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GWH 1/144 scale Avro Vulcan B.2

Kit: L1001 // Scale:1/144 // Price:$45.95
G.W.H., from Dragon Models USA, 626-968-0322
Finely scribed panel lines; one-piece intakes with no seams; easy construction
Minor fit issues; carrier film for the decals is opaque and prone to silvering
Injection-molded, 76 parts, decals
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I’ve been a fan of the Vulcan bomber since 1965, when I had the opportunity to crawl around inside one and watch an impressive Minimum Interval Takeoff (MITO). I recall my formerly slender self having to really squeeze to get into the cockpit. For the MITO, the three bombers demonstrated a spectacularly steep climb on departure. So, I have been hoping for a 1/144 scale model of the Vulcan — and, now, G.W.H., formerly Great Wall Hobby, has released a great one. 

The kit, molded in light gray plastic, has 74 pieces, finely recessed panel lines, and two clear parts for the canopy. There are even two tiny pilot figures and a three-piece display stand. Instructions are a four-page foldout affair with a brief history and a parts map. A separate, full-color foldout provides scale drawings of the Vulcan. The decal sheet offers markings for two bombers of the 1982 Falklands War. Color suggestions are for Gunze Sangyo Mr. Color paints. Captions on the instructions and paint/decal guide are in Chinese, but the diagrams are clear. 

Construction couldn’t be easier, with single pieces for the upper and lower fuselage and wings. Slide-mold techniques for the one-piece intakes apparently eliminated the internal seam lines. Parts engineering and fit are excellent throughout. You’ll need a touch of filler around the leading edges of the intakes, vertical stabilizer, and lower tail-cone insert. Separate pieces for the bomb bay doors and the lower tail section hint at future versions — a tanker or a Blue Steel missile carrier, perhaps? While surface detail is exceptional, there is no detail in the wheel wells.

Basic construction moved briskly, but I spent a lot of time painting. After priming and pre-shading, I sprayed the surface antennas with Tamiya XF-59, desert yellow, and masked them off. To achieve an accurate camouflage pattern, I made a photocopy of the upper surfaces from the painting guide and transferred it to friskit paper for the hard-edged paint job. This method worked much better than my initial attempt with masking tape. I used Gunze Sangyo paints throughout for the standard RAF colors.

I’m not sure this is explained in the Chinese captions of the instructions or decal guide, but XM597 was the only Vulcan to carry Shrike missiles. Aircraft XM607 flew only bombing missions. You’ll have to coordinate your choice of weapons with the markings. On the actual combat raids, the aircraft were devoid of unit markings. Squadron and wing badges were reapplied after the war when the bombers returned to England. Also, my references did not show the port ECM pallet between the engines, so I left off Part A25.

My only complaint with this kit is the decals have a flat carrier film that remains opaque, even after several coats of gloss varnish and decal-setting solution. This is evident on the stencil data and serial numbers.

Still, my 25 hours on this kit were satisfying. Without great difficulty, you can produce an attractive and accurate rendition of the Vulcan. I hope Great Wall Hobby will present us with a Victor and a Valiant in this scale, too. They would make a great display lined up next to a Cold War B-52. To encourage G.W.H. in this endeavor, I would urge modelers of all skill levels to buy one of these. You will surely enjoy the build and your finished model of this historic bomber. 

Note: A version of this review appeared in the July 2013 FineScale Modeler.

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