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Monogram 1/48 F-100D Super Sabre Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2006 Manufacturer Monogram
Subject F-100D Super Sabre Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5496 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Best F-100 in any scale Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $14.00

First Look


North American Aviation was thrust to the forefront of aviation fame with its P-51 Mustang fighter from World War II. They were working on their first jet-powered fighter, the P-86 by war's end. This straight-winged design, parallel-developed for the US Navy as the FJ-1 Fury, featured lack-luster performance.

What saved the day was post-war access to captured aviation research from Messerschmitt, including swept wing research and the spring-loaded leading edge slats used on the Bf 109, Me 262, and others. North American engineers were able to adapt and improve on the captured German technology and the F-86 Sabre and the swept-wing FJ Furys were born.

As the bugs were being worked out of these two aircraft types, Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier and a completely new chapter of aviation research was opened. As the knowledge gained from the early X-planes was quantified, North American was able to create the design for what would become the world's first operational supersonic fighter, the F-100 Super Sabre (nicknamed 'the Hun').

The USAF and many US allies were equipped with the F-100 and it provided significant experience in the new world of transonic operations. The aircraft was still an outgrowth of the F-86 Sabre, designed to be a gun fighter (initially) armed with four 20mm cannons under the nose. Later versions of the F-100 could carry the heat-seeking Sidewinder missile as well as a variety of air-to-surface bombs, rockets, and the Bullpup guided missile.

The F-100 was operational in that great period between Korea and Vietnam where USAF aircraft sported very colorful paint schemes to identify their assigned wing and squadron. Not long after the Hun entered combat operations in Vietnam, it received the standard Southeast Asia camouflage scheme. You can wander through a visual history of the aircraft here.

The Hun was there at the beginning of combat operations over Vietnam. The F-100 provided fighter escort in the early phase of the war, but its lack of radar limited its effectiveness to daytime fair weather operations. The aircraft was soon phased into air-to-ground operations. In the mud-moving business, the Hun was a very capable platform.

This is the 2001 re-release of the Monogram 1/48 F-100D Super Sabre. The molds had been cleaned up for this release as the surface of the kit is much smoother than the previous releases. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees, plus a single tress of clear parts.

This kit was one of the earlier generation of models that included other members of the Century Series, the F-101, F-102, F-104, F-105, and F-106. Some of these were released in multiple versions, but the F-100 was only produced as the F-100D. As with the other members in this series, the molding is nicely done, though the panel lines are raised (as kits were in those days). Nevertheless, this is still the nicest F-100 kit produced in any scale to date!

The assembly of this kit can be a bit challenging to get together. The upper wing half is one piece - left and right wings with a carry-though structure that is trapped between the upper and lower fuselage halves. A little patience and some clamps will get a good mating of the fuselage halves.

The horizontal stabilizers are integral to the upper fuselage half. In my previous builds, I'd carefully cut away the horizontal stabs, drill a hole at the hinge point of each stab, and insert a short section of brass rod with cyano. I'd then insert a brass tube that has the same internal diameter as the brass rods through the fuselage at the hinge points. The ends of the tube are made flush with the fuselage sides. Once assembly and painting of the kit is completed, I'd install the pins on the stabs into the hinge tube and pose the stabs full-down as the aircraft appears at rest.

Kit options include:

  • Positionable canopy
  • Positionable leading edge slats (they're positioned down, but you can cut away the tracks and glue the slats up
  • Open or closed port ammo bay
  • Open or closed port gun bay
  • F-100 'iris' afterburner or F-102 afterburner
  • Straight or elevated air refueling probe
  • Boarding ladder
  • Pilot and crew figures

External stores include:

  • 275 gallon fuel tanks
  • Bullpup missiles
  • Mk.82 bombs w/fuse extenders

A Note From F-100 Expert David Menard

Well-known F-100 author and historian David Menard made the following notes on the Monogram F-100D:

The Monogram kit of the F-100D in 1/48 scale has been available for a number of years and while it has been reviewed by many people in various publications, very few have picked up on the only major error of the model, i.e., the drop tanks are too short! The shape of these tanks is basically correct, but for pre-VN War aircraft, which carried 275 gallon tanks, the kit tanks are a full 1/4" (12 scale inches) too short forward of the pylon. To further compound this error, 275s were not used in SAE without a 28 inch cylindrical addition inserted just forward of the pylon leading edge, thus increasing the capacity of this new tank to 335 gallons. Most all 275s in the USAF/ANG inventory had this addition by 1966, so check photos carefully before modeling a particular Hun.

There are other items to be considered in modeling the Hun, as she had many modifications during her 25 years of service. One of these is part #6, the F-102 afterburner. This can ONLY be used on ANG aircraft as no Regular AF units got to use this A/B (much to their chagrin, as this 'burner was more reliable and maintenance free).

Wing fences were not always fitted either, so check you photos again. Tail hooks were not fitted until late 1960 or 1961, so any '50s Hun being modeled should not carry this hook.

There were four different style IFR probes fitted to the Hun over her career. The first was a short, straight one that forced the pilot to look back over his right shoulder to place the probe head into the KB-50's refueling basket. After many complaints, an extension was inserted into the probe, bringing its head well forward. Part #8 is correct for this second type, while the first type can be constructed by cutting the 5/8" section out of the probe just forward of the wing mount, and reglueing the longer segment to the wing mount.

The third style, which started to appear in the early '60s, was also two piece, but the forward segment was bent into a very shallow S which put the probe head much higher and forward, thus making hookups much easier. Part #7 could be cut off for this. The last style was the curved, one piece one that is very well done in part #7. However, different blocks of Huns used different wing mounts, with the shorter mount having a light fitted to its underside. Check your photos, if possible.

The speed brake door in the kit is the modified wider crotch one, refitted to all Ds (except -1, -5, -10, -15, -35, & -40) and Fs, starting in late 1962 or early 1963. This newer door could then be used when a center line pylon and store were carried. With the narrower crotch old door, a fitting in the pylon leading edge was supposed to trip a switch inside the fuselage, thus preventing (in theory) the door from coming down, damaging both the door and whatever was fitted to the pylon. I cannot tell you how many times the switch failed, which usually meant installing a new door to replace the broken old one! So, no '50s or very early '60s Huns used this modified door.

The main landing gear doors fitted to the fuselage (Part #30) are the type that are fitted only to the Ds that can carry a centerline pylon and store, the same a/c with the modified speed brake door. This is because parts of the doors (58 & 59) had to hinge even further to allow clearance for the main wheel/tire during retraction/extension. So, if you are modeling a D-1, -5, -10, -15, -35, or -40, glue parts 58 and 59 into the doors so that the door looks like it is one piece. Tail numbers of these F-100s are:

  • F-100D-1 - 42121 thru 42132
  • F-100D-5 - 42133 thru 42151
  • F-100D-10 - 42152 thru 42221
  • F-100D-15 - 42222 thru 42303
  • F-100D-35 - 52734 thru 52743
  • F-100D-40 - 52744 thru 52783

Markings are provided for two aircraft:

  • F-100D-65-NA, 56-2999, 79 TFS/20 TFW, RAF Woodbridge, UK, 1958
  • F-100D-75-NA, 56-3189, 31 TFW Commander's Aircraft, George AFB, CA, 1958

Come on you Century Series modelers, time to dust off your Huns!