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F-86K Sabre Dog

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

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2015 Manufacturer Kitty Hawk Models
Subject F-86K Sabre Dog Scale 1/32
Kit Number 32008 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros First styrene kit of this subject in this scale Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $89.95

First Look


During the early 1950s, the NATO air forces were looking for an effective interceptor that could deal with the Soviet bomber threat. The U.S. Air Force was deploying the F-86D 'Dog' Sabre at the time and was considered the best available platform. Since the Hughes fire control system of the F-86D was considered too sensitive to export, North American developed an alternative design that replaced the 'shotgun' rocket tray under the nose with four 20mm cannons and a simpler fire control system. Based upon the later block F-86D with the parabrake housing in the tail, the new gunfighter would be designated as F-86K. This aircraft would serve as the NATO front-line interceptor until the F-104 Starfighter came online nearly a decade later.

Kitty Hawk has released another subject that has never been produced in styrene in 1/32 scale - the F-86K 'Dog' Sabre. 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 given the awesome builds of the F-86D Sabre out there, this model should be 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 nose wheels
  • Positionable gun bay access doors
  • 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-37 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

Note: You'll see some models of the Luftwaffe's F-86K built with the AIM-9 missiles and launch rails, but according to the AirDoc monograph covering the F-86K, the Germans were never given the Sidewinder capability on the F-86D - that would come later with the F-104. Check your own references but I have yet to find a photo of that configuration to differ with the AirDoc history.

Markings are included for five options (only four apply to this kit):

  • F-86K, JD352, JG 74, Luftwaffe, Neuburg der Donau, 1964
  • F-86K, 55-4868, ECTT 1/13, Armee de l'Air, Colmar, 1957
  • F-86K, 55-4865, XII Gruppo/36 Stormo, Aeronautica Militare Italiana
  • F-86K, 54-1290, Kongelige Norske Flyvapen
  • F-86L, 51-2961, 3556 CCTS, USAF, Perin AFB, TX, 1960

Note that the last option, the F-86L, doesn't belong in this kit as the L was an upgraded D-model that retained the rocket pack under the nose and this airframe was never modified for guns. The huge decal set provides maintenance stenciling for the airframe as well as all of the distinctive markings.

This kit makes into the gunfighter version of the Dog Sabre which also makes a nice variety of colors and camouflage schemes available. If you do want to build the USAF aircraft, two of these were developed for flight test and one remained in the US for further testing. Images and data on these aircraft are available online. Besides the included markings options, you have possibilities for other unique subjects including Holland, Turkey, Venezuela, and Honduras.

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