Sunday, September 27

Building a Geiger Tiger PT.II - Kitty Hawk’s F-86D Sabre Dog W/ Zotz Decals & PJ Productions pilot & Mastebox figurine…

You might have seen Part I of Nic’s build  showing his construction and prepping for paint. Today however he takes on the second part of his build of Kittyhawk’s 1/32nd scale F-86D “Sabre Dog” with the added spice of a pilot from PJ Productions, Mastebox lady crewperson to populate it and some alternative decals from Zotz to colour this bird. Let's see how it all went together in Part II...
Build Review PT II:
1/32 scale “F-86D Sabre Dog”.
Kit No: KH32007
Kit type: injection moulded
Scale: 1/32
Sprues: 7 styrene + 1 clear + Photo etch
Part Count: 304
Kit Decals: The kit provides 6 markings in the box:
Part 1 of this build was basically on the construction of the kit.  You can read how that went here. The biggest challenge for me was still to come though: painting the kit. It’s the first time I build a kit in a metal finish and I have to say, it sure stressed me. Ow, before I forget: the most amazing thing of this kit to me is the surface detail. So I really wanted to make that stand out. 
In the first part I gave the fuselage a first layer of metal paint and did some panelling. Next up were the wings: basic layer was chrome silver, and panelling was done with a mix of chrome silver, titanium and a tiny drop of gloss black.
While testing, I noticed that it’s best to be very careful with masking tape. Bad news, because the Geiger Tiger that I chose needed quite some masking: the tail, wingtips and canopy framing need to be painted blue and some panels need a different shade of metal.
Before putting the masking tape on the kit, I briefly glued the tape on the back of my hand to make it less sticky. Then, I first sprayed a coat of Aqua Revell white, followed by some Blue Angel blue. I don’t think I’ve ever took my masking tape so careful off a kit, but it was worth it: pretty sharp and no bad effect on the metal.
Same with the titanium end of the fuselage. Looks okay, just needs a little polish later on in the build…
The wings still aren’t glued to the fuselage, but let’s test fit just to see what the kit looks like so far...
Time to give the kit a couple of layers of Johnson’s Klear and get started with those decals. I used the Zotz Decals for the Geiger Tiger and the kit decals for the stencilling. The Zotz Decals are very glossy, while the kit decals aren’t. Didn’t make a difference in the end though, but it did stress me out a little.

This Sabre was the mount of Captain Bud Sherman USAF, 498th FIS SQ XO. "Big Viv" was his wife, Vivian. My father and Bud designed the colour scheme for the Geiger Tigers.
The SQ Co was Lt. Colonel Garth:Gabby" Reynolds, and the 9th Air Division CO was Colonel Harrison Thyng.
The large “Big Viv” decal went on very nicely, that was a relief!
The model of the kit- let's call her ‘Viv’  - She is a Masterbox figure - I thought it looked okay. She kept a close eye on the proceedings...
With the decals done, another layer of Johnson’s Klear  was brushed on. After about 20 minutes, I could start weathering my Sabre Dog. The fuselage got a self-made wash of dark brown, black and metal watercolours. The olive green anti-glare panel received a wash with light grey.
The light grey wash brought every little panel line and rivet on the nose. Looks a bit sharp here, but once the layer of flat varnish is over it, it will look the part, I hope...
The wings received the same treatment – with the blue lines on the wingtips and the star-and-bar getting the light coloured wash. The tricky part is that some decals have to be cut; the one on the speed brake is the hardest one to do; separated decals would have been easier.
Time for another test fit. Next thing on the menu: the canopy.
The canopy has to be painted in silver and dark blue, so some masking is needed. The area underneath it is very visible, so I added a little detail. The same was done with the canopy framing. It’s a very nice touch that Kitty Hawk thought of providing some detail in this area, but it can always be a little more, right? The decals went on great and after some Johnson’s Klear , a little wash brought out the rivets.
You might have noticed that the biggest decal of them all isn’t on the kit: the big tiger mouth. I had trouble with the decal while placing it, used a lot of softener to get it into the panel lines and tore it (my fault)... Blast!! So, the only other solution was to paint the tiger mouth on the kit, not something I was looking forward to. I printed a mask for each color: black, white and red.
It took me an entire evening to mask the three colours. I sprayed each layer as thin as possible so I’d keep the details of the fuselage. I used Revell Aqua Color in this order: first black, then white, followed by red. When that was done, I drank a cup of tea before unmasking, hoping it would look okay. It did, fortunately! On went a couple of layers of Johnson’s Klear.
Here’s the growl of the tiger with some wash on it! And just look at all that nice surface detail!
With this hurdle taken – veeery big sigh! – It was just a matter of sticking on the final details in order to finish the Sabre Dog.
The speed brakes in their correct position and some weathering on the leading edge of the vertical tail make it look just that little bit more realistic.
Here it she in all her glory, with Viv on the droptank. She looks pretty pleased, too! The early Sidewinders provided in the kit are really very well detailed. I don’t know all the Sidewinders in 1/32, but this one is the best I’ve seen. I’m not surprised, to be honest, the later version of the missile in the Bronco kit was good as well.
Time for a little photoshoot on top of my car! How ‘bout that metal look?
And one final one with a close up of all that was used in this build: Kitty Hawk’s F-86D Sabre Dog, Zotz Decals, PJ Production pilot figure and Viv’, one of Masterbox pin-ups.

This Sabre Dog was a very enjoyable build indeed. It isn’t the easiest build around though, it is a kit that needs quite a bit of test fitting. The interior structure is necessary to give the fuselage its fit and you have to be aware when building a metal finish, everything needs to be very well polished - I probably will do some more now, I have progress in that department!
Back to the kit: I have read quite some remarks on this online and some of them are not accurate. There is no problem with the nose not fitting, the fuselage goes together well, provided you build the interior structure, you can build the wings separately without a problem and the dimensions of the kit seem to be correct. You need to take care with the fit of the front to aft fuselage and you shouldn’t forget to put in some weight to prevent the kit from being a tail-sitter. And the position of the speed brakes can be resolved in a few minutes too (see part 1). I was surprised by the size of this aircraft, it’s rather big!
Kitty Hawk has been in the modelling business for only 4 years now and the list of kits they have released so far is truly impressive. What’s more, the kits keep getting better and the brand improves where there’s room for it; the sprue connection points are much better, as are the instructions. I can’t wait to see what will come next !

Nicolas Deboeck

Our thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for the kit, to Zotz Decals for the decals and PJ Productions for the pilot figure and to François for the help with Viv’!