Everybody Loves the Sabre
The F-86 is everybody's favorite, and with good reason. The airplane embodied pretty much everything you could want in a jet fighter during the late 1940s and early to mid-1950s; it was fast, reliable, easy to maintain, maneuverable, and well armed. It was also fairly small and simple both to fly and to maintain, and the design was right the first time. Sabre variants were still flying in American military service in limited numbers during the 1970s, and remained in several foreign air forces for a while after we finally retired it. It was a Good Airplane, and a viable counter to both the MiG-15 and, when properly flown (ask the Taiwanese about that one), the MiG-17 as well. It's also a highly colorful aircraft and that, when combined with its service history, makes it an ideal choice for a model subject.
That said, we aren't going to review any F-86 kits today, primarily because the subject's been pretty well worked to death by others. The primary variants are all available in plastic, although we're still missing the F-86A and H in 1/48th and 1/32nd scale, but the E/F series have been catered to, at least if you consult your references before you go building a model; for instance, it's tougher to do some USAF Korean War variants than you might imagine and building straight from the box isn't necessarily a good idea with the available kits. There's also a really good F-86D kit out there from Revell of Germany that's been released in both early and late variants, which makes it possible to build some really colorful Ds and Ls in 1/48th scale. Our cup almost runneth over!
Here are a couple of photos for inspiration should you decide to build yourself an F-86. They don't depict outrageously different airplanes, but they're not quite the norm either, and at least one probably got in some post-Korean War combat time. This airplane's a lot like the F4U; you can never have too many of them.
I guess we've started a series of sorts regarding American aviation ordnance, so we'd may as well add a little to it. Here are a couple of illustrations of the sorts of unguided rockets that were in use during the 1950s and 60s in the Navy. Once again the information comes from The Aviation Ordnanceman's Manual (AO), NavAer 00-80T-65, dated 1958.
The Navy specified that rocket motors (the body of the weapon) be painted olive drab, while the types of warheads were defined by the following color code:
High Explosive Olive Drab with white markings
Chemical (casualty gas) Gray with green band, white lettering
Chemical (smoke) Gray with yellow band, white lettering
Practice Blue with white markings
Inert Black with white markings
The manual doesn't provide the same sort of relative scale diagram for the rockets as it does for bombs, so there's no comparison-at-a-glance sort of drawing provided. If I can find one I'll publish it later, but this is it for now.
Crazy Times A-Coming
We've been getting together pretty much every weekday since I began this thing, but we may miss a few days during the next month due to an extended visit from family. Don't be unduly concerned if you don't see a post each and every day for a while or if the posts you do see are somewhat abbreviated; nothing's wrong, we're just out driving folks around the Texas Hill Country. In theory everything will be back to normal, whatever you may define that to be, in May.
And that's it for a Tuesday. Be good to your neighbor!