by: Russ Amott [ ]
The Academy F-86F-30 kit is a nice model with fairly good detail, but one area that is lacking is in the cockpit. The seat has sink marks and is lacking the shoulder straps for the harness, the instrument panel is only for the fighter/bomber variant, and other details are very basic, leaving the cockpit looking rather bare. The easiest way to fix this is to go with an aftermarket set. I selected the cockpit set upgrade from Legend productions, which I purchased from Lucky Model for $8.79, with free shipping.
The kit is made to fit either the Academy or the very similar Hasegawa models in 1/48 scale. The upgrade comes in a small box with a picture on the front of the box of the built up set. A small piece of paper, roughly 4 inches square (100mm) shows a layout of the parts and photos of the cockpit and the framing and canopy rest behind the seat. Two separate instrument panels are included for the fighter and fighter/bomber variants.
The parts are molded in cream colored resin with most of the pieces grouped together on large casting blocks. The pilot's seat and cockpit tub are separate castings. All parts arrived intact and the moldings are smooth with no visible bubbles or sink marks. Detailing on all parts is crisp and very fine. The casting blocks are substantial, and there is some flash to remove as well. My experience with resin upgrades is limited, but this appears to be fairly standard for the medium. It will take time and care to clean up but the effort will be well worth it.
I did a partial assembly of the Academy kit seat to compare with the Legend seat. Looking at the two it is obvious that the upgrade was worth it. The kit seat has no padding and only shows the lap belts lying on the seat with four large ejector pin marks. The Legend seat has lap and shoulder belts, although they are molded onto the seat. Lines for what I believe are the g-suit and oxygen system are also cast on the seat. The cockpit tubs were also compared, and again the resin part is superior in detail.
Installation of the cockpit tub will require some surgery to remove the plastic kit tub from the central intake, and dry fitting and further shaping of plastic and resin parts will be required to make sure everything fits well.
ConclusionThe Academy F-86F-30 is currently not in production and as a result many of the aftermarket options for upgrading the kit are not available either. This Legend set is one of the few I could find. I don't know how the details are in the Hasegawa kit, but if you have an Academy Sabre and want to improve the detailing, I recommend this Legend set.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.