Modelling projects: F-86 Sabre

Continuing with my modelling posts, here is the next kit that I'm going to go over: An old 1/48th scale Monogram kit from 1976. The F-86 Sabre of Korean War fame. I got this at a bargain price, only 8 dollars for a kit that, aside from it's decals, is in great condition.

The model came molded in aluminum-colored plastic, and I originally planned on leaving it unpainted, but I decided against this in the end. Construction was not exceptionally difficult, but I was unsure exactly how to fit the instrument panel, and I just wedged it in without cement.

 The model includes a clear plastic rod for keeping the plane from tipping backward, but I chose to add nose weight instead, placing about 4 brass tabs in the nose. The lesson I learned is the next time I add nose weight, I must secure the weights, as I simply tossed the tabs in, and the plane has to be tipped down so the weights rest in the nose. But once they are there, they do fulfill the purpose of keeping the plane from tipping onto its back end.
 I painted the cockpit early on, painting the seat and instrument panel black, and then white for the seat straps, and some penciling to add a metal sheen to the buckles. The instruments were drybrushed with white, and turned out very well. Dry brushing is a method using a shortened brush with extremely little paint, (wipe the brush on something until it stops leaving paint and that is when the amount is about right) to bring out raised detail. I left the top of the instrument panel silver, not sure if it should be painted or not.

Recently, my CAP squadron went on a field trip to a aircraft museum, where I was able to see the F-86, as well as its arch-rival, the MiG-15 in person. 

As you can see, the F-86 has a green seat cushion, and a red back and head rest, the stick has a canvas (or at least canvas colored) cover at the bottom, and the top of the instrument panel is black. I have changed all of these except for the stick cover which I plan on painting eventually. The instructions said to paint the seat black, and I think it might have varied anyway. Red, black, whatever.
 I'm not exactly sure what it is that is radioactive in that cockpit, but it's not hard to believe that something could be with all those complex gizmos.

Here is the model fitted with painter's tape in preparation for the spray can.

The landing gear taught me a valuable lesson, namely, that they should be left off till the last moment since they are easily broken and difficult to put back on, and to keep them in place thereafter.

Prior to this, I had painted the pilot figure, who is standing so he can be posed next to the plane, unlike many figures that are molded to fit in the cockpit. I really like 1/48th scale for figures, since they are a nice size and hold plenty of detail, but the face doesn't have to be all shaded and the eyes don't need to be painted in order for the figure to look good by my standards.

I made an error in my painting however, as I painted the pilot with a green, rather than tan, flight suit, since it appeared this way on the box, and I assumed that the flight suit would be green, since it that is the stereotypical color of jet pilot suits. 

I painted the helmet's black trim with the help of a tooth pick, and added some shine to the belt buckles with a pencil. I painted the chute straps and helmet white as you can see, and painted the life vest yellow. I didn't change the flight suit since I liked it the way it was and didn't want to ruin anything by trying to correct it. 

The instructions are pretty good and clear, better than some instructions that don't bother to explain much to the builder.

Here is the model after the spray can with yellow and black stripes that are brush painted. As well, as what I like to call the "puppy nose" the small black mark at the tip of the nose, which is the Sabre's radar housing. I plan on ditching the stripes (since they did not come out well) and repainting them with a spray can and making the black stripes from electrical tape. That's all for now,-Andrew


  1. The photos are really, really good!! :) I mean, so are the models, but yeah. :P

  2. I like the little seat with the realistic seat buckles!!

    1. I had to repaint them, and they don't look quite as good as originally, but they still look alright. Thanks.

  3. Wow, that is a very intricate model. You did a great job on it. What kind of camera did you use to take the pictures?

    1. Thanks, I hope it will look even better when it is all finished. I used a Canon powershot elph16. Or something like that. I could give more detailed specs if you want. It's a great camera, I got it in time for my first CAP glider flight and got great shots and footage. The video is on my youtube channel.

  4. The little pilot is cool :-) He reminds me of a toy Lego pilot that me and my brother used to play with. We always called him Mr. Eisenberger (don't ask me why).

    1. That is so adorable, Jessica!! :D :D

    2. Gee, thanks for replying to a comment originally directed at me.


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