The North American F-86 Sabre 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Although it was developed in the late 1940s and was outdated by the end of the 1950s, the Sabre proved versatile and adaptable and continued as a front-line fighter in numerous air forces.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 Hasegawa 1/32 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.