by: Luciano Satornetti [ ]
HistoryThe Avro Vulcan was a strategic bomber operated by the Royal Air Force from 1956 until 1984, and assumed the nuclear deterrence role as part of the 3 ‘V bombers’. Development began based on specification B35/46 issued by the Ministry of Supply in 1947. The prototype, model 698 had its first flight in 1952 and was named Vulcan, the very next day it performed at the famous Farnborough air show. The first production type the B.1 started to be delivered into squadron service in 1956, while from 1960 the new B.2 with ECM and revised wings was delivered to the squadrons, of which there were up to ten. In 1961 Vulcan’s participated in exercise ‘Operation Skyshield’ in which they played the role of the enemy force, taking advantage of their ECM they managed to penetrate the US air defence network and reached New York air space.
The only time the Vulcan went to war in its long career was in 1982 were they took part in the Falkland campaign as Operation Black Buck flying at the time, the longest bombing mission ever undertaken taking off from the Ascension islands in the Atlantic on a round trip down to the Falkland islands and back carrying out air to air refuelling nine times. After the Falklands conflict six Vulcans were modified into the tanker role while the rest were retired, the tankers served until 1984 when they were also retired.
In the UK one Vulcan still flies XH558 under the Vulcan to the Sky’ project, although her time on the airshow circuit could end soon, see her while you can and shiver when you hear the ‘Vulcan Howl’ - a noise produced by the air flow into the intakes.
The PackageLet me start with the fact that it appears that Great Wall Hobby have changed the company logo on their boxes as this kit comes with G.W.H. on the box. Now onto the rest, what we have is a top-opening box with a nice artist rendition of a Vulcan in flight on the top, while the sides are adorned with three pictures of the completed kit on one side and a colour profile of one decal option on the other. On opening the box we find three sealed bags and a false bottom, if we now lift the false bottom under neither is another sealed bag with the contents wrapped in foam, another sealed bag containing a stand and a unsealed bag containing the decals, also here are the instructions and a double sided full colour painting / decal guide.
The KitThe kit parts are moulded in a grey plastic and consist of seventy one parts in grey which are completely free of flash, two clear and three black. The fuselage is split horizontally as is common for most jet kits, with the upper half including a moulded in cockpit with just the instrument panel to be added, also included are two pilot figures which don’t look too bad. Detail wise the kit has very fine panel lines which will be lost under heavy paint but that detail doesn’t extend to the wheel wells which are devoid of any detail as is the crew access which has been supplied with a separate access door.
A good use has been made of slide moulding technology to reproduce those deep intakes with no sign of seam lines, well done there. The landing gear is very much a multi part affair with each main gear leg being made up from twelve parts. An odd thing noticed is that the bomb bay doors are supplied as a separate part but cannot be displayed open as there is no bomb bay nor interior detail to the doors, this together with their shape can only mean that they are separate to allow other versions of the Vulcan to be kitted (Blue Steel maybe?). While looking at other versions we may also get a B.2K tanker as the underside of the ECM sting as a separate part.
This kit includes the parts to enable you to build one of the Black Buck aircraft and as such includes two Shrike missiles, two under wing pylons plus the dash 10 ECM pod. The missiles look good but the ECM pod maybe a little thick. Now with only two missiles it does limit you to only being able to depict XM597 as Black Buck 5 and XM607 as Black Buck 1, 2 or 7 although 607 carried no missiles nor the pylon for the first two missions it only carried the ECM pod under the starboard wing, while 597 only carried two missiles for BB5 plus the dash 10, it carried four, two on each pylon for BB6.
A quick test fit of the fuselage shows a good fit with a thin trailing edge. Another item I checked are the jet pipes as depending on which engine was fitted they were either parallel as in the kit or toed out which is very noticeable in plan view. I can report that the kit is correct for both decal options.
It is interesting to note that on the sprue tags we have the name Pit-Road. Pit-Road make quite a few kits that are hard to get hold of outside of the Asian market so we’ll have to wait and see if this is a one off or the sign of collaboration between G.W.H. and Pit-Road.
The InstructionsThese are a booklet style of four pages of A4 size, the front page is the history of the Vulcan in Chinese and English together with the colour list in Mr color only. Page two is a parts layout, which then on page three starts the build, the views are of the exploded view type and appear easy to read but, there are notes on some of the drawings in Chinese only for the experienced these will cause you to pause then work it out but for the in-experienced they will cause confusion. Page four completes the build with the last stage being the landing gear and doors.
MarkingsThe decals look to be in perfect register with very little carrier film in evidence.
Marking are supplied for two aircraft both from the Black Buck missions of Operation Corporate the Falklands Conflict.
Option 1: XM597, 101Sqn 1982 in BS381C / 641 Dark Green and BS381C / 637 Medium Sea Grey over BS381C / 638 Dark Sea Grey
Option 2: XM607, 44Sqn 1982 in BS381C / 641 Dark Green and BS381C / 637 Medium Sea Grey over BS381C / 638 Dark Sea Grey
In ConclusionAn aircraft that has been a long time coming in 1:144 injected plastic and has the wait been worth it? Well yes. We hope that this release is followed by by other variants but recommend you go and buy one.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.