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Avro Vulcan B Mk2 XH558 "Vulcan to the Sky" Edition

Jon Kunac-Tabinor

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Avro Vulcan B Mk2 XH558 Vulcan to the Sky

1:72 Airfix

RRP: £29.99


Growing up in the 70's and 80's there were two things you always wanted to see at Airshows. Lightnings - because the take off was fantastic, and the Vulcan. When a huge metal triangle zooms over your head a couple of hundred feet up, you just stood there in awe at the sight and the sound!

Possibly one of the most recogniseable aircraft, the Vulcan was missing from the air display circuit for several years after the last of these delta-winged behemoths was retired by the RAF in the early 90s. An iconic symbol of the RAFs post war nuclear deterrence V-force, the Vulcan with the Victor and Valiant were for many years the backbone of our nuclear response, and even today the Vulcans distinctive shape does not bely its 50 year old age. Until surpassed by some of the Gulf War USAF missions, the Vulcan also held the record for the longest ever bombing missions during the 1982 Falkands war. If you haven't read 'Vulcan 607' by Rowland White - do. Its epic and a thoroughly British way of doing things too.

However thanks to the Vulcan to the Sky organisation, the world's sole remaining airworthy Vulcan XH558 is once again delighting crowds with its distinctive display. If you saw it take off at last years RIAT - you will know what I mean.

To help keep 558 flying Airfix have released their 1/72 B2 with decals for this lady, and will donate £1 from every model sold to the charity too. Top notch lads!

For the full story of this tremendous acheivement you can visit Vulcan to the Sky. But to borrow from them for a moment and to give a little history about this airframe,

"This is Avro Vulcan XH558 on 1stJuly 1960, painted in "anti-flash" white, during her delivery flight from the factory at Woodford, near Manchester, to RAF Waddington near Lincoln. XH558 was the first Vulcan B.Mk2 to be delivered to the RAF, and she is now the oldest complete Vulcan in the world. XH558 was also the last Vulcan to leave RAF service, flying on from 1986 to 1993 as the single RAF Display Vulcan, a career of 33 years. Her final flight was on 23rd March 1993 to Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome in Leicestershire, having been sold off by the Ministry of Defence to C Walton Ltd, a family firm who purchased and maintained her, with the thought that one day, she might be returned to fight. In 1997, a small team headed by Dr Robert Pleming started to put together an audacious plan to return her to flight, but it was clear from the start that the project would be technically challenging & enormously expensive. Never deterred, the team set off down the path that led to XH558's return to the air"

Airfix's Vulcan was released back in the early/mid 80s if memory serves, and I built one pretty much as soon as it was released. Since then its been available in a Falklands 25th Anniversary version too, and now it reappears in this XH558 boxing.

So whats in the box?

This boxing seems aimed squarely at the "impulse" purchase at an airshow or in the toyshop market - as it also contains paints, glue and brushes. Dont let that put you off though because the model itself has, in my opinion, held up pretty well over the years


I'm a bit dubious if the amounts of Green and Grey in these bottles will cover a Vulcan! Airfix also provide an excellent colour painting guide - with Humbrol colour callouts. These are also named too, and have BS codes for the colur where appropriate - nice touches. And theres plenty of info on the machine on the back of the box too. The box is in the new red style - though it's of the end-opening type but still pretty sturdy.



The instructions are in Airfix's familar diagramatic style, clear and easy to follow. The decals appear to be nicely printed and are in register, there's an instrument panel on there too, and the finish is on the matt side. Only markings for XH558 are included - so if you want to make an in-service machine you'll need to go aftermarket. Airdecals should keep you happy here with 2 sheets:

Camouflaged vulcans

Anti flash white vulcans

Kiwi Vulcan anyone? :)

Onto the plastic: Three sprues in medium grey plastic plus a separately wrapped clear sprue comprise this model.





Overall the moulding is what you would expect from a model thats nearly 30 years old. Its robustly moulded with enough detail on areas like undercarriage legs. Panel lines are raised - and on my kit this raised detail seemed more apparent on the under wing spure than the top wing. You could use the raised lines as a guide to rescribing them if you wanted too. There's a bit of flash on some of the smaller parts too - especially the main wheels, and in my box some of these small parts had broken free (though as this kit had survived postage twice - I am sure its more down to this than anything else!). Cockpit detail is pretty basic - but you won't see much through the canopy anyway.

The main parts are warp free - which with pieces as big as these is good to know. There's no internal bomb bay included in the kit - just the doors in closed postion, but I think some one did do a resin bombay if you really want to see the cavernous doors open. However, the insert for the Blue Steel stand off nuclear missile, and the missile itself are all still there, as are the Shrike ARM pylons applicable to the Black Buck Falkands operations. The Blue Steel bay can also be fitted to the Revell Victor in case you wondered - I know 'cus I did this conversion in the 80s too! There's a SAM article on it from way back.

From memory the main hiccup with building this model is getting the wings to fit onto the fuselage and eliminating the join without leaving a step. I would be tempted nowadays to fix the wing peices to the appropriate fuelage halves first, creating a large top and bottom , and then join these. There's also the intake tunnels to sort out if you want to - removing the seams will be fun, though I believe resin replacements are available to simplify this from Two Mikes Resin (who also make gear bays too).

Now - from the box this model won't make XH558 as she flies today. There's a couple of things you need to do. The first is don't attach the cooling intake ( part 30) to the rear tailcone assembly; XH558 was converted to a tanker and the avionics in the tailcone for which the cooling was required was removed on these machines. The second is perhaps a bit trickier - XH558 has the smaller diameter Olympus 200 series engine exhausts - where as Airfix give you the larger 300 series exhausts. For this you'll want Freightdogs replacement resin sets. So not too tricky after all :)

If you really want to go to town then Flightpath make a big etched detail set for the model - just search Hannants. And Mastercasters make replacement wheels too.

You can also check out Britmodeller's own section of Vulcanologists - Vulcan group build

Overall Airfix's Vulcan seems to represent decent value for money- for £30 you get a good big chunk of model that will look the business when finished and is surpsingly big too. You're also giving some cash to keep 558 flying. Its a win-win situation!


Edited by Jon Kunac-Tabinor
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However thanks to the Vulcan to the Sky organisation, the world's sole remaining airworthy Vulcan XH558 is once again delighting crowds with its distinctive display. If you saw it take off at last years RIAT - you will know what I mean.

:clap: Awesome thread, Jonners, bloke! Me's happily contributed with the chaps at Vulcan to the Sky organisation back in 2009 to keep XH558 airworthy. One thing ya probably ne'er learnt 'bout is that my mate Gwen started a project to endow Mr Gerald Elliott's proposed 1/48 vac-form Vulcan B.2 with new resin engine ducts, engine faces 'n' exhausts, white metal landing gear legs, PVC tyres, a complete cockpit with Waldron instrument dials 'n' bezels; a vac-form windscreen 'n' airbrake. She was workin' on the detail in the bomb bay area when she got H1N1; she had to be put in hospital for two weeks 'n' after she checked out she found out the artist she was workin' with stole the whole work 'n' disappeared... :fuyou_2:

Gwen had also designed a decal sheet to specifically include the markings on XH558 with complete stencils for that aircraft. I truly hope this beautiful bomber can remain airworthy for many years to come, 'n' I would have liked that my mate Gwen's work had been reflected on the forthcomin' Sanger kit. I also wish Airfix would finally decide to do a 1/48th scale copy of their kit; any news with regard to this? I thought I read Airfix were goin' to announce their resolution last December... :unsure:Anythun' as of yet...? (me's hyperventilatin').

Dale, cheeee...!!! :cheers:


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