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1/48 F-86E slat-winged Saberjet conversion


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I wanted to build a Korean War F-86E in 1/48, but since they had a non-6/3 slatted wing, and NO 1/48 kit is made that way, you have  to convert an "F" back to an "E". There are several resin conversion wings made...but most are put of production, all are hard to find, and they're all expensive. You can use a Revell F-86D Sabedog wing, but I chose a cheaper route, using an old Entex/Marusan F-86D Saberdog wing, which is a much cheaper way to go and doesn't sacrifice a truly nice kit. This is the 3rd time I've done this...having built an "A" and another "E" several decades ago...so this isn't anything new for me.

The Entex wing is requires some modification to fit the Academy "F" fuselage I used for the conversion. The "belly" is too deep and has to be flattened significantly. This means you'll sand completely through the kit plastic, so the interior has to be backed with epoxy putty. In the pics below you can see the large patch of Apoxy Sclup I used for this. As you see, the wing has separate flaps, ailerons, and slats. This is a kit molded in the 60's, so the parts do require a lot of clean up, and they need to be modified to be added later in the build instead of being "trapped" while building the wing.  The Academy center wheel wells were also transplanted to make up for a lack of detail in the Entex wells, along with the addition of plastic card and some tubing to act as gear sockets.



You can see the large area of epoxy exposed by flattening the belly of the wing in the pic above. Once modified, it actually fit very well on the Academy fuselage. In any case, the filling and sanding needed to smooth it in is nothing compared to the previous work!


The rest of the build is very straight forward, and for the most part was OOTB for the rest of the model.

I was going to use Alclad metalic paints, so I sanded everything glass smooth, rescribed the wing, and then shot a coat of MM gloss black enamel (thinned with lacquer thinner) as a primer base.


Alclad Aluminum was then misted on in several coats till I got the look I wanted. The wing center panel was painted dark aluminum, while the tail and gun panels were painted Magnesium.


I wanted to do Clifford Jolley's "Jolly Roger" from the Korean War, so I painted the yellow and black stripes instead of using the provided decals. The decals were applied directly over the Alclad, and are a combo of Aeromaster and Academy kit decals.







Although this conversion takes a lot of elbow grease, it's not really all that tough to do. I've wanted this Korean War F-86E on my shelf for a long time, and now I finally have it! Question, comments, and critiques welcome, as always!


Gil :smiley16:




Edited by ghodges
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The finish is amazing! Just curious, how long did it take you to prep, and paint the fuselage colors? What was your final grit of sanding medium you used to prep it before you shot on the Alclad ? The painted Yellow and black stripes really make it all pop.


Edited by Bradley25mm
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"Just curious, how long did it take you to prep, and paint the fuselage colors? What was your final grit of sanding medium you used to prep it before you shot on the Alclad ?"

Chris:  I got it all sanded, primed, and painted in about a week to 10 days, including a few days to allow for drying.

The wing itself was the most work, and there's probably a couple of hours work in order to first flatten the bottom belly contour (very coarse sanding sticks), then rough sand with 400 to start removing scratches and take off the Entex raised panel lines, and then 600 grit to smooth most everything out. After that, I wet sanded with worn 600 (fine) grit sticks to get a very smooth surface. The wing then needed rescribing, and that took a good hour or so.

The gloss black primer pretty much fills in any imperfections left, but I did "polish" it with a rough paper towel (less than 5 mins) after letting it dry 24hrs.

Although not mentioned, the kit canopy has to have the mold line on its top removed. It was gently scraped away, then I started with 600 grit and progressed with sanding/polishing pads from 1600-12000 grit, and then polished it with Novus polishing cream and cloths. That took about 30mins....

The Alclad painting is very fast, as it dries enough to mask over in less than 30mins. So, I misted on 2-3 coats of the Aluminum, waited about 15-20mins, then masked off (with Tamiya tape) the center wing panel, the gun panels, and the tail and painted the Alclad Dark Aluminum and Magnesium. All in all, the entire metallic finish (including the fiddly bits like gear and drop tanks) took about 1-2 hours to apply.

The yellow COULD have been painted immediately, but it was applied the next day, and then since it's a gloss, I allowed 24hrs for it to set, and added the black trim the next day. The black trim took longer to mask off, since it had to be "measured and spaced" to get even results.

You could certainly do more fine sanding and polishing than I did, and THAT shows in certain spots when you get up real close.....but then I'm not a perfectionist so I quit when I thought I had done enough to get the result I wanted.

Hope that answered your questions. Let me know if it didn't. Thanks for the very kind words!


GIL :smiley16:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well done Gil! A very, very nice Sabre.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Very well done Gil.  Makes me want to dig out that F-86A conversion I planned on doing many years ago.  

I don't know how you 'measure' your black stripes, but it looks like you did a bang up job.  If I may, I would like to present my method.  Paint the yellow.  Then cut a piece of masking tape the width of the black line.  Lay that down next to the yellow stripe and then mask up to it.  Makes for a consistent pattern and is easy to do.  Just my way of doing it - your mileage may vary.



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