Friday, April 22

Bruce finishes his Eduard kit of the 48th scale F-86F ‘Ultimate Sabre” in 48th scale and colourful markings.

Bruce Anders from Cutting Mat Capers has put his considerable skills into building the Eduard kit of the 48th scale F-86F ‘Ultimate Sabre” – a special edition with Hasegawa plastics pimped out with Eduard Brassin and photo-etched detail. Let’s see what he thinks about the kit in the wash up of his excellent build.

Build Review: F-86F ‘Ultimate Sabre” Limited edition
1/48th scale
Eduard Kit No# 1163
plastic parts from Hasegawa
Coloured & brass photo-etch included
painting mask included
Brassin parts included for the Ejection seat
Decals printed by Cartograf
Aircraft marking options x 5
Price: ¥7,200/ USD $65/ €58 from Hobbylink Japan

Sabre build report
The first order of business was to remove the non-required scoop from the right-hand fuselage half and plug the resulting hole with some plastic strip then sand it down to conform to the surrounding fuselage contour
That done, I then removed all parts marked in the instructions parts map “not for use” from the sprues. 
This follows a disaster last year building a Spitfire where I just blindly snipped and assembled elevators and stabilizers to the fuselage then discovered I had used the wrong ones for the version I was building, hence now all parts not required for the particular version I am building get snipped off at and put in the spares box.

Construction proper started with the cockpit, the included PE serving to nicely enhance the cockpit.  In this scale, you cannot beat Eduard’s pre-painted instrument panels.  Two faces are provided, which one you used dependent on whether you are modelling a cockpit painted black, or grey.  The instructions calling out which colour to use on each marking option.  The Korean war machines generally having black painted cockpits. Eduard's colour printing on the PE still does not match to the called out gunze colours, in this case, I did not go to the effort of matching the colours as I thought the different shades of grey would provide a bit of interest and help draw the eye to the panel and throttle quadrant
The cockpit tub is then glued to the assembled intake duct.  The ducting is assembled from horizontally split halves, the lower half incorporating the front wheel well.  I had to apply filler and sand several times on mine to get that seamless intake look.  There is the option to fit a FOD guard, though if you don't want the extra work.  Don't forget to add some nose weight before glueing together the fuselage halves.  there is plenty of room.  I used some lead sheet
The fit was pretty good, just a slight step where the intake nose met the fuselage on one side needing a swipe with a sanding sponge and the underside centre line join needing a bit of superglue filler to hide a ghost seam. Don't forget to open up the holes for the underwing stores.  US Sabres never carried sidewinders as supplied, but did have inboard pylons.  There are four supplied in the kit, the two different drop tanks each have different pylons, I will use all four on my kit.

 Another area to benefit from the supplied PE is the deck underneath the canopy.  That's the kit part sitting behind the brass on the spine, no comparison, is there?
Rather than applying the parts at this stage as I did, though I would apply them after you have finished polishing the airframe for the following NMF finish, as whilst polishing the model I managed to knock half the parts off!

In fairly short order, I had a completed airframe, the Hasegawa kit really stands the test of time and assembles well.  One tends to forget how good these kits were for their day and still are.

After I had applied the primer, in this case, Alclad, the model was polished with progressively finer grits of micromesh until I had a shiny smooth surface.  
Alclad Aluminum was then laid down in misted coats slowly building up until the desired coverage was reached.  the model was then Oh-so-gently wet sanded with 12000 to remove any dusty paint.  This resulted in a very smooth shiny surface, on which some panels were masked off and sprayed in a darker shade to match photos of the real aircraft I had.
Once this had dried, decalling could commence.  With reckless abandon, I had decided to do the box art aircraft with the blue and white striped tail surfaces as this would surely put the most amount of decals to the test!F-86F-30, FU-850 - an aircraft belonging to the 390th FBS, Alexandria AFB, Louisiana, USA, 1955 (lesson learnt, I won’t do this again!)
Well, I have to say, for this particular scheme, the decals let me down in a few areas.
* I could not get the tail surface decals to quite meet at the centre line, requiring me to touch in some colour.  I think it would have been better to have a one-piece decal that wraps around the leading edge of the tail planes and meets at the trailing edge

* The band that wraps around the nose has no cut out for the nose wheel door, requiring the modeller to do this.  I simply laid a piece of tape over the kit part, then transferred the tape template to the nose band and cut the required area out of each half of the band, but this extra effort should not have been required. Surprising, as the rest of the decals, fit the kit perfectly.

* The scallops on the tanks are not supplied as decals, instead requiring some tricky masking by the modeller. It's moments like these I wish I was Clayton Ockerby so I could knock up some nifty masks!! Alas, I’m not, so Tamiya and pactra masking tape it was.

Gunze H15 is a good match to the blue of the decals
Small omissions, but annoying, none the less, and strange when you think how complete the rest of the schemes are, and how well designed the rest of the sheet is.

  Apart from the nose door omission, the nose and fuselage band fit the kit exceptionally well and sucked down into all the detail after several applications of Solvaset.  Well, national markings and unit markings are fun, but now came the bit every modeller loves, applying all those stencils, I mean how much fun is that it’s what every aircraft modeller looks forward to!!  Anyway, after several evenings, I had a fully decalled model, and another sealing coat of Alclad Aqua Klear was applied
All that was left to do was assemble all the sticky-out bits, so, in order, the landing gear and doors were glued in, fit being very positive.  Pylons and drop tanks were drilled and pinned with brass wire and then added to the wings.  I didn't go for a completely seamless fit, as looking at photos of real Sabres, it was evident there was a bit of a gap between the underside of the wing and pylon.

  The wing fences were then added.  Actually, it was a mistake to add them at this stage as the fit was not good.  If doing his build again, I would add them to the top wing surfaces before glueing them to the lower wings in order to manipulate them from both sides to get a nicer fit. 

Speed brakes were added with their associated retraction struts, and finally, that sublime Brassin seat added before the canopy was white glued on in an open position. The PE mirror and brace having being added previously.  Finally, the wheels were added.  I used Brassin wheels, which I purchased separately, which are about 2 levels in detail above the kit wheels, they really are beautiful and should have been supplied in this boxing.

Well, what do I think?
It’s always tricky finding something new to say about a twenty-year-old kit that has not been said before when it was first released, so I’ll concentrate on the Eduard package.  I’m not sure of the current availability of the Hasegawa Sabre, I imagine many people that have been modelling for a while will have one in the stash, so this boxing is probably aimed at those modellers that don’t. If this is you, this boxing is almost a one-stop-shop.  I say almost, as a glaring admission to me is the lovely Brassin wheelset.  I don't understand why Eduard left this out, as they did their other Sabre PE set for the exterior.
  The big seller for this boxing then seems to be the decal sheet and the which really does include some nice schemes, Oh! and the lovely seat. 
Ultimately - no pun intended - I think the “Ultimate Sabre” will only be realised should Eduard themselves choose to do a new tool Sabre family.
Imagine a nice modern new tooled Sabre A-F and Canadair family, including narrow slatted wing versions, separate flaps and ammunition bay doors so they can be posed like all those photos of parked Sabres show.

C’mon Eduard, you know it’s good for you!!!
Bruce Anders

Thanks to Eduard for sending this kit for Bruce to Review and then build… 

Check out more of Bruce’s models on his Cutting Mat Capers Facebook page.