Hobbycraft 1/72 F-86E Sabre






See review


Scott Van Aken


'Korea Dogfighter' boxing


Rather than go into a long history, I'll just say that the F-86was America's first successful swept wing fighter jet. Thanks to German WW IItechnology, what would have been a rather mediocre aircraft was transformed intoa viable weapons system.

The F-86 not only served with US military forces, but was alsoused by the Air Forces of several dozen other countries including Great Britain,Jugoslavia, Japan, South Africa, Korea, Venezuela, Honduras, Norway, Spain andmany others. There are still a number of F-86s flying and they are not uncommonsights at airshows throughout the US during the summer.


The Hobbycraft kit is broadly based on the very nice Fujimi kit.However, somewhere during the transition, something was lost. The most obviousglitch is in the fin. It is either too short, too broad or both. Sabre expertshave told me that this is probably the second worst 1/72 F-86 kit on the marketbecause of this problem. What is the worst? Well, that is the very old Hasegawakit. Next comes the Fujimi and the best, in terms of shape, is the Heller kit.

Doesthat mean that this kit is a hopeless case? Not at all. Frankly, this looks likeit will make into a very nice model. Hobbycraft has incorporated severalfeatures that really add to the kit. First of all, it has engraved panel lines.This is almost a requirement nowadays. The cockpit is quite complete andincludes a seat instrument panel, side consoles and control stick. The panel andconsoles have raised detail, which is good as there are no decals for them. Thisall sits on a nice full intake trunking. It would have been nice to have had anengine compressor section at the end of this rather than a blank plate, howeverit is a nice touch.

The kit also includes separate leading edgeslats, a near requirement for early Sabres. Now you have to check yourreferences to see if the aircraft you are modeling has this wing or the laterand larger 6-3 wing. Looking at this wing, it seems as if it really isthe 6-3 wing, but with slats! I'll leave that to the experts as well. The canopycan be opened to show the interior. There are also wheel well inserts, thoughthe detail is a bit weak.

There are three decal options. One isfor a 16 FIS F-86 from Korea in 1953. Next is a Turkish Air Force version. Bothof these are in natural metal. There is a camouflaged Sabre from the JugoslavAir Force to round out the trio. Hobbycraft's decals in their newer kits arevery nice. However, this isn't one of the newer kits, so I would highlyrecommend an aftermarket decal sheet. The kit decals are quite matte and seem tobe rather transparent as well as the white areas look light blue!

Asyou might have guessed, this kit has a few problems, but by all accounts itshould be able to be built into a fine model. I have seen this kit built up andit looks very much like an F-86 when finished.

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

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