F-86 Sabre in 1/72 scale: kit modelling reports
After the second world war, the Korean war saw the first American wartime usage of a jet, starting with the Republic F-84 Thunderjet. But the most wel known jet fighters in Korea were the American North American F-86 Sabres that fought against the first operational Russian jet fighters of Mikoyan, the Mig-15.
(Sabre at a pole, which I photographed at the Dutch Airfield at Teuge in 2010)
The F-86 Sabre was also the first American jet fighter with a swept wing. After the second world war, using German experimental data and seeing the German high speed aircraft designs such as those of Messerschmitt, the swept wing was the solution to air compressibility challenges that blocked aircraft flying faster.
So the swept wing was introduced on the Sabre and the first Sabres were used in the Korea war. Of the Sabre, several variants were developed, with the F-86E being a capable aircraft. The F-86F had first the same wing but later introduced the larger ‘6-3’ "F-40" wing. This wing has enlarged chord in front of the forward spar in the wing slat area and also extended wing span. A wing type can be distinguished quickly looking at the pitot tube: the later "F-40" wing has "straight" pitot tube that sits a bit more inboard than on the old smaller "F-30" wing.
on, an entirely different Sabre airframe was developed with a new fuselage,
this being the F-86D Sabredog with a radar nose and much fatter
fuselage and a larger tail. It was deployed by the USAF and had a retractable
rocket pod below the fuselage in front of the wing. The F-86K "Kilo"
was a development of the F-86D with four 20mm cannons, improved electronics
with the simpler MG-4 system. (The F-86D had sensitive systems and was
only later released for export). These cannons required that the fuselage
of the F-86K was stretched 8 inches. The first F-86K was delivered in 1955
to especially European NATO countries including 63 planes for the Royal
Netherlands Air Force. It was called in Dutch the "Kaasjager" and many
were licensed built from North American by the Italian FIAT company.
AIRFIX KIT: F-86 Sabre
Airfix issued a brand new 1/72 scale kit of the F-86 F/E(M) Sabre in 2010 and it is a simple, cheap and good kit (no. A03082). Although not having all the finesses seen in many other kits nowadays, the basics are all there and the result will be quite good. It has the larger ‘6-3’ wing, without leading edge slats.
Also, the decals are excellent with
For both issued kits parts are almost the same:
- the number of parts is about 60 with a nice touch the option to set open the gun ammunition load doors with pilot step.
- nice recessed panellines although there are not that many of these.
- the cockpit could be detailed a bit more, inserting a better seat or an after market seat would be a simple but good improvement.
- looking at the ailerons, I feel that the aileron chords are a far too wide. Filling the panel line and rescribing the aileron leading edge panel line 2 mm more towards the trailing edge solves this.
- there is not a very deep intake tunnel, but it is sufficient. I simply painted the rear inside end black.
For the rest, it is a very simple kit. The indicated build sequence can be followed, so starting with cockpit, next the fuselage, wings and so on. Only minor filler was needed in some places.
Below the filled too wide ailerons
are filled and rescribed:
After filling, drying and sanding,
the model could quickly be given a first base light grey coat to check
for any flaws.
The NATO camouflage colours of the
nineteen fifties and sixties are usually...
In my enamel paints box, I found the old HUMBROL "authentic colours" HX1 Dark green, HX2 Dark sea grey and HX3 PRU Blue. I suggest otherwise using Humbrol respectively HU163, HU125 and HU124.
First, the PRU blue was airbrushed on the under surfaces. After at least 48 hours drying time is needed for the old enamel, masking was done on the PRU blue with low tack tape of TAMIYA.
Next, it was time for the camouflage. I started first be sprayed the upper surfaces a coat of Dark sea grey. After again 48 hours drying time, masking was needed for the Dark green.
The undercarriage bays are natural metal, as well as the gear legs and wheel hubs. Tyres are tyre black. The cockpit interior is medium gull grey with red seat head rest. The seat base and frame is grey.
The decals in the Airfix box (no. A03083) for a Canadair F-86 Sabre F.4 of No.112 Squadron, Royal Air Force Germany, during exercise "Carte Blanche", Geilenkirchen, Germany, June 1955, were picked for this model.
For the colour scheme, the standard
European NATO camouflage scheme was used here with Humbrol paints.
Before applying the decals, a gloss coat with JOHNSON FUTURE/KLEER was applied with the airbrush.
The kit decals went on OK, but I had to take care of the roundel at the airbrake which was set opened up. It needs trimming in a few bits.
Final touches were:
This model sits nicely in the RAF collection in 1/72 scale.
a 1/72 scale F-86K on to [ Page 2.... ]
- F-86 Sabre in Detail and Scale, Bert Kinzey, USA
- F-86 Sabre in Action, Larry Davis, Squadron Signal publications no. 126, USA
- F-86 Sabre Modern combat aircraft, Ian Allan, UK
- F-86 Sabre in colour, Squadron signal publications, USA
- F-86 Koku Fan no.39, and no.107, Bunrin Do, Japan
F-86K publications IPMS Nederland: MIP 1978-2 , MIP 1983-1 , MIP 1984-4 , MIP 2002-3 , MIP 2002-4, MIP 2007-1 .
Dutch Air Force enthusiasts can look
for RNeth AF information for the F-86K "Kaasjager" at:
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Created this page
November 14, 2011