The Swedes; famous for their flatpack furniture, attractive blondes, and – as we can see here – their fighter aircraft. This is a 1950 Saab 21R, and it does look a bit like someone read the instructions upside-down when they opened the box to assemble it. Fear not though, it is supposed to look like that, and being one of the very earliest jet-powered aircraft the Saab’s twin-boom tail design was actually a common solution back in the late ’40s and early ’50s.
The Saab 21R was developed from the earlier piston-engined Saab 21 as an attack aircraft to help Sweden quickly catch up with the other airforces’ jet-engined counterparts. British jet maker de Havilland supplied their ‘Goblin II’ engine from the magnificent Vampire fighter, and Saab shoved it in the back of their 21 to jump them into the jet-age, making the 21R one of only two aircraft in history to be retro-fitted with a jet engine.
The 21R saw service for only six short years before it was replaced by the Saab 29 Tunnan, which was designed as a jet from the outset, and only around 60 were made. Nevertheless we quite like the 21R – shoving a much more powerful engine into something clearly never designed for it is the hot rodder’s way!
This brilliant Lego recreation of Saab’s ’50s airborne hot rod is the work of previous bloggee Stefan Johansson, and it’s a wonderfully intricate build. You can see more of it and Stefan’s other historic Saab aircraft at his Flickr photostream – click the link above to take off.