A large and highly detailed model produced using a combination of plastic and metal materials. The main fuselage is diecast, providing useful weight and structural spine, while the wings have been modelled in plastic to capture the complex curves and contours of the delta wings and engine intakes. A replica of the Blue Steel stand-off nuclear-armed missile is included mounted beneath the bomb bay. This model is finished the the gloss white 'anti-flash' scheme which was intended to mitigate some of the thermal radiation from nearby nuclear detonations.
The model commemorates the RAF's famous 617 Dambuster squadron and the Avro Vulcan's nuclear deterrent role during the early part of the Cold War, 617 being the first squadron declared operational with both Vulcan B2 and Blue Steel missile.
The Avro Vulcan was designed as part of the post-WW2 RAF V-bomber programme along with the Valiant and Victor. The Vulcan is a sub-sonic delta wing design, earning them the nick-name of 'tin triangles' which entered service in 1953. The Vulcan outlasted the other designs in the bomber role and was the only V-bomber type to deliver bombs and missiles against enemy targets in the Falklands. The last Vulcan was decomissioned in 1984, however enthusiasts have kept two in servicable condition and after a long and detailed restoration XH558 was flight certified in 2007. A model is also available. The V bombers (Avro Vulcan, Vickers Valiant and Handley Page Victor) were intended to carry a range of free-fall munitions, including nuclear bombs. Later stand-off missile weapons were developed, The Vulcans' design being altered to carry the British Blue Steel missile and the late-built Vulcans were prepared with wing hard-points to carry the US Skybolt missile. The pylon hard-points for Skybolt later proved useful for adding an external (Buccaneer) ECM pod and delivering Shrike anti-radar missiles to the Falklands. Until the British nuclear deterrent role was transferred to the Royal Navy Vulcans were maintained at dispersals for a rapid response to any signs of aggression. During this 'nuclear bomber' phase of the Vulcans' lifes the aicraft were painted gloss 'anti-flash' white to help mitigate the thermal radiation effects of nearby nuclear detonations on the airframe.
It has been said that so long as there is an RAF there will be a 617 Squadron.
The 'Dambusters' are probably the RAF's best-known squadron, first formed in May 1943 for the dams raid. 617 became the RAF's special weapons squadron, deploying other unusual weapons systems like the 'Grand Slam' deep penetration 'earthquake' bomb. In 1952 617 transitioned to the EE Canberra jet bomber before disbanding in 1955, reforming in 1958 with the Avro Vulcan B1. The squadrons' role was high-level strategic bombing with a variety of free fall nuclear bombs.
617 squadron took delivery of their first B2 series Avro Vulcans, built to carry the British Blue Steel stand-off nuclear missle, in the autumn of 1961, the Dambusters being the first squadron declared operational with the missile bombers the following August.
Following the transfer of the nuclear deterrant to submarines the Vulcans were redeployed into the tactical strike role, retaining nuclear capabilities, until the planned reduction in Vulcan strength from 1980. 617 Squadron disbanded at the end of 1981, reforming with the new super-sonic Panavia Tornado fighter/bomber one year later.