OzMods 1/144 F-86D Sabre

KIT #: OM 14414
PRICE: AUD $14.95 MSRP from OzMods
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run with injected canopy


Because of the rapid development of aircraft design, NorthAmerican already has proposals for updated F-86s in the late 40s. One was theF-86C heavy escort fighter while the other was the F-86D short rangeinterceptor. As promising as both designs were, the long range aircraft wasdropped leaving the F-86D. This aircraft at one time was designated F-95A asless than 25% of its parts were in common with the earlier Sabres. However inthe mystical world of appropriations, there was money for an updated plane butnot a new one so the F-95A quietly disappeared.

Armed with 2.75 inch 'Mighty Mouse' FFAR (Folding Fin AerialRockets), which were really just improved R4M rockets as used by Me-262s in thelast week of WWII, the F-86D was supposed to be guided to the target by a groundcontroller. When within the on-board radar's range, the pilot  would thenhome in on the target and fire his salvo of 24 rockets into the hapless bomber.With 7.55 pounds of warhead per rocket, it was deemed enough to bring down aSoviet bomber.

The J-47 engine provided 5,000 lbs of thrust and an afterburnerboosted that to 6,500. Sufficient for the time, but a far cry for the enormouspower of today's engines. However it did produce a top speed of 692 mph at sealevel which was faster than the F-89C and F-94C by nearly 50 mph. Hughes developed the E-4 fire control system that developed much less power thancontracted for and was always a troublesome, maintenance intensive system, aswere most early fire control radars. 

However the Air Force was proud of its new interceptor and set alow level (125 feet) speed record of 698 mph in late 1952. This record wasbested 6 months later by another F-86D at nearly 716 mph. This record lastedless than  three months when it was broken by a succession of aircraftincluding the Hawker Hunter, then the F4D-1 Skyray and then the F-100 SuperSabre, all within a matter of a few months.

The F-86D did go on to provide much needed aerial protection formany years, equipping as many as 20 FIS units. Later, most F-86Ds were modifiedto F-86L specifications. This included the new SAGE data link system andrewinging with the a slatted '6-3' wing that had 12 inch extentions on the tip. These F-86Ls were eventually toequip 28 Air National Guard units starting with the 108th Illinois ANG atChicago in 1957 (This unit is currently based at Scott AFB and flying KC-135Rtankers, the last unit to upgrade to the R version). By the early 1960s, the number of units still flying the Dog Sabre haddwindled to a handful and were all gone by the middle of the decade. Now you canonly find them in museums or on poles guarding VFW halls and American Legionposts.


It has been over two years since I have had a chance to review an OZ Mods kit and in that time a few things have happened. First, they have gone to a softer plastic. The previous type they used was rather hard and somewhat brittle, making removing the parts from the somewhat large sprue gates a bit of a challenge. The second thing is that all new kits from this one on will have an injected canopy. The vacform ones will still be available if you wish to order one. Finally, they have gone to an actual box instead of a header bag.

The overall molding on the kit is good. The details are nice for this scale and while some of the detail will disappear under sanding, many prefer the finer detailing to the large engraved lines of others. All of the parts will have a bit of flash on them as is typical for short run injected kits. The intake and exhaust are see-through so most will wish to install card to block that.

The kit comes with a two piece ejection seat, a nice cockpit tub, an instrument panel, and a very fine control stick, so take care removing the stick from the sprue. A pair of drop tanks are also included. The single piece wing is correct for the Dog Sabre in that it is the short span, slatted version. Separate gear doors are provided as are well done landing gear and wheels. The instructions note that the nose gear door was frequently found closed. It was also frequently found open. Looking at all the images in the reference showed about a 50/50 mix of open and closed nose gear doors. I also found images where the inner main geard doors were closed, but not as many.  When the aircraft was under power, these were always closed and opened again during the cycling of the landing gear.

The one-piece canopy is thick but well formed. As a bit of a note, the F-86D canopy opened up rather than slid back. The rear of the clear canopy provided was part of the fuselage and not the canopy, so builders will need to fair in the rear of this item after it is installed.

Instructions are basically an exploded view, which is fine for a kit like this. The decals are probably still ALPS printed as they seem to be on a single carrier. You may wish to coat them with a clear to help keep them from damage. Markings are for two aircraft: one is the box art plane from the 97 FIS. I believe these are special markings as normally, the '97' was not present. The other is a Yugoslav F-86D. This aircraft has a large, dark purple nose and a sharkmouth. The builder will need to paint the purple. I should also mention that when these planes were camouflaged, the aircraft number was also on the wings opposite the ones with the insignia. I am not sure if this was also true of the bare metal ones. 


II know you've seen this aircraft type kitted in 1/72 and 1/48 scales. Now you have the opportunity to add it to your 1/144 scale collection. As it is a short run kit, it is not for the inexperienced, but for those who have the skills, the results should be superb.


Ray Wagner's The North AmericanSabre; Doubleday, 1963

December 2011

My thanks to the fine folks at OzMods for the review kit. Get yours today from the link.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note toContributors.

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