by: Peter Ganchev [ ]
IntroductionThe Handley Page Victor started life as a bomber that first flew in 1952.
Its first flew about 4 months after Avro Vulcan, over a year later than Vickers Valiant.
Of the three the Victor was the least produced with less than 90 airframes delivered. It did, however, outlast the Vulcan in service by 9 years, and the Valiant by 28 (!!!) retiring in 1993.
During 35 years in the sky the Victor served as a high- and low level bomber, a strategic recce aircraft, and – as the United Kingdom shifted its nuclear deterrent capabilities to submarines – increasingly as a tanker.
The subject of the kit is the K.2 version with two wing-mounted refueling pods, and a retracting station at the rear of the former bomb bay.
Other plastic kitsOther than the Great Wall Hobby offering I am only aware of the Anigrand resin kit of the B.2 bomber version. The B.2 is also available from GWH in 1/144.
For the longest time the only 1/72 Victor kit has been the Matchbox (also sold as Revell) K.2. Airfix are now working on the B.2 version and taking pre-orders at time of writing.
ContentsThere are 7 plastic sprues (including a transparent one with 2 parts) placed in transparent self-sealing bags in a glossy, side-opening box.
Molding quality is high, with consistent detail and panel lines throughout. On my sample there were no visible flash, sinkholes, significant mold parting lines or ejection pin marks that will be visible on the finished model.
Plastic is of uniform color and properties, there were no visible layers, chips, etc.
Sprue gates are medium sized, and lower in number than in most kits today, meaning the kit will not require significant cleanup effort.
The fuselage is split into two symmetric vertical halves, each of them including the respective half of the vertical stabilizer. There was no visible warpage, which would later make work really enjoyable.
T-tail: a multi-part affair, different front and aft bullet-tips apparently intended to cater for the different versions.
The airbrakes have the cool option to be posed open without major surgery or aftermarket set. The support parts are thin and would be easily broken off, so maybe keep them at least until the paint stage.
The flight deck is only represented with the pilot seats, which have their back rests at 90 degrees – that warrants a correction.
Unfortunately the rear deck with 3 operator seats facing aft is entirely omitted, the 2 circular windows molded as indentations only on the fuselage sides.
Wings: the lower part of each wing is molded as an insert for the upper, allowing for thin leading and trailing edges, which is a big plus in the scale.
The wings feature the distinctive droop, combined with the aerodynamic kink of the real thing, the vortex generators and the characteristic Pitot tubes.
Landing gear: despite the mold parting lines the plastic parts represent the original well. The main gear wheels features 5 spokes as on the actual aircraft, pretty good detail for such a small part.
Fuel transfer equipment: 2 asymmetric fuel pods (both have intakes on the left side) and extendable under-fuselage station you can pose deployed or retracted. All 3 stations in the kit feature retracted hoses.
Engines: cleverly designed inserts feature the splitter plates in the front intake opening. Each engine also has the compressor face as a separate part. Flame stabilizer and exhaust inserts are provided as a single, hollow separate for each engine.
Main wheel wells are integral to the wing halves and feature thin but consistent ribbing.
Thanks to slide molds all 7 air scoops – 4 for the engines, 1 for the APU and 2 for the rear fuselage – are molded open.
Transparencies: cockpit windshield and bomb aim glazing. Both a bit thick for the scale but reasonably transparent. Of note is that while most K.2 aircraft had the bomb-aim glazing plated over, some did retain it.
There are no PE parts included or referenced.
DecalsThe decal sheet includes markings for 4 aircraft:
- XL163, a grey-green K.2 of 57th squadron, Marham, 1983.
- “Maid Marian”, XH672, tan K.2 from the 55th squadron, operation “Desert storm”, 1991.
- “Saucy Sal”, XL164, also 55th squadron bird, another “Desert storm” participant.
- “Lucky Lou”, XM717 of 55th squadron, Marham, 1992.
It includes an extensive set of marking including underwing alignment strips, and the dayglo markings on the pods, walklways, serials, nose art, certain stencils.
The decals are well-though out and printed, are in register, and display intricate detail on even the tiniest of stencils.
The national and squadron markings for XL163 are over-saturated (a bit on the purple side).
The day-glo orange wingtip and refueling pod markings are in pinkish hue in my example.
The toned down markings for the tan machines ones are just fine.
The paint and marking diagram of XL163 is on the back of the kit box.
The tan machines have theirs on a separate glossy sheet inside the box.
The instruction sheet features color callouts for Mr. Color paints only, a parts plan, and 10 construction steps.
The build diagrams are isometric line drawings in black and white, with easy-to-read part references, and clear placement instructions.
Build ObservationsGWH has broken the build process into 10 sufficiently simple steps.
Step 1– Before gluing the fuselage halves together you will need to fix the cockpit in.
I used the opportunity to cut out the rear wall of the kit part and extend the flight deck and simulate the work stations for the 3 operators.
The backrests on the pilot bang seats were cut out and repositioned at an angle.
I also added pieces of plastic to simulate the bulk of the actual bang seats.
The multi-faceted instrument panel cover was built out of 0.5mm plastic stock.
I glued the 1-piece nose wheel well to one of the fuselage halves.
It has turned up slightly offset to that side, so I would recommend that you dry fit before committing to fixing the part in place.
Last but not least is the support plate for the tail airbrakes.
My suggestion would be to cement it in place, but leave parts E11 and E12 for a later stage to prevent breaking them off.
I used 1mm drill bit to open the lightening holes on E11.
I also added the former bomb bay doors and the central refueling point (in retracted position) that are referenced in Step 9 of the instructions.
This gave me opportunity to do all trimming, filling and sanding without braking anything.
Step 2 – Tailplanes. On my example I had to use putty on both front and rear aerodynamic fairings, and also on the join with the vertical stab.
Step 3 – I added the 2 open intakes later as some sanding ensued on the fuselage halves seam I obtained.
Cockpit canopy was also added just before I primed the kit.
Step 4 – I added nose probe, refueling probe and fuselage antenna just before priming, as these parts are all prone to breaking.
The actual nose tip is 2 hypodermic needles cut to size, as I broke the kit part multiple times.
The bomb aim glazing was sanded smooth with the rest of the nose and painted camouflage color.
Step 5 and 6 – Wings and engines.
Fearing intake seams I assembled the intake insets, primed and sanded them, but left out the compressor faces (parts A3 and A4) out at this stage.
Don’t forget to drill the openings for the refueling pods before joining the wing halves!
In addition to opening the holes –I cut out openings in the flat surfaces adjacent to the fuselage.
This would allow me to take care of any seams around the intake insets, and have access to glue the steel-painted compressor faces at the back of the white-painted intakes.
I removed the alignment pins on the exhausts (parts D5, D6, D7 and D8) and left them out paint separately and add at the end.
I used the exhaust openings to handle the model during paint and weathering stages.
Wing tanks required minimum filling before being glued in place.
I left the refueling pods off for ease of painting, decaling and weathering them.
Step 7 – I actually added the aerodynamic brakes at the very end of my build.
Step 8 – Now that my intakes were seam-free and I’d attached the compressor faces – I could finally add the wings.
My Victor was taking its final shape.
Step 9 - Was taken care of in Step 1 except for gear covers.
Step 10 - Is the landing gear – after painting, decaling and weathering were all behind me, I added the refueling pods under the wings, glued the gear legs and covers in place, and installed the air brakes.
My model was now complete.
ConclusionsThe HP Victor is an extraordinary aircraft with service spanning nearly 40 years.
In my opinion this kit does it justice, while giving more people the chance to have a piece (or two) of aviation history in their collection.
In my opinion the kit represents the unique shapes of the Victor well, offers modeler-friendly part breakdown, very good molding quality, fine detailed (for the scale), and is easy and fun build.
The GWH Victor K.2 provides options for display on the ground or in-flight of aircraft from 2 different eras.
At about $30 – you can’t go wrong getting one. Or more.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on Aeroscale.