Revell-Monogram's 1/48 scale
by John Chung
North American F-86D Sabre Dog
Republic of China Air Force
Eduard's 1/48 scale Hellcat Mk.I / Mk.II is available online from Squadron.com
The ROCAF (Republic of China Air Force) of Taiwan has a rich history with the North American F-86 Sabre, having used it as a mainstay against the PLAAF (People’s Liberation Army Air Force) of the Communist Mainland during the 1950s.
It is well known that the ROCAF F-86s were the first to use the AIM-9 Sidewinder in combat, and that unexploded missiles lodged in PLAAF MiG-17s was what propelled Soviets to produce copies that became the AA-2. Less well known is that, in addition to the standard Sabre family of jets, the ROCAF also flew the F-86D Sabredog. Between September 1960 and May 1966, the ROCAF operated 18 of these aircrafts in an all-weather, day and night fighter role.
Of all the Sabres operated by the ROCAF, these were the least known and therefore presented an interesting subject for a model.
I chose to build the model using the Revell-Monogram 1/48 F-86D, which is a gem in itself. Two versions of the kit were released, one with a standard fuselage and one with the parabrake-equipped tail, which I needed.
The model was build primarily out of the box, as the kit has more than sufficient detail to stand on its own. The cockpit and landing gear bays were painted using Tamiya and Gunze acrylics, washed with oils, and dry-brushed subtly to pick out the relief details. These were added to the fuselage and wing subassemblies, which also came together quickly and without trouble.
The wing trailing edge flaps which were designed to be lowered did require minor filling and shimming when build in the neutral position.
A few minor modifications were done to the kit. One of which is replacing the two large rectangular air scoops on the upper fuselage. These were originally trapezoidal in cross section due to molding limitations, and were rebuilt with a correct rectangular cross-section.
Also, the kit external fuel tanks came with the earlier triangular fins, which were modified to represent the later version by extending the chord with sheet styrene and adding tip fins.
The F-86D shared the same launch rails as the standard F-86s, and these were taken from the Hasegawa F-86F kit but with scratch built adaptors between the rail and the wings, which are specific to the F-86Ds.
The majority of the efforts were spent on paint and decaling, which was challenging due to the sparsity of references. The specific colors of the ROCAF F-86D is still a source of contention; there are several accounts for them being overall grey, overall silver, upper fuselage silver with lower fuselage grey (ala U.S. ANG F-86Ds), or upper fuselage grey with lower fuselage silver which is the generally accepted interpretation and also substantiated by surviving photos. The actual shade of grey is also debatable. The Tiger Wings decal sheet which I used called for US Navy FS16440 grey, while the darker USAF FS16473 ADC grey seems to be more accepted amongst modeling circles. Ultimately I settled on a custom mix of the two with a hint of white, which seem to match the tone of the black and white photos best. This was applied to the upper fuselage while the lower fuselage was painted a combination of decanted Tamiya TS-17 silver and Alclad II.
A notable deviation I made is painting the aileron upper surfaces white. I came across a grainy photo looking down onto four ROCAF F-86Ds in formation flight. Barely noticeable are the ailerons which were noticeably lighter than the rest of the wing, reminiscent of the white ailerons painted on early USN jets. This also contributed to me believing that the paint schemes might have had some early USN influences, and that there’s merit for the upper surfaces being a shade of FS16440 instead of ADC grey.
I’ve also attempted to paint the national insignia, the tail stripes, and the wing walk and fuselage warning stripes. The ROCAF insignia is a white sun with twelve triangles over an insignia blue disc. These were carefully masked and painted using frisket films cut using Olfa-P cutter and fresh #11 xacto blades. While tedious, they certainly were well worth the effort. Tiger Wings ROCAF F-86D decal sheet No. 48-138 was used, which was mostly a copy of the Revell/Pro Modeller decal sheet, right down to the decal numbers; except with a much inferior placement guide and an atrocious propensity for silvering. I chose to depict the jet as it looked when first delivered, without the large fuselage aircraft numbers. I prefer the look of a clean jets in the simplicity that less is more.
Following decaling, I proceeded to apply 3-4 coats of Tamiya clear with wet sanding with micromesh up to 2400-3600 grit in between. This laying process produced a smooth overall finish that very nicely blended the carrier film. A final light buffing was done using Tamiya coarse polishing compound to achieve a realistic sheen. Finally, the panel lines were very lightly accentuated with using a light grey oil wash. This encouraged consistency in presenting the panel lines but subtle enough to convey a scale effect on the overall model.
What a fulfilling build and a beautiful model when it’s all said and done. Revell’s F-86D is a great model for a quick build or as a basis to do something more extraordinary.
The combination of an esoteric aircraft sub-type and a unique and storied air force brings an interesting facet to the subject matter. The difficulty in research and experiments during painting kept me learning and sharing in this hobby.
At last, I finally have a ROCAF F-86D on my shelf.
Images and Text Copyright ©
2013 by John Chung
Page Created 17 October, 2013
18 October, 2013
HyperScale Main Page