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Vulcan b1a conversion and scratch built bomb bay

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Yes, I am insane. Since lockdown began I have bought errr I think five Vulcans, sadly small ones not the full scale version (I can only dream!). Two of these are Trumpeter kits, one Cyberhobby kit and two GWH. I've got another thread going where I'm doing the Trumpeter ones (and repainting my Airfix Vulcan) but I think adding in the gwh ones will make that thread convoluted and confusing jumping between builds, so here I am making one for the GWH kits.

I'm sure many on here have seen the GWH kit before, and may have seen some amazing conversions to earlier variants by @robvulcan. I'm going to be making at least one of these into the B1a variant. 


These arrived today. I've built one before (cut up and made into a B1a) and it's a pretty good kit, not accurate rivet for rivet but looks enough like a Vulcan. I'll get one of my Trumpeter kits to use for side by side pictures.


So there they are, the two kits just fitted together. The intakes are quite different (Trumpeter got it more correct) and both nose profiles are wrong. I prefer the GWH nose because it got the radome line, a prominent feature on aircraft where it is painted black, more correct. If you correct the Trumpeter radome that looks quite good.


This is what I'll be going for, perhaps this exact aircraft, XH480. I'll decide on that later, but it'll be in camouflage for sure; I've already bought the decals.


Colour shot of XH479. Beautiful aircraft and so underappreciated due to the B2 totally eclipsing this variant.



Annnyyyway I started the fun. Using a template I made from a set of drawings I marked out the wing shape. This is going to be a B1a in camouflage so no cutting off the tail or extending the rudder required. 



This is my template that I used. 93° trailing edge sweep and leading edge angles at 40°, 47° and 36°. Looks about right to me. The B1a has a slightly different wingtip but I'm going to add the after cutting the wing from leftover plastic. 



And so the cutting began. This was a lot easier than the first time I did this thanks to experience modifying kits I've since gained. I simply cut into the plastic along the edge of a masking tape with a hobby knife, scribed it until it was almost all the way through and snapped off the unneeded plastic. 




Well, looks like I have a Vulcan B1a shaped object now. Seriously can someone please make a plastic kit of this available so my sanity can remain somewhat intact. I'd probably just convert in a different scale because I enjoy this kind of modelling.


the B2 is significantly larger as cash be seen here



I've started thinning the intakes by sanding plastic around them, I need to do this anyway but I'll get to that in a minute. The actual inserts are approximately correct for the B1 version, too narrow for the B2. They're not quite narrow enough but it will do. Sanding the leading edges is going to make the intake itself narrower, and I can modify the inserts by thinning the plastic so they're a lot thinner and the reduced intakes still fit around the inserts. 




The other reason to do this is the leading edge if the B1 has this kind of 'pinched' look compared to the much flatter leading edge of the B2. This photo of XA900 taken at Cosford, probably not that long before scrapping (she was partially repainted at one point), where the aircraft looks in far better condition than a number of Vulcans do today to shows the leading edge and what I'm trying to achieve.




This is my previous Vulcan B1a, far from perfect but certainly a Vulcan. It's also based on the GWH kit.




Edited by Adam Poultney
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Now the most irritating part to remove, these air scoops. On the Trumpeter kit this would be a lot easier, they're moulded seperatly. Oh well, file and sand paper will sort these out.




I've already built the nose gear mostly from scratch, using a few parts of another GWH Vulcan where necessary. 



Here's my plan for the main gear mods


Needs some refinement but it's better than just using the kit parts.



Intakes in and done my typical thing marking the inside of my model with the date it was built. The inserts were primed first but due to the modifications I made a bit of filler will be needed so it was left at primer for now. 


Nose weight added- I didn't want to use too much and end up collapsing the nose gear I made, it's not that strong and I've already repaired it a few times. I should have plenty in there, lead solder weighs quite a bit.



Lots of pegs! This rivals my Mikromir Victor. 


For reference good this is what I had to do to get that together. At least that was a pretty much out the box build to make a Mk1 V Bomber. I really need to build another of these, the early Victors are great and totally got an excuse since I'm building a second Mk1 Vulcan.



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6 hours ago, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

Hello Adam have you seen this ? 

Something you may want to save up for. From my untrained eye with what I've seen so far it looks good. 


Yes I've seen this, it's the same model as their 1/48 one just printed bigger. It's not the most accurate Vulcan out there, but I think this will look better than the heratige aviation 1/32 kit.

I could buy one if I really wanted but it's just too big. 

If it was a B1, and a good b1 at that, I might be persuaded but still it's probably too big.



Photo from Lost British Projects Facebook page

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Well I overshot the angle the gear is supposed to sit at... Oh well, at least all the wheels are on the ground.




Anyway, progress on the rest of the aircraft. I've added the tail, the tip of the nose and worked on the leading edge such still needs a bit of attention.



A number of details from the B2 have been removed from the underside. The TFR blister on the nose is gone and the tailcone has been reshaped to the early ECM tailcone shape. The main difference here is the shape of the tip of the tailcone is different.




This air scoop was added. It's not there on the B2 so is quite an easy detail to overlook. My first Vulcan B1a lacks this.



The cockpit was painted black and the canopy added. I modified a Trumpeter Vulcan IFR probe left over from my anti flash white XH558 build to fit the GWH kit. It's much better detailed. The model seems to sit at about the right angle, so good enough I say.




Couldn't resist a good picture of XH558




Hannants order arrived. I ordered paint for my Vulcans: Tamiya Medium Sea Grey, Dark Green and Light Aircraft Grey. Colour photos of camouflaged Vulcans from the 1960s and early 1970s show a medium sea grey that looks a lot more blue tinted than later ones. Apparently this was the same colour, but clearly something in there changed.

There should also be enough decals and plasticard to last me quite a while.






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Excellent work. I haven’t been in here much for ages sadly.

Nice to see someone else also suffers with an unhealthy obsession of early Vulcans. 
cracking job !


Im so behind with my too many incomplete projects. But I’m back to it now thanks to your encouragement after a long stall.


keep up the good work it’s nice to see that this interest passes on through the generations for what is mostly a forgotten and little known overlooked aircraft now.


cheers Rob :)


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Now that I've caught the scratch build bug from those vortex generators I turned my attention to the underside of the aircraft... Something no Vulcan kit has included straight out of the box yet (although Airfix's upcoming new tool kit will), an open bomb bay.


This is a Vulcan B1a in the scheme I'm planning on doing with an open bomb bay, also quite a nice view of the weathering underneath. 


So, I printed off some more drawings in 1/144 and set about building this.... not that easy, but not too difficult.



Now there is aftermarket resin available for this, but shipping times are unreliable given the current global pandemic and well, this will be far more fun. 

Vulcan Bomb Bay aftermarket



The bomb bay fits, but doesn't quite sit right. I'll have to make a compromise between an approximately correct curvature and fitting in the model right 


Better, not accurate but not far enough off that it doesn't look the part. I've got to figure out what to do for bomb bay doors, I'm thinking use the kit ones, cut them very carefully in half and thin them down and should be good enough for this.

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  • 2 weeks later...


I've got the bomb bay painted up now


And now for the jetpipe mods...

step 1: shorten them to 4mm on top and 3mm underneath

step 2: reshape them to taper off like they should, a step which I neglected to do on my first B1a

step 3: smooth them out a bit 

step 4: cast them and keep one original as a master for future remoulding

step 5: build more vulcans




I'll continue with writing this up in a bit, I've got to start work in a minute

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Doh! Forgot to finish updating this


I decided to cast the jetpipe I made and keep this one as a master in case I want more.



This is the method I used with a little modification and alternate brands of products



First one came out a bit rubbish, not enough material, but it was promising. c5e6c6168758748c544b6d74a696d7f7.jpg

I then cast up a second one, there was a small crack which I repaired with a bit of filler.



Three jetpipes are original and one is a cast, this means I have one left as a master for remaking the mould when it wears out. I'll likely build more 1:144 Vulcan B1/B1as given how much I like these. 




The gear was also painted at this point.





I've primed the aircraft in white, the underside will be painted in gloss white and the upper surfaces will be camouflaged.






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Masking session, coffee and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Loving this, haven't watched ds9 in years and now I'm on season 6. As with most Trek, I think it gets much better as it goes on. I'm going to have to build some Star Trek kits at some point, I like the look of that Revell Intrepid Class Starship (aka USS Voyager). 


And thanks to @robvulcan again for this comparative shot of his B1a and what is probably the best picture in existence of the B1a camouflage pattern (of course it did vary from airframe to airframe but I'll go from this) 


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Filling in the masking with tissue


Tamiya Dark Green for the green part of the camouflage


Demasking revealed that I needed to make some corrections



With those made this is certainly looking more like a Vulcan B1a's camouflage pattern


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Landing gear has been added and I think I have a new favourite model. I can't wait to finish this.



All three of my Mk1 V Bombers in 1:144, just need a 1:144 Valiant B.Mk.1 now.... I've got two in 1:72 but it's an omission from my 1:144 collection.... 

And a Mk2 Victor of some description (I only have three in 1:72) and a Mk2 Valiant which will be a fun project and lots of resin....


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Decals applied, they are from Mark 1 Decals. I am waiting on delivery of more serials. Stencils will be from a Fündekal sheet, and GWH kit.




Couldn't be two more different tin triangles... Very very different variant she tragic that the last was scrapped in 1986 in a museum...


Nearly there now!



Also suffered a landing gear collapse today so repairs are underway

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  • 9 months later...

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