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F-86D ‘Dog Sabre’ (03832) 1:48


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F-86D ‘Dog Sabre’ (03832)

1:48 Carrera Revell




The F-86 Sabre was the first advanced jet fighter in widespread use with the US Air Force, but it was a fair-weather fighter that was bereft of radar that was to become more important as time went by during the Cold War, and essential today.  The project to create an all-weather, radar-equipped derivative of the Sabre resulted in a substantially different aircraft, with a longer, wider fuselage that had a radome inset into the top of the intake trunking in the nose, a different canopy, and larger tail feathers.  By the time the D variant reached service, the engine had also been upgraded, including an afterburner that gave it additional power and drove it closer to the sound barrier than its sibling.  Its armament was different than the six cheek-mounted 0.5cal Brownings carried by the standard Sabre too, eschewing machine guns in favour of a conformal twin rack of Mighty Mouse rockets that would drop down into the airflow before firing, exposing 24 x 70mm FFAR Mk.4 rockets in a curved holder that would retract to clean-up the aerodynamics of the aircraft after firing, although a ripple-fire salvo must have had some choking effect on the engine, being mounted so close to the intake.


There were over 2,500 D variants made, with subsequent updates making additional changes, some of them substantial, some such as the G less so, getting lumped in with the Ds during production, possibly to fudge some figures, knowing the sneaky history of aviation financing of most countries.  Many NATO countries flew the Dog Sabre, some later K variants built under license by FIAT, which is a terrifying concept, given their reputation at the time for terrible cars with dodgy electrics.  Some were still flying operationally into the 1970s, although not under combat conditions, as by then it would have been hopelessly outdated.



The Kit

This is a reboxing of the original Monogram tooling from 2001, but looking at the sprues for the first time in a long time, it’s surprisingly modern looking, although the bags are non-standard for Revell, having heat-sealed ends, and no tape, which to be fair can be annoying on occasion.  It arrives in a medium-thickness end-opening box, and inside are four sprues in grey styrene in two bags, another bag containing the clear parts, the instruction booklet in colour, with the decal sheet and safety sheet hidden in between the pages.  At the rear of the booklet are colour profiles to assist with painting and decaling.  As already mentioned, this is a well-detailed model of the type, and is the only current relatively modern kit of the Dog in this scale, with other manufacturers reboxing it on occasion.  It benefits from engraved panel lines and rivets, offers separate flaps and slats, detailed cockpit and wheel bays, and even a pilot figure with separate arms, and a surprisingly well-sculpted form.












Construction begins with the four-part frame for the basic ejection seat, which inserts on a seat-shaped platform and receives the actual seat with rear headrest within, plus rudder pedals and control column first, then the instrument panel that has five additional parts installed on it before it is slotted into the front of the cockpit tub, and has another two short levers added to the left side console.  Sadly, there are no decals for the panels, but a bit of careful painting should see that remedied.  Like many fighters, the cockpit is positioned over the nose gear bay, but there is an intake trunk in between them, which is made from two halves, with the bay details moulded into the lower half, having two side walls added along with the nose gear strut and retraction jack.  The pilot is made up and painted, and inserted into his cockpit at this stage if you plan to use him, after which the cockpit is glued to the top of the intake on a pair of upstands.  Before the fuselage can be closed up, the exhaust must be completed, which consists of a tube moulded to a bulkhead, into which you insert the rear face of the engine, then attach the exhaust lip to the rear, fitting on a lug to ensure correct orientation.






The inside of the forward fuselage is painted dark grey, and has three holes opened up in the underside, a small clear light near the nose, and an insert with an intake on the sides of the fuselage, using different parts for USAF or DK (Danish?) options.  I find that confusing however, as both decal options are USAF, so it may be a hangover from a previous boxing.  The inset marked DK has a recessed NACA intake, if that helps to deconfuse you.  The fuselage is closed around the cockpit/intake and exhaust assemblies, plus a palette of equipment in a recess behind the pilot, 20g of nose-weight, and the radar-equipped nose cone, which also includes the intake lip.






The lower wing is full span, and has six holes drilled out from inside before the bay walls and top detail insert are added inside, to be covered by the upper wing halves, which have more detail for the gear bays on the inside.  The fuselage and wing are mated at the same time as the slats are glued to their actuators along the leading edge of the wings, leaving the flaps until later.  Meantime, the main gear legs are built from a single part strut and two-part wheels, with a captive bay door on the back, and a C-shaped actuator joining them together.  The inner bay door has a short jack on the forward edge, and behind the wing, repeating the process on the other side and placing a small rectangular insert into the fuselage underside.  The nose wheel is a single part and is added to the strut that was fitted earlier, and has a side opening main bay door, plus a two-part folding front door to finish it off.  The flaps are simple, each one consisting of a single part that fixes to the trailing edge of the cut-outs on two pegs.  While the model is inverted, the two-part fuel tanks and pylon with forward stabiliser post is glued to each wing, and a clear peg has been included on the sprues just in case you didn’t include enough nose weigh to prevent a tail-sitter.




The FFAR palette is fabricated based upon the outer skin, with four walls fitted, the front one having 24 holes that show the tips of the rockets, and the rear face having an impression of the rear of the rockets and their fusing wires, which are glued to an upper surface that fixes to the fuselage underside on two pegs behind the nose gear bay.  If you have decided not to deploy the rocket pack, remember not to bore out the holes in the fuselage beforehand.  Like its sibling, the Dog Sabre had fuselage-mounted air-brakes just in front of the tail, and these can either be mounted flush, or exposed by adding a V-shaped strut inside the bay to hold it at the correct angle, with scrap diagrams showing how they should look from behind.  The elevators have long overlapping tabs that pass through the tail, and should give a strong joint with little chance of sag, plus a small blade antenna that is added under the port elevator. 


Finishing off the model begins with the canopy, which unusually for its era includes a pair of styrene inserts within the lower rails of the opener, plus a clear rear-view mirror.  A platform with a clear part fixes into the rear of the canopy too, giving it a more detailed look, especially if you can find some Tface masks from Eduard to paint both sides of the clear parts.  The windscreen is fixed, and the canopy can be posed closed by cutting off small sections of the deck at the rear of the cockpit, or opened clamshell-style by leaving those intact, and gluing it into position at the rear, with a curved clear part inserted into the fairing behind it.  A choice of a crew step or a small insert to depict it retracted are provided to fit into the port side, and two tiny clear lights are popped into the leading edge of the wingtips.




There are two markings options on the decal sheet, although I initially thought there were four, as the usual 39 and 39a style numberings haven’t been used on this sheet.  I’m easily confused though, and reading the headings makes it clear within moments.  From the box you can build one of the following:


  • F-86D-20 Sabre Dog S/n.51-2989, McConnel AFB, 1956
  • F-86D-40-NA Sabre Dog S/n.52-3722, 15th Fighter-Interceptor Sqn., 34th Air Division, Davis Monthan AFB, Arizona, 1957

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Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas.  It’s a shame there aren’t any instrument decals, but the wealth of stencils more than make up for that minor disappointment.




Although the kit hasn’t become rare while out of production, it’s nice to see it back on the shelves with some modern decals and stencils.  Detail is good for the era, and still holds up well by modern standards.


Highly recommended.


Carrera Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit

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Picked one up whilst at Telford from the wonderland models stand. Not allowed to touch it though as it's been hidden away by SWMBO as a Christmas present. I've not even had chance to look in the box before it was taken from my hands!😁

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On 11/28/2022 at 4:34 PM, Mike said:

different parts for USAF or DK (Danish?) options.  I find that confusing however, as both decal options are USAF, so it may be a hangover from a previous boxing

Indeed - the previous RoG boxing had a RDAF option. I still have one in the stash!





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