The Search for Accuracy

By Chris Banyai-Riepl

Recently I was drawn into a discussion on the accuracy of the new Monogram 1/48 F-86D, specifically in regards to the wings. Having a real F-86D locally that I could measure, the results brought about an interesting discovery: Monogram's wings were right and Hasegawa's were wrong. To me this wasn't that big of a deal, but it seems that these days many modelers are judging kits based on their logos rather than the contents. Names like Tamiya and Hasegawa and Accurate Miniatures seem to be synonymous with detail and accuracy, while those companies that don't necessarily have access to the latest tooling machinery are relegated to being less detail- and accuracy-oriented. Is this actually the case, though?

Monogram's Canadair Sabre wing is blue, Hasegawa's F-86F-30 wing
is green, and the Monogram F-86D wing is red. The black outline shows
what the actual physical measurements of a real F-86 wing should be.

Well, in the case of the F-86 wing, the answer is no. The absolutely suberb Hasegawa kit, with its exquisite detailing, excellent fit, and petite recessed panel lines, has a wing that is significantly off in sweep. The old Monogram Canadair Sabre from a couple decades ago IS accurate in the wing, but the raised panel lines and poor fit push it from people's minds. The same case with Spitfires. A recent comparison at Hyperscale as well as comparisons here at Internet Modeler show that the Hasegawa Spitfire has some serious problems with the fuselage, while the difficult-to-build ICM kit is just about spot on. The list could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.

So where do we go from here? Do we toss these nicely-tooled but inaccurate kits? I don't think so. We ARE modelers, after all, and we all possess the tools and skills to fix just about any problem out there on any kit. Sabre wing sweep? Use the wing from the Monogram kit on your Hasegawa and you're done. Don't want to rescribe the wing? Add a 6-3 extension to the F-86D wing and use that. How about that Spitfire problem? With a bit of modeling skill, you could build the ICM kit into a very nice replica for about the same price as the Hasegawa kit. Sure, it might take some extra sanding and perhaps some more filler, but that's not beyond the skills of any modeler out there.

The question you need to ask yourself is what's more important to you: accuracy or OOB detail? For some of us, accuracy is a strong point and we'll go to any lengths to make our models as close to the original as is possible in this medium and scale. Other modelers may find that it's more important to have a model that's easier to build in order to concentrate on markings or camouflage schemes. Is either way right or wrong? No. The bottom line is to build your models the way YOU want to build them. When the day is done and the model is on the shelf, the only person that needs to be satisfied is you.

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