1:48 Caracal Decals Century Series Decals Editorial Comment Kits, Reviews 'n' Builds Monogram Models Natural Metal USAF


With four of the Century Series now completed using Monogram’s classic 1/48 series of kits, it’s time to build the aircraft the aircraft that set this series in motion: the F-100 Super Sabre.

Monogram’s F-100, despite the raised details that split opinion like a bar-room argument over politics and football, remains the most accurate kit of this aircraft on the market.

Though my attention for the coming month is going to be focused on rather more prosaic subjects than supersonic fighter bombers, I’ve spent part of this morning preparing the next build for my Century Series collection that has so far seen the Starfighter, Voodoo, Delta Dart and Thunderchief, all cross my desk and then find their way into my display case. This time around I’m going back to the start to tackle the majestic, F-100 Super Sabre.

If ever there was a classic machine, this is it. Aggressive in action, purposeful in looks, the F-100 is an aircraft that deserves to find its way into anyone’s collection of post-war jets. From memory, though let’s be honest, that’s hardly the most reliable of tools, I’ve only built this aircraft twice from stock plastic kits.

The first time was as a kid. 

Following a family outing to a local town with grandparents, we stopped off on the way home in a small village. There, on the side of the main road, was one of those small village shops that were ubiquitous back in the day, but are now all-too noticeable by their absence. In fact, I pass that location fairly often these days and the shop is now a house, such is the march of ‘progress’ and the need for accommodation rather than food that defines modern-day, village life (seriously, what happens in the these places if you run out of milk and don’t have a car?).


A shop’s a shop, right? Right? Back then, almost all shops seemed to sell plastic kits, so hedging my bets I did what any any self-respecting pest of a grandchild would do: I went in. Sure enough, there were kits, though only Revell if memory serves. Sure enough, pester-power, that thing that annoys you no-end as a parent, but is a gift from God as a child, worked like a charm and out I went, a shiny Revell F-100 in hand. As an aside to this tale of modelling nostalgia, my mum was absolutely livid that I had pulled such a stunt, to the point where I never repeated the trick. Indeed, if I think long and hard about it, I can still remember, 40-odd years later, exactly what she said to me when we got home. Suffice to say, it was not pretty…

Now, that 1956 kit, as anyone knows, is memorable for a number of reasons, most of them, bad.

1. It’s in a very odd scale, somewhere in the region of 1/77 and certainly not 1/72 as mentioned on the box. These days we would care about such things; when this kit was released, no-one did.

2. It is – I think – one of very few plastic kits that replicate, albeit very poorly, the F-100C. Seriously, how long do we have to wait for an F-100C to appear in 1/72?!

3. All of the decals from the kit were applied using raised details that helfully showed you where the national insignia, unit markings, etc. needed to go. None of this mattered one iota though, as the decals were utterly dreadful anyway…

It was/is, to put it mildly: rubbish. No matter though, as a child I would build anything  (which to be fair, is an accusation that is still levelled at me 45 years later!) so I built it, decalled it and then set fire to it as it became a downed machine, fishing line, stretched from bedroom window to garden tree, helping it along its last flight to destruction. It seems as though, even then, I was aware of how terrible this plastic footnote really was and couldn’t wait to be shot of it at my earliest convenience.

The second build was rather more successful, that being from the superb ESCI 1/72 offering. Released during ESCI’s golden period, the kit was hailed by everyone that saw it as the best 1/72 F-100 then available. Today, 40 years after its release, it’s still arguably the most accurate way to build this kit from extant 1/72 kits, which bears testament to ESCI’s designers and the toolmakers that translated those designs into moulds that very much hold-up today (Italeri’s F-100D and -F being based on that original set of parts). Of course this begs the question: why have so few manufacturers seen fit to look at this very famous machine in 1/72?

So that was my two builds thus far. Time to make it three.

Monogram’s F-100, despite the raised details that split opinion like a bar-room argument over politics and football, remains the most accurate kit of this aircraft on the market. You want to build this aircraft in miniature and accuracy, shape and detail is your primary goal? This is the kit for you. That said, there are issues, many of them concerning construction and the hokey way that Monogram’s designers often approached superficially simple designs, using overly complex solutions.

This kit is, much like the F-106, is broken in a way that seems set to frustrate the modeller right from the bat. I genuinely cannot see why the fuselage for instance is broken down laterally, with upper and lower halves that join in line with the wing roots rather than left and right halves that join along the upper spine and lower fuselage. “Yes, but if they had done that, they would not have been able to recreate neatly, the airbrake bay that forms part of the underbelly” I hear you all cry. I get that. But given the magic that they weaved into the weapons bay of the F-106, I really don’t think that an insert that dropped under the wing root and fuselage belly, really would have been beyond them!

So, the kit will need to be carefully approached in terms of construction. I’m already planning to break the single-part wings into two, to allow the fuselage halves to be joined, cleaned-up and then the wings fixed in place. That should hopefully allow those lateral joints to be sanded smooth without damaging too much of the surrounding detail. It will also allow me to remove the tailplanes and deflect those as well, that seam being easier to clean-up around the rear fuselage as a result. Time will tell if I’m successful in that regard!

Today I’ll deal with most of the preparatory steps, joining all of the major parts, cleaning up others and then tackling some of those modifications. I can then try and work out a strategy for the paintwork and a suitable colour scheme, my preferred choice of Col. Toliver’s ‘Triple Zilch’ being rather hamstrung, thanks to the low quality of the decals I had initially chosen to use. With a full set of Caracal decals to hand, this is not an issue, but does rather change my approach, which, If I get a minute we’ll discuss in a future update…

See you again soon.


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I'm formerly the editor in charge of Military In Scale magazine and latterly, Model Airplane International. Editing duties to one side, I'm now a full-time modelmaker with Doolittle Media, working to supply modelling articles and material for a number of their group titles, including MAI and Tamiya Model Magazine International. I'm also an avid fan of Assassin's creed, Coventry City FC and when the mood takes me, a drummer of only passing skill. Here though, you'll find what I do best: build models and occassionally, write about them!

11 comments on “THE TURN OF THE CENTURY

  1. Funny you say about village shops as I well remember, during a supply stop on a family canal holiday in the late-70s, finding 1/35 Italeri kits of the Panzer I and Elefant in the canalside shop (somewhere around Audlem way).
    Needless to say they came home with me thanks to my generous parents.
    I still remember that Panzer I being a decent kit too 🙂


  2. Ian Nicholls.

    I’ve got this one in the stash Spence, so I’ll be very interested to see your approach.


  3. Colin S

    I had the Revell F-100C kit as a child to, bought it in a toy shop in Spain on holiday, didN’T seem that bad to my 12-year-old eyes back then. You could have another go at it, as its down to be re-issued by Atlantis any time soon. Think I will pass on it though!


  4. Christian Atkins

    Ah, yet more fun!


  5. Looking forward to this one too….. I have always liked the brute look of the “Hun”, especially in SE Asia camouflage (chickening out of the NMF)…..


  6. There you go again Spencer, stirring the memory pool of nostalgia. My dad was in the army when I was a lad. Stationed in West Germany as it was known then. The NAFFI was the main place I got my kits. I remember when Airfix brought out their 1/72nd Hercules. It was on show as I walked in one day. Apparently he told me years afterwards that he was talking to me at the time but I just ignored him, I was taken away by the size of the box and what was inside. Ah great days.


  7. Great read Spence.
    I really like your Century Series and can’t wait to see the books (the Spitfire one is excellent).
    Having not built the Monogram one I’m also really looking forward to seeing your build.
    Just listened to the Model Geeks interviews too (playing catchup having just found the podcast and picked your two as 1st ones after the into one) I know you’re going to have one hell of an audience for these.


  8. Wayne Starick

    Ah, those were the days: models scaled to fit the box, raised lines to show where the decals went… the list goes on!

    I remember my Revell Viscount (1/36?) and the pride of my collection, an Aurora Albatross D.III painted with Dulux red house paint!!!


  9. Can’t wait to see it progress


  10. Anonymous

    Also built the Revell 1/72 F-100 as a kid. I recently finished the Monogram 1/48 F-100 (it sat on the shelf partially finished for probably 8 or more years). I love the finished product, and, BTW: raised panel lines don’t bother me. I can’t wait to see your build!



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