High Planes' 1/48 scale
CAC CA-27 Avon Sabre
by K. J. Bricknell
CAC CA-27 Avon Sabre
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AVON SABRE A94-967
HIGH PLANES MODELS (ACADEMY F-86F WITH RED ROO AVON SABRE CONVERSION)
I had been boring my son-in-law with tales of my experiences flying Avon Sabres in No 77 Squadron at Butterworth, in the then Malaya, in the early sixties. A few days later he presented me with the High Planes Models CAC Avon Sabre kit, probably hoping to shut me up for a while.
"For Experienced Modellers Only" it said on the box. This gave me considerable pause because I had only made one plastic model aircraft in the past forty-five years (yes, I did say forty-five), so I was hardly in the "experienced" category. Nevertheless, this was the only way I was going to get a model of this lovely bird in my study, so I decided I'd just have to fake it. (Trust me on this: "faking it" is an essential talent possessed by all true fighter pilots.)
The modelling experience is specified as a pre-requisite by High Planes because the kit combines Academy 1/48 scale F-86F parts, less the fuselage, with fuselage halves supplied by Red Roo Models, considerable work being required to prepare the Red Roo components and mate them up with the main Academy parts.
The replacement fuselage halves reflect the fact that the Australian-built Sabre had a 60% redesigned fuselage, this being necessary to (1) accommodate the more powerful Rolls-Royce Avon engine and (2) replace the F-86F's six .50-inch Browning machine guns with two 30mm cannons. And the Avon was indeed more powerful. The first time I saw an F-86F (operated by the Royal Thai Air Force) take off, I thought the pilot had only half-opened the throttle. The performance differences were not in any way subtle.
Red Roo has done a good job with the fuselage. Yes, there's a lot of flash to remove and lots of filing, sanding, filling and test-fitting required, but the surface detail is accurate and the panel lines are nice and subtle, as they should be.
Some customization of the Academy wings is required because the flaps are not separate. Pity that, because we always left the flaps in the "Land" position after landing, meaning that that was the configuration in which you would invariably see a Sabre on the flight line. So there was nothing for it but to cut the flaps off and attach rounded leading edges to them before gluing them back at the correct angle.
Needless to say, I finished the model as A94-967, which was my No 77 Squadron mount in those days. Humbrol No 11 gave me just the silver I was after, but I had to make my own decals for the tail checkers (amongst others) because the green of the supplied decals was much darker than No 77 Squadron's "clover-leaf" green.
Alas, ol' 67 came to a violent end during my tour. She was on temporary loan to No 3 Squadron at the time. A No 3 Squadron jock, who will remain nameless, flicked her on entry to a break turn at about 40,000 feet, failed to correct, and found himself in a fully-developed spin. He hadn't recovered by the time he got to 10,000 feet, so he ejected. The section No 3 (Flight Lieutenant Frank Clough), who had followed him down, said that the aircraft recovered itself after the ejection and went into a spiral dive, accelerating all the way. She hit a rubber plantation at heaven knows what speed in a near vertical attitude. Of the limited part of her the ground troops recovered, there was no piece bigger than the average-sized wok.
I could have wept.
Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2009 by K. J. Bricknell
Page Created 28 April, 2009
28 April, 2009
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