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MiG Alley: 1/48th Monogram F-86 Sabre

The first boxing of this old 1/48th Monogram F-86 Sabre kit dates back to 1976 and while it has been eclipsed by better versions by now, back in the day it was a nice enough model to construct.

1/48th Monogram F-86 Sabre

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

1/48th Monogram F-86 Sabre

Build Inspiration:

The F-86 Sabre jet is an iconic aircraft all on its own, so it was only fitting that I should build one of the successful Aces aircraft of the Korean War. Note: Hasegawa just re-released their F-86F Sabre kit in Joseph C. McConnell, Jr. "Beautious Butch" markings in 2024. This was the third Sabre which McConnell flew in combat (F-86F-1-NA, sn. 51-2910).

F-86 Sabre Beautious Butch

McConnell had the last two of his fighters painted with the name, 'Beautious Butch' on the cockpit left side in honor of his wife Pearl, whose nickname was “Butch”. McConnell's first eight victories being scored in his second assigned Sabre, F-86F-15-NA, sn. 51-12971. Above are Joseph C. McConnell and fellow "Ace" Harold Fischer.

F-86 Sabre Beautious Butch II

After McConnell shot down his final three MiG’s on May 18th, 1953, his F-86 was quickly repainted to remove the MiG symbols he was using for victory markers in exchange for "Red Star" victories. Above is the staged, photo that was taken of him and his crew chief for publication. In their haste on the repaint the publicity crew misspelled his aircraft's nickname (introducing an e as opposed to an i).

Heads-Up Report:

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

  • A few sink areas on the kit may 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

1/48th Monogram F-86 Sabre

Kit Additions / Modifications:

  • Cut the back of intake off and constructed a simple intake duct for more depth

  • Built "In-flight" with gear up

  • Used after-market decals (Microscale?)

1/48th Monogram F-86 Sabre


I originally built this kit in 1984, however wasn't happy with the finish and decided to sand and repaint it later in 1998. Back then, I used an oil-based silver paint and decided to paint the FEAF stripes on as well, to achieve a better look. Both the yellow and black areas were masked off and spray painted with pretty decent results. A lacquer based gloss-coat was then used in preparation for the decals. Decals applied well as I recall. I used a bit of dark washes on the control surfaces to enhance them and then a final gloss-coat was used to seal everything in.

1/48th Monogram F-86 Sabre

The After-Build Report:

This 1/48th Monogram F-86 Sabre kit has been bested by the more detailed kits by Academy, Hasegawa, the new-tool Airfix as well as the most recent Clear Prop "A" kit. I am looking forward to purchasing the upcoming 1/48th Clear Prop kit to see how it stacks up against the competition for my next early Sabre project.

Completed build #10 - June 1984 using the 1/48th scale Monogram #5402 kit. (Repainted in 1998 as "Beauteous Butch II" [sic].)

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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