently
operating JA 37 Viggen out of F 16 base.
Top view of Blå Petter
showing the wing insignia as well as the extent of yellow
leading edges on the flying surfaces..
Drawing (c) 2001 Anders
Nowotny. Used by Permission.
The aircraft which was painted blue has serial number 37432. It has been the
production JA 37 built by Saab and was delivered to F
16 wing in 1990. Because the 37432 had only a few flying hours left before an
decision of scrapping, she was choosen to be repainted as a commemorative
The paint job itself was carried out in the
summer of 2000. The colors that were used came from an civilian paint
manufacturer, and the blue colour is of water-based variety. That means that the
aircraft can only fly in good weather. Operation in harsh weather conditions
the finish away. It also means that 37432 cannot be stored on permanent
outdoor display. Happily, it is
to be saved from scrapping. A small aircraft museum at Visby airport is has
agreed to take her under their roof. There she will be on permanent public display
Modelling Blå Petter
Currently the best JA 37 kit in 1/72 scale is the one from
Heller. Heller has updated its old AJ 37 kit with missiles and an gun pack to represent a JA 37.
When building the kit, remember that Blå Petter does not have the centerline
drop tank mounted.
In the 1/48 scale , the only game in town is ESCI:s hard-to-find
JA 37 Viggen kit.
At the moment of writing (October 2001 - Ed.), a decal sheet for Blå Petter
is avalible from Anders Nowotny in Sweden. For those interested, Anders
can be contacted through email@example.com.
All nessescary information required to finish a correct blue Viggen is on that
decal sheet and the instructions that go with it. Even an original blue and yellow
paint chip is enclosed. The sheet is avalible in both 1/72 and 1/48 scales,
sheet number 720118 and 480118 respectively.