Australia's Sabres represented a significant revision to the
original North American design. The biggest difference was the installation of a
Rolls Royce Avon engine. Considering the P-51D characterised a famous marriage
of a Rolls Royce powerplant and a North American Aviation design, it is perhaps
not surprising to see a post-war attempt to capture that magic once more.
The RAAF also wanted their Sabre to pack the punch of two 30mm
Aden cannon in the nose.
These modifications meant considerable changes to the standard
airframe. The nose was the most externally obvious change. The intake mouth was
deeper to improve the airflow to the bigger Avon powerplant, and the cannon
arrangement was revised on the forward fuselage sides. There were a myriad of
additional dimensional and detail changes too, including new and relocated
panels, vents, hatches and a different tailpipe arrangement.
Back in 2000, Red Roo Models offered a short-run injection
moulded conversion for the Avon Sabre. High Planes actually produced the plastic
parts. Now, High Planes is offering the short run conversion parts with the
entire Academy F-86 Sabre kit (minus the fuselage sprue) and a new sheet of
decals with six markings options.
The conversion element comprises just five short-run injection
moulded parts in "Airfix blue" plastic (it reminds me of an old Airfix colour
anyway!). The parts comprise two fuselage halves, the intake, a lower fuselage
panel and part of the intake ducting. The plastic has some ragged sprue
surrounding the parts, and the sprue connectors are quite thick. On the other
hand, panel line detail is crisp, restrained and consistent, and the new
fuselage really captures the overall appearance of the unique Australian Sabre.
The Academy kit has been available since the mid 1990s and is a
very respectable offering, with decent detail and nicely engraved surface
The decals are supplied on continuous decal film, so you will
have to carefully cut out each marking before applying them to your model. I am
concerned about the opacity of the markings. You can quite clearly see through
the decals, even when they are still attached to the backing sheet. The supplied
white backgrounds will be needed for full saturation and opacity.
The instructions supply detailed text, a few drawings, some
poorly reproduced photos and the whole Academy instruction sheet. Experienced
modellers with a little extra reference won't have any trouble working out what
needs to be done. Please note, though, that some modification to Academy kit
parts will be required, including surgery to the intake ducting and the lower
wing, plus plenty of scraping, thinning and test fitting.
The effort does pay off though. We have an example on HyperScale
of how nice this kit looks when complete. See
Mick Evans' CA-27 Sabre article
for more details (and the photo above).
Peter Malone also
shared his observations on the Red Roo conversion, most of which will be
helpful to modellers building the High Planes kit too.
Thanks to High Planes Models for the review sample.
Review and Images Copyright © 2005 by Brett
Page Created 29 April, 2005
Last updated 29 April, 2005
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