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Airfix Vulcan (old)


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EDIT 28/11/21 As this thread grew, I began to add anecdotes from my service life which were very popular and soon drew anecdotes from other ex-servicemen. In time the stories became more important than the modelling which slowed to a crawl. I spent more and more time writing and less time on modelling, on other hobbies and even on sleeping. This wasn't healthy for me but I found it hard to slow down as I was enjoying the 'likes' so much.

 

Then something happened last week which helped me to change tack quite abruptly. I saw how many times the thread had been visited and realised that many of my anecdotes had the potential to cause embarrassment to various people, including myself, if widely published. This is a litigious age and the internet is an uncertain place. I wasn't just writing to a dozen ex-servicemen like myself but to thousands of unpredictable strangers. I had actually made a joking post in which I said I was glad that we didn't have mobile phones 'back then', because my embarrassing mistakes weren't on line. Until I wrote them all down!

 

So I have been through the thread and removed anything which I thought doubtful. I'm afraid there isn't a lot left, except the modelling of the Vulcan and the anecdotes of other contributors, for which I bear no responsibility, and have no mechanism to remove. I may be a little paranoid but it's better for me to be careful and sleep soundly.

 

Finally, I recommend that other contributors also review what they may have written here. Just in case they ever wish to go into politics, or sports, or charity work, or media or ...

 

 

 

This was the original start:

 

I’ve just succumbed to one of those crazy impulses generated by looking at someone else’s RFI post, and bought an Airfix Vulcan from that well known auction site (Why don’t we ever say its  name?). Now I’m not crazy about 1/72 scale, though I recently did a Phantom just to see if I could manage it. The Vulcan, I believe, might be a gnat’s whisker larger? And impossible to display in my tiny flat? But I HAVE done one recently so that’s ok.

 

I’m also not a huge fan of Airfix (Boo! Hiss!) mostly because of the deep and wide panel lines which I think are designed for brush painting. But the old Vulcan has fine raised panel lines so that’s not a problem, just a little bit of rescribing required.

 

I’m also not usually successful when I attempt an aircraft that I actually worked on in the RAF. I don’t know why that is but I suspect it’s because I unconsciously compare the model unfavourably with my mental picture of the real thing. Well it’s over 40 years ago now, just a little bit longer than the age of the kit, and memories being fleeting, perhaps I’m over that hang up by now. 
 

I’m even experienced with this kit. I built one to a crude standard about 20 years ago and wasn’t happy with my result. Now it’s time to start over and get it done right. 
 

So here I go, offering you yet another Vulcan WIP. I bet you’ve already read a dozen of them. Maybe doing one is some mysterious rite of passage that we all have to go through?

 

At least I can guarantee that you will be here right from the start, the kit still being in Lisburn at this time. Hence no pictures. I will take up this loose thread as soon as I’m notified of its arrival in my town. 

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Musings:

 

I'd like to build it with all the aftermarket that was available in 1983. Plastic card, brass sheet, wire, solder and so on.

 

And Hannant's decals perhaps. I'll have to get some as the ones in the box are known to be yellowed and probably useless. It must be IX Sqn at Waddington around 1977-79 for reasons that are surely obvious.

 

Where the 'hey-mind-your-head' will I keep the thing? Wheels down definitely, but it's quite likely to end up airborne on the ceiling!

 

Rescribed? Of course.

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On 10/16/2021 at 6:39 PM, Bertie Psmith said:

And Hannant's decals perhaps.

 

Definitely. I just placed my order. 😃

 

y4m-MFVqdX9DgAoYc5C24TUTaTX9Y9GuwP_RCQe_

 

I remember XL391. It wasn't there when I arrived as it was at St Athan on a Major but I recall it coming back with an intermittent generator snag that baffled both shifts of leckies for weeks. Eventually my Chiefie, using a pin which he poked into the insulation of the wiring, found a break in the conductor an inch or so back from a terminal on the frequency and load controller which was concealed by perfectly sound insulation. Sometimes the loom would flex under G and the connection wold break momentarily, tripping a generator off-line. It would then remake seconds later and the genny could be reset and would work fine for a trip or two. We had continuity tested that circuit many times but never flexed it when it looked solid. Well, you wouldn't, would you, in case you damaged the connection! We mere mortals claimed that the Chief must have remustered to A tech Clairvoyant. I looked askance at that aircraft forever afterwards.

 

(This and all subsequent anecdotes (in italics) are totally reliant on a pensioner's memories of events which happened over forty years ago just before I took up serious drinking. Take them with a pinch of Phyllosan.)

 

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5 minutes ago, ColinChipmunkfan said:

Following this with interest Bertie.  I have just started an old Airfix Vulcan as well so interested to see how you get on.

Colin

 

They are remarkably cheap at the moment!

 

Welcome aboard, Colin.

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7 hours ago, Back in the Saddle said:

I can believe that!

 

In many ways I prefer the old kit to the new… It’s more basic, but builds up well.


same here. I don’t see any point in having interior details when you can see nothing from outside. You can’t see much standing inside a real one!

 

I see the main interest of the kit in the rescribing and in painting such a large area neatly enough.  Oh and fitting it together reasonably well. 

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8 minutes ago, Bertie Psmith said:

fitting it together


Id better lay in stocks of putty. I remember that from last time. It was heck of a shape to mould accurately in 1983 so there will be a few dodgy areas. 

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XL319 through the years.

 

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Glory days. Look at that shine 

 

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Bleached by the Cyprus sunshine.

 

y4meeotJtk8PpNmfUWNfHHNxHj-PNYevfoQnu8Nz

 

Repainted, post Major Servicing. This was when I knew it.

 

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Dying on the coast. They've even left the DV window open to the salty air.

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So I take it you've chosen XL391. Bit unusual as it was held back on the production line to be the first Vulcan build from new with Olympus 301. It never carried Blue Steel, most of the preceding XL--- Vulcans did. It was the earliest Vulcan other than the ones directly involved with testing Skybolt to be fully equipped with all the Skybolt attachment points from the factory (hence why it was considered and chosen as the spare for Black Buck, those reused the same attachment points for the pylons)

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25 minutes ago, Adam Poultney said:

So I take it you've chosen XL391. Bit unusual as it was held back on the production line to be the first Vulcan build from new with Olympus 301. It never carried Blue Steel, most of the preceding XL--- Vulcans did. It was the earliest Vulcan other than the ones directly involved with testing Skybolt to be fully equipped with all the Skybolt attachment points from the factory (hence why it was considered and chosen as the spare for Black Buck, those reused the same attachment points for the pylons)

 

That's very interesting to me, thank you. 

 

I remember asking what those strange lumps were under the wing soon after arriving at Waddo. My sergeant had been on Vulcans for decades and had all the gen, all the stories. You would have enjoyed meeting him.

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4 minutes ago, roginoz said:

I'm looking forward to the anecdotes as much as the build !

Rog

 

You'd better. There will be far more storytelling than moddelling. 

 

Incidentally I've decided to mention no names, not even mine. Remember the old saying, "No names, no pack drill." If my old mates are out there, you know who you are and if you want to get in touch please feel free to PM me. I was very young then and I'm old now so most of you will be as dead as 391. Perhaps you retired by the sea too?

 

 

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Inspired by @roginoz, I started reminiscing. 

 

 

We once came into work to find an old-fashioned Lincolnshire winter had arrived in the night. The station snow-ploughs made short work of the runway and taxiways but they weren't allowed onto the pans for fear of damaging the Vs. We cleared those areas with shovels and stiff brushes. Cold, hard and nasty work but we all knew it was essential to keep ahead of the snowfall before it buried us completely. There wasn't much moaning. Then the Flt Sgt told us to clear the pathways to and from the pans, huts, dispersal buildings etc. We didn't like this much. We didn't like him much either. It didn't seem essential and we were cold and fed up by then. In the seventies, the cold & wet weather gear was exactly that - cold and wet. But we cleared his rotten paths with a lot of grumbling and black looks before slinking into the crewroom for a cuppa. 

 

Our Squadron Leader SEngO joined us carrying a bottle of rum! He issued a generous tot to everyone as it was plain that there would be no flying that day. It was horrible to my teenage palate! But I manfully choked it down and after a while we all began to glow with an inner warmth. The boss left us for a while to warm up then returned with an announcement.

 

"We have been challenged to a snowman building competition by xxx sqn [our deadly rivals in all things]. If anyone wants to have a go, do it on the carpark where you will be out of the way and the snow is still undisturbed."

 

It was like a scramble take-off as we all piled out of the door and built the 20 footer that you see in the photo. (It's sitting down but it would be 20 feet tall if it ever stood up. 😄) The Station Photographer turned up to record the happy event and once more we returned to the crewroom. 

 

"Hey, someone phone xxx and ask them if they've finished yet."

 

"Er, don't bother." said the boss "There never was a challenge. I just wanted the carpark clearing and I knew you wouldn't like it if I just ordered you." Then he made a sharp exit while we jeered, and cheered, the cunning swine to the echo. 

 

That was a leader we would have followed anywhere!

 

What days! And at the time I took it all for granted and couldn't wait to be away on my next posting to somewhere warmer - Goose Bay in Labrador, Canada, as it turned out.

 

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  • Bertie Psmith changed the title to Airfix Vulcan 1983 Edition - With aftermarket reminiscences
5 hours ago, Bertie Psmith said:

That was a leader we would have followed anywhere!

They were few and far between, but I've known some like that too. No orders. Just a suggestion. And you'd go off and do whatever it was quite happily.

Every so often something like your bottle of rum or even an unofficial long weekend might be granted for good conduct, so it was worth it in the end.

One of the best was a WRAF. She was a Flt Lt at the time, Ended up as an Air Vice Marshall. Well deserved, IMHO.

If your Vulcan kit is the one moulded in India with the brittle plastic, handle with care. I built one years ago and, after reading a tip on here, I glued the

empty sprues to the insides of the wings to prevent them cracking. The undercarriage was very brittle too.

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On 10/18/2021 at 6:35 PM, Pete in Lincs said:

They were few and far between, but I've known some like that too. No orders. Just a suggestion. And you'd go off and do whatever it was quite happily.

Every so often something like your bottle of rum or even an unofficial long weekend might be granted for good conduct, so it was worth it in the end.

One of the best was a WRAF. She was a Flt Lt the time, Ended up as an Air Vice Marshall. Well deserved, IMHO.

If your Vulcan kit is the one moulded in India with the brittle plastic, handle with care. I built one years ago and, after reading a tip on here, I glued the

empty sprues to the insides of the wings to prevent them cracking. The undercarriage was very brittle too.

 

Thanks for the tip re the reinforcing of the Vulcan. It's one of the 1983 vintage, the first edition, so it would have been manufactured at the Miro Meccano factory, Calais, during the period when Airfix was American owned. The Indian outsourcing started in 2006 and of course, continues to date.* It shouldn't be brittle and might not be warped either. I'll probably still beef up the structure though just because it's so big.

 

Thinks: I bet it needs a lot of nose weight. Can anyone confirm how much please? @Adam Poultney?

 

*Wikipedia

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@Bertie Psmith loving the anecdotes already; having spent 36 years in the Civil Service having failed to meet the medical requirements of the RAF I envy your experiences, good and bad

 

Both of my 1983 Vulcans are in the Loft of Doom right now but I think 40 grams (whatever that is!) sounds about right.

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24 minutes ago, stever219 said:

experiences, good and bad

 

I've now been out for longer than the 23 years I was in so most of the bad experiences have worn smooth in the memory. I'd go back in a second if it were possible - unpaid if necessary. 

 

 

(But only if I could take the dog.)

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Hey, once I've done the Vulcan and drained that well of war-stories dry, I could move onto a Wessex build for the epic tales of my other four first-line tours. Yes, I was a lucky, lucky [expletive deleted].

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Not much of an update but Hannants tell me they have dispatched the decals. I've heard nothing from Lisburn where the kit is (was?) but I'm promised delivery by Saturday. That's handy as it coincides with pension day so I'll be able to afford a fresh tin of Polyfilla and a ream of wet'n'dry for the intakes.

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Will follow with interest. I've got mine Vulcan shaped now having re-scribed the panel lines, currently trying to regain my mojo with it. I was helping clean Avro Heritage's XM603 last week & thought how smooth it was & why I bothered re-scribing!

 

Pete

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Hi Bertie,

 

I'll tag along, too, if I may? Looking forward to following your build. Oh, and keep the reminiscences and anecdotes coming, please!

 

Cheers,

Mark

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