F-86 Ultimate Sabre
In the last several years, Eduard has had great ideas by taking well done kits from certain manufacturers, adding their beautiful photoetch, masking sets and Brassin resin to it and issuing it as a complete set. This is one of those kits and it is a winner! What you get in the package is Hasegawa’s excellent 1/48th scale F-86 Sabre with a masking set for the wheels and canopy. Also included are excellent resin castings for the ejection seat and two frets of photoetch. One is colorized and is used to detail the cockpit with seat belts, multipart instrument panels, and other small parts. The second fret is not colored and contains replacement parts for the canopy deck and details, more seat details, and other smaller bits. Also included is an excellent color instruction guide and decals for five different markings:
- Maj. John Glenn’s Mig Mad Marine from Suwon AFB, Korea 1953
- FU-850, 390th FBS, Alexandria AFB, Louisiana, 1955
- Maj. James Hagerstrom, 67th FBS, Osan-ni AB, Korea 1953
- Lt. Ken Ewing, 336th FIS Rocketeers, Kimpo AFB, Korea 1954
- FU-361, 435th FBS, Detroit AFB Michigan 1952
Stencils are included for one aircraft to go with markings.
Construction starts with the cockpit as expected. There are a lot of replacement photoetch including throttles, two boxes at the side of the back cockpit and the entire instrument panel. The parts fit is great and only one little area needs sanding first. A quick paint job on the side panels and it looks great. On the sidewalls, there are multiple additions that add to the look and texture. A quick warning, pick your markings before you start even the cockpit. There were apparently two colors of Sabre cockpits and the one I chose was actually gray. This is the only one this color and also applies to the instrument panel.
The cockpit is mounted to the intake and the front well added. The exhaust was built. I didn’t do much with either, as I wanted to use the enclosed FOD protectors for a nice red color. I also used this as it made weight easier to add to the front of the plane by sliding weights into the intake when I had the gear in place and then seal with the FOD covers.
Once all this was ready, the fuselage was sealed and the wings added. If you have built this kit in its prior incarnations, you know the fit is good. Take your time, get things aligned and they will fit well which makes the natural metal easier. Another note here- don’t forget to drill holes in the wings if you are adding the drop tanks or missile pylons. I also left the horizontal stabilizers off due to markings to make things easier.
At this time, I elected to close the speed brakes, which required some filling and sanding, but I did not want to lose the lines on the plane by having them open.
I assembled and prepared the landing gear, the drop tanks, wing pylons, and all of the landing gear doors in preparation for making things look like metal. The fuselage got a little putty down by the wing root but minimal. The rest of the model was polished with increasing grades of sanding sticks and then primed with Tamiya Gloss silver decanted from a spray can. This makes a great primer as it easily shows seams.
The method I learned for natural metal finishes, you can find here: http://famecities.com/2013/07/natural-metal-by-ed-kinney-and-larry-davi…
It basically involves Tamiya Gloss silver, Alclad and multiple colors. There are 7 different shades on the Sabre although the picture doesn’t show as well as the real model.
Once the metal was on, I added the photoetch to the cockpit sills, rear deck, and gun sight. I painted the sill and back gray, and the instrument coming black. I masked he wheel wells and painted them also. I used the masks on the wheels and the canopies and they worked perfectly. I sprayed black and then magnesium for a darker color and unmasked.
At this point, it was time for decals and I ran into my first difficulty. I had chosen the FU-850, 390th FBS, Alexandria AFB, Louisiana, 1955. This requires a wraparound multipart decal for the nose and all three tail parts. The decals are well printed and look great but I could not get them to conform. For example, on the tail I added the two sides and could not get them to wrap at the top. The decals did not seem thick but would not settle. I tried Microsol and Microset. I then moved onto Solvaset and Mr. Mark Softer. With 4-5 baths of the latter, they settled into the panel lines somewhat. To get the edges to settle, I used white blue and forced them into position. There was a band that did not get covered and to fix that, I used white paint and then touched up with Reaper Miniatures Brilliant Blue, which is a great match to the decals. All of the tail and nose surfaces were handled the same way. There is a plethora of decals for stencils and they were also treated the same.
I needed to finish the underwing things and had opened holes for the wing tanks and the Sidewinders. There are two types of tanks and I built the one with straight fins. These were painted silver using the above method. The markings for the wing tanks are not decals and need to be painted. Outside of that, the remainder of the parts attached perfectly.
Lastly, the resin seat was addressed and it is magnificent. There are 9 resin parts and 18 photoetch seat belts and parts. I surely hope they sell this separately to go with my other Sabre kits. It takes a little time to go together but the result is eye catching. The very last thing was to paint the wing tip lights and call it done.
This is a great kit. Fit is superb and the photoetch and resin add just enough. The decals are useable but not the best out there, but the scheme choices are awesome. Use Mr. Mark Softer and Solvaset and they will turn out nicely.
Highly recommended to fans of this beautiful aircraft. My Thanks to Eduard for the opportunity to build it