Author Topic: The XA-86 Attack Sabre - A Contra-Prop Tale in 1/72 Scale  (Read 486 times)

Offline Brian da Basher

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The XA-86 Attack Sabre - A Contra-Prop Tale in 1/72 Scale
« on: May 10, 2018, 04:22:46 AM »


The North American F-86 Sabre is one of the legendary aircraft of the 1950's.



Utterly forgotten is a prototype aircraft it inspired, the XA-86 Attack Sabre.



Design work began at the end of the First Korean War to counter reports of a massive Soviet bloc armor build up. Engineers at North American saw the turbo-prop as a solution to the limitations of jet power for the tank-busting role.



Adding a contra-rotating propeller promised practically no yaw from torque and the enhanced directional stability ensured a very stable gun platform.



With wing mounted 47.95 mm gun pods and additional hard points for bombs, the new XA-86 Attack Sabre looked every bit the business when it was rolled out for flight testing.



After exceeding all expectations in initial trials, a small service-test batch of XA-86s was ordered. These aircraft were being put through their paces in the spring of 1955.



The timing couldn't have been better as things were about to get hot again in Korea.



After countless perceived provocations, an incident happened that pushed North Korea over the edge.



The North Koreans launched an attack across the 38th Parallel led by armor spearheads.



U.N. forces were almost helpless in the teeth of this tank juggernaut so the test group of Attack Sabres was quickly dispatched to Korea. Due to the hurried nature of their deployment, the XA-86s were given hastily applied camouflage and the crews barely had time to get the U.S. insignia on after disembarking.



The Attack Sabres were able to slow the commie onslaught until new high-caliber Bazooka Joes could be issued to front-line infantry units which finally allowed U.N. forces to push the invaders back over the border.



It was soon learned that the XA-86's gun pods had a tendency to jam due to lubrication impurities and by the time better lubrication quality control could be implemented, it was too late. The war ended when Pat Boone's popularity hit the skids after he embraced rock-n-roll's seamier side.



No more Attack Sabres would ever be built and the aircraft was soon forgotten. Even the so-called "experts" dismiss this little-known type as being contra to everything they've been taught.



Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 04:35:30 AM by Brian da Basher »

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: The XA-86 Attack Sabre - A Contra-Prop Tale in 1/72 Scale
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2018, 05:02:26 AM »
This all started with the magnificent 1/72 PM Canadair F-86E. Doesn't that box art just get your pulse racing?



What's inside the (pre-crushed) box is nowhere near as inspiring.



However, its simplicity makes it pretty good fodder for "the treatment". Especially if a load-out is added.



The bombs and pylons are from the spares box and those gun pods aren't an expensive aftermarket item. They were made from left over doo-dads. The rest of the project fell together after I swapped out the kit intake for a contra-prop from an Air Ways Gannet.





I was very pleased how well this fit. Now I needed air intakes but I didn't want to spoil the Sabre's sleek lines.





I ended up chopping off the tips of two drop-tank halves which fit perfectly into a raised panel in front.





The last mod was adding a 1/144 U-2 pod tip as a burner can in back even though you can't see it here.





The old hairy stick was brought out and loaded up with Model Masters Primer Gray acrylic. Desert Tan (I think) and a custom green mix was used for the camo.



The prop was painted Interior Black and the burner can in Jet Exhaust. Olive Drab was used on the bombs and another custom mix for the guns. The canopy was tinted on the inside with Insignia Blue.



The decals were mostly from an Academy F-86 but the ejection seat warnings were from spares.





I had a lot of fun building this model which took about a week as things have been busy.





Before I forget, here's a couple of "money shots" (U.S. penny for scale).





I'd like to thank Mr Wombat for bravely moderating this GB, Bill for the Academy F-86 kit that sacrificed its decals, and those of you playing along or just stopping by to look.



I hope you enjoyed the XA-86 Attack Sabre and reading a bit more forgotten aircraft history even if it seems a bit contra-ry.



Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 05:37:30 AM by Brian da Basher »

Offline ysi_maniac

  • I will die understanding not this world
Re: The XA-86 Attack Sabre - A Contra-Prop Tale in 1/72 Scale
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2018, 07:33:38 AM »
Love this. :-[ :smiley:

Offline kitnut617

  • Measures the actual aircraft before modelling it...we have the photographic evidence.
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Re: The XA-86 Attack Sabre - A Contra-Prop Tale in 1/72 Scale
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2018, 08:34:43 AM »
A man after my own heart ------

Offline elmayerle

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Offline Old Wombat

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Re: The XA-86 Attack Sabre - A Contra-Prop Tale in 1/72 Scale
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2018, 05:17:23 PM »
 :smiley:
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline finsrin

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Offline deathjester

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Re: The XA-86 Attack Sabre - A Contra-Prop Tale in 1/72 Scale
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2018, 07:30:40 AM »
Awesome work mate!  Well done!!

Offline John Howling Mouse

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Re: The XA-86 Attack Sabre - A Contra-Prop Tale in 1/72 Scale
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2018, 03:07:32 AM »
You must have thought my initial, e-mailed response was baffling but I could've SWORN you had purposely used a smaller-diameter front prop, sized-down from the aft prop's diameter!  But I now see I was completely wrong.  What an interesting, subtle optical illusion from different angles (due to the way you're seeing the blades at either full length at 90 degrees or 'shortened' because they're angled towards you at 45-degrees).

Anyhow, you already know how cool I think this concept is!  I remain humbled, washed in waves of abject awe (translation: "I can't wait to see your next concept!").
A big 'thank you' to whoever it was that invented the OptiVisor!

Offline Camthalion

  • The man has done a pink tank...need we say more?!
Re: The XA-86 Attack Sabre - A Contra-Prop Tale in 1/72 Scale
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2018, 02:15:52 PM »
Looks great nice one