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Airfix 1/48 scale Buccaneer S.Mk.2B
"Sky Pirate"

by Ingo Degenhardt


Blackburn Buccaneer S.Mk.2B

  images by Lutz Degenhardt

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Developed by the Blackburn Company (later Hawker Siddeley) the Buccaneer Prototype NA39 first flew on 30 April, 1958. The aircraft was designed as a strike aircraft for the Royal Navy to be based on aircraft carriers and entered service as the S.2 in 1965.

In the late 1960s the RAF too chose the Buccaneer for service as a low-level strike bomber, receiving 62 ex-Royal Navy aircraft (S.2A) and 51 new-build planes (S.2B). The RAF career of the Buccaneer started in July 1970.
After the last aircraft carriers able to operate the Buccaneer had been decommissioned in the early 1970s, only the RAF-Buccaneers were left – equipping Squadrons in UK and Germany.

By the late 1980s, only Nos. 12 and 208 Squadrons were still operational at RAF Lossiemouth in the maritime strike role and No.237 OCU (Operational Conversion Unit) was responsible to provide aircrew training.



Except may be for the South African (sole export customer) Buccaneers the RN and RAF Buccs had seen no combat so far. This changed late in their career with the Royal Air Force when in 1991 14 aircraft were rapidly prepared for the Operation Granby – the deployment of UK forces for the retaking of Kuwait. 12 of the aircraft were send to Bahrain, all painted in ARTF (Alkali Removable Temporary Finish) Desert Pink over their standard camouflage.

With the beginning of Desert Storm it was the Buccaneers purpose to provide ‘Pave Spike’ laser designation for RAF Tornado GR.Mk 1s laser guided bombs. The Buccaneers flew a total of 226 sorties in their guise as the ‘Sky Pirates’, most of them sporting a Jolly Roger flag on the left fuselage side under the windshield.

In 1994 the last Buccaneers were taken out of RAF-service. I believe South Africa still operates them and even offers rides in the backseat for civilians; but I am not sure about it.





Although the Airfix 1/48 scale English Electric Lightning that I built some time before a joy to make; the Buccaneer was not.

In particular, the fit of most parts is very poor and the whole model needs a lot of filling, sanding and rescribing. The joints of the upper and lower fuselage halves (do not forget to add some weight into the nose), the air intakes, the exhaust area and the wings are the biggest problem areas. Furthermore, some parts were warped and the overall surface of the model had a very rough texture that had to sanded smooth. Fortunately in this case, the engraved panel lines are very deep and do not suffer at all from the sanding. An advantage also at all the seams with their filling and sanding. The lines were often still visible after that and could be used for the rescribing.

But before all this labour I had the pleasure of building and painting the Neomega cockpit I had bought for this model. You only have to pay some attention (i.e. dry-fitting) to the ejection seats that refused to fit in properly between the side consoles. I discovered that when I tried to attach them – nearly the last parts to be added to the otherwise finished model.



I also had Airwaves etched parts for the airbrake that included a few other items for the exterior, definitely improving the look of the open brakes. Another etched-metal parts set by Airwaves used on this Buccaneer is the wing fold set – needless to say it is much superior to the wing fold mechanism provided in the kit.

There is something wrong with the main wheels too. According to the instructions, the brakes are on the inside while on the real thing they are on the outside. But this problem is easily solved by simply swapping the main mounts.

It took some time before I had this model ready for painting – with the wings not yet attached.



After the first base coat of flat white I discovered numeral areas that still needed reworking, but finally it was time for Xtra-Colors X32 Desert Pink (gloss).



Painting and Markings



The leading edges of air intakes, wings and horizontal stabilators are left in natural metal. I started with these giving the respective areas a base coat of Humbrol gloss black and then painting them in Alclad II’s Chrome. Carefully masking these areas was followed by an overall coat of Desert Pink – slightly lightened up. Patches and cloudy patterns of the original paint were sprayed at random and along the panel lines.

Thoroughly dry, the complete aircraft received a wash with heavily diluted flat dark brown.



With the wash wiped off there was the perfect surface for the next step – the decals.


The Airfix kit includes marking options for two aircraft in a grey/green wraparound-scheme belonging to Nos. 12 and 208 Squadron at Lossiemouth.

The third aircraft is a “Sky Pirate”, but unfortunately one of the less colorful decorated planes. I had Model Alliance Decals No. 48-100 for the model – containing markings for 13 different aircraft. The worst thing about these decals is encountered even before you start using them – to choose an aircraft. I had the sheet all the time during construction of the model (quite some time) but could not make a definite decision. It was finally made when the decals were due.



So my Buccaneer is “Miss Jolly Roger” and “Fiona” and “Glenfarclas” – XW533 tail code ‘A’. The next bad thing with the decals is that there are only so very few to use on this paint scheme – they go down very well and are really fun to work with. Most of the sheet remains unused, but there is a certain institution in the www, were I might find someone interested in the rest of the sheet and the instructions.




The Airfix Buccaneer is a tough adversary, one you need some skills and a good amount of self-confidence and fortitude to overcome it’s fierce resistance to being build properly. But, as so often when finished, it is considered being worth all the trouble and hardship – not just because it is the only 1/48 Buccaneer that there is, but also because the builder is satisfied with the result.



The unusual paint scheme does the rest...even though a Grey/green camouflaged Bucc would be a nice contrast. No, not me...



Additional Images


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Model and Text Copyright © 2005 by Ingo Degenhardt
Images Copyright © 2005 by Lutz Degenhardt
Page Created 17 January, 2005
Last Updated 17 January, 2005

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