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Ultimate Sabre

Eduard 1/48 Ultimate Sabre Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2016 Manufacturer Eduard
Subject Ultimate Sabre Scale 1/48
Kit Number 1163 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch, Resin
Pros Great details Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $89.98

First Look

Ultimate Sabre
Ultimate Sabre
Ultimate Sabre
Ultimate Sabre
Ultimate Sabre

The F-86 Sabre started out in 1945 as the XP-86, a conventional straight-winged jet fighter. Based on the lackluster performance of a similar design for the US Navy, the FJ Fury, the USAAF decided to delay the project a year. While North American gained some experience with the limited number of Furies delivered to the Navy, it was given access to captured research and designs, principally from Messerschmitt's design group. The research centered on swept wing technology and the use of the Messerschmitt spring-loaded leading edge slats to improve low-speed performance of the wing. From this research, North American turned out the first swept-wing transonic fighter, the F-86A as well as the similar looking FJ-2 Fury for the Navy.

Production was supposed to end with the F-86F-35-NA (Block 35) aircraft as the Air Force was moving forward with the supersonic F-100, but when demand from allied air forces for the F-86F exceeded the Air Force's ability to deliver, the Block 40 was put into production. This aircraft was similar to previous F-86F models except for the wing. The low-speed handling problems of the 6-3 wing was solved with the addition of leading edge slats and an almost two-foot extension to the wingspan. The resulting improvement in low-speed performance caused the Air Force to order Block 40 wings to be retro-fitted to earlier Sabres.

Eduard has released the F-86F in their limited edition series, this kit is based upon the Hasegawa 1/48 F-86F kit with the 6-3 wing (not the longer F-40 wing). With this kit, Eduard adds their usual magic including color-printed photo-etched parts for the cockpit, a resin ejection seat, paint masks, and a huge decal sheet.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Nicely detailed cockpit
  • Color-printed photo-etch instrument panel and placards
  • Resin ejection seat with color-printed photo-etch pilot restraints
  • Positionable canopy
  • Nice intake duct to compressor face
  • Positionable speed brakes

The kit provides two underwing external fuel tanks for the outboard wing stations as well as a pair of AIM-9B Sidewinders for the inboard wing stations. Note that all of the aircraft featured in this release are Korean War era examples and none were equipped with the Sidewinder. In fact, the US Navy didn't begin use of the Sidewinder until 1956 and the USAF in 1964. This kit and its Sidewinders are appropriate for the combat debut of the missile when a USMC team went to Taiwan to modify their F-86 Sabres to operate the AIM-9 and were put use during the battle of the Taiwan Strait in 1958. In short, don't use the Sidewinders if you're doing any of the subjects in this kit.

The kit includes markings for five aircraft:

  • F-86F-30-NA, 52-4584, 25 FIS/1 FIW, Suwon AB, Korea, 1953, 'MiG Mad Marine' as flown by Major John Glenn
  • F-86F-30-NA, 52-4850, 390 FBS, Alexandria AFB, 1955
  • F-86F-30-NA, 52-4341, 67 FBS/18 FBG, Osan AB, 1953, 'MiG Poison'
  • F-86F-30-NA, 52-4539, 336 FIS/4 FIG, Kimpo AB, 1954, 'Dreaded Gomboo/Sweet Rose'
  • F-86F-25-NA, 51-13361, 435 FBS, Detroit AFB, 1952

The Hasegawa kit is a simple build but has some nice details straight out of the box. The Eduard enhancements for the cockpit will make this even nicer and the extensive decal sheet complete with airframe stenciling will render a nice contest-worthy model.

My sincere thanks to Eduard for this review sample!