Considering its unique and futuristic design, it’s surprising there aren’t more models available of the North American F-107A “Ultra Sabre.” The good news is that the Chinese company Trumpeter released an F-107A in 1/72nd scale in 2002. The kit is a straightforward build with nice detail, recessed panel lines and decals for all three prototypes.
Start with the cockpit, painting the interior a medium gray. The ejection seat is a five-piece affair with a harness molded into the seat cushion. Paint the seat a light olive drab with tan seatbelts. Add some additional harness straps made from masking tape for a little more detail in the cockpit. Paint the headrest red.
The control panel has some raised detail that can be picked out in black with a toothpick and a steady hand. Use the toothpick to add some additional dials and switches.
The cockpit fits snugly between the fuselage halves. Cement the control panel, rear cockpit bulkhead and ejection seat in place. Attach the control stick and join the fuselage halves. Mask and attach the three pieces that make up the canopy.
The most noticeable feature of the F-107A is the engine air intake on top of the fuselage, just behind the cockpit. Put together the two pieces that make up the intake and cement them in place. Fill and sand the seams, especially around the intake. Since most of the jet will be painted a natural metal color that will show any surface flaws, take extra care with this step. Set the completed assembly aside.
Three pieces make up the afterburner. Paint the interior nozzle a dark titanium color and the surrounding exterior a polished aluminum. The completed assembly slides neatly into the rear of the fuselage.
Put together the landing gear—tires are a deep black rubber color and the struts a metallic silver. There is little detail inside the landing gear bays but nearly everything will be covered by the gear doors.
Put together the wings, rudder and the horizontal stabilizers. Each of them is a simple two-piece affair. Clean up the edges and get ready for some paint.
The F-107A was a test aircraft and sported a bright red angular pattern over natural metal that made it highly visible during flight testing. Some of the pieces, such as the wings and tail, can be painted ahead of time. Study your reference material and carefully mask off the areas to be painted red, then mask the sections that will get a coat of an aluminum color. Do the same with as much of the fuselage as possible.
Attach the wings and the piece that makes up the belly of the jet. This is where there will be a need for some additional putty. Sand those seams smooth and mask and paint, completing the high-visibility pattern.
Directly under the fuselage is a recessed area where a notional “bomb shape” will be mounted. While the Ultra Sabre was designed to deliver a nuclear weapon, in testing a similarly shaped pod would be filled with flight test instruments. Paint the instrument pod a light gray with aluminum-colored straps. The difference in color will lend the model some added interest.
Attach the tail and horizontal stabilizers. Touch up any flaws in the finish and spray the airplane with a coat of gloss varnish. With the color scheme complete it’s time to add the markings.
All three prototypes are represented on the decal sheet, but additional reference material is required as the sheet shows only notional positions and gives few specific details. Fortunately two of the three aircraft survive: One (serial no. 55-5118) is on display at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Ariz., and the other (55-5119) is at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. The third test aircraft (55-51120) was damaged in an aborted takeoff in September 1959 and met its end as an aide for training firefighters.
Choices made and decals complete, another clear coat seals them in place. Attach the landing gear and gear doors. There are three test probes that provide test data, one on each wingtip and an extremely long probe on the jet’s nose. These probes are painted in red and white stripes, leaving a small metal tip. Take great care with the delicate nose-mounted probe!
Finally, remove the masking on the canopy and your F-107A can take its place among the other test aircraft in your collection.