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F-86F-30 Kit

Kinetic 1/32 F-86F-30 Sabre Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2007 Manufacturer Kinetic Models
Subject F-86F-30 Sabre Scale 1/32
Kit Number 3201 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nicely scribed detailing, nice improvement over the classic Hasegawa kit Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $42.95

First Look

F-86F-30 Kit
F-86F-30 Kit
F-86F-30 Kit
F-86F-30 Kit
F-86F-30 Kit
F-86F-30 Kit
F-86F-30 Kit
F-86F-30 Kit
F-86F-30 Kit
F-86F-30 Kit

The North American P-86 was a parallel development for the USAAF of the FJ-1 Fury for the US Navy. Both were straight winged aircraft that represented a turbine-powered P-51 Mustang tailored for airfield or carrier operations, respectively. While the US Navy took their straight-winged Furies into service, the USAAF found the performance of the P-86 lacking.

At the end of World War Two, North American received some useful engineering data captured from one of the Messerschmitt research sites regarding the Me 262 and its future derivatives. North American was able to adopt the research to add swept wings and aerodynamically operated leading edge slats to their Sabre, and the famous gunfighter was truly born. When the Korean War broke out and the first air combat was experienced against the MiG-15, the US Navy acquired a few swept-wing Sabres of their own to evaluate, leading to the production of their swept-winged Furies.

The F-86E introduced the all-flying tail to the Sabre series, while the F-86F adopted an upgraded J47 with better engine performance. Another improvement was the adoption of the "6-3" wing which referred to the standard F-86 wing that was six inches wider in chord at the wing root and three inches greater in span. The aerodynamic slats were removed and a wing fence added to improve flight performance and stability. Improved slats were added later to the "6-3" wing with the F-86F-40, while export versions also added an additional 12 inches of wingspan in addition to the improved slats.

Kinetic Model Kits entered the limelight with their nice rendition of the 1/48 F-84F Thunderstreak ( reviewed here) just a few months ago. Now they're back and this time they've really shown their stuff with this all new tool 1/32 F-86F-30 Sabre kit.

The kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on eight parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and a specially shaped hunk of steel for ballast. Only seven of the gray parts trees are shown as two sets of the weapons tree at the bottom are included in the kit.

The surface detailing on the kit is scribed and there are lots of rivet holes in the surface, but not as exaggerated as some others we've seen in our lab. The styrene surface is smooth enough for bare metal finishing, though the AMS modeler will want to buff the surface just a bit more.

Starting in the cockpit, the cockpit tub rests upon the intake duct. The side consoles also double as the mounting points for the nose-mounted 50 caliber machine guns. Kinetic did some nice engineering here. The instrument panel is the classic relief-molded gray styrene or relief-molded clear styrene with another clear panel to sandwich the decal instrument guages to be seen through the glass faces of the clear relief part.

The ejection seat is a six-piece affair that will need seat belts and shoulder harnesses as well as a bit of tweaking to look just right.

With the cockpit tub mounted on the intake duct, you add the steel ballast to the molded-in bay ahead of the cockpit to ensure that this model is not a tail-sitter. Nice touch Kinetic!

The General Electric J47 engine is nicely done, though you'll need to add the four fixed stator vanes to the engine face as these were evidently forgotten in the design of the kit. Aside from this minor omission, this engine is outstanding.

The wings are 6-3 hard wings and the flaps and ailerons are separately molded so you can position them to taste. The horizontal stabs and rudder are also separate and positionable.

Among the other features in this kit:

  • Aft section is removable, revealing the engine
  • A proper dolly is included to rest the tail section upon
  • The removed aft section reveals a nicely detailed J47
  • The canopy is positionable open or closed
  • The speed boards are positionable
  • The flight control surfaces and flaps are positionable
  • Two styles of wing pylons are provided to carry the external fuel tanks
  • Two styles of wing tanks are included
  • Wheels are molded separate from the hubs
  • Two styles of nosewheel hubs are included
  • Gun bay panels can be removed to reveal detailed gun bays
  • Optional intake and exhaust duct covers are included

Bombs and Sidewinder missiles are on the parts trees but not used in this version, leading me to conclude that we'll be seeing other variants in the 1/32 Sabre series in our future. Yes!!

So of course you're wondering how this kit compares to the tried and true Hasegawa 1/32 F-86F-40 kit? Well, you can see that kit reviewed here. I sat down with both kits and did a quick side-by-side look. First, the Hasegawa kit is much older tooling that has raised details molded into the surfaces. The layout and features of the Hasegawa kit are similar to the Kinetic kit, but when you hold the fuselages and wings together, you can see significantly different approaches to detailing and how each kit goes together. Dimensionally, the two kits are about equal. Detail and feature-wise, the Kinetic kit is the clear winner. The detailing is sharper and captures the look of the aircraft nicely. If Hasegawa were to retool their Sabre to their current state of the art, you'd see a similar approach in their design.

Two sheets of decals are provided in this kit. One contains the standard ID bands and markings whilst the other has a complete set of maintenance stencils and airframe identification numbers. Nose art and kill marks are also included on the first sheet to replicate your choice of two aircraft:

  1. F-86F-1, 51-2910, 39 FIS/51 FIW, 'Beauteous Butch II', as it appeared after his final combat mission as flown by Captain Joseph McConnell
  2. F-86F-30, 52-4641, 39 FIS/51 FIW, 'Mike's Bird', as flown by Captain Charles McSwain

This is the first 'hard wing' Sabre to be produced in mainstream styrene in this scale and I can hardly wait to see what Kinetic is planning next. The extra parts would indicate that the F-86F-40 is in the works. Wouldn't a nice F-86D, F-86H and even an F-86A be nice to see in this scale? Then again, I'd sure like to see their own F-84F scaled up to 1/32 as well.

I am impressed with this kit and it looks like it is time to stock up on some Alclad II. I have a hunch that I have a few Sabres in my future!

My sincere thanks to Lucky Model for this review sample!