100 Year RAF Anniversary GB – 1/72nd Revell Hawker Siddeley S Mk.2B Buccaneer
This article is part of a series:
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- 100 Year RAF Anniversary GB – 1/72nd Revell Hawker Siddeley S Mk.2B Buccaneer
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At under no circumstances the Buccaneer S Mk.2 would be needed in the Gulf in their secondary role as laser- designators advised the Air Ministry as plans of what assets would be deployed. However as the Tornados were suffering losses at the outset of the war and not being effective. The urgent call to RAF Lossiemouth to recall personnel, aircraft and prepare to deploy to Muharraq on 23 January 1991. 6 aircraft were initially sent 3 days later. After repainting, equipped with Have Quick II secure radio sets, MkXII Mode4 IFF, they were dispatched to the Gulf. Eventually 12 total in theatre. On 27 January qualification trials were conducted for the AN/ALE-40 flare/chaff dispensers and the aircraft fitted to carry the AIM-9L Sidewinder missile. The Buccaneers allowed the Tornado to regain it’s accuracy of attack and deliver ordnance with better results.
At Muharraq, Tornado crews trained intensively with the Bucs in delivering laser guided bombs. A task that the Tornado crews have never done before. Their first mission took place on 2 February, in what was a flight of 4 Tornado’s and 2 Buccaneers, the Buc’s were configured with a AN/AVQ-23E Pave Spike Laser Designator pod on the port inner pylon. ECM pod AN/ALQ-101 hung on the Starboard outer pylon, balanced with the Sidewinder on the port outer pylon with a slipper tank on the Starboard inner pylon. Their initial target was the bridge over the Euphrates River at As Samawah. The 4 Tornado’s carried 3 LGB’s each, the flight would be divided into a cell of 2 Tornados with a Buc to hit each end of the bridge. The first cell lead by a Buccaneer lasing the target. The 2nd cell would follow 45 -120 seconds behind. This mission and subsequent ones would follow this pattern. This was to assure the bombs are on track to the target. The minimum 45 seconds is the bomb fall time, otherwise bombs released sooner from the 2nd cell can cause them to be lured away from their intended target. The mission was a complete success and the bridge was destroyed. Total flight time 3 hrs and 40 min in the air. As the war went on, air supremacy assured. The Bucs would head home on their own at 37,000 ft well above the Tornado’s cruising altitude. The bridge campaign continued until 13 February. At this point all the targeted bridges had been destroyed as part of the destruction of Saddam’s command and control abilities. Next tasking were airfields and POL installations. On 20 February the Sidewinder was no longer carried which freed up the pylon for the Buc to carry an LGB and deliver it’s own ordnance along with the Tornados. Known as the “Sky Pirates” the 12 Bucs’ took on the names of the local Scottish whiskey’s distilled in the region. Nose art depicting some scantily clad women as well. All 12 Buc’s survived, 216 sorties, 679 flight hours. Well done work from a 30 year old work horse, which felt more at home skipping the wave of the North Sea not the arid deserts of Iraq. Like most of the aircraft of it’s generation. She was retired in 1994 from service.
The Revell kit is a rebox of the old Matchbox kit from 1974. A bit later from the Airfix offering. The kit is very basic only seats no cockpit, like I mean none, no floor, no consoles, no instrument panel, Nada! The seats are blah. So going into the spares box I found a pair of Martin Baker Mk. VII resin seats and got them to fit and they make a big difference. Thats all I did with the cockpit. As in this scale despite the bubble canopy you cannot really see inside. The kit has engraved trenches, I mean panel lines. Airfix are raised. Airfix also has a bit more in the cockpit. But what I do like is the Matchbox has pretty decent detail in the main gear wells and nice engine faces with in the intakes. But the fuselage needs a lot of work to clean the seams. Airfix provides pylons and slipper tanks. The Revell/Matchbox kit is clean. No pylons no weapons. So I just left it clean. It is a tail sitter so weight was place in the nose. I used Dk Gull Grey for the cockpit. Desert Pink from AK for the exterior, a bit more yellow in appearance compared to the Extracolour Desert Pink I have used on the Tornado, and the 3 Jags I have built to date. The Buc is a large plane. Larger than an F-4. Decals are from an Almark 72-S10 sheet set 1. A sheet I have had since 1992. First time using them. Have to be careful as the decals are on one sheet of decal film, so you have trim them to avoid to large of a film that may silver on you. Despite their age the decals performed ok. A bit thick but they reacted well to Microset and Micro Sol. My RAF Operation Granby 72nd scale is slowly growing. With the announcement that Airfix is going to produce an all new tooling Buccaneer soon in this scale. I am looking forward to building another but hopefully armed for bear and fold the wings. And I hope a cockpit to work with. Again a big thanks to Paul Barber and Imodeler for allowing us this great opportunity to honor the history of this great significant air arm. One left.
30 additional images. Click to enlarge.
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