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George R Blair Jr
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Hellenic Air Force F-86E(M) Sabre: 1/48 Academy F-86F Sabre

April 26, 2024 · in Aviation · · 22 · 221

When I arrived at Williams AFB in 1976 for my first day of Air Force pilot training, I was greeted by an immaculate F-86 that was the gate guard at the time. The F-86 has been one of my most favorite planes since then. Spiros (@fiveten), John (@johnb), and I thought it might be fun to do a group build of an F-86. As things evolved, we all decided to use paint schemes used by the Royal Hellenic Air Force, and we all ended up using the as the basis for our builds. This looked like it would be so much fun that we decided to create a group (F-86 and FJ Fury Group) so that everyone could join in the fun. If you are interested, please come by and build a model for the group. The more the merrier.

I won't spend a lot of time talking about the history and background of the F-86. A few notes about the Greek version of the F-86 might be useful. F-86s had a number of sub-types, with a lot of internal and external differences. The most visible difference between the sub-types is the wing. The F-86s used by the Hellenic Air Force were Canadair CL-13s that were transferred from Canada to Greece. The CL-13s were basically an F-86E, which featured a wing with slats. Prior to delivery to the HAF, the wings were removed and replaced with a hard (non-slatted) 6-3 (extra width) wing. The Hellenic AF Sabres were called F-86E(M), which means that it was an F-86E that had been (M)odified with different wings. So, the big question was whether the Academy F-86F would work as an F-86E(M). Early F-86F s had a slatted wing, but later F-86Fs had a hard 6-3 wing. Luckily, the Academy F-86F had a hard wing, which makes it perfect for the Hellenic AF F-86E(M).

I was a little disappointed in the Academy kit. There were several fit issues with the kit, as well as a few challenges with the clear parts. This was my first attempt using metallic paints for an overall natural metal finish. I used AK Xtreme Metal Paint (which I really like) for the overall paint and a couple of colors of Alclad II (which I didn't like) for various panels. The decals, which came from Icarus, were very nice.

If you would like more info on the build, Want to join the group with a build, or want to see the other great models being built for the group, please visit the F-86 Sabre and FJ Fury Group.

Reader reactions:
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12 additional images. Click to enlarge.

22 responses

  1. Nice job George. You made a great looking Sabre Jet. One of my childhood friend's father served in the Hellenic Air Force before moving to the United States. He used to work on their Sabre Jets, he was one of two that I knew that actually worked on the F-86's.

  2. Looks like you overcame the kit's problems, George @gblair. Looks good!

  3. Excellent job and fantastic result, George! You overcame all kit's issues in a most effective way. Your build thread was, as always, a joy to follow.
    Well done!

  4. An absolute beauty, George @gblair
    I recognize all those issues and you have solved all of them perfectly. The metallic paint also turned out wonderful. I'm defintely going to use your approaches on mine as well. Thanks for the great build thread.
    Well done.

  5. Awesome F-86, George! Your metallic finish is incredible, I may have to try the AK Extreme stuff on a Mustang that's in queue.

    • Thanks, Joe (@jroamer). I have avoided building natural metal finishes for decades because of the problems with the paints, but the AK Xtreme is great. I tested several metallic paints before I started this build, and the AK was virtually bulletproof for me.

  6. Very well done, George. AK Xtreme metal is great paint. I just purchased a couple of bottles Mr. Color lacquer metallic to see how they compare.

  7. The Hellenic F-86 looks wonderful George (@gblair). It was a real pleasure following along on the build and seeing it progress. I agree with the others that the metallic finish has come out great. It makes for a beautiful display model.

    • Thanks, Carl (@clipper). Even with all of its problems, this kit went together well. The 1/48 Airfix is next. I can assure you, all of the required skill for the metallic finish is in the paint, not the painter.

  8. Hi George, like I already mentioned in the GB thread you’ve really set a benchmark for your fellow GB members!
    You did an awesome job on the NMF and the overall scheme of the Sabre.
    Congrats on your first build in the GB, up to the next one!

  9. It all came out great in the end! The 86 was the one aircraft my dad lamented never being able to fly - it is such an iconic, sleek-looking jet to me.

  10. Looks really good, George. I think you have the NMF dialed in at last and no longer need to be intimidated. You, Spiros and John B. really paved the way for this GB but you are certainly leading the charge.

  11. Thanks, Eric (@eb801). The AK is almost bullet-proof. Even I would have a hard time messing it up. I had to lead the charge because the rest of the builds will shoot past me at the end.

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