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Vickers Valiant BK.Mk.1

Airfix, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description: Airfix Kit No. A11001 – Vickers Valiant BK.Mk.1
Scale: 1/72
Contents and Media: 135 parts in grey plastic; seven parts in clear; markings for four aircraft.
Price:

Available from Hannants from £29.62

Pre-Order from Squadron for USD$46.39

Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Accurate outline; crisp, high quality moulding; optional parts for prototype and operational variants; alternate parts for open or closed bomb bay with either conventional or nuclear payload; thoughtful engineering; high quality decals.
Disadvantages: Heavy panel lines; some ejector pin marks in tricky spots
Conclusion: With their 1/72 scale Vickers Valiant, Airfix has delivered a big kit with the “wow” factor, but using a relatively modest number of parts. Reports to date suggest that the fit is good, so there should be nothing preventing a modeller with even moderate experience from tackling this impressive subject.

 

Reviewed by Brett Green


Airfix's 1/72 scale Vickers Valiant will be available online from Squadron
 

Introduction

 

With the end of the Second World War and the dawn of the nuclear age, the United Kingdom needed a new airborne arsenal to suit the times. In the years before a practical intercontinental ballistic missile, the theory was that a jet powered bomber could fly high enough and fast enough to avoid interception and to deliver a nuclear payload on its target.

The Canberra bomber was only capable of reaching the border of the Soviet Union from UK airfields, so a specification was issued for an advanced long-distance bomber with a nuclear capability.

This specification resulted in orders being placed for three designs from some of the heavyweights of WWII bomber manufacture – the Vickers Valiant, Avro Vulcan and Handley-Page Victor.

 

 

The Vickers Valiant was the first of the V-Bombers. It took to the air in 1951 and entered RAF Squadron service in 1955. With its high swept wing, the Valiant was the most conventional of the three designs but it was still capable of completing its intended mission with a variety of conventional and nuclear weapons.

The Valiant’s operational service was curtailed by chronic structural failures largely brought on by a change of role to low-level attack, refuelling and reconnaissance missions.  It was retired from all service by 1965.

The enduring recollection of my first visit to the Cold War display at the RAF Museum, Cosford, is stepping through the door into the shadow of the Vickers Valiant bomber. My gaze was drawn upward to the big white wing towering above me.

This remarkable V-Bomber certainly grabbed my attention, but not quite to the point where I was willing to tackle the notorious 1/72 scale Mach 2 kit. Enthusiasm is one thing, but I generally try not to extend to masochism.

 

 

FirstLook

 

Fortunately, Airfix has now come to the rescue with a 1/72 scale mainstream injection-moulded Vickers Valiant of their own. The kit comes in a big box, but little space is wasted. This is a large kit. The fuselage and the full-span upper wing fully justify the size of the packaging.

The Airfix 1/72 scale Valiant comprises a modest 135 parts in grey plastic and seven more in clear.

 

  • Airfix 1/72 scale Vickers Valiant Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/72 scale Vickers Valiant Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/72 scale Vickers Valiant Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/72 scale Vickers Valiant Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/72 scale Vickers Valiant Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/72 scale Vickers Valiant Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/72 scale Vickers Valiant Review by Brett Green: Image
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Surface detail is by way of recessed panel lines. These are crisp, but they are also quite wide and deep. Although these panel lines would certainly look out of place on a smaller model, they look pretty good on the bulky Valiant.

The cockpit is fairly simple, with decals for the various instrument panels and five seats. Although the determined superdetailer might spend some extra time here, the small windows will hide most of the effort after the fuselage is sealed.

Airfix thoughtfully offers the choice of an open bomb bay with a good selection of conventional and nuclear ordnance, or closed bomb bay doors with clearly labelled bulkheads to add rigidity to the fuselage. Optional wing tanks are also included.

There is a choice of two different noses noted in the instructions, with a third nose on the sprues.

The big wing features a full-span upper half. Flaps are moulded up, but ailerons are separate. Elevators are separate parts too.

 

 

The stout undercarriage is well represented.

Two sets of canopy and lower fuselage clear parts are supplied representing either the prototype or operational versions. The crew entry hatch is a separate part and may be posed open.

 

 

Markings are supplied for four aircraft. Two are in anti-flash white (one of these features low-vis pink, white and blue roundels), one in bare metal and the final option in disruptive Medium Sea Grey and Dark Green over Gloss White.

 

 

The decals are in register and by all accounts perform extremely well.

 

 

Conclusion

 

With their 1/72 scale Vickers Valiant, Airfix has delivered a big kit with the “wow” factor, but using a relatively modest number of parts. Reports to date suggest that the fit is good, so there should be nothing preventing a modeller with even moderate experience from tackling this impressive subject.

Sample purchased by reviewer


Text and Images Copyright 2011 by Brett Green
Page Created 21 July, 2011
Last updated 21 July, 2011

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