Hobby Master 1/72 Air Power Series
Canadair Sabre Mk.6 23679/AX-679,
No. 421 (Red Indian) Squadron RCAF
1 Canadian Air Division, No.2 Wing
Grostenquin, France 1958
April 2014 Release
Finally, a diecast RCAF Sword in an operational Scheme!
In 1957, the RCAF's 1 Canadian Air Division consisted of twelve Squadrons (over 300 aircraft) of Canadian built F-86 Sabre 6s and was a major contribution to NATO's deterrence against Soviet Aggression during the Cold War.
The Canadair Sabre 6 was the ultimate version of the F-86 and was powered by the Canadian designed Orenda 14 Engine which had a great deal more thrust than the J-47 powered variant (while the aircraft was also lighter in weight). The Sabre 6 had the “6-3 Hard Wing” of the F-86F but reintroduced the leading edge slats for improved low speed handling. As a result, the Canadian Sabre 6 Squadrons were virtually unbeatable in a dogfight and were unmatched by any other NATO Air Force.
The model represents a 421 “Red Indian” RCAF Squadron aircraft from No.2 Wing based at Grotenquin, France in 1958. This is the first Sabre 6 to be released by Hobby Master and is also the first to be depicted with extended wing leading edge slats.
Since the leading edge slats were retracted only by air pressure when the aircraft's speed approached 210 Kts - having them extended is accurate anytime the aircraft is on the ground or airborne in the slower speed regime such as on approach or during hard maneuvering during a dogfight (there are some photos of Sabre 6s on the ground with retracted slats which sometimes occurred when Maintenance Personnel would push them in where they would remain until disturbed).
I was involved in the research for this model and the following errors noted on the artwork were caught in time and corrected:
1) Under Wing roundels were incorrect. There were no markings underneath the Wings.
2) The Indian Head was missing some detail. On the starboard side of the tail the head was corrected to face forward.. The Indian Head is surrounded by a white circle or disc which was added. The Indian was also missing his eye.
3) The Red Ensign Flag on both sides of the tail needed to be lowered and moved forward.
4) The Upper Wing Maple Leaf Roundels were corrected be oriented with the 50% Chord line of the wing - not with the direction of flight.
5) The Upper Wing was missing the red and black walkway markings.
6) The tip of the nose (range finding radar) was corrected to be black.
7) The aircraft number "679" was added in white on the nose gear door (which was red).
8) Underneath the leading edge wing slats - corrected to natural metal colour.
9) The placement of "AX 679" and the roundel on the port side of the fuselage was adjusted.
10) The style of the numbers "679" needed to be restyled to reflect the numerals on the actual aircraft.
11) The inside of the speed brake door and wheel wells corrected to "interior green" in colour.
12) It was requested that the pilot's flight suit be blue and his helmet painted red (which was unique to 421 "Red" Indian Squadron).
The model is quite impressive and Hobby Master’s superior F-86 tooling continues to shine. I was concerned that the leading edge slats would be flimsy or fragile - however the wing is a single piece of solid metal and the slats are solidly in place. The paint colour looks right and even has a slight sheen to it as the actual aircraft. All the parts fit together well with no issues noted. Gear up or gear down options are provided as well as a display stand.
Overall, a fantastic model.
I could not be more enthusiastic in my recommendation to purchase this model. An absolute must for any Canadian collection.
RCAF Sabres being scrapped at Prestwick in 1963 after having been replaced by the CF-104 Starfighter. Note the variation in the Indian Head on each aircraft.