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Kit Preview: Airfix’s 1/72 F-86F Sabre


Steve Arnold sent in this great review of Airfix’s new-tool Sabre. He liked it so much, he had to grow another thumb! 😉 Thanks for putting this together, Steve!

This is the Airfix new-tool  1/72 North American F-86F Sabre . Been wanting this ever since it came out along with all the other new-tool kits coming out. Hornsby has really done an excellent job reviving the Airfix brand with new molds that produce crisp and precise pieces and with the decals now printed by Cartograf.

The kit is boxed in the new addictive top opening red box with the exquisite artwork that Airfix is now noted for. There are five sprues, four of the now standard grey and one of the transparent two piece canopy. There are a total of 63 pieces. The one thing that stands out to me is the wheels seem like they could have been improved upon.

The clear parts are crisply done, crystal clear and not overly thick. The decals are superb with great ink coverage, bright colors and in register. I have worked in the printing business my whole life mostly running printing presses. I know my stuff and believe me when I tell you these decals are gorgeous!

Looking over the sprues there seems to be no sink marks and no flash. There are ejector pin marks but are strategically placed. There are three on the cockpit floor that seems to me they will be undetectable once the cockpit is completed and buttoned up but there are two in the cockpit seat that would be hidden if you use the pilot figure. If not these will need attention.

Building is pretty straight forward.  Instructions like all Airfix instructions are easy to follow. Starting with the cockpit you have the seat with a separate partition backing it up. There is the stick and instrument panel . The instrument panel and side console panels are represented by decals. Not a lot of molded in detail here but for 1/72 with decals this is not bad.

There is an interesting detail I must point out with the intake. The bottom of the intake tube is built onto the cockpit assembly. What’s interesting is the top cover of the intake tube that is canceled in the fuselage has the words “3 GRAMS” embossed in it to remind the builder that if you want you sabre to not be a tail dragger then you will need to put in some nose weight.  I thought that was pretty thoughtful of the engineers. BTW you need to glue the nose weight on top of the cover where it says 3 GRAMS. It doesn’t mean the cover weighs 3  GRAMS!

Everything  thing else in the build looks very straight forward. There are two ways to finish the kit. One being “The Huff” flown by Lt. Jim Thompson, 39th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, K-13 (Suwon AB) South Korea, June 1953. This has the metallic finish. The other is the 4th Stormo, Aviazone Militaire Italiana, Grosset, Italy, 1958. This is the Dark Green and Dark Sea Grey camo scheme.

Just looking at the kit I see a lot of pros. Mostly this is a great looking new tool kit with a lot bang for your buck. Typical of the Airfix kits.

I would extremely recommend this kit. Three thumbs up!