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Golden Days: 1/48th Monogram F-86 Sabre

The first boxing of the kit dates back to 1976 and while this kit has been eclipsed by better versions now, back in the day it was a nice model to construct. Even today it may have a place for model makers as the kit can be found at very reasonable prices if you want a bargain Sabre build.


Notable Kit Features:

  • Detailed cockpit with raised features on main panel and sidewalls

  • Decent ejection seat with harnesses molded in place

  • Sliding canopy

  • Pilot figure included

  • Gun bay details on one side that can be displayed

  • Detailed wheel bays and gear

  • Speed brakes can be displayed open

  • Flaps are positionable


Build Inspiration:


The F-86 Sabre jet is an iconic aircraft all on its own. Given that it was used by one of the pioneer groups in RCAF aerobatics, this one was on my build list for a while. The Golden Hawks formed in March 1959 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of powered flight in Canada as well as the 35th anniversary of the RCAF. Although the group was intended to exist for only one year, the team lasted until 1964, when it was disbanded after 317 shows due to budgetary cuts. The legacy of the Golden Hawks now lives on with the Snowbirds.


The Golden Hawks pioneered a lot of maneuvers that you see at present day airshows, the Card 5 Maneuver; the Coordinated Two Aircraft 360; as well as the now highly adopted two solo aircraft which fly directly at each other and do rolls, loops and other skill sets while the main part of the team is setting up for the next fly-past.

Heads-Up Report:

  • Raised panel lines (typical of this era model kits)

  • A few sink areas on the kit need to be addressed

  • Intake trunk only goes in a short distance as does the exhaust

  • Ejector pin marks are present on many parts

  • Forward wheel well piece did not fit flush with the surrounding fuselage

  • The main gear is rather flimsy

  • Note: kit provides 6-3 wings. The wing fence wasn't installed until the later -30 versions so check the version you are building


Kit Additions / Modifications:


Aside from the after-market decals from Ventura (V4804 Golden Hawks) this kit was built right out of the box. Leading edge decals also did this Golden Hawks release as did a limited reissue of the Hasegawa 1/48 scale Sabre kit.



End Result:


While this kit build won't win any awards it certainly is an eye-catching scheme in the collection. The gold paint I used was Testors enamel with a clearcoat applied for the decal application and then again over the decals to seal them. A relatively simple scheme with just the anti-glare panel in matt black and the tail tip in gray.


The After-Build Report:


Though this kit has been eclipsed by the more detailed and expensive kits by Academy and Hasegawa, and now the new Airfix kit, the Monogram version can be found at swap meets and model shows at very reasonable prices. The kits still builds up nicely if you want a bargain F-86 for your shelf. I am looking to purchase the recently released 1/48th Airfix kit for my next RCAF Sabre as it is a Canadair version and getting good build reviews.



Completed build #91 - May 2006 using the 1/48th scale Monogram #5417 kit.


Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers


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