Flying Cheetah’s” S.A.A.F  Korea

1/48 Hasegawa F-51D
1/48 Academy F-86F-30

by Mark Rossmann



The S.A.A.F. entered the air war fray on November 16 of 1950.  With No. 2 “Flying Cheetah’s” flying their Mustangs into airfield K-9 at Pusan.  The unit joined the 18th FBW as it made its move into North Korea and was therefore attached to the 18th FBW for the duration of the war.  The Cheetah’s flew with great courage and bombing accuracy contributing to the 18th’s overall effectiveness.  Many F-51’s suffered heavy battle damage and were able to fly or glide back to friendly territory crash landing their fighters.  U.S. ground crews were always available to assist the South Africans with repairs.  SAAF records show 95 Mustangs were bought; with 74 lost to all causes… the greatest cost were the 34 pilots killed or MIA.  

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Conversion to the F-86F

In December of 1952 the “Cheetah’s” turned in there Mustangs at Kisarazu AB. Starting in January new F-86-30’s arrived however initially flying dual-controlled T-33’s until its pilots were considered ready to solo.  By March 31 the “Cheetah’s” received all there Sabres and once all squadron pilots had soloed, the first order of business was to master fighter-interceptor tactics.  Maintenance of the Sabres was truly a UN effort with all three squadron crewman assisting each other.  The “Cheetah’s” participated in the massive May Day raid against the Pyongyang radio tower.  The SAAF Sabres had the tri-colored chevron of the 18th FBW in the colors of there air force.



The F-51D is a 1/48 Hasegawa kit. It was an easy build, painted with Testors silver spray paint. I utilized the kit decals which are a bit inaccurate, only in color where the red should have been SAAF orange. This represents in 1952, No. 2 Squadrons #361

 “Miss Marunouchi” carrying rockets and napalm.

The F-86F-30 is a 1/48 Academy kit.  Was an easy build, although you have to mind the fit as you marry both fuselage haves, watch it behind the cockpit.  Secondly if you like them buttoned up, you can get a better fit of the machine gun panels by gluing the machine guns in place first.  This will give you overall support of the panel from sinking into the panel cut-out.  Used the AreoMaster 48-711 SAAF Sabres.  This is from 1952 at Osan AB , No 2 Squadron, “#611”, “F”, “Danny Boy”.  The SAAF orange is correct on these decals.



  • Hasegawa Instruction Sheet  

  • Osprey Front Line Color #1 – F-51 Mustang Units over Korea

  • Osprey Front Line Color #2 – F-86 Sabre Fighter-Bomber Units over Korea


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Photos and text © by Mark Rossmann