Hobbycraft 1/72 Sabre F.4
KIT #: HC 1380
PRICE: $8.00 is what I paid from a vendor.
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Quite similar to the Fujimi kit.


Needless to say, the F-86 is probably the most well known 1950s fighter outside the UK. Built in the thousands, it equipped USAF units for nearly a decade, and went on in the forces of dozens of other countries. I'd not be surprised if somewhere these are still flying in military use. I know that many of them are flying the war bird circuit and are always a lot of fun to watch. I know that this is a wienie historical background, but really, you can find tons of stuff on the plane just by searching the 'net.


I have to confess that I'm not sure if Hobbycraft is even still in business. I do know that many of its molds show up in Academy boxings, often at a premium price over the original issues. This is one of their earlier releases. once can tell because it is in a 'white' surround box. This means that the decals are going to be garbage. Those kits boxed with a 'black' surround to the box have great decals so if you have a choice, pick those or you'll be spending money on aftermarket decals.

Anyway, this particular kit has been boxed before as an 'F-86E' though it reality, it is most probably closer to an F. The kit's major attraction is the slatted wing as most F Sabres had the fixed 6-3 wing or were retrofitted with it. Hobbycraft's kit was designed and molded in Korea and has been heavily, uh, influenced by the Fujimi kit. That kit has a higher level of detail and generally fits a bit better than the Hobbycraft version. At least in my experience.  Areas where the fit is less than good is the section behind the cockpit. For some reason, that just does not fit well and needs attention and trimming. The drop tanks are fine for a Korean War aircraft and some close to post war. Later on, these had stabilizing fins added to the outside to keep them from tumbling and perhaps hitting the aircraft when released. The bonus with this boxing is that you get slatted wings and can pose the slats in their normally lowered position if you so with. Many slatted with aircraft were upgraded with the 6-3 wing and some even got the F-40 longer wings.

Instructions are an improvement over their initial offerings as the drawings are fairly good and color information is provided. The decals, as mentioned, are poor and best replaced or at least over-coated by a clear. My experience with these older decals is that they don't stick. Markings are provided for three aircraft. One is the box art plane in unpainted metal with red areas on the wing tips and tail section. This is from an unlisted RCAF unit. Next is an RAF version, also from an unlisted unit, but I think it is 66 Sq. This is dark green/dark sea grey over PRU blue. The third is an Italian AF version also from an unlisted unit and is probably in NATO green/grey over light blue or silver. For the overall painting guide, only FS 595 numbers are provided. 


Though obviously a copy of the Fujimi kit, this one has several advantages if you are not concerned about the decals. One is that it can be found at a most reasonable price on the 'used' kit market. Secondly, even the more recent Academy releases are under $15, so it is still pretty affordable. Third, it is more accurate and has more detail than the Hobby Boss kit. I have built several and can recommend it to you if you don't mind a little bit of work.

April 2009

Once again, you can thank me for showing you this one (Thank you!). If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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