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George R Blair Jr
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F-86E(M) Honduras Air Force: Airfix 1/72 F-86E(M)Sabre and Fury Group Build

May 28, 2024 · in Aviation · · 41 · 324

This is #3 that I have built for the Sabre and Fury Group Build. I usually never build more than 1 model of a given type of airplane, and I usually never build more than one at a time, so this group build has launched me into new territory.

First, a little background:
These Sabres took a circuitous route to get to . They started out as RCAF Canadair CL-13 Mk.4, which was basically an F-86E. The Sabres were then sent to Yugoslavia where they were used for several years. In 1976, eight of these Sabres were acquired by Honduras. Enroute from Yugoslavia to Honduras, they made a stop in Florida where they were upgraded to F-86E(M)s, which included an updated avionics, and replacing the "E" wings with the enlarged 6-3 wing without slats. Honduras later obtained four ex-USAF F-86Fs.

An interesting fact about the Honduran Sabres is that the stock ejection seat was replaced with a Martin-Baker Mk.10 seat. As the story goes, one of the most experienced Honduran pilots was almost killed when the standard ejection seat failed. Following the incident, the standard ejection seats were replaced with the MB seat to boost pilot confidence in the Sabre.

The Kit:
I have reached an age where building scale kits can be a challenge, but this kit was a real pleasure to build. The kit is well engineered and all the parts fit like a glove. I replaced the kit seat with a MB 10 seat that I printed on my 3D printer. I was worried that the seat might be too tall to fit under the canopy, but it fit perfectly. The only thing missing in the kit was the gunsight. It seemed weird that such a nice kit would not have something as obvious as a gunsight, but it was easy to scratchbuild and add to the cockpit.

I had a really fun time with the painting and weathering. I wanted to depict the plane at the end of its service life. You can find online photos of really derelict airframes, or planes in the museum. I used various paints to get a pretty sad-looking Sabre at the end of its career. Still flyable, but high enough in priority that the paint would be kept in good shape. I used chipping fluid to expose the metal skin in places, and I used artist oil paints to weather the paint.

The decals were from a nice set by Aztec. The decals looked thick when I applied them, but they responded the MicroSol/Microset. There were very few markings on these planes, and there are no stencils visible in any of the photos of the actual plane. I sealed them with a layer of Tamiya Clear Flat.

In the late 1970s and 1980s, I was an instructor pilot in C-141s. Several of the airfields in Honduras were considered challenging, so there was a requirement that before an aircraft commander could take a mission into these airfields that they had to be checked out by an instructor pilot. By a strange coincidence, I was one of the few instructors who had flown to most of these fields. I flew a number of missions into Honduras so that I could qualify aircraft commanders to fly their own missions there. During these missions, I was able to see both Sabres and Super Mysteres at some of the bases. We were never very close to these planes, and at a distance it is tough to tell the difference between a Sabre and Super Mystere. As you might guess, photography was not welcomed on these fields, so I don't have any photos except what you can find on the internet.

Reader reactions:
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12 additional images. Click to enlarge.

41 responses

  1. Nice build George. I love seeing camo’d Sabres.

    • Thanks Jim (@angus64). This is the first Sabre with a camo that I have built. I am building a total of 4 models for the group, and this is the only one that has camo.

      • Somewhere in my decal vault I have an old Microscale sheet for an F-86F in Vietnam camo used by the U.S. Army as a drone. I bought the Airfix 1/72 kit for that aircraft but never got to it.

        • Hi Jim (@angus64): The F-86E(M) is one of Airfix's newer kits and is really nice. Everything fits and there are several building options. Although I didn't use the decals, they look nice. The Army drone that I like was natural metal with rear fuselage and tail in red. Microscale had the decals for the drone on one of their sheets, perhaps even the one with the camo version. My Dad worked at White Sands Missile Range after he retired from the Army, which is where a lot of the Army drones were shot down using surface to air missiles.

  2. Certainly captured the worn look. Nicely done!

  3. Superb result, George! A very interesting scheme that you replicated perfectly!
    An excellent build thread too!

  4. Third one already, and as beautiful as the others, George @gblair
    Indeed a very interesting and unique scheme, looks great with the worn effect.
    Well done.

  5. George @gblair, the weathering is absolutely superb. I love the worn and faded look!

  6. By George, I think you’ve got it!
    Great looking Sabre and effective weathering work.

  7. You nailed it! Looks like a hard working Sabre.

  8. Thanks, Chas (@chasbunch). I really enjoy weathering. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Nice work, George. The Sabre sure looks different in camouflage.

  10. Thanks, John (@j-healy). This was a fun build, even if it was in 1/72. Luckily the parts in the kit were big enough for me to see. I have one more that I want to do, probably a natural metal Sabre from NASA.

  11. Ah, George! I hadn't gotten that far in catching up my headlines post reading from the weekend, and still had a page to get to! Love this one - nice weathering, and since I have a project in mind for the aircraft of South and Central America, I'm certain I'll get to one just like this! I may need to secure one of those MB seats from you... 😉

  12. Hi Greg (@gkittinger): The Airfix kit was fun, and so was the weathering. I discovered that Vallejo Model Air is soft enough to remove with a stiff brush. You can use this to your advantage to get these effects.

  13. Great to see the camo scheme on this one - nice work George! @gblair

  14. Excellent work ! Very unique paint scheme on a Sabre.

  15. F-86s just look fast. Simple and elegant. Hard to believe your work is 1/72. Excellent job and thanks for sharing.

  16. Thanks, David (@davem). It was fun to do a Sabre in camo. The others I built for the group were all NMF.

  17. Thanks for stopping in, Jay (@ssgt). The kit was fun to build (even if it was 1/72). The camo and weathering were just icing on the cake.

  18. Hi Matt (@coondog): I don't normally build 1/72, but I had heard that this was a really nice kit. I all fit like a glove. It was fun from start to finish. Thanks for stopping in.

  19. Yes, George @gblair. You nailed it! Inspiring!

  20. Thanks for the kind words, Eric (@eb801). I think I enjoy ageing and weathering so much that it will be hard to do a plane that is in really good shape.

  21. A very nice build for a wonderful aircraft George @gblair. Well done!. Thanks for sharing

  22. Hi George,

    Really love this worn and torn warbird!
    One can really tell the tough life this Sabre must have gone through.
    The blank metal panel sure gives an extra lively dimension to the model, brilliant idea!

  23. Hi, Yann (@yann): Thanks. This one came out a lot better than I expected. A happy surprise.

  24. Hi, Alfred (@alfred): I think if I was to paint this again, I would pick a smaller panel to be natural metal. It is an interesting contrast to the camo. Thanks for following along.

  25. A very unusual build, George, looks great!

  26. Thanks, Robert (@roofrat). This one was really fun to build. Thanks for stopping by.

  27. Fantastic painting!

  28. Beautiful work George (@gblair). I was just looking at these and realized that with camouflage, in some views it reminds me of the F-84 Thunderstreak in camouflage. These 50s jets, although somewhat temperamental (and many just plain dangerous to fly), do have a certain character to them that makes them extremely appealing to me, more so than the more modern jets such as the F-18 or F-35.

  29. Thanks, Bernard (@lis). The paint was an experiment to see what I could do.

  30. Hi Carl (@clipper): When I was flying C-141s in Honduras, there were some older planes on the airfields, and I was never completely sure what they were. We never got close to them, but I think they were either F-86s or Super Mystere's. They both look similar from a distance and both had the same camo at the time. I have a Special Hobby 1/48 Super Mystere that I want to do at some point, perhaps in their 2-tone gray camo.

  31. Very nice work.

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