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 REVIEW: Hobby Master HA4306 USAF F-86F Sabre - Joe McConnell's "Beauteous Butch II"

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Join date : 2017-02-18
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: REVIEW: Hobby Master HA4306 USAF F-86F Sabre - Joe McConnell's "Beauteous Butch II"   Sat Mar 11 2017, 19:12

Hobby Master 1/72 Air Power Series
North American F-86F Sabre
Captain Joeseph McConnell
51-2910 "Beauteous Butch II"
"39th FIS/51st FIW, Suwon AB, 1953

Production Limited 1,000 Units

January 2014 Release

Joseph Christopher McConnell, Jr. (1922 – 1954) was the top American Ace during the Korean War. A native of Dover, New Hampshire Captain McConnell was credited with shooting down 16 Mig 15s while flying F-86 Sabres with the U.S. Air Force. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star for his actions in aerial combat. Capt McConnell next served with the 435th Fighter Squadron at George AFB, California, and was killed while testing an F-86H Sabre near Edwards AFB, California, on August 25, 1954. McConnell was the first American triple Jet-on-Jet Fighter Ace and is still the top-scoring American jet ace.

For a complete summary of Joseph McConnell's Military Career click on the link below to Erich's excellent Veteran Tributes website:

Veteran Tributes Joseph McConnell

Below: The 51st FW's two top ranking aces. Capt Joseph McConnell (16 Victories) on the left and on the right is Capt Harold Fisher (10 Victories). Behind them is McConnell's first Beautious Butch (Beautious Butch being McConnell's pet name for his wife). McConnell was forced to abandon the first "Beautious Butch" (F-86F-15 51-12971) when it was struck by cannon fire from a Mig-15 moments after he had claimed his eighth kill on April 12, 1953.

The "Ace Race"

A great rivalry existed between the 4th and the 51st Fighter Wings when it came to boasting the leading ace in-theatre. The Press also picked up on this "ace race", thus garnering publicity back home for the main contenders in Korea. May 1953 proved to be the pivotal month in determining the highest scoring ace, with Capt Fernandez (4th FW) breaking out from his rivals by boosting his tally to 14.5 kills on the 16th. His lead did not last long, however, for Capt McConnell replied with six kills between 13 and 18 May, taking his tally to 16.

The publicity created by the "ace race" finally caught up with the leading Sabre pilots in-theatre when senior officers in the FEAF discovered that McConnell had flown 106 missions and Fernandez a whopping 125! The stipulated tour length was 100 missions, so both pilots were immediately grounded by the Fifth Air Force and sent home.

Beautious Butch II

After being forced to abandon "Beautious Butch", McConnell soon had F-86F 51-2910 painted up as "Beautious Butch II". The model by Hobby Master is how 51-2910 appeared shortly after the 18th of May 1953 when "Mac" scored three Mig kills to bring his total to 16. McConnell was promptly grounded and sent home as the first "triple ace" in Korea. After he landed, his aircraft was hurriedly repainted with 16 red stars (replacing Mig silhouettes) and a misspelled name- BEAUTIOUS BUTCH II became BEAUTEOUS BUTCH II on the port side. This was done for publicity purposes.

The Model

This model is the sixth F-86 Sabre release by Hobby Master and is from the same Squadron as the first release (HA4301 "The Huff"). While "The Huff" was famous for the Dragon Artwork painted on the side - this one is famous for having been the last flown in Combat by America's Top Scoring Triple Jet Ace, Joseph McConnell.

My example is just simply beautiful! Paint quality is flawless and all the parts fit together well.

Fortunately, the size and positioning of all the basic markings were hammered out correctly during the development of the first release - HA4301 "The Huff".

Some detail that was added after the initial artwork was issued includes:

1) McConnell's Mother's name was Betty and her name appears on the starboard side.
2) The starting point for the Blue paint on the jet intake was corrected.
3) The range finding radar (black tip on the nose) was a bit too large and has been corrected compared to the first release.
4) The Vertical Tail did not have the leading edge painted black and this was removed.
5) A prominent stencil was missing on the port side of the fuselage.

The Pre Production photos showed a few errors that have been corrected on the final product.

1) The starting point for the Blue paint on the jet intake was corrected (likely used an older version of the artwork by mistake).
2) The printing of "Beauteous Butch" was not consistent and has now been done properly.
3) The band around the fuselage was rounded slightly on the top but should have been more pointed like the first release.

In addition the interior of the nose gear door has been modified and now has additional detail.

Overall, another great addition for the Korean War or Jet collector. Highly recommended.


Below: With the canopy closed, it can be seen that yellow band around the fuselage has been corrected to be pointed on the upper surface.

Below: Seen in company with Hobby Master's first release "The Huff".
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REVIEW: Hobby Master HA4306 USAF F-86F Sabre - Joe McConnell's "Beauteous Butch II"
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