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Black Buck Vulcan B2 of course

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Well... did anyone think I just wouldn't build a Vulcan for this?


And before we get into this thread, a warning: rivet counting lies ahead, The Vulcan B.Mk2 From A Different Angle by Craig Bulman is recommended reading if you care for such details. If I get something wrong, please do question it, I enjoy trying to make my Vulcans as accurate as I possibly can.


XM598, Black Buck 1 primary, at the RAF Museum Cosford


I'll probably go with a Cyberhobby 1/200 kit, I don't actually have the Black Buck version in the stash at the moment; I cut up my last two to make a Vulcan B1a and a Vulcan B1. However, I've managed to source one today from someone along with a GWH 1/144 Vulcan, incidentally also a Black Buck kit although the GWH only contains 200 series jetpipes which are wrong for a Black Buck Vulcan (and if anyone building one in this group build cares and wants to swap for Trumpeter jetpipes which can be modified into half decent 301s easily I'd be more than happy to! I'd like a spare set of 201s to stick on my Trumpeter kit, I think 201s look a lot better).


What I haven't yet decided is which airframe I will be modelling. I have a full set of Vulcan serials in 1/200 (and I mean a full set, as in for all 136 Vulcans) which I printed, so I'm not constrained to the decals in the kit. The Ascension Vulcans had their squadron markings painted over during the conflict, so the lack of those in the kit isn't an issue. So, the five options, for anyone who isn't aware, are:

  • XM597 - this one is on the kit's decal sheet. It was the primary on Black Buck 4, 5 and 6, carrying American supplied Shrike Missiles. Black Buck 4 was cancelled due to a fault in one of the thirteen Victor tankers required to carry out the mission, Black Buck 5 was carried out successfully and Black Buck 6 ended in the famous incident where the refuelling probe broke, leading to the Vulcan diverting to Brazil. This Vulcan is preserved today at the National Museum of Flight in Scotland, although she's in a bit of a state.
  • XM598 - primary on Black Buck 1 flown by John Reeve, but suffered a pressurisation failure so had to turn back. XM607 flown by Martin Withers took over and the rest is history. XM598 was also reserve on Black Buck 2, 4, 5,6 and 7. This makes it, despite not having carried out any of the missions, the most active Vulcan of the conflict. XM598 is preserved at the RAF Museum's Cosford site, although it's a bit hard to get a good view of in the cramped hangar.
  • XM607 - the famous one. Flown by Martin Withers as reserve on Black Buck 1, as previously mentioned, and took over to go on to complete the attack. It was the primary on Black Buck 2, which was also carried out successfully. It was also primary on Black Buck 3 was cancelled before takeoff due to weather, and primary on Black Buck 7 which was successful. With three successful attacks, this Vulcan has the most combat experience of any Vulcan. Today XM607 is at RAF Waddington and was recently taken off the gate. However this was not to suffer the same fate as Marham's Victor, but instead for a restoration which I hope secures her long term survival. Currently, she's stripped back to bare aluminium on the upper surfaces. I have already modelled 607 in 1/200 though, so I must rule this one out.
  • XM612 - reserve on Black Buck 3, which as previously mentioned was cancelled before takeoff. It wasn't assigned to any other missions. It is preserved at the City of Norwich Aviation Museum, and has recently been repainted. Some parts are left to finish on the restoration and the pylons should soon be back in place under the wings.
  • XL391 - spare aircraft which was not assigned to any Black Buck missions, but was refitted in the same way as the others. You may notice the XL serial is much earlier than the mid-XM batch Vulcans that made up the rest of the Black Buck fleet; XL391 was held back on the production line and was the first to be fitted with Olympus 301 from new and had the full set of Skybolt hardpoints installed. Its configuration was identical to the batch XM597-612, hence why it was one of the airframes able to be considered for Black Buck. This is the only one of the five Black Buck Vulcans not to survive to today. It was originally retired to Blackpool and displayed there, but was not properly cared for in the salty sea air, Following a sale on eBay and finding that the airframe would be far too fragile to move, it finally succumbed to the years if exposure in early 2006 and was unceremoniously bulldozed over a few days. The cockpit was put on sale but no one bought it as the price was too high, and it had been damaged in the scrapping process. XL391 was the last Vulcan to be scrapped, all nineteen that have outlived XL391 are still intact. 


As I mentioned at the top of the thread, the Vulcans chosen were selected based on their engine type: Olympus 301.


They all happened to be of the batch which was fitted with a full set of Skybolt hardpoints, which had been more or less forgotten about in the years they had gone unused. These came in use for mounting makeshift pylons to hang the Dash 10 ECM pods under the wings. Usually, all these hardpoints are covered with an aerodynamic blister, shown below on XM603:


To fit the makeshift pylons, the covers obviously had to be removed. The coolant blister stayed in place, wiring was thread through it in all the way to the cockpit.




In terms of the paintwork, the undersides were freshly repainted with Dark Sea Grey; the standard colour at this time for a grey undersided Vulcan was a light grey. The upper surfaces remained as Medium Sea Grey and Dark Green, the standard colours for a Vulcan (although wrap around schemes used DSG instead of MSG). The paint I will be using will be from Hataka which I had good results with on a wrap around Vulcan based on the same kit that I plan to build here.




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I'll be building one too Adam, in my case XM598 (as I can see Cosford's Cold War hangar from my bedroom window ;)).

So I'll be following your build very closely and no doubt asking your advice on how my aircraft would have looked on that first mission.

Enjoy the Group Build.



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Oh goody! I have always wanted to build one of these and this  should prove to be q cracking reference build!





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Hi Adam,


I remember seeing  what must have been XL391 when I took the family to Blackpool to see the illuminations many years ago - wondered what happened to it. Likewise we had one at the long gone tip "museum"  down at Cardiff Airport  - loads of planes just standing around in a poor state of repair including a Danish (I think) F-100 and 2 Gannets. That closed in the1990's when BA extended their maintenance operation and needed the land and I guess it would also have been scrapped. Can't remember the serial but have some pics somewhere.



Edited by PeterB
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22 minutes ago, PeterB said:

Likewise we had one at the long gone tip "museum"  down at Cardiff Airport

Ahh yes that.... museum. iirc they had a Buccaneer S1 which they painted in totally wrong Gulf War colours! Their Vulcan was XM569, sadly scrapped with the closure of the museum but the cockpit survives and is restored and on display at the Jet Age Museum in Gloucester. Unfortunately someone made a bit of a mistake with the restoration and painted Type A roundels (up to WW2 era) on it instead of Type Ds 

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Thanks Adam,


My Crowood book from 2000 lists it at Staverton as a cockpit only so that confiorms that the Cardiff place closed in the late 1990's as I suspected. Don't remember the Bucc, but that could well have been after my visit which probably pre- dated the Gulf War.



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Probably a question that has been asked, and answered on these forums before adam but does the new airfix boxing of the vulcan accurately (or there abouts )

Depict a black buck vulcan from the box?

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From what I posted on the reference thread:


If using the new Airfix kit, the old kit's pylons should just about fit. You should remove the tailcone tip and replace it with the alternative version provided but not used (Red Steer Mk2), use the short and wide jetpipes (Olympus 301), only the right ECM plate (flat plate between the engines, like with the white scheme in the kit) and later aerials provided in the kit but not used. The Dash 10 ECM pod came from a Buccaneer, so you can probably find aftermarket in the correct scale.


So nearly. Most of the options are the, but you need to find some pylons and the dash 10 pod, maybe shrikes if needed (check the reference thread I put a huge info dump on Black Buck Vulcans on there).


Edited by Adam Poultney
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As already suggested, I think Airfix will be releasing a later boxing with BB options (Pylons, ECM + shrikes) which is why I am waiting before buying one of the re-tooled Airfix kits.

I am only ever going to build one Vulcan and that Is what I want, a tooled up BB jet with stripey Shrikes. 





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And today I received the kit. I also learnt a lesson which I'm sure many of you have also learnt: never trust Hermes. They delivered it to my uni accommodation's parcel delivery lockers on another of their sites, ignoring the very clear instructions written on said lockers to not leave a parcel there without a correct contact number for the recipient. It was delivered 11 days ago, it's only now when I went to chase it up that I found it. 


Anyway, warnings about Hermes aside, here's the box art. It's very nice but why oh why could they not do the slightest bit of research... They put XH558 on the Falkands box art with Shrike missiles. XH558 had nothing to do with the Falkands at all! Regardless of this error it's a nice bit of box art.


Here's my favourite box art from any modern Vulcan kit. The original Pit Road/GWH Black Buck Vulcan B2 box art. I bought this kit with the other one, but I will be saving this one for something else.




Looking closer at the box art reveals some worrying features. There's a part on backwards and what appears to be an extra pitot tube at an odd angle. The IFR also seems to have a suspiciously large base.... I wonder what other kit I've seen the exact same feature on.

I know full well as the mistakes in this kit I just think it makes for a more interesting thread to go through them this way than to just list them....




Opening up the box as see some oddly coloured Vulcans. Can't say I don't like the look though. Looks like they print in black and blue ink.





The instructions confirm the existence of the extra pitot and the odd shaped IFR probe. Not only that but the way the cockpit is designed reminds me of another kit I've built before....



And this part is indeed on backwards.



And last time I checked, Vulcans only had two wheels on the nose gear...

IMG_20220408_174059371_HDR IMG_20220408_172617050_HDR


For those who haven't got this kit, these are the parts. For me, this is the eleventh copy of this kit I've opened.... 

The Black Buck specific parts which I will be using in this build:



And the pylons they go on:



Apologies for the poor quality photo, the lighting isn't the best in my uni room. The kit is missing one of the teardrop blisters. Irritating for a Vulcan nerd such as myself, most won't even notice. The other wing is the same. They will be removed for this build anyway as they're the covers for the hardpoints needed to attach the pylons in the real thing.




And finally, the decals. They're ok, nothing brilliant but not terrible either. The fuselage roundels are undersized which can cause issues getting the underside colour to line up properly. I'll figure out some bodged solution, probably move the line up and the decal down just a little. 




So, what other Vulcan kit has this kit been reminding me of so much? The old tool Airfix Vulcan. Many features appear to be copied from that model, or its instructions.

A few builds of this kit ago, I figured out where the extra pitot comes from. I think it's from a misinterpretation of Airfix's original instructions.



See part 107? Where does that go?

It should go on the underside of the right hand side of the nose, but it could be erroneously interpreted as going on the upper side of the nearside (left) of the nose. I've seen Airfix vulcans with them stuck there, despite the slot for it in the correct place...

Looks like Cyberhobby bought an Airfix kit for reference material.

The bulky IFR also comes from that kit, the base of it is far too bulbous compared to what it should be. The cockpit design just seems to look a lot like the old tool Vulcan, but I guess there are only so many ways to depict a Vulcan cockpit in plastic, especially in 1/200 scale.


I hope to start building next week. I'm going home for Easter and will be home until the beginning of May. I have my Victor in the Bombers, Strike and Ground Attackers GB to finish as well though, in addition to a whole pile of uni work which unfortunately must come first. 


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I've primed the intake inserts and put on a coat of gloss white. I'll post those when they're done.

For now, let's have a look at the Black Buck specific pylons.

First of all, the real thing. XM598's port side pylon with act as the main reference for this feature. The starboard pylon is smaller but it attaches in the same way. 



The pylon is held on by three attachment points. There are two at the front and end and one at the back. You can just see part of one of them just in front of the row of rivets here. The blister at the front is for the coolant feed for a Skybolt missile, obviously this was never used for that purpose, but it did serve as a useful point to feed in the electrics for Black Buck.



The rear point is more visible. This photo shows the mark left by the cover that was in place for most of this Vulcan's service life.





The kit part attaches by two pins. This would be quite a sensible way to do it, except for the fact that they're in the wrong place. The rear hardpoint should go where the green arrow is, at the end, but if you use the pins to align the part as the instructions would have you do, it will sit in the notch highlighted by the red arrow. No such notch exists on the real thing. It is necessary because the pylons will sit too far back.



Knowing I will not be needing them, I removed the pins. I blue tacked the part in the position suggested in the instructions to demonstrate how far back it is.



I then moved the part forwards to the correct position. It clashes on the hardpoint cover highlighted by the red arrow. This needs to be removed to position the part correctly. It is also accurate to remove it as the hardpoints it covered were used to attach the pylon.



A very easy job. The rear cover should also be removed, but as there is some structure there on the real thing I decided to leave it and just reduce it in size a bit so it would't clash on the pylon.



Correctly positioned. All that is left to do when I get to the point of gluing this on is to fill the fictional notch.




An additional note worth adding is that not all Vulcans had these hardpoints and the coolant blister. In fact only a very limited range had the full set:

XH538, XL391, XM597-612 (18 airframes), XH537 had all but the coolant blister.


Many others had only the hardpoints with teardrop shaped covers. Some were retroactively refitted with these. (refits: XH534, XH554-563, XJ780-784, XJ823-825, built with: XM645-657).


The kit incorrectly depicts only one teardrop cover under each wing, they should come in slightly offset pairs.

Duxford's XJ824. The coolant blister would be ahead of and in-between on airframes with the full set.




And a few had only the coolant feed blister (XM570-576, XM594-595).


And some had none at all. (XH533, XH535, XH536, XH539, XL317-321, XL359-361, XL384-390, XL392, XL425-427, XL443-446, XM569)


You may need to remove the covers for other non-black buck airframes to be fully accurate, as per the lists above.

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Gidday Adam, you seem to know a lot about the Vulcan. This seems a lot of work for such (to me) a small item but who am I to talk? 😁 I do understand the desire to get things the correct size, shape and position if possible. And I like seeing modifications come together. Regards, Jeff.

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On 3/28/2022 at 11:12 PM, Adam Poultney said:

Ahh yes that.... museum. iirc they had a Buccaneer S1 which they painted in totally wrong Gulf War colours! Their Vulcan was XM569, sadly scrapped with the closure of the museum but the cockpit survives and is restored and on display at the Jet Age Museum in Gloucester. Unfortunately someone made a bit of a mistake with the restoration and painted Type A roundels (up to WW2 era) on it instead of Type Ds 

Yes XM569 forward fuselage is indeed at Jet Age, Staverton.  Unfortunately not re-opened to the public yet.  It's a bit confined in there - perfect for transferring Covid 😒.


Complete with wrong roundel🤐  Bad, bad, bad!

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6 hours ago, theplasticsurgeon said:

Yes XM569 forward fuselage is indeed at Jet Age, Staverton.  Unfortunately not re-opened to the public yet.  It's a bit confined in there - perfect for transferring Covid 😒.


Complete with wrong roundel🤐  Bad, bad, bad!

The wrong roundel really is a shame because it's such a well restored cockpit otherwise. Just needs that fixing and an IFR probe adding. 


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I think that should be an adequate amount of nose weight.


I added a bit of reinforcement behind the engine faces, I've had these come off before and it's a right pain to fix (some of my 1/200 Vulcans have their bomb bay only blue tacked on so I have access to these to fix them if required.






Not the easiest to photograph but the intakes are more installed. I added some camo paint because I intend to mask off the whole intake when I paint it.

I also had the idea that maybe on a future build of this kit I might try to cut up the intake inserts and add intake blanks....






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Lots of progress since yesterday's update! I now have a Vulcan shaped object. The assembly of the upper and lower halves is pretty straightforward. I added plastic card backings on all the holes that need filling before sealing up the halves and started working on those.

The main thing to watch for is the gap under the nose. It will be prominent on this kit no matter how you build it, it's just about getting it all lined up right so you don't cause a headache trying to fix it later. You also need to remember, if building with gear down, to add the back wall of the nose wheel well before sealing the upper and lower halves. 

I glued on the canopy without painting the interior. This is not a mistake, I paint my small scale models' canopies gloss black now. I think it looks better than clear canopies in this scale. When I build my 1/144 B47 I recently purchased I will probably leave that one clear as it's got far more clear area than any of the V Bombers.

The RWR tail was also added, this is the square top version included in this issue of the kit. It was introduced in 1978 iirc, quite late in the Vulcan's service life, but it was quickly universal across the whole fleet. The Vulcan I will be depicting, XM597, was the first to receive the new tail cap a bit earlier in 1974 as it was used for testing it. It was the only Vulcan to have RWR while wearing Type D roundels.



If you want the crew door shut, you need to thin the part a bit and remove some of the interior detail to get a good fit. If you want it open, discard the instructions. They should have you trying to fit the ladder back to front! They tell you to fit it from the wheel well forwards, this is just straight up wrong and it would have to go through the hatch to be fitted that way.

Just as bizarrely as the backwards ladder, that want to have you fit it upsidedown and sticking though into the wheel well if you have the hatch shut! 




In these photos I took of XJ824 last month, you can see the hatch open. 




And this one of XL360 shows it well, although you may need to zoom in a bit. You can see the ladder actually runs along the hatch, and there are two prominent retraction jacks (which the new tool Airfix kit missed!)




I corrected the hatch in a previous build last year (B1a conversion). This time however I will be leaving the hatch shut.




And while we're on the subject of Vulcan cockpits, here's the interior of XL360. This may be a useful reference for larger scale builds.




On the underside, I've started the process of filling gaps. You can see where I patched the hole behind the bomb bay. The pylons were also added in the corrected positions.






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Gidday Adam, you certainly seem to know all about Vulcans. Please excuse my ignorance (I'm into floaty things after all 😁) but what's a Black Buck Vulcan? And my apologies if the answer is earlier in the thread and I missed it. Regards, Jeff.

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2 hours ago, ArnoldAmbrose said:

Gidday Adam, you certainly seem to know all about Vulcans. Please excuse my ignorance (I'm into floaty things after all 😁) but what's a Black Buck Vulcan? And my apologies if the answer is earlier in the thread and I missed it. Regards, Jeff.

Black Buck was the name of the set of 7 missions carried out by the Vulcans during the Falkands War. The aircraft had specific modifications and refits to be able to carry out the attacks and a new paint scheme featuring a Dark Sea Grey underside

You can read all about what became at the time the longest bombing missions in history in the fantastic book Vulcan 607, or alternatively you could just read the Wikipedia page if you don't fancy reading a book

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Wow, there is a lot of Vulcaninfo coming out in this build. I did start building the original Airfix 72ndkit but gave it to a guy who almost sawed my hand off to get it!

I don't think I'll ever get around to building another but these small scale kits do look good.

Incidentally, I grew up in Sale, Cheshire which wasn't too far from Avro's Woodford facility. As an air craft spotter, in the summer school holidays I and a lot of lads used to hang on the parameter fence at Ringway, now Manchester Int, AP. The Vulcans from Woodford would do calibration approaches. Big white triangles hanging in the sky...



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