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Adam Poultney

Avro Vulcan B.1a - The Most Beautiful Aircraft Ever To Fly

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The Avro Vulcan is my favourite aircraft without a doubt. Although the only one I ever had the chance to see in flight was the Vulcan B.2 XH558 from 2007-15, my favourite Vulcans are the B.2's less famous predecessors, the Vulcan B.1 and Vulcan B.1a. The first B.1s retained the pure delta of the prototypes, although after the fifth aircraft they were fitted with the first iteration of the Vulcan's distinctive kinked delta. The Vulcan B.1a was a stop-gap measure while the B.2s were coming into service, they were given the full set of ECM gear of the early B.2s with a few other less notable modifications. They were retired in the late 60s to early 70s, and although one B.1 lingered on at Cosford for many years, they were all gone by 1986. Today the only surviving physical evidence of their existence are a handful of cockpit sections that to most would look no different from that of a Vulcan B.2, however the aircraft in reality were as different as two derivatives of the same basic airframe could possibly be. I never got the chance to see a Vulcan B.1 in person unfortunately, as I have said the last one was scrapped in 1986, and I was born 17 years later in 2003.

So here is my model of my favourite aircraft, the Vulcan B1.a, this one is XH500. The model is based on the 1/144 GWH Vulcan K.2 kit, and heavily modded to build the earlier variant.

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This is probably my favourite angle to view a B.1/1a from. Here you capture the look of the 'sporty Vulcan' as it was often called. 

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The Vulcan B.1/1a's pitot tubes are on the wingtips, whereas the B.2's are on the sides of the nose.

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As can be seen here, the Vulcan B1's intakes are narrower than those of the B.2. They were powered by the Olympus 100 series of engines which were less powerful than the B.2's 201s or 301s.

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The GWH kit's intakes are already too small for a B.2, so very little modification was needed, although I would go even thinner when I do another B.1/1a (it's inevitable)

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And here you can see the smaller jetpipes of the Olympus 100 engines.

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Another one of my favourtite angles, seeing the whole aircraft from below the nose shows off just how much smaller the B.1/1a was than the later B.2s.

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 I trawled through photographs of the underside of the aircraft to get a good approximation of the weathering on the B.1, which was significantly different to how dirt accumulated on the B.2

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And here's the WIP thread for anyone who wants to read that. 

 

Huge thanks to @robvulcan for the conversions he's done that inspired this, without his builds and advice I could not have done this

Edited by Adam Poultney

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Here's a few more photos I took with other models

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Two Mk.1 V Bombers together, a Victor B.1, XA940, and Vulcan B.1a, XH500.

 

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My Vulcan B.1a alongside a smaller diecast Vulcan B2 (Corgi XH558). Shows just how different they really were.

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Avro sisters, the Vulcan B.1a, Vulcan B2. and a Lancaster B.iii Special (also Corgi diecast)

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Fantastic Vulcan!

Thanks for showing us all the mods!

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Adam,

Ive been following this build since day one... And at first i thought you a madman for even considering this task.

However, i stand corrected with the result here. You have done an incredible, nay perfect job of replicating the magnificent lines of the B.1a and with such a faithful and accurate job done here, Sir Roy Chadwick would be proud... I have to ask, when will you be doing this on the 1/72 kit? ;) Splendid work as always, i look forward to seeing what youve got in store for us next!

 

- Rhys 

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Excellent work! I have to admit when Airfix come out with their B.2 (it can't come out soon enough for me!), I'll just do it as a bog-standard B.2, but I always admire modellers who do conversions.

 

Regards,

 

Jason

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Nice,the B1a is also my favourite  version,I have an Airfix one to backdate sitting in the stash.

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Very nice model of the Vulcan, although we all know the VC10 is the most beautiful aircraft to have flown LOL

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Very nicely done, seamless conversion work and you seem rightly proud of it 👏👏👏

 

As for the title, I'll just leave this here...:whistle:

Concorde-Supersonic.jpg

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Nice modelling but...

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The Vulcan was an impressive aeroplane, but to me the DH Mosquito topped it for 'looking the part'.

And I'd go along with other suggestions such as the VC 10 and Concorde - or even the early (Mks 1 to IX) Spitfires.

Regardless, you made the dear old Vulcan look good.

 

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10 hours ago, exdraken said:

Fantastic Vulcan!

Thanks for showing us all the mods!

Thank you, I'm going to write up a set of instructions for the conversion soon.

9 hours ago, Jonesy.Models said:

Adam,

Ive been following this build since day one... And at first i thought you a madman for even considering this task.

However, i stand corrected with the result here. You have done an incredible, nay perfect job of replicating the magnificent lines of the B.1a and with such a faithful and accurate job done here, Sir Roy Chadwick would be proud... I have to ask, when will you be doing this on the 1/72 kit? ;) Splendid work as always, i look forward to seeing what youve got in store for us next!

 

- Rhys 

Well I for one still think I'm a madman! 

Thank you anyway, it's not perfectly accurate, I'm still picking up new details I missed (such as a slight modification to the black panel next to the main gear that I missed), but I'm glad you like it :)

The 1/72 one will happen eventually, likely after the new Airfix kit is released. It is very difficult to get the intakes to look right for a B.1 on the old tool kit, so I'd like to wait to see which kit is a better basis for a B.1 first (it seems from CAD images that the new tool kit will be far better). Next up, for V Bombers at least I think I'll return to the more iconic B.2 for my next Vulcan. My Valiant needs finishing and I've got another Victor coming to build. 

 

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6 hours ago, Learstang said:

Excellent work! I have to admit when Airfix come out with their B.2 (it can't come out soon enough for me!), I'll just do it as a bog-standard B.2, but I always admire modellers who do conversions.

 

Regards,

 

Jason

Thank you! I'm certainly going to build my first new tool example as a bog-standard out of the box B.2, the second I might venture into aftermarket but certainly will wait until at least the third to attempt a B.1/1a conversion. 

3 hours ago, fatalbert said:

Nice,the B1a is also my favourite  version,I have an Airfix one to backdate sitting in the stash.

Ah a fellow man of great taste! Can't wait to see your take on the aircraft, do tag me so I can see it when you begin please :)

3 hours ago, RMCS said:

Excellent 

Thanks :)

2 hours ago, stevehnz said:

Very nicely done indeed Adam. 👍

Steve.

Thank you :)

1 hour ago, kev67 said:

Very nice model of the Vulcan, although we all know the VC10 is the most beautiful aircraft to have flown LOL

Well the VC10 is a good looking aircraft, but nah it ain't got anything on the V Bombers! Guess it can be an honorary member of the V Force as a tanker beginning with V 😂

 

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1 hour ago, Alan P said:

Very nicely done, seamless conversion work and you seem rightly proud of it 👏👏👏

 

As for the title, I'll just leave this here...:whistle:

Concorde-Supersonic.jpg

Thank you, I'm very happy with it :)

 

Unpopular opinion but.... 

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This Soviet beauty beats Concorde for me, although you wouldn't catch me flying on one, nor in the vicinity of one in the air! 

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Nice conversion.

 

The Vulcan is iconic now and looks superb, although I never thought that when the house rattled and I spent 1981 guarding them in all weathers at Scampton :(

 

If you want a good close up view of a complete B2 Vulcan then they have one at the North East land Sea and Air museum near Sunderland (Next door to Nissan factory) https://www.nelsam.org.uk

You can climb up into the cockpit too if they have enough staff on duty to supervise.  It is a typically amateur British museum in the very best sense of the term, with enthusiastic volunteers restoring a huge range of aircraft and vehicles, so well worth a visit if you are in the area. And no I am not on commission :)

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1 hour ago, MikeR said:

Nicely done!

 

Mike.

Thank you :)

24 minutes ago, FatFlyHalf said:

Nice modelling but...

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The Vulcan was an impressive aeroplane, but to me the DH Mosquito topped it for 'looking the part'.

And I'd go along with other suggestions such as the VC 10 and Concorde - or even the early (Mks 1 to IX) Spitfires.

Regardless, you made the dear old Vulcan look good.

 

Thanks :)

The mossie is nice, certainly one of the best, but nothing can beat a Vulcan for me. Early spits though, I just can't stop building them! Lovely aircraft those...

2 minutes ago, Matt P said:

Nice conversion.

 

The Vulcan is iconic now and looks superb, although I never thought that when the house rattled and I spent 1981 guarding them in all weathers at Scampton :(

 

If you want a good close up view of a complete B2 Vulcan then they have one at the North East land Sea and Air museum near Sunderland (Next door to Nissan factory) https://www.nelsam.org.uk

You can climb up into the cockpit too if they have enough staff on duty to supervise.  It is a typically amateur British museum in the very best sense of the term, with enthusiastic volunteers restoring a huge range of aircraft and vehicles, so well worth a visit if you are in the area. And no I am not on commission :)

Thank you :) the Vulcan is the iconic aircraft for me, one which seems to be one of the three that captured the public imagination here in Britain, the Vulcan, Spitfire and Concorde.

I've been up to Sunderland more times that I can count, I have family up there. I only realised the N.E.L.S.A.M. existed in 2018 despite regularly staying at the Premier Inn just off the A19 around the corner.  I've been twice to the museum, and got a good look around 319 last time. Certainly one of my favourite surviving Vulcans, so much character in the worn look of the aircraft, although she looks very good now with the fresh coat of paint. 

Here's a few photos from my first visit in October 2018

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And of course the damage from 2010 when she tried to 'take off' in the snow.

Really hope that can be fixed... Even with plastic replica parts or something

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Great work, and nice for you to show it alongside some (smaller) b2 variations. You really get a sense for how the shape of the Vulcan changed between the early and later revisions.  That poor Vulcan stuck out in the elements. someone get it a hangar asap! 

 

 

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That's turned out beautifully, I thought at first it was the 1/72 Airfix kit. That's some precision work in 1/144! 

 

For me, the Vulcan is probably the most impressive aircraft ever to fly, but the Hunter surely must take the accolade for the most beautiful.

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2 minutes ago, Kushan_Farsight said:

Great work, and nice for you to show it alongside some (smaller) b2 variations. You really get a sense for how the shape of the Vulcan changed between the early and later revisions.  That poor Vulcan stuck out in the elements. someone get it a hangar asap! 

 

 

Thank you :)

Now I need a 1/144 B.2 next to my B.1a. I had to include a B.2 in some form, so many people seem unaware of just how different they were, the museum management at Cosford in the mid 80s certainly was... 👿

 

The N.E.L.S.A.M. has hangers but they're occupied by many great aircraft, although I very much doubt that the Vulcan would fit in any of them, it's just too tall. 

1 minute ago, Lord Riot said:

That's turned out beautifully, I thought at first it was the 1/72 Airfix kit. That's some precision work in 1/144! 

 

For me, the Vulcan is probably the most impressive aircraft ever to fly, but the Hunter surely must take the accolade for the most beautiful.

Thank you! I'm glad you like it :)

I think if I went with the 1/72 Airfix kit as a basis this would not have turned out nearly as good as it did, it's very difficult to mod those intakes to the earlier B.1 style (which the first 12 B.2s had as well). The GWH/pit road kit has a number of innacuracies in the intakes that result in them being quite close to the intakes of the B.1/1a. In my opinion, it is by far the easiest kit to use as a basis for conversion to a B.1 currently in production

Hunters are great, but nothing beats a huge delta wing for me! 

 

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59 minutes ago, FatFlyHalf said:

The Vulcan was an impressive aeroplane, but to me the DH Mosquito topped it for 'looking the part'.

Actually, while I remember, I'm currently sitting in the same site that the college thate Geoffrey DeHavilland went to in 19-whenever-it-was was on, before the building was used the college currently here. Kind of a fairly local claim to fame I guess 😂

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Absolutely spectacular build there.....Makes me want to start on my 1/72 Vulcan tonight as well.

 

Should be very proud of your build there @Adam Poultney Very much looking forward to seeing your future builds too.

 

I do remember seeing the Vulcan fly during it's farewell tour in 1986. My dad was still in the RAF at the time and I distinctly remember seeing a Vulcan (not sure on the registration number) flying over RAF Stafford with the bay doors open, and the words "THANK YOU - FAREWELL" painted on the bay doors.

 

 

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47 minutes ago, Mikey-1980 said:

Absolutely spectacular build there.....Makes me want to start on my 1/72 Vulcan tonight as well.

 

Should be very proud of your build there @Adam Poultney Very much looking forward to seeing your future builds too.

 

I do remember seeing the Vulcan fly during it's farewell tour in 1986. My dad was still in the RAF at the time and I distinctly remember seeing a Vulcan (not sure on the registration number) flying over RAF Stafford with the bay doors open, and the words "THANK YOU - FAREWELL" painted on the bay doors.

 

 

Thanks :)

 

The 1/72 vulcan is a nightmare, but it can be tamed. I have one but it's not quite finished. I lost motivation after applying the main decals. I'd be interested to see your build when you start it, tag me so I don't miss it :)

 

I'm very proud of this model, it is my new factourite model that I have built taking the place of my Victor (posted a couple of days ago on RFI), next up is finishing other V Bombers, my Spitfire addiction and a couple of Dorniers. 

 

 

 

Edited by Adam Poultney

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Stunning, and I love the well used finish.  Fantastic amount of research effort and modification has produced a superb model.  Well done! 

 

I won't get into the best looking aircraft discussion.  I always seem to think the last one I saw is the best looking.  I have to agree with the V bombers being way up there.

 

I doubt if I ever saw a B1, but I have memories of seeing many B2s at airshow displays and also at a cadet camp at Waddington in 1973.  I have just watched a few videos of the Vulcan on YouTube and it brings back memories of the howl;  puts a shiver down the spine.

 

Well done

 

Graeme

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