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F-86D Sabre Dog

ProModeler's Kit finished with Alclad II

by Gregg Cooper


North American F-86D Sabre Dog


 ProModeler's 1/48 scale F-86D Sabre Dog is available online from Squadron.com




I have so far somehow managed to avoid doing a natural metal finish on a model.

To be honest, I just did not want to spend the tons of time required to prepare a model for that kind of finish. However, Pro Modeler’s new 1/48 scale Sabre Dog was just too irresistible, so I finally decided I should give it a try.



Alclad II seemed to offer some interesting alternatives to other conventional “metalizers”.
For example, it is recommended to apply Alclad 2 over a primer surface, and after a super quick drying time, it may be masked with tape for other painting effects such as anti-glare panels. All of these qualities convinced me to try it out on the ‘Dog.




I have to admit, this kit is one of the nicest models I have ever worked on. Other than reducing the rudder trim tab to the normal configuration and adding harness belts made from tape, the model was built straight out of the box.

The first thing I noticed was the very fine surface detail, combined with some traditional Monogram-style wheel wells and speed brake interiors. The cockpit is VERY complete except for a missing front bulkhead.



I prefer more depth to the harness belts, so I decided to cover the molded on belts with Tamiya masking tape.

Remarkably, there are NO ejector pin marks on any visible surface of this model. Outstanding! The fit of the major airframe parts is really something to see. Someone reported that the rear wing to fuselage join was a problem, but my kit practically assembled itself. The only filler I used on this model was some CA to fill the panel line on the separate nose cap that did not belong there.



Painting and Markings


The whole model was primed with Mr. Surfacer, and I was ready for Alclad 2.


I used the drop tanks as guinea pigs for the Alclad. The instructions for Alclad state that it should be airbrushed at 10 p.s.i., and misted on from a couple of inches away, building the silver very gradually in two or three coats.

THEY ARE NOT KIDDING! Being an “experienced” modeler, capable of wielding my airbrush with the greatest of ease, I proceeded to rely upon my superior skills and apply the Alclad just like any other paint. I ended up with some very skillfully crazed drop tanks, and a stupid look on my face. Sand, polish, prime, and try again. The second attempt was sprayed on at 10 p.s.i., but I still had a tendency to apply the Alclad “wet”, and ended up with crazed tanks again. Sand, Polish, prime, and try again. This time I misted the Alclad on and built it up slowly. Result: perfect finish!



Once this method is mastered, application of the Alclad goes extremely quick. I spent two hours applying White Aluminum, Duraluminum, and Dark Aluminum to various panels. To simulate the anodized aluminum center section of the wing, I added a little Model Master Light Gull Gray to Alclad White Aluminum. Tamiya tape was used to mask the various panels after only a few minutes of drying time. I masked and painted the anti-glare panel, radome, speed brake wells and wheel wells with Tamiya acrylics. The anti-glare panel received a thin coat of Testors Metalizer sealer to prep it for some decal work there. I had to apply these decals first, then Testors Dullcote before decaling the rest of the model to avoid masking around the decals.

I think that quality wise, the kit decals are the best I have ever used. With Gunze’s Mr. Mark Softer, they snuggled down extremely well after a few minutes. When fully set, these decals disappear against the metal finish.



The red trim on the decal sheet is a little too dark, but I still like the look of the finished model.
I used an oil wash to highlight the panel lines. The tinted Alclad that I used to simulate the anodized center of the wing reacted somewhat to the oil wash and lost a little bit of it’s luster during the clean-up. I spent some time thinking about a solution to this problem. During breakfast the next morning, I found the answer in an unusual place. My son requested “hash brown” potatoes for breakfast, so out came the frying pan, potatoes, and vegetable oil. AHA! I rubbed a dab of vegetable oil on the wing and presto! Instant blend and shine. It worked so well, that I applied it to the entire model except the anti-glare panel. I used a TINY bit and thoroughly rubbed it out with a soft cloth. Only a slight residue remained. Nice.



This model was a great change of pace for me, and Alclad 2 seems almost too easy to use. Any trepidation I ever had about natural metal finishes has vanished. Anybody for Cripes A’ Mighty III?



Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2001 by Gregg Cooper
Page Created 18 October, 2001
Last Updated 04 June, 2007

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