Kinetic 1/32 F-86F-30 Sabre

KIT #: 3202
PRICE: $69.95 SRP
DECALS: One option
NOTES: AMS Resins Cockpit Update, Corrected Intake and replacement gun panels used


The F-86F-30 Sabre needs no real introduction.  It helped ďwinĒ the air war over Korea despite being at a disadvantage to the more powerful Mig-15 as well as became the ďfirstĒ fighter jet used by many Western air forces in the 1950s.  Still considered the classic jet fighter by many.


The Golden Hawks (Copied and cobbled together directly from Wikipedia and the website entries)


The Golden Hawks were a Canadian military aerobatic flying team established in 1959 to celebrate the 35th anniversary or the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and the "Golden" 50th anniversary of Canadian flight, which began with the AEA Silver Dart in 1909.


Pilots for the Golden Hawks flight demonstration team were selected from the Sabre Operational Training Unit at CFB Chatham and each had operational experience with the Air Division.  With the selection of the team completed and having only two and a half months to prepare for their first scheduled public appearance, the first season's Golden Hawks team began a gruelling training schedule of three flights a day, six days a week, weather permitting, and intense discussion of the aerobatic maneuvers involved when the weather left them grounded. In spite of being delayed for a day on account of the weather for their premiere show at Torbay, Newfoundland on 16 May, 1959 and then having their take-off delayed three times until the last clouds broke, their first season was an unparalleled success right up to the climax at the Canadian International Airshow in Toronto where, together with the USAF Thunderbirds, they became part of the first international jet aerobatic team to fly in Canadian skies.


The Golden Hawks were so popular after their single 63-show season that the team was expanded. Another Sabre was added to the team, allowing for a five-aircraft main formation with two solo jets. They continued performing for three more seasons until they were disbanded for financial reasons, on February 7, 1964, having flown a total of 317 shows across North America.


Not only did the team perform the loops, rolls and other maneuvers standard to military formation flying, they had their own trademark maneuvers. One of the Golden Hawks' signature stunts was a low-level flyby of the crowd with their canopies open, waving at the spectators. The Golden Hawks pioneered the bomb burst maneuver and a two-aircraft coordinated solo program which virtually every military team since has adopted in various ways.



See Tom Cleaverís excellent preview of the kit.


Last year, I went to a LHS anniversary sale which included heavily reduced prices of many under selling kits.  One of the kits they were selling was a special edition version of the Kinetic F-86F Sabre which contained a decal sheet from Leading Edge of the RCAF Golden Hawks Aerobatic Demonstration Team from the early 60s.  It was priced to go at $20 so who was I to pass up on an obvious bargain?


With some of the money I saved, I bought three AMS sets for the Kinetic kit that address the weaknesses/flaws of the kit including a partial update of the cockpit, the misshapen intake and gun port panels and the sugar scoops (located near the trailing edge of the wing) which is the main exterior difference between an Orenda Sabre and their US counterparts.


One of my good friends is a big fan of the Sabre so I built this for him as a birthday gift.  The only issue is his birthday is in the winter and I usually build NMF projects only in the summer as I donít spray lacquer paints inside my basement workshop so I started on this one rather early.



The plastic as mentioned from other reviews is very very thick compared to what Iím used to.  This made the removal of the gun panels painful and tedious.  I had to first drill out all around the the Kinetic gun panels then using cutters to cut away most of the excess plastic.  The remaining plastic was removed a lot of slicing and sanding.


I glued up most of the interior bits together.  The intake and exhaust have really obvious interior seams that need to be cleaned up if you want to display the Sabre without intake and exhaust covers.  As some of you might remember, intake/exhaust seams arenít my favorite task and the less I do is better for my sanity so I opted for the path of least resistance and did no seam filling.  The only thing I added to the cockpit was the resin rear wall which fits perfectly.


The interior of the Sabre was closed up and the fuselage bits were glued together.  The fit wasnít all that great as I had some ugly gaps between the forward and rear fuselage halves and the underside seam.  I waited two and a half weeks before tackling the seams (to prevent those hated phantom seams.)  I used lots of CA glue to fill the seams and lots of 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper.  It was a tedious process as it took several tries to fill each seam.


Meanwhile wings were relatively easy to install.  No major fit issues, but lots of sanding filling to do.


Next I carved out the original instrument panel coaming.  It involved a lot of test fitting and careful (and I emphasize careful) removal of the plastic so that it would sit properly on the remaining plastic.


The last task was to install the corrected nose.  This required a lot more work than I thought as it fit well but I ended up with some really deep seams that needed to be dealt with.  About this time, I had sprayed on the first primer coat and noticed I had some really ugly seams around the gun panels as well.  It took a lot of time, filler and effort to fix these seams.


A Canadair Orenda powered Sabre (the Mk5 and Mk6) is a bit different than its US counterparts.  The first major difference is there are no panel lines at the base of the tail so these were filled/sanded (many times) with CA glue.  I added resin Sugar Scoops made by AMS which were glued with CA glue at the base of the trailing edge of the wing.     There are some vents that go midships but I did not make these myself as the Leading Edge Sheet represented these vents as decals which is a good thing as the thick skin of the Kinetic Sabre doesnít make new vents a very easy task to do.  Otherwise that are pretty much the external changes needed.


The last thing I did was add the stabs (although later I would regret that.)




The Golden Hawk F-86 paint scheme is one of the more flashy Sabre paint schemes of all time with its golden metallic hue and polished metallic leading edges.  Of course it is probably one of the more difficult schemes to do.


I normally donít prime my models, but Iíve learned the hard way that metallic lacquers stick to plastic way better with a couple of coats of Tamiya Grey Primer.  I ended up having to prime several times as the primer revealed many flaws with my sanding.  This is usually the stage where I get very frustrated with the model mostly due to the fact I spent about almost 20 total hours just working on the primer coat. 


Sanding Primer Process

1)   I went to work on the various primer flaws with various grades of sanding pads and polishing cloths (1800 grit to 12000).  It seemed every time I fixed one flaw then I found another. Wiped down model to remove primer residue after each grade of grit.

2)   Glare at model 

3)   Repeat again and again.


After finally being satisfied with the primer coat, I wiped the plane down thoroughly with a wet paper towel.  Inspected for dust.  Once done, I sprayed on Old Leaf Silver for the leading edges.  Once it was dry, the various leading edges was masked off using painterís tape and Tamiya tape.  Cut pieces of foam were inserted into the cockpit and landing gear wells.


I sprayed on a thin coat of Tamiya Gold Leaf paint straight from the can on the top of the model.  When the paint was cured, I flipped the model over and sprayed on a thin coat for the bottom.  After the paint was dry, I sprayed on a thin coat over any areas that didnít get enough paint.  After everything was cured, it was off to the sanding process.


At the same time, I masked off the canopy parts.  The windscreen was painted flat black as it was both black on the interior and exterior while the rear canopy was painted Xtracrylix dark gull grey--the interior color.  When the grey was fully cured (I let it sit for a week), I sprayed on a couple of coats of gold from the spray can.


Sanding Paint Process

1)   I went to work on the various paint flaws with various grades of sanding pads and polishing cloths (1800 grit to 12000).  It seemed every time I fixed one flaw then I found another.  Wiped down model to remove paint residue after each grade of grit.

2)   Glare at model 

3)   Repeat again.


Polishing took around 5-8 hours to complete.  As much as this was a lot of work, it could have been worse.  I have to admit that a primer coat isnít a bad thing for some types of paint schemes and that being NMF.  It seems double the work but one thing Iíve learned  from building this and an F-100C is that a primer coat is much more forgiving than a NMF coat.


The only real headache I had was that I snapped off both stabs while pressing down too hard with a polishing cloth.  I was forced to drill out holes in the stabs themselves and the mounting holes and then glue in some plastic rod to secure them in place.  However, I broke one of them a second time and ended up using CA glue to hold it in place.


I masked off the wheel wells and then sprayed interior green.  The details were hand painted with various colors and then dry brushed.  A dark colored was was used to dirty up the wells.


Once done, the plane was wiped down with a wet paper towel in preparation or the decals.



Leading Edge supplied Kinetic with their decal sheet of the Golden Hawks Sabre Mk5.  Thankfully, there are not that many stencils so adding the decals was a breeze compared to the paint job.


A little bit of MicroSet before the decal was added and a thin coat of Solvaset on top after the decal was dried did the trick as the decal conformed to the surface detail.  There was almost no silvering.


One annoying thing I discovered is that the decal solution causes Tamiya gold paint to oxidize/darken.  Annoying, but it is a lesson learned.  If I do another gold jet Iím going to put down a protective coat of Future first.


Weathering and Final Coat

None.  The Goldenhawks F-86s were kept in pristine condition.  I wiped down the model to remove decal solution residue.  I will spray on a thin coat or two of Future at a later date.




The landing gear parts were painted in various colors (Metallic Gold, Old Silver and Aircraft Aluminum--all Tamiya Paints.)  Once dry they were glued together and I added tinfoil (using MicroFoil glue) to the oleo struts to make them stand out.  The landing gear was glued in using CA glue. 


Next up, the plastic wheels were easy to put together and paint.  No real issues there.


I hand painted the cockpit details, glued the IP coaming and instrument panel.


The external fuel tanks proved to be more of a challenge than I thought.  I glued these together and then realized that I used the wrong fins for a RCAF Sabre so I had to hack them apart and add the correct parts.  There was a lot of sanding and filling involved due to the gashes and cracks I made in the plastic.  The parts were polished, wiped down and then sprayed gold.  I masked around the silver areas and sprayed on Tamiya X-11 Chrome silver and Talon Aluminum as I was tired doing a lot of masking due to spray cans.  The silver areas were polished using SNJ polishing powder.  Once done, I glued them into the pre drilled holes and adjusted them.


Unfortunately, I fumbled with model a little and snapped off the newly installed and polished pitot tube.  I butchered fixing it and ended up having to order a resin replacement which was painted and polished.


I drilled out holes in both the intake and exhaust covers and added wire loops for the hand grips.  They were sprayed Tamiya italian red Lacquer paint from the spray can and I had to trim the intake cover as it was designed to fit the Kinetic Intake.  Both were glued in using white glue.


The portside fuel dump was the last piece.  It was painted bright red and glued in place (the hole is provided.)


The Kinetic F-86 Sabre is a lot of work especially if one does a NMF plane but that seems to be a lot of Sabre markings.  The only thing I didnít like about it was the halves for the forward and aft halves of the fuselage because they didnít line up as well it should have (maybe operator error here) but otherwise it is a decent kit.  From what I understand it is an upgrade over the 40 year old Hasegawa Sabre (because Iíve never built one so I really donít know and only going on the word of those who have.)  The Leading Edge decals are excellent and a nice addition for this kit.


It was a lot of fun to build and will be very happy when I hand this one over to my friend as a birthday gift.

Dan Lee

November 2011

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