Hasegawa 1/48 Sabre Mk.4 'RAF'
KIT #: 09567
PRICE: 3400 yen when new
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2004 release


The second generation of Canadair Sabre aircraft, and first to be built in quantity, was the Mk.2, with 350 produced from 1952 to 1953. The RCAF received 290 of these improved aircraft. During the first half of 1952, the remaining 60 Mk.2s were supplied to the U.S. Air Force for use in the Korean War. Most RCAF Mk.2 Sabres were utilized in the air defence role with NATO's No. 1 Air Division in Europe, proving itself to be an outstanding dogfighter. Others were assigned to the training role at bases in Canada. After replacement by the Sabre 5 in RCAF service from 1954, just over 210 surviving Sabre 2s were overhauled and modified in the UK and supplied in roughly equal numbers to the Greek Air Force and Turkish Air Forces.

In mid-1952, the Sabre Mk.4 went into production with the first one flown on 28 August 1952. Apart from some minor structural and systems changes, including improved air-conditioning and gun sight, the Mk 2 and the Mk 4 were identical. Of 438 Mk 4s built, approximately 70 were used temporarily by the RCAF, all surviving examples being passed to the RAF. The other Sabre 4s went directly to the RAF under a mutual aid program, equipping 11 RAF squadrons. The majority served in West Germany with NATO, with two squadrons being based in the UK as part of RAF Fighter Command. The Sabre Mk.4 served with the RAF until mid-1956 when they were replaced by Hawker Hunters. The survivors were overhauled in the UK, fitted with '6-3' wing modifications and handed to the USAF (which had funded these aircraft) which in turn passed them on to other NATO members, with the majority going to Italy and Yugoslavia.


This is basically Hasegawa's F-86F-30 kit with different decals. The kit has a nice interior that would benefit from a resin seat if not using pilot figure. A full intake trunk is provided tht ends in the first compressor stage while the exhaust starts at the last. Both the interior and nose gear well fit on the intake trunk. This leaves room atop it for the required 5 grams of weight.

The wings will need the holes drilled for the drop tanks and here is where there is a bit of a problem. If the Wiki history is to be believed, all of the RAF's Sabre 4s had slatted wings. These are not slatted wings and are probably 6-3 wings as fitted to the airframes when they were provided to other NATO members as the instructions show the small wing fences being attached. Now I'm not that much of an expert on the type to know for sure so I'd appreciate feedback in this regard.

Anyway, the kit has a well done landing gear with the spoked style of nose gear. I know that there was a solid nose wheel used as well so check images and here is also where some aftermarket wheels would be useful as the kit's detail is a tad shallow. Two styles of drop tanks are provided, though this kit uses the early ones without the plates on the fins. The kit also provides an open or closed canopy option as well as open or closed speedbrakes. Like most Sabre kits, the speed brakes are straight out when open when they should have a decided droop down. Easy enough to fix with some cutters. The kit also provides intake and exhaust covers so you won't have to see the seams in these items.

Instructions are standard fare for Hasegawa with Gunze paint references. Two options are provided, both in dark grey/dark green over azure blue with a black nose anti-glare panel. The two squadrons are 112 as shown on the box art with the shark mouth and 234 with the red nose flash. Decals are old school with off white whites. There are a lot of aftermarket sheets for this aircraft so finding something else won't be an issue.


I've built this kit before and it makes into a nice model. Note that the fuselage is for the Japanese F-86F-40 so will need to have the large side intake scoops sanded off and the reinforcement forward of the fin sanded down as well. Despite there being newer 1/48 Sabres, this is still one of the best.



November 2023 

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