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Aeronautica Militare Italiana F-86E(M): the day fighter

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9 minutes ago, Giorgio N said:

If you use Revell acrylics then you're in luck as revell makes this paint as 350 Lufthansa Blau in their Aqua range


Will do if I don't go the lifecolour route which I will have to do as I may run out of voodoo grey before my Poseidon is finished 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, it's been a long time since I uploded any new picture and today I've finally got one !

Green is on, or at least the base green coat is on.




I used masks that I designed and cut with my Silhouette Portrait. Designing the masks was not easy, as while I started from the Airfix instructions, checking a few picutres showed that these were not completely correct. Italian Sabres were camouflaged according to the RAF standard scheme and this generally showed relatively small differences between one aircraft and the other. The problem was finding good pictures of the wings, in any case in the end I came up with what should be a decently accurate scheme.

Now it's a matter of highlighting panel lines and a few other features and then I'll remove the masks... hoping there's been no paint bleed under the mask edges.

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Well, I try to get accurate.. that is a good thing but can also be a curse, as you'll see in this post !

Removing the masks revealed that the camo scheme was mostly fine, although I did make a couple small mistakes. For a number of reasons I decided to sort these after painting the antiglare panel. So I armed myself with various kinds of masking tape, applied the first few bits.. and then something looked strange.

I'm using a number of references for this build, of which a very important one is Duncan Curtis' book on the Sabre in RAF service, as this includes a number of useful closeups. While applying masking tape following one of the pictures in the book, I noticed how this follows the panel line above the machine gun throughs. You can see what I mean in this picture:




The aircraft in the picture linked above is exactly one of the former RAF Sabres later passed to the Italian air force, and carries the scheme applied by Airwork. This machine unfortunately exploded in flight in 1958 killing her pilot.


Back to the antiglare panel, having to paint following a panel line is great, makes masking so much easier. There was however something that didn't look right ! I noticed how following the panel line resulted in quite a deep  black section compared to pictures. What was the problem ? It was after pouring over pictures that I finally realised where the problem is;: Academy made a mistake in the machine gun ports panel !

Actually they made more than one mistake, that resulted in the panel lines in the area being wrong. To explain the matter, here's a composite picture, on the left a picture of a real Sabre (in this case a Japanese F-86F-40 but Canadair Sabres are identical here), on the right a picture of my model (it's actually the right side reversed to better compare the two). I added in red a number of lines showing the level of the machine gun throughs relative to the height of the air intake




Don't bother comparing the relative positions between the two pictures, as they are not in the same perfect scale, just focus on the MGs relative to the intake of each picture.

In the real Sabre (the picture is from the boxart of the Doyusha kit) the upper MG port is located just below the top of the fairing of the ranging radar. On the model this is locared below this line and is roughly level with the most forward part of the lip. The other 2 MG ports are not too bad on the model.

The picture also shows a couple other things: Academy forgot one panel lins just forward of the MC ports (easy to add) and much worse, the shape of the machine gun throughs is wrong, they should be elliptic.

So mistery solved: Academy moulded the top machine gun port too low and as a result the panel line above it is also too low. If I follow the panel line to paint the antiglare panel I'll end up with the black area being too deep down the fuselage, if I paint the panel to the correct height the distance between the lower edge of the panel and the top MG will be too big. In any case, the whole front area will look strange.


I'm now in a situation where I have to decide what to do. I really wanted this model to look good as it's a subject I really like and I fear that this problem will throw the look off.

I could just keep on building it, but I may not be happy at the end. Modifying these features would have been possible had I caught them at the start, now it's impossible.

What I will sure NOT do is abandon the model and bin it, so even if I decide to use my Italian decals on a different kit I will still finish this.

One option would be to save the paintwork and build an RAF Sabre instead, I built one in the past and still have many very nice markings from that famous Modeldecal sheet... it would be the easiest option, the antiglare panel problem would still be there but I may live with it. Such a model would still fit nicely in this GB

Another option could be an RCAF machine... problem is that I don't think any Mk.4 carried this scheme in Canadian service. I could build a Mk.5 but I believe these had different panel lines on the rear fuselage for the Orenda engine. The paintwork may also need some modification (must check both).

A more drastic option would be changing the colour scheme to a natural metal one and build an USAF machine. These didn't have any antiglare panel so the error would be much less noticeable. USAF Sabres served in Europe during the '50s so I may still be able to build the model for the GB.


The whole story is once again a reminder that I should learn to check things BEFORE starting ! I could have solved the problem one way or another. It's a pity as the model as it is doesn't look too bad...





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How will it look if you compromise and paint the anti-glare section to a mid-point between the panel line and its proper position?

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Well spotted, G. Too bad this is putting you off  - the camo painting looks splendid, BTW :clap:


Whatever you decide, it will look good in the end



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Too good to abandon Giorgio,I know it's a personal thing but If not pointed out I doubt even the most ardent Sabre fan's would have noticed

and let's not foget how good Italian roundel's look on any aircraft!

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 3/28/2019 at 7:59 PM, stevej60 said:

Too good to abandon Giorgio,I know it's a personal thing but If not pointed out I doubt even the most ardent Sabre fan's would have noticed

and let's not foget how good Italian roundel's look on any aircraft!


14 hours ago, Col. said:

Have you made any decision on how you'll progress with this one yet Giorgio?


Hi folks, no decision yet ! I've had little time for the hobby so this has been left in wait... I'll have to paint the antiglare panel and see what it looks like. Sorry about that !


In the meantime though I've taken advantage of Easter holidays to start a new subject... it would be bad to not have a model in the gallery...


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  • 3 weeks later...

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