Revell/Germany 1/48 F-86D Sabre Dog
With the threat of atomic attack from the Soviet Union, military planners were using every resource to build a protective shield around the continent. The only effective all-weather interceptors available after WW2 was the P-61 Black Widow, which was used for continental defense until a more modern solution could be fielded. Adaptations of the F-80/T-33 airframe and an early radar created the F-94 Starfire that saw limited success.
North American was tasked to develop an all-weather interceptor based upon its F-86 airframe. Originally allocated the designation F-95A, the Sabre Dog would become the most widely produced variant of the Sabre family. The F-86D would become the first Sabre to be equipped with an afterburner using the General Electric J47-GE-17. The modified nose housed the Hughes E-4 fire control system that would launch a battery of 24 Mighty Mouse rockets at an unsuspecting target. In all, 2,504 F-86Ds would be produced and serve in air forces around the world.
Many F-86Ds would be remanufactured into the F-86L standard with the same slatted wing fitted on the F-86F-40 and improved avionics. This version of the interceptor Sabre would not be fitted with guns, but the license-produced F-86Ks would tote four 20mm cannons.
Revell/Germany released their kit about a month or so before the Monogram Pro-Modeler release in the US. Interestingly enough, these are similar but not identical kits. The only real difference between the two releases is the parachute housing in the base of the vertical stabilizer that was a feature of later model Sabre Dogs while the Pro Modeler release represents an early production machine without the parachute housing.
The kit is molded in silver styrene and, yes, it features finely scribed details throughout. The (roughly) 103 parts are absolutely free of flash and have no injector pin marks in any places that would be visible after assembly. The clear parts are also crystal clear and free of flaws.
The kit was also designed with the one feature that we've wanted from all of the Hasegawa 1/48 F-86 kits - drooped leading edge slats! Yep, the aircraft can be built as it would look parked on a ramp or taxiing around the field. As the standard F-86D did not carry any external weapons of any sort, the kit provides the standard pair of external fuel tanks, complete with anti-sway braces.
Another difference between the Revell/Germany and Pro Modeler releases of the F-86D is the optional enging cooling scoops on the R/G example. You've got your choice of the NACA styled intakes or real scoops, depending on the version of the Sabre you're building.
The kit also features a deep intake trunk that also houses the top of the nosegear wheel well. The speed brakes can be positioned open or closed as well as the ventral rocket launcher pack, trailing edge flaps. While this kit has a nicely done cockpit tub and ejection seat, I suspect that an aftermarket replacement or three are in the wings. The ejection seat will be hard to beat though, as they've got five nice parts that replicate the bang seat of this aircraft. One additional nice touch is the retractable boarding step that extends out of the left side of the fuselage. These folks have done their homework!
Decals are provided for two aircraft:
F-86D-60-NA, 94 FIS, 1 FG, Selfridge AFB, NI
F-86D-31-NA, 726 Sqn, Royal Danish Air Force.
The sheet also includes an ample supply of maintenance stencils as well.
This kit is one of those that can be easily built out of the box. I've seen a few of these already built at our local hobby shop and despite the little time spent on the construction and finish of the aircraft, they turned out rather nicely! I am looking forward to taking a crack at my late-model Dog Sabre.