Airfix 1/72 Vulcan B.2

KIT #: A12011
PRICE: $80-100
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Hans Gertje
NOTES: 2021 tooling


Continuing a lineage of iconic British bombers into the Cold War, the Avro Vulcan was part of a new generation of strategic bombers that could deliver nuclear payloads, the others being the Handley Page Victor and Vickers Valiant. These three formed what would be known as the “V Bombers,” and they served as part of NATO’s nuclear deterrent against the Soviet Union. When the Vulcan first flew in 1952, the world had not seen an aircraft shaped anything like it before. Its massive delta wings gave it a shape that cannot be mistaken for any other aircraft. These huge delta wings along with its quartet of powerful Rolls-Royce Olympus turbojets gave it remarkable high-altitude speed and maneuverability, which made it a challenge against contemporary fighters. In initial anticipation of high-altitude delivery of nuclear bombs, Vulcans were painted in an all-white anti-flash scheme. However, Soviet development of high-reaching surface-to-air missiles would put an end to the Vulcan’s high-altitude role, and they were soon reconfigured to deliver low level strikes, armed with nuclear standoff missiles. From then on, they were adorned with grey and green camo with white undersides or painted entirely with camo.

The Vulcan remained in service through the mid-1980s, mostly as a nuclear guardian that never delivered its payload in anger. The only combat action seen by the Vulcan was in its secondary conventional bombing role during the “Black Buck” bombing raids of the Falklands War. Vulcan bombers and Victor tankers stretched the limits of in flight refueling to reach the Falklands from Ascension Island. These raids likely had little effect on the airfields they targeted, but they remain a significant part of the Vulcan’s legend.

The Vulcan has remained an icon of British aviation. Aircraft XH558 (dubbed The Spirit of Great Britain) was the sole airworthy Vulcan in the decades following its retirement, flown for demonstrations until 2015. Although the time to see it in flight has now passed, XH558 and two others are kept in taxiing condition, and still shown to the public.


Impressively large even in 1/72, the Vulcan has seen surprisingly few toolings over the years in any scale. Airfix first released a 1/72 Vulcan in 1983, which was reboxed eight times, the latest in 2010. This was the only option for a very long time, but in 2021 Airfix released this all-new tooled Vulcan that will be sure to delight fans of British aviation everywhere.

The kit comes in a very large box, holding 6 individually packaged light grey sprues, a single clear part sprue, and a decal sheet. Much of the space in this box is needed just to accommodate the enormous wing sprues that greet you when taking off the lid. The two decal options are XM602 of No. 12 Squadron painted in anti-flash white, and XM594 of Scampton Wing, painted in camo with white undersides. The Vulcan’s relatively simple shape belies the amount of surface detail and number of parts Airfix has provided. The modeler can build their Vulcan equipped with a Blue Steel standoff missile or a conventional bombload, the latter of which can be displayed with open bomb bay doors.

Considering that most of it won’t be visible if the kit is constructed normally, the cockpit has sufficient detail, with decals for the instrument panels. The instructions also helpfully call out the required amount of nose weight if the aircraft is displayed with the gear down. The aircraft’s control surfaces are separate from the wings and can be displayed in a range of deflections specified in the instructions. The airbrakes can also be displayed open or closed.

Finally, we have a definitive, modern tooled Vulcan, and the new benchmark of quality for the subject. It will certainly look big and impressive in your display--one can only imagine how big these delta wings would be in 1/48. Given the size considerations, 1/72 is probably the largest most modelers will prefer. There is a solid amount of aftermarket out there for those who want to really detail this Cold War beast. Aftermarket decals printed before the release of this kit should be compatible, and Fundekals is one distributor that’s already made a sheet for this kit with extensive options. Also, in 2023 Airfix re-released this kit with decals and parts for the “Black Buck” missions, so there’s options galore for fans of the Vulcan and Cold War jet bombers. The only thing potentially holding this Vulcan kit back is Airfix’s occasional lapses in quality. Short shot sprues are a known occurrence for them recently, including for this kit, so keep your eyes out for incomplete parts on your sprues--I imagine Airfix will readily replace them.

This is definitely a kit I’m excited to build someday, just need to make sure I have the space to display it!

 Hans Gertje

April 2024

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