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. Sabres were used in the Korea war.
Of the Sabre, several variants were developed. Here the high lights:
The F-86A was the first introduced in 1948 with the swept slatted wing. It had the T-4E-1 ejection seat and rounded wind screen. Early jets had sealing doors over the 6 Browning machine guns, these doors were later deleted. Some modifications were done later with another V-shaped wind screen and gunsights and repositioned pitot tube.
The F-86D Sabredog got a much fatter fuselage with radar nose and a larger tail. It had no guns but a retractable rocket pod below the fuselage in front of the wing to attack enemy bombers. It had the slatted wing, all flying tail and later the upward opening "clamshell" canopy. It flew in 1950 and the F-86D was further refined over the years with systems and powered rudder and dropable wing fuel tanks and other wind screen. The electronics were top secret.
The F-86E was an improved day fighter with an all flying tail. It was hard to distinguish from the F-86A but had a thicker fairing below the vertical tail. It got from block E-10 a flat wind screen.
The first F-86F got another J47-GE-27 engine but the first jets were similar to the -E. But new wings were introduced that also could carry drop tanks. The F86F-10 got radar ranging with another gun sight and the F-86F-15 got control modifications.
From the F-86F-25 onwards such as on F-86F-30, F-86F-35: the bigger "6-3" non-slatted wing was introduced with an extra inboard pylon station. The root chord was extended 6 inch and the wing tip 3 inch. It had the slats were removed and extra fuel capacity in the forward wing sections. It had a small wing fence added to delay buffeting. Many old slatted F-86F blocks got the 6-3 non-slatted wing retrofitted which greatly improved performance (as proved in the Korea war).
Some F-86F-30 were fitted with recon cameras and designated RF-86F-30. It had the non-slatted F-30 "6-3" wing.
The F-86F-35-NA was similar as the F-86F-25 but had a low altitude bombing system (LABS) to drop a mark 12 atom bomb. Some 264 were manufactured and many deployed to Europe.
The F-86F-40 had the 6-3 wing but got a one feet tip extension and indeed again the slats fitted for better low speed handling (with the small fence removed). It was a modification for the Japan Air Self Defense Force. First delivery started October 1955. Mitsubishi license build the F-86F-40 in Japan. Later on the JASDF Sabres could also fire the first generation Sidewinder missiles. And some 280 F-86F-40 were manufactured for the USAF at North American and many F-40 wing kits to retrofit these to most of the active USAF F-86F fleet.
(NOTE: so the same jet can be seen with different wing depending on the date).
The F-86H was a version with the J73 engine with an larger intake and 6inch extra fuselage height and larger tail pipe and vertical fin. It had another F-86D like canopy and otrher ejection seat. It could fly bombing missions with four pylons and the LABS system. The F-86H-1 had six Browning machine guns and the wing was the slatted or the 6-3 wing. The F-86H-5 had 4 M39 canons. The F-86H-10 was very similar but with other wiring and better J73 engine. Some had the "F-40" wing with slats.
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. It had an upward tilted opening canopy. 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.
All F-86L were converted F-86D jets to "K" but with the F-40 slatted wing with extended wing tip. Over 900 jets were converted with service entry 1957.
In Canada the F-86 was license manufactured by Canadair designated CL-13. The CL-13 mk.4 was also used by the British RAF as F-4.
In Australia by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) 2 versions of the F-86F were license manufactured. The CA-27 got a complete redesign to fit the Rolls Royce Avon engine to in the fuselage. It had "higher" air intake and fatter fuselage. Also Aden 30mm guns were installed and Sidewinder missiles could be fired. The CA-27 mk.30 had the slatted wing, the mk.31 the 6-3 non slatted wing and the mk.32 had 4 wing pulons and Avon 26 engine.
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 6-3 wing without leading edge slats. (many F-86F got this wing retrofitted).
Also, the decals are excellent with
NOTE: I could not verify what exactly is a F-86E(M).
For both issued kits parts are almost the same:
- it has the non-slatted "6-3" wing with wing fence and kinked pitot tube.
- the number of parts is about 60
with a nice touch the option to set open the gun ammunition load doors
with pilot step.
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 see RNeth AF information F-86K "Kaasjager" at the IPMS NL site
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Created this page
November 14, 2011