F-86D is an all-weather interceptor, based on the day fighter and aviation legend – North American F-86 Sabre. Now, even if they basically look the same plane with different nose, they shared not more than 1/3 of the similarities in between them. Both were very popular of course, however, F-86 Sabre remained the “star” airplane, while Sabre Dog /the name of the F-86D/ was rather modest in its popularity. Don’t be fool by that though: Germany, Italy, France, Greece, Denmark, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Honduras, Taiwan, Turkey, Thailand, South Korea, Venezuela and of course USA used the bird quite actively. Little less than 3000 were built and the airplane flew well into the 70s. That does prove not only a successful design, but also the right mind set and the concept for the need of such specific aircraft. All those facts above makes the F-86D a real milestone in the interceptor aviation history and a basis for all what we have now in terms of interceptors. Don’t be fooled by the appearance. All the ideas were embedded already.
Now Kitty Hawk, a relatively new company, with rather small number of kits on the market are continuing to surprise with wonderful kits, well designed and all-around-engineered assembly. Talking about this kit, I will start backwards, because the real values of it comes that way. The decal sheet is very colorful and interesting as you might expect from a jet fighter from that age. It is big and features one of each for everybody out there. There are three Asian versions, South Korean, Republic of China and Japanese. One Texas Air National Guard and two USAF options with bright and colorful tailfins.
After that comes a small photo-etch set for the belts, but that is there only to say that there is one PE set in the box. Nothing major. The transparent parts are very clear and crisp and I gotta add that this is one of the highlights of the kit. Building aircraft, I encountered several troubles with canopies, but here I saw no reason to worry. This is equally important in small /72nd/ and large scales /32nd and above/. Kitty Hawk made an effort with the molding and gave us very fine detail and clear canopy for the F-86D. Those of course are minor highs of the kit – nice add ons and clear parts. The very good thing is worth mentioning is the build. It is pretty straight forward with nothing major as a problem. There are many rivets around the surface, and imagine if you had to put putty here and there, how many of those would’ve been lost and in need of repairs. Not the case with this one.
There is an engine included. I never enjoyed building my airplanes with a lot of open panels and parts, and even when I finished the engines, I made several pictures and close everything up. I believe planes are suppose to fly, and they don’t fly when the rear part is removed, or when all the technical doors are open to see what’s inside. So this – having an engine – is a nice addition, but it’s not for me. I know that many modelers will like that add on a lot, so that is why I mention it. Kitty Hawk did it very technically-looking, with the inlet and all the bells and whistles, that every aircraft engineer would appreciate when building the kit. That is another kit in the kit itself, so it definitely deserves admiration.
Now, as I’ve said we’re going backwards, so finally I am going to mention – clear molding, nice plastic material. Good looking instruction sheet and even better looking color profiles. Everything wrapped in a chunky box, not overly stashed, but more than a regular kit in that scale. I must say, this is a must-have for every jet fan out there and large scale aircraft modeler as well. Of course, if you are not happy with the versions included, Kitty Hawk released F-86K, another option based on that same kit with additional camo-schemes, Luftwaffe two tone included.
I would suggest to have them both, because one is more bare silver USAF looking bird, while the other is with two tone option included and more European looking. Even though K version also has tons of bare silver Sabre Dogs featured, the highlight is the Luftwaffe one depicted on the box. The price of each one of the kits is not that high, although it is high-ish. But is worth it! One thing is certain – whichever one of those you get, you will have one hell of a piece of plastic art! Great job by Kitty Hawk!
Pictures are from Kitty Hawk website.