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Handley Page Victor K Mk.2 - Revell (ex Matchbox) 1:72


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Handley Page Victor K. Mk.2
Revell (ex Matchbox) 1:72




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The Victor was probably most famous for it's introduction in to the RAF as part of the V Force in the strategic bomber role or more specifically to operate as a nuclear deterrent, however it's career as an in-flight refuelling aircraft is where it cemented it's place in RAF history with around 30 years service in this role. First flown at the end of 1952, the B.1 entered operational service with 10 & 15 squadrons in 1958. Whilst the B.1 was designed to operate at high level, the improved B.2 was primarily designed to deliver stand-off missiles from low level to avoid Soviet radar. This unfortunately was the undoing of the Victor in a bombing capacity. Operation at low level had led to fatigue cracks within the wing structure, so the B.2's were 'retired' by the end of 1968 with only 6 years in service. With an increased need for in-flight refuelling, the RAF sought to modify the B.2's and put them back in to service in this role. Apart from the obvious fitment of refuelling equipment, the wingspan was shortened to reduce wing bending stress which would alleviate the fatigue issues. In 1982, the Victor played it's role in several of the most famous missions in RAF history, known as Operation Black Buck, although it's part has been largely ignored by the media who instead preferred to focus on the Avro Vulcan that delivered the bombs. No less than 11 Victors were required to provide the complex refuelling pattern for the long return trip by a solitary Vulcan. Not only required to refuel the Vulcan, but they had to refuel each other with critical timing that was aggravated by the higher payload and subsequent fuel burn of the Vulcan as a result of the additional kit required for such a mission. The B.Mk.2 Victor was finally retired from its distinguished refuelling service in 1993 as it handed the reigns over to the VC-10's and Tristars.


The kit
Well, I'm guessing that many are already familiar with this kit as it has been around since the 1980's, firstly in the 3 colour plastic that Matchbox were famous for. This is the 3rd re-release by Revell. Packed in their usual end opening blue box which I'm not a fan on, not least due to the box tending to collapse in the stash, fortunately, the artwork makes up for this somewhat. Inside the box is a great decal sheet and 3 light grey plastic sprues. The moulding quality is typical Matchbox. Chunky detail parts and a mixture of fine raised panel lines and quite deep recessed lines in places. Flash is surprisingly sparse, however there are some prominent sink marks that will need dealing with. It really is showing it's age, but judging by the high prices on Ebay for Victor kits prior to this release, there clearly is still a demand from us wacky modellers as it's the only option currently on the market to produce a 1/72 Victor.

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Assembly starts with the cockpit interior. This is....well crude, with only the tub, seats and crew members included. We quickly move on to the flying surfaces and fuel tanks. The wings have been heavily criticised from my research. A recommended improvement is the Flightpath resign intakes to improve this quite prominent feature that is difficult to correct using scratch building skills. Another issue is the lack of washout along the wing which should reduce in incidence by about 13 degrees at the wing tip. This has knock on implications such as the alignment of the refuelling pods with the fuselage. This can be dealt with from what I've read. See this thread here:

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/34608-handley-page-victor/

As you will see from the photographs below, there are some pronounced sink marks that will need to be filled around the rear engine nacelles.

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Attention then moves to bringing the fuselage halves together. The surface is largely of raised detail with some quite deep recessed areas underneath, so a re-scribe may be a suitable option. The airbrake can be positioned open or closed which is a nice touch, but again, aftermarket PE with significantly improve this area if you open it as the plastic is all a bit vague and quite chunky. Next comes the undercarriage assembly. This is another area to be aware of. The kit sits tail heavy, so a good solution is to cut about 2mm out of the main wheel bogies to address this. The aircraft should sit with the fuselage level to the ground.

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The kit can be built with the gear up or down and the same too with the flaps, however in the effort to standardise the parts, there is a step on the flaps that shouldn't be there if you build them in the lowered position. There is a great tutorial by the late and great Ted Taylor HERE on how to tackle this. The remainder of the build tackles the various protruding parts that are included including an option for a boarding ladder and open access door.


The decals
As mentioned earlier, the decal sheet is a very fine copy indeed with beautifully fine and sharp stencilling, something of a contrast to the plastic! Cockpit instrument decals are included to enhance the rather plain kit offerings and the register looks spot to too. Two schemes are included:

XH672 - 55 Sqn on deployment from RAF Marham during Operation 'Desert Storm' 1991
XL163 - 57 Sqn RAF Marham 1983 in the green/grey & white camouflage scheme

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Conclusion
There is no doubt that this is a basic kit by 21st century standards, but at the moment, it is Hobsons choice if you want to build one so we can be thankful to Revell for making it available again. Fortunately, there is aftermarket out there to address some of the worst offending areas, and from builds I've seen, it's certainly possible to produce a gorgeous rendition of this historic yet futuristic icon of British aviation. Given that copies were previously going on Ebay for over £50, if you want one, now is a good time to add one to your stash as the price is under £25.

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Review sample courtesy of

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