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Digital Subscriptions > Scale Aircraft Modelling > October 2017 > WHITE 2

WHITE 2

Victor K.2 XL189 During the Falklands Campaign
Bruntingthorpe’s HP Victor K.2 XM715 seen at Fairford in 1984, still in tactical camoulage scheme with white undersides. XM715 participated in the Black Buck 1 Operation as White 4. By this time the in top had been altered with the installation of Radar Warning Receiver equipment
The Martin Baker Mk.3LS ejection seat provided for the pilots. The survival equipment items are contained in the seat, protected by a yellow plastic cover. On top of this cushion material placed to add some comfort, with sheepskin being popular
The rear crew swivelling seat of the Radar Navigator. The three rear crew members did not have ejection seats, but their seats did have an assister which inlated the seat cushions to push them towards the escape door
The completed basic cockpit layout. The loor was covered in a non-slip black coating. The crew comprised two pilots, two navigators and an Air Electronics Operator. A spare seat was installed behind the pilots to carry the Crew Chief on away from base detachments
The very large box and impressive art work of the Airix HP Victor B.Mk 2 (BS) kit. Over 200 detailed parts with a comprehensive instruction booklet

30th April 2017 marked the thirty ifth anniversary of the first Black Buck mission of the Falklands Campaign, when Avro Vulcan XM607, under the command of Flight Lieutenant Martin Withers, bombed the runway of Port Stanley Airport. Whilst news reports stated that the attack was carried out by a lone Vulcan Bomber, little mention was given to the eleven Handley Page Victors that carried out a complicated choreography of airto- air refuelling tasks to get it there. Principal amongst the Victors was XL189, designated White 2 under the command of Squadron Leader Bob Tuxford, destined to accompany the Vulcan to the furthest reaches of the South Atlantic with its precious fuel for the mission.

Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, a former Royal Air Force Station and home of the Cold War Jets collection, including HP Victor K.2 XM715, marked the occasion with a Black Buck 35th Anniversary get together, including a large gathering of participating aircrew. This event was my inspiration to build a model of XL189.

My model collection contained both the Matchbox Victor K.2 and the new Airix Victor B.2. Whilst the Matchbox kit represented a Victor K.2, and would have been an easier build, it has several drawbacks and having seen how good the Airix Victor looks I decided that this would be the basis of my model, even though it meant more conversion work.

Being a volunteer at Bruntingthorpe gave me access to a real Victor K.2 on which I could do research and measurements, although I still needed to do further research to ensure my model could be as accurate as possible in depicting XL189 as it looked in 1983.

The Airix HP Victor B.2

Opening the large box reveals a treasure chest of superbly moulded part sprues, with little lash and inely engraved surface detail. There are over 200 parts (I stopped counting) and I was full of enthusiasm to get started. Alongside the sprues is a twenty three page instruction booklet, containing 129 build steps to model completion, a painting and decalling guide and a comprehensive decal sheet, covering the two subject aircraft of the kit:

• HP Victor B.Mk 2 (BS) XL512 of 139 Squadron, RAF Wittering 1963-64 in an all over Anti Flash White scheme with toned down markings

• HP Victor B.Mk 2 (BS) XL189 of the Victor Training Flight, RAF Wittering 1968 with Dark Green/Medium Sea Grey upper surface camoulage and white undersides

As I was going to model XL189 as a tanker in this scheme, the camoulage pattern artwork and the serial number decals were going to prove useful.

Being a Victor B.Mk 2 (BS) version means that the aircraft was converted to carry the Blue Steel stand-off missile, and parts are provided in the kit to build the missile and the semi recessed bomb bay area where the missile was housed on the aircraft. If it is not intended to model the aircraft with the missile, parts for a standard bomb bay area and bomb bay doors are also provided.

HP Victor K.2 XL189

The aircraft started life on the production lines of Handley Page at Radlett in Hertfordshire with a company designation of type HP80/70 (Victor B.2) in 1961 and was delivered to the RAF as HP Victor B.Mk 2 XL189 on 16th December of that year.

Her early years were spent in the training role with 232 Operational Conversion Unit and the Victor Training Flight, but in 1964 she returned to Radlett for modiication to Victor B.2R (Retroit) standard. This involved the itting of more powerful Rolls-Royce Conway Turbofans and the addition of airlow improving wing fairings, called Kuchemann Carrots, named after their designer, Dr Dietrich Kuchemann, an RAE aerodynamicist. The aircraft were also itted with an in-light refuelling probe and with improved systems for both aircraft operation and the ability to carry and launch the Blue Steel stand-off missile. She was then allocated to 100 Squadron at RAF Wittering. In 1968 after a repaint of the upper surfaces from anti lash white to the standard Dark Green/Medium Sea Grey camoulage scheme, she was back with the Victor Training Flight. That same year tests showed that the Vulcan was the more capable low level bomber and the Victor began to be phased out of service. The Wittering Bomber Squadrons, 100 and 139, were disbanded, but the Training Flight continued training crews for the Strategic Reconnaissance Victor and the Victor tankers that were remaining in service.

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