Having convinced myself that the kit and the wings were accurate for the aircraft I was building, the cock-ups on this model are all of my own making – and frankly, all the more annoying as a result
How a lack of research resulted in two completely inaccurate models…
As a modeller, I really should know that if I’m building a model, there’s a need to check if it’s accurate, not just in terms of shape and dimension, but also detail and equipment fit. That’s a prerequisite, isn’t it? Well, up until now, that’s almost always been the case – so why, did this fall down so spectacularly during my builds of both the Hasegawa and Eduard F-86s that I revealed yesterday?
Of course it was all going so well. The kits were easy to build and fun to paint. I’d decided early on that I would complete one as a USAF Korean War aircraft and the other as an RAF F.4. Yesterday, I discussed why this was so, so doesn’t need to be repeated here, but in essence it meant that I could complete the Eduard kit for MAI and the Hasegawa kit as a tribute to Roger Chesneau who passed away last year (it was his kit that I was building). So, two kits, two colour schemes on ostensibly the same aircraft.
Here’s a note that was posted against my builds on Facebook from my friend Tony Edmundson:
“coupla points on Sabres, the USAF one is a F-86F-30 and may not have had the hard edge wing(Eduard research). The RAF (Canadair built) ones had black cockpits and did not feature the raised panel on the fuselage top. Can’t tell from the pot side, did you remove the scoop ahead of the RH speedbrake, as it was only featured on the JASDF F-86s.” (sic)
Now I’ve known Tony for some time and know that he has some deep knowledge of all things Sabre, so this was taken at face value and I knew instantly that he was right and I’d gotten things spectacularly wrong. So I started looking up information on the American aircraft first and then moved on to the F.4. I began with those wings.
Sabre wings are an absolute minefield, slatted, unslatted, 6-3, extended tips, wing fences, it’s all there to confuse you as much as possible. Add to the mix that many aircraft had wings replaced during their lifetime and you are faced with a subject that is as unfathomable as it is fascinating. Rule of thumb: if an aircraft has wing fences, it’s a stock, unslatted wing, without and it has slats. The RAF F.4 had the fences, so that was fine, I could use the kit’s 6-3 wings without issue. The American aircraft, which I assumed was an Echo variant with the same wings, not so much. It turns out that the aircraft was actually an F-30 variant that had slatted wings, it’s just that Eduard had assumed it didn’t and offered accurate decals for what is now, an inaccurate model.
So I hunted for pictures, sure enough, there they were, slats on show. Slats. On. Show.
How did this happen? There aren’t that many images of ‘Mig Poison’, but those that I could find certainly showed the aircraft with slatted wings, which leads me to question whether or not this aircraft ever had its wings replaced? Had Eduard not just made a mistake? Well, possibly, but then so have other modellers and indeed, model companies; I found a whole raft of pictures online that showed this aircraft with hardened wings – even Corgi, who’ve released this aircraft in their die-cast range, did so with unslatted wings in place. Print Scale though (www.printscale.org) who’ve released decals for this aircraft, certainly noticed those wings and even offer a picture of the real aircraft in their instructions…
At the moment, I just don’t know, but I’m erring on the side of cock-up, rather than consolation. Though Tony seems unsure when he writes “may not have had”, I think he’s pretty convinced by his information and the images available. All I can say at the moment is that as it stands, my model looks to be inaccurate for the wartime aircraft I wanted to build and that bothers me – especially as the model is destined for a long magazine article and the other schemes in the kit, appear to be perfectly accurate! – and that other than ripping the wings off and replacing them(!), that’s how it with remain: inaccurate and a testament to my shoddy research.
And so on to the F.4.
Having convinced myself that the kit and the wings were accurate for the aircraft I was building, the cock-ups on this model are all of my own making – and frankly, all the more annoying as a result. You see, not only had I researched the aircraft here, in books and online, I also travelled to Cosford to photograph their F.4 and still didn’t notice the fact that the scoop on the fuselage was missing, the panel over the top of the fuselage not in place and that the cockpit was black, all of which are obvious in my photographs! This is not a collection of errors created by the kit, this is a collection of errors caused by my haste to finish the model and taking my eye off the ball when it came to the details. I simply could not see the wood for the trees.
In both of these cases, I really should have known better. Two minutes checking Online and I would have seen the wings were wrong and a few minutes looking at the photos I took, would have revealed the changes to the Canadair Sabre that I’d chosen to model. But no, I ran headlong into both builds like a bull at a gate and the result is that I have two models that look great, but are in both cases, somewhat less than accurate.
So where do I go from here? Well, the models will still be used and I will now have a feature that can discuss how important it is to research your subjects, but I still don’t have a completely satisfactory model of the Sabre in my collection. That being so – and against my much better judgement – I’m going to build another, this time from the Academy kit. I’ll research this one and may even use some of those spare Eduard decals – who knows, I may even build “MIG MAD MARINE”, after all, that was a stock F-86E with hardened wings, right?