The only injection-moulded kits of the North American F-86D Sabre Dog have been in the 1/72nd scale. The first one was the old Airfix kit but a few years ago Hasegawa issue a brand new kit of the F-86D. However, it was not until 2001 that one of the model kit manufacturers issued an F-86D in the 1/48th scale. Both Revell and ProModeler have issue this kit and it is essentially the same kit, however, the Revell kit features the drag chute housing found on later F-86Ds while the ProModeler kit features the early tail without drag chute housing. This review is based on the former.
The kit consists of 90 parts in silver grey plastic and another 10 clear parts. All parts are very nicely moulded without flash or ejector marks. All panel lines are recessed, naturally.
The cockpit is very nice in general. The instrument panel is nicely moulded with raised details and separate radarscope. Unfortunately it represents a very early instrument panel, the later version being not nearly as high and with relocated instruments. I have to admit that I built my first model without noticing this but I have corrected it on the second kit. The correct instrument panel can be found in the Eduard etched brass set. Added to this mistake is the fact that assembling the instrument panel can be a little tricky because it is made up of six parts altogether. Apart from that the rest of the cockpit is pretty nice. It features a pair of rudder pedals, a throttle and a radar control stick. The seat consists of five parts. Unfortunately the seat belts are moulded on the seat. I would have preferred a set of photo-etched seat belts as in the Revell F-84G kit. Also, the Danish F-86Ds were retrofitted with Martin Baker Mk. 5 seats around 1960. The Martin Baker seats are available in resin.
Next up is the intake onto which the cockpit tub is mounted. This is represented by a long straight two-part channel without any compressor at the end. The inside needs a little cleaning up though. The nose wheel bay is part of the underside of the main intake. Note that the intake - when fitted inside the fuselage - is supposed to extend about 1/5 mm outside the open nose area. This will fit the recess in the radome/intake lip assembly.
The small intakes on the fuselage sides have to be added before the fuselage is glued together. Somehow Revell managed to switch the number around, thus the Danish version uses parts 26 and 27. The exhaust pipe is also mounted before the fuselage halves are joined. I have read that the pipe should have been longer but I do not think this is too noticeable. Nose weight can be inserted through the open nose area after the fuselage halves have been glued together. On the aft fuselage, right above the exhaust opening is a square hole. This is for part no. 18. Revell has marked this part as "not necessary" (which is true for the ProModeler version).
The wings are split into three major parts plus slats and flaps. The main wheel bays have to be assembled before joining the wing halves. The fit of the wing halves is very good throughout. The separate slats and flaps are a real bonus. Added to that is the fact that Revell have moulded spacers on the sprues that assure that you will not get a kit with damaged wings.
The undercarriage and bays are all very nicely moulded. The wheel hubs are nice, and the bays and undercarriage have pipes and other moulded details. The air brakes can also be displayed in the open position and these are nice as well.
Underwing stores consist of a set of drop tanks. The under-fuselage Mighty Mouse FFAR box is optional. The box is made up from six parts - one for each side plus top and bottom. The rockets are moulded inside the box with just the tips and the aft ignition system visible. Unfortunately the kit does not feature a set of underwing Sidewinder launchers. These were retrofitted to many foreign F-86Ds later in their service life. The correct launchers can be found in other F-86A/E/F kits though.
The last parts to be added are the stabilisers, the canopy, boarding steps, fuel dump pipe and position lights. The stabilisers are easy to fit. Note that the very nice vortex generators are supposed to be on the lower sides. The canopy is bagged separately, and both inner framing and a rear view mirror are included for the hood. The aforementioned boarding step on the port side of the fuselage is optional.
The decals are very nice, especially because the make it possible to build a Danish example! The sheet includes a comprehensive set of stencils. The delcals are relatively matte which perhaps can cause silvering. I eliminated the risk of silvering by adding the decals to a thin layer of wet Johnson's Kleer. Two aircraft are featured on the decal sheet:
-F-86D-60-NA from 1st Fighter Group, 94th Fighter Interceptor Squadron in 1959. This aircraft has a huge yellow lightning on each side of the fuselage as well as a set of stripes around the fuselage. I have read that the stripes can be seen through the lightning, so beware! The tail fin has broad yellow and black stripes.
-F-86D-31-NA from Eskadrille 726, Royal Danish Air Force in 1959. This aircraft carries the code AL-E along with red and white nose trim. The tail fin has light blue stripes. Unfortunately the blue colour Revell has used is too light. I painted mine with Xtracolor X30 Insignia Blue. It is possible that they were in fact darker than insignia blue but it looks good in the 1/48th scale. Some people claim that the yellow background in the squadron badge should have been gold. That is not true -is have seen a picture that proves this colour to be yellow. My first kit also lacked the white cross in the Danish flag but it is there in the second kit I have bought. Revell have also chosen to ignore the blue and white trim on the drop tanks, thus I painted this myself.
The fit is generally very good. By gluing the fuselage together a little by little an almost perfect fit can be achieved. The good fit of parts made it possible for me to just sand down the seams, polish them and paint Tamiya AS-12 silver directly onto the plastic. Very recommended!