1/48 Hasegawa F86- 40 Sabre

Gallery Article by Mark L. Rossmann on Mar 11 2010


The F-86 Sabre was the U.S. Air Forces successor to the P-51. The F-86 was manufactured in several countries most significantly after the U.S. was Canada, via Canadair, and by Japan via Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (creator of the Zero) under license from 1956 to 1961.  

Under the Military Assistant program started in 1954, the new JASDF received 29 former USAF F-86F-25 and -30 aircraft. The first JASDF Wing was activated in October 1956 using T-33A trainers and F-86Fs. A total of 135 former USAF F-86Fs, mostly Korean War veterans, were received until early1957.

The F-86F-40 was like the F-86F-25/30, but with a modified wing, featuring a 30 centimeter (1 foot) wingtip extension on the "6-3" wing, and having restored the leading-edge slats, the wing was called the "F-40". The first F-86F-40 was produced at the Inglewood plant in October 1955. Performance characteristics were the same as the F-86-25/30, while the F-86-40 had eliminated the “hot” landings.  The kits were sent to Japan in August of 1955, with the first JASDF F-86F-40 coming off the Mitsubishi line one year later becoming the first users of the F-40.  Mitsubishi would assemble a total of 300 F-86F-40s, In December 1961, Mitsubishi modified eighteen former USAF F-86F-25s and -30s to an RF-86F recon version, by adding three cameras near the cockpit, and most identifiable by a bulge it created, thus closing out its run of F-40 Sabres’.

In all, a total of 480 F-86Fs were flown by the JASDF Hikotais 1 to 10, plus the "Blue Impulse" aerial display team. 

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Late Japanese production would equip the Sabre to carry the "Sidewinder" heat-seeking air-to-air missile (AAM). These first Sidewinders needed to be accurately bore sighted on the target's exhaust to be effective. The pilot would hear through his earphones, a growling tone that grew louder as the missile confirmed a lock for firing.

The USAF was in need for new fighters and bought 280 NAA F-86F-40s, with a total of 280. Also a large number of "F-40" wing kits were ordered to retrofit to older F-86Fs via the IRAN program with many being supplied to US allies. The F-86F-40 was the final production variant of a total of 2,538 F-86Fs built.

The Hasegawa F86-40 model is well designed and crisply manufactured, providing the correct -40 wing assembly. The decals are super as they provide you with the 10 colorful Hikotai markings. The “Lightning Bolt” marking caught my eye so I decided to build a 9th SQ 4th Air wing Sabre. Some air wings also transitioned to the “D” model of the Sabre, I plan in the future to build a “D” version using some of these decals. This kit was very hard to find, and I was able to locate 3 so far in the Twin Cities area. The other two I’m building, and will have a future article, for the post Korea 310th and 311th FBS.  

Sources: Hasegawa Instruction sheet PT14, Encyclopedia of Worlds Combat Aircraft a Salamander Book and Greg Goebel’s (Mr. G) website: www.vectorsite.net

Mark L. Rossmann

Photos and text © by Mark L. Rossmann