The subject
The F-100 was the first United States fighter aircraft that was capable of supersonic speed in level flight. It served with the United States Air Force from the fifties till the start of the seventies and with the Air National Guard (ANG) until the end of the seventies. Its name is derived from the F-86 Sabre, as it was designed as a follow-on of that aircraft. The Super Sabres also saw military services in the Taiwanese, Danish, French and Turkish air forces.

The D version of the F-100 was a Single-seat fighter-bomber with a larger wing and tail fin, landing flaps and advanced avionics. The goal was to address the offensive shortcomings of the F-100C, focussing to produce mainly a ground attack aircraft with secondary fighter capabilities. Its first flight was in January 1956 and in the end, 1,274 were produced.


In June 1956, the aircraft of the USAF Thunderbirds display team aircraft was switched from the F-84F to the F-100C Super Sabre, which finally provided the team with supersonic capability. This meant that changes had to be brought to their show. If permitted, the pilots would even create sonic booms, until this was banned by the FAA. It was also with these aircraft that the Thunderbirds held their European debut in 1962.

In 1964, the team moved to the F-105 Thunderchief for a short time. But after a few air shows they switched back after a lethal structural failure with one of the aircraft, resulting in the death of Capt. Gene Devlin. It was here that the F-100D was introduced to the team, in which they flew on for 4 years, until they replaced it with the F-4 Phantom in 1968.

This article is partially based on information found at wikipedia, 17th February 2015.North_American_F-100D_Super_Sabre_USAF


The kit

  • Subject: F-100D Thunderbirds
  • Manufacturer: Trumpeter
  • Scale: 1/48
  • Parts count: 168
  • Serial: 02822

At this moment, this kit is the last release of the F-100 line from Trumpeter. It was released in 2012 and is a follow up from their first F-100 kit released in 2009. Unlike the other kits, this one focusses solely on the aircraft flown by the USAF Thunderbirds display team, and so provides two different Thunderbird markings.

The box and contents
The box is made from strong cardboard, as we are used from Trumpeter. Upon opening the kit, it really stands out that the box is filled to the brink with material. There definitely isn’t a lot of space left to add any more, so you don’t get a box that is half filled with air. The 168 parts of the kit are split up over 8 sprues, two of which are the clear prues holding 9 parts in total. As we are used, the sprue parts are really well detailed, with recessed panel lines and rivets on the appropriate panels.





Sprue A
Sprue A holds both the fuselage halves, the main cockpit part, and the inside of the air intake. The parts are quite detailed, as the cockpit part has little buttons and other details molded right on it. Also internal wheel bay details are molded on the fuselage halves, and the intake part has the front wheel bay molded with it. Since the fuselage isn’t cut up into individual pieces, it gives you a good idea how massive this aircraft was and how big it will be once finished.





Sprue C & D
The sprues C and D hold the upper and lower sections of the wings, as well as the rudder. C holds the lower halves of the wings, which have gaps on the side connected to fuselage for the wheel bays. Sprue D holds the upper parts of the wings, as well as the rudder which is split up in two halves. These prunes also holds some parts for the ailerons.





Sprue G
The G sprue holds the horizontal stabilizers, the refueling probe, the flaps and some parts of the engine compartment, which is basically just the exhaust system. Also the front landing gear can be found here, together with Leading-edge slats which need to be mounted on the front of the wings, who provide that the aircraft can fly at slower speeds and take off or land on a shorter distance.





Sprue H
This one pretty much holds all the little leftover parts that haven’t been included yet. On it we can find parts like the wheels, wheel bay covers, (two!) pilot seats, the pitot in front of the intake and even a little ladder which the pilots used to get in the aircraft. These last items are pretty detailed already, so personally I wouldn’t feel any need to replace them. Also the instrument panel is sufficiently detailed, with little raised details who depict the various instruments used.




Sprue J
The styrene sprue J holds the armament and drop tanks who can be slung under the wings of our aircraft. The drop tanks are divided in two halves, being the left and right side (and not the upper and lower side as with other kits). This is because the top of the tanks are flattened but bulged on the bottom, just like the tank used in real life. The Sidewinder missiles are pretty much one single piece, and just need the addition of a second pair of fins.




Sprue L
The final styrene sprue holds the hard points of the aircraft. These are quite massive and even include a whole amount of little parts that need to be added. It’s impressive to see how much work went into these hard points, instead of just being a single molded piece (or being divided into two halves as with some other brands). One thing to notice is that this sprue seems to have a lot of (minimal) flash. However, most of this is not on the parts itself, but some can be found on the parts.



The clear parts
The two clear sprues are packaged together with the A sprue. Each clear sprue is also packages individually for extra protection, so it is less likely that the clear parts will be scratched or damaged. One sprue just holds the canopy, while the other sprue holds the front part of the canopy, together with the identification and landing lights.

The parts are different compared to those of other brands. The parts that are clear in real life, are indeed clear. The parts that aren’t are more matte-like, preventing you to look through through. Personally, I find this is a good thing, as when you are masking it should be easier to distinguish the places that you need to mask and which you don’t.



The Decals
The decals are quite impressive. These are spread out over three sheets, two of which are really massive! Really, these are larger than the instructions sheet, which is almost as large as an A4 sheet of paper. The third sheet on the other hand is really small, only holding decals for the instrument panels and some squadron emblems. All the decals sheets are also wrapped in plastic like all the sprues and are individually covered with protective paper, so that all your decals will remain in great shape.




The Instructions
The instructions are just a bit smaller than a horizontal A4 format. The illustrations are as other Trumputer instruction leaflets which are computer generated. The steps are divided over eight pages with ten different illustrations, with some sub-steps added. On the first page there is an overview of all the sprues that are included with the kit. On the bottom of the page is a list that tells you which parts are not needed to complete this kit.





The markings can be found on a seperate sheet of glossy paper. There are two markings to choose from:

A: F-100D Super Sabre, Air show 1967, flown by Capt. Merril A. Mcpeak
B: Thunderbird based at Europe

Although these are both Thunderbird markings, these are somewhat different of one another. This can be seen on the scans below.

The decals that are provided in the kit can be used instead of painting the white, blue and red tones. So somebody who does not like painting at all and would rather want to use decals has the option to do so. Somebody who doesn’t can instead use the decals as guidelines to cut masks out of masking tape.



The conclusion
This seems to be a very nice kit of the F-100 Super Sabre, which should be a must in the collection of the American fighter jet fans. All the other kits of 1/48 F-100’s were released over three decades ago, so the subject desperately needed a new kit from a more recent tooling. Trumpeter did a good job answering that call with a very nice and detailed kit. Even though this kit is designed to build a ‘USAF Thunderbirds’ F-100, drop tanks and armament are included in the box, so people can buy this kit and build a Vietnam or ANG F-100D instead, as I am actually planning to do so. They also took no shortcuts on the decals, providing us with two enormous decal sheets which can build into two different Thunderbird aircraft, which differ from more recent Thunderbird aircraft, because these
F-100D’s were the last Thunderbird aircraft that had partially NMF aircraft.

Although it might be a bit to many parts for a beginner, I would recommended it to everybody, especially fans of USAF Thunderbird aircraft.