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F-86 Sabre in Korea (SAAF)


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I grew up with this image hanging on our wall at home. If the drama of this picture isn't enough to inspire building a Korean War Sabre, then I don't know what will!

 

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The F-86 is one of the most beautiful aircraft ever produced, and many pilots (including Bob Hoover) consider it the finest to fly. It certainly has something to do with its sensual curves...

 

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as well as its rakish angles. It just plain looks fast, that you want to touch.

 

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There is a problem however - no kit in 1:32 does it any justice. Sure, there is the Hasegawa offering from 1972 with its raised panel lines, and the chunky plastic moulding from Kinetic (2007), but neither of them cut it. I have both.

 

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And lots of books.

 

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I have a real mish-mash of aftermarket stuff, and hopefully with a bit of this and a bit of that I can construct a satisfying F-86F 30.

 

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The first thing was to try and determine which kit, or parts of a kit best resemble the Sabre.

 

I measured, compared and even tried to mate the kits. I personally think the Hasegawa Sabre is closer to the mark than a kit produced 35 years later! :huh: The "stressed skin" of the Kinetic (Italeri) F-86 was very tempting to me, but in retrospect I think it is not intentional, but rather a by-product of the heavy rivet treatment. Still looks good though, and with the chrish (LSP) foil treatment can look very convincing.

 

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Where it really loses out to the Hasegawa kit is around the cockpit. It is very broad, and the front portion of the canopy doesn't have the right shape.

 

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The kit air intakes are quite different from each other, and here again the Hasegawa part is closer to the lines of the aircraft.

 

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The Kinetic/Italeri wings, apart from being badly warped, are pretty accurate for the 6-3 "hard" wing. Here it beats the Hasegawa wing which is a little too swept and dimensionally kinda nowhere.

 

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My money is on the Hasegawa exhaust area however. I am leaning toward just using the Hasegawa big bits, re-scribing, and modifying the wing because I need a narrow chord wing anyway. 

 

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Since I had the Aires cockpit for the Kinetic kit, I have been whittling away madly at the resin to squeeze it into the unintended narrow space of the old kit. I think it will work out eventually with shims and epoxy and maybe some nails or chewing gum. The usual resin cockpit conundrum. :blink: 

 

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The Aires seat is very nice.

 

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And their instrument panel is almost correct, although the compass bezel is way too small. I might just have to live with some inaccuracies however, since the real work will be in scribing the panel detail, and getting the intake and engine to fit!

 

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I suspect however that the minute I get all of those cards balanced, Tamiya will announce the new 1:32 partner to their F-51 in Korea... just saying.

 

Sean

 

 

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Sean,

 

I appreciate your efforts to initiate Tamiya's announcement on them doing a F-86! :lol:

 

I'll be taking notes of your build as I plan on building my Hasegawa kit for the 2021 Air Superiority GB (fingers crossed!) 

 

Mike

 

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Nice start Sean. I will be following with great interest. 
 

BTW interesting photo of the Sabre banking in Korea. That particular aircraft seem to have 36 inch roundels on the wings in stead of the normal 30 inch seen on the other SAAF Korean Sabres.

 

Nick

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Wow....nice subject matter, nice start. I too have a fondness for the F-86 of the Korean theatre of operations. A couple of companies came out some years ago with mostly pre-painted and easily put together variants of the F-86 in 1:18th scale. One of those companies, 21st Century Toys, had several differently painted F-86F-25 versions. My family knew I was collecting one of all that I could find and I inadvertently ended up with two identical models. So I started researching and discovered that the Number 2 Cheetah Squadron of the SAAF flew loaned Sabres with the USAF in the later stages of the Korean War. The SAAF however, flew fighter/bomber variants which astonished me. I always thought the Sabre was a pure fighter only...not so. I searched and found only one aircraft pictured in color with both sides visible. Your picture at the very top shows "K-King 604" on the right side of the echelon carrying bombs. I had a friend custom make the markings, stripped off the USAF paint and repainted the bird and fabricated racks and bombs for the under-wings. Here's the result....nothing as detailed and beautiful as your version, but it'll do for now.

K604.jpg

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Thanks Mike and Alex, just trying to do what John1 did for the F-51 in Korea!

 

Nick, what the heck is that 1 Squadron badge doing on your profile picture??? :fight: You might consider changing it every time you visit this build...

 

Hey Marcel, I suspect the complexity is going to be around the wings. Keep watching for a chuckle as the head scratching starts - a bit like the LERX on the MiG-29. :huh:

 

Funny guy Mike... :popcorn:

 

Great profile pic JolleyRoger. Much more appropriate than Cheetah11's!

 

On 9/12/2020 at 2:43 AM, REJ said:

Wow....nice subject matter, nice start. I too have a fondness for the F-86 of the Korean theatre of operations. A couple of companies came out some years ago with mostly pre-painted and easily put together variants of the F-86 in 1:18th scale. One of those companies, 21st Century Toys, had several differently painted F-86F-25 versions. My family knew I was collecting one of all that I could find and I inadvertently ended up with two identical models. So I started researching and discovered that the Number 2 Cheetah Squadron of the SAAF flew loaned Sabres with the USAF in the later stages of the Korean War. The SAAF however, flew fighter/bomber variants which astonished me. I always thought the Sabre was a pure fighter only...not so. I searched and found only one aircraft pictured in color with both sides visible. Your picture at the very top shows "K-King 604" on the right side of the echelon carrying bombs. I had a friend custom make the markings, stripped off the USAF paint and repainted the bird and fabricated racks and bombs for the under-wings. Here's the result....nothing as detailed and beautiful as your version, but it'll do for now.

K604.jpg

 

Nice job modifying that Sabre REJ - it looks great! It also looks as if you have a mild Sabre addiction. :lol: As Nick pointed out, those would be 36" roundels on top of K's wings, and we now know that to be a possible variation from the prescribed 30" ones. Quite appropriate to have it portrayed with drop-tanks and bombs as that was how they mostly flew. Since 2 Squadron (SAAF) was attached to the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing (USAF), most of their missions were close air support attacks. Initially they did fly fighter sweeps, and I may tell a story about that later in the build.  As you correctly pointed out, the Sabres were borrowed from the USAF, as were the Mustangs they flew earlier in the conflict. In 1956 the SAAF bought their own Canadair Sabres Mk-6's and these graced the South African skies until 1979. 

 

 

 

In the meantime, I have started the laborious task of re-scribing the Hasegawa fuselage. This is the first (and hopefully last) time that I will be doing this. I started doing the front quarter on its own, but then chose to join the tail sections and rather get the hassle of a later join out of the way. Hasegawa had the prominent panels in raised detail, so I scribed around these, as well as scribing along one side of the raised panel lines. Once that was established, I sanded the fuselage smooth and filled all the parallel lines and other scribing stuff-ups with medium cyanoacrylate. Using photographs for reference, I corrected some of the panel shapes, panel lines and added some of the round panels that Hasegawa seem to have missed. It is quite important to be sure which Sabre one uses as a reference since they differ in many details!  

 

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As an example of the differences, the gun panel in the kit has three latches and one hand hold. The Korea sabres appear to have only two latches and a hand hold.

 

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The rivets are also pretty prominent, as is their spacing. I have just taken a convenient spacing for the scale, not true rivet counting! You are welcome to count how many I missed... :lol:

 

 

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This is as far as I got in a week. At least I have a clean canvas to start riveting, since I could see from experimenting that trying to use the raised kit rivets as a guide was a sure path to madness. :blink:

 

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This might take a while.

 

Sean

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11 hours ago, Madmax said:

 

Nick, what the heck is that 1 Squadron badge doing on your profile picture??? :fight: You might consider changing it every time you visit this build...

 

 

 

Frightfully sorry about the omission old chap.

I never imagined that badge was still a source of nightmares after all the years. But then again......

 

 

 

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23 hours ago, Cheetah11 said:

 

 

Frightfully sorry about the omission old chap.

I never imagined that badge was still a source of nightmares after all the years. But then again......

 

 

 

Nick , your picture profile is too small , you should hoist the colors   ;) shouldn't you ?

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