Airfix / Hornby
Vickers Valiant B Mk.1.
First "V" Bomber
Kit No. A11001. 1:72nd scale
Airfix make it easy.
This is the kit that nobody expected to see in injection moulded form, I have heard the words “insignificant”, “not enough likely sales” etc. etc. many times over the years but Hornby has changed all that and at last we have a full set of “V” bombers.
The Valiant was the first of the V force as a result of a Government requirement for a long range high speed bomber, the design from Vickers was at first rejected but with modifications and speed of production promises was finally accepted and three prototypes were contracted in 1949, these were being built and assembled at Foxwarren experimental shop, the final assembly began in 1951 and the first flight was lifted off from the grass runway in May of 1951, later flight trials were conducted at Hurn airport on concrete runways. The aircraft was officially named Valiant after an earlier Vickers biplane but was later destroyed by a fire in the wing while on trials in 1952. Eventually four types of Valiant entered service,
The B. Mk 1 bomber, & B.(PR) reconnaissance. B.(K) tanker and a recon /tanker version. There was a B.Mk 2 prototype built and shown at Farnboro’ in 1954 and christened “the black bomber to be used at low level as a pathfinder but this had a revised undercarriage and lengthened fuselage but was never proceeded with.
An OCU was established at Gaydon airfield (Now the home of Historic Cars Museum) to train all the Valiant pilots in 1954 and between then and 1956 the Valiants had travelled to many parts of the globe on tests and goodwill trips.
In October of ’56 it dropped Britain’s first atomic bomb on Maralinga Australia for radiation tests, a few weeks later all the squadrons moved to Malta where they were engaged in the Suez campaign and thus were the first and only “V “ bomber to drop bombs in anger until that lone raid on Port Stanley with the Vulcan in 1982.
1957 saw the dropping of Britain’s first ”H” bomb on Christmas Island in “Operation Grapple” by 49 Sqdn. By 1964 it was realised that low level attacks were less risky than high level approaches to targets so the planes were camouflaged in standard RAF scheme and began new tactics but the strains on the wing spars were too great and the whole fleet showed signs of stress and breakages and rather than repair the air ministry decided to scrap the whole lot with the exception of the example now in the RAF museum at Cosford.
The kit comes in a very large box and when you see the length of the fuselage you will understand why, it is moulded in a grey plastic which seems very easy to work with i.e. For sanding etc. etc, the top half of the shoulder mounted wing is a one piece item and although the fuselage halves may look flimsy they are made of fairly thick walls and large locating pins so when all the internal structures are in place you have a very solid model. Surface detail is minimal with sharp panel lines but the real plane was fully flush riveted so looks reasonable.
The cockpit is fairly basic with Decals for instrument panels and five nicely detailed seats for pilots and crew, only the pilots have ejection seats and the crew bale out the door if in trouble.
Airfix have thoughtfully provided two internal loads of weapons with two bomb bay fittings, one carries the “A” bomb and the other carries 21 X 1,000lb conventional bombs you also get to choose where you position the air deflector behind the bay.
The clear sprue gives alternative canopies and bomb aimers areas and a strange item that I could find no use for. There are poseable elevators on the tail planes and the ailerons can be deflected but no movable flaps.
The fit of the parts is excellent, there is no filler required anywhere, all that is needed is a quick rub down of the joins to remove any blemishes in fact my wings and tailplane are not cemented at all and the join looks like a panel line even the canopies have a very large tight locating tab which means even the clumsiest hand will not get cement on them.
The decal sheet is all in register and the colours are strong even over the camouflage; four aircraft are covered on the sheet and all arranged in groups making it easy to sort each type. The instruction booklet covers everything very simply so even the youngest modeller can handle it with ease and a great big sheet comes with positions for all the stencils, Hornby/Airfix team have really done their homework on this one, keep up the good work.
This was surely one of the easiest models I have built recently, Airfix make it easy and affordable unlike some of their competition.
I have no good reliable drawings to check accurate dimensions but my eye tells me this is certainly a Vickers Valiant.
Recommend this to any age group.