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Building the Airfix Valiant - Part 1

The Vickers Valiant - First of the V-Bombers

 Building the Airfix 1/72 Vickers Valiant by Richard Farrar


I had some avaricious looks from some members of the Elsecar Model Club, when Trevor Snowden, retired Airfix RD man, handed me a plastic bag full of plastic parts at the meeting, a little over a month ago. The reason, I hear you ask was because it contained some of the final test shots of the new Airfix Valiant kit. Why did he hand them to me? I’ve been friends with Trevor for a long time and he thought it would look good on the Bomber Command SIG display of which I am a member.


I do not intend to discuss the history and development of this aircraft as there are many, far better publications out there that the modeller can use, rather than my limited knowledge. This article will only look at the building of the new Airfix Valiant.


Photo 1  Photo 2


I will just point out to the reader that this model is a pre-production item that had no instructions, no transfers and a slight fault that will hopefully be corrected in the production versions. In addition to this, the plastic used was not quite up to what you will find in the box when the model is released. The most noticeable thing from this was the transparencies were not as clear as you would expect in a standard kit but a dip in Klear soon sorted that out.


Photo 3  


I’m writing this as I have nearly finished the model and I’m going to start somewhat back to front by unreservedly recommending this model. The reasons are simple; for a test shot it is the most beautifully engineered Airfix kit I have ever built, the panel lines are crisp and the fit of parts is precise apart from in one small area. I had the Valiant test assembled without glue to check the fit of parts, when Paul Hughes, head honcho of the Bomber Command SIG and known as Honeybee on various forums, came to visit, he thought I had assembled the model it went together that well without glue!


Photo 4  Photo 5


So what do you get in the kit? Photos 1-5 show the sprue layouts of the kit. The parts will be cast in the light grey plastic that Airfix’s new products are appearing in. There were enough bits present for me to figure out that there will be B1, B(K)1 and B(PR)1 versions. There are also two sets of canopies, one without the upper cockpit windows and a round bomb aimer’s aperture. From my research I can only find the two prototypes with this fit of windows, which means you can build WB215, the second prototype as WB210 had a completely different engine air intake arrangement. All three styles of nose are included, closed or open crew door, extended and closed in-flight refuelling probes. There are two different Bomb bay roofs, for the standard and nuclear armament options included in the kit. Bomb doors can be left opened or closed.


Photo 6  Photo 7


The cockpit area consists of three main parts. Also included are the correct controls which extended from the side consoles and a ladder from the rear crew area up to the flight deck. I left these out as you can’t see them once the kit is assembled. There are five seats in the model. Three normal seats for the guys in the back and two ejector seats for the pilots. I painted these all black along with the cockpit area, not forgetting to paint the inside of the crew entry door black as well. Photos 6-7 Whilst on the subject of the crew entry door, there are parts included so the modeller can choose to have the door left opened or closed. The cockpit was assembled and the front undercarriage bay was added at this point. I painted it silver/aluminium inside and once dry the nose was weighted down in both halves, with .22 air pellets superglued in place. Photos 8-9.


Photo 8  Photo 9


The bomb bay is well designed with the parts interlocking with the upper wing. If you are building the Valiant with the bomb doors closed there are an additional three spacers included to help with the fuselage bomb door fit which is a nice touch. I decided to build the model with the doors shut and now glued the fuselages halves together using liquid poly cement. I found the fit of parts to be very good. Photo 10.


Photo 10


See you next time.

Richard Farrar.

Part 2