Fujimi 1/72 F-86F-30 Sabre 'Skyblazers'

KIT #: 72141
PRICE: 1,620 yen (1800 yen SRP)
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2003 boxing


Probably the first really competent jet fighter of the US was the F-86. Though the F-84 flew earlier and proved to be an excellent fighter-bomber and escort fighter, it was really not the air to air fighter that the Sabre turned into. This was as much due to the straight wings of the F-84. These wings provided good altitude performance, but severely limited speed.

Though outperformed in some regimes by the MiG-15, one could easily say that with a competent pilot, both were about equal with the MiG having heavier armament and a higher altitude range. However the MiG was prone to 'snaking' at high mach numbers which really wasn't good.

In the end, the Sabre became the de facto favorite of NATO and allied countries for most of the rest of the 1950s and into the 1960s being built in Australia, Canada, and Japan under license. Second hand F-86s were then liberally sprinkled among the smaller air forces of the world. Some of these nations still flying them into the 1980s. Many were expended as target drones and a goodly number ended up as war birds for people who have far too much money.

This kit has been around since at least 1986 and immediately made all other 1/72 Sabres obsolete. Even today, with the very nice Airfix kit having been released, there are those who prefer the Fujimi kit. Indeed, this is 2003 reboxing and is basically different decals. It is also 1000 yen more expensive than the initial boxing, and while that is over twice the price, in today's modeling climate, it is still a fair price.

For the nuts and bolts, there are five sprues, one of which is clear for the canopy and gun sight glass. There seems to be only a few ways of molding a Sabre in this scale and that means a fairly full intake that ends in the first compressor state. The cockpit is molded atop the intake and the nose gear well on the bottom. The kit has a passable seat with control stick and instruments. Decals are provided for the side consoles and instrument panel, though there is detail on both if you'd rather paint. There is room in the nose for weight and you will need some.

There are inserts for the gun panels, you have speed brakes that can be posed open and closed and the same goes for the canopy. The canopy itself is glued onto the frame. I personally do not like this arrangement as it is nearly impossible for the seam to not show. I should also mention that, typical of most Sabre kits, the speed brakes do not droop when open. You need to do a bit of adjustment to get this to be properly posed.

Landing gear and gear wells are nicely done and should cause no issues. The single piece lower wing has upper wing halves and you need to open holes for fuel tanks. I'd leave off the Sidewinders and pylons for this boxing. From what I've read, the USAF never adopted this weapon for the F-86 as it was a Navy missile and it wasn't until the F-4C that USAF fighters were Sidewinder armed.

Instructions are well done and you are provided with one set of decals with four different serials. Decals are nicely printed though a bit thick. What may put some people off is that the white is an off-white. They are designed so that once you paint the aircraft in bare metal, except for the base of the fin, all you have to do is apply the decals. I'd leave off the drop tanks until after applying the decals in case they go over mounting holes. I don't recall how well Fujimi decals do with setting solutions, but I have found that Mr Mark Softer is the only solution that seems to work well with Japanese printed decals.


I honestly did not buy this kit for the markings, but because I wanted to bulk up an order and it is a nice kit. There are a considerable number of aftermarket sheets for the Sabre so you won't be at a loss for schemes. Despite its age, it makes into a superb model and is well worth seeking out.

January 2018

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