Monday, May 5

If you Must have a new 48th scale F-86K Sabre then the review of this kit might be for you....

The new company called Musthave! has surprised us with this new kit of the much loved F-86K NATO version of the Sabre - Our friends at the Scale Plastic Aircraft Modeller have sent us their review of this new kit - and as sharing is caring we thought we would show you what they thought of it..
North American F-86K
Manufacturer: MustHave!
Scale: 1/48
Kit No: MH148002
Availability: directly from MustHave! ( or online.

(Click pictures to see them full sizeS)
Musthave! is a French company that so far has issued two 1/48 scale plastic model kits:
first one is of a Curtiss Mohawk IV with markings for aircraft used by French, Dutch and British forces in Morocco, Syria, Java and India.

Their second kit is of this North American F-86K  we are reviewing here, with markings for aircraft used by the following five nations: Italy, Norway, The Netherlands, France and Germany.
The Mohawk IV and the F-86K kits both are based on other company´s plastic kits complemented by conversion parts, decals and new instructions from MustHave! to enable the modeller to build different variants not given before.
The “K” variant of the famous F-86 Sabre is a more basic export NATO version of the U.S. F-86D. The fuselage rocket tray of the US version has been deleted with four 20mm cannons added as main armament instead.

There have been some discussions on short or long wings having been used on the F-86K. According to a good friend “it depends!”. Even the Luftwaffe has got F-86K with short length wings (4x) with other aircraft  having been equipped with long wings. Also the French airforce got F-86K with short wings so using the Revell kit´s wings is just fine here.
The top opening card box 320 x 245 x 50 millimetres in size is adorned by a splendid box art showing two French F-86K´s flying high atop the clouds. Upon opening the box the first one sees are two new fuselage halves moulded in black styrene.
MustHave! has done a great job by providing the modeller these new fuselage halves in injection moulded plastic: cutting and inserting any conversion part inserts to depict the cannon openings of a F-86K into Revell´s fuselage parts would quite have challenged most modellers. Also the fuselage of an F-86K is 203 millimetres longer than an F-86D! MustHave! has well spotted this and did the best possible job by providing completely new and correct fuselage halves here!

Also given in the box is Revell´s F-86D Sabre kit with all parts sealed in a clear plastic bag:
I will not go and review this already known Revell kit here. Anybody interested will find the corresponding reviews of Revell’s kit on the Net.

So, we have the new fuselage parts from MustHave! as well as the full Revell F-86D kit here. Furthermore this kit comprises some photo etched and resin parts added by MustHave! to provide missing or additional detail to your F-86K kit:
This PE sheet comprises seat belts, canopy rail detail, a new instrument panel, new torque arms for the landing gear and other stuff.
Three resin parts are given: a new IP cover, an optional rudder and a sight. I am not sure about the optional resin side rudder, though. Comparing this resin part to the rudder moulded onto the new fuselage halves I cannot see a difference aside from the resin part being way thicker than the plastic parts and it offers no additional detail on it, so I cannot see a gain using this resin part…

The new resin IP cover replaces the Revell kit one due to the F-86D and F-86K having different IPs:
Musthave! provides a piece of acetate film to depict the new instruments. This piece of acetate is to be glued behind the PE instrument panel. But even after having painted the back side of this acetate in white colour I cannot see the quality of this will satisfy anyone. The modeller might choose some aftermarket instrument decals instead that easily will give a better result than the reproduction on this acetate. But this is minor nitpicking from me.

I was immediately impressed by the quality of the new F-86K fuselage halves provided! I then compared them to the Revell parts: the new parts are at least as good and beautiful as the Revell ones:
I cut them from the sprues to check for the fit of a MustHave! fuselage half to a Revell one:
Here we see the shorter Revell tail in front of the MustHave! part.
Seen from the other side:
Aside from the different length of the fuselage parts the MustHave! ones have the same nice detail and recessed panel lines as the Revell ones. Musthave! has done a fine job to remove any indication of the rocket tray of a F-86D and succeeded in lengthening of their F-86K fuselage. Revell couldn´t have done better!

Let´s have a closer look at the new fuselage:

The only thing the modeller has to do is to open up the muzzles with a fine drill bit. Piece of cake!
The Instructions:
To build this MustHave! kit an eight page b/w assembly manual 210 x 297 millimetres in size is given. On the first page the manufacturer explains that due to this kit being a multi-media kit different glues will be needed. A bibliography and reference websites are listed as well as acknowledgements and the manufacturer´s contact information.
To no surprise the assembly begins with the cockpit. Parts are identified by their numbers, any modifications on Revell parts are mentioned where necessary. Optional usage of parts depending on the nationality of the aircraft you are going to build are clearly shown.
Colour call-outs are given in the individual assembly steps where necessary and also a list of painting instructions of parts or areas is given on the end of the assembly manual. MustHave! just mentions common colour information such as “off white”, for example. But no paint manufacturer´s reference is given so the modeller has to collect the needed colours from his preferred line of paints himself.
This last page of the assembly instructions shows the placement of stencils and markings given on an extra decal sheet. An augmented view is given for placement of stencils in the main landing gear/centre fuselage area.
I always liked the shape of an F-86 but having now seen the five different marking schemes provided in this kit I wished MustHave! would have send me another four kits instead of this one review sample! Four of the schemes given are aircraft in nature metal while the German Federal Luftwaffe being in tricolour camouflage, with appropriate RAL colour call-outs given for the Luftwaffe aircraft on the full colour painting guide.

From what I have found on the Net there seems to have been a first edition of this MustHave! kit with the four nature metal schemes only, while this sample now has a fifth bonus scheme given to do this Luftwaffe bird.

These are the five scheme options given:

North American (FIAT) F.86 K “Kappone”
1-39 / 54 903
Magg Pilota Francesco Fatigati
1° Stormo COT. 17° Gruppo
ISTRANA Air Base, Italy, Summer 1956
North American F-86K
ZK-A / 54 1251. 337 Squadron, RNAF
GARDERMOEN Air Station, Norway 1957
North American (FIAT) F-86K “Kaasjager”
Y7-2 / 54 238. 701 AWX Squadron Klu, RNethAF
TWENTHE AFB, The Netherlands 1959
North American (FIAT) F.86 K
13 PH / 54 835. Cne Brossier. ECTT 2/13 ALPES
13 QV / 54 860. Sgt. Chavet. ECTT 1/13 ARTOIS
COLMAR-MEYENHEIM, France 1957 / 1959
(56-4156, 2./JG 74; not given in the instructions)
Each of these marking and painting schemes are given printed in full colour, showing aircraft in upper, lower, right and left side view. Revell and other manufacturers could learn a lot on this here from MustHave!.

Please note that the lower side view the French flag (decal A10) is shown wrong! Just apply the decal as given on the sheet showing the colours Blue-White-Red! Also two (2) different French aircraft can be build as indicated here by using decal A1 or A2, and decal A3 or A4.

Together with the excellent new fuselage halves and the well done painting and marking instructions the decals are of a similar high quality! They are given on two (2) sheets 200 x 150mm and two (2) smaller sheets, so this are four (4) sheets of decals. Printing is crisp, the colours look very good to my Mk.I eyeball, even without having the real aircraft at hand to compare. The decals look thin with good colour saturation and very little carrier film.
The Revell F-86D kit is a well known 1/48 scale jet fighter kit, one of the best kits in my opinion. MustHave! could have chosen the easy way and just have added some decals, PE parts and some small resin inserts to the base kit.

But they went the hard and better way! They invested in a mould to do full length new injection moulded fuselage halves being of correct length for a F-86K and all needed modifications already done for the modeller!

They also give us well executed full colour four side views of each of the five schemes, with the corresponding high-quality decals being printed on four sheets.

Price for this kit is about Euro 41 as far as I have found on the Net. With the Revell kit already included and having a price of about Euro 25 itself the MustHave! conversion set is for only Euro 16! I have seen tiny PE sets for this price! You may contact MustHave! by email and ask for price and availability of this kit:

Given the MustHave! kit´s price and looking at what is given ready to be build out of the box this is a bargain in my eyes! Full and frank this is a great kit at a very reasonable price! Get one as long as they are available!

Thomas Mayer

Many thanks to Thomas Mayer for submitting this review – you can join the discussion about this kit on Scale Plastic aircraft Modeller -  thanks also to MustHave! for providing this review sample