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F-86D Sabre Dog

Kitty Hawk Models 1/32 F-86D Sabre Dog Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2015 Manufacturer Kitty Hawk Models
Subject F-86D Sabre Dog Scale 1/32
Kit Number 32007 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros First styrene kit of this subject in this scale Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $89.95

First Look


During the late 1940s, North American Aviation developed what would become the best dogfighter of the day with the F-86 Sabre. Initially the XP-86 had straight wings which would have doomed the design, but North American was provided captured Messerschmitt Me 262 data which gave the engineering team a jump-start on successful swept-wing technology. A highly modified F-86 design would serve aboard aircraft carriers as the FJ Fury and would evolve into the first operational supersonic fighter as the F-100.

As the F-86 was evolving, North American was tasked with another derivative which would house an early intercept radar in the nose and replace the .50 caliber guns with a tray of Mighty Mouse rockets. The resulting YF-95 was an enlarged F-86 airframe that would also introduce an augmented thrust J47 engine to compensate for the heavier aircraft. Redesignated as F-86D in production, the Dog Sabre would become the first single-seat interceptor with afterburner. Over 2,500 F-86D/K/Ls were produced and served not only in the U.S. Air Force, but also in Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Thailand, Venezuela, and Yugoslavia.

Kitty Hawk has released another subject that has never been produced in styrene in 1/32 scale - the F-86D Sabre Dog. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on seven parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and one small fret of photo-etched details. The kit looks impressive out of the box and the various test-builds shown online look equally nice.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Nicely detailed ejection seat w/photo-etched restraints
  • Detailed cockpit
  • Positionable canopy
  • Choice of two types of main wheels
  • Positionable ventral rocket tray
  • Full length intake duct ends at engine compressor face
  • Very nicely detailed J47 engine that won't be seen after assembly
  • Positionable radome with APG-36 radar dish inside
  • Leading edge slats are extended (can be retracted by removing tracks)
  • Positionable trailing edge flaps
  • Positionable ailerons
  • Positionable rudder
  • Positionable speed brakes

The kit has a selection of external stores including:

  • 2 x AIM-9B Sidewinder
  • 2 x external fuel tanks

A note on the heaters - USAF F-86Ds were not operationally armed with the GAR-8/AIM-9B though a number of Sabre Dogs that served in international air arms were retrofitted with inboard pylons and the Sidewinder. Check your references to see if the subject you're modeling was armed with the Sidewinder.

Markings are included for four options:

  • F-86D-55-NA, 53-0644, 82 FIS, USAF
  • F-86D-35-NA, 51-6171, 325 FIS, USAF
  • F-86D-40-NA, 52-3854, 181 FIS, TX ANG
  • F-86D, 84-8120, JASDF
  • F-86D, 210011, ROKAF
  • F-86D-35-NA, 51-6245, ROCAF

The decal set provides maintenance stenciling for the airframe as well as all of the distinctive markings.

The kit looks very nice and as I mentioned above, Kitty Hawk has been releasing lots of photos of this kit built-up which bodes well. I still recommend this kit to experienced modelers with all of the details that are going inside the fuselage as this will require patience and lots of dry-fitting of subassemblies to ensure all fits together properly.

My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!