|KIT:||Hobbycraft 1/72 F-86F Sabre|
|KIT #:||HC 1361|
|PRICE:||$ Currently (2004) not in catalogues|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Looks a lot like the Fujimi kit.|
Undoubtedly one of the more famous US fighters is the F-86. Developed from the straight winged FJ-1 Fury, the F-86 took advantage of German research into swept wing aircraft to produce an aircraft that has to rank in the top ten of most enthusiasts' lists. Though not as nimble, as heavily armed, or as fast a climber as its adversary, the MiG-15, the Sabre was a more stable gun platform, dove faster and was of more rugged construction, a trait typical of all North American Aviation built aircraft.
Eventually, the type went into service with dozens of air forces throughout the world and really wasn't pulled from active military service in some places until thirty years after the type first flew, a real accomplishment for what most consider a first generation jet fighter. Nowadays, the F-86 is confined to museums, though a lucky few are on the jet warbird circuit.
I've gotta tell you that this kit looks very much like the superb Fujimi version. I don't have the Fujimi kit to make comparisons, but all the traits are there, including super engraved detailing. However one thing missing is that Fujimi offered intake and exhaust plugs, which this kit does not have. I did find ejector pin marks on the inside of gear doors, on the wing pylons and intake. There were sink areas on the outer thin main gear doors. No flash could be found anywhere.
The cockpit is well equipped with raised detail on the instrument panel and the side consoles. A nice ejection seat is also given. A two piece windscreen/canopy combo will allow you to view any detail work done inside. A nice, long intake is provided, but no compressor face is given, which can be clearly seen once one peers down the intake of the real thing. The exhaust does have a burner visible a short way down it, which is totally atypical. Nothing should be seen as the jet pipe is rather long.
Landing gear detail is nice, but a bit simplified. The wheels are well done though the brakes seem to jut out a bit too much on the main wheels. As with every F-86 kit I've ever done, the speed brakes, when they are separate, will not 'sag' when installed in the open position so a bit of trimming will be needed to get the right look. The kit offers the 6-3 wings even though there are slats on the sprues. The small wing fences are on the upper wings so check references when doing your model to see if they are actually there or not. The only things under wings are drop tanks, which are appropriate for those planes flying in the early to mid 1950s. Those from the 60's on may have had Sidewinder mounts installed. These are not included with the kit.
The instructions are not bad with several large, well drawn construction steps. Basic color info is provided during construction and a color chart with FS, Floquil, Humbrol, and Modelmaster paints is given. Decals look quite good on this 1996 kit. They are well printed, glossy and seem to be in register. Markings are for five aircraft. The often done 'The Huff' from the Korean war, a somewhat generic RCAF Sabre, two camouflaged Argentine F-86s from 1983 and 1986, and finally, a camouflaged Bolivian AF version from 1991
I've seen these kits built up and really, they are quite nice. What's more, they can be found at swap meets for a near pittance. This one was purchased for $4 and there were a number of others there at $5 so you can't say they are expensive. The other F-86s in this scale are a horrible one by Hasegawa, a nice one by Heller that was the standard for decades, and the equally nice or even better Fujimi version. If you like Sabres and are on a budget, next time you are at a swap meet or contest, hit the vendors and you'll find them.
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