Author Topic: North American Supermarine Sapphire Sabre  (Read 9850 times)

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Online Weaver

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Re: North American Supermarine Sapphire Sabre
« Reply #45 on: June 03, 2017, 09:03:16 am »
Various little bits have been painted and assembled and I've just put the serial number decals on the underside because they overlap the pylons and I need them on and dry before anything else will fit. I thought for a while that I was going to have a problem with the wing's greater curvature causing the inboard pylons to point upwards, but I think (touch wood) that it's going to be okay. It's partly an illusion caused by the aircraft's tail-up flying attitude.
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Offline The Wooksta!

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Re: North American Supermarine Sapphire Sabre
« Reply #46 on: June 03, 2017, 12:45:49 pm »
The Fury wings with a bit of work would be a decent basis for the wings of a Supermarine 510.  I've seen it done with a Frog Attacker and a set of Sabre wings.
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Re: North American Supermarine Sapphire Sabre
« Reply #47 on: June 03, 2017, 03:55:21 pm »
The Fury wings with a bit of work would be a decent basis for the wings of a Supermarine 510.  I've seen it done with a Frog Attacker and a set of Sabre wings.

The FJ-4 wing is much thinner than even the F-86 wing though, so it's certainly much thinner than the 510's.
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Re: North American Supermarine Sapphire Sabre
« Reply #48 on: June 03, 2017, 04:50:05 pm »
Plastic card shim.  You'd need it if you were changing the location of the u/c bays.
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Re: North American Supermarine Sapphire Sabre
« Reply #49 on: June 03, 2017, 08:19:30 pm »
Plastic card shim.  You'd need it if you were changing the location of the u/c bays.

That might work for the inner wing if you did it at the leading edge, since the trailing edge is moulded in one piece with the upper surface. However the outer, folding section of the wing is moulded in one piece, so there's no way to make that thicker. I suppose you could just shim the leading edge wing root and then fill in the triangular gap that leaves.
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Re: North American Supermarine Sapphire Sabre
« Reply #50 on: June 04, 2017, 03:20:10 pm »
Supermarine's Swept-Wing Swan Song
The North American-Supermarine Sapphire Sabre

North American-Supermarine Sabre F.Mk.6 of No. 79 Squadron, RAF Germany, June 1958

The Brokensha Report of 1948 was applied to all areas of British government policy, and amongst many other things, it recommended that the UK cease development of military hardware that didn't either meet a uniquely British requirement or wasn't a commercially viable export proposition. The results varied: in some cases, such as naval and commercial aircraft, the policy was applied consistently with positive results, but in others the wheels came off pretty quickly as events conspired to thwart the best intentions of the planners.


One such area was land-based jet day fighters, which should have been a sure-fire export winner and therefore permitted under Brokensha. Britain led the world in jet engine development in 1948, and the existing Meteor and Vampire designs were racking up a steady stream of orders, however both designs were evolutionary dead ends which were incapable of being adapted to swept wings, which were the obvious next step in aircraft development. In fairness to the UK government, they recognised this and funded a series of swept wing development programs, but for a variety of reasons, such as Britain's financial position, the harsh winter of 1948 (which shut down test flying for a solid four months), some cases of sheer mismanagement and Britain's relative lack of access to advanced German aerodynamic data, none of these produced a result which could be placed into production on a timescale to compete with the American F-86 Sabre, which entered service in 1949.


The advent of the Sabre led to a huge debate within the RAF, the various minstries and the government about whether to buy it or not. One school of thought held that Brokensha indicated that they should, while others argued that, since this was a potentially profitable export field, the UK should produce it's own competitor. The argument, which lead to yet more delay, was only resolved by the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. The RAF suddenly needed a fighter that was competitive with the MiG-15 as an urgent operational requirement, not a future aspiration. Galvanised into action, the government initiated the 'Superpriority' scheme and struck a deal with the US: F-86s would be bought directly from the US and Canadian production lines as a temporary measure until a UK production line could be established. Supermarine, who had been hit particularly badly by the cancellation of the naval programmes, were ordered to set up licence production with all haste, while Metropolitan Vickers were similarly ordered to make the J-47 engine to go with it.


Supermarine, proud of their heritage, hated this arrangment, but the political situation allied with their desparate financial straits left them no choice. The British Sabre line was set up, with the first deliveries commencing in 1952 and eventually running to several hundred aircraft in four marks as US developemtns were included. However, although this arrangement kept the company's production department busy, it did nothing for the drawing office and research and development department, who still yearned to get the swept wing they'd been working on into a production machine. Partly inspired by contact with their more commerical and 'gung-ho' colleagues at North American, Supermarine therefore drew up a design for a 'British-ized' F-86, with one of the new Armstrong-Siddeley Sapphire engines and their own wing design, and, in a bold move for the times, proposed it to the Ministry of Supply as a private venture initiative, the Type 525.


Perhaps surprisingly, Supermarine's proposal got a positive response. There were many in both the RAF and the Ministry who had never been fully on-board with the increased dependence on American designs, and others had come to believe that too many contracts were being awarded to the Hawker Siddley Group. Supermarine had cannily proposed the Type 525 as a low-risk alternative to the latter's P.1067 Hunter project which had just been given the go-ahead and the idea of insurance-policy aircraft was valued at the time, the V-bomber programme being the most prominent example. An order was placed for the 525 straight off the drawing board, and Superpriority powers were used to make sure that the company had everything it needed.


Changes to the F-86 were extensive. The whole fuselage had to be made deeper to accommodate the Sapphire and it's greater mass flow, and the opportunity was also taken to increase fuel volume. The new compound-sweep wing was much thicker than the Sabre's wing, which allowed it to house yet more fuel. A pair of ADEN cannons replaced the Sabre's 0.50 machine guns, and much British equipment was incorporated. North American helped and supported Supermarine with this process, and drew on much of the fuselage work in their own development of the F4-J3 and -J4 Fury fighters for the US Navy, but although they considered the British wing, they were far keener on their own development of a much thinner one which drew on the work they were doing for the supersonic F-100 Super Sabre.


The amount of work involved, which had been generally underestimated, lead to delays in development which soured the government's initial enthusiasm for the project, and the Sapphire Sabre didn't enter RAF service until 1955. These same delays also made sure that it had no chance of competing for the Fleet Air Arm's urgent requirement for a swept-wing fighter, which was easily won by Grumman-HSA's Cougar development of the in-service Panther. By the time the Sapphire Sabre entered service, the procurement landscape around it had also changed. After the end of the Korean War two years previously, more than half of the massive orders placed for the Hawker Hunter had been converted to it's more advanced P.1083 (F.Mk.6) variant, so the 525 was now being directly and unfavourably compared to an aircraft half a generation ahead of it, with supersonic performance and a radar. Indeed, the RAF let it be known that it was only continuing with the programme in order to evaluate a Sidewinder-armed aircraft against a Firestreak-armed one, and this did much to kill off prospects for export sales. Supermarine and North American had proposed an Avon or Sapphire-powered version of the F-100 Sabre to the same requirement as the P.1083, but it was rejected because it wasn't based on an existing type, even though the P.1083 was actually a substantially different aircraft to the earlier Hunters.


The Type 525 was always known as the 'Triple S' (Supermarine Sapphire Sabre) within Supermarine, but the RAF refused to give it a new name, simply calling it the Sabre F.Mk.5. However within the service it's unofficial nickname was 'The Snake', since 'SSS' could be pronounced as a hissing sound. Development was limited to a second version, the F.Mk.6 with six pylons, a bolt-on refuelling probe and a belly tank for yet more fuel. Supermarine had high hopes for this version as a fighter-bomber, but the RAF was uninterested and refused to clear it for ground attack weapons. The Sabre 5s and 6s were generally as popular with pilots as their predecessors, the roomy cockpit being particularly well liked in comparison to the Hunter. The only problem encountered in early service was a tendency for the engine to flame out due to gun gas ingestion, but this was solved by moving the guns to a more rearward position.


The Sabre F.Mk.5/6 had a relatively short service career with the RAF and saw no combat in that time. Sabre squadrons were deliberately kept away from the Suez operation in 1956, allegedly to avoid confusion with US Navy Furies, but really because the government wanted to showcase the all-British and more easily exportable Hunter. Then, by the time Vietnam came along, the aircraft was already in the process of being withdrawn and replaced by the Mirage, the last few Sabres being flown by instructors at RAF Valley as MiG-17 simulators in order to train RAF pilots in dissimilar air combat.


Following Suez, the British government cooled considerably on the idea of being overly dependent on the Americans, and although many 'big ticket' development programmes were too far along to cancel, procurement decisions that could be placed elesewhere were, with political considerations overriding technical and military ones. This is the reason that the Dassault-Fairey Avon-Mirage was selected over Grumman-HSA's Avon-Tiger to replace the RAF's Hunters and Sabres, and similarly, the NBMR-1 winner (which turned out to be the Fiat G-91) was bought to replace the Vampire FB.5s in the close support role. Many in the RAF were unhappy with the latter decision, and would rather have seen the Sabres given a modest refit and cleared for ground-attack stores in order to do the job. However the government's mind was made up, and the Sabres were duly disposed of to export customers and the scrap yards. Production of new airframes ended in 1958, but Supermarine lingered on until 1963, surviving on support work for the exported Sabres, before being absorbed into the parent Vickers group and losing their identity. The Sabre therefore became the compay's first and last jet fighter. The last Sabre was withdrawn from service (as a trainer) in 1975, following the withdrawal from Vietnam.



Model Details:

Fuselage, missiles and pylons: Emhar FJ-4B Fury
Wings, tail, ventral tank, undercarriage and decals: Airfix Swift FR.5
Drop tanks: Airfix Hawk
Pilot: Revell Lightning F.6
Paints: Hunbrol enamels, Windsor and Newton inks








« Last Edit: July 08, 2017, 02:56:25 pm by Weaver »
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Offline Thorvic

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Re: North American Supermarine Sapphire Sabre
« Reply #51 on: June 04, 2017, 03:26:01 pm »
Nicely done that man, it looks sort of right with the mix of parts   :thumbsup:
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Offline Glenn Gilbertson

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Re: North American Supermarine Sapphire Sabre
« Reply #52 on: June 04, 2017, 03:39:43 pm »
Almost believable & great modelling. :thumbsup:

Offline sandiego89

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Re: North American Supermarine Sapphire Sabre
« Reply #53 on: June 04, 2017, 05:06:30 pm »
Wow, fantastic.  That wing shape really changes things.  Well done. 
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Offline AXU

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Re: North American Supermarine Sapphire Sabre
« Reply #54 on: June 04, 2017, 05:11:37 pm »
Another great build in this GB  :wub: :thumbsup:
Well done sir !

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Re: North American Supermarine Sapphire Sabre
« Reply #55 on: June 04, 2017, 05:21:36 pm »
Good job :thumbsup:

Offline jalles

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Re: North American Supermarine Sapphire Sabre
« Reply #56 on: June 04, 2017, 05:22:43 pm »
That looks excellent!  Those wings compliment the fuselage shape perfectly.  Like the weapons loadout as well.

Offline DogfighterZen

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Re: North American Supermarine Sapphire Sabre
« Reply #57 on: June 04, 2017, 08:46:03 pm »
That looks excellent!  Those wings compliment the fuselage shape perfectly.  Like the weapons loadout as well.

Second that, excellent work! :cheers:
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Offline Old Wombat

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Re: North American Supermarine Sapphire Sabre
« Reply #58 on: June 04, 2017, 09:16:29 pm »
Great story. Great build. Both are fantastic! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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Offline zenrat

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Re: North American Supermarine Sapphire Sabre
« Reply #59 on: June 05, 2017, 03:11:51 am »
Good job H.
 :thumbsup:
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