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Chris McG F-86 Sabre Dog build blog

my first attempt to a soaring bird for the PSSA MB 2020?

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robk22/03/2020 19:04:17
120 forum posts
167 photos

That's tough being literally cut off from the workshop in these times - it is a place where you can go to forget whats happening outside for a little while. Maybe you can build an indoor model? They take time and finesse and a tiny board to work on you can put in a drawer when dinner needs to be served...

McG 696923/03/2020 10:46:44
3171 forum posts
1198 photos

Thanks for your advice, Rob.

I have several indoor-type balsa kits or even a few life-boat type smaller kits to possibly build.

But I have not one bit of 'craft' basic tooling at home. blush

Anyhow, Iris is working from home now since a while and she is occupying the only possible spare room for her tele-conferences.

I am going to try out my 'escape' trick to get to La Grotte this afternoon. surprise

Shopping bag, dito list and mouth mask are already prepared.

Well there's no special 'trick' about it really. We're allowed to go out for food shopping, pharmacy or petrol station.

So, I'll just pretend going/driving to the local mini-market if someone asks... wink

Simples, but no idea if it's going to be needed as I'll very probably be the only one on the road...

Cheers & take care, all


McG 696923/03/2020 19:06:21
3171 forum posts
1198 photos

Hi to all,

I had my first visit at La Grotte since a short while now.

The short journey went really smooth with 2 and 4 cars respectively met during my drive both ways.

I slowly started the sanding of the first of the elevator halves.


The tip has still to be done but I wanted to make a cardboard template first to easily reproduce the shape for the second halve.

Shaping/sanding balsa blocks is not really my thing but I convinced myself to be ‘as slow’ for the next part. Just one bite at the time…

‘Matata’, but be safe, all


BRU - BE / CTR Slow Sanding Control

Phil Cooke23/03/2020 20:15:24
2546 forum posts
1795 photos

Congrats on getting back into the workshop Chris, your shaping looks great! - Not my most enjoyable part of the build these days either but a little care and attention and you soon bring the model to life with all the curves and corners.

McG 696924/03/2020 11:06:56
3171 forum posts
1198 photos

Thanks for your kind comment, Phil.

And yes, it felt nice to be in La Grotte again being able to progress a bit.

I hope I can finish the second halve today and then start pondering at the cockpit/canopy area.

Cheers & keep safe


McG 696924/03/2020 19:47:13
3171 forum posts
1198 photos

Hello again,

I decided to have the other elevator halve sanded with both tips still to do, then to abandon the block sanding for a while and, after a marathon of measurements, to have a go with the canopy.

In fact, I started with Dirk’s great fiberglass frame and I only had to adapt/shorten Dirk’s guidelines slightly as the Dog’s fuselage is of course a bit ‘fatter’… cool


I was still in an internal fight regarding the exact positioning of the ‘office’ but - as usual - I had an almost scientific compromise… wink

The Vortex canopy was then a touch easier as it only has to sit inside the fiberglass frame.


As per Dirk’s suggestion, simple scissors are very adequate for both jobs. yes

Thanks again, Dirk.

Matata, but keep safe


BRU - BE / CTR Canopy Control

dirk tinck24/03/2020 23:29:34
583 forum posts
813 photos

Hey Chris , glad you're ok and back in business !

It's nice to see a frame put to good use ! Keep up the good work !wink

McG 696926/03/2020 18:24:11
3171 forum posts
1198 photos

Thanks, Dirk.

Hope you're ok too.

I had a bit of a build mojo depth but I'm sure I'll manage to keep it as 'short' as possible.

I hope that with my cutting, I can 'keep' your splendid frame to a good standard later on.

Cheers & keep safe, young man


McG 696929/03/2020 18:19:27
3171 forum posts
1198 photos

Hello gents,

A couple of days ago, Iris advised me that preparing some stuff that I like to work on would help getting my motivation back… “Focus on some of the tiny bits you like to do.”, was her advice.

Even in these though times, women are ALWAYS right, isn’t it? …

I guess cutting Dirk’s frame into bits was worrying me more than I thought and I changed my plans.

With the canopy prepared, I could transfer its shape to the fuse following my “scientific compromise” positioning.


A mist of ammonia to assist the shaping of the sides and a small block of soft balsa to form the back end curve.

Nothing very impressive here, I’m afraid.


I also prepared some laminations of 6mm light balsa triangles to construct the inclined front part of the canopy.

Matata mingi, but please, keep safe


BRU - BE / CTR Compromise Control

McG 696930/03/2020 22:28:28
3171 forum posts
1198 photos

Hi again,

A bit of progress with the canopy area.

I had the canopy front parts glued in without any problems except that they will need some ‘adaptation’ to the Vortex canopy later on. cool


I had a doubt regarding the build-up of the cockpit details with the available space and finally decided to have it in two parts, being the fixed part to the fuse and a removable central one - like a sliding-in ‘tub’ - allowing me to build up some detailing while I still have access to the internal sides of the fuse.


Gaston doesn't seem convinced at all regarding my projections, but do you gents think I’m already mentally ‘contaminated’??? … sad

Hakuna matata


BRU - BE / CTR Tub Control

Mark Elen30/03/2020 22:31:32
513 forum posts
1013 photos

Hi Chris,

Looking good mate! Good to see Gaston getting in on the act.

Keep up the good work.



john stones 130/03/2020 22:59:07
11453 forum posts
1516 photos

Nothing wrong with your work Chris, Gastons being over critical. yes

Martin Gay31/03/2020 08:38:57
385 forum posts
254 photos

Hi Chris,

I'm learning lots about how to fit a canopy from your blog!

Since you like to end with a phrase in Swahili - I will end with:

"Kaa Salama"


McG 696931/03/2020 18:39:02
3171 forum posts
1198 photos

Thanks for commenting, gents.

@ Mark > I just try to be nearly as neat as you are with your PS2 build… blush

@ John > I guess Gaston is suffering a bit from that confinement we have since a while now… wink

@ Martin > thank you for the compliment, but as this is my first canopy build. I’m mainly ‘copycatting’ from other blogs just adding a bit of own inspiration, while I still have some that is… angel

I knew ‘salama’ means ‘safe’ in Swahili. Just like in ‘safari salama’, meaning ‘safe travel/trip’.

I thought ‘kaa’ did mean ‘crab’, but then I might be confusing with Lingala, the second language of ex-Belgian Congo.

But it could also be an imperative form, then meaning ‘be safe’ or ‘stay safe’… which in this case is probably more appropriate than ‘crab’… cool

I had a lot of different things handled at La Grotte; things like the pilot, some office furniture, some dummy wiring for it, etc…

I know I’m a slow builder but this time I’m nearly innocent… all those small details take so much time.

Matata anuwai


BRU - BE / CTR Details Control

McG 696901/04/2020 19:58:08
3171 forum posts
1198 photos

Hello to all,

Not really a lot of progress with those fiddly cockpit bits, I’m afraid. blush


At the back of the canopy, this is supposed to be an antenna (VHF?) but I don’t know for sure. Anyhow it’s a very current equipment for the Sabre K-series including the Dutch Q-259.

Before it left Soesterberg, our subject was obviously ‘demilitarized’ with the removing of the 20mm cannons but also the corresponding radar outfit and the gunsight.


The fuse front console remained and will - later on - become the base of a camera mount.

Matata mingi


BRU - BE / CTR Equipment Control

dirk tinck02/04/2020 00:03:37
583 forum posts
813 photos

A camera Chris ? Ooohh i would love a video of the brakes in motion or the seat being ejected !!smile dphoto

McG 696902/04/2020 17:44:44
3171 forum posts
1198 photos

Hija Dirk,

I just meant that the full size received a 16mm camera after its restoration in Chièvres. surprise

But on a relatively small model, you'd better use a light cam fixed on the wings close to the fuse or even better at the wingtips.

... and no, I'm not lazy at all... still very busy with the cockpit area details and 'your' canopy. cool

Cheers & stay safe all


dirk tinck02/04/2020 18:35:38
583 forum posts
813 photos


Flyer02/04/2020 21:14:32
600 forum posts
108 photos

Looking good Chris, like the attention to detail. I', afraid my two are going to be stand off scale from 100m...…

looking forward to seeing the progress young man!



McG 696903/04/2020 12:12:46
3171 forum posts
1198 photos

Thank you for your kind words, Ade.

Partly due to that detailing, my progress is even slower at the moment.

But anyway, there's no reason to have a 'rush' at the moment, is there?

How are your builds progressing? Any updates concerning your canopy 'plug'?.



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