|KIT #:||HC 1323|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
It would not be too farfetched to say that the F-86 was the major US success story when it came to aircraft of the 1950s. Not only did it serve widely in the USAF, but it was also manufactured in Canada and Japan. Hundreds if not thousands were also exported to various nations around the world where it was the major combat type for many years, some even surviving into the late 1980s.
During that time, the airframes were upgraded and modified to provide better performance. The Sabre was the first plane to fire an air to air missile in anger. It was also the first jet aircraft of many air forces. Everyone who flew it liked it as it was fairly pilot friendly and somewhat docile as these things go.
Hobbycraft's kit of the F-86 is pretty much based on the Fujimi kit as there are a lot of parts that are pretty much interchangeable. From personal experience building other boxings, it does not go together quite as well so obviously something was lost in the translation. The kit provides a fairly nicely done cockpit and you will need 3-5grammes of nose weight to keep it from tail sitting.
The nose gear well is molded onto the bottom of the long intake section with the cockpit being built on the top of this assembly. There is no first compressor piece, just a plate. When that is done, you install the intake/cockpit assembly along with an exhaust piece into the fuselage before closing the halves. Wing is upper and lower piece and you'll need to open holes for the tanks.
You have the option to have the speed brakes open which was fairly common on the real deal. They do need to be trimmed so they will droop down when fully open. The windscreen/canopy assembly is fairly complex and this is an area that I usually find some fit issues.
Landing gear is fairly well done for the scale and the drop tanks are the early type without the end plates on the fins. This kit provides separate slats for the wing.
Instructions are adequate for the task and do provide
generic painting information. What makes this a worthwhile kit is the sheer
number of options. Since it is a 'black box' Hobbycraft kit (side and end panels
are basically black), the decals will be excellent. Here are the options.
1. Early Luftwaffe in unpainted metal
2. Canadian 444 sq in camouflage
3. Two Pakistan AF options
4. Bangladesh from 1973
5. Iran with UN markings
6. Two options from hiopia. One is bare metal the other in a desert scheme.
So now for the news that isn't so great. The kit provides a slatted short wing. That may work for some of these options. However, a large number of exported Sabres were retrofitted with the longer F-40 wing and some of these options may well have unslatted 6-3 wings. What this means is that if you want the most accurate representation, you will need to do some research to be sure that the supplied wings are appropriate. Also note that Canadair Sabre 6s had an enlarged lower fuselage intake scoop just behind and below the trailing edge of the wing. This kit does not have that. Easy enough to make with some epoxy putty, but there it is.
If it turns out that you need the longer F-40 wing, then I'd suggest the Fujimi JASDF kit, which is pretty easy to find. I should also mention that if you want to do a 1/72 F-86E, since most of those had slatted short wings, this would be a good option.
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