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Trumpeter F-100D Super Sabre Model Airplane Review

Article by Paul Nortness

The North American F-100 Super Sabre was an evolution of the very successful F-86 Sabre. The project was originally called "Sabre 45" because it was basically an F-86 with a 45 degree sweep on the wings with greater firepower and much more power.

This aircraft was approved and designated F-100, the first of the Air Force's "Century Series". The "Hun", short for "Hundred", was the world's first production supersonic aircraft. It served the United States Air Force from 1954 to 1979.

The Trumpeter 1:32nd F-100D is the first production styrene model kit of this aircraft in the bigger scale. The kit does come with a hefty price tag, selling for $150.00, though it can be found in the $120 range from several online hobby retailers. There are many aftermarket sets out there for this model as well. This kit has been reviewed several times, many under the impression that the modeler has access to unlimited cash and can afford these sets. The goal of this review is to help the budget minded modeler save a little money and still build a nice Super Sabre.

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Inside the box you will find the pretty standard affair for Trumpeter kits. There are several bags holding fifteen sprues with over 400 parts. You will also find a box containing a fret of photo etch parts, metal landing gear struts, rubber wheels, vinyl ammo belts and clear parts. One of the coolest things I found in the box was a piece of solid metal for ballast in the nose.

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This ballast keeps the model from the dreaded fate of "Tail Dragger" where the tail is too heavy so the model rests on the tail with the nose in the air. I wish more companies would take this example, as I grow very tired of putting fish weights in the nose cones of my models! The addition of white metal landing gear struts is most welcome as well. These pieces tend to sag after time on larger models like this when made of styrene. The surface of the model is smooth, with no pocking or rough patches as found on previous Trumpeter releases. Details are finely etched into the surface and should look excellent when weathering solution is applied.

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The fuselage of the aircraft features a removable tail section so you can expose the full J57 engine (more about the engine in a bit). They have also included a cart for the tail section in case you choose to display it with the tail off. A pretty nice touch I think! The fuselage is pretty accurate with the exception of the intake in the front. The intake is not the proper oval profile. Zactomodels has made a correction set with the proper shape. The set can be had for $10.00 plus shipping and in my opinion is well worth it. It also comes with a FOD cover so you don't have to worry about that ugly seam on the inside of the intake. While putting the fuselage halves together for this review, I found the fit to be excellent with little seam visible.

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For some reason, Trumpeter molded the main gear wheel wells into the lower wing section.

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The result is a very shallow wheel well. Aires makes a resin set that will correct this. The set sells for around $50.00. I might be tempted to purchase this set, but because I rarely expose the bottom of the aircraft I will save my 50 dollars. This model will sit on the shelf, rendering the wheel wells unseen.

Now, let's talk some more about that engine I mentioned earlier. The kit comes with a full J57 engine complete with photo etched compressor blades. This is really cool and very detailed. The trouble with all this detailing is it is hidden! You will never ever see any of the hard work you did to get all those blades in place. In my opinion, you could just leave the photo etch out and save the weight in the tail. That said, the exterior of the engine unit is excellent and would look great with the tail section off.

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The cockpit is well designed and comes in several pieces. They do this because they can get much greater detail than they would if they were to mold it in one piece. The instrument panel is very sharp.

There is a clear film with dial faces printed onto it which you sandwich between the instrument face and a flat piece that is painted white.

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The result is a very realistic looking panel. There are at least three resin cockpits you can add, ranging in price from $20.00 to $60.00. In my opinion the kit pieces are very serviceable and a resin cockpit is not required. I would recommend picking up AMS Resin's ejection seat though. While the kit seat is pretty good, the AMS seat is just mind boggling. It includes seat belts and oxygen hoses and really adds a pop to the "office". The replacement ejection seat can be had for around $15.00.

The model kit offers a decent if not odd selection of armament. Included are four AIM-9B Sidewinders, three 275 gallon drop tanks, Zuni rocket pod, ALQ-31 ECM pod, ALQ-87 ECM pod and a practice bomb dispenser. The trouble with this is that many of these options are not right for the subject of this kit. It is clear Trumpeter did not research properly and just threw in some weapons. The F-100 was never qualified to carry the ALQ-31 (Which is fine, because it will look nice on my F-4E) , the rocket pod is the US Navy version rather than the pod carried by the F-100. If you intend on modeling a Vietnam era F-100, you will need 335 gallon tanks from AMS Resin ($16.00 each).

The kit features a large decal sheet with plenty of stencils and markings for three aircraft. The sheet is well printed and everything is in registry.

However, there are some odd examples of poor spelling. I'm not really sure what they were trying to spell there... while the decal sheet is serviceable I would recommend adding an aftermarket decal sheet.

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As standard with Trumpeter kits, the instruction booklet is well illustrated and simple to follow. The paint instructions call for Gunze colors, but you should have no trouble if you follow your resources. All in all, the 1:32nd scale Trumpeter F-100D Super Sabre is an excellent model plane kit and should make a great addition to your display shelf. Despite some minor snags, you should be able to create a very nice rendition of the Hun with a minimal use of aftermarket parts.

Have fun and happy modeling!

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