Corgi AA27205 RAF Avro Vulcan B.2 Strategic Bomber - XL319, No.35 Squadron, RAF Scampton, England, Early 1980s (1:72 Scale)
"They have retreated, our troops have reached the outskirts of Port Stanley. A large number of Argentinian soldiers have lain down their arms. White flags are flying over Port Stanley. Our troops have been issued the command to shoot only in self-defence. Discussions among the commanders on the capitulation of the Argentinian troops in the Falklands have begun."
- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, reporting on the British victory over Argentine forces, June 14th, 1982
The Avro Vulcan, sometimes referred to as the Hawker Siddeley Vulcan, is a delta wing subsonic jet strategic bomber that was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) from 1953 until 1984. It was developed in response to a specification released by the Air Ministry. At the time, both jet engines and delta wings were considered cutting-edge and relatively unexplored; thus, the small-scale Avro 707 was produced to test the principles of the design. In flight, the Vulcan was an agile aircraft for its size.
The Vulcan B.1 was first delivered to the RAF in 1956. In service, the Vulcan was armed with nuclear weapons and was a part of the RAF's V bomber force, the United Kingdom's airborne deterrent against aggression from other powers such as the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In addition to an extensive electronic countermeasures suite, the Vulcan had a small radar cross-section, aiding its deterrent role by evading detection and therefore increasing the likelihood of penetrating Soviet airspace and deploying its weapons load successfully. A second batch of aircraft, the B.2, was produced with new features, including a larger wing and greater fuel capacity, along with more advanced electronics and radar systems.
The B.2s were adapted into several other variants, the B.2A carrying the Blue Steel missile, the B.2 (MRR) for Marine Radar Reconnaissance use, and the K.2 tanker for air-to-air refuelling. The Vulcan was also used in the secondary role of conventional bombing near the end of its service life in the 1982 Falklands War against Argentina during Operation Black Buck. One example, XH558, was recently restored for use in display flights and commemoration of the employment of the aircraft in the Falklands conflict.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a RAF Avro Vulcan B.2 strategic bomber that was attached to No.35 Squadron, and deployed to RAF Scampton, England, during the early 1980s.
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Release Date: December 2021
Historical Account: "Skyhook" - For an aircraft which was conceived as a high altitude nuclear strike bomber, the Avro Vulcan would prove itself to be extremely adaptable when Soviet missile technology advanced to such a point where high altitude sorties were no longer viable and proved just as capable when flying closer to the ground. This change in mission profile would also see Vulcans finished in very different scheme presentations, with the initial all white anti-flash protective finish replaced with a grey and green camouflage for lower altitude operations. At first, the Vulcans retained their glossy white under surfaces, highlighting the fact that the aircraft could still be required to deliver a nuclear payload, but by the mid 1970s, these white under-surfaces had been replace by a matte light aircraft grey low visibility scheme. This particular Vulcan B.2 is wearing the standard scheme applied to these aircraft from the mid 1970s, a time when it once again became acceptable for squadrons to display their badge on the Vulcan's tail, in this case, the rather unusual stylized 'skyhook' of No.35 Squadron.
During the Falklands War, this Vulcan was one of three aircraft sent to undertake a goodwill tour of the USA, where the mighty delta proved to be a real hit with the American public. She is now a much loved exhibit at the North East Land, Sea and Air Museum in Sunderland and historically, was the first RAF Vulcan to be released to an independent collection in the UK. It seems inconceivable that an aircraft which was intended to wreak devastation on an unimaginable scale would actually turn out to be something of an Airshow phenomenon and a real favorite with the British public, but that is exactly what the Avro Vulcan did. During its service life, the Vulcan could always be relied upon to draw an Airshow crowd wherever it performed, but when the last RAF operated example embarked on its final display season, huge public support implored the Royal Air Force to rethink the decision and keep the aircraft flying in a similar way to the aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
Unfortunately, the financial implications of such an undertaking proved prohibitive and as Avro Vulcan B.2 XH558 landed at her new Bruntingthorpe airfield home on March 23rd, 1993, Britain thought she had seen a Vulcan in the sky for the last time. Miraculously and in no small part down to continuing public support and generous donations, the aircraft did take to the sky once more, embarking on a whirlwind eight year period where she was the absolute darling of the Airshow scene and arguably the most popular single aircraft to be found anywhere in the world. Every single event where the Vulcan was scheduled to appear would not only benefit from thousands of people filling the venue itself, but would also see thousands more lining surrounding roads and fields, all desperate to catch a glimpse of this massive aviation icon. Although clearly a historic aircraft in its own right, the Vulcan definitely worked its way into the hearts of the British public in a way that no other aircraft appears to have managed to do and certainly must rival the Spitfire.