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Paul A H

North American F-86F/E(M) Sabre - 1:72 Airfix

32 posts in this topic

North American F-86F/E(M) Sabre

1:72 Airfix

F86F1.jpg


The F-86 Sabre was the first American fighter aircraft to make use of the swept-wing technology pioneered by German scientists during the Second World War. The Sabre made its combat debut during the Korean War when, on 17 December 1950, Lt Col Bruce Hinton, leading a flight of four Sabres, engaged a flight of Chinese Air Force MiG-15s, shooting down one aircraft and damaging another. Despite being heavily outnumbered during that conflict, the formidable Sabre went on to achieve an astonishing kill ratio of 7-1 and enjoyed a long service life with many air forces around the world, including our own RAF.

This is the first incarnation of Airfix’s brand new F-86 tooling (a Canadair Sabre Mk. 4 is also in the pipeline) and it depicts the much-improved F version of North American’s famous fighter. The F-86F introduced the larger ‘6-3’ wing, without leading edge slats, and finally gave the United States Air Force an aircraft that was superior in all respects to the MiG-15

The 63 parts that make up Airfix’s latest model are divided across four sprues of light grey plastic and a single, small transparent sprue. First impressions are excellent; the mouldings are clean and crisp and the recessed panel lines are fine, sharp and beautifully rendered. Construction, as always, begins with the cockpit, which is made up of five parts. Detail here is a little basic, but a rather nice set of decals will take care of the instrument panel and consoles.

F86F2.jpg


F86F7.jpg


Once assembled, the cockpit fixes onto a piece that represents the top of the front undercarriage bay and the bottom-half of the engine intake. The inside of the undercarriage bay is nicely represented. The top-half of the engine intake is embossed with ‘3 grams’ and presumably provides the required weight to prevent the model from sitting on its tail. A well-moulded jet exhaust completes the interior fittings.

F86F3.jpg


F86F4.jpg


The wing is comprised of three parts; a single-piece lower wing and the two separate upper wings. Detail in the main landing gear bays is good, and the single ejector pin mark, whilst awkward to remove, has been cleverly located so as not to be too noticeable. The ‘all-flying’ tail is nicely rendered, and a diagram is provided by Airfix to help you achieve the correct dihedral. The landing gear and landing gear doors look fine, and a choice of two nose gear wheels is provided. Uncharacteristically for this kit, the detail on the wheels looks a little soft on my copy.

F86F5.jpg


Two different types of airbrake are provided; one designed to be posed open, with a nicely-detailed interior, and one designed to be closed, which is engineered to fit flush with the fuselage by virtue of its deeper profile – a nice touch. Ordnance is taken care of with two drop tanks and two bombs. The transparent pieces are nice and clear.

F86F6.jpg


Two colour options are provided:

  • A natural metal F-86F of the 39th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, as flown by Lt. Jim Thompson in South Korea, June 1953; and
  • A green/grey/PRU Blue F-86E (M) of 4th Stormo, Aviazone Militare Italiana from Grosseto, Italy, 1958.

The decal sheet is nicely printed and the clean, bold colours are in perfect register. A comprehensive set of stencils is provided, which should help the finished model come to life.

F86F8.jpg


Conclusion

I think this will turn out to be a great little kit. It looks as though Airfix have put a lot of work into it; the panel lines in particular are much-improved compared to some of their recent kits, and the wing and fuselage compare very well to the plans I have. If the engineering and fit is up to their current standards, it should build up into an very nice rendition of an F-86F.

Review sample courtesy of logo.gif

Edited by Paul A H
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Yes it nice!

Cool box art as well with the sabre just punching tanks to tackle the MiG!

I will do a deal with airfix, they keep making them like this, in this price range I will keep buying them! :speak_cool:

Julien

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Thanks Paul

notice that you mention 2 sets of airbrake which sounds promising for displaying open and drooped.

Nice touch by Airfix

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Ive been thinking about getting one of these, Now I WILL be getting one!

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Seems an excellent job.

I missed it at Telford but I'll get three or four examples for sure.

Grazie Airfix!

Luca

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Nice from airfix to include some "exotic" camo options, other than the usual Korean war USAF aircraft.

Well done, I might get it.

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The only problem i can see with the airbrakes is if the open style dont fit flush it might be a problem getting decals that cover them and part of the fuselage to fit easily, though not impossible to sort out, also does it tell you what nose weight is needed moulded onto part of the intake trunking ? thats different. Will still be getting some.

Dek.

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I've just bought two of these.

I've been a lifelong fan of the Sabre and have made the Heller, Hasegawa, Fujimi and Hobbycraft kits in the past. In my stash now I have the Academy, Hobby Boss, Fujimi and Hobbycraft kits - my own opinion is that this kit is better than the Hobbycraft and Hobby Boss kits and on face value is on a par with the Fujimi kit - only by building them side by side can I make a true comparison (it is a bloody long time since I made the Fujimi kit). The Fujimi kit has better cockpit detail (moulded vs decals in the Airfix kit), the surface detail on the Fujimi is finer too.

If I have a gripe its about the wheels, I THINK that the mainwheels given are of the later type, the earlier type can be found in the Heller kit and a bloody lovely piece of moulding they are too. I would liked to have had both types of wheel included over the bombs which come with the kit but you can't please all of the people all of the time. You do get two types of nosewheel though :thumbsup2:

I think the earlier type of mainwheels are appropriate to an RAF Sabre - I'll have to check my references to make sure.

I'm not convinced about the need for two different types of airbrake, the ones that are meant to be used to represent the open brakes could be a bit tricky when it comes to applying squadron markings - we'll see.

A bloody marvellous effort by Airfix - well done!

Edited by Wez

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I'm not convinced about the need for two different types of airbrake, the ones that are meant to be used to represent the open brakes could be a bit tricky when it comes to applying squadron markings - we'll see.

Its easy if the decals are broken down to accommodate it.

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Its easy if the decals are broken down to accommodate it.

Yeah! A judicious bit of cutting should do it! Off in search of my Modeldecals now!

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Isn't the surface area the same regardless?

The decals allow for the airbrakes.

The only thing I don't understand is that the options have different arms.

Would have thought that they would be the same - or is it just the angle of an extended arm.

Not sure why there is that skinny bit, as I haven't seen that on photos.

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Isn't the surface area the same regardless?

The decals allow for the airbrakes.

Yep, if you are using the kit decals that's fine, if you're going to use aftermarket decals which don't come pre cut it makes things slightly more tricky! Torn between choosing two from a choice of 3, 4, 66, 67, 92, 130 or 234 Sqn jets myself (Modeldecal options)!

The only thing I don't understand is that the options have different arms.

Would have thought that they would be the same - or is it just the angle of an extended arm.

Not sure why there is that skinny bit, as I haven't seen that on photos.

:hmmm: hadn't noticed that before but by thunder! You're right man!! They should be the same width on the extended brakes as they are on the closed brakes, the thing is, the closed brakes don't feature any internal detail so it's not just a simple case of using those instead - a couple of shims of plastic strip should do the trick! Shouldn't be necessary though... :fraidnot:

Good spot that man!

Edited by Wez

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Was going to wait for the RAF options in the other kit but the Italian AF scheme looks different.

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Noticed the reference to Modeldecals Wez

But twas too late :doh:

I have just seen what Airfix have done now

Had a look previously but it lookd like the arms didn't change through the opening process

(Which seemed a bit odd as the droop changes the angle in relation to the plane of the fuselage)

Just found this on prime portal

Not being a Sabre buff don't know if this was a standard but it makes more sense for allowing the droop to occur.

ps I guess it makes the decals even trickier though! :lol:

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Noticed the reference to Modeldecals Wez

But twas too late :doh:

A cunning ruse to catch the unwary! Hah!!

I have just seen what Airfix have done now

Had a look previously but it lookd like the arms didn't change through the opening process

(Which seemed a bit odd as the droop changes the angle in relation to the plane of the fuselage)

Just found this on prime portal

Not being a Sabre buff don't know if this was a standard but it makes more sense for allowing the droop to occur.

That's a Sabre Dog (F86D) in the link, I guess they had different airbrakes - something I hadn't seen before. Certainly looking through my references the part of the door covering the hinges was part of the airbrake and not separate on the day fighters (F86A/E/F) at least.

ps I guess it makes the decals even trickier though! :lol:

Fortunately, just as many pictures of Sabre Dogs show them with closed airbrakes as open so that's a blessed relief (phew)!!!

Wez

Edited by Wez

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Missed the D bit. :suicide:

going back to bed where I will be mostly harmless.

couldn't remember seeing that arangement of the hinges before.

That explains why! Wonder if Airfix made the same mistake? :lol:

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Missed the D bit. :suicide:

going back to bed where I will be mostly harmless.

Are you sure?

couldn't remember seeing that arangement of the hinges before.

That explains why! Wonder if Airfix made the same mistake? :lol:

Looks like it doesn't it :doh:

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couldn't remember seeing that arangement of the hinges before.

That explains why! Wonder if Airfix made the same mistake? :lol:

Just found a picture in the Squadron/Signal Walk Around book showing the lower door hinge with a separate door as per the prime portal link whilst the upper one was part of the airbrake door itself - you learn summat new each day!

Only need to beef up the upper hinge on the Airfix kit then and add the door for the lower hinge - seems everybody else has missed this feature too!

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Was going to wait for the RAF options in the other kit but the Italian AF scheme looks different.

In a sense doing an Italian plane is a bit like doing an RAF one: the italian day fighter Sabres were all ex RAF planes !

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The Fujimi F-86F kit has the "full" unmodified lower hinge

it's all so obvious now!

04F86FSabreAirBrake.jpg

photo from this site

Thanks for that reference Wez.

I reckon it will be easier to correct the Airfix kit

Mr Walrus,

What a stout yeoman you are - excellent picture very useful and yes, it does make it easier to correct the Airfix kit.

In a sense doing an Italian plane is a bit like doing an RAF one: the italian day fighter Sabres were all ex RAF planes !

The Italian schemes always seem more faded and washed out compared to the RAF scheme - challenging to reproduce but interesting nonetheless! Good choice by Airfix!!!

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Just to put an additional ref in on this review for anyone else looking in (as I have just done). Airfix have the wing fences too far outboard and I think the drop tank positions are a bit out too.

The correct locations for these are (in 1/72) :

Fences 51mm from a/c centreline (145" full scale)

Tank pylons 35.3mm from a/c centreline (99.5" full scale)

Thanks to Tony Edmundson who pointed out this info from the Larry Milberry tome on the Canadair Sabre (highly recommended).

The wheels can also be improved by using those from the Heller kit, available currently at just £3.99 from Kingkit, cheaper than a resin set!

Nige B

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Just to put an additional ref in on this review for anyone else looking in (as I have just done). Airfix have the wing fences too far outboard and I think the drop tank positions are a bit out too.

The correct locations for these are (in 1/72) :

Fences 51mm from a/c centreline

Tank pylons 35.3mm from a/c centreline

Thanks to Tony Edmundson who pointed out this info from the Larry Milberry tome on the Canadair Sabre (highly recommended).

The wheels can also be improved by using those from the Heller kit, available currently at just £3.99 from Kingkit, cheaper than a resin set!

Nige B

Just noticed the original dates on this thread - Holy Thread Ressurection Batman!!!

Nige,

Thanks for posting the gen on the fences and pylons (and thanks to Tony for pointing it out in the first place).

Back in the day Jennings questioned my comment on wheel hubs but when you see the Heller ones you'll get what I mean. I suppose a check of images on Google would help.

Wez

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