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RAAF CAC Sabre. Finished. Thankyou Brick!

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For Brick,


Sorry to be off topic,


My father was in the RAF at or near Butterworth, he was in safety equipment.

He met my mother there, she was the daughter of one of the Butterworth Air Traffic Controllers (RAAF).

They always joked that I was conceived on Penang beach, I was born in September 1965.

So at one point, my Father and both Grandfathers were there at the same time.

My father is James Gordon Leitch RAF retired.

My Grandfather was James Terriss Leitch RAF retired.

My other Grandfather was Alfred 'Bert' Foster RAAF retired.


You never know you may have met one of them.


I have always had a special fondness for the Sabre, and the Hunter, I knew the Sabres were there from pictures my father has, but Hunters I had no idea.


Again sorry to run off track.



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Guest Peterpools


Terrific photo and bring backs memories of my TR250 (TR4A with the in line 6 rather then the 4) in BRG. Two things I do regret over the years:

Selling my Piper PA22-108 Colt and then selling my TR250. Sure wish I still had them both.


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Guest Peterpools


Amazing work and your attention to the smallest of details is simply uncanny and adds so much to the Sabre.

Thank you for posting the photo of brick - it just adds a whole new feeling to the project.

Keep 'em comig


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Some more work.

I am trying not to go too overboard with this build but everytime I pick this thing up I find something that needs to be done, or should I say I want to be done.

For sometime I have been thinking about how to execute the round perforated tubes that feature very prominently along each side of the inner cockpit sills. When looking at reference pictures, there was a whole heap of extra detail that needed to be done apart from the tubes. The changes that I set out to do would also fix a problem with the kit at the same time.

this is the `before' pic. Notice how the sills of the cockpit are bulged. They should be straight, as mounted upon them is the channels that the canopy slides on.


I used some plastic rod and indented it with the 0.75mm pitch RB riveter. It took 4 or 5 goes to get this right and produce 2 lengths. I then drilled each indent out with a very small drill bit.


In this pic you can see the perforated rod, plumbing with brass rod, joints with aluminium foil (Milo tin membrane). Also visible is the channel that the canopy rollers sit in, which enabled me to straighten each sill. I also scribed some very thin plastic card with two very close together lines and mounted them adjacent to each rail to represent the rubber canopy seal.


A Massive difference!


I also decided that I wasn't happy with the frame work or the headrest that I had built previously for the seat. It was a little too small so off it came to be replaced by a slightly bigger unit. I still need to add the canopy breaker bolt and some small details here.


The canopy, seat and new rails test fitted to ensure compatability. The upgrades are immediately obvious. Also visible amongst the pressurization system plumbing is the small right angled joint that meets the canopy frame when it closes. It will be much easier for the viewer of the model to see how the canopy was able to slide open and closed with the new rails.


I have replaced the kit gear doors with the Quickboost resin units. I wanted to ensure correct fit and alignment before the paint went on. these are all requiring a bit of work to get them to fit properly as can be seen. There were some compromises that had to be made to fit the Aires wheel bay as part of the overall CAC conversion.



Another photo of Brick, looking like hes having a hell of a good time. (one would like to think this was taken from the ground) This pic has come in handy for reasons that will soon be revealed.


Edited by ericg

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Guest Peterpools


Gorgeous detail work on the sills, canopy and seat headrest.   Just brilliantly done

With brick's photo and the notation ... you really have my curiosity up and running.

Keep 'em coming


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Nice improvements Eric. One question though: shouldn't the rails be parallel to the centerline ? They look like they are widening from front to rear, but maybe this is just an parallax illusion ...


Keep it coming :goodjob:



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Eric, watching this build is like attending a master class in modelling.  Those additional cockpit details are really bringing the bird alive.


Firstly, some responses to some of the gentlemen following your build:

  • For Simmo.b.  I'll relate the story of the loss of 967 when Eric gets closer to the final stages of his build.  Prepare to weep.
  • For Andrew.  I don't recognise any of the names, but it's likely that I may have crossed paths at some point.  As for Hawker Hunters, yes, the RAF had a squadron of FGA.9s at Tengah (No 20 Squadron).  Got to be one of the most beautiful fighters ever built.  (See also Chiang Mei, below.)
  • For Peter.  You sold your TR?  I thought that was a federal offence  And the Piper PA22?  Trike undercarriage and interconnected ailerons and rudder?  I got endorsed on that type at the aero club at the airport at Hobart, Tasmania, in about 1957.  A very nice little bird, as I recall.   ( I started young and had a commercial pilots' license by the time I joined the RAAF).

Now, then.  More boring reminiscing.   In June 1962, No 77 Squadron deployed a detachment of Sabres From Butterworth, Malaya, to Ubon in eastern Thailand.   This eventually became No 79 Squadron, and represented part of Australia's SEATO commitment to defend Thailand against attack by its communist neighbours, which was thought to be imminent.  No 20 Squadron RAF (Hawker Hunter FGA.9s) also deployed some aircraft from Tengah in Singapore to Thailand, basing them at Chiang Mei in the north west.  The Hunters returned to Tengah in December 1962, but No 79 stayed on at Ubon until August 1968.


No 79 was manned by pilots on rotation from Nos 3 and 77 Squadron at Butterworth.  In the early days we spent about two to three months at Ubon before returning to the welcome comforts of Butterworth.  I say that because life at Ubon in the early days was pretty basic.  There were no taxiways except for a small one which joined our tarmac to the centre of the runway, the landscape around Ubon for miles must be amongst the most featureless and boring on the planet, the only two night clubs in town both had earth floors, and we lived in tents for the first few months:




By my second tour up there, management had worked out a way of alleviating our suffering.  This involved allowing two pilots to fly over to Takhli in western Thailand late on Friday afternoon to spend the weekend with the USAF F-100 jockeys who were based there.  Their mess was an old fire station, so they lived in comparative luxury compared with us.  


Anyway, all this brings me to what was, in certain circumstances, the most important switch in the Avon Sabre cockpit. It's in the centre of this photo:




It's the ammo heat switch, which allowed the pilot to switch off the heat to the ammo bins underneath the cockpit in the event of a runaway temp.  


So this was the drill:  before we left for Takhli, we'd fill the ammo bins to the gunwales with cans of Fosters Lager, which the F-100 jockeys were very partial to.  We'd then climb up to about 35,000 feet and race across Thailand at maximum continuous with the ammo heat switch selected to OFF, thus snap-cooling the Fosters.  We'd then do an extremely rapid descent and landing at Takhli and taxi in.  The F-100 jockeys, who by this time knew the drill, would race out, open the ammo bins, unload the Fosters with great urgency, and race it up to the mess to their refrigerators before it started to warm up.  The precious cargo thus accounted for, they would then come back and collect us pilots.


This, I'm sure you will agree, was international cooperation at its finest.  (That said, if you were an Australian taxpayer back in the 60s, please disregard the above.)


We used to do air combat tactics (dogfighting, if you will) with the F-100 jockeys, and occasionally with USAF F-102s operating from Don Muang at Bangkok.  I can remember being at a meeting at Takhli, with my flight commander (Mick Feiss), to settle on the rules of engagement and other aspects of these joint activities, and I can remember the USAF major asking us what altitude we would be at when we were "on stooge".  We said "Oh, about 50,000".  I know that the major thought we were having a lend of him; but, on the day, that's where we were: 50,000 feet.  And there were the F-100s, running out of puff at about 35,000 feet.  They simply had no hope at all of getting to us - until we decided to come down to them and have some fun.


It was amazing how high you could get the Avon Sabre in the tropics, this being made possible by the fact that temperatures at altitude in those regions are much lower than is the case in the temperate zones.  In fact, the highest I have ever been in the Sword was 52,000 feet - and I'm very glad I did not have an explosive decompression on that occasion


Here's a mate of mine (Dave Champion) flying pairs patrol with me over the padi fields of Thailand:




And here's one of our birds with an F-102 out of Don Muang:




Following Eric's build has rekindled many half-forgotten memories for me, and I'd now pay big money to get just one more hour in the Avon Sabre.    I think I might have to go over to Temora and make them an offer they can't refuse:



Edited by Brick

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Brick, more great stuff thank you mate. Your stories are really adding a new dimension to the build and I am getting lots of feedback from guys following the build that they are really enjoying it.


I might have to do another Mirage when the new kit comes out with your name on the side of it (although, with all due respect, it maybe T Tails turn) just so we can get your war stories when you were on that type.


I sincerely hope that a company will one day come up with an F-102 in 'awesome scale'.




Edited by ericg

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Hi Eric, your build thread remains fascinating, along with Brick's stories. It's not so much the level of detail being added that impresses me, but the precision with which it's done. Keep it up.



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