Monogram 1/48 F-86 Sabre






One option


Scott Van Aken


1976 boxing


Going into the history of the F-86, especially at this stage of the game, would be rather redundant. Say the least, many consider it to be the best jet fighter of its era, though I'm sure there will be some arguments from Mig-15 and Hunter fans about this! Needless to say, of the three, it had the best 'kill ratio' and saw use in a wide number of nations friendly to the US.



This may well be the first boxing of the kit, with a date of 1976 on the side. Unlike earlier Monogram kits, there are no functioning features and the level of detail is quite high for the era. Panel lines are raised, but that was the norm for the time. It offers a canopy that one can slide open, a gun bay that can be displayed, flaps that can be dropped, a pilot figure and rather well detailed wheel wells and speed brake openings. For things under wings you have the early drop tanks as were used in Korea. As to the subtype, well that is rather difficult to determine accurately. I'd have to say it is an F-86F-10 based on the serial number provided in the decals and from the fact that the kit provides 6-3 wings. The wing fence, however, wasn't installed until the later -30  versions. Though the instructions do not tell you, the fences will need to be removed if doing the kit markings.

Anyway, since it is an early boxing, there are no issues with flash, though there are a few sink areas on the upper wings, tank pylons, and fuselage opposite alignment pins. Ejector pin marks are rampant on the inside of gear doors, underside of the flaps, back of the seat and gun door panel. As I mentioned, the cockpit is fairly well detailed with raised molding on the side consoles and instrument panel. The seat has belts molded in place and is fairly accurate as well. Holes in the lower wing hint of other versions to come with additional pylons though only the drop tanks are provided here. Intake 'trunking' goes in only about an inch and the same for the exhaust.

Instructions are typical of Monogram in that they are excellent with several construction steps. A check off list for each step is provided. There are drawings to show the proper angle of gear doors and horizontal stabilizers. A separate painting section is provided for the various parts of the aircraft. Because of the age of the kit, no FS numbers are given for any of the colors. Decals are for one aircraft, 'Paper Tiger' flown by Capt. Harold Fischer of the 51st FIW. The decals are well printed, but age has not been kind to those in my kit and the near 30 years elapsed time has made them useless. Fortunately, aftermarket decals abound for the 1/48 F-86 so finding replacements should not be a problem.


Though this kit has been eclipsed by the more detailed and expensive Academy and Hasegawa kits, the Monogram version can be found at swap meets for a very reasonable price, usually under $10 and for many modelers will provide an accurate and pleasing addition to their display shelves.

Kit courtesy of me and my constant digging through the vendor's tables at swap meets!

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