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First prototype Avro 698 Vulcan VX770 **COMPLETE**


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One of my build themes is R&D and prototype aircraft. For this GB I will be modelling the first Vulcan prototype, VX770. This aircraft is, in my opinion, the best looking of the Vulcans, with its near pure delta shape and glossy white finish.

Pics from t'internet:

770_bw.jpg

IMAGE_1268501821125s.jpg

The first of two Avro 698 prototypes, VX770 made its first flight with Roly Falk at the controls on 30 August 1952 and the aircraft appeared at Farnborough just a few days later! It was joined by the second prototype, VX777, from September 1953, and the pair, along with the four extant Avro 707 research aircraft, made what must have been an awe inspiring appearance together at Farnborough just a few days after VX777 flew.

1588549s.jpg

Tragedy struck VX770 on 20 September 1958 at the Syerston air display when she broke apart in mid air, killing the crew. VX777 survived until 1963 when it became surplus to requirements and was scrapped.

Probably unsurprisingly I'll be using the 1/72 Airfix kit as the basis for the model. This has been available in various incarnations, although I expect all have the same plastic content.

Box contents:

Vulcan001s.jpg

I'll also be using some of the Flightpath B1/B1A conversion set, in particular the smaller tailcone that was later greatly enlarged to house ECM equipment for the B1A and B2 versions. New undercarriage legs are also provided, which I'll either install or use as a pattern to modify the kit parts. (I plan to model a B1A at some point with the remainder of the conversion kit.) I also have the Mastercaster wheel set.

Flightpath parts, with Mastercaster wheels to the right:

Vulcan002s.jpg

I have numerous references on the Vulcan, so I feel I have a pretty good handle on what changes I need to make to depict the prototype (although if I have missed any please feel free to point them out, unless I've missed the chance to include them in which case ignorance is bliss!).

Vulcan006s.jpg

One piece of info that I am lacking a definitive answer on is how much the nose was shorter by. On all Vulcans after VX770 the nose was extended aft of the cockpit to avoid the need for a telescoping leg to reduce during retraction into the bay. Despite all those references, most only mention the fact the nose was entended, but not by how much. Of those that do, one states 6" (plans in the latest issue of Model Aircraft) while another states 16". Please can anyone suggest which (if either!) is correct please?

I'll be building the kit with the crew entry door shut so interior work will be the bare minimum given the small windows. I'll be spending enough time on the exterior!

Looking forward to starting!

Mike

Edited by Mike N
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Some serious work in that one Mike !!

'V'

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Some serious work in that one Mike !!

'V'

im planning a prototype too, but i think i may do vx777 then i wont have to shorten the nose. looks like your well prepared. all the best rob

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Some serious work in that one Mike !!

'V'

Haha, yeah I'm a sucker for punishment! This GB will give me the motivation to get it done though (I hope!) :)

im planning a prototype too, but i think i may do vx777 then i wont have to shorten the nose. looks like your well prepared. all the best rob

Cheers Rob, you too! We'll both have a lot of the same work to do, and it will be good to have VX777 in the gallery too. Maybe we'll end up with all the variants? :P

Mike

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Way back in the mists of time... would be about 1972 ish I had the Lindberg Vulcan in 1:96 and that was of the VX777 prototype if my memory serves - this was long before Airfix every got round to releasing a Vulcan model

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Way back in the mists of time... would be about 1972 ish I had the Lindberg Vulcan in 1:96 and that was of the VX777 prototype if my memory serves - this was long before Airfix every got round to releasing a Vulcan model

I've got that kit as well and was thinking of building it - but I've no idea how accurate it is and I've been unable to find any plans of VX770/777.

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Haha, yeah I'm a sucker for punishment! This GB will give me the motivation to get it done though (I hope!) :)

Cheers Rob, you too! We'll both have a lot of the same work to do, and it will be good to have VX777 in the gallery too. Maybe we'll end up with all the variants? :P

Mike

yep indeed and there are variants on the paint with the 2 prototypes throughout thier lifes. ive seen photos of them all white, photos of them all white with black fin, one with a black panel infront of the cockpit like the valiant. you wouldnt think that there was options for them but there are.

one thing to watch is there were more than 2 types of tail cone on the vulcans. the airfix one is the later type, the flightpath is the second type extended b1 tail cone. the prototype and some b1s had the earlier shorter still tail cone, look at a few photos and you will see what i mean i think xa911 has a longer cone like in the flightpath kit but others like xa890 a shorter one,

be nice if someone has the drawings so we can modify them accurately, i guess general melchet might have some.

all the best rob

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ive got and built a few lindys, they are not too accurate but they are fun and they are cute and they are a good basis for modding. and a lot smaller than a airfix vulcan.

you can still by them new from ebay.com from america for about 15 quid.

the problem is the wings are too thick the nose shape wrong the cockpit too shallow the air intakes need work and are too thick, the landing gear too tall but its still a nice kit for what it is and it is good fun,

oh and raised panel lines.

i made a few just for fun as ficticious straight wing vulcans and a silver b1 here you go.

P1010156.jpg

P1010155.jpg

P1010154.jpg

P1010153.jpg

P1010152.jpg

P1010151.jpg

P1010148.jpg

and what iff like the 60s boxart

P1010141.jpg

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one thing to watch is there were more than 2 types of tail cone on the vulcans. the airfix one is the later type, the flightpath is the second type extended b1 tail cone. the prototype and some b1s had the earlier shorter still tail cone, look at a few photos and you will see what i mean i think xa911 has a longer cone like in the flightpath kit but others like xa890 a shorter one,

Hi Rob,

I must admit I'd not realised there were different 'early' tailcones... I have just gone to look at the plans for early Vulcans included in the latest (May 2012) issue of Model Aircraft (with Sea Harriers on the cover) and sure enough there is a side view showing the shorter tailcone for the 'prototypes and XA899 - 913'!

Thanks very much for alerting me to that detail. I now have to decide whether to modify the Flightpath part or do a new one from scratch :hmmm:

Cheers,

Mike

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The Aerofax Avro Vulcan states VX777 and subsequent Vulcans were 16" longer and has a couple of nearly side-on photos of VX770. This increase in length was to accommodate a longer nose leg without having to make it shorten on retraction.

On VX770 the front of the splitter plate and the rear of the cockpit fairing are on the same vertical line unlike production aircraft where there is a forward shift of the cockpit as the nose gear bay must have been longer for the longer leg. From the front of the intake splitter plate to the rear of the cockpit fairing on the Airfix kit is about 5mm which is nearly 16" full size. Usefully there is a panel line on the Airfix kit in this position to aid cutting, but the cut would need to be made behind this panel line and through the u/c bay to get the correct positioning. It may be easier to cut in front of the line for most of the way round and then stagger the cut underneath to go through the bay, due to the splitter plates.

Hope this helps.

Steve

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The Aerofax Avro Vulcan states VX777 and subsequent Vulcans were 16" longer and has a couple of nearly side-on photos of VX770. This increase in length was to accommodate a longer nose leg without having to make it shorten on retraction.

On VX770 the front of the splitter plate and the rear of the cockpit fairing are on the same vertical line unlike production aircraft where there is a forward shift of the cockpit as the nose gear bay must have been longer for the longer leg. From the front of the intake splitter plate to the rear of the cockpit fairing on the Airfix kit is about 5mm which is nearly 16" full size. Usefully there is a panel line on the Airfix kit in this position to aid cutting, but the cut would need to be made behind this panel line and through the u/c bay to get the correct positioning. It may be easier to cut in front of the line for most of the way round and then stagger the cut underneath to go through the bay, due to the splitter plates.

Hope this helps.

Steve

Blummin' 'eck, I have that book as well, but had forgotten and therefore not checked it! :doh: It's taken me about 10 seconds to find the very bit you mention!

I'm very grateful for your reply, I was putting off starting until I had this confirmed. I haven't examined the kit yet with a view to the location of the cut, but your suggestion sounds logical. I may actually remove the splitter plates, make the cut, and later replace the splitters with thinner plasticard. Many thanks Steve!

Mike

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hi there guys, yes there was 2 types of b1 tail cone and i cant remember the name of what ever it was that called for the extention but im sure it was a new type of radar. but the flight path is the later longer type,

im not sure but i belive that all or most b1s were actually built with the shorter fatter one and then later modified to the longer cone, and then again modified with the larger b2 type when becoming b1as.

here are photos of my frog b1 with the shorter cone,

and my airfix b1 with the longer cone.

P1010181.jpg

P1010190.jpg

P1010141.jpg

P1010150.jpg

there was also another as i understand one off variant tail cone on an early b2 i belive xh533 that was a b2 with b1 intakes and b1 longer tail cone but was then given a bigger still tail cone that was like the standard b2 cone but looked a different shape alltogether. got photos somewere.

cheers rob

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Cheers, Rob - a bit of a characature then. Still, the basis of a fun build.

absolutley its very much a characature but its got lots of charachter and charm, i think its a fun kit and i recomend it to anyone for a fun quick build, but also i feel with work and mods could be a stunner, i got a few siting waiting to be built.

i intend to mod the wings intakes cockpit to make a b1a at somepoint i may do it for this gb but seems like a bit of work. so im not sure. cheers rob

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Its brilliant to see someone doing the prototype and I hope it goes well. I was going to do the second prototype but things have stopped me this time. The main reason of me doing VX777 is that when they changed the wing section of her to the kinked production wing of the B2 they made a model out of the the old wing section.

and here she is

100_0034.jpg

She was in a very played with state when i got her and I knew the late Dougie Godfrey who ran the XM603 club who at the time was getting 603 back to health. and he told me the above story and they restored it for me. XM603 did get all of her engines running in the end and they cranked up the coals on her. and blamed the nimrods..

Edited by andyxh558
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thats a lovely model, so thats made from the original. wow. great stuff. i love all the badges on the plinth very very nice touch,.

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Thanks. the picture on the right is VX770 do you want a copy of it

Hi Andy,

I wouldn't mind a scanned copy of it! Don't worry if not, I have quite a few pics anyway but always more the merrier!

Cheers,

Mike

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  • 1 month later...

Hello all,

I realise it's been a long time since I last posted anything... but I was finishing my Flight of the Phoenix model for the Movie & TV GB and then on holiday. And truth be told, the enormity of the conversion work (above the normal trials of this kit!) had sapped my enthusiasm.

But:- I'm back working at it!

Made a start, and I thought I may as well plunge right in by cutting the nose off and shortening it by the required ~6mm. No turning back now!

Vulcan008s.jpg

I then set about removing the bomb-aiming blister by drilling and then cutting it out:

Vulcan010s.jpg

Vulcan011s.jpg

I then added a bit of plasticard on the inside...

Vulcan013s.jpg

... to then add teardrop shape pieces in from the outside. I'll add some filler in the gaps and then sand the whole lot smooth.

Vulcan015s.jpg

The interior has been painted black and will be left like that as I know that bugger all will be seen through the tiny windows, especially without any light coming in from the door which I've added shut. As a nod to accuracy I have added only the left-hand seat as only one was fitted at first and I plumped for this one!

Vulcan018s.jpg

Also seen is the substantial nose weight, which will require some serious bonding of the nose to the fuselage at reattachment!

Other work in progress includes the ever popular intakes, which for this aircraft I also sanded down at the forward ends to represent the reduced section of the early engines.

Vulcan014s.jpg

Finally for now, I've added some sprue bracing across the bomb bay opening, these will then have shims added to persuade the doors to conform to the exterior contours!

Vulcan017s.jpg

This will be a slow build, but I hope to have it done before the end of the GB!

Mike

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Nice start Mike, just a few extra notes re the prototype that might help. VX770 had four small square ram air intakes on top of the wings, (in line with the exhausts and laterally along the wing in line with the roundels). It also had two small probes under the nose radome, on either side, a tail bumper under the tail and the square brake parachute hatch was on the starboard side of the rear fuselage just under the rudder.The prototype also had a matt black anti glare shield for a short time and the two extra air brakes underneath the wings. The prototypes and B1's also had longer outer engine fairings underneath the wings which are a bit more effort though shortening the inner ones is the easiest route. Markings wise it was quite straight forward except maybe for the tail mounted Avro logo.

It's not as simple as you'd first think but very 'doable'.............look forward to seeing the finished model old fella.

Melchie...

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Thanks General, much appreciated. I must admit I wasn't aware of most of that detail!

As for the markings, I plan to depict her without the black anti-glare panel as I feel it spoils her natural beauty :) The Avro logo will come from the Airdecal sheet for anti-flash Vulcans, which my be a little larger than required but will be good enough (and the only way to get it!).

One thing that is stumping me is details of the telescoping nose gear. All the pictures I have seen don't show any detail of the differences. Help!

Mike

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that is looking truly fantastic i cant wait to see this done as you know i intent to do vx777 but for now im doing xm655 as im late starting and got alot on my plate.

however we will see it would be nice to see both prototypes in this gb. and a 707

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been making slow progress with VX770, but having done a quick schedule of what's to be done in the time remaining, I've realised I'd better get on with it sharpish!!

Starting with the nose... the cockpit is in, painted black and with only one seat in for Falk to fly it alone. I've sanded down the joint and the bomb aimer's blister. I also filled the porthole and drilled a pilot hole for the correct(?) position further up; this will get opened out once painting is complete to avoid any white getting inside on the canopy (sod's law says it would!). I also sanded off the small bumps to the side of the canopy and filled some of the aerial attach holes as these don't appear to be on the prototype.

CopyofVulcan039.jpg

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In preparation for reattaching the nose with all that weight up front, I've added a bit of I-beam to help take the load.

CopyofVulcan041.jpg

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Moving on to the fuselage, I added a new forward bulkhead to the nose gear bay, and then packed it out to the nose cut line, this length being the same as that which I reduced the nose by.

CopyofVulcan021.jpg

Sanded down:

CopyofVulcan022.jpg

Here you can see that I gouged out a new air scoop forward of the existing one. It appears that when the outboard airbrake was deleted this was relocated aft. This also required sanding off what I'm assuming is an external doubler added at some point in the Vulcan's development. This photo shows the unaltered kit detail on the far side and the modifications near side.

CopyofVulcan.jpg

I've also scribed both airbrakes to give a similar appearance.

CopyofVulcan038.jpg

I fitted the bomb bay doors and then added filler all around and to various holes for things that won't be added to this version.

CopyofVulcan037.jpg

Here are the intakes, proving as painful as ever. Since this shot they've been sanded down and had 2 attempts at spraying them, I'm hoping that they'll be good enough now as I need to get them installed and the fuselage closed up!

CopyofVulcan032.jpg

The other area I've been working on is the fin. Flightpath do provide an extension piece to suit the pointed tailcone, but as this is in metal I was not looking forward to fettling it to get a good fit and blend. I therefore decided to extend the rudder by glueing on some bits of sprue (from the kit so as to get good compatibility)...

CopyofVulcan026.jpg

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This was then sawn and sanded down...

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...and checked against the tailcone:

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Finally the RWR(?) was removed from the top and the whole thing sanded and rescribed ready for fitting:

CopyofVulcan034.jpg

That's it for now, I aim to get the fuselage closed up by the end of the weekend, well that's what the plan says I need to do! :S

Mike

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