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Airfix Handley Page Victor B.Mk.2

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/72 scale plastic model aircraft kit

The Handley Page Victor was the last of the Royal Air Force V-bombers to enter service. Developed as a nuclear deterrent, most were converted to tankers before retirement in 1993.

This is the first injection-molded kit in 1/72 scale of the bomber version equipped to carry the Blue Steel nuclear missile — the only other in this scale is the old Matchbox K2 refueler.
Airfix’s kit is molded in a light gray plastic that seems a bit harder than the blue-gray stuff used in most of its recent releases. Molding includes crisp recessed panel lines and virtually no flash. Surface detail is nice, although I was expecting a little bit more. Breakdown of the parts suggests that a K2 version could be coming.

Markings are provided for two aircraft: one overall antiflash white, the other in green and gray camouflage over white. Beautiful Cartograf decals include a good selection of stencil data.

The 23-page instructions are broken into 129 assembly steps, each clearly showing the previous step, colored to track progress. Two addenda are included to cover the application of decals and paint schemes. There isn’t much information for painting details, so you’ll need reference photos.

Assembly started with the cockpit and crew cabin. Pilot and copilot seats required filling and sanding; fit of the halves wasn’t spectacular. One of the armrests had broken loose from the tree but, luckily, it was still in the box.

Interior detail is decent, and the area looks quite busy with a little painting. Decals detail the main instrument panel and center console. I wish the kit supplied decals for some of the other panels but, truthfully, they’re difficult to see.

Next up was the nose gear and bay and main gear. Separate side walls and ceiling make up the nose wheel bay and feature molded structure and hydraulic lines. Washes and dry-brushing made all the details pop. The stout front gear strut supports the weight of the model with its recommended 25 gram (.9 oz.) weight; the strength protects it from handling accidents through much of the build. Each of the main gear assemblies comprises 15 parts. I removed the top “T” from parts H34 and H35 so I could add them after joining the main halves and cleaning up the resulting seams.

Study the instructions before starting the main wing, as it includes the first assembly options. For marking option B, the camouflaged Victor, some holes need to be drilled open. You also have to decide whether to build the flaps up or down. If building the flaps up, steps 28 and 29 indicate removing a tab from the back side of the top wing half; I think that’s a mistake.

Paint the intake parts before assembly, then touch them up as necessary. I built the entire unit first and had a devil of a time painting the separation line between the white and camouflage.
Airfix engineering here is first-rate; the wings include internal supports that make the completed piece sturdy. Overall fit of the parts is good, but I had to do some filling and sanding around the intakes.

I normally don’t display my models with speed brakes open, but the detail in this area was so nice I couldn’t see not using it. The kit’s other options include a posable crew door, and lowered or raised scoops on the upper fuselage and under the wings.
Not mentioned in the instructions, the kit also features three options for the bomb bay. There are parts for an open bay (complete with door mechanism), a closed bay, and the Blue Steel missile. If building the Blue Steel version, you’ll need to extend the cover (Part K3) as it is about 1/16 of an inch too short.

Mating the wing to the fuselage was the only part of the entire assembly that gave me trouble — it’s a tight fit at the front and leaves a slightly raised edge. Sanding and a touch of filler blended everything.
I used Tamiya fine white surface primer for the underside, and Testors Model Master enamel RAF medium sea gray and RAF dark green on the upper surfaces. The decals went on flawlessly and responded to setting solutions.

Airfix continues to impress with good detail, great fit and engineering, and excellent value.
I spent more time on this build than most, partly because of the size and partly because I repainted the intakes; I wasn’t happy with my first attempt (my problem, not the kit’s).
Hopefully, Airfix will see fit to complete the V-bomber lineup and give us a new-tool Vulcan!  

Note: A version of this review appeared in the November 2017 issue.
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