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Spiros Pendedekas
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Hasegawa 1/32 F-86E(M) Hellenic Air Force

July 29, 2022 · in Aviation · · 49 · 1.5K

The North American is best known as the United States' first swept-wing fighter that could counter the swept-wing Soviet MiG-15 in high-speed dogfights in the skies of the Korean War (1950–1953), fighting some of the earliest jet-to-jet battles in history.

Considered one of the best and most important fighter aircraft in that war, the F-86 is also rated highly in comparison with fighters of other eras. Although it was developed in the late 1940s and was outdated by the end of the 1950s, the Sabre proved versatile and adaptable and continued as a front-line fighter in numerous air forces.

Its success led to an extended production run of more than 7,800 aircraft between 1949 and 1956, in the United States, Japan, and Italy.

In addition, 738 carrier-modified versions were purchased by the US Navy as FJ-2s and -3s. Variants were built in Canada and Australia. The Canadair Sabre added another 1,815 aircraft and the significantly redesigned CAC Sabre (sometimes known as the Avon Sabre or CAC CA-27), had a production run of 112. The Sabre is by far the most-produced Western jet fighter, with a total production of all variants at 9,860 units.

In 1954 Greece received the first F-86s, which were surplus ex-RCAF Canadair Mk2s with their old wing modified to a larger unslatted one, also known as the “hard” wing.

This modification, as well as general maintenance of the aircraft before handing them to Greece, was performed both in Canada by Canadair and in England by Bristol Aeroplane, after the latter was first supplied with modification packages by Canadair. These modified Sabres were renamed F-86E(M) (M: Modified).

Around 110 machines were supplied to Greece in total, equipping the 341, 342 and 343 Squadrons and remaining in service till 1965, to be replaced by F-5As.

The Sabre was the first Greek aircraft that could break the sound barrier in a dive. The most famous Greek Sabres were those used by the equally famous aerobatic team “ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΦΛΟΓΑ - Hellenic Flame” (1957-1965), vividly painted in red, white and blue.

At least nine Greek Sabres survive to this day, the four of them being aircraft of the “Hellenic Flame” team.

This is the venerable and still decent F-86.

Featuring the long slatted wing, it was not too difficult to "modify" it to a "hard" unslatted wing: I only had to glue the slats "retracted" and fabricate two fences from sheet styrene. By the way, it is interesting that the "Mold Maximizer" Hasegawa did not provide the shorter wing early version, thus depriving the kit of being even more popular by providing all these classic early Korea schemes and the like. Figures are leftovers.
Happy modelling!
Reader reactions:
20  Awesome

49 responses

  1. Another gem in the Spiros production line.

  2. These early jets are very attractive and the Hellenic scheme suits it very well. I think the figures are excellent, definitely a bit more than just “leftovers”. I pressed the “like” button.

  3. Looks great, Spiros. I remember when that was the Super kit everyone wanted in the early 1970s.

  4. A real nice one Spiros! The F-86 variants can be confusing, the wings and slats and such.

    • Thanks my friend @roofrat! Here is the F-86 slats/wings phenomenon (!) demystified:

  5. Very nice build of an older kit.

  6. Thanks Spiros. My fantasy Sabre would be the F-86k armed with the 20mm's and four sidewinders. It might have given the Mig- 17 a run four it's money.

  7. This is one of your best Spiros! Well done, way to nail that natural metal finish. . . that pilot figure just might be a 1/32 version of Spiros no? 🙂

  8. Beautiful looking Sabre, Spiros @fiveten
    Especially te detailing done on the cockpit and the airbrakes.
    Well done.

  9. Great build, very sharp finish.
    Also great info regarding wing types, thanks
    Best regards

  10. Another great result Spiros , the Sabre is one of my favorites and you made a great of this ,how do you finish them so quick ?

  11. What a beautiful build, @fiveten! I have the Airfix Sabre kit and yours is an inspiration! Greetings from Naxos!

  12. Nice build and great finish, Spiros! I got that one as a Christmas present when it was first issued way back when (I remember the price being an unbelievable $10!)(US).

  13. Nice work Spiros @fiveten, she’s a nice looking Sabre. When I was a kid, one of my friends and neighbor mother and father came from Greece. His father served in the Hellenic Air Force and the Sabre jet was the plane he worked on. I think he was involved with loading the guns if I remember right. He showed me photos with the crew and working on this plane. That was about 45 to 50 years ago when we talked about his Sabre jet. Your build brought me back to that time when I used to listen to his stories.

  14. Another complete beauty, Spiros. Congratulations!

  15. Very nice Spiros. Congratulations

  16. Nice Sabre, Spiros (@fiveten), especially in a larger scale. Two questions: What did you use for the NMF and where did you get the decals? Cheers.

  17. Very very nice, Spiros @fiveten. Fabulous NMF too. Great presentation as well. I like the way you alternated text with the photos.

  18. Spiros @fiveten,

    What you've proven is that there are classic kits out there that can test the limits of time. Like the small black dress, the blue blazer, and a Jaguar X-E. This is one kit you can buy with confidence along with its smaller brother.

    The build is smart, sharp and tight in its presentation and the photography stands out too.
    Thankyou for sharing some more Greek history.

    Two thumbs up.

  19. Phenomenal work, Spiros. The Sabre is such a classic and you've definitely done it justice with this build.

  20. The Sabre wears that HAF livery very well! Good looking build Sprios!

  21. A splendid Sabre Spiros @fiveten. Is it me or the mechanics is getting a 'cigar' from his officer? Nice work as usual! Thanks for sharing

  22. That is a very nice Sabre. You did a great job capturing the oxidized natural metal finish.

  23. One of my favorite jets, and you built it wonderfully 👏 👍

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