Cybermodeler Online

Celebrating 24 years of hobby news and reviews




The appearance of U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Defense, or NASA imagery or art does not constitute an endorsement nor is Cybermodeler Online affiliated with these organizations.


  • Facebook
  • Parler
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • YouTube

Academy F-86 Sabre

Academy 1/72 F-86E Sabre Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2006 Manufacturer Academy
Subject F-86E Sabre Scale 1/72
Kit Number 1681 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Sweet Sabre kit Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $16.00

First Look

Academy F-86 Sabre
Academy F-86 Sabre
Academy F-86 Sabre
Academy F-86 Sabre

North American developed a derivative version of the USN's straight-wing FJ-1 Fury concept for the Army Air Force. This initial version, dubbed XP-86, was approved in May 1945. Due to the disappointing results in the straight-winged design, and North American's access to Messerschmitt design data after the end of the war, the straight-winged Sabre and Fury were scrapped in favor of a swept design. This redesigned prototype, the YP-86 first flew in October 1947.

The first production version, the F-86A, entered combat when the 4th Fighter Interceptor Group deployed to theater in November 1950. The following day, one of the 4 FIG Sabres scored its first MiG-15 kill. As more aircraft and trained crews became available, the Sabre was able to re-capture and maintain air superiority over the Korean skies.

The F-86E Sabre was actually the second production version of the Sabre following the F-86A. The F-86E incorporated many improvements over its predecessor including the more powerful J47-GE-13 engine rated at 5,200 lb of thrust, a 'flying tail' which provided greater pitch authority, and two underwing pylons for external fuel, bombs or rockets. The F-86E was produced in larger numbers than any other version of the Korean War Sabre.

If you haven't seen the Hobbycraft Sabres before, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the level of detail in this scale. One of the first things I looked for was to see if the leading edge slats were molded in the 'up and locked' position as Academy and Hasegawa did in their respective F-86 kits. This kit provides the slats as separate parts to be positioned as you'd like.

The kit is molded in medium gray styrene that features nicely scribed details and no flash. There are no ejector pin marks in any of the 58 parts. The four clear parts that comprise the canopy, gunsight glass and landing light are crystal clear.

The cockpit tub is molded as part of the upper intake trunk and features some very good detail in this scale. Three-piece ejection seat is a good representation of the Sabre's 'bang' seat and only requires a seatbelt/harness (or a seated pilot) to complete the setting. If you're not happy with the appearance of the intake trunk and tail pipe, the kit also provides covers to help to pose the aircraft parked.

Decals are provided for two different examples:

  • F-86E-10-NA, 51-2800, 'El Diablo' of the 336 FIS/4 FIW as flown by Major Charles Owens
  • F-86E-10-NA, 51-2834, 'Jolley Roger' of the 335 FIS/4 FIW as flown by Captain Clifford Jolley

Since the Hobbycraft F-86 is hard to find these days, this Academy release is another opportunity to get your hands on some serious scale air superiority.

This kit is recommended!

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!