1/72 Hasegawa F-86D Sabre Dog

Gallery Article by Carl Jarosz on Apr 9 2020



F-86D Sabre Dog 196th FIS, California Air Guard 

This was to be one of those relaxing model builds – not too complex, but enough detail to accept some customization and turn out looking special - but it turned out to be an involved and somewhat stressful challenge. I purchased a Special Hobby F-86D with “California Air Guard” decals, but half way into the build, I couldn’t tolerate any longer the tiny, thin delicate parts that characterized this kit, which kept breaking at the touch and could not be salvaged. As I intensely wanted to make a replica of this aircraft with Day-Glo orange markings, I decided to pursue the build, but used Hasegawa’s offering instead: the smaller parts were much easier to handle, and I had one of these kits laying around my dust-covered shelves.

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Per the usual Hasegawa mold quality, the cockpit was Spartan. With this smaller scale, I used decals for side consoles. I did, however, use the instrument panel that came with the Special Hobby kit, as it had raised gauge detail. Both kits had seats that were featureless, so I chose the Hasegawa one and broke out the masking tape and fashioned my own seat belts and harnesses. Since the cockpit had nothing special, I built the model with the canopy closed.

Painting the model was straight forward, except an extra step was used for the orange patches: to bring out the full effect of the orange, it’s imperative that an undercoat of white paint be applied. The orange is then applied on top of the white, which results in a rich looking orange color. There are a number of booklets by various authors in the “Air Force Legends” series, available from Squadron and other hobby sources, that discuss the use of the orange Day-Glo in the early 1960s period, if one wishes more in depth information on that unusual marking.

I encountered another hurdle when decaling: I had to scurry to find an after market decal sheet with “California Air Guard” printing to proper 1/72 scale, because the Special Hobby decals brittled apart when I attempted to apply them. Mercifully I found a decal source on Ebay. I used the decal sheet from the Hasegawa kit for other plane markings. The Special Hobby decal sheet also failed to have a distinctive unit symbol in the form of two acute, joined triangles. I had to lay out the design on yellow decal film sheet, then cut and apply.

Finally, I wanted to simulate an aircraft at the end of its operational life, ready for the aluminum smelter’s torch. The Air Force F-86Ds were worn when given to the various state air guard units. Too often, these hand-me-downs were to be used a short time, until newer jet designs made their way into the Air Guard inventories. To replicate this, I used scotch tape and selectively pressed it on the model and pulled it off, picking up some particles of silver. I also dipped a Q-tip into paint thinner and lightly wiped it on the decals with lettering, to give it a faded effect. Secondly, I used an X-acto blade and lightly chipped edges of some decals; again, to show the effect of wear and maintenance that no longer would be given to an outdated aircraft. Finally, I used a wash of Black Detailer, making sure to leave a generous residue.

Carl Jarosz

Photos and text © by Carl Jarosz